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June 28, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The Best Players We Snubbed This Spring

by Sam Miller


Two years ago, I wrote about the best players who didn’t make it into the Baseball Prospectus Annual the previous spring. They were pretty good players: Ryan Vogelsong, an out-of-nowhere Cy Young vote-getter; Bartolo Colon, a resurrected innings eater; and Al Alburquerque, a breakout relief ace who had been a minor-league free agent a few months earlier. Will this year’s Best Players We Missed be as good? Will they be better? Will they be less good? Will they be Bartolo Colon, Ryan Vogelsong, and Al Alburquerque again? There are questions on the floor, and we must now answer them.

5. Michael Roth, .39 WARP
(Pitcher)
(Left-handed)
(On the Angels, dummy)

What we would have said: Congratulations on purchasing the largest book ever published! As you can see, it is 46,810 pages, weighs 151 pounds, costs $700 to ship (unless you purchase through Amazon), can’t be opened more than twice without the spine breaking, and will be totally outdated by the time you reach the second chapter (page 1,560). But it does have a write-up of every player ever drafted, including Mike Roth, a ninth-round pick from last June who had a 4.91 ERA in the short-season Pioneer League. You are more likely to see Jose Canseco pitching for the Angels this year than Roth, but hey when the editor keeps sending freakin’ emails to “make sure we don’t leave anybody important out,” then there’s really only one passive-aggressive response possible.

What we’d say now: Roth was a more famous ninth-round pick than most ninth-round picks, thanks to his College World Series heroics with the University of South Carolina. He’s an 80-makeup/30-stuff guy who you’d never bet on but, simultaneously, feel queasy betting against. Rushed onto the big league squad because of early season injuries to the Angels’ staff—he wasn’t even on the 40-man before that—he got pounded for a 9 ERA. Or did he? In 14 innings, he’s got the 10th-best FIP in baseball (minimum 10 innings) and the 22nd-best FRA. The .457 BABIP and 42 percent strand rate explain that. Back in Double-A, he’s been starting, with terrible peripherals.

4. Donovan Hand, .48 WARP
(Pitcher)
(A relief pitcher)
(On the Brewers, geez)

What we would have said:

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (06/28)
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Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt H... (06/24)
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Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Felix ... (07/01)
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Premium Article Raising Aces: A Look a... (06/28)

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