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#35 I'll guess based on a balance of '70 opf' upside with considerable risk still given his low A status.
Mejia was cranking homeruns in Spring training as well, to dead center a few times. The power is real, the question is whether it's a 50 tool or 60+.
Is there beginning to be an idea that Mejia may have plus game power to go with his plus or better hit tool? Despite being young for his league, he's already roping doubles from gap to gap and now the homers are coming in bunches.
Are we looking at a monster .300/.350/.500 catcher who plays good defense??
Has there been verifiable backup to his real age? It always seemed to me he was over-matured into his body at a young age. I've always suspected he was 2-3 years older, which would certainly help to explain both the electric start at such a young-perceived age, but also the crash, if he is at or near 40...
How much upside does Bichette presently have?? It seems like with the potential tools and performance, albeit at the low levels of the minors, his upside is near top-flight.
Top 10 MiLB prospect?
Downside perhaps his size?(not too many stars at 5'10ish)...
Is there any estimates on how many players at the MLB level that are
I would assume players like Trout and Harper are 70 OFP or greater and yet still many players like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=68520">Kris Bryant</a></span> are 65+ OFP?
Thanks for the insight, I believe in <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=104766">Isan Diaz</a></span> too!
Why wouldn't the Mariner's take on this kind of salary? They obviously have a need for another bat and can even use Cespedes at DH if need be.
Given the Indians playoff position and their lack of outfield production(and the loss of Brantley to the knife), do you think Zimmer can help *this* year in September or is he still striking out too much? Thanks fellas.
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Bobby+Bradley">Bobby Bradley</a></span> seems like a bit of a re-mix of current Indians 1B, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Carlos+Santana">Carlos Santana</a></span>, just with a lot more strikeouts. Is that kind of K/AB ratio going to work in the majors, considering he's still only in high A??
When you watch Caminero it's basically one pitch, a straight if not explosive fastball, and then once in a great while, a weak cutter at 92 and a mediocre split at 90. In his two outings I've watched, it's flyball after fly-ball to the track or the wall on hitters who loaded up and just missed their angle...
This isn't going to end well.
Basabe seems like given his age that his upside and floor/ceiling are both very high, no?
I can't remember the last time I saw a walk-rate like Stewart is posting. Is there another in the minors from your recent memory that remarkable??
That's high praise for Devers, especially comparing him to Moncada, favorably. Does his upside provide this possibility? Moncada was your top prospect at this year's mid-season report and Devers considerably lower - so I am guessing there is simply a wide beta between what people feel about his potential?
How does Brian Shaw(CLE)'s cutter compare with Mariano's and the best of the rest? When you watch it, it's stunning he doesn't dominate everyone...
I think, for some reason, that there has been a massive wave of hyper-talented young players that have been, as a whole, helping more of the poor and middle class teams compete. Maybe it's selective memory but I can't remember there being a time in baseball recently where so many of the very best players were either pre-arbitration(Lindor, Bogaerts), or playing on reduced deals because they signed them when they were younger and cheaper(Trout, Harper, Machado).
It's a great time to be a fan.
Haha, I see. You seem to be the rare BP author then that believes Tapia may have a higher offensive upside then?
Dahl has a higher power upside then Tapia, correct, just not as high pure hit tool?
I think you mean <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=103230">Domingo Leyba</a></span> when you mention him but aren't you still talking about Lugo?
<span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=104814">Alex Jackson</a></span> sounds like one more gigantic 1st round bust for the Mariner's in the last 6-7 years.
Ackley, 2nd OVERALL, disaster.
Hutlzen, 2nd OVERALL, admittedly injuries struck but still a huge bust.
Zunino. 3rd OVERALL, rushed, disastrous overall results.
A Jackson. 5th OVERALL(I think). AAAA hitter? Maybe a lefty masher?
Isn't some of the luster of Mejia's strong season lost because he is repeating it and not particularly young for the level?
Plus-plus scouting depth and minor league insight and solid-average or above use and interest to any hardcore baseball fan or fantasy keeper league owner.
How many of these draftees would you estimate might rank among the top 101 prospects in baseball?
Thanks for all you do fellas.
What on earth should the Astros do if Bregman is ready soon? Shift him to 3B??
Odds of a Urias-call-up before the AS break? 50-50 or better even maybe?
Excellent, thank you Craig!
Has Baseball Prospectus had a top 101 for U25 guys? For us dynasty leaguers, more so than anything else, THAT would be a highly valuable piece.
As a lifetime Mariner's fan I found the additions/subtractions to be a 'sum of the parts' gain for the off-season though there is still the very serious and potential dark future with aged players signed to gigantic deals and(much more importantly) the incredibly bad farm system. To me, as a Mariner's fan, it feels like they have a two, maybe three year window to be successful unless they have some Buxton or Machado appear out of thin air.
Wow, top record in the A.L. and look at THAT pitching staff. Wowser.
How can Vlad's boy be so out of shape at his age? It's incredible that someone who was clearly destined for professional sports from an early age could have an XBOX body when he should be a stilt with lean muscle mass-devouring metabolism. That's a shame and perhaps a sign of the times.
The relief pitching, matchup late-innings is IMO one of the greatest blights against baseball currently.
While some strategists like BP readers probably are love the managing of a bullpen and a major league bench, it's damaging to the general excitement and nature of a sport when every few minutes of action there is a two or three minute break between important conclusions.
I do see Heyward's immense value in his TAV and clearly excellent defense but one thing I guess I don't quite understand is how his career TAV is right with Uptons(.293 to .292) but his <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=SLG" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('SLG'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">SLG</span></a>. is some 50 points lower with a near equal <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=OBP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('OBP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">OBP</span></a>.
Is this difference because Upton strikes out more or is it because of the speed element/more SBs, less GDPs? It's hard to figure out why the disparity is so wide...?
BTW if I am a baseball team and need the best OF for the next 7-8 years, I still take Heyward, because his defense is both visually and statistically elite, but it's hard to understand how he is the same hitter as Upton.
1. BASEBALL PROSPECTUS SCOUTING DEPARTMENT
Previous Ranking(s): One of the best think-tanks in baseball.
2015 Stats: Outstanding prospect coverage and hundreds of articles relating to future players or prospects.
Future Tools: Daily prospect rundowns, top-notch prospect deeper looks(Monday's ten pack), super-closeup views(scouting profiles).
Role: 75- Elite prospect reporting website.
The last few years saw Baseball Prospectus show glimpses of what made them one of the top baseball thinktanks in the 200s, and they finally put it all together in 2015. More than just this reader scout found that not only was Baseball prospectus outstanding at statistical analysis, but also one of the best sources for prospect information in all of baseball.
Their continued delivery of incredibly deep prospect information from weekly close-ups of ten intriguing prospects to eyes on the field-type scouting reports on future stars give them two plus-plus tools to showcase on a regular basis. Even when they don't have their best stuff because it's November and baseball's season is a ways off still, Baseball Prospectus brings the heat and gets the job done.
The question marks going forward are solely whether or not they can actually eclipse such a high level of player scouting and on-field reporting. Shy of proving subscribers with box seats to a hundred games each year, it seems doubtful they will be able to increase their current status. That said, the sky still seems the limit.
Fantasy Impact: If you're in a keeper league and don't have baseball prospectus, your prospects probably suck and you are losing.
These kind of transaction reports, complete with super-deep prospect profiles are all I want for Christmas...
I've asked before and I know some BP prospect experts don't like comps much, and I won't bother you guys again, but I wanted to ask if <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1142">Mike Cameron</a></span> was a fair comp for Brinson?
Daily fantasy sports is easily the biggest blight in a wonderful hobby in it's history. Daily baseball, like the results of the best team vs. the worst team is enormously variable and subject to tremendous luck. This makes daily fantasy sports MUCH more like gambling than, say a keeper league where you really have to know your stuff, have a plan, manage a roster, etc.
DFS is Walmart.
Is Mike Cameron-type career a fair, positive upside comp of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100634">Lewis Brinson</a></span>?
My favorite part of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31348">Mike Hessman</a></span>'s <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=PECOTA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('PECOTA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">PECOTA</span></a> card is his 2024 projection of still hitting 11 bombs. Awesome.
What about a baseball roll of the long-closer. A guy, like Sherzer that could pitch every other day and go two, maybe three innings and still have lights-out stuff? A quality team could use a guy like that and each day they had the lead after six would be a 95% win scenario.
Stunning trade for the Phillies. I know Hamels is considered an ace, but he's more of a strong #3 or average #2 and the Phillies legitimately added four or five guys to their top 10 prospects list. I think the Rangers will rue this trade someday.
Regarding McCurry, is there any firm evidence that changing your arm slot leads to injury? I think it's clear that if you could command and execute that having another widely varying look for hitters would make you more effective but I know from pitching and throwing baseballs and now softballs for 25 years that when I don't repeat my motion, it leads to various pain/strains for me.
Thank you for the explanation, that had me wondering if we had a new pitch coming, like a screw-curveball.
I'm confused, thinking about a clock, how can a lefty throw a curveball that starts at the right(2) and ends at 7o'clock', or somewhat to the left. That would be the exact opposite of how I'd expect a lefty curve to look?
Great article, especially bashing the idiotic notion that the Tigers should be sellers. If they sell, how are they going to compete the next 2-3 years, years in which they've paid off a fortune to keep guys like Martinez, A.Sanchez, etc.?
Were you critical of the inclusion of Gonzalez based on his age?
Does K.Marte then need a trade to make the show then with Cano entrenched at 2B in Seattle or can he play short just well enough to be an asset if he hits .280+ speed?
These BP articles may not illicit a large comment thread but I must say they are one of the more important and wonderful segments BP has added.
Part of the reason I don't comment much on them is that every question seems answered, every weakness and strength, explored.
You mention the standard for power is at a low point compared to recent decades. Does this change the scouting standards as well?
For example, if the league average player slugged .450 in the 1990's and in 2015 the average is .390 does a 50 power player today suggest the same slugging percent of twenty years ago or does the standard refer more to the 'current field'?
Hmm, I did't think it would be so close on the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=HR" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('HR'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">HR</span></a> aspect. Here are a few splits for Machado:
2015 Home triple slash: .305/.370/.579
2015 away triple slash: .298/.352/.478
Home: .281/.319/.472, 21 homers in 562 ABs
Away: .276/.308/.400, 12 homers in 623 ABs
It's not Coors field type-splits but it's a big gap.
I like this content but it takes some time to get used to.
I think I would suggest you BOLD and capitalize the date font so we can all see what is really going on.
It's an interesting article, but like so many, I was left bewildered, both at why on earth they would rush him so bad and then clueless looking at my fantasy team trying to find how Torres would fit.
Oustanding defender, very good hitter. Amazingly short porches in his home stadium. A good player and some day maybe a great player but the stats sure are skewed by the home park.
My thoughts exactly, thank you for the reply. You can get away with swinging at everything if you put up numbers like A. Soriano or Vlad the Impaler but an empty .280, even an empty .300 in Coors with bad defense is a troubling turn of events.
A sobering view in that scouting report of Tapia. Looks like the hype is a bit overdone and his free-swinging ways will indeed finally get the better of his elite hit tool.
How does a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1142">Mike Cameron</a></span> comp sound for the high upside of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100634">Lewis Brinson</a></span>?
The best part of these series is that you get a realistic, no-fluff perspective of these prospects. Not every prospect is a future .290 hitter with 25 homer power and good wheels. Sometimes in our reduced offense environment of today's MLB, a guy who hits .270/.340/.380 and can run a bit is a very solid contributor.
Mazara's beginning to look like a monster. Hitting for average and the power's coming back now with much improved discipline and less strikeouts, at 20 years old in AA.
Is he a reach as a top 10 overall prospect?
I must say, Chavez is one reason any fantasy owner worth their salt needs to watch games regularly. I watched him pitch two or three times in the last few years and despite mediocre results in those starts, he showed outstanding savy, command of 2-3 average+ pitches and most importantly to my eyes, baseball smarts. You could see him making adjustments to the players but more so to the umpire. This is just part of the intangible element players have or maybe don't have. Chavez has it.
Trumbo does give the M's more from the right side which continues to be a problem. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47939">Austin Jackson</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=99903">Mike Zunino</a></span> have both been pretty brutal leaving basically <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nelson+Cruz">Nelson Cruz</a></span> as the lone, competent RH bat. Trumbo should help quite a bit.
Well, if you just have to be in fair territory when the ball is put in play a team could have it's 'extra catcher', or whatever this player shifting for a backup was and have them stand right in front of the hitter before the intentional ball was thrown, then as the pitch was released, charge to the backstop incase the ball got away and was a wild pitch...
It would look stupid but might save a run and certainly fits under the MLB rules...
He'd probably be a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31191">Cy Young</a></span> pitcher next year on the Indians.
One of the reasons I always renew each year is the continuing top-flight prospect coverage.
Jackson's current trajectory seems like near bust territory. All teams need solid outfielders and 25 homer bats, but with a top 5 overall pick, you feel like you need a star at least.
Another reference to Tapia's elite hit tool yet he wasn't included on the Top hit tools in the minors article a few months back. Is this because there really are ten guys(or more) in the minors with better hit tools than Tapia?
I can't imagine people actually suggesting the Cubs, by holding Bryant back for another less-expensive year, somehow doesn't care about winning?
First, don't be delusional, you cannot expect to win right now. It's possible but with such a young lineup and an absolutely loaded minor league system, the Cubs are very obviously predicting success in a 2017-2022 time range. Having Bryant for another year at less then $20 million a year obviously furthers that goal of winning in that time frame.
To me it's clear anyone who thinks the Cubs don't have winning as their top priority simply don't understand baseball strategy in relation to player peaks and salary balance.
To me, the answer is one word: Stuff. These guys both had mirroring top-notch stuff to match the stats. Both guys have a relatively free injury history(Carrasco I believe had TJ 3 years ago), and so you have two guys that apparently are putting together their top-flight stuff and maturing into good and maybe great pitchers. I think, barring an injury, these deals are both highly favorable for Cleveland over the next half decade.
Another very important factor is that Seattle has for years been a location players had no interest in playing. For many reasons, weather(which is a myth), distance from the familiar, travel times, but most importantly because Seattle has been a losing team for the better part of a decade. So players won't sign, even if you offer them a lot of money(see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31647">Josh Hamilton</a></span> ), and you're left to try and win with your existing farm supply, which to be kind has been less than inspiring.
So how do you win? By throwing more money than a sane team would at a Superstar(see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31789">Robinson Cano</a></span>). This gives your team a much needed offensive superstar, even if he cost $50-75 million more than the other 2-3 suitors - you get him here and start to win again.
To become an attractive market players want to play in front of pumped up, full ballparks(which is a lagging factor of winning usually), and surrounded by similarly talented players.
More than likely on top of heaps of money, Cano was promised that management would be opening the purse strings to continue to sign talent and give him protection(see <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Nelson+Cruz">Nelson Cruz</a></span>).
To get over that hump, you have to do things that are or may be painful. Cano will almost certainly not earn his paycheck the last 3-5 years. If it bought you relevancy again and other players are now interested in coming to your team at fair market value, Cano's contract becomes a bargain in disguise.
As a fan who enjoys the Yankees only because I want a villain, a team to despise and root against, I am glad to see the years and years of spending resulting in an old, injury-prone, overpriced team hamstrung into the future and penny pinching for a time being because of their reckless and despicable win at all costs approach.
I'd prefer a salary cap so we don't revisit 2000-2010 era spending, but an ownership imposed cap is good enough.
Now go build a team like just about everyone else - with good coaching, smart scouting and shrewd trades/signings.
On pure stuff this has to be one of the best rotations in baseball. What they are lacking is experience and with that, command. If they can get two or three guys improving their command anything like Corey Kluber than this may be the best rotation in baseball.
Just a curiosity, what is an '8' hitting tool? Roughly a .350 average? Wade Boggs an example? Thanks guys.
I don't have much to add except to the guys who hit much worse when they had a changeup after a fastball and made poor contact - in baseball terms I would guess a lot of these guys are 'cheating on the fastball', usually power hitters, or often hitters who's reaction time and bat speed may be slowing down so they are more inclined to gear up for a fastball.
After watching him play and knowing how big he is, I'll be blown away is Corey Seagar is playing SS in five years.
Hitters would go crazy today if that was regularly called a strike.
Does that estimate seem about right? I saw him in person and he is a BIG dude for his age.
Joey Gallo, 205 lbs? I find that impossible to believe. I'm guessing he's closer to 225 or 230.
BP would presumably have Tim Anderson higher on their list than JP Crawford? Anderson looked to have considerably higher upside from what I have read?
Living in Seattle and after reading report after report that Ichiro is hugely interested in his own legacy, stats and records, I have no doubt he is simply interested in 3,000 hits. During his record hits season, he would routinely lay down a bunt with two outs and a runner at second base. He was just simply not interested in anything except the pursuit of a record.
A real shame because if his character matched his hitting skills he'd be a second Tony Gwynn.
