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March 31, 2009

Future Shock

Tuesday's Monday Ten Pack

by Kevin Goldstein

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A day late and a dollar short as they say, as the in-season Monday regular feature returns 24 hours late in the first Ten Pack of the year.

Ryan Harvey, OF, and Mark Pawelek, LHP (ex-Cubs)
The Cubs were 26th in this year's organizational rankings, and that's mostly due to some really bad draft picks of late. The situation was made all the more glaring by this week's release of Harvey and Pawelek, a pair of former highly touted first-round selections. The sixth overall pick in 2003, Harvey signed for a $2.4 million bonus, the fourth-highest bonus paid for anyone in the draft that year. The pick was hardly controversial; the Tampa-area product stood 6'5" and 220 pounds and was a ripped athlete with plus-plus power and an outstanding arm. He led the Midwest League in home runs and RBI in his full-season debut in 2005, but there were already red flags appearing around his game, as he struck out 137 times in 467 at-bats with just 24 walks, leading to a .302 on-base percentage. He went backwards the following two years, and then spent 2007 and 2008 unable to escape the Florida State League while dealing with injuries. Two years after drafting Harvey, the Cubs appeared to have quite a find in Pawelek, when the left-hander that some saw as the top high school pitcher in the draft fell to 20th overall due to bonus concerns, and quickly signed for a slightly over-slot bonus of $1.75 million. Seen as a highly polished product who might move quickly, instead conditioning issues, effort issues, and the occasional ridiculous injury (he broke his non-throwing arm two years ago by tripping over his PlayStation) led to just four innings in a full-season league, and just 149 1/3 IP overall in his four professional seasons. Harvey and Pawelek were supposed to be the team's starting right fielder and a fixture in the rotation by now, but instead they're just footnotes in a long thesis proving that the draft is an inexact science.

Jason Kipnis, OF, Arizona State University
A fourth-round pick by San Diego last year as a sophomore-eligible player, Kipnis was the seventh-highest player not to sign in the 2008 draft. He's an interesting prospect with a little power and a bit of speed, but pro scouts had problems seeing him as a center fielder, and when he tried to bump up his value by playing in the Cape Cod League during negotiations, it backfired when he had a rough showing in the wood-bat league; he and the Padres never came close to an agreement. Right now it's looking like it might work out for Kipnis, who could go higher in this year's draft in a college class that is desperately lacking in hitters. With another great weekend, Kipnis is now batting .469/.569/.914 in 23 games, going 38-for-81 with eight home runs, 20 walks, and 11 stolen bases, and while scouts still question his ability to play in the middle pasture, they're so desperate for anything resembling a decent performance that he's rising on many draft boards.

Andrew McCutchen, CF (Pirates)
Overall, the Pirates' spring training camp was incredibly positive in terms of its tone. Pedro Alvarez looked fantastic in a brief big-league look, third baseman Andy LaRoche finally appears to be ready to fulfill his promise, and the pitching staff, especially Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf, looked sharp. However, the story of the last two weeks was McCutchen, as the former first-round pick ended his spring on a roll, bringing his averages up to .318/.423/.561 before being assigned to minor league camp on Monday. He returns to Triple-A with a few little things left to work on-maintaining his consistent approach, and using his speed on the basepaths more effectively-and provided nothing goes wrong, he should be called up at some point during the season; any team beginning the year with Nyjer Morgan playing every day obviously needs some help in the outfield. This team is going to be a dangerous one offensively in the next two or three years, and players like McCutchen are giving Pirates fans something they haven't had for years-a glimmer of hope.

Ryan Perry, RHP (Tigers)
Perry has officially faced 65 batters as a professional, but with Joel Zumaya remaining firmly in the 'broken' file, we approach April with him still in camp as the favorite to begin the year in the big leagues. One of the fastest risers in last year's draft, Perry really hasn't missed a beat since last spring at Arizona, as he's sat at 96-98 mph with an overpowering fastball while giving up just one run on eight hits over 11 2/3 innings this spring. To put him in the big leagues at this point is probably more out of the team absolute need than a reflection of his readiness, but scouts are saying that the quality stuff he's showing should be enough for him to easily hold his own, and should help the stock of this year's crop of college closers as teams look for some instant returns in the draft.

