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When the Astros drafted Correa there was a crowd that cried foul that the Astros drafted him for fiscal reasons. Appel wasn't going to sign, and the Astros weren't giving up a pick so they took the best player they could for the money they wanted to spend. Not among that crowd was <a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/kevin_goldstein">Kevin Goldstein</a>, who though Correa was the real deal. First chance I got I made sure I was on it.
The first time I saw Correa play was in April of 2013 on the road at Kane County. I got to the field early and figured I would grab my seat and close my eyes for ten minutes. I glance over to the left and saw what I thought was a major league player down for rehab or a fitness coach in a uniform. He was exactly as Goldstein and Parks described; he looked like a man among boys.
In batting practice he battered the ball to all fields but kept it in the park. In his first at bat, however, he smacked the ball so hard and so far the crowd fell silent enough to hear the ball hit the grass. Two innings later he made a tremendous grab just shy of second base, spun and nailed the runner with time to spare. (To be fair i think it was <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70408">Dan Vogelbach</a></span> but it was still a thing of beauty)
I agree with the assessment he may be the best prospect in baseball. He had that look that you rarely see in A ball, that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Miguel+Sano">Miguel Sano</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span> look where you can spot him 250 feet away and you are taken aback. Since that day I have only seen him on MILB tv, but from what I say he converted the look to the goods.
Sorry this post is so long, but watching what is happening to the Cubs in terms of office personnel growth has led me to a fear that I wanted some input on. Please don't read this if you have things to do.
Private industry, and in fact in many areas government as well, has flirted with this concept extensively. I now run my own company, with 14 full time employees and 5 or 6 contract guys who don't want to be pinned down to one boutique company in my field. I have a beer for fun now, instead of 6 out of necessity.
Prior to starting my own business, however, I worked for a large jurisdiction government agency involved in property taxes. I specialized in the valuation of commercial and industrial real estate, the money maker for local taxing bodies, and ran the office in that department, the highest paid and largest division because it is where the money was.
A change in elected officials led to a new philosophy, this one where high paid management is more essential to an office (and go ahead and employ this concept to a team, it works) than anything else. The next step in this philosophy, after finding good management, sort of blew my mind, because management tends to breed additional management, and this is a big possible downside to what is happening at least here with the Cubs from what I am hearing.
At one time prior to the change in elected officials , the office where I worked had an elected official and 7 department heads, of which I was one, and 275 employees. Our budget was around $30,000,000, and we did good work for what we had.
This new management breeds success philosophy took hold. Within two years there are 18 top deputies, 30 sub directors, and 40 plus more management. And a total of 473 employees to "present management's vision as it developed and implemented a much better product which ultimately serves the public better."
We went from an efficient organization of overworked but sound management to delivering a camel created by committee. The budget blew up, and the product effectively remained the same. What cost $30,000,000 now cost $60,000,000, and the product ultimately suffered because in reality it is the product on the field, not the product in the office, that mattered.
Sorry again for how long this has been, but I am starting to see a possibility that visionaries such as Theo Epstein may in fact be closet government agents, as it were. Sure, the Cubs have increased on field talent, but over time the voice of a Joe Maddon may in effect end up being just a sound in the creation of a camel, rather than the architect and spokesperson of a good team.
There are obviously big differences. I get that. I am ultimately skeptical, however, that any paradigm shift in the operations of a 150 year old sport will ultimately lead to success. I subscribe to Baseball Prospectus because I love sabermetrics and mathematical analysis. When I see a warning in an article that gory math details are coming I get a boner. That said, Ned Yost, a guy who not only doesn't understand sabermetrics but may in fact not have a working understanding of the game period came within one game, check that one run, of a world series title.
As a resident south suburban Chicagoan I have been unkind to Alexei. I was about to say that the Dodgers could do better than Alexei and that trying to save money on printing a new name on the back of a jersey was pointless but the numbers show maybe taking the solid 158 game a year Alexei beats the flashes of brilliance Hanley shows.