I'm guessing Tyler Wagner's slider is mid-80s, not mid-90s? A mid 90's slider would be nice indeed!
Seager's defense is excellent. I think the M's wanted to lock down the 5-4-3 DP as much as anything.
I think Felix is a virtual lock to win the actual Cy Young.
Great article! I think at this point, especially because they are so different in so many ways, we can just sit back and hope for a World Series in which Felix and Kershaw face off in games 3 and 7.
Judge sounds a LOT like Alexis Rios.
I think there are two things, more breaking balls, which usually put more strain on the elbow(the common injury of today), and as the two above have stated, velocity. I think it can also be tied to the rising strikeout numbers, which as I last heard have been record breaking every year the last two or three years.
95% of relievers throw in the mid-90s or better and have a wicked breaking ball.
80% of starting pitchers seem to be throwing 92/93+ and again lots of breaking balls. Felix Hernandez is becoming somewhat famous for his high breaking ball ratio, despite a very good low to mid 90s fastball(with movement).
Field report, August 11th: The last few months I've been able to read this Baseball prospectus crew's prospect reports on a regular basis and it's been a continuing eye-brow raising experience.
They've flashed plus research and broad coverage for several months but it's the adjustment's they've made recently that really have observers buzzing about their upside. Many prospect sites cover hot or upwards moving prospects, and BP does this with aplomb but now they are covering former solid prospects who have strayed from that path and detailing why they are struggling. This new plus-plus coverage combined with excellent work ethic and makeup that is top of the charts gives them a chance for three plus-plus tools: Statistical analysis, Prospect coverage and game theory. That's a monster think-tank in the making folks. ~Prospectus reader
If this list is about some of the best announcers of all-time, it's completely overlooked one of the best, Dave Neihaus. He's practically a legend in the NW.
Seriously, it's not close. Hammy is the most enthusiast caller of the sport in the game today.
As a Seattle Mariner's fan and expert amongst my baseball friends, I had to explain Robinson Cano's contract as such:
"Look, he'll be an All-Star, probably for 2-5 more years, and maybe a borderline All-Star for a year or two after that, but at age 38, give or take, there will probably be a pretty strong drop-off, at least in power, in which he turns into a .270-300 hitter with 5-10 homers and 20 doubles and doesn't have a lick of range at 2B. Furthermore, towards the very end of his contract, age 40-42 seasons, he'll probably be a nearly unplayable DH who doesn't hit much, yet still making $24 million a year."
To which they were aghast but I had to explain that in order to have those excellent services TODAY, you are basically telling Cano, look we're OK with you being a money-sink, and a mediocre or maybe even a bad player in years 8-10, as long as we can GET YOU HERE now. There are very few players in Robinson Cano's tier of value and to acquire that rare value, sometimes, like life, you have to overpay. In length loaded contracts, you are getting kinda fair value now and brutally robbed later, but it's the only way to acquire that talent.
Of course, in Seattle's case, they also had to add an extra $40-70 million for Cano to play in a less desirable market and lower performing team, but even at the Yankees offer of 7 years, $175, they would still probably get 2-3 years at the end where Cano was earning $25 a year and 'earning' $10 million a year on the field.
I presumed you mean Trevor May is 'walking fewer batters than ever'?
I suppose one of the greatest benefits to having Urias pitching against such advanced pitching at such a young age is that his 'pitchability' can improve at a theoretically much younger age than most prospects?
I know the old adage is you'd rather be throwing 87 at age 17 and 97 at 27, then the other way around, but everything else is pretty wowing.
Was there any articles covering the Futures games, or snippets and scouting sights and sounds from this great exhibition?
From what I've read on Peterson, his projected hit/power are something like 55/55 or maybe 55/60?
Zimmer sounds incredibly like a young Michael Brantley. Doubtful he can elevate his game into Brantley's breakout form, but a guy who does a little bit of everything is a pretty useful major league.
Great stuff guys, as always.
I think I can suggest why he's absent. Fringy plus hit tool, ceiling is probably plus power, very little chance to stick at 3B, tough profile at 1B, a .270 hitter with 20 homers... Not a top prospect...
Is the Quad-A label a possibility in the near term with Wilmer Flores?
I think I'm not alone in wondering where a few recently graduated players would have fit, were they eligible:
Marcus Stroman - Guessing about 20?
Mookie Betts - Guessing about 30th?
Andrew Heaney - 10th?
Thanks fellas, this stuff is like a triple-stuffed orea without the outer crap.
That package might work for Price alone, but not adding Zobrist.
I think so. Seattle needs to win back the fans more than just about any organization in baseball, and all Seattle needs for that is a few winning seasons and a playoff appearance or two. Adding Price without moving too dramatic a future hero is just the way to do that. He may not want to stay here(or that may change when he see's our mid-70s and sunshine EVERY DAY in Summer), but Seattle gets it's big boost, his free agency value goes way up pitching in a big park in a pitcher's division and behind a good defense and he can go from a lousy team this year to a surprise contender.
Personally I still think it would take Taijuan Walker to get it done, but if they could swing the deal JJ offered above, I'd be all in.
That homer a few years ago by Stanton was, and still is the most impressive homer I have ever seen.
Pitcher paints the outside black with a good fastball and Stanton takes a balanced swing, no seeming effort even to 'push' the ball the other way. Just a normal swing and the ball is absolutely shot out of a cannon. You can see when it gets to the stands that it is seemingly still going up, like it didn't want to stop flying. Simply stole my heart right there.
I think what's really churning the argument draught here is that Zunino offers a lot of intangibles that can't really be properly documented even with our broad statistical information available today. Zunino blocks a startling amount of pitches that most catchers let get behind them and he's one of the primary reason Felix is so recklessly able to throw his changeup in the dirt all night.
Zunino has also been instrumental in the early success of Roenis Elias and James Paxton and may very well be able to squeeze more out of Taijuan Walker when he arrives to boot.
It's impossible to really sit here and define how much those catching intangibles are worth, but between that and his early solid exploits at the plate, with some upside, and he's clearly in the argument, at the least, for the top overall pick.
More of the beauty of the game and this article illustrates it with grace and precision.
Everyone slumps. Babe Ruth slumped. Pujols has slumped. So has Trout. I'm sure it's mechanical, as any long-term athlete can agree with - sometimes a routine becomes the problem itself and you develop bad habits.
I think Tulo has now demonstrated(after another 3 hits tonight), there isn't a player more capable of going on a ridiculous rampaging hot streak in the game today...
Tremendous stuff, between the statistical analysis and scouting, Baseball Prospectus is flashing plus-plus tools across the board.
Oh I completely agree the rules are broken, but if you're a billionaire and there are tax-write offs that are ridiculous, hard not to take advantage of them.
In regards to the first round pick, I was suggesting by intentionally fielding an inferior team and stockpiling talent, they increase the chance of another last in MLB finish, for another #1 overall pick next year. Again, highly unethical and another bad part of the system, but strategically makes a lot of sense?
Doesn't the decision with Springer have wholly to do with service time/arbitration schedule and possibly the desire to rack up another 1st round pick? I know it might not be ethical, but strategically, it makes sense, assuming they don't completely alienate their fans.
Regarding Fernandez' changeup: I wonder how much the fact that he so rarely throws it makes it even better than perhaps it would be perceived if he threw it 30% of the time? I can imagine that hitters, attempting to recognize patterns, ball spin, etc. are so focused on dialing into the mid 90s heat and swooping slider are completely shocked when the changeup fades to the arm side.
This Billy Hamilton should have spent the ENTIRE Winter working on bunts of all kinds. There's no reason a player with this kind of speed can't simply cause carnage by laying own at least one bunt a game(and show it often).
A classic matchup and at least something we'll be watching for the next 6 years on a regular basis. Great stuff.
Payday and wealth intact so he can play wrecklessly hard and carefree.
Knowledge that he will probably still set the longest/most expensive deal in the history of sports when he signs a 12+ year deal at age 28. I'll go with the Yankees, even though it makes me sick, 12 years, 400 million.
As an athlete who's played competitive sports since I was a tiny child, and also as one who plays with both a lot of good weight, and bad weight(I'm 6'2", 235), I can say for sure Cabrera is a risk into his mid to late 30s. My knees are sore, my speed is still solid for someone my size but it comes with a lot of strain and finally it's much easier to safely stay lean and somewhat muscular than a little chubby and more muscular.
Cabrera is a stunning talent, clearly the best overall *batter* in the last twenty years, but I'd much rather invest in a guy with Carlos Beltran's build instead of Prince Fielders.
My own hunch is that Cabrera will be a great batter for about 4-5 years, then turn into a *good* DH for 2-3 years, then a bad one, at which point at least the Tigers can just avoid the option years.
Urias is nearly MLB ready? That is stunning considering his age. When do you realistically think he'll push the envelope of promotion to the show?
Frickn cool. I hope they add stuff like bat speed/ball exit speed, etc.
I don't know if it's something that can be assessed for value, but I would assume most pitchers have a little harder time pitching as effectively when they are focusing so much on a runner. There is probably a fair bit of value in that.
In any case, it's a great article about the game within the game.
Baseball Prospectus work in the prospect/fantasy, and more frequently the combination of the two is a very welcomed evolution. Keep it up fellas.
Oh I see, thank you, I was ignorantly assuming this was a discussion on real world value, I didn't gather that it's obviously based on roto fantasy baseball, which values 'wins' as an integral part of player value.
I'd assume if we're talking MLB value, disregarding salary, he's somewhere around 3-5 for the next 3 years.
Thanks for the responses, Paul.
13th last year? By what metric? Is this based on rankings done last year from a previous column? I can't see 11 more valuable pitchers in baseball than Felix.
Seems pretty conservative to place him that low considering his history, consistency and showing the ability to succeed with a FB in the low 90s.
Hard to see him seriously declining in his age 28-30 seasons.
I'd like clarification too, maybe even a column(?), to how the new system works.
If Morales doesn't sign back with the M's, my hunch is he waits until June to be signed without the draft pick compensation - and there would probably be 2-3 contenders by then with injuries/lack of performance that would open up 1B/DH slots and a decent 2-3 year deal in the 15-25 million range(8-10 million a year's my guess).
Strange Trout would allow ANY seasons past his arbitration. If he were able to hit free agency at 26/27 years of age, and he maintained or even improved his current performances, there's really no question he would breech a $400 million contract(over 12-15 years).
I suppose for Trout it's insurance against a Grady Sizemore type career path, but still, these guys want payroll records seemingly more than on field records.
Wish my team signed Cruz to a 1 year, 8 million deal... It's almost absurdly cheap. He's still a 7 power, 5+ hitter at DH, and those aren't a dime a dozen.
I keep coming back and rereading Goilito's scouting profile over and over. It's like baseball porn and I'm addicted.
Thanks for that definition, Mark.
Also, does Giolito sit below Strasburg on the 25-Under list because he hasn't reached his potential or does that list reflect where Giolito would stand if he maxed out his potential?
I'd compare Bailey favorably to Tanaka simply because we KNOW what he can do, that he can go every 5th day, that he can pitch in a hitters haven and post 2nd starter numbers. We KNOW he can dominate, as the two no-hitters illustrate.
I'd rather my team had Bailey(and I'm not a Reds fan) over Tanaka, and for me, it continues to show how bad the contract for Tanaka will probably turn out...
Rodney is another in the string of signings Jack Z is trying to pull off in what is becoming possibly his last chance in Seattle. He needs a contender, or at least an 86-87 win team that can be somewhat in the wildcard race to have much chance at an extension.
Rodney's a serviceable piece, not too expensive and could be used as a trade chip if things go wrong.
Signing Nelson Cruz is the most crucial part, adding in another veteran bat and a RH'er to balance the lefty-heavy lineup.
Another of the players still left:
Nelson Cruz to the M's, 2 years, 26 million, option of 12million, 2 million buyout. That's my guess.
They need another big bat to protect Cano and it only helps that Cruz would balance our a lefty heavy lineup.
Shockingly low ERA prediction for AJ Griffin...
AJ Burnett's agent didn't write this did he? :)
Certainly Strasburg would and Latos probably could get 6 yrs/120 million if he was eligible today. Strasburg, especially if he throws 200 'Strasburgian' innings this year would be a 200+ million over 8 year guy.
I'll go with 160 innings, some arm soreness(dead arm period), 14-8 record and 4.20 E.R.A. 120/50 k/bb ratio.
Vs. Billy Hamilton soon? :) Great stuff Sam, you're a tremendous addition to the BP lineup.
The more I think about this deal, the more horrific it looks for the Yankees. They essentially paid the same amount that Felix Hernandez is signed for, 7 years/175, only King Felix' deal includes a clause that he will play another year for a million if he misses a year due to injury - AND there's no out clause.
If Tanaka is brilliant, he'll either leave NY or resign for more $$$ in four years. If he's bad, or turns bad/gets hurt, he'll just be another albatross contract choking the Yankee's payroll.
I don't see an ounce of upside in this deal. Even if he puts up seven years of 220 IP, 2.50-3.00 FIP seasons, he'll break even. Anything below that will be bad news. I think 90/6 years would have been fair value here, especially since you have to add $20m to the posting fee.
As a fan of a team NOT from New York, I'm glad to see some other team overspent here. He will need to somehow show great durability AND have his stuff translate to a much harder stage on top of that dealing with the bandboxes of the AL East. I was hoping my team would sign him at 6 years, 105m, but at 7/155, I'm, VERY glad my team didn't sign Tanaka.
The opt out is usually a disaster too as it allows the player to walk if he's somehow outperforming his deal but if he's getting rocked every five days, he'll just linger on until he stinks, ala ARod...
Before his 19th birthday... Wow. Do we know the last time a pitcher made it to the bigs(or ANY player) before their 19th birthday? I can't recall in recent memory, even super prospects like ARod/Trout/Harper seemed to be closer to 20/21 from my memory.
Great stuff fellas.
Write up before I puke over my own grammer...
Wow, two 8s and a 7. That's amazing. He seems very much a generational talent, maybe the best pitcher we will see for 20-30 years... I've been in the camp of Felix Hernandez for the last 7-8 years but Kershaw has really continued to impress where as Felix has basically held an even keel. I know there probably won't be a right-up on Felix, though he would have been a FA this year without his new contract, but would anyone mind just giving his pitchers ratings? 6 FB, 8 CH, 6 CB, 6 SL?
Thanks fellas, this stuff is worth the admission alone.
I agree but don't tell them that $100 stuff! :)
I watched many of Danny Salazar's outings this year and I think he's maybe being a bit undersold here. Mid-90s was when he took something off. I think he averaged something like 97.8 mph on his heater and I remember him being mentioned in the top 3 overall fastballs, in MLB. He also had incredible swing/miss numbers and showed remarkable poise/control as well. Naturally given his size and slider preference, his durability may be doubted, but if he could somehow maintain that stuff and throw 200+ innings a year, I think we're talking about a Cy Young contender, not just a #3/4.
Small correction: Aaron Sanchez, BALL EXPLODES OUT OF HIS... (hand I presume). Great work fellas.
Great article. I was struck, like others by the myriad of red flags here. There's a bit of an unknown element with Japanese players and I think that perhaps includes some upside but between the lack of periphial stats, including decreased K/9, middling velocity and scary posture/injury history and reliance on his slider, I feel that if the bidding reaches the 5 years/90 million+20 posting, it will be a disaster for someone...
Not a 'sweepstakes' I want my team to win...
The Mariner's should in no way be short on funds. They just signed a massive cable deal netting them nearly two billion over 20 years and they were almost 70 million below previous years budgets before the off-season began. Even 8-9 million for Hart/Morrison/Bloomquist, and $24 for Cano, they should have between 35-40 million to spend. It's conceivable they could land Tanaka(6 years, 120), Cruz(4 years, 60) and still have some pocket change to look for a closer( Jesse Crain ?)
Well, either the Rangers 'stole' Choo, or the Yankees badly over paid Ellsbury. Choo's crushed him on OPS. and more importantly, OBP.(by a mile). Choo's strong arm can make up for Ellsbury's range...
I know he's a year+ older, but wow, it could be argued the contracts should be switched.
Blocked for 2014, and that's if Hart is healthy all year. Plenty of market value in July for a player like Hart if the M's first big foray back into the market flops.
What I'm suggesting is that hitters DIDN'T want to come to Seattle before Cano, and now they'll be more apt to come, knowing their it is more than just them against the world.
There's the hidden value of returning to legitimacy. The M's have been a disaster of a franchise for the last 3-4 years and it really peaked this off-season with the Wedge fiasco, the retirement of Chuck Armstrong and another bad season with marginally poor growth from their glut of rookies. Free agents haven't wanted to come to Seattle. It rains a lot. It's a long plane ride from *anywhere*. There's no superstar talent there...
Or, so it has been. The signing of Cano gives the city some temporary shine, the little luster they need to lure other free agents. Guys like Nelson Cruz don't want to come to the Mariners of a month ago. They'll come more readily when they are sandwiched between Cano and Napoli.