Rich Poythress, 1B, University of Georgia
Poythress began the year as a probable third- or fourth-round pick; he was one of those big college sluggers with hitting ability but few other tools, and a tough going in the 2008 Cape Cod League diminished his value. Now his stock is on fire after the first 25 games of the Bulldogs' schedule, as the 245-pound beast has been among college baseball's most feared hitters this year. Despite going 0-for-5 on Sunday, Poythress still had one of the best weekends in the game, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two home runs on Friday against a very good Tennessee squad, and following that up with two more bombs on Saturday. Now 42-for-94 with 13 home runs and 22 walks, Poythress has a video game-like line of .447/.556/.936 for a team averaging nearly ten runs scored per game. With so few college hitters in the draft, and even fewer performing well, his timing is perfect. He's already made himself a few hundred thousand dollars with this start, and that number could move into the seven-figure range if he keeps it up.

David Price, LHP (Rays)
I've spent the last few years heaping nothing but praise on the Rays, so when I disagree so strongly with a move at first glance, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what part of the story I'm not understanding. I can't think of anything, and I'm left shaking my head in disbelief. Price begins the 2009 season at Triple-A Durham, a decision that could cost the Rays a title. The best three teams in the American League, and perhaps in all of baseball, are in the AL East, so no matter how you shake it, one of them will be on the outside looking in come October. Starting Jason Hammel instead of Price is going to cost the team wins that they can't afford to sacrifice, all in the name of managing his workload and developing his changeup and a slider (the pitches that limited him so much this spring that he allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings while striking out 10). Under the hard and fast rule of not increasing a pitcher's innings by more than 20 percent, Price should theoretically only throw 150 innings this year, but much of that results from a cautious approach used last spring in dealing with some minor elbow soreness that delayed Price's debut in '08. That cautiousness, which seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, now has the team making a bad decision this year in not allowing a full workload in 2010 for the top pitching prospect in the game. Keeping players healthy is a good thing. Thinking long-term is a good thing. Doing both blindly, with little eye for the present or the ultimate rewards which could be within reach seems more than a bit foolhardy, but again... maybe I'm just missing something.

Jordan Schafer, CF (Braves)
When the Braves traded Josh Anderson to the Tigers on Monday for minor league side-armer Rudy Darrow, it became clear that Jordan Schafer would open camp as the everyday center fielder. They haven't made that official yet, but the writing is on the wall. A top prospect entering the season, Schafer's 2008 was hampered by a strange 50-game suspension for some mysterious involvement with HGH, followed by a slow start upon his return. This spring, he's looked every bit like the player he was in 2007, batting .373/.403/.542 with gap power, speed, and maturity in the sense that he just looks like he belongs. There are going to be some struggles for Schafer, especially on an approach level-expect few walks and a good number of strikeouts-but it was a case of a perfect storm really, as a struggling, adjusting Schafer will still be better than Anderson or Gregor Blanco.

Travis Snider, OF (Blue Jays)
When asked for fantasy advice during our book tour in support of Baseball Prospectus 2009, the first two words out of my mouth are usually, "Travis" and "Snider." While currently banged up with a sore knee, Snider has been one of those players that almost every scout in Florida is talking about. He's shown power to all fields, including a home run that left Legends Field in Tampa that is already legendary, while batting .362/.375/.660 overall. He's not just one of the best hitting prospects in baseball, he's the best hitter on the Blue Jays right now, and if he stays healthy, he's an easy Rookie of the Year candidate.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State University
Talking about Strasburg the pitching prospect is almost becoming boring. I've spent the past six weeks talking to scouts and trying to find just one thing that might be wrong with him, and I can't find it. At this point the far more interesting discussion involves the money. He's obviously going to get some kind of record-shattering deal, but the $50 million dollars that's been floating around is just silly. Scott Boras does business in a particular way, and he certainly doesn't shoot out numbers in March; it's hard enough to get a number out of him in June. Most industry insiders are guessing at something in the neighborhood of $20 million, and unlike many Boras clients, Strasburg may have an incentive to sign quickly, because if Washington drops him right into the big-league rotation (and every scout thinks he'd be fine, if not very good there), that will get him to free agency much more quickly. That it might take $20 million might seem crazy, but six years of him simply meeting expectations at that price could be the bargain of the century.

