The prospect team debates the no. 1 young pitcher in the Blue Jays system.
Nearly two years ago, the hot topic in Toronto was who their top pitching prospect was, Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez. Yesterday, one of those two pitchers dominated the Orioles for seven innings to clinch Toronto's first division title in over two decades. This article originally ran on December 9, 2013.
The subjective nature of prospect prognostication is equal parts fascination and frustration, as the prejudices and partialities of the evaluation process can limit what we see and how we go about compartmentalizing that information. I’m a registered bullpen box offender; a recidivist when it comes to placing radically short arms, radically tall arms, slim and slender arms, and most arms of Dominican provenance into a future bullpen role before the developmental process has played out. I recognize that this particular bias is often incongruent to the nature of the process itself, and it paints me as a hypocrite when I preach against binary logic and then participate in such black and white developmental tropes. I’m working on it.
Ranking closers based on how bad they've looked at the plate.
Roster expansion begins today, so last night's Giants/Dodgers game may be the the last of the season where a reliever batted for both teams. To celebrate the Chris Hatchers and George Kontoses (Konti?) of the world, here's a GIF-laden look at the ones who bat least and why it's often well-deserved. This article originally ran on August 22, 2013.
On Wednesday night, Aroldis Chapman entered an 8-6 game in relief of an injured Jonathan Broxton, who faced two batters in the top of the eighth before his elbow cut his outing short. It was the first time Chapman had been asked to get more than three outs all season. And because a “distraught” Dusty Bakerscrewed up the double switch, Chapman also made his first major-league plate appearance in the bottom of the inning.
Two of this year's breakout arms were college teammates at UCLA. Here's what their amateur scouting report said.
It's been over four years since Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer pitched out of the same rotation at UCLA. During their junior season, Jason Parks wrote up this report on both of them. This piece originally ran on Mar. 14, 2011.
After catching a few tracking sessions on the back fields of Surprise, I made the trek to Los Angeles to scout UCLA’s Friday and Saturday starters: Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. Scouting elite talent is always fun, and despite being easier than scouting talent that elicits a wide-range of opinion, it never gets old watching professional scouts, cross-checkers, scouting directors, and writers all look giddy after witnessing something special.
Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell or Javier Baez? We polled front office types and our prospect staff.
A year ago, when Addison Russell was still in High-A in the Oakland A's system, Jason Parks polled front office sources and the BP prospect staff about a simple question: Which elite shortstop prospect would they build their team around? With the call-up of Russell today, it's worth revisiting the responses.
The rise of the superstar shortstop prospect prompts preferential inquiries, as my email inbox, Twitter feed, and chat queues are continually maxed out with questions about Bogaerts, Baez, Correa, Lindor, and Russell, and if forced to choose, which one would I choose? The five chiseled heads on the modern Mount Rushmore of shortstop prospects (six if you go high on Mondesi) present a daily challenge of preference, a subjective exercise of forced selection tied to the realities of the present and the fantasies of the future, a tug-of-war we play with ropes made of tangible data, scouting memories of on-the-field motions, and the conceptual ideas of value and who will be most likely to achieve it.
As is often the case, internet-specific farewell addresses come off like award show acceptance speeches, complete with the sandpaper tongue stroking of all intimate associations of note, a solipsistic sandwich of fake meat, imitation cheese, and vinegar-based spread, delivered to you as consumable and delicious food despite the fact it was never intended for you to [actually] eat. I want you to eat this farewell. This farewell is for you. From the heart, I want to thank the readers of Baseball Prospectus for their curious eyes and minds, for embracing my peculiar brand of communication and pushing me beyond the assumed limitations of the medium. This will be my final article for Baseball Prospectus.
The Astros promote a triple-digit arm to throw heat out of the bullpen.
The Situation: In order to manage his innings workload and give him a well earned taste of the majors, the Astros promoted Mike Foltynewicz from Triple-A and will use the flamethrower out of the bullpen.
Background: Foltynewicz was selected 19th overall in the 2010 draft, a horrid first-round class—save for Harper, Machado, Harvey and Sale—that featured far more bust than boom (Colon, Loux, DeShields, McGuire, Skole, Simpson, Josh Sale, Vitek, Wimmers, Deglan). You get the point. The class was bad.
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Trading for Kendrys Morales isn't the Mariners' only attempt at an offensive upgrade this week.
The Situation: The Mariners aren’t getting offensive production from the shortstop position at the major-league level, and Taylor has been swinging serious wood at the Triple-A level.
Background: Taylor was an unheralded fifth round selection in the 2012 draft from the University of Virginia despite showing fundamental defensive skills and wheels at the collegiate level. He’s made steady progress since turning pro, hitting at every level and really shining last fall in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League, with his gap-to-gap approach and leather ability at a premium spot.
Steven Matz was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, NY, which is apparently a breeding ground for notable names, ranging from sporadically funny and continuously fat comedian/actor Kevin James, wrestler Mick Foley, former co-host of America’s Funniest Home Videos John Fugelsang, and Terrance Hobbs, lead guitarist for the death metal band Suffocation. Because of these notable names on his high school’s resume, and more importantly, his southpaw potential on the mound, Matz received a bonus of $895K, almost half a million over the recommend slot. The future was bright.