The M's have piles of money to spend. If they do, they should return to competitiveness. Maybe not in 2014, but surely in a few years. Cano should enjoy this resurgence at some point as well as one of the most rabid sport fan bases on the planet when their teams are winning. There is not a better, more enthusiastic crowd of sports fans than Seattle when their teams are winning.
Seems likely the Yankees also pressured them into accepting the deal with a deadline kind of offer, three days to accept or we'll pull it, kind of thing.
Otherwise, the acceptance of the offer is a little strange. Even if the Yankees did offer than(with no time limit), why accept just more than you asked for when you can get MORE+more than you asked for?
Wow, really don't like this deal for the Rox. Don't understand how Fowler helps the Astros in the next two years but boy it's a nice trade chip for cheap.
I know you're busy answering so many questions but if you can find the time, can you give me a few major league examples of 8 secondary stuff? Iawkuma's splitter? Hamels changeup? Coles slider? Thanks Jason!
Jason, one question that's been burning in my mind is are there any pitchers in the minors(or majors even) that have an 8 pitch BESIDES a fastball? I realize that perhaps the last thing most pitchers might master would be the changeup/breakingball, but it's odd, I don't think in the 6+ years I've subscribed to BP that I've seen any pitch besides a fastball an 8. It seems even 7s are very very rare, while I can think of a few dozen '8' grade fastballs in the last few years...
Since this scale, 2-8 is all relative to their peers, I wonder if there are only a handful of 7+ breaking balls/changeup grades, that these should be graded an 8 if no other true '8s' are being graded out there?
Thanks, your work is something I read without fail.
Monster list. Wow.
Does Semien have the approach and power to hit 12-15 homers/25 doubles in the pros?
Seattle had perhaps the modern day equivalent of Willie Mays and when he retired there was about a half days story from ESPN and it was over. They've been fawning over Rivera and Jeter for years because of the East coast bias and eighty million Yankee fans, who, now that they couldn't buy another post-season, have nothing else to look forward to... Got news for you Yankees. No one gives a flying f*ck. Frankly, we're excited to see them struggle for a while.
It is mildly annoying seeing this kind of coverage for a player during a fantastic stretch of wildcard excitement.
This was headlines on ESPN, FOX and now Baseball prospectus and well down the page the Indians, who've won 7 in a row, Tampa ditto and Texas all vying for the last two playoff spots in spectacular, but apparently unnoticed excitement.
Rivera, an obvious first-ballot HOF and clearly one of the top 20 players of the last few decades has FOUR video stories in a row on ESPN.com while these playoff chases have no mention. Great as Rivera was, I didn't see this coverage for Ken Griffey Jr. or other stars in smaller markets.
Rivera's no Ghandi, the rest of us(those who live outside of the NY corridor) are getting fed up with it.
The media's reaction is much like the NFL fans reaction to a 4-0 Arizona Cardinals team. People are notoriously short sighted and seeing this take over a game against a bad team still leaves many inexperienced fans and media talk heads to suggest he can do so consistently. We know from his history thus far that he cannot.
All that in mind, it must be imagined the Reds are having some tough decisions to make regarding Hamilton and potential playoff rosters...
Great work but clearly shows the difference between Walker, a very good prospect with some nice upside and the young Jedi that Felix Hernandez was early in his career with much better command and stuff and at an earlier age to boot.
It will be greatly missed! Yet another reason to look forward to early April though. Great work.
It's poetic that Dave Neihaus gets to call the longest, being one of the loudest, most enjoyably enthusiastic announcer baseball has ever had.
Reynolds has/had 70+ power. His downside is Reynolds with 50-60 power. That's an unplayable bat.
.300/.340/.550 guy at his peak is this novice's guess. A damn fine hitter, not including the rest of the tools.
Urias is fascinating in that he's probably still growing yet seems to have great control already over his arsenal. Is it likely that he's going to add a few ticks to his FB? Is there a write-up of him anywhere? I don't remember him being in the Dodgers top 10 prospect list.
Thanks guys, keep up the grandiose work.
Man, I absolutely love these columns. An avid follower of the minors and tomorrow's future MLB players, this BP columb is like a giant jar full of gummy bears, warm chocolate cookies and Swedish meatballs.
Sure seems early in his career to judge his swing. He's been pushed up pretty quick and would seem to have sufficient time to make a few adjustments to lift the ball more.
Exceptionally light trading deadline action. It seems between the August deals to come and the added wild-card spot, many teams are/were reluctant to move players as they have been in past years...
If Garcia reaches 90% of his potential, this is a disaster for Detroit. Iglesias is solid but they've let go a potential all-star. Scary risk but then again when you want to win bad, you've got to sell more pizza's and take more risks.
As a Mariner's fan, the best part about Felix Hernandez was watching these great hitters trickle weak dribblers around the infield. Even Beltran's single was a grounder that's often an out.
I'll take a serving of groundball pitcher with who also has a healthy helping of strikeout ability, yes please.
Regading Jimenez, it's interesting to read a 6+ glove and 6 arm can be top-flight in MLB. If you can spare the time, what does a guy like Yadier Molina or Pudge Rodriguez(in his prime) rate as for glove/arm?
You guys are amazing. Looove these.
It is hard to quantify the value of this kind of defense, well above and beyond what you expect from a normally slick fielding position. That said, Ryan does seem to make casual mistakes a bit more often then you'd like to see and he hasn't seen a breaking ball he doesn't like to swing at. I bet he's still worth more to his team than a decent hitting SS like Johnny Peralta.
If Bogaerts can continue to stick at SS, doesn't the first five years of his career look like an MVP candidate waiting to happen? It seems rare to have this kind of advanced hitting at ANY position but to do so at the most premium position? Like a lot of fans, I'm envious of Boston's situation....
Glad to see this back, one of the bigger draws for me still from BP. I loved Kevin Goldstein when he did these many years ago, was glad to see him at BP and very happy to see them continued. Please please please continue these! :)
Bluesman, that can be acquired fairly easily enough by clicking the name and checking out his updated minor league stats for the year. Granted that's a lot harder, relative, to having the info put right up for you.
Has there been any extensive studies into the long term duration/health of young pitchers who primarily rely on a slider as their breaking pitch? I know there's strong science to the fact it causes more stress to the elbow region than say, a curveball, and I can't help but wonder seeing the likes of Liriano, Strasberg(?), Pineda and Bonderman all succumbing to injury and all throwing a heck of a lot of sliders.
Would GM's prefer young arms with plus-plus curveballs as opposed to plus-plus sliders?
Thanks guys, these call-up reports are the best.
What is the attrition rate for guys like Buxton? Do players at low-A frequently bust, even with those extreme tools? We all realize the upside is tremendous, an MVP type, HOF-type player, but how often do they fail to even reach the MLB level as a decent player? My hunch is more than 50%, not that I'm rooting against him.
Every baseball fan wants to see prospects succeed, myself included.
I don't know how much the obvious comps have been made, but besides a few inches of height taller, where does Puig and Yoenis Cespedes differ? They both seem to be fastball orientated, speed-power freaks with some plate discipline issues...
Any reports to the upside and/or expected eventual power from Rosario? Gap to gap guy or Kipnis territory? Thanks guys, these reports are mega-valuable and fun to read.
Is the Lamb comments more of the norm when recovering from TJ surgery or are there underlying problems that are pushing him out of the realms of a prospect?
Reynolds war for six weeks into the season has to be a record considered he is utterly and completely unable to see.
lol... Reynolds is completely and utterly blind. Best article for baseball I've laughed at in a long time.
Who has the higher upside offensively for the Bosox, Bogaerts or Middlebrooks?
As a close watcher of every Felix start for about the last five years, his velocity is well down of course, as documented, but he has improving movement AND command as well as the normal great mix of upper 80s changeups(looks like a splitter), upper 80s cutter/slider, plus curveball he throws for strikes almost at will and an occasional sinker at 89-90 that really dives down and in on righties and causes a lot of grounders.
Still, by far the most impressive element and improvement is his command. He's gotten very comfortable at a relatively easy effort delivery and now he has well above average command of those five pitches. He's at his best right now, a much better *pitcher* then when he threw in the mid to upper 90s.
Ok, so gotta ask.
What is the difference between average and solid-average?
1 comment for these beautiful prospect-laden reports is a crime. This is a great, well produced series with serious insight into the future MLB lineups in a ballpark near you.
Henderson kept thinking, "Rickey had 42 steals by June!"
Tremendous effort here just PACKED with details and information for fans and fantasy owners alike. Love the new format as well. Plus plus potential.
Isn't it RJ/Rajai Davis/Toronto instead of DJ Davis?
I had bowling as a class in high school(no, not joking), and I was an average 120-130 a game mediocre player. Then one game almost everything I rolled blew out the pins and I set our high school record at 269. The beautiful nature of random occurrences is sometimes, especially when there are so many sporting events, incredible, random, unusual stuff CAN happen, and does. Now, the above scenario seems incredibly unlikely, maybe on the order of millions to one, but hey, if you're an Astros fan, or a fan of any bad sports team, THAT's why opening day is so beautiful.
One win down, 100 fluky wins to go.
Guys like Smoak, former top prospects who struggle turn the corner sometimes. See Gordon, Alex. Visually there's a difference as well as he's shortened his swing considerably, most noticable from the left side and he's swinging with confidence. The plate discipline has always been decent, now it's getting betetr and he's starting to square up more balls. Don't be shocked if he goes out and posts an .800 OPS.
Michael Saunders looks much improved as well and may carry his solid improvements another step.
Clearly Morales and Morse have the potential to slug .450+ and hit 25 homers. This year's M's should hit 125 homers in their sleep. Outside shot at 150+.
I show 70 raw power in softball BP but only 50 game power because pitchers f*c@#!*ing vary their delivery speeds...!
I realize he's not considered quite in the same class, but was Russell Branyan's power a true 80 during his early years? Thanks, these are awesome.
These kinds are articles are of the most elite level in the study of baseball. It's no wonder many BP members go on to glorious things and positions very high up the food chain.
Enjoyed the article BUT...
"Roughly speaking, if Trout hits his
•10th percentile projection, Harper will be better 60 percent of the time
•30th percentile projection, Harper will be better 30 percent of the time
•50th percentile projection, Harper will be better 10 percent of the time
•70th percentile projection or higher, Harper will be better very seldomly"
Where are these numbers on the players pages? I've been with BP for several years and this year I don't see ANY 10 year projections and I don't see ANY projection except the minimal depth charts projections.
Am I lost or looking in the wrong place??
Thanks in advance.
For my points league there is just nothing available... These lists are useless like most: Samardja over Beckett? I have no idea how you come to that...
Advanced scouting + Saber metrics = Baseball Enlightenment the Dali Lama would be proud of.
To be fair though, while baseball is popular in the States, it's LIFE in many of the Island nations and thus it's difficult to argue that Cuba has a difficulty 'population' the size of the Midwest league.
If almost every kid in the US played baseball from a very early age - no Basketball, football, golf, piano lessons, etc. then our culture might be more like theirs.
It's really not hard to see statistically either: His batting average, on base percent, slugging, OPS, FRAA, Tav. FRAA and WARP have ALL declined, some of the steeply, in the last four years. How can PECOTA project a rebound, other then hoping a HOF calibur hitter recaptures some of that magic?
No question Pujols is declining and it's even more obvious with the naked eye. A little bit like Josh Hamilton, he was swinging at first pitches a LOT more than I can ever remember seeing.
Hey BP, your prospect guys are HUNGRY for baseball. I've never had such a pleasant, polite and profession approach to answering questions. I'd recommend buying out all three years of arbitration of these guys and at least their first two years of free agency as well. Save some money now!
Gallo sounds remarkably like Russell Branyan, fitting perhaps since Russell has finally stopped fanning the diamond seats with his swings.
Wow, thank you very much Jason. Your hard work both impresses and endears BP subscribers.
I realize the power tool is a bit vague, perhaps even for scouts but 20+ homers from a 5+ power tool surprises me a little. Is this 'close' to accurate?:
20: Almost never homers, maybe a few in a career.
30: Rarely homers, maybe a few a year.
40: Weak power, 3-8 a year.
50: Avg. power, 10-15 a year.
60: 15-22 a year.
70: 22-28 a year.
80: 30+ a year.
Just trying to get a rough gauge. Thanks in advance, Jason/BP.
Indians take the second wild card spot. Combination of young players breaking out(Kipnis/Santana/Bauer) with new veteran talent additions.
Anahiem, Toronto and Detroit division winners. Yankees first WC...
Pretty interesting to see Hultzen with the second lowest starter E.R.A.
It's great to see Joe Saunders projecting to be about the same Jason Vargas, and signed for about two million less. Moralez gets about $5 million to put up the best offensive numbers on the team and then Jack Z signs a pitcher who will provide near-Vargas numbers for less money. M's fans should be stoked he's their GM.
As a lifelong Mariner's fan and PNW resident, and also a sabermetric geek who's watch Felix ascent since A ball, I can say no single player means more to their team than Felix Hernandez. After Arod, Randy Johnson, even Ken Griifey all left after starting their careers here(hedging Johnson's Montreal time), Felix is finally a standout figure willing to deal with our rainy Winters and wear the knight's armor in the name of building a competitor.
He loves the area and the fans and we love him, maybe as much as we loved Griffey. All hail the King, loyalty is royalty indeed!
Another interesting thing I noticed is that you mentioned Cron's hit tool at average would allow his power tool to play up. So, if the hit tool is a key to the power tool, then I am guessing a player with 'raw' power of 70 would likely only reach that potential if their hit tool developed into something at least average or above?
Can a guy have game power of 70 or the rare 80 and be a 30 or 40 hitter? Russell Branyan/Mark Reynolds?
Out of maybe morbid curiosity, how does a '2' runner in MLB compare to us average athletes who play a solid defensive OF for our medium level softball team? LOL...
Thanks Jason for the explanation. I think I understand now it's a bit of a Bubba Starling 2012 situation(poor man's version) where scouts need to see more of the tools/approach before they're ready to slap the star in the making label. That is to say he has very large upside but also potentially 'doesn't get it'/4A characteristics as well and may never be more than a support piece. Elite potential maybe if everything clicks...
Garcia almost seems to be a monster in the making. Potentially four plus tools, two of them maybe plus-plus on a huge bodied/strong kid who's athletic and hitting in the high majors at 21 years old. I understand there's a big difference between raw power and game power, but if he can translate most of his raw power into game power and still hit .270+, isn't this an all-star calibur player?
Sorry Jason, I don't mean to be critisizing, but at my novice glance, it just looks like a potential explosion to me.
It's so difficult to evaluate a player's true skill because of the PED's implications.
One thing that isn't hard to evaluate is just how incredibly valuable Barry Bonds was for some 20 years. His statistics are simply in a league of their own, ala Ruth in the 20s.
Also isn't part of this that when players move to LF or 1B/DH, they are suddenly matched up against an enormous pool of mostly bat/only guys in the minors, any number of which could play sub-par defense and hit .270/.340/.450?
Moving to the corner makes his competition look better, is I guess what I am trying to say.
Doesn't Jeremy Hellickson fit this mold pretty closely? Middling stuff, maybe slightly above average FB/breaking ball and a plus-plus change? Does Hellickson tend to have a higher perceived upside because of his strong command/pitchability as well? Just curious, because for me the comp is very close. Thanks.
The funniest thing, baseball related I have read in many years. GREAT STUFF! lol
A great piece, comprehensive, intuitive and extremely well produced. Give this man a raise(and Felix too!)
This still seems a bit strange to me. So a player can come into baseball with a '#1' ceiling, which sounds like what most people define as an 'ace'. But to achieve the 'ace' status from Jason Parks, he needs to demonstrate consistency at that high level.
So reading further into it, a guy can have '#1 stuff' and not be an ace if he is not consistently displaying it, year to year. Therefor, any pitcher with #1 stuff can become an ace, but can only do so through consistency pitching at the highest level in the game, not through minor league success or even physical tools/pitching ability in the minors. Example: Jorge Mauler has a 115 MPH fastball with hard arm-side run, perfect location, a filthy, disappearing changeup, an 80 slider that wipes out lefties and righties and excellent command, presence, poise, knows calculus, great makeup... Still doesn't earn the label ace from Jason until he's in the bigs mowing down hitters for a few years...
God, Stanton is an amazing talent, but that seems an incredibly overpriced trade. That's an incredible amount of talent - and the Marlin's would then be at quandry with what to do with Price.
M's send Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Nick Franklin and Justin Smoak for Stanton. The M's desperately need a big bat and have enough high up prospects to lure the Marlins.
Make Paxton Hultzen if the Marlins balk at Paxton.
Thank you. :)
Probably something like 7 hit tool, 6 or 6+ power tool. .300, 20 homers. Edgar-lite?
Wails at everything. Horrendous strike zone recognition and worse, can't hit good high gas. Won't/can't cut down his swing.
Awesome power but it's useless.
From watching, still seems like Justin Smoak has too long/loose of a swing. Reminds me of Russell Branyan but even loopier/longer. He can know a fastball is coming and miss it sometimes.