Matt Wieters, C (Orioles)
As stated in the David Price portion of this 2009 debut edition 2009 of Ten Pack, the best three teams in the American League are all in the East. Baltimore is not one of those teams. I can understand sending Wieters down to Triple-A, as long as it's just for a couple of weeks as a way to keep him off the road to free agency, but if he's still down there in May, the Orioles are wasting time. Luckily, we have evidence that won't be the case; even at the Winter Meetings, when the Orioles traded Ramon Hernandez, general manager Andy McPhail had said that the trade was made because of Matt Wieters. This is an Evan Longoria-type situation, where the clock is being managed by a team with no chance to win this year, and the ability to sign Wieters to an arbitration-avoiding contract could be made more difficult by the Boras factor. Just be patient Orioles fans, the Greg Zaun era should only last for a few more weeks.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Ten Pack,  Year Of The Injury

69 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

keeperleaguegm

Kev-

With the struggles of Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney (and Zumaya's inability to stay healthy)...do you see Ryan Perry as a "dark horse" for closer this season?

Thanks...
Mike Caprio
Keeper League GM

Mar 31, 2009 07:36 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Very dark, but yes.

Mar 31, 2009 09:18 AM
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

While I don't disagree with your points about the potential cost of keeping Price down on the farm, his main competitors for the five spot, Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann, are both out of options. Admittedly, neither has the ceiling of Price, but the move allows the Rays to maintain as many organizational assets as possible while they work through a roster bottleneck; given that both names reportedly surfaced in trade discussions with the Padres and Pirates, it seems likely that a deal will help clear the logjam and turn this into a short-term situation and a tempest in a teapot.

Also, Joe Maddon indicated that he'd prefer Price throws 175 innings this year. Whether that's his wish or the organization's actual target is unclear, though given the current administration's reputation I would presume he's on the same page as the higher-ups: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/mar/25/rays-option-david-price-four-others-durham/sports-rays/

Mar 31, 2009 07:53 AM
 
swarmee

Isn't the Price demotion also to delay his arbitration eligibility? I thought his clock hasn't started yet since he was only on the big league team during September.

Mar 31, 2009 08:30 AM
rating: 1
 
swarmee

http://www.rototimes.com/article/2009/3/Spring-Training-Daily-Review-7 floated there and other places.

Mar 31, 2009 08:34 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I'm sure the service clock issue plays into it as well, though given the Rays' history with Longoria, whom they gamed and then signed to a huge contract anyway, it's probably a secondary one, and likely more focused on delaying his free agency (which would mean a couple weeks in Durham) than his arbitration (which could mean a couple months of Bull).

Mar 31, 2009 09:03 AM
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

We can rationalize this decision all we want to, but no matter how you look at it, you're taking away David Price starts. Be it in the interest of keeping Jeff Niemann or not starting a service time clock, the team is not putting their best talent on the field in a division where even a one-game sacrifice could be the difference between the post-season or playing golf six months from now.

Mar 31, 2009 09:15 AM
 
swarmee

One year five years from now or one month this season? The Rays are definitely a "slow and steady wins the race" company now and won't sacrifice like the Yankees do.

Mar 31, 2009 09:20 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

One month this season could cost them a post-season birth. Who knows where anyone is five years from now. Also, the way the Yankees do things and the Rays do things will always be different, but if your point is that you should NOT be like a time that has gone to the playoffs 13 of the last 14 years while winning four world championships then I really don't get it at all.

Mar 31, 2009 09:27 AM
 
Matt Kory

One month this season COULD cost them a post season birth, or it might not. Putting Price in the rotation WILL cost them Niemann or Hammel. I think that's the point.

Mar 31, 2009 10:17 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Again, I understand it -- I guess I'm just weighing them differently. Getting to the post-season and winning titles is THE POINT of baseball, no? If the Rays finish a game out of the wild card, will you really sit back and say, "Hey, it's ok, we got to keep Jason Hammel.".

Mar 31, 2009 10:31 AM
 
Matt Kory

I think the point that I'm trying to make is its a a certainty versus a maybe, and I apologize for the capital letters. Re-reading my comment, it did not come across nicely, and I mean no disrespect.

In an unrelated point, I wonder how many more "replies" we'll have to do before they end up off the side of the page.

Mar 31, 2009 11:09 AM
rating: 1
 
ruben398

I think you hit it right there, Kevin. It seems the Rays are looking to win titleS, not just go for it all now. But it's a valid point, look at the Phillies and Cole Hamels. He probably pitched too many innings last year, but hey, flags fly forever. Oh he's hurt right now? Well, maybe we can put a patch of our World Series Championship banner on his sling as motivation to get better. Definitely exposes the Ray's long term vs. short term valuations. I'm not saying I agree with it, though I definitely didn't have the knee-jerk "WTF?" as some have had.

