CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com
New! Search comments:
(NOTE: Relevance, Author, and Article are not applicable for comment searches)
Really good work, Zach. Both times that I've seen Webster his slider's been filthy, and the changeup has been usable. Interesting if he's shown the opposite lately.
That means a lot. Thanks, Peter.
Always appreciate feedback. To be clear, you're reading things like the "Minnesota's team president..." line above the tweet and confusing it as a header for the Joe Capozzi tweet?
If this is the case, I'm not quite sure how to make this easier. Maybe if we got rid of the em dashes before the blurbs there? We will definitely discuss this. Thanks again.
I've noticed a lot of comments on the must-see affiliates. These are by no means definitive statements about where you should hop into your car and drive to. I made recommendations to Jason based on places where the top 10s and rise prospects played last season and their spring training performances. This is a general outline of where many of the top prospects could see time in 2013. The starting level for a prospect isn't always the only level they play at.
Another point worth mentioning: A player being on an MLB roster on Opening Day doesn't mean they won't be in the minor leagues at some point.
If you were building a schedule and devoting all of your time to seeing minor league baseball prospects, this list would generally be useful in your quest to see top prospects.
Re: Brown, it could be a little bit of both. He could very well just not be a very good hitter in terms of making adjustments to quality pitching, or maybe the fact that he's gone back and forth from having to face taxi-squad types to legitimate big leaguers has hindered his development.
I wouldn't say that the team struggles to develop position players. In recent memory they've drafted a lot of toolsy players with major question marks in certain aspects of their game. And they've traded some very good position player prospects away (Gose, Singleton, D. Santana) in attempts to make the big league club better.
I think they believed in him and thought he could be better than he was in 2011. He showed positive signs before the Pence trade, but by then his value was way down from where it was when he first got the call in 2011.
At this point, I'd say Mastroianni is the favorite, but both Benson and Hicks could challenge for the job.
It's difficult to make a projection for his 2013 season without seeing how he looks in Spring Training. Last year was sort of a lost season for him. He's a volatile player; he could win a job out of ST and hit .250 with power and plus defense in center, but he could just as easily NOT win a job and struggle in Triple-A.
If things go right, the Twins' could have some nice problems in the outfield by 2014. In an ideal world, it'd be Hicks, Benson, and Arcia. They could stick Arcia in left and shift whoever's in CF to the left to flank Arcia. Still, we're a very long way from that point.
I'm sure he ran that by someone beforehand. Not a bad strategy from a PR standpoint. Making a statement that people know is you, directly. Humanizes the player.
You had a pretty tough case, Ian. I think your argument about the Orioles assuming Hammel would be healthy by tendering him a contract is a strong one, but I think you have a tough time arguing for such a high number with the relatively low innings total throughout his ST.
It's a fun article. Always great to see what everyone else finds during the week. If you come across any quotes you think we should use don't hesitate to drop us a line!
Oakley and Kaminsky could be first round picks. Roth is probably more in the window of the 5th to 10th round, but signability will play a role...If he's willing to go significantly underslot for an earlier round, a team might be able to spread their bonus pool. But in terms of present talent, upside, and risk, Roth fits somewhere in the 5-10 range, for me.
"Just say no to Farnsworth" should be the slogan for a public service announcement.
Wow, thank-you. That's a tremendous compliment. Baseball is a special game, and emotion is a huge part of it.
He's also a guy. Might be writing about him soon.
The way they used him indicates that he's a reliever. With many college arms who were worked heavily, you often see teams start them with easy workloads but still in starting roles. Not only did the Jays use him exclusively as a reliever, they also bumped him to Double-A pretty quickly, which put him in line for a possible September look (isn't on the 40-man, but could have been added), if not for the suspension.
Never was a poor word choice. You're right. Rare, but not impossible.
Johns Hopkins should trade LaPorte in a deal for CC Sabathia.