In what seems like a perfect marrige of young teams that need eachother's strengths, Jason, doesn't it just sound like the M's and Royals need to get together to do something like a Paxton+Hultzen(Or T.Walker?) for Myers trade?
Trade rumors keep coming up including older pitchers(Dickey?? lol), and I don't understand that at all given the Royals clear peak time horizon of 2014-2017.
Bogaerts at SS and Middleton at 3B? If the Tigers can pull of Peralta and Cabrera you'd think two younger guys with better D(for now), could as well and enjoy the offensive boost...
Doesn't the low humidity and temperatures of Safeco also reduce how far balls carry, similar to Pac Bell in SF?
Even if the fences looked like Newyork it's plausible it would still be a pitchers or nuetral park.
Nils I believe Jason is referring to when pitchers try and trick hitters overtly when with their stuff and the count/situation, they'd be better off just overpowering the hitter without trying to be too cute. I yield to Jason though, this guy is inside-out one of the best parts of BP right now.
Either wait for him to cool down in a year or two or offer him 13 years, 320 million which would make it the largest contract ever, carry him through his likely peak years and still be reasonbale on a $$/year basis at about $24.
For Trout, it gives him a record contract in length and dollars, instant life-long security, and still a chance for him to secure another contract at age 33 in which he might still secure another $200-250 million for 7-10 years.
Nope. It's clear too everything goes wrong in your skeptical world. I pity you lol.
Ackley will get better. Smoak will get better. Montero will get better. Saunders should get better. Nick Franklin will hit more than Ryan. Seager, Carp, Thames and TRobinson have a good shot at getting better. Zunino will be better then Olivo. One or two free agent bats to replace those that don't get better. A great bullpen and Felix, Vargas and two young guns in Hultzen and Walker.
The key is youth. Most of the players listed above are still finding their ways, ala Saunders, and getting the hang of things.
It's not hard to see them being a playoff contender.
KG working Overtime into the Dog Days of Summer and he's doing one helluva job. A week off in October or a raise is in order BP, keep up the great work Kevin, but at least this reader expects you to regress to the mean a bit!
The Mariner's are going to be a .500 club in 2013 and a strong contender in 2014. Jack Z's been holding the purse strings tighter the last few years to allow for some FA acquisitions and between that and the upcoming, high-level prospects(Hultzen, Paxton, TWalker, Capps, Pryor, Franklin, Zunino), the Mariner's should field a competent offense and continued excellence on defence behind the leagues best pitching.
Then Felix re-signs.
Hello Kevin, great stuff as usual.
This may have been asked before(or I may have missed it), but do you have any intention of an updated top 50 prospects list this year? We're all excited to hear what you think if so!
Johnson is awful.
When was the last time someone put up as silly numbers as Straily has across two leagues? These are Nintendo numbers and he came almost out of nowhere...!
I personally find it part of the wonderful variety of life. Few of us would want to live so self-entitled, so arrogant, so beligerent despite having a job 99.9% of people would kill to have. It's amusing to have such characters in this thing we call life and often it makes me laugh to hear it - because you just can't take it serious.
And when is laughing a bad thing?(unless it's about a pooor old bus monitor).
Hard to have rookies when you trade away your farm every year for deadline deal talent.
The Yankees payroll history is a perfect microcosm of what's wrong with capitalism and it's why a salary cap is still the best way to ensure a level playing ground, ala the NFL.
Jason, is it fair to say that Walker, very new to his craft, has time to generate a third plus pitch(changeup) and that with improvement there he profiles as a #1 on a championship level team? Thanks for your work, these are excellent pieces, worthy of great praise.
Kevin a question regarding Gallo's 'raw power': When a player usually has this distinction it is referring to his batting practice power or 'potential strength used to hit the ball hard' right?
As opposed to game-power, which I've always assumed meant the ability to use said 'raw-power' in game situations.
Doesn't these results, albeit on the smallest professional stage, suggest his top-of-the-draft raw power is already translating to game power? Thanks in advance!
It might be speculative to suggest ARod's decline is because of the lack of vitamins but it's a very very strong speculation that he cannot escape. It's exceedingly obvious he is smaller, physically, and the timing of his decline is actually quite accurate. Anyone who has taken strong supplements for weight lifting knows that after you stop taking them, there is a lengthy, slow, steady decline in your muscle-mass and muscle strength. With someone like ARod, he has access to everything else that is legal which would also slow the loss of strength from coming down from steriods/whatever he took. His decline is similar to so many others who were on and suddenly their skills rapidly declined(Brett Boone, Eric Gagne, John Rocker, etc.)
ARod's a very good player who became elite because he used then-legal PED's. End of story.
Kevin, I am curious what happens when Billy Hamilton reaches base. Does the other team throw over there a ton, make frequent pitchouts and try to stop him or do they just throw their hands in the air and say, we'll focus on the hitter, to heck with chasing this rocket...
Have you seen any/many games with him wreaking havoc? It must be quite a fun game within the game.
Genetics and pre-professional training/stretching/muscle formation. I think it's probably the same reason some people have tons of allergies and others have none.
You dumbass, if you're going to make points, at least has your info right. I was referring to the game that happened tonight, not like two months ago. Your error and clear lack of perspective only further reinforces your useless wit and inexcusable ignorance. Begone, I have no time for Homers arguing for their precious two hundred million dollar trophy players.
I have no idea what your point is or even who you're trying to make a point to. If it's to...
The Yankees home park is a JOKE. Not debatable when it comes to cheap HRs. It's been talked about, heck beating a dead horse about it. Two HRs tonight(Canos and Swisher) are both outs at most parks in MLB.
Then you can save your reply, you have no counter so don't make yourself look dumb by arguing.
Yankee's stadium IS a joke. I mean, it's embarassing to the game to see almost ROUTINE flyballs to right and right-center leave the yard. The more one looks at things, it's amazing how many parks in the East are 'hitters' parks and the West are pitchers parks. Check this out(HR's, park per game):
New York 2.88
Tampa Bay 1.81
Anahiem(not calling them LA) 1.62
Doesn't this ultimately lead people to believe that pitching performances in the AL West are less impressive just as similarly batting performances in the AL East are less impressive? Is a .275/.350/.500 slash line from a Yankee like a .250/.325/.425 slash line in Seattle? Is a 2.80 E.R.A. from an Oakland pitcher like a 3.80 E.R.A. from a Redsox's arm?
Similarly is the yankee's 'great offense' merely very good considering their park?
Want another shocking statistic?
Runs per game on the road:
New York Yankees 4.94
Seattle Mariners(!) 4.91
Ask any pitcher who's faced Vladimir Guerrero. There's almost no BALL he can't crush, much less a strike.
While Offerman might not be sexy, nor a superstar, if you take a closer look, he posted several really good seasons, scraping .400 OBP and speed/doubles/double digit power. Certainly not a bad player.
Thank you for the clarification Kevin, we M's fans have very little to root for!
The Mariner's aren't in the conversation with teams loaded with arms? A number 2/3(Paxton, a Number 2 in Hultzen and a true ace in Walker?
When you watch him it's evident that he's throwing at least two types of knuckles and a fastball/knuckle, if that exists. Basically it looks like he's throwing a slower/more knuckling ball(a change-up knuckle?) and then one thrown with as much velocity as he can muster. I don't think it matters if the hitters know which because they both move so erratically.
Whatever the case, it's another part of the game that is wonderful. You can 'play' the game in a number of ways and all of them can work. Drag-bunts, working walks, stealing bases, crushing doubles and homers, advancing runners...
What a spectacularly enjoyable game we all have to watch...
Kevin, only caught a small portion of Justin Grimm's start and saw a plus fastball and plus curve. Does he have a usable third pitch yet and what is his upside? He's sure tearing up AA...
I literally cannot get enough of this stuff. It's an inside window into the future of the games from the most reliable sources. Combining this information with statistical analysis is the holy grail of baseball wisdom.
Kevin you note that dealing Andrus would net the Rangers a nice bit of ammunition to further their playoff hopes the next few years, the question I propose though is wouldn't they get an enormous return on a player like Profar? A team who trades for him gets a top of the line prospect who's under team control for 6+ years...
Seems to me a team like the Mariner's/Giants would give up a bigger package to acquire a guy like Profar then Andrus...?
Mid to upper 90s fastball, can reach back for more, wicked slider, good location, this guy, barring injury, is one of the nastiest starters in the American league. His stuff is very similar to Michael Pineda, good and bad though, for sliders at this frequency usually ends in surgery.
The key to baseball analysis is scouting AND numerical data/translations. With these great pieces and BP's wealth of metrics, we're all a bit more nerdy and knowledgable in this great sport.
This shit is great, if for no other fucking reason than profanity, while conventionally considered vulgar, offensive and useless in intelligent conversation is actually a fucking fantastic way to emphasize a point or to get the most out of our emotion driven minds still evolving from dumb ass monkies.
Kevin is Lindor's success enough to bump him into the top 5 prospects? I don't see any negatives and everything screams confident, complete baseball player. 2014 ETA possible??
Lindor's sure has a complete package and is starting to really ooze top 5 prospect to me Kevin, is that a reach?
Winning feels infinetly better when your team consistently struggles and then wins when they are the underdog. No Yankees or Redsox fan really feels good when they win, they feel entitled and so there is a sense of oh, well that was supposed to happen. It's worse though when you spend $200,000,000 and are dead last because then guys like me from teams with tiny payrolls say things like: "CHOKE IT DOWN YOU PIECE OF SHIT REDSOX FANS, LOOLLLPOL, YANKEES SUCK GO BUY SOME MORE CLOSERS", etc.
It's always better being the underdog in life.
These are so awesome. A strongly detailed, refreshingly, and appropriately conservative close look at the players coming up many of us have heard very little of... KEEP these coming, pleeeease.
Excited to see a player like Hamilton. Sounds like he is starting to pack a punch as well. Be fun to watch stand-up triples and possible inside the park homers every time a ball skips into a gap...
King Felix. The best in the game right now.
Comfortably the best reason I reup my subscription every year. While I love the nuts and bolts of baseball, Kevin's talent and work ethic at finding players, scribing notes and bringing this to us fans is worthwhile of a subscription to BP. More please, even if I don't have EITHER guy on my keeper league.
I think Ichiro is a 10-5 guy too but if he wasn't...
You don't trade Ichiro only because unfortunately most fans still don't understand that loyalties should come after team success and making the right moves for the team. Seattle's fan base is already a little disillusioned and continually trading away Hall of Famers is wearing thin in the PNW.
Now, if some team were dumb enough to offer a blue-chip prospect for Ichiro, say a Gary Brown type, you might have to bite the bullet and go with it. No one is untouchable in the right deal.
Easily the most enjoyable player to watch on Tivo with slow-mo for each pitch, especially on 3-2, 2-1 counts. You'd see his swing and if the ball went up and out at the same time, you knew the results. Gone.
Mike Cameron with less walks/defense? Still sounds like a pretty good deal.
It's basically 25-30 for the average 'good' player I'd say.
Great article and it also shows how wildly people can vary on their views of prospects. Until someone does something in front of you, you're always skeptical.
Kevin, one question, why do pitchers often limit their arsenal, especially if the pitches have been effective in the past? Is this because no matter what else you throw, if you throw a pitch 58 mph, it's going to get crushed often by MLB hitters? Watching guys like Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez, it often seems like they are throwing 4-6 pitches. Either this isn't the case or the quality of pitches are perhaps that much better then what Darvish has to show?
Thanks, awesome stuff Kevin!
I think ALL baseball fans should be thrilled to see this wild spending. While obviously some of it is based on potential new revenue from their new digs, it gives hope to nearly every team in baseball that someday, maybe just maybe, your last-place, poor-house team that you love dearly might turn into a spender/contender overnight. I hope they sign Buerlhe, Reyes, Pujols AND CJ Wilson, what a coup that would be.
Sure we're all number-crunching baseball nerds here and we all realize that there is a potential, even a fairly decent chance, that this blows up in the Marlins' face, but as the saying goes, Fortune favors the bold.
While to be fair Justin Smoak has been awful, given the careers of others and even recent prospects(Gordon), I'd think it unfair to presume Smoak cannot improve or grow into the 70 power most scouts see in him.
With a potential rotation of Hernandez, Pineda, Hultzen, T.Walker and Paxton in 2013, the M's just need two big bats to make the offense sufficiently strong to outscore their pitching. Fielder at 1B/DH and a bopper in RF to replace the venerable Ichiro and they should be an 85-90 win team in 2013.
Uhh... Stanton's power is EPIC. Like a 90 grade on the 20-80 scale. Like he said, not in the same sentence. Pimentel that is(like he said, a different sentence).
Incidentally, does Kyle Seager profile more as a utility then competitor to the future 3B position? Could he handle 2B with Fraklin at SS or would that defense really expose the staff? Thanks Kevin, your work is 90% of the reason I am still with BP.
116 wins isn't that exciting when you get your arse handed to you in the playoffs. Besides that and a few playoff runs in the 90s and early 2000s, this has been one of baseball's roughest histories of success, or lack thereof.
Amusing that people were offended by the pig. That is ridiculous of course, as people all over the world eat pork, American's big at that table, and American's routinely roast pig's in this or near-this fashion as well for large parties.
Seems like Jack Z has built up a nice stash of young players. I don't see a CF or a catcher in the lot but plenty of talented bats, enough to put together a 2013/2014 lineup something like:
Fielder DH(it's all I want for Christmas!)
B. Miller 2B
Fun to dream on anyway, in a city where baseball success has usually been just that, a dream.
Maybe this video is similar to the idea that if you can't make a funny commercial, make an annoying one. Apparently annoying or disturbing images are one of the most easily recalled visual media by our brains. If you attach 'sailing' and horrific rap songs with largely bizarre video instead of the standard five minutes of hitting and fielding, people will remember you, FOREVER!!
The definitive source for prospect mining has come. I wouldn't be surprised if these lists were frequented by MLB general managers and/or development departments.
If all players are eligible, it basically *has* to be Verlander. It's not that his season has just been great and he's on the proverbial playoff team, he is statistically Goliath and the rest of the league, David. He is so much better then any pitcher in the American League, he's in another orbit. If pitchers are eligible for the MVP arguement, and they apparently are from years past, Verlander is the A.L. MVP and it should be unanimous.
The player like Reynolds certainly has value, despite the ridiculous strikeout rate, but only if you can get value out of the rest of your team OR that player reaches base at a good clip despite those strikeouts(which is very rare).
You can't have a guy like Reynolds bat third, fourth or fifth because your other big bats(say a hitter like Justin Upton) would be pitched around more often to get to Reynolds.
What you can do though is stick a bat like Reynolds(Russell Branyan, etc) in your 7/8/9 spot and let them drive in 90 runs a year at the back of your lineup. Not a good player, but certainly a useful player.
The homerun is certainly the easiest way to score a lot, quick, and having guys who hit 30-40 homers in your lineup, regardless of their strikeout total, is always a worthwhile addition.
Clearly the park has played a major part in Mauer's perceived struggles. He's not going to be a .330/.420/.500 guy, at least not most years but there's no reason, once again healthy, that he can't play 100 games at catcher, 30 at 1B and 20 elsewhere while putting up seasonal lines closer to .300/.400/.450. A lot to love from a good defensive player behind the dish.
Does Wheeler represent an upgrade for the Rox over Seth Smith and if not, could he be a weak-defense, plus offensive centerfielder?
The Indians have been ravaged by injuries. They were rolling right along before Sizemore, Hafner, Choo, Kipnis, Brantley, etc. got hurt. Even teams like the Yankees turn to crap if they lose Cano, Granderson, Swisher, Texiera, etc.
Obviously Jimenez hasn't pitched as expected, but the Indians losing July and August can be firmly blamed on overwhelming injuries to four of their top five hitters.
Excluding Harper and Profar, does T-Walker have the most upside on any player on this list?
No bobbles on this article. While I come to BP for sharp-minded analysis and cutting edge baseball info, this was a fun change of pace.
Kevin's said before here probably OF bat in the long run and at least a solid+ bat, plus power but not overwhelming. He quickly snuffed out Braun comps.
Tim Wheeler's defense just not quite good enough for center? Can't imagine his bat would be anything less then exceptional if he could stay in center??
Quick pop-time referrence?
2.05 time roughly 30 arm tool?
What's Yadier Molina's pop-time?
I'd bet Arcia is also right on the fringe of the top 50 as well. Not much other tools but the kids young, advanced for his age and seems to be a plus plus hitter with at least plus power.
Kevin, Wilin Rosasio's uninspiring hitting the reason for his fall from the top 50? I've heard his defense is still a plus but it looks like higher level pitchers have found some holes.
15 comments?? Only because I'm so busy reading all the notes! This is basically the singlemost exciting thing and first read for me as soon as a new one comes up. It's nothing short of listen to Yoda in the swamp.
Great stuff Kevin, I was glued to this match and it had some great hits, pitching, defense and toolsheds were present all over the field.