Mar 31, 2009 11:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I think you're overvaluing the importance of the early season games in this equation; they're like first-inning runs. While every single game counts in the standings (duh), the important point is to have Price available for the higher-leverage ones later in the season, when any given result can have a much more magnified effect on a team's playoff chances (see Clay's Odds reports).

Even assuming that either Hammel or Niemann is traded in short order, it's doubtful the Rays will tolerate more than one or two bad starts from the remaining guy before they would recall Price.

Mar 31, 2009 12:12 PM
 
Dr. Dave

Gotta disagree, Jay. The apparent 'higher' value of late-season games is an illusion caused by lack of information. The teams who lost those April and May games aren't contenders, so you ignore their August and September games when noting the higher leverage of late-season games. But they aren't contenders precisely because they lost those April and May games -- just ask Detroit.

Mar 31, 2009 20:59 PM
rating: -1
 
jaireland

Makes no sense in this tough division for sure, at least if one is only interested in winning now. One win indeed in the AL as a whole could be the difference, since if a team doesn't get the division then they are up against every team in the whole league for a play-off spot.

But they did almost the same thing last year with Longoria and as inexplicably too at least from the point of view of winning games THIS season. Perhaps they are emboldened by the fact that they managed to get away with the stunt of suddenly pulling an obvious 25-man roster opening day man down to the farm for a few weeks early in the season to save a few bucks ... but this makes no sense on the surface.

Perhaps there's something more than just talent or baseball readiness outsiders aren't privy to; but there wasn't last year was there? It does seem weird though ... and again the Rays have many fantasy players busily retooling a spot in their rosters at the last minute that seemed a sure thing only a few days previous!

Mar 31, 2009 11:20 AM
rating: 0
 
jaireland

Is there a blood test that can reveal starting roster readiness? Or perhaps predictive of Price and his agent's predisposition some years from now? There seems lately to be some pretty amazing diagnostic tests available to MLB players that aren't available anywhere else from what I've been reading.

Mar 31, 2009 11:27 AM
rating: -1
 
Ben Solow

Er...no...but I'm willing to bet that baseball teams have both better scouting and performance analysis than the public does. Plus, they also probably know David Price better than the public and his willingness to remain in Tampa...and also their relationship with his agent. So, all sarcasm aside, they probably have more information with which to make the decision than anyone else, plus, it seems, a different discount factor than Kevin's.

Mar 31, 2009 14:03 PM
rating: 0
 
aztropf

Maybe. And people confuse the Longoria situation a bit. While the Rays didn't keep Longoria down long enough to avoid Super-2 status, they did keep him down long enough to gain an extra year before free agency. That's a great move, sacrificng a few weeks in 2008 to gain a whole year in 2014.

The problem with Price is that he already got about a month's worth of service time in last season. So to do the same, you'd have to keep him down well into May, or about a quarter of the season. That's a lot to sacrifice in a tight pennant race. To avoiud Super-2 arbitration status, he'd have to spend over half the season down there. That's not realistic.

Mar 31, 2009 10:19 AM
rating: 1
 
aztropf

Also, service time in September does count

Mar 31, 2009 10:20 AM
rating: 0
 
gluckschmerz

There you go making sense...

Niemann to the Pirates would brighten my day!

Mar 31, 2009 08:47 AM
rating: 0
 
jarjets89

Would the nationals really start Strasburg in the rotation??????that is crazy

Mar 31, 2009 07:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It is? Everyone who is seeing him has no problem with the concept.

Mar 31, 2009 09:16 AM
 
mswain784

I take it you aren't as concerned about his mechanics as some are?

Mar 31, 2009 09:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Like I said, I haven't found anyone to ding him at all, on stuff or mechanics.

Mar 31, 2009 09:30 AM
 
ddrezner

Kevin, might Washington offer less money to Boras for Strasburg in return for a guarantee of putting him right on the ML roster, so his free agency clock starts at the earliest possible point?

Mar 31, 2009 09:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's a scenario that's been floated around by some theoretically. The question is, what is "less money"?

Mar 31, 2009 09:31 AM
 
Calrulz25

I don't think that the Nationals should send Strasburg straight to the majors. I wrote an article detailing why I believe this and would really like to hear what you think about the article.