There are mixed feelings. He probably won't be a 2-WARP player, but he's going to add values in ways the win metrics don't account for. Thinking of a Maicer Izturis type of player, who hits a little bit and plays adequate defense at an up-the-middle-position. That's a great player to have for 100+ games a year. Not the superstar they were hoping for, but still a valuable big leaguer.
The Jays used Stroman exclusively as a reliever after he signed. Having scouted him as an amateur I thought he'd be just fine as a starter, but you could see the concerns. He struggled to hold velocity (when I saw him), but another organization may have tried to develop him as a starter. The stuff was enough to be a middle-of-the-rotation arm, IMO.
By the way, people are going to love Stroman when he's in the big leagues. His energy on the mound made him a lot of fun to scout.
Drabek's enormously talented. That said, command is usually the last thing to come back after TJ and this isn't his first surgery. Assuming the velocity comes back, it's still going to be a long road to reaching the ceiling that made him (at the time) the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade.
Arencibia wouldn't have made my U25 list. Rasmus is an interesting one; I'd put him at #5. I still believe in the tools.
I was referring to the Angels' trade. And it was a joke; David Stern rejected a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers about a year ago. It would have made the Lakers outrageously loaded. This would be sort of the same. Adding Dickey would make the Angels rotation very, very good in 2013. I'll agree that it could make sense for both sides, though.
David Stern would reject that trade.
You may not agree with every trade's fairness for both sides, but everything written here is very defensible. And I can assure you, we're all still taking our meds.
Ehh, it's sort of a different scenario. At the Triple-A level, a guy should be learning to handle any type of baseball environment. I wouldn't stick my 16-year-old Dominican bonus baby in High-A Saskatoon.
It is a real barrier for the sport's expansion. Quantrill brought this up when I spoke to him. He compared it to hockey in the United States. It takes money to play the game, and many of the club teams (including his son Cal's) traveled to Canada to face superior competition.
Not having sports affiliated with high schools makes it nearly impossible for a kid in tough economic circumstances to play baseball.
The next big advancement of baseball in Canada is likely to come if and when the NCAA starts dishing out full scholarships. Baseball will equal an opportunity to get an education to play a game. I don't think we're too far from this happening; I'd expect to see it this decade.
The growth of college recruitment in Canada is also huge. People are going there to find talent, which speaks even more so to the growth of Canadian baseball.
Morgan is definitely a guy. I used Demi because of his background--born in Nigeria, moved Canada as an infant. It plays more into the "an athlete's an athlete" theme that I wanted to emphasize.
From a developmental standpoint it doesn't make a ton of sense to have a full-season minor league affiliate in Canada. So many young players have never played in a below-70 degrees environment, and exposing them to the 30s and 40s in April might have a significant impact. Short-season ball makes a ton more sense.
I think baseball could have survived in Montreal, and it's revival doesn't seem outrageous to me, especially given the sharp increase in interest in baseball among young people. Some very basic market research *could* be enough for baseball to revisit the possibility of baseball in Montreal.
RIsk is considered minimally, but this list is mostly about talent.
Yes, I can say with a straight face that I'd pick those players ahead of Perez for a talent list. Read Jason's reports on those gentlemen; it's not a knock on Perez at all.
I love Perez and I wouldn't blink if you told me in a decade that he turned out to be a stud, but I also wouldn't blink if you told me the same about anyone ahead of him.
I respect this group's opinions. Given all the information I have to go on, this is how I chose to rank these players. There was a lot of thought put into this, and I'm sticking by those thoughts.
I may have found a new catch phrase. "We don't need that kind of curveball in charge of our food safety!"
Looking into this now.
There's a smaller emphasis on risk when we're talking about talent alone. I'd take Starling if we're leaving out the fact that he's miles away from tool maturation.
First off, this is a special group, and variations of the U25 list can and have been argued for. Moustakas' overall tool package excites me more than Myers' does. If Moose refines his tools he could be fantastic defender at the hot corner with 35 bombs per season.
Perez is a tough guy to peg. If he continues to hit like he has at the big league level thus he'll be a perennial all-star. But there's a good argument for every player being ahead of him.