I do want to say I was annoyed as heck by the TV broadcast, I think the former-pitcher complaining about how the players were missing cutoff mans and overswinging instead of advancing runners. Is this guy an idiot or something? This is the Future's All-Star game, a showcase of the elite young talent in the game. What does he think, they're there to show good fundamentals? Bunt and get the runner over? They are there to showcase their incredible talent, which means the crowd WANTS to see Harper throw it from the fence to homeplate. And this ninny berates the players. He should be removed from his post, ASAP.
Didn't notice Jeter did something. We're on the West coast and the game was played while I was still sleeping.
3,000 hits?? Pretty impressive, he must have a lot of at-bats.
Wow. Haha. I'll go with 1-4 with an infield single and two K's.
Good articles but Jay Jaffe covers the Yankees more then the NY Post.
Season projections? I'll take the first shot:
260 plate appearances(a few slumps and a handful of days off)
22 steals, 4 times caught(and slows games to a crawl when he's on)
Alex Liddi = Kevin Kouzmanoff??? And not a good thing...
Kevin, while I'm sure you've been asked or have discussed it already, just how high is Altuve's upside? I can't remember ever seeing a player(much less a tiny sparkplug!) destroy pitching like this. I mean, we all realize he's not going to hit 30 homers or even 15-20 a year seems unlikely, but can he hit something like .330/.430/.430 in the pros?? Maybe major league pitchers will do something these younger guys aren't, but I've never seen a hitter bat nearly .400 for almost three months like this...
As a lifelong Seattle fan, I am curious about and more and more eyeing the ballpark effects on hitting. If you look at the last five years, basically no one, short of Ichiro has had any kind of sustained success hitting in Safeco. Similarly, almost every mediocre 5th-arm type guy seems to shave a run or more off his E.R.A. and help his periphial stats as well.
The ballpark size is well known, it's not big, it's pretty huge. I went to a Dodgers game recently and was shocked at how small the park felt in comparison. Here we have a park that annual plays like a pitchers park in LA and I'd say it seemed a good 10-15' shorter through most of the fences.
So, the ballparks big and that'll cut down on the homers, but why do averages seem to suffer also? With huge swathes of green, shouldn't bloops, bleeders and other fly balls settle down for hits more often then a park like say, Fenway? Yet, it still seems that hitters come to Safeco and DIE. Hitting AND slugging. Perhaps it's the ocean air and maybe this causes the ball to slow down, as if it were a softball and had greater wind resistance.
Either way, I'd love to see the smart folks here at BP do a study or even quick article on theories why offense suffers SO much at Safeco.
As for the M's, I think Jack Z's best route is to trade Bedard if he can get a 60% return of what Cliff Lee brought, dump Figgins to the bench and perhaps give Liddi a shot at mediocrity and keep running Peguero/Halman out there until they both fail or someone emerges as a power threat. Finally, they need a huge bat for DH this off season, someone like, though highly unlikely, Prince Fielder.
Totally different types of pitchers, vastly different polish and I am positive Kevin prefers Hultzen still.
This is great! Life would be boring without a-holes with horrific mustaches blowing kisses after they homered in some low-A ball game and taking thirty seconds to run it out. He's committed about five US sins in this one video:
1. Lack of style(mustaches are finished!)
2. Lack of hustle
3. Lack of humility
4. Lack of sportsmanship
5. Lack of an accompanying beard. In fourteen states in the US it's a felony crime to have a bad mustache and no beard.
Sabean is just whining because he lost his franchise player for the season, and probably his team's chances of winning this year. He's complaining about bad luck because often in this play, the runner doesn't hurt the catcher or he is only shaken up. It's just bad luck and Sabean handled it like a 12-year old at a craps table. I'd slap him in the face if I could.
Liddi's gotta be a better option then 0-for-figgins...
This is like a heroine spike after 96 hours of withdrawel. Kevin, you make my day with this reports!
Speaking of defense Kevin, is Darnell so brutal at 3B he can't play there regularly in the bigs? Seems like his bat at 3B would be plus or better.
Whole lot of censorship here. Perhaps you folks would be better off working at Wal-mart, where they ban unions, censor music and have fall protection for every shelf above three feet high. There's even a manual for little leaguers suggesting that their best way to make it to the higher levels of competition is to gladly accept being thrown out, especially when the catchers blocks the plate. Just accept failure, you're out.
Whatta bunch of losers. One thing's for sure, your ancestors didn't secure this country's borders, MINE did.
Plenty of support here for both tradition and school of hard knocks. Baseball has plenty of contact, collisions on the infield, collisions at first, collisions and wipeouts by baserunners, tag plays are routing which can cause damage. Slide hard into bases, even without another person there can be dangerous. Being hit by pitches, linedrives, broken/thrown bats.
Wagman, basically your argument is destroyed and any further comments by you will likely have no credence here at all. Like Ken said, go play tiddlywinks and stop messing with baseball.
To repeat, I don't advocate physical wipeouts by players, but then again, I also don't advocate catchers blocking the plate, particularly when they don't have the ball yet. I feel for Posey and the Giants but this is baseball and it happens. I don't hear many Yankees fans apologizing for Swisher's total baseless wipeout of Nishioka.
Human beings are still animals and we've thirsted for violence and testosterone fueled sports since we became 'civilized'. That's why MMA is so popular and why people watch Nascar(to see the wrecks). Baseball is a contact sport and this should never change. Football begin getting ridiculously safe in the last 2-3 years and the fans view of the game has been increasingly bad. Fouls for sacks? Oh you touched the quarterbacks head, 15 yard penalty. TOUGHEN UP PEOPLE, jesus. Human beings aren't special, and they ARE replacable, including guys like Posey. Again, I'm not saying players should be able to run guys over UNLESS there is a reason, like a catcher blocking the plate.
And if Cousins is dirty, then so is Pete Rose, Nick Swisher this year, Bob Gibson, etc... These are men and men play with competetive fire, not politically correct estrogen-based gayness.
I want ALL of you wussies OUT of the country and OUT of the fan base. You're ruining it for the rest of us(and by the way, the majority of us).
Toughen up world. Your long hair and politically-correct garbage is starting to leak into sports. These things have been happening for over one hundred years, please don't change them just because our society is becoming kindler-gentler. You that are becoming pussified need your asswhipped a few times by your dad or by some big fat guy in a bar somewhere.
Either that or get a sex change. This is a mans sport and shouldn't be played by wussies.
This is one of the most exciting elements of the game and it's one of the few 'manly' elements of the game. If you make rules like no colliding, avoiding contant, MLB will be going the same pussy way that the NFL is, which frankly has turned into a joke with it's protection rules.
Catchers know runners may slide, often violently to get to the plate. By blocking it, as they are often taught, they are only encouraging, heck requiring, runners to run through them to get to the plate. If catchers don't want to be run over and injured(or if teams don't want this to happen), begin to instruct less aggressive tactics of tagging out runners at home. No one said they have to stand five feet up the baseline towards third, blocking the basepath.
Baseball is a man's sport and injuries happen. Removing all contact and injuries is not only a bad idea, it's a horrific idea. I mean, let's put big nets in front of the batter that retract after he swings to ensure he doesn't get hit. Let's put a BP net out on the mound to prevent the pitcher from being hit, etc.
C'mon, it's a man's sport, injuries are part of life and maschismo is PART of the game.
It won't matter how often he is walking yet. Once he starts blasting 30-50 homers a year, pitchers will automatically start giving him those unintentionally walks. As long as he doesn't press and try to hit pitches way out of the zone, Harper's all but primed for a decade of .275-.375-.600 seasons. Man is it a good time to be a baseball fan.
Great article - who doesn't like scouting/translation to real life stuff? As a player myself, I found this particularly enjoyable.
Kevin, great article but something came to mind again - and maybe this has been covered somewhere. Why on earth are these college arms(Bauer) throwing 120-150 pitches?? Surely the managers for these teams don't care as much but can't the players say, no, that's dumb, we're up 10-1, sorry Skip, I'm not going back out there after 125 pitches...??
We'll review this in four months and sixteen months and then you can cease to post your ignorant dribble.
The Indians have one of the best lineups in baseball, top to bottom. This is a young team full of potential solid to above average players. Sure Hannahan and Orlando Cabrera are below average bats but the other seven are all average or better and almost all either in their prime or entering it(Hafner the lone exception). Next year replace Hannahan and Cabrera with Chisenhall and Kipnis and it's the best in baseball, and FULL of youth.
No question the Indians pitching is bad, somewhere between below average and terrible, but there's help on the way there too with Pomeranz and White. This is a team that *will* be challenging for the division title for a while.
Pecota missed here maybe because it's not accounting for players returning to health(which the Indians have at least three of - Cabrera, Hafner and Sizemore).
And no, I'm not an Indians fan.
2.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's. Homer for Victorino.
I enjoyed this. Both of these guys should be in the majors NOW and last I heard, Sizemore was either close or packing his bags.
Pretty obvious that the Indians are for real. Your Yankees are finished Jay.
Isn't a pre-requisite of being cocky actually being good at what you do? Maybe he thinks potential is more important then substance!
Mariner fan. It's undeniable though and the difference between the Indians and a lineup like NY is that the Indians are YOUNG as a whole and entering their prime while the Yanks are old and cratering. Got facts? Use 'em. Otherwise, admit the obvious.
I wanted to add to this, if you add Kipnis and Chisenhall to this lineup, I think it's the best in baseball. Yep, in baseball.
That is a lineup WITHOUT holes and tons of power/speed. Maybe not perfect this year with so many new players being counted on, but 2012 - the Tribe's lineup may begin to rival the 1990's versions.
Hafner's healthy. Pecota can't account for that. I'm not talking a .300/.400/.600 season, but something like .275/.360/.550 is very possible. Add that to a healthy Grady Sizemore, a healthy Asdrubal Cabrera and a breakout year to Carlos Santana and you have a new division winner.A lot of if's, but right now it's very reasonable.
Kevin, is Rosario still just trying to get healthy again or why isn't he banging on the door in Colorado? A good season last year, solid to plus defense apparently and now raking again... Makes you wonder if Colorado sees something that the rest of us don't.
Braun is clearly a top-tier bat, at least equivalent to a Jason Werth who's making roughly the same, though in an earlier time frame.
The problem for me here is that, as the author stated, there is no reason to do this. A five year deal is already in place but a lot of things can happen in those five years. Injuries, decreased performance, inability to play the OF, financial problems, a rebuilding process, all really suggest shorter deals are always a better goal. Granted most of the best players in the league aren't settling for a small deal, so to acquire big players you have to go several years - Still you have him signed already for five years and I just cannot fathom why they'd want to extend him another five years without having any idea what is going to happen until then. If he took a serious discount that'd be fine but most analysis here is that he took a very modest discount - hardly worth the risk.
Lots of downside, very little upside here. Probably going to turn out a little on the sour side.
Can they stick Hosmer in LF or RF? I know he has a cannon but does his size make him an Aubrey Huff type defender out there? Sure would be sweet for the Royals to have all three in the lineup.
Your argument is bad and yet like a windup doll pulling your own chain, you keep running out the same nonsense. Even though 4 teams made the playoffs at a 70% share and 5 teams didn't make it at all, you're somehow still defending it. It's like the guy on fire at a NYC intersection on the twelth straight 110 degree day in Summer saying there is NO such thing as global warming.
You're a true believer. No logical person would say baseball has competetive balance. The system is flawed and the results only reinforce the notion.
I attack true believers because I'd prefer if they stayed off think-tank forums in the first place, babbling nonsense despite enormous evidence against them.
Here are your AL playoff teams the last nine years:
2002: Yankees, Minnesota, Oakland, Angels
2003: Yankees(2), Boston, Minnesota(2), Oakland(2)
2004: Yankees(3), Boston(2), Minnesota(3), Angels(2)
2005: Yankees(4), Boston(3), Chicago, Angels(3)
2006: Yankees(5), Minnesota(4), Detroit, Oakland(3)
2007: Yankees(6), Boston(4), Cleveland, Angels(4)
2008: Tampa Bay, Boston(5), Chicago(2), Angels(5)
2009: Yankees(7), Boston(6), Minnesota(5), Angels(6)
2010: Tampa Bay(2), Yankees(8), Minnesota(6), Texas
14 teams, 9 years, 36 playoff spots would yield on average 2.57 playoff spots per team over those 9 years yet the Yankees, Boston, Minnesota and the Angels *earned* 26 of those playoffs.
During those nine years, Toronto, Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle ALL failed to make the playoffs once.
Nope, no surprises there Mattymattymattymatty... Like your name, the AL playoff list is repeatative on a nauseating level.
I *do* have a problem with other teams outspending and buying all their wins. Philly, Boston, Anahiem, etc, it's all a bad thing for the sport.
When fans look at the predicted standings every year and the same 8-10 teams are ALWAYS favored, it's bad for the sport. You folks are really ignorant if you don't understand that.
ALl superior civilizations have done that to all lesser civilzations throughout time.
I concur though that generally you don't pick the team you root for, they pick you. That said, my argument that the Yankees are bad for the sport stand, regardless of what team you root for. It's bad for the game when the largest factor in who makes the playoffs and who doesn't is money.
That's a *close* assessment(sure I live here), but America was also formed on bravery, hard work, ingenuity, innovation a strong morale base and good fortune, very few things that can be said for the *current* Yankee regime.
I don't know baseball history well enough to say whether the first 15 championships were bought, but I know the last 4-5 were for sure.
The easiest analogy I can give you is if you think how the Yankee's franchise is good for the sport, I encourage you to join my local softball league on a very mediocre team and we'll pound you back to the dugout game after game. We may even let you win once in a while. The exception is that in future years, my team will be allowed first dibs on the best local players and then your team can pick through the scraps. How long are you going to keep playing?
Even if I was born and raised in NYC, I'd still see inherant problems with the sport and I'd be much more likely to root for the Mets or another team then the team playing by a different set of rules.
The Yankees franchise really is a disgrace to the sport. An unsolvable problem of how to balance the competition despite no salary cap or salary floor. In other sports, new teams come up from the dungeons and basements almost every year - in MLB, those teams are perennial banished from competing for years or decades at a time (Bal/Pit/KC/Hou/etc.). The evidence that money strongly correlates with winning only further suggests that a team like NY(or Bos for that matter), isn't winning via good coaching, good team chemistry, clutch play or strong management but rather due to running their opponents over with dollar signs. If you think this is good, you must have a different set of values then most. If your team operates through this method, how can you proudly root for them?
Frankly, something should have been done about it a decade ago, but now they've just become the embarrassing uncle that no one knows how to get rid of.
It's nearly impossible to root for the Yankees. Ridiculous salary. A massively spoiled, social-idiot owner. Extreme money-grubbing players. A cheater batting fourth.
If you look at their win Thursday basically every positive result was from a player NOT from the New York, but rather sold to them. Gross.
No King Felix on the top 3 also... Bold approaching madness...
Refreshing article, and glad to see some unlikely but pleasant predictions for MLB. Normally opening day is a '10' every year but this year, reading the staff pre-season predictions and seeing the same names atop the standings/MVP's reminded me how stale baseball is from year to year compared to other sports. It will be VERY good for the game if the Yankees and Phillies don't make the playoffs. It'd be better if Oakland defeated the Dodgers overall, for the sake of Oakland's potential extinction, but begger's can't be choosers.
THESE articles are the key to upper level keeper leagues. The poor owners in my league have no chance with the info shared in great wealth here.
One note on Sappelt, haven't the scouts seen enough people who buck the trend(Pedroia, Oswalt, Lincecum, Giles, etc) to give smaller, stockier players more credence?
Are there any teams in recent memory that 'intentionally' ignored defense, even at positions like SS/CF and went with offense-first players at most/all positions? I mean, can you run a team out there with a lineup of(assume the Tigers made some changes the next 2-3 years):
CF Austin Jackson
2B Scott Sizemore
1B Prince Fielder
SS Miguel Cabrera
DH Billy Butler
3B Russell Branyan
RF Ryan Raburn
C Victor Martinez
LF Jack Cust
Isn't this a lineup that is going to score 900 runs a year? How horrific would the defense really be? lol... sure would be interesting to watch...
I love it. If these articles were the only thing BP offered, I'd still pay $30 a year.
Kevin, will either you or someone else well versed in the youngin's of baseball do a 'top 50' list for players 25 and under?(ie. players you'd want if you were starting a franchise?)
A staggering amount of new information and theory that needs deeper study(i.e. repeat reading) by myself to begin to understand it.
Well done, even if it makes a few of us feel very unintelligent.
How is Branyan fighting for a bench job? It's likely he'd put up better numbers then Allen for at least a year or two longer and perhaps even more then that. There's no reason other then a balky bat that Branyan won't post a .330-.350 OBP and a .500+ slugging for Arizona this year.
Looks a whole lot like Mike Cameron V. 1.1 with a touch less defense, more walks and less power.
I think not only is his sinker wicked, his supplementary pitches must work well because in addition to bushels of groundouts, he misses a lot of bats for a sinker-contact type.