I'm not sure how to put a link so here's the site:

http://www.rootzoo.com/articles/view/MLB-Baseball/General/Stephen-Strasburg---The-College-Baseball-Phenom_12575

Mar 31, 2009 14:26 PM
rating: -1
 
dg

I'm sure you want Kevin's take rather than mine, but here it is anyway. You've said that SS shouldn't start in the majors because the hitters might be too good and he'll be pitching more than he did in college. I'd say those are two pretty obvious adjustments to point out. I think analysts who are considering if he's good enough to make the jump (and probably saying that he can, not that he 'should') have considered those two factors. It will be hard. I don't mean to be harsh, but I think you can dig deeper.

Mar 31, 2009 16:26 PM
rating: 0
 
Jay Levin

They're not going to get six years for $20 million. The six-year figure is tied to the $50 million figure. If it's $15-20 million, that will be spread out among the signing bonus and first our seasons. He'll still get his arbitration years, well inflated by his prior salaries by that point.

Mar 31, 2009 08:17 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Just to be clear, THERE IS NO FIGURE. There is no $20 million figure, there is no $50 million figure. It's just trial balloons being floated around, that's it. There is NO figure. We don't know and we're just speculating.

Mar 31, 2009 09:17 AM
 
chico123

Is anyone else concerned about Snider's minor league strikeout numbers? An impact hitter usually doesn't swing-and-miss so much in the minors.

Mar 31, 2009 09:25 AM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

Pablo Sandoval scoffs at this notion.

Mar 31, 2009 09:36 AM
rating: 2
 
Al Skorupa

Pablo Sandoval isnt exactly proven... and if he ends up at 1B he's basically a replacement level player.

Or perhaps I missed the sarcasm...?

Mar 31, 2009 10:11 AM
rating: 1
 
Aaron/YYZ

Snider probably isn't ready to hit for average in the Majors (notwithstanding his fluky BABIP/LD%-driven numbers from September) but that doesn't stop him from being the best hitter in a poor Jays lineup.

Mar 31, 2009 11:40 AM
rating: 0
 
buddaley

I think you are missing something, Kevin. I don't think Price is a major league ready starting pitcher yet. He should become one, and may even become a star, but with a mediocre off-speed pitch and erratic control of his fastball (you did not mention the 6 walks this spring), he is not there yet.

Therefore, it is not a given that replacing his starts with Niemann's or even Hammel's is a step down. Further, basing an evaluation on the results of 8.1 spring training innings (and I will withdraw my BB comment to make my statement consistent) is hardly legitimate.

I think we need to credit the Rays' staff with judging Price on what they saw beyond those results and give them the benefit of the doubt regarding his readiness to contribute now as a starter.

Mar 31, 2009 09:35 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

"I don't think Price is a major league ready starting pitcher yet."

You are in a severe minority. I'm not saying he's perfect yet, but he's better than the other option(s) on a significant level.

Mar 31, 2009 09:40 AM
 
PeteyShoes

For the sake of argument, weren't most scouts convinced Delmon Young was going to be an impact player, not a singles hitter with no walks, no power, and no defense?

Not saying David Price is Delmon Young by any means, but he DOES have some issues locating consistently. It was pretty obvious in spring training and you could even make a case that some of his strikeouts against the Sox in the ALCS were not exactly on the spot either. Also, the Rays aren't thinking in terms of "What is our best 25 man roster" but "What is our best 30-35 man roster in the event of injury?" Depth at a major league and minor league level last year was a HUGE reason why the Rays beat out the Sox and the Yanks. In a race that's going to be as tight as it looks, that will probably be the case again... that and everyone from the 2008 roster should be even better than they were last year. Having Hammel and Niemann at the major league level and Price in the minors for a month allows the Rays to prepare for any possible injury scenarios (like say, Garza or Kazmir getting injured, which are distinct possibilities.)

Mar 31, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: 2
 
oystertoadfish

Some internet commentators have raised questions about Strasburg's delivery, like Kyle Boddy here: http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2008/11/18/665018/quick-note-stephen-strasbu

Another commentator, Trip Somers, made the following comment in this article: http://www.texasleaguers.com/home/2009/3/28/scouting-stephen-strasburg-san-diego-state-university-in-40.html
"Strasburg has some of the common flaws of traditional pitching mechanics and carries with him the associated risks. These risks will almost certainly not affect his draft status because it could be 10 years before anything goes wrong."