Going back to 2008 Hanley looks superior with a median WAR of 4.8 v. Alexei clocking in at 2.4 but some interesting math shakes out from 2011 thru 2014. After H.'s 2011 injury his numbers unravel. In 2012, a full season for Hanley, his WAR falls from 5.0 in 2010 to 2.5 for full year 2012 combined. And the 5.0 in 2010 is down from 6.4 in 09 and 8.3 in 2008.
From 2011 to 2014 Hanley has an average WAR of 2.7 per season to 2.6 for Alexei. And it all comes down to plate appearances and games played. From 2011 thru 2014 Hanley plays in 92, 128, 96, and 128 games and averages 108. Alexei, on the other hand, plays 158 games each season. They can spend elsewhere and at the same time have a consistent, if unspectacular middle infield.
And from the Sox standpoint Alexei may have a club friendly contract but they are playing in a a fan angry environment. A highly suspect farm system and a cast of retiring post prime veterans does not an attendance boost make. If Abreu ends up regressing there is no way the sox will match their 1,650,821 attendance figure landing them in the coveted 29th spot.
The firm I work for has Cubs, Sox, Bulls and Bears season tickets and the Sox performance has done wonders for my attendance. I can go and watch Sale punch out 14 any time I want, watch great talent pass thru town, and from right behind home plate because none of our clients, literally 1 out of 81 opportunities, would take us up on an offer of an afternoon or evening at US Cell. Contrast this with the Cubs, where 77 games were filled within two phone calls. For sox games we were calling 5, 6 clients deep, even when Kluber, Darvish, Mike Trout, etc. rolled through and not one client said thanks, lets go. One client, a guy who hates baseball, said yes to the Konerko farewell game.
I don't know what to make about Segura, but avoiding is the smart play. I don't see enough of him to know what the problem is. In the back of my mind I can't help but wonder if the Crash Davis tirade, "if you just get one extra flare a week-just one- a gorp... 25 hits in 500 at bats..." wasn't the issue. I think 2015 will see a slightly better pool of hitting shortstops.
Although if anyone listens to someone who firmly believed Yu Darvish would come into 2014 a fit, shuuto throwing 350 K pitcher you get what you deserve. I am looking forward to retrosheet winter ball. At least I know what I am up against.
Whenever I see Baez or Castro in a trade reference I cringe. I think Castro has some growing up to do, he loses focus mid game, mid inning in fact, but is a rock solid fielding SS that can play great 3B and a great muscle bat. I havent seen enough of Baez to know whether he is the real deal or not, but he is the real deal.
Longtime cub fans who believe, from Lincoln Square to Evanston, will be hanging themselves from light poles if neither Baez nor Castro deliver. I can't imagine the crap I will get if I have to tell friends to pound sand, next year Dan Vogelbach is coming up and you will see.
A lot of people saw the decline of Chris Davis coming from a mile away. There was a sort of Charboneudor about him that I couldn't get past. I was victim to Verlander, however. So many things should have told me to stay away. Declining velocity 2013 over 2012. Less effective punch out pitch 2013 over 2012 over 2011. Age.
I should have seen it coming. Instead, I saw a sort of motion in the latter part of spring, early summer of 2013 that led me to believe he had a throwing finger blister he was over compensating for. This led to some motion and form adjustments that would clearly heal over the winter and we may see the major leagues first 30 game winner in 40 plus years in 2014.
So in my head I created a scenario where I completely dominate my league by grabbing Darvish first, Verlander early in the draft, added the amazing breakout year Bryce Harper mid tier, .... and on. F$CK dumpster fire, my season was full on grease bin blaze bad.
At first i thought it can't be, a sandwich must be ensconced in two separate pieces of bread. A hot dog bun, even though it will eventually likely tear apart, especially if you dip it in water a la Joey Chestnut, is still joined at birth. Then I think of a Chicago Italian beef, it is on french or italian bread and the bottom doesn't fall out until the third bite or so. That is definitely a sandwich. I would rather continue to ponder the hot dog question and the what the hell happened to Justin Verlander question so once I figure it out I will be back.