How good does this Spring feel to Royals fans?? I bet nearly as good as Spring 2013 does!!
First, it's two tools, hitting and power, second, half the game is still offense.
Second, you can stick this guy at 1B or DH and still get tons of production from .300/.380/.520.
Finally, at this elite level, is much harder to find then fielding/speed. There's a handful of guys in the minors who project offensively like Montero but guys with '70' speed and fielding are a dime a dozen.
It's hard to blame the defense when the offense is one of the worst in modern history. If the 4-5 players who hit below their PECOTA 10% line even come out at their 50th percentile, I think the M's would have been a .500+ team last year. The mystery is how can Lopez, Saunders, Figgins, Bradley, etc. all get so bad, so fast?
One thing that's happening with frequency is Seattle is where hitters go to die. Beltre, Sexson, Figgins, Kotchman, etc. - granted not top hitters to begin with but suddenly they go to Seattle and turn into Rey Ordonez. Any research looked into this from BP? I'd love to see an explanation.
Branyan with 90 games at the BoB and Coors, I'm pretty optimistic we'll see an OPS just shy of .900 or a lot of time on the DL.
A '+' sign if you think 3 years at 9.5 million per year sounds more reasonable! There's just no way this contract can benefit the Jays and there are a half dozen reasons it can be disastrous.
Is a back injury the only reason the M's aren't bringing Branyan back? All he did was provide solid production, demoralize new Yankee stadium and did so for well below average 1B pay.... Of all the decisions Jack Z has made, I don't understand this one at all. Pick Branyan back up at a couple million dollars, let him give Smoak a day off a week at first and stick him at DH.
Still seems like irresponsible band-wagon jumping. They're paying him almost like Adrian Beltre despite the fact his glove isn't close and his bat probably won't exceed Beltre's either.
The Redsox's offense looks like the best lineup I've seen a team put out in recent memory. On base skills, speed, power and left/right magic, it's basically unfair. Ortiz, Drew and Youkilis will all have to have bad years for them to not lead the league in scoring, Yankee's included.
I think the Cardinals are either going to have to lose him to FA or pony up the huge dollars he's going to get as a FA. If Crawford, Werth and Howard can be overpaid, so can Pujols, which means he's worth every penny at 10/275. If they can't afford him, some team like LA, SEA or CHI will try to.
Obviously safe to say. Pecota's had it's share of bumps in the road and kinks in the pipe the last few years.
I think most people expect Stanton to be a better overall career then Howard. His power is already something of legend - if you haven't already go watch some of his homers from last year, some of like nothing you've seen before. While he may never win a batting title, he has solid plate discipline already(don't forget he's shockingly young) and he shouldn't have the huge platoon splits Howard does. I'm not a Marlins fan nor do I have incentive to root for Stanton but I've never seen a slugger like this so young, at least in my 20 years as a baseball follower.
Who wouldn't want to be a young Royals fan right now? Seems like they're a couple of breaks from being TB, 2008.
I think this trade is a perfect example of a Win-Win trade. The Royals weren't winning in 2011(and probably not 2012) and the Brewers HAVE to win in 2011/2012. Mortgage the future, go for it now and rebuild in a few years once the bill comes due.
Meanwhile in KC, they're lining their stables with top prospects but there's no such thing as too much pitching depth and the slick fielding SS and solid OF should be useful parts once that pitching takes the stage. Now for them if only their two superstar prospects can translate to the show, they're lining up for a heck of a turn-around in 3-4 years.
Undoubtably one of your best attributes to BP, Kevin, is your work effort. It is very much so appreciated by baseball fans and fantasy baseball owners alike. Thanks for going the extra mile.
Felix has the Yankees are his 'No-Trade' list like 5 other AL/NL East teams. He clearly won't touch any team on the East coast with a ten-foot pole. The Yankees better chase Pavano, he's their only hope(LOL).
Looks like Howard is even worse then expected. Probably the worst contract in baseball history.
Progress and change are usually slow right? I'm just happy to see any change in a sport that loathes it.
An obvious spot for me is Seattle, a team in more dire need of(insert Robin Williams quote here)... power then any major league team on the planet. He'd fit in fine at either 1B or DH. I don't think 'pitcher's parks' suppress a player like Adam Dunn too much because he doesn't hit too many 'barely' shots, most of his are bombs and 5-15 feet of distance shouldn't result in more then a few dozen dingers over a decade.
Assuming he moves(soon) to the AL, I'll say he pulls a Jim Thome, plays well into his early forties and finishes with 630 homers. If he stays in the NL I'd say 600 is a reach because his body will take more of a beating.
Of course it's a bit premature to claim that he's even made a bad selection here. If Smoak had failed outright for 3-4 years and Montero was Longoria at 1B you could come to that conclusion. At this point there is still zero evidence that Montero is going to have a better offensive career then Smoak - and one thing is certain that Smoak is a better defender. This trade was made two months ago - I think we can relax a bit here and give it a couple years.
If you asked me today, sure I'd say I want Montero over Smoak but that's a luxury I have that Jack Z didn't. Ask me in two years.
While some of the moves by the Mariner's have come under heavy critisim, and some of them very rightly so(building a lineup without any projected above-average 'power bat'), the majority of moves made by Jack Z and crew have been backed by baseball 'experts' and media alike for the majority of the preceding twelve months. Even BP had the M's projected for a winning season based on the pieces gathered in the off-season.
Gm's cannot account of players of substancial previous offensive value basically turning into Willie Bloomquist(Chone Figgins), nor could they expect almost the entirely lineup to regress offensively(F.Gutierrez, Lopez, in which regress is too weak a word, no catcher offensive growth, a tragedy from Griffey, etc.). Monday morning quarterbacking a situation few saw coming isn't fair either but...
They SHOULD be admitting that things didn't work and that they are going 'back to the drawing board' this off-season and see what can be fixed.
3 easy moves, right off the bat:
*Re-sign Russell Branyan on the cheap, leave him at 1B and enjoy the .250/.330/.500 season with decent defense
*Sign Adam Dunn, stick him at DH with occasional spot starts in LF and 1B, enjoy the .250/.370/.500
*Make third-base a four-way competitive race between Lopez, Figgins, Liddi and Tuiassipoppo with either Lopez or Figgins returning to 2B.
It doesn't make for a great team, but a lineup of:
would at least provide more runs then the sorry-looking, sub-.300 obp, pray for 4 runs offense and with the current solid pitching should make for a competetive team...
Also, I like Jack Z, but there's no reason another dedicated baseball mind, even a reporter, couldn't step in and do a feasable job. The GM job of a baseball club is more about experience, knowledge and opportunity then genius sabermetric thinking and knowing the right people.
Not that you didn't know already, but the readers LOVE stuff like this, me amongst them. A scouting report a week would be an awesome long-term goal. While I realize this takes a lot of time, research and 'eyes on approach', it's all *I* want for Christmas - and would give me more incentive to stay with BP for the long-term.
Kevin does Ryan Westmoreland still project to be a star CF for Boston? By all accounts he's made a great recovery, is there optimism here?
Matt Moore starter/closer likelihood about 50-50 Kevin? Sure seems like combo of two plus-plus pitches with no big third and control issues might lead to the bullpen.
Then again, maybe he's a left-handed Brandon Morrow?
I'll take Cy Young's 749(!!) complete games as a record that will never ever be broken. Even if a manager went with a 4-man rotation and ran his guy out there 40 times a year, LEFT him in there all 9 every start, it would still take almost TWENTY years of that to achieve that mark.
It's completely inconceivable and unbreakable.
Speakng of Ackley, how about a Brian Roberts comp? They seem similar in a lot of ways and though Ackley is far from a complete player, his skill set upside reeks of a .300/.380/.420 hitter with 40 doubles, some steals and a dozen dingers.
Can't the Mariner's stick Figgins back at 3B with the occasional start at 2B and even OF? Assuming he gets back to numbers closer to .290/.370/.400, his bat should be at least servicable at 3B and his defense, if I recall correctly was a plus as well.
I can't see anything wrong with having Figgins(.370 obp), Ackley(.380+?) and Ichiro at the top of the lineup - they just have to hire a masher or two to drive them home.
You can't help but feel nothing but good things for Minnesota and it's fans. Here you have a middling market at one point scheduled for annexation from baseball a decade ago and now you have a wonderful new park, a Superstar signed for the majority of his career and a highly competetive team full of home-grown talent and keen FA buys. I think they have many more 'fans' then they realize.
Thanks for the article.
I really don't think teams consider Chris Davis an option at thirdbase anymore. I recall BP calling him something of a piece of furniture.
""Michael Choice, OF, Athletics (Short-season Vancouver); 2-for-5, 2B, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K. .325/.438/.650 line in 10 games is outstanding; 16 Ks in 40 at-bats shows some serious luck involved as well.""
Serious luck and/or possible just hammering the crap out of the ball while flailing wildly?
Kevin, your line about the Twins being a model for mid-market teams did have me wondering about something.
See if this makes any sense to you:
I'd guessimate there are about 15 "mid-market" teams. Since there is a certain element of both player development and draft results, is it safe to say that with 15 opportunities there are likely to be one or two teams that stand-out and that at least *some* part of their success has been luck?
I know in poker, pro's often say that the skill level is usually about 65/35. Is it possible baseball has some kind of similar ratio with so many unforseen events(freak injuries/retirements/contract squabbles/turning to priesthood(!)?
Again, I don't want to take anything away from what Minnesota has achieved(after all, I'm a Twins fan), but it does make me wonder.
The Mariner's future is almost assuredly bright for three reasons:
1. Jack Z. Enough said.
2. Considerable financial resources, enough to assure a constant in-flow of solid+ talent from FA's, the draft and internationally.
3. A solid-average and improving minor league system with several near-blue chip talents in the upper levels or on the way(Pineda/Peguero/Smoak/Ackley/Franklin).
The M's probably won't be a factor again in 2011 but I'd be surpised if they weren't a .550 team in 2012.
Maybe too late but I'll try and sneak it in. First, WATG: Engel Beltre. Any chance he takes over CF sometime in 2011? Sure looks like a dynamic player and another strong bat for the Rangers.
How much does effect does the media have on this so-called rivalry? ESPN is headquartered directly around both cities and gives both teams considerably air time. Once they play eachother, it's basically headline news, guarenteed to have a plug in it for Sportscenter and the ESPN Sunday evening game of the week almost seemed to be made for these two teams.
Sure the fans will be fans with competition, but surely the media causes the frenzy.
The Yankees unlimited spending ways continue to show how badly baseball needs an overhaul. As long as the system exists where teams can have a salary larger then 5 other teams combined, the game won't get that air of excitability and hope that the NFL provides for their fans.
While in this case it doesn't sound like they ponied up huge dollars for Berkman, Wood and Kearns, they have before and will do so again. It just can't be good for the sport, other then having a team that 80% of the fans absolutely loath.
I don't understand this at all. Not only does Jackson cost a lot more, he wasn't exactly blowing people away this year. I think just Hudson alone is worth Jackson considering how cheap he'd be(and for 3-4 years at least probably). Jackson meanwhile looks like a mediocre #4 starter with a #2 starter's salary.
Then you compare it to the horrendous package Arizona got for Haren, who's a far superior arm and signed at a very inexpensive contract(value!).
Baseball is seriously confusing at times.
You know I like Longoria a lot, he's clearly a top 10 MLB talent when you consider age and likely development, and the contract is very very affordable, but it does seem to me that people are drooling on him just a little bit much.
After all, he's not posting a 1.000 OPS every year. Offensively he's marching against 3-4 similar player lines for the best bat at 3B.
I'll take several other bats over Longoria if we're strictly talking bats and guys like Tulo and Hanley Ramirez are more valuable given the position they play.
Why can't Posey hit .400 in some season? He certainly looks to be a guy who can hover at about .300-.330, maybe he has a tiny chance of the next .400.
How grim do things look in Philly now. Not only are they struggling to hit in a hitter's park, but their new shiny contract Ryan Howard continues to play like an above-average 1B at the price of the absolute best one. That contract should be fun to laugh at in 4-5 years.
I saw a curious comment early this week also related to Howard. Some guy in Chicago covering the White Soxs said the club was having a hard time dealing with the 'price' of Adam Dunn and was quoted as saying something like "What do they think Dunn is? Ryan Howard?" .... Uhm, well yes, he pretty much is.
They're very similar but you could certainly make the arguement that Dunn is BETTER then Howard, not the other way around, at least based on recent trends.
They certainly are very similar yet some baseball folks still don't understand that a .240/.370/.530 player is more valuable then a .270/.350/.540 player.
An absolute orgy of prospect-goodness. Kevin, you're blowing my(and I'm sure others) mind with this good stuff. Stats+scouting info on an almost unprecedented and relentless pace. Just don't burn out, I'd be happy with 10-20 notes a day but 40 is delicious.
Because his ERA over the last three years is a bit over 3.6. Maybe more accurate is 'slightly above average' pitcher. I just don't see him finishing with that low a SIERA, especially at his age.
If I'm the reds, I'd turn that offer down by not replying. Who do people think Oswalt is? Cliff Lee?
Why would any of those teams give up that amount of talent for a pitcher who's well past his prime and now only slightly above replacement level? I just don't see it, unless the Astros pay a huge portion of his salary.
Too long!? Well, almost, but it's a beautiful thing to baseball fans and fantasy baseball players.
I've tucked away a good 50 names this year and will have them before the rest in my league.
I think for a player with such a remarkable batting eye and tools and size to go with it, success is as close to 'sure thing' as it gets. Heyward really appears to be on a Strasburg-like career path, that is to say, greatness will almost be expected. I think the consensus is that he will thicken up a bit and lose a step or two, but really he looks like he has a decent chance to have a Chipper Jones type of a career. .300/.400/.500 with good D and wheels.
It's going to be a pleasure to watch two tremendously talented players facing off on a regular basis in the NL East.
The Brewers definitely won't be moving Fielder in a deal that cheap. I don't even know if Hellickson would net the Rays the Prince.
Wow, that's a nice little bit of genius there actually. While Bradley might not garner regular at-bats(or return to form), Texas certainly could afford to take the risk.
Harden seems a natural fit in Seattle as well and Texas probably doesn't need him now.
I'd imagine Bradley's history as a dug-out problem-child would keep this deal from getting done though.
I think the M's wanted Smoak over Montero because of his defense. They've been trying to build on that defense/pitching scheme here for the last couple years and add in the fact that his bat still projects to be at least average and probably plus, he sounds like a very nice player to have. I think they also value his plate discipline highly because most of the lineup is allergic to talking ball four.
On Chris Davis, the more I look at him I begin to see Russell Branyan with less walks, a little higher average and more(!) power. This is hardly a bad thing, as sticking your 6th hitter out there, free to wail-away while socking to the tune of something like .260/.320/.500+ is hardly a bad option when the rest of the lineup is so heavily-laden with thunder. I think Davis might have some upside beyond that as well if he ever learns which pitches to lay off of.
Still love the deal for both teams though and thanks you two for combining on a great analysis.
Not too far off, though I was a bit surprised that Texas let Smoak go. If I remember right though KG had Chris Davis rated a notch above Smoak in his 'under 25' list for Texas. Maybe the Rangers are big subscribers to BP!
Either way, I think both sides win. Clearly the M's need some offense(and a first-sacker BAD) and they got a great young hitter and two decent prospect types. The swap of Lowe is odd though as he's out for the year(doesn't help Texas...) and he was one of the better relievers the M's ran out there the last few years.
For the Rangers it's a no-brainer, especially if they feel Davis can turn into Russell Branyan with more power(That's HARD TO DO by the way, Branyan still crushes with the best).
They get their ace and don't move anything critical to do so. As an M's fan, I'll wish them the best(and hope they shred the East) until 2012.
Sounds like the M's did well on their Cliff Lee trade. A ready-now 1B with good defense(and walks!!!), a decent #4/5/bullpen type arm in Beavan, a decent 2B prospect who can bump Figgins to 3B and a potential flame-thrower reliever/closer(?) in Lueke? That about right? A great return on their trio of prospects sent out to Philly.
July 8th, 2010, I'm calling it:
Cliff Lee to Texas for Davis and Beltre. The M's need ready now or ready soon bats and Texas has two solid+ ones. Davis should eventually settle into some kind of a Russell Branyan type of bat(0.800 ops with 200 k's) and Beltre looks a lot like a slightly watered-down left-handed Mike Cameron. Texas gets it's 'ace' to run out there for the playoffs and doesn't move any critical pieces to do so.
I think both sides win.
These expanded lists sit at 99 and touch 103 with a plus-plus slider. They're suddenly becoming among the best prospects in Baseball Prospectus. Seriously, I love BP but I find myself going DIRECTLY for these pages. KG's insight is something that I have followed religiously since his days of the prospect email list.
You rule Kevin.