I suppose I'm asking, if possible, for specific comments about the concerns they each raise and/or general thoughts about the applicability of Trip's quote.

Mar 31, 2009 09:39 AM
rating: 0
 
oystertoadfish

I'll take this as a lesson to refresh the page before posting my comment. Disregard. Sorry.

Mar 31, 2009 09:40 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Fair enough. I'll clarify by saying I haven't found a professional scout who has a problem with Strasburg's mechanics.

Mar 31, 2009 09:48 AM
 
rjwhite01
(994)

<>

Actually,under that logic (and your similar argument re: David Price), the Rays screwed up last year by keeping Longoria down on the farm for a month, since they did indeed have a "chance to win." (Of course, in hindsight it worked out fine, but that doesn't change the argument, does it?)

Mar 31, 2009 10:36 AM
rating: -1
 
rjwhite01
(994)


Screwed up the formatting above, sorry. Kevin wrote:

"This is an Evan Longoria-type situation, where the clock is being managed by a team with no chance to win this year."

Actually, under that logic (and your similar argument re: David Price), the Rays screwed up last year by keeping Longoria down on the farm for a month, since they did indeed have a "chance to win." (Of course, in hindsight it worked out fine, but that doesn't change the argument, does it?)

Mar 31, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I'm not sure anyone saw them as a competitor (including the Rays) yet, so it was more defendable.

Mar 31, 2009 10:39 AM
 
Al Skorupa

Those guys over at Baseball Prospectus did - oh, wait...

Mar 31, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 4
 
smitty25039

Kevin, what do you think about the Reds holding a Futures Game this week? I don't know if you've seen the roster, but just about every top 30 Reds prospect is playing in the game.

Mar 31, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think it's totally awesome and I bet you'll see more organizations doing it in the future.

Mar 31, 2009 10:39 AM
 
jwillie

The futures game sounds sweet.
on another note:I am sick of this whole Arb and free agent service time stuff ruining baseball. Just let the best player play when he is ready to play. Especially with these small market teams. Did Lirano really need to spend that much time down in AAA while Livan ruined the Twins chance at the post season? Stuff like that sucks.
Wieters is ready. Price is ready. McCutchen is ready...let'em play.

Mar 31, 2009 11:06 AM
rating: -1
 
oystertoadfish

Maybe we should revisit the "every player gets a one-year contract and is a free agent every offseason, no exceptions" idea that I think Charles O. Finley put forward in the '70s. It would certainly make the offseason more interesting!

Mar 31, 2009 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Al Skorupa

Baseball would have been perfect for the system World Soccer uses. Big teams would have to buy talent from lower division clubs. Its scary how much sense it would make. The downside would be that some of the best talents might get stuck down for a couple years (Not a major concern - it doesnt happen that much in soccer). The upside is the minor league would absolutely be worth watching and cheering for.

Thanks a lot, Branch Rickey.

Mar 31, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: -1
 
Matthew Avery

KG-

Wanna throw out a line of Schafer? If he starts walking a bit more, are we talking Mike Cameron here (both offensively and defensively)?

Mar 31, 2009 11:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

He just doesn't have Cameron's power -- going totally off the top of my head . . . .263/.331/.429?

Mar 31, 2009 11:25 AM
 
RahulN

As a Braves fan I'd be happy with that...that line coupled with good defense and baserunning and he'd easily be an above average player his rookie year

Mar 31, 2009 12:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

Happy? I'd be thrilled! With his defense and arm (both above average for CF), that'd be a fantastic rookie year. Heck, that line might be better than anything anyone else in the OF puts up....

Mar 31, 2009 15:33 PM
rating: 0
 
Al Skorupa

A good CF prospect came up last year and put up a line of .280/.336/.413 and an UZR of 14.9.

People were not thrilled for some reason. I dont understand it.

Mar 31, 2009 21:55 PM
rating: 0
 
bmxstreetrider86

considering the differences in age, major league readiness, projection ect. i dont see the point of that comparison

Apr 01, 2009 16:40 PM
rating: -1
 
Patrick

I assume you're talking about Ellsbury? Nitpicking, but his SLG was .394, not .413. Not a huge difference, but it's significant and could help explain why people were more down on him than you think they should have been.

