Notes on players from the World Wood Bat Association Championships.
Wilberto Rivera, RHP, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Naranjito, PR
Rivera has gained notoriety over the past few months as a notable player to watch in advance of the next draft. He has a lot of things you like to look for in young arms including athleticism, size, and explosiveness. Standing 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he still has quite a bit of room for physical growth, especially in his lower half. Wilberto pitches from a full windup with a quick, deep but loose arm action, with good arm speed from a three-quarters slot. His fastball ranged from 93-95, touching 96. In prior outings this summer, he would struggle to command his arsenal as he would lose his balance and overall delivery. In Jupiter his delivery showed slight improvement, which led to more control over his fastball and being able to put away opposing hitters. His command is a work in progress as he was still rather loose in the zone, but still generated six strikeouts over three innings, as well as 14 swings-and-misses with his fastball. His curveball is a 75-76 offering with 11/5 shape, but he has struggled with the pitch in my viewings. At times it shows impressive depth and consistent shape, but is far too inconsistent currently and lacks premium action.
Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville HS, Burnsville, MN
While Minnesota is traditionally not a strong baseball state, Carlson and 2016 third-rounder Nick Hanson have made a case for themselves as power arms to keep an eye on. Similar to Rivera, Carlson has a lot of positives going for him including his overall athleticism, arsenal, size, and his clean delivery. Standing 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, he is still lean and has potential for added good weight. Pitching from a full windup, Carlson has a simple pump-and-go delivery with a clean, loose arm action from a three-quarters slot. His fastball averaged 91-93, touching 94 with late life, jumping on hitters. He commanded the pitch especially well, spotting to both sides of the plate. His curveball, which was 78-79, had consistent 11/5 shape with above-average depth and bite, although he struggled to command the pitch at the necessary times. His changeup could be a potential plus offering; coming in between 81-83, he shows advanced feel for it, while showcasing above-average depth and break. He is able to replicate the arm speed necessary and with further advancement could be even better.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
For the first time since October 10, 1945--when Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Hal Newhouser blew out the Cubs in the deciding seventh game--Wrigley Field will be home to a World Series game. Three of them, in fact, as a weekend full of baseball in Chicago kicks off tonight. Tickets are still available, assuming you're willing to sell your first born, ink a deal with the devil, and stand for nine innings next to some other crazed and significantly less financially stable Cubs fans. It'll be an amazing environment.
Tigres del Licey assistant GM (and former BP alum) Carlos Jose Lugo discusses what goes into building a DWL team.
During my season-long conquest of the Midwest League, I had the opportunity to meet many great people, including BP alum Carlos Jose Lugo, the assistant general manager of Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League. Our game-long conversation became a highlight of the season, as I learned a ton about the Dominican Winter League, Licey, and how teams operate in the Dominican. Here'[s a snapshot of some of the topics we covered.
Grant Jones: As the assistant GM of Licey, what are the day-to-day operations like for you? And how does what you do differ from how an MLB team operates?
Carlos Jose Lugo: The position involves many of the same responsibilities an assistant GM has in an MLB organization. The difference of course being the length of both seasons and also the time of the year. In the offseason I spent most of the time following our players’ performances in minor-league baseball or in some cases Asian leagues, taking notes and gathering information on players that project to be eligible for our annual draft, building a list of players that could be good candidates to play winter ball as imports, working with the GM and the other assistants on possible trade scenarios, and so on.
The busiest time of the year for us is between July through the end of the season in January. In July we initiate the contacts with the American or other foreign players we’re interested in as imports and work more closely on the upcoming draft, and that includes the scouting trip to the South Atlantic and Midwest Leagues. August and September, the workload increases as we now focus on both the roster and the draft, and at the same time setting up the training camp, etc. Once the season is approaching, I also got more involved with our analytics unit with projections, scouting reports, player evaluations, and all kinds of information we think our GM, the coaching staff, and the manager can use.
GJ: Can you elaborate on how the DWL is? Is it as competitive as MLB or is it more developmental like the minor leagues?
CJL: Oh yes, it’s as competitive and perhaps even more than MLB. Winter ball is totally different to minor-league baseball in this regard. The main goal in these leagues is to win the championship–not even make the playoffs–it’s win the championship. Anything else is a failure. The fans are totally obsessed, and they don’t accept losing in any way or form. But winter ball can be viewed as a good developmental step and environment for young players. As you know, in the minor leagues the goal is to develop the player, not necessarily to win, so the kids are not really exposed to the pressures and challenges that go in hand with a winning culture. Playing in front of 15,000 rabid fans in winter ball, from my perspective, will only benefit a young player with major-league potential.
It’s trade deadline time! For much of the episode, we’re focused on recent All-Star Blip Sanders, subject of trade rumors. We find out, unsurprisingly, that Blip is probably the Padres’ best trade asset, a star center fielder signed to a long-term, team-friendly contract, perhaps something akin to a Julio Teheran-type trade chip from last year’s deadline. With Mike having a no-trade clause and Ginny being functionally unmoveable, Blip is the most dramatically interesting character to be on the block. Will Blip stay a Padre? Do the showrunners know how to portray an MLB front office? Will Oscar’s tooth get fixed?
Game 2 won't be displayed in any museums, and in particular Lonnie Chisenhall would probably like to forget it ever happened.
Let’s all admit something: Game 2 was a clunker. This game was the first car you have in high school. You’re pleased to have a car, because any car in high school is great, but every time you pick up your friends you worry it won’t start and you’ll need a tow. It’s better than the rusty bike you had, which also was better than walking, but if a rich kid in your class drove by, you’d feel self-conscious.
I like people watching, and I suspect I’m not alone. People watching is the only reason anyone likes going to IKEA, and the reason you want to leave IKEA as quickly as possible. It turns out folks can be terrible in small but significant ways when parenting while picking out furniture. People, when they don’t know they are being observed, do all sorts of funny, kind, and awful things. Often they just do human things, like take soda refills they didn’t pay for, or pick up things for a stranger who has dropped them without being asked, or suddenly smirk when they’ve remembered something funny but private. Other people are just like us.
Indians ace Corey Kluber was masterful in his first career World Series start, giving the Cubs no chance to beat him.
There are certain games in the postseason, particularly in the World Series, whose results seem scripted from the first pitch. I’m not trying to suggest that the postseason is rigged or anything fishy, of course; it’s more that some games have a feeling of inevitability about them. Baseball is a sport that, if nothing else, is wont to punish feelings of inevitability with wild upsets, but even here, there are those games that, in the third inning, make you sit back and say “Yeah, I think I see where this one is going.”