-Mondesi could be a plus defender at SS with a plus hit tool and bag-swiping ability.
-Zimmer could be a #2 starter.
-Starling could break baseball with his tools. If he maximizes his tools, he's going to be one of the most exciting players in baseball.
-Myers can do it all and he plays up the middle.
-Moose has elite power and a laser arm.
-Hosmer is a legend. Insane offensive upside.
I love Perez for his defense alone. If the bat turns out to be better than average he could be special, but I'm not so sure yet.
I'm with Jason. Stanton is a special player with several years of team control at a very affordable rate. Any package for him would have to be insane.
A roundtable discussion is much more difficult to facilitate and you often have people responding to the thing that's said last, rather than each individual remark.
This also allows each of us to formulate ideas over a period of time and to take the feedback from each other and bring it to our sources or to do some research like you can see with Chris's comment about DH ABs and PAs. It's also a lot cleaner and more organized.
I think the hit tool is going to be average, which will make him a fine player. He's inconsistent, but I believe that bat will be there at maturity. It's more important how he puts up numbers rather than putting up the numbers in general. For example, if he's hitting .350 through May, but has 20 infield hits that happened because of poor contact and poor defense it probably isn't a good reflection on the hit tool's progression.
I don't think it'd be right to keep him in Richmond. He didn't fail there; he battled throughout the season and the final product was good enough to warrant a promotion. Obviously a poor showing in ST could force the Giants' hand there, though.
Most teams start by finding comparable players then looking at what those players made on the open market. The only recent example I can think of is Jonathan Papelbon who got 4 years and $50 million. Is Soriano as good as Papelbon? Maybe, but Papelbon's deal wasn't good. Thus far the Phillies are paying him $1 million for every 0.1 WARP.
Relief pitching can be found for much, much cheaper. The team that signs Soriano probably won't see a great return on its investment, especially given the volatility of reliever performance.
I don't dislike Castillo, he's just not better than the rest of the crew in terms of talent, IMO. I like his defensive upside, but don't see him hitting enough over the long haul to put him in front of any of the rest of the kids on this list, even with each kid's risk of not reaching their ceiling.
The Jays have a pretty sizeable amount of youngsters on or near their big league club. In the Cubs' U-25 list, we might see four of them in Wrigley in 2013 (assuming Vizcaino returns well from TJ). This is a decent system, but the high-upside players are a long way away.
I was excited to get a look at Tucker in the NYPL this season, but he left me disappointed. He works counts and forces young pitchers to throw him strikes, but advanced pitchers will exploit him. Advanced defenders will get to Tucker's dribblers up the middle. The type of contact I saw from him was rarely impressive. It's going to take a lot for him to become a 50 hitter, and the body isn't going to help him stick in LF. Outside chance as a second division first baseman, for me.
Makeup, in my opinion, is a thing that isn't defined agreed upon. I view makeup on two basic levels. The first is what you describe, the work ethic aspect. Things that I consider in this department:
1. Does the player want to get better? How badly?
2. Does the player make every effort to understand and apply things that coaches tell him?
3. What does the player do when he isn't playing that could help him improve (watching other players, carefully dissecting previous performances, etc.)?
The other part (for me, mind you) is the personality. I don't care who the player is as a person (unless he's Ann Coulter), so long as he's able to contribute to the team's chemistry with his personality. Other players should like playing on the same team as him. This is especially important for pitchers and catchers, who are constantly interacting with one another.
I doubt that anyone's actually going in and grading makeup, because it's almost impossible to distinguish 50 makeup from 55 makeup. Also, it doesn't need to be graded; 99 times out of 100, you're looking at a case of good, bad, or average makeup.
Makeup matters, and I factor it slightly into my OFPs, although not by much. It's an unquantifiable part of the game that definitely has value.
He's got a significantly stronger core, which allows for more balance in the delivery, which allows him to put a bit more muscle into the hip twist. There's no easy answer for how he was able to make all of that happen, though.