Apr 02, 2009 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
RahulN

You are right of course, it would be a terrific year. Hopefully, for braves fans everywhere, it isn't the best performance in the OF this year. Honestly, at this point i'd be happy with the same line from Francoeur.

Mar 31, 2009 21:57 PM
rating: 0
 
gregorybfoley

Schafer walked in 14.2% of plate appearances last year, so maybe we should not be quite so pessimistic about his ability to take a walk. http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=paO05006&position=OF

Apr 01, 2009 09:33 AM
rating: 0
 
lajolla

Strasburg, while he may not be Sidd Finch, is indeed the real deal. Congratulations Mr. Boras.

Mar 31, 2009 14:09 PM
rating: 0
 
strupp

Jay and Kevin... no kidding, that little debate with the readers is THE reason you should have had comments here 5 years ago, and is the reason I'll renew my membership again. A civil, nearly level headed discussion, and both of you are NOT wrong about what you're saying.

Seriously, that's why I read thsi site first thing every day.

Mar 31, 2009 18:48 PM
rating: 2
 
mt99808

Kevin, former Blue Jays' asst GM Bart Given makes the case in his new blog that the Jays should start Snider in AAA to gain the extra year of FA. When you talk about this as one of the reasons the Rays are doing this with Price, does it not make even more sense for the Jays given the state of the franchise? Or is this a case of JP putting all his cards on the table trying to save his job?

Mar 31, 2009 19:02 PM
rating: 1
 
aztropf

It does make some sense, but you have to keep in mind Snider earned 31 days of service time last season. So it's not like Wieters or Longoria, who had zero days at the start of the season. That adds an additional month that Snider needs to be kept down.

Given that the Jays seem destined for a 4th place (at best) finish, keeping Snider in the minors until mid-late May isn't going to hurt them.

I suppose JP figures it won't be his problem in 6 years, so he's going for it all right now and putting his best cards on the table. The all to often "save my job" win-now approach that you mentioned.

Mar 31, 2009 20:16 PM
rating: 0
 
buddaley

I reiterate that whether I am in a small minority or not (and it is possible that the Rays management team is in that same minority but with far more information) many are overestimating the supposed gap between the current Price and either Niemann or Hammel.

There seems to be an assumption that Price would win more games or pitch better than either in that first month. Last year, in his 5 starts to begin the season, Hammel pitched to a 4.32 in the first 4 before a really poor 5th outing. Otherwise, he gave the Rays 6 or 7 full innings every start, something I doubt Price could do (and that also impacts wins and losses), and a chance to win every time. Over the 25 innings, he allowed 23 hits, 8 BBs and 15 Ks, not great but not clearly better than what we might expect from the current David Price.

Incidentally, keeping Longoria down last year is not analogous for various reasons, but it should be noted that in the 7 games Aybar started at 3B before his injury, he did very well, not necessarily worse than Longoria might have done. While Longoria started his major league career very hot, in his initial time in Durham he got off to a very slow start. I think it is too speculative even to guess what he might have done in those same 7 games.

Apr 01, 2009 08:32 AM
rating: 0
 
Al Skorupa

Agree completely. Reports on his Slider this spring werent great.

It should not be a surprise to anyone if he has some struggles in his rookie season. Look at Clay Buchholz. It is becoming more and more common for guys to come into the majors as MLB ready regulars or stars. This isnt always the case. There is a lot to adjust to on and off the field for these young men.

Apr 01, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 0
 
gregorybfoley

Are you referring to Jacoby Ellsbury? I only see him having slugged .394 (if "slugged" can be applied to Ellsbury).

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/ellsbja01.php
http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4727&position=OF

Apr 01, 2009 13:32 PM
rating: -1
 
swarmee

I figured he was talking about Josh Anderson, who was just traded to make room for Schafer. Anderson actually did better: .294/.338/.427 in 136 at bats, but even better in AAA.
Maybe those are his equivalent Averages.

Apr 01, 2009 15:49 PM
rating: 0
 
jarjets89

i didn't mean to question you or anything, him opening in the rotation really made me realize how good he can be

Apr 01, 2009 18:18 PM
rating: 0
 
Ira

Just something to add to next weeks report: Both Neftali Feliz and Derrick Holland will start the year in AAA. That's been confirmed. Looks like Tommy Hunter, however, will go to AA. But that's not confirmed.

Apr 02, 2009 10:48 AM
rating: 0
 
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