Living near Chicago I spend most of my time at Midwest League games, and mostly at Kane County. When I saw Jose Jose pitch I thought this is the most bizarre wind up I have ever seen. I went out to South Bend to watch him again, and it was completely different (he had a bad back the first time I saw him, reportedly, wtf why he was on the mound). I came for Jose squared but stayed and come back for two more full weekends to see Andrew Velasquez.
I honestly don't know what to make of his on base streak. In the majors your talent and the competitive talent are on a relatable plain. MWL ball is good quality for the level, but obviously the competitive balance is not on a level plain. Watching Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, or Miguel Sano against some of the fill in pitchers was like watching the Yankees play the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The on base streak says something, and that something was in many ways related to his speed. He has a good swing, and has a lot of traits in common with better hitting short stops. I really started to wonder if he was a true hidden gem.
His OPS was 12th in the MWL, outstanding for a SS and second behind Lake County's Paul Hendrix with an OPS of .813. His OBP was .367, what I would expect given the streak. He is 7th in the league, but this is a league where two catchers are ahead of him so maybe some noise in the numbers.
After reading this article I dug a little deeper and am happy I did. His 35 errors lead to a .934 fielding percentage. Sorry it took so long to say thanks for a great article and a more realistic viewpoint on my man Velasquez. And Shipley is fun to watch, isn't he?
Regardless of who is in charge now there is a Conservative Christian sort of yes sir, no sir scene the Cubs exude that makes this move potentially great for the Cubs. They really need someone who can use Jason's microfocused energy to promote subversively for lack of a better term. I can't wait to see Jason at Fifth third Bank Park. If you have any influence at all see if you can keep Kane County safe from Myron Noodleman next season it would be appreciated.
This is the kind of hard hitting research that separates the men, man really, just Jason, from the likes of Dave Cameron at Fan Graphs and the trolls at Baseball America. Pure Genius.
"... as he once played Benjamin Franklin in a school play and never really abandoned the role, taking it to levels normally reserved for the fetish community. Call it a quirk or an idiosyncratic trait or a legit anachronistic displacement issue, Nola continues to rally against the Stamp Act and is a strict champion of his own puritanical virtues, which he recites on the mound whenever he needs to find inner strength. Some have suggested that he modeled his pitching style after the French, and that he glues pictures of his own face onto other people’s currency, but those claims remain unsubstantiated at this time."
The sox are notorious for making bad decisions so at first I thought the Abreu signing was a mistake and they should have walked away after $5.5 a year over 7 years. As a longtime fan of the sox they have been a stone bummer in terms of player development and identification. Suck on Kip Wells and Gordon Beckham as the futures of your franchise ad you will share my nightmare. I think Chris Sale broke the voodoo mojo and maybe Abreu is an homage to Frank Thomases past and not the ghost of Ron Kittle. Abreu is no Puig, but Harrelson is no Scully so there you go.
First off I love this series. I am a prospect junkie and with so much focus on fantasy industry wide (i am sure it is awesome, just not my sack)I love the fact bp still delivers.
When scouts do their write ups is there ever an injury history, injury more likely analysis separate from the grades? The master scouts have been at this for years so I am curious whether they include this in a grade, in comps, or is it not their place to say? Is the scout instructed to get the history a d project the futurr problems or is that a front office technical variable.
I ask because it seems like some teams, best example is the Nats who snagged Giolito with a known issue, and all the buzz about strasburg's vulnerabity given the weight loss and change in motion that were unavoidable due to not having the stomach to work around?
I really liked all of the mock draft articles. It is clear a lot of work went into these and it makes renewing my subscription a no brainer.
I am a white sox fan. If i ever am on trial the insanity plea is a no brainer. Prospect junkie who is a Sox fan is a clear insanity defense.