Yes, 55 speed is extremely fast. It's unclear how the body is going to mature and how his physical development will impact his speed over the long haul.
It would make sense to let Young walk, in my opinion. Garcia probably won't be ready to play everyday next season, but with him AND Nick Castellanos in the not-so-distant future, giving Delmon Young any money or anything beyond a one-year deal seems illogical.
LF is a possibility, but I imagine more of a slow-footed, first base-only mammoth. And I'd guess that (if the body forced a move) the Phillies would give him a chance in the outfield before essentially giving up on his defensive value and sticking him at first.
There's a very similar case competition held in the Phoenix area at the Analytics Conference in March.
I don't know how BA's process of ranking prospects works or how it's changed over time, but there are so many things that go into rankings that depend on the prognosticator.
I'm able to communicate with scouts from all over the world at any time. And scouts are getting better at using communication tools and responding. This means that prospect journalists can have eyes on every player at all times. So I can pull open my spreadsheet of scout quotes from specific games and base my rankings on that. 20 years ago I might talk to a scout at a game for 9 innings about everything he saw that season. It's very clearly easier to give readers an idea of what a prospect is expected to become.
I also think there are things that we've always undervalued. Tom Milone isn't supposed to be a big leaguer, but he is and he's a pretty good one. Tyler Cloyd could do the same, even though he doesn't have a plus pitch.
This is just my long-winded way of saying that this is a growing process. We learn things and apply them to future evaluations. It isn't all that different from sabermetrics, really.
Many prospects struggle late in their first full season leagues. Probably nothing to worry about.
I respect the question.
I don't think it's right to discuss this with the assumption that DUIs equal low character. Addiction is a very real and serious thing and leads people to do terrible things. I don't know Cabrera personally or know what his issues are all about, but I do know that I'm not going to jump to the assumption that him getting in a car under the influence is a direct reflection of his character. I get that people will disagree with this point, but I'd ask those people to seek to understand what goes on in a person's brain that causes them to do certain things. Miguel Cabrera is a victim of a disease, just the way society was a victim of Miguel Cabrera. So we might turn this around in a completely different direction. Maybe Cabrera is a hero for battling his disease. Maybe his character is better now more than ever. The idea that we know anything about his character because of his history of alcohol abuse is silly.
I think we're left with personal interviews, tweets, teammates' perceptions, and displays of on-field character. Otherwise, it's irresponsible for us to make judgments based on snapshots of people's lives.
I think it's a 6. And he's got good pitch recognition skills and discipline at the plate, so he should be able to get on base at a healthy clip.
It's a travesty and an unfortunate part of the game. It's really sort of incredible that as a society we accept offensive messages so often, then yell and scream when one of those messages includes a slur we don't approve of.
A perfect example of this takes place in the ways in which we censor TV and music. Jay-Z can rap about specifically where he bought and sold drugs and the prices of those drugs, but the f-bomb is what we protect children from.
My answer is yes.
I think Ryan is the best defensive shortstop in the game today.
Conceptually, sure, they might be able to jump a level midseason, but those decisions are made with considerations like developmental philosophy and player makeup.
I can't speak to specific plans with either player, but if one or both of them explodes next season in the Florida State League, yes, I could see them gracing an Altoona Curve cap in 2013.
I'm not sure about Hanson's defense. In terms of upside, he could be an average big league defender, but he could also play himself off of the position. I expect him to stick, but I also thought the Angels would be better than the Rangers this season. The hit tool is certainly his best asset.
I love Gregory Polanco. 60 defender, 60 arm, 50 runner. The power and hit tool are both uncertain right now. The potential for 60/65 power is there, but the hit tool is mysterious. I heard the word "inconsistent" on the swing. Obviously that's a concern, but it also means there are times when it's good.
2013 is going to tell us a ton about both of these guys. We should know soon about Polanco's hit tool and and Hanson's defense.