I was saying before the season that the M's should have resigned Branyan - not a monster deal - but a nice solid 2-3 year, 3 mill a year kind of deal. Gives him a nice career-large paycheck to reward his .800+ ops season in '09 and he would provide the M's with 500 at-bats of walks, huge strike-outs and 2-3 dozen bombs. The M's lineup is almost completely devoid of power and adding a .500 slugging threat to the middle of it would have made a giant improvement in their run-production. You can only string together so many base-hits.
The real question is, why do most hitters completely DIE in Seattle? Safeco's definitivly a pitchers park but how can mediocre hitters(Kotchman/Jack Wilson/etc) hit like a pitcher and good hitters(Bradley/A.Beltre/etc) turn into #8 hitters? The M's would be competetive if the lineup just produced numbers CLOSE to their career lines or their 50% pecota, instead they almost all seem to crater.
Bigger park equals less homers sure but doesn't it mean more gap doubles/triples and a few more bloops??
I'd love to see an article focusing on extreme park effects(of the non-Coors kind).
I've watched every M's start from Lee this year and I can tell you one thing that has changed. Now, *especially* when getting a nice lead, he throws NOTHING but strikes, attacking the hitters without fear. Occasionally the opposition piles together some hits at which point he starts pinpointing and working like a normal top tier pitcher - that is to say cautiously aggressive.
Hitters ARE making hard semi-regular contact though and many of his hammered pitches would be gone in Philly. In Safeco they end up F.Guitierez's glove on the track.
While the numbers don't support this(he's actually got a little bit better ERA on the road), it's from my own observation.
I don't want to take anything away from Cliff Lee, he's been a great pitcher now for 2-3 years but I just think his approach is behind the numbers.
Girardi left Felix off the All-Star team? What a jackass, he was the second best pitcher in the AL last year and about the 3rd-5th this year...
Disgraceful Yankees and their coach... Should be penalized.
Baseball can follow the example of the other 'big sports' in a lot of ways. 'More Instant Replay'. Salary Caps(The Yankees ransom of the best players is ridiculous and bad for the sport), the lottery-draft, 'pooled TV and radio packages with equal income to all teams', etc.
Baseball's great but has a lot to improve and by in large has stood pat while the other sports have stolen allegiences because of Baseball's faults.
Good list, I think Tom Hamilton is one of the best for sure. I listen to Indians games just to hear him call games - even if I don't care about the Indians or their opponents.
I'm guessing you left Braun off the list by accident. It's impossible to have an All-Star team with Angel Pagan(lol) and Andres Torres and no Ryan Braun. This one is inexcusible.
A lot of hype but too new. Maybe if he'd been up all three months and sporting numbers double his current ones. It's hard to put a guy with 6-7 starts into the All-Star game. It's not as though he's thrown 5 shutouts or something.
It should be a combination of the two stat lines. Anyone who comes out of nowhere though and hits well should realistically NOT be on an All-Star team. We don't need any more Chris Shelton's on any All-Star teams, let them prove it. Let them earn it.
Torres has zero business as an All-Star, even if you count half a season. Get him out of there, garbage.
Hughes has worse numbers then all three. You should subscribe to the NY Post, not Baseball Prospectus.
Players get talked about MORE when they're on the Yankees, not less. Are you serious?
Obviously Jackson has to slow down eventually but at some point doesn't the sum of the parts equal stardom Kevin? Maybe like an add-water, instant-Grady Sizemore package developing here?
Say Kevin, one more thing and off-topic but you mentioned Olerud: Doesn't Joe Mauer's game offensively look stunningly similar to Joe Mauer's? Smooth lefty stroke, marginal power(mostly to the opposite field), great eye, .300-.330 hitter...
To me they even look similar at the plate.
Not that a great-fielding catcher with Olerud's bat is a bad thing...
I think Nick Franlkin followed closely by Brett Jackson would be my votes. Sounds like Franklin could be a slick-fielding SS with an .800 ops, which basically reads: Star.
Jackson seems to be one of those guys unfazed by anything and overachieving on top of good all-around tools. Sounds like a nice player to have.
Jackson's an interesting prospect. Hailed for his power and tools yet holes in his swing, he's now hitting for average, taking some walks, striking out less and producing decent but not eye-popping power.
Kevin, any guesses or reports to this change? Perhaps a slight approach change(taking more bad pitches?). If he can put it all together, is it just me or does he look like a superstar?
LOL Christina, a good tongue-lashing to both the Pirates and baseball's idiotic Super-two/arbitration clock process. Seriously, it is ridiculous that teams, sometimes even in contention keep players that can and should help the team from joining them so they can save some money. It is hard to blame the teams considering the millions at stake but it's easy to blame MLB. FIX IT SELIG/MLBPA, jeez.
I think slowly baseball managers and GM's(as well as perhaps even players) are understanding that while strikeouts are fairly harmful to an offense and too many of them at a lower level of the minors might still represent red flags, a player who works the count, swings hard, strikes out a lot and produces some quality OBP/SLG numbers can be quite a valuable asset to an offense in smaller doses.
Obviously cases in point Mark Reynolds, Russell Branyan, even Ryan Howard, all of whom might not have had full-time jobs a couple decades ago are not only hailed as beneficial hitters but as stars/superstars and considered vital to their teams success.
If I'm a GM and making a lineup of different types of players I'd certainly love to have a guy like one of those above listed as my #5/#6 hitter. Get 'em on, get 'em in. I don't care if those guys are striking out half the time as long as they are carrying a .350 OBP and a .500+ slugging.
Then he sounds like Robinson Cano in CF without the high average. A good player but maybe not a star I guess? Love your work by the way, these columns keep me coming back for more and more.
Kevin, it's still hard to get a grip on Beltre's ultimate upside. Are we really looking at a Alfonso Soriano upside here? He sure seems to have that wirey-strength.
I think a very similar showing to Adam Dunn's introductory year is in order here. A decent average, some walks and a .500 to .550+ slugging.
Without getting into quotes for legal reasons, this year's BP top 100 list said something about Stanton being the most likely hitter to hit 50 in the future decade.
I think a dozen seasons of .250/.330/.500 surrounding a few of .280/.370/.560 are Stanton's upside, not downside
Of course OF'ers with career OPS flirting with .900 are superstars.
It just seems inevitable that Stanton won't hit for high average/OBP in the pro's given his current career plate discipline, his enornous size and the obvious huge swing he creates to produce such prodigious power.
I'd love Kevin's take. Can Stanton hit .300/.400/.600 in the majors and still blast 35-45 bombs a year? Personally I think there's like a 3-5% chance, very very unlikely.
What kind of player are we talking about in Stanton? I've always got the notion something like Adam Dunn with a few less walks and a few more homers... Is that a pretty accurate best-guess for his current career path? I begin to wonder though when you hear reports like this. It seems like perhaps Dunn is his downside...??
First, I'll echo the economy remark. The stock market and other areas of the financial world might have rebounded some but as a whole, the country is still in the middle of a very nasty recession with some small chances still of a double-dip recession.
Next, ticket prices are still as inexorbant as ever. I'm sorry, I'm just not paying $50-60 or more to sit 20 rows up at a baseball game unless it's October.
Looks like a serious disaster to me. Baseball writers, fans in general and apparently GM's have relatively little notion of the 30 and crash age group. A-Rod's salary is a disaster as well, similarly aged at the time of signing and similarly likely to decline, potentially rapidly.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Howard looks like Jim Thome with less walks in 4-5 years, - .250/.300/.500, bad defense - at $25m/year is a total disaster.
While this article surely identifies part of the reason for ticket hikes, it basically boils down to people still going to games and paying the accordingly increasing prices. I stopped going to ball games three years ago because of ticket prices and our befuddled general manager was wasting the money. Frankly, unless ticket prices are quite low($15-25 range tops), I'd much rather watch the game on a 1080p tivo big screen and enjoy it for pennies on the dollar. No traffic, no parking, no cramped seats next to the big smelly guy who keeps ordering more beer, etc.
Basically, the prices are going up because people appear to be willing to accept the prices. Stop going. Ultimately the people determine the prices of tickets.
Kevin, does Alvarez project as a superstar even at 1B? I realize his offensive upside would make him a top 5 thirdsacker, but with the tremendous depth of mashing 1B in baseball/NL, I would assume he'd be more in the 5-10 range at 1B. Your thoughts?
These articles are one of the top three reasons I subscribe to Baseball Prospectus. I was a fan and a 'member' waaay back when you sent out emails to a few hundred people talking about prospects and their daily results - now I just can't get enough. The combination of statistical analysis, insider feedback and cutting edge scouting makes these posts a joy and a benefit to read. I'd love to see a LOT more of this.
Uhm, it's 1 in 1000 lol... clearly... regardless of what history has shown, the results are irrelavent, it's 1 in 1000.
How much does 'confidence' play into all of this? I know when I play sports, softball is my bread and butter, I ride 'streaks' as well. While I think most streaks are simply normal mathematical occurances at random, but occasionally I would be 'red hot' or 'very bad'. I think streaks themselves can perpetuate continued performance on the same track. When I am 'on fire', I go to the plant in a positive mood, confident, feeling menacing, looking at the pitching and thinking about how well I am going to perform. This confidence or level of focus thus enhances my ability, if only temporarily.
Still think the M's are going to regret letting Big Russ go. I'd rather have him in there against RH'ers then Kotchman. Kotchman's a great defender and get's on base, but unless he starts lifting weight, his power is such a drag at 1B.
Gotta say, something is VERY VERY broken here. I'm not usually one to demand customer support, but with many of us more then just baseball fans(fantasy owners), I simply cannot use these current projects for 2010 or beyond. There is simply no explicable way on earth an older, worse hitter who had a bad year like Chris Davis can have a higher 90th percentile score then a young, all-world super-stud Justin Upton who is coming off another improving season and by almost every expert account is bound for an amazing, potentially HOF career. This just simply can't be.
As a loyal(5+ year) customer, I have six days left before my subscription ends. I'll be very honest, if there isn't some kind of announcement of something like: 'PECOTA PROBLEM: We're aware of it and a half-dozen BP folks are working 'round the clock to get Pecota fixed, STAY TUNED!!'...
I won't be re-subscribing. Sorry.
Howard's a traditional late bloomer with skills that age poorly historically. His slugging and OPS has continued to slide as well as his HR total. Add in the fact that PECOTA is generally 5-10% more conservative on average then other projection systems and it makes perfect sense.
A .250/.330/.520 season with 35-40 dingers would be about a reasonable expectation.
I was surprised the Angels fell as far as they did but they did lose really two major parts and some smaller pieces. The biggest drop to me is Figgins to Wood. Wood has to slug .500 to have any kind of value because he just won't reach base or make productive outs very often. Just as important, his defense probably won't be in the same catagory as Figgins.
I'd say 82-80 is more realistic for the Angels.
Also, unless Oaklands young pitching continues to improve, I can't see them as a .500 team. Their offense is really pretty ugly.
It sounds like 'Big Russ' has serious overplayed his 'big season' and wants something like 25 mil/3 years. Well that's not going to happen, and might not have even if he didn't slump/miss the last 40 games of the year. You're probably right also about Griffey, but in the mix of loving what he's meant to the team and wanting the team to capitalize on a win-now situation, it's hard to see him soaking up 400 at-bats with a .700 OPS.
If Branyan would take it, maybe exactly that deal, 3 mill+incentives would be the perfect mix for the M's. Give him another 400-500 at-bats, have him play 3-5 days a week, mostly against righties and enjoy the towering homeruns.
Right, so if there was a salary cap like there really should be, all three good East Coast teams would be merely decent? I understand now, completely. Thanks.
Actually I gotta admit. The Pirates lineup looks better then it has in years - and the best part is it's mostly young and improving. At least a few nice Sunny days this year for Pirate fans.
Would still really like to see Seattle offer Russell Branyan a two year, 14 million dollar deal and then give him 400 PA's at DH and 150-200 at 1B. No reason he can't give the M's offense some much needed POP(capital POP for Branyan's dingers). Griffey getting 450 PA is probably just stretching the guy. He's a great Seattle icon and legendary in his hay-day but his value today lies in his fantastic clubhouse presence, his tutalage to the younger players and his occasional electric pinch-hit game-winner.
If you're reading this Jack Z, plleeeease offer big Russ a 2-year deal. We want him back!!
Oh he gets a rotation spot if he's healthy, there's no doubt about that. That said, he's coming back from some really nasty pitching injuries, has always been rather brittle and may not even throw a pitch in a game until May/June. I'd say the over/under on his starts and innings this year are about 14/100. He's a good high risk/high reward arm though, he could certainly reel off 15 starts in the low 3.00's ERA and a k/inning.
Howard's statistics have roughly been in steady slow declide and now he's reaching the wrong side of the 25-31 peak age band.
If the LA region pooled all their 'revenue' into one team and sucked up every superstar for $30m/year all the Yankee fans would probably cry foul. It's just unreal how hypocritical and ignorantly self-entitled New York fans are.
The MLB salary situation is and has been broken for a decade or longer.
I'm inclined to think Russell Branyan would do a nifty Aubrey Huff inpersonation for about half the money.
.250/.320/.500 and decent 1B defence for 2 yrs/9 mill sounds about right.
One thing I don't understand is how that career year from Jimmy Rollins gave everyone expectations that he should be hitting .290/.360/.530 every year. These are smart people expecting similar production too. I've heard people call his 2008 line of .277/.349/.437 a huge bust. It's RIGHT IN LINE with his career averages...
I just don't get it, Rollins is not a superstar, he's just a good shortstop in an obviously inflated reputation.
How does Russell Branyan not make this list? Can probably be happily signed for 3 yrs/12 Million and almost a sure bet to hit in the .240/.330/.500 range.
ARod is a money-grubbing, cheating player with no honor. Griffey left Seattle in large part to the pressures he was facing from people and management, but also to be at home. At the time his contract was considered below market value.
All Arod has ever done is demand that he's paid more then anyone else, regardless of circumstance or situation. If some Japanese team in the early 2000's offered him a 500,000,000.00, he'd still be over there playing for the money.
Comparing Arod and Griffey is like comparing a Dale Earnhart with Lance Armstrong.
These facts regarding A-Rod's horrific, narcasistic personality and awful decisions are undisputed and your continued support for this shameful off-field behavior only reinforces your infatuation for anything New York.
No one is comparing him to a mass-murderer but his off-field behavior is indefensible.
"I want to play for a winner" - Then quickly signs with a perennial-last place team for a record setting contract.
". I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful." Rodriguez said he could not be sure of the name(s) of the substance(s) he had used"
Incidentally, it also shows his deep rooted pathological lying: Only an idiot would take unknown substances when you were already signed to the largest contract in sports. He knew exactly what he was taking, and knew exactly why.
This is also clearly well documented.
"When people write [bad things] about me, I don't know if it's [because] I'm good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team"
And of course he was disloyal to 1. Mariner's fans, his wife, baseball, etc. etc.
Wagman, I destroyed you. It would be prudent if you didn't post ignorant defenses without any mental comprehension to support your rhetoric. C'mon, get out, it's time to go!
Alex Rodriguez is a terrible human being. You can't argue it - it's over and settled - virtually every thing he has done publically and privately in his career outside of baseball is disgraceful. He's a pathological liar, a cheater, an attention-whore and disloyal.
On the field, he is a great player and finally helping to prove that 'clutch hitting' isn't real. Baseball players are streaky and sometimes their stats are put under a magnifying glass because they didn't perform well for a couple dozen games in October.
More on the ridiculously unbalanced MLB structure compared to the NFL...
The last seven years in the AL, four of the 15 teams have been in the playoffs a total of 21 times(NYY 6, BOS 6, LAA 5, MIN 4), the other eleven teams? They've been in a TOTAL of 6 times... That, my friends, is absofuckinglutely ridiculous.
Compare it to the NFL, in the NFC the from 2002-2008, out of a total of 42 playoff teams, every team made it at least once except Detroit, and all but four teams made two apperences or more during those seven years. No NFL team made the playoffs more then 5 out of 7 years... Two did it in baseball, despite less playoff spots.
If you still believe MLB is anywhere near as balanced as the NFL, then you're just a dellusional idiot.
Also, in the NFL, plenty of teams that were great one year are bad the next, or visa versa. This very rarely happens in baseball. Teams that are bad generally stay bad and teams that win generally continue to win. The playoff droughts and world series wins droughts back this up as well.
The NFL crushes MLB when it comes to marketing, popularity and competetive balance.
Your stats about the playoffs naturally ignores the fact that the NFL has 50% more playoff teams every year so obviously more teams can make the playoffs at a higher frequency.
I think the most evident case of lack of balance is that the NY Yankees have 16 winning seasons in a row(and Boston 11), while the longest such streaks in the NFL are 9 and 8. Combined with an annual salary base that exceeds every other team almost every year, there is a clear correlation between money and the Yankee's success.
And of course let's not forget the Yankees 27 world series titles, or approxiamately 1 in 4 since they started playing world series. The NFL highest are the packers at about 1 championship in every 7 years.