Aftet reading as much draft pre writing my eyes could tolerate there were three sure picks. Aiken first, Miami born ace Radon 2 to the Marlins, and Tyler Kolek to the sox.
Is something wrong with Radon, or is something wrong with Miami. I love Radon, would have wanted the sox to take him second if it was their pick, what am i missing?
I had to look twice at Appel's line. And I love these updates by the way. I can't follow many players and it is great to see what others are doing. Thanks.
Fuck brian kenny. You have eaten breakfast with the great Willie Mays. Not just breakfast, in fact, but pancakes.
Hits: R R L L L R L R L L
Outs: L L R R R L R L R R
Brooklyn's own nostradamus. Great read. It would be wonderful if soler and starlin could live across the hall from baez and bryant.
Really loved the site with what you gave us before. This is a huge us, and cant emphasize enough how great it is Jason is running roughshod over the niche baseball junkie info providers. Thanks for a great first article and cant wait for the next installment.
If Lao Tzu were alive I am sure he would collect defunct MLB team sundae helmets. I bet his pride and joy would be his Seattle Pilots helmet. I figure he would have at least 20 Expo helmets and they would be passe.
Great article. You had me at "Instead, what it means is that if his underlying skill set has changed in some meaningful way, we'll know in 140 plate appearances."
I had a football coach who knew just enough about statistics to be dangerous. He discovered we scored 100% of the time when we attempted a td pass from between the 25 and 30 yard line. A running back made a break into wide open field on 2nd and 5 from the 40 and he made him run out of bounds at the 26 with the threat of death. Next play, the 100% productive td pass from between the 25 and 30 was picked off.
I looked at him like he was stupid, but a friend of mine made a good point. Even with the pick the play still saw a success rate of 66.7%.
Stats rule, in context.
Anyone who watches a Nationals game knows about the great at bat chat smitty is referring to. Bryce Harper will spend 3 minutes burning up a pitcher by blasting foul balls at half asleep fans at some point in most games. To his credit, though, at least from memory anyway, it seems Harper uses this type of at bat as a tune up and he finishes a lot of these foul ball binges with a well placed single or double.
Great article. Any misinformation disseminated by IL Duche is more than offset by his glowing tan.
Was Doug Glanville asked to take part in the MLB task force? His book was a real eye opener.
Great article. I am still staring at the spray chart. Thanks
There is a geocentric universe theory look in his eyes when he gets passionate. The only reason I go to sox games is so i dont have to see him on tv. It isnt a debate unless both parties bring something to the discussion. You cant divide by zero.
I have been able to see correa 6 times this season due to midwest league scheduling quirks sending him to kane county early and often. If i saw him at a bar i would push aside any woman in the way and stammer a sheepish hello i like his "presence" so much. He is so outsanding hedominates warm up tosses before the game. He towers over his teammates and you cant help be drawn to his presence. First game i saw him he hit a towering homer and vertically leaped 30 inches easy to snow cone a line drive. I watched javy baez at least a dozen times and correa and in a small sample he makes baez look like a piker. I still think baez has more impact potential than castro so my Correa crush runs deep.
I am hoping it is a Leonard Cohen quote as channeled by the vocals of Jeff Buckley. Great article. I have a friend who lives and breathes Dan Vogelbach currently in Kane County. I hope he is right but I have a feeling he is so wrong he will need counseling. At least you were let down by a real contender. If it weren't for Hosmer's, Harper's would not be as special.
Great article. One key point that I think needs to be looked at is that there is a large percentage of people that right out of the gate despise statistics because they dont understand or dont want to understand the meaning derived from the math. Scouts and coaches are given the benefit of the doubt out of the gate while stats continually need to be vetted. In the words of the mlb network resident genius Harold Reynolds "I just know that that aint right."
I have been straddling the fence on ped's but the notion of not wanting your father to think you cheated your way in is an eye opener. When i put myself in the would i have or wouldnt i have i know from playing football i wouldnt. My choices were made from a health standpoint but like to think even if there were no health issues i wouldnt have used. I am sure if i did i wouldnt have been able to look my dad in the eye. I cant help but wonder how many dads pushed their kids int using.
I wonder if lower tier options are even options after a point. You tend to go with what you know and after 40 years of being a white sox fan / cub follower I have seen enough scrap heap pick ups to note they dont often return to form. Taking a struggling fastball starter or a mid reliever and making them a reliever eems to be a better option. That said i like valverde a lot. He was fun to watch and had good stuff. Great article and thanks for a good summary of who is left. And just say no to Farnsworth.
ok so the article just showed up on total fark.com via deadspin. it was great when i first read it but congrats to opening a whole new door to stupid. Proud to say i read it on prospectus first. then fark. then deadspin thanks for a great article.
Once the season ends they could show a rotting stump 24/7 and it would be more interesting. An occasional Clubhouse Confidential is worth a half hour, every once in a while hot stove is ahead of everyone else on a story, but the absolute best program they have is the Ken Burns Baseball innings on Tuesday nights. The Nolan Ryan show needs to happen.
If Stanton tosses a tilde above the n this year you should reconsider. As far as Palmeiro goes even less impressive was the fact he was the fourth or fifth on Sandberg's wife, not the first.
So many pitchers. I like the idea of Smardjza, and Bundy, but the pitcher that is driving me insane is Trevor Bauer. I can't figure out what is happening, if it is mechanical or make up. Or both. This series was great. Thanks for all of your work.
I am a Sox fan that listens to more Cubs games than wateches or listens to Sox games due to Len Kasper. As a subscriber to At Bat I listen to broadcasts all across the country and the Cubs booth knows more about the game than anyone. Great point about not overloading fans however. My grandam is 94 and listens to every game. VORP won't work for her, and probably for most of the listeners. It is great to hear how far you have come.
In the AAA championship game Bauer looked as though he had lost it. He got roughed up a bit, which happens, but I don't think their issue is with his pitching as much as his makeup. He seemed to pout the entire time on the mound. I haven't seen enough of him to make a call either way but there were definite signs of a good pitcher hidden under his rough outing. I am hoping it is just the long season and a couple of rough outings and next year we see a happier and more team oriented Trevor Bauer. I have seen enough of Archie Bradley to know that there is serious depth in the Arizona pitching ranks so time is not on his side. As far as Profar goes the guy is real treat to watch. The Rangers would be wise to do whatever they can to put him at short. Great list and good to get updates on a couple of guys I don't follow. Great article.
The Hunter Thompson of the new century. Great article. Jason took what I saw and turned it into music. BP used occupy my baseball time only. It is great that I can do baseball and a great read in the same place. Jason's writing in the last few months has taken a turn to the awesome.
Sounds like Luke Scott is a #weirdbaseball enthusiast.
Great piece. I have seen him throw four times and he is fun to watch. It was interesting to hear that he is praised as highly motivated and I hope that turns out to be the case. The biggest knock a lot of people (Mudhen fans and a couple of scouts from other teams I talked to) have with him is he is lazy, lacks want, and is overly emotional. Seeing a pitcher four times is too small of a sample size but in Rondon's defense there is bona fide lazy and Roberto Clemente lazy. Clemente was knocked for dogging it until people realized he was so talented he made it look easy. I hope this is how it works out for Rondon. The want thing I have no idea about. Again, it could be people who confuse a casual attitude with lack of desire, or he could be a sad sack dog. The mental thing appears to be real. There is a growing list of incidents, and most recently he threw behind a batter in the 9th inning that hit a home run in the third or fourth and was tossed and I think he may have been suspended for it as well. There is a whole lot of headcase behind the 103 mile an hour pitches, but some of the best pitchers have been mental cases. People can knock someone into the ground or put them on a pedastal and hail them as the second coming of Walter Johnson but the great thing about baseball is that in the end what happens on the field dictates a player's fate, not what people say about someone. Can't wait to see how this plays out but again thanks for a great article.