Lastly, people aren't born a fan of a team. They select one. Usually people choose the local team to root for, but plenty of fans are fairweather, bang-wagon jumpers who find a team that consistently wins and then roots for them. Which one are you Joe? lol
Good series, but awful hard to feel good about the richest team in baseball winning. No one should like the favorite, but it seems plenty of bonehead, selfish fans do exactly that.
Baseball's lack of some kind of competetive balance is what keeps it from being as popular as the NFL - when you can fairly safely say that 2-3 teams are going to make the playoffs most years, there's a real problem.
Unquestionably players get more comfortable hitting and perhaps even fielding and pitching at home. Familiar environments, glares, backdrops, outfield angles, mound size(yes they vary from park to park), etc. all play a minute role on a home teams success. 4% sounds about right.
Okay... so let me see if I get this straight...(hypothetical) the Twins put Michael Cuddyer on waivers, Seattle, Boston, New York and the LA Angels claim him. Seattle, via worst record then has 48 hours to work out a trade or failing then, take on the contract? If they work out a trade, don't they have to take on the contract anyway? Does this mean a team 'putting players on waivers' is essentially trying to leverage $$$ into minor leaguers? For this case, why would Seattle work out a deal with the Twins when they can get Cuddyer for no players and just the contract?
Also, if the Twins bring Cuddyer back from waivers, surely they can't put him on waivers again at a later point can they?
I'll be the happiest man on earth if both Boston and TB miss the playoffs.
How negatively do strikeouts effect a players value, or VORP? I know of course the obvious situations, don't move the runner up or in, but how does it effect the metrics?
I've long wondered why players like Reynolds, Russell Branyan and Adam Dunn compare offensively to contact oriented 1B like James Loney.
Surely Branyan is more valuable with a .250/.350/.500 line then Loney at .300/.350/.450.
I'm not an Indians fan, but I think they should have got Michael Taylor in the Lee deal. They need that impact OF bat alongside Laporte.
You know, reading this article, it reminded me how similar Seattle is to SF. They have great young pitching and for sure a lineup of scrubs and stars.
... you can expect the guys below their normal production to regress upwards. Beltre should be coming back towards the end of August which, when healthy, should provide league average offence at 3B and gold glove work.
Lopez should continue to improve and indeed has posted about a .900 OPS in June and July.
It's only 35 at-bats but Rob Johnson is posting a .900+ OPS since July as well.
Sure they have a lot of holes, but couldn't players be found relatively cheaply to fill them at SS/3B, maybe DH/LF?
I don't think they have to move premium prospects to do that. Besides there's always Jeff Clement and Michael Saunders to give a shot.
The other thing here is that it's precisely because the offence is so bad that it would be relatively easy to upgrade in a trade. Also, for the same reason you can expect Branyan and perhaps Washburn to regress(though I don't expect much - both have changed their approach)
Branyan is better then anyone here realizes or gives him credit for. He's been kicked around his entire career and the M's are capitalizing by doing what the other 29 teams didn't - start him regularly. He should still be resting against tough lefties - heck most lefties, but he's torched RH'ers the last few years and batting every day, in the two spot where he gets plenty of hittable pitches, he's mashing.
There are only a couple of players in the league who have comparable power. While he fans a lot, so does Ryan Howard, Mark Reynolds, etc. etc. and they all get at-bats.
Branyan is better then players like Mike Jacobs who yet manages to get in the lineup every day.
If I were the M's owner, I'd reward Branyan with a reasonable, short-term deal. Branyan will probably bite at something like 13m/3 years. He'll reward the M's with some .250/.340/.530 seasons.
While I understand that fundamentally, the M's trading for a couple of big pieces this year and going for it is a bad idea, there is something to be said for keeping and improving the current fan base. Fans like to win, even one that understands what rebuilding is about. That said, I'd still like to see a token effort to acquire a couple of bats(and surely at least inquire about Halladay). If Jack Z was smooth about it, he might even be able to retain the blue chip prospects in the farm and add a couple of modest pieces that would put the M's into the race.
""The Mariners aren’t good enough to win this year""
This sentence is a pretty lame. It should be more like, the Mariner's *probably* aren't good enough to win this year. By making this blanket statement, you are condemning all wild card and cinderella teams to futility. Once the playoffs begin, the M's would look much better on paper with a lights-out bullpen and a wicked starting 3. They just have to make it there and given the race, it's certainly not mission impossible.
It would really be a mistake for the M's to not retain Russell Branyan. He's a great all-around player. He will put up a .850-.900 OPS, plays solid defense and runs well for a big man. I'd love to see them sign him to a 2-3 year deal at 3-5$ mill a year.
If you don't keep the fan base happy, people stop going to games and then your budgets shrink. There is certainly some importance to giving the fans hope and not winning at all for 2-3 years isn't hope.
Why doesn't anyone give any chance for Seattle to pick up Halladay?
That's a pretty damn hot rotation to enter the playoffs with, regardless on how soft the offence has been.
Is this because Seattle is more in the market for a couple of bats and not an arm? Halladay over Garret Olson makes a HUGE difference.
Thanks for a West coast article. It's greatly appreciated!
The M's need two bats, one solid one at SS, 3B or LF and a big bat at one of those three to contend. Matt Holliday and Ty Wigginton might be enough.
Not bad though that woud have to be the 'small trade' part. Wigginton probably isn't going to hit .280/.350/.500 any time soon and that's the kind of bat Seattle needs.
I don't see how Seattle should throw in the towel yet. First, Beltre is due back in early September, so they'll have his defense and bat for the playoff run and playoffs. Their defense is excellent, their pitching has been sharp and with Bedard coming healthy they can hope - something out of Morrow - they should continue holding teams down in scoring. They could really use a good LF bat, Willingham perhaps or a hitting shortstop. I think they are small trade and a blockbuster away(Holliday?) from capturing the division.
Since Bedard, Beltre, Washburn, etc. are only left for one year it'd be best if they try and win.
Can Seattle move enough to get a nice right bat before the deadline? Alexis Rios?
If you look at the team, they need a SS, and LF in roughly that order. Given their pitching and defense has been so strong, one more bat might push them right into the big picture.
You have to take his home park into context as well as the rest of his abilities. Frankly, Howard is quickly turning into a one-trick poney. His walk rate has dropped, he's fanning even more often then before(maybe this is where he 'towers' - lol), he can't hit for average and his defense is mediocre. Russell Branyan is the same player - though he may take a few more walks - and Branyan usually can't find a job. Howard is playing on reputation alone - well that and people like home runs.
He's overrated, for sure. Most defensive metrics have his defense somewhere between bad and horrific. He's a very solid hitter, but at this point he should probably be playing 2B or 3B which would take the gleam off his triple-slash line pretty quick.
He's great for being a Captain on a four-time winner ten years ago, but his current contributions are that of a decent, not-great, shortstop.
You've seen Howards regression the last four years I guess? He's falling from superstardome, no wait, he's CRATERING...
His line this year will probably be sustained.
The difference with Reyes is that he contribues just about everywhere besides the mediocre OBP. Howard is a one, maybe two trick poney - homers and walks. That he's good at one is the only reason he has a job, there are dozens of hitters in the minors with light tower power.
Russell Branyan would probably post similar numbers to Howard, yet he's almost waived every year by some stupid team. Kudo's to Seattle for giving him a job and LEAVING him in there when he struggles.
From the context of a firstbaseman, he's definitely overrated, no argument. His home park is a hitter's dream yet he posts pedestrian numbers at 1B. Because of his counting stats hitting behind a few hitters with .400 OBP's he always shows up in the MVP award. Terribly overrated, 'fraid to say pal.
Russell Branyan should have been selected to the Homerun Derby over Brandon Inge. Period.
There probably isn't a hitter in the AL who hits the ball further then Branyan - and this year he's doing it with more regularity then normal - which is saying a lot.
Branyan should have made both the All-Star team and Derby over Inge.
Why do people get so upset about Manny's suspension? He was trying to get(or keep) his edge in an extremely competetive sport and he got caught. With the huge, growing list of players committing similar offences, clearly it's a common error.
If you were paid by how many times you could bench press 225, you'd be taking anything and everything you could as well. THEY GET PAID TO PERFORM - of course they are going to try and get away with illegal supplements.
That call was horrific and the Hirshbeck should be under a firestorm right now, or at the very least, in the dog house.
And to the Mets fans jeering Manny Ramirez: Your team sucks, **** you, cry babies.
You're definitely the only person.
Weak hitting Seattle just won half their games @Bos and @NY while the Rangers whipped the Rays three straight.
I can't be the only person who thinks the Redsox, Rays and Yankees are universally overrated.
Great article Joe. I agree that the All-Star game has lost almost all of it's luster. Even worse are the fans voting in subpar players. Dustin Pedroia just has no business being an All-Star started over Ian Kinsler. That is just idiotic. Ditto Ben Zobrist having the best 2.5 months of his career. If Zobrist makes the All-Star squad, then so does Russ Branyan...
Beating my drum to the AL West drop-kicking the AL East this weekend. Rangers sweep, A's do fine and Seattle wins 2 of 3 @Boston...
So much for the powerhouse AL east! :p
Seriously though, some love this week please.
Okay, so now after today's win against Boston, Seattle is 5-3 on their current road trip @LA, @NYY and @BOS. I'll tell you this - if they don't jump quite a bit in next week's Hit List, something is very very wrong here.
While I agree run differential has some merit, I just don't believe it has as much to do with future returns as it's given credit for here.
Seattle is a pitching first team playing in a pitcher's park. It only makes sense that they are going to play in more low scoring, 1-run, 2-run games then teams like Boston or now NY playing in small, offense driven parks.
Teams like Boston and NY don't bunt because their lineups are so full of solid hitters and the parks so small that bunting has no value. Meanwhile Seattle has 3-4 hitters that can hit and the rest hit like pitchers - it makes more sense to bunt and sacrafice outs to win by a smaller margin.
Now I hate bunting and know it's limited use, but when you're constantly playing one and two run games, bunting has it's value - especially for a no-hit team like Seattle.
This is for sure one of the worst ratings BP does. I LOVE BP and have been a subsriber for almost a decade, but rating teams by how many runs they score and allow is ridiculous. When teams get signifigantly behind or ahead in a game they usually put in their mop-up pitchers and sometimes their mop-up players. Obviously this can drastically affect the final score and thus the scoring margin. World series are won by whoever WINS the most games, not overall outscores their opponents.
It has *some* value on determining team strengths, but certainly not the nearly all-out weight apparently assigned by this weekly column.
What kills me is that East-coast bias is a known phenomenon yet rarely gets mentioned even when four out of the five teams on this list are from the typical 'East coast' triangle.
I presume the experts are expecting the M's, Angels and Rangers to 'crater back to earth' right? And what if it doesn't happen? Time to eat crow?
Let's keep this civil please.
Well now the Mariner's are 10-6 vs. the 'tough' AL East, just kicking the crap out of them.
The Angels are 12-8 vs. the AL East.
Texas and Oakland are .500 against the AL East combined.
These stats are pretty cut and dry.
Keep on with your bias though, it's not your fault, it's too deeply rooted to remove now.
This list is very biased. Seattle, missing Betancourt, now Beltre and Bedard for large portions of the season has a better record then the Braves who have less signifigant injuries yet the Mariner's are headed down(despite going 3-3 against the Yankees and Dodgers ON THE ROAD) and the Braves are going up. Ridiculous.
Pretty typical East Coast biased.
And how does Toronto stand higher then the Angels? Disgraceful.
There are a couple of things to consider. First, the M's are sending 2-4 players a night to the dish that have composite lines normally associated with a pitcher hitting. Even if they dredged the waiver wire or brought up AAA hitters, they can and should be able to improve on Rob Johnson, Ronny Cedeno and Mike Sweeney. The M's aren't *loaded* in the minors by any means, but they do have usable parts in Michael Saunders, Matt Carp, Jeff Clement, etc.
Also, while they may not be huge players on the trade front, you could argue that even if they traded for mediocre players from a few teams and acquired average players, it would bring the entire offense up that much.
Ichiro is very capable of continuing his pace - it's not that far from his career norm and again, while Branyan is certain to regress some, he is having a great year and it would shock me if he didn't finish above a .250/.330/.540 line.
The injuries they have suffered lately have been pretty rough but I expect Seattle to be mild contenders right up until October.
I've watched Branyan all year(and for the last ten years) very closely. If you want an amatuer scouting report it's this: He's improved his plate discipline from horrific to pretty decent. He's laying off more pitches, fouling off more breaking balls and going the other way when pitched away.
I'm positive he won't hit .300 all year, his average has steadily dropped since that five-hit game in May, but he has really improved his approach at the plate and batting 2nd(god I love this decision), he's getting plenty of pitches to hit.
If I had to guess his final season's line I would suggest something like .255/.345/.550 which is pretty damn nice for 1.4 million.
His defense at firstbase has also been solid if not exceptional.
Hmm, doesn't the AL East spend much more money on players then most other divisions? I'd give credit except it's like giving a medal to the guy driving a Viper who beats the Honda in a quarter mile race.
I'm a long-time Mariner's fan and Baseball Prospectus subscriber and I also lean towards them 'going for it'. I don't think they have much chance, even if they make the playoffs, but I think it will be a much needed boost to the morale of fans suffering through the Bavasi dolldrums.
I don't think Branyan will post a 1.000 OPS all year, but there's no reason he can't put out 600 at-bats at .260/.350/.550, and that's pretty impressive compared to the last 3-4 years 1B for the M's.
I'd expect the offense to improve, and the pitching to decline - there's just no way that Washburn, Vargas and Olson can continue their smoke and mirrors all year.
Brandon Morrow is a wildcard and I'd still like to see Matt Clement and maybe Michael Saunders get a shot during the year - it's not like Griffey, Sweeney or their other C's are doing anything.
Thanks for the article Christina, the M's receive about as much media coverage as the WNBA.
East coast, east coast, east coast....
some West coast pitcher clearly going to some east coast team...
some West coast pitcher clearly going to some east coast team...
some West coast slugger clearly going to some east coast team...
some terrible, no-chance west coast team has all their players, GMs and pretty women available to any east coast team, even if they are mediocre and barely a playoff threat, etc.
This writer focuses so much on the East coast it's disgusting. The title of his columns should be called On the East coast beat...
What are people talking about? This year, sure his numbers are way down, but so are Troy Tulowistki, Adrian Beltre, Bobby Abreu, David Ortiz, etc. Seasonal slumps are part of baseball, it happens every year, to all kinds of players.
Now 2008 was a disappointment? How on earth can you say that? He had 58 extra base hits and almost 50 steals while posting a very career-like .277/.349/.437. For comparison's sake, his career like is .275/.331/.437. No really, go look. So last year, if anything, was another good average year from Rollins. The only thing perhaps disappointing was he missed some 20+ games for the first time in a half dozen years.
Conclusion: 2008 was a normal year. 2007 was a career year. 2009 he has started slow.
Nothing to see here, move along people.
Pretty sick analysis. This kind of article must take a long time to create - and a lot of research as well. Give this man a raise.
The Angels are wrecked with injuries, Oakland's starting pitching looks too suspect and Texas has it's usual pitching woes. I expect Seattle to finish right in the thick of things.
It really wouldn't surprise me to see some team from the West with 85 wins win the division. It's wiiide open.
Big market teams should have harder schedules anyway since they reap larger markets and can overwhelm free agents with money to help them win.
And that makes for a perfect 4th OF/late inning replacement. Gomez has minimal upside and his learning curve right now is an offensive black hole. He can't get on base, has minimal power, strikes out a TON for a 'speedy slap-hitter' and does project to improve too drastically.
Young still has .300/.380/.500 upside and while his defense is nothing special, that's *exactly* what the Twins need in their lineup.
Most managers and a lot of general managers are pretty obviously selected via the 'good ol' boy' program and not based on their qualifications or capabilities. Dusty Baker is another travesty of a manager, yet somehow year after year finds a job. In this recession, let's fire the people who DESERVE to be fired and hire some new blood.
Gardenhire in Minn. is equally guilty. How else can you justify starting Carlos Gomez over Delmon Young? One does nothing but play defense and steal bases and the other is a decent hitter with potential star upside. Disgraceful.
Is it just me or isn't McPherson just Adam Dunn light? And what's wrong with that in the 5-hole?
If the mid-season pecota suggestion needed more push, it has my vote as well. I\'d also like to see some kind of variation in long-term projected stats, perhaps based on the players \'upside\' scores. It\'s kind of boring to see a hitter projected to hit .288, .288, .289, .288, etc. etc.
.288, .302, .294, .280, .312, .288 would be more interesting and realistic in my mind.
Ditto homeruns... because no one(save Adam Dunn), hits the same amount of homers, or slugs the same every year...
.478, .491, .488, .506, .466, etc.
Two homegrown players in that entire lineup. What a disgraceful franchise the CriebabyYankees have turned into. Keep throwing money at free agents(most of whom have seen their best years already) and keep choking down playoff losses. I relish the day when the Rays completely boot the Yanks into 3rd place annually.
fu yanks, think you can get every big name player out there... choke down another bad season