The great thing about baseball is Christmas comes in July. Cyclones games have been on cable lately and Nimmo is fun to watch. He has great raw talent but his fish out of water facial expressions show he is lost. It is great seeing guys like him mature. It is like seeing whole new teams come on the field mid season.
I have to turn the sound off when watching the WGN TV feed. I haven't listened in over two weeks but I awouldbt be surprised if the announcers didn't blame the Colorado wildfires on Castro. He us young, has nothing but upside, and scares pitchers. Castro at short. Javier Barz at third, Anthony Rizzo at first. For the first time in a long time they are a team with prospects. Cub fans need to realize no one will ever be the total par Krage Dave Kingman and Carmeb Fanzone were and be happy.
I took a ride to see the Scranton Wilkes Barre game in Rochester and Julio got rocked. 10 hits and 9 runs in less than 4 innings. The comments I overheard from the khaki and visor crowd was he has lost the movement on his fastball. I am no expert but his weight, or lack thereof, doesn't seem to be an issue. One of the guys from Scranton said that based upon the pitch sequence it was more of his pitching coach trying to see how he reacts in a bad spot rather than throwing the best pitch for the circumstance. I only saw the one game, but it wasn't the shit show the box score would lead you to believe. I think he needs time and for as poorly as he threw he was still fun to watch.
This article is akin to an intervention. I love watching a Javy Baez and picturing Baez and Castro as the Jeter and A-Rod of the Cubs for the next 20 years. If they aren't I will find another duo somewhere else, maybe in the Indians or Padres systems. It's easier to sell dreams than dread is one of the most insightful things I have ever read. This is another great article and Bring Me the Head of sounds great. While I don't think I can be cured I will definitely read. I am not sure what it would be like to fall asleep without having thought at least three or four times in the day that when Billy Hamilton learns to be an average baserunner I am guaranteed 15 years of good baseball to watch. In 5 years he may be remembered as a cheap imitation of Herb Washington but right now I think he will bring so much joy to the world that he could solve the Euro debt crisis with notes he jots down during a rain delay.
Great article. I'm wondering if it is possible to deconstruct other 5 tool sashimi grade players that come up early and see if they were developmentally shorted. Maybe there aren't comps, because it takes too long? If a team has a five tool prospect, and three tools are truly valuable to that specific orginazation at that time, do they begin steering the kid towards developing a feel at the expense of a tool or two? If so, there might be five tool comps that had to cut it back to three to focus on feel? I keep thinking that some organizations tend to Stanfordize raw players to get something out of them in the near term rather than everything out of them in the long term, something that may have happened with a few White Sox propsects like gordon Beckham.
Great article. I subscribed because I love the show you do with Kevin. This kind of article is why I hoard the user content so friends will subscribe. Anyone who can tie Burt Rynolds, Marky Mark, and my girl Heather into a great summation of baseball news is worth the cost of the annual fee. Thanks again, and on your recommendation when I am in town next I have tickets for two nights and one day of Staten Island Yankee fun. Thanks again for a great mid season summation of the second most beautiful game. Go England.
I normally read the Ten to see which 20 year old prospects are lightning. It up. Great to see Mark Prior here. First glance I thought could he have a kid in the majors? He has been working on a comeback for the better part of a decade and this is truly good news. Maddux list 8 to 10 Mohammed and still won a few games. Dickey in by is doing ok for himself. So much stench wafting from a winter with improper urine testing procedures and a bizarre draft b
y your one paragraph.
I was trying to figure out how you would work Wave of Mutilation into the Pixie mix, as it were, and I am glad you took a pass.
This article, and to an extent the podcast, is why I dropped 40 bucks to subscribe. Anyone who says journalism is dead need only read this article to realize that it not only lives, it is better than ever thanks to writers like Kevin. This article is well sourced and shows so much want I am going to buy three subscriptions for friends so they can see what a lot of effort and ability can do. Thanks Kevin.