The Orioles fundamentally don't believe in the cutter for young pitchers because they feel it has a significantly negative impact on fastball velocity. In my opinion, there's no way for prognosticators like us to study this further; team officials are the only ones who have access to velocity readings from every pitch that a player throws.
According to one of my sources for the Prospect Profile on Bundy, there is an obvious effect on fastball velocity - specifically with young players.
The Orioles weren't in love with the cutter in Spring Training, so they decided to table it for now. There are several pitchers who began their big league careers without throwing cutters that later added or brought back the pitch. Roy Halladay comes to mind. I'm not sure we've seen the end of Bundy's.
I don't think we've seen the end of Nick Hundley. He hasn't shown us that he can stay healthy over a full season (120ish games at his position).
As with any prospect, Hedges is still just a prospect. In two years he might force the Padres to make a tough call, but that tough call could entail trading Hedges for big league talent.
He was thought about, yes. As Jason pointed out, this list could have easily gone 30 deep. Berrios just wasn't one of our 10.
Didn't see him before this summer, but he's athletic and has enough arm for the position. I'd need to see him a lot more before making a definitive statement, but yes, he has a decent chance to stick.
I didn't see Guerrieri as an amateur, but he sat in the low 90s when I saw him this year, which was less than what I expected. It's possible that a mechanical adjustment cost him some velocity.
He does have polish, but you don't find many No. 3 starters with only two pitches.
I haven't seen Gac live, but I'd guess that he isn't significantly better than Ruf defensively.
I understand where these folks were coming from. This is before the rise in TV and other media revenue which boost public awareness and perception of the product. These researchers miscalculated the perceived value of going to the ballpark to experience the event, thinking that fans wouldn't be willing to consume a game for three hours when they could see a movie for a fraction of the price.
So long as fans value that experience as highly as they do, baseball is going to be just fine.
I'd probably go with Dahl. I know a scout who wanted him in the top 10 this year. Loud tools.
This is sort of unclear, in my opinion. At FanGraphs, Eno Sarris recently looked at how pitchers who use cutters have lost fastball velocity over the past decade, and there doesn't seem to be too much proof there in terms of Pitch F/X. But that study also didn't include players who used cutters in high school or college, or anyone in an age-21 season or younger, simply because the data isn't available.
By "young" I'm talking about players who have yet to reach maturity and are still growing and developing, and those players aren't in the majors so we don't get to look at their PFX data to test this phenomenon.
In the absence of conclusive evidence either way, I'm inclined to trust the Orioles, who run their pitchers through extensive analyses before making decisions about long term developmental plans.
I had heard and read the same things about Bundy's cutter. When he showed up at Spring Training, the Orioles thought of the cutter as merely average. I didn't talk to any area scouts who saw him last year, and he hasn't used the pitch this year, so I could only go off of what the O's had to say about it.
Another thing to consider: Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter both came up with Toronto without throwing cutters. Philosophically, there are many people who don't believe in having young power pitchers throw cutters.
I can't speak to the long term plan, but if he needs a new pitch when he's 25 or 30, the cutter will be an option that he can go to. There's also been some discussion of implementing a slider. The short term plan is to work on the FB/CU/CH combo. The future is uncertain.
Bore, as I understand it, is when the pitch looks flat until the very last second, then sinks rapidly as it enters the zone. Multiple sources noted the fastball's late movement and the term "boring action" came up frequently.
I would also point out that Adam was citing the work of a different writer from a different site when discussing Rondon. Mark Anderson is good at what he does; we just had different sources. I talked to three different scouts and several others who work in player and personal development, and none of them knocked Rondon's makeup.
I appreciate the kind words.
Opposing scouts are good to talk to for more objective evaluations of the player, but people in player (and personal) development know the kid best and have the best idea of his makeup. What I gathered was that Rondon was a kid that wants the ball in the big situation. He gets emotional on the field, but it's not directed towards opponents and mostly focused on his own performance (excitement over success, disappointment when things don't go his way).
I didn't hear anyone call him "lazy." I actually heard a lot of the opposite from people who have collectively seen him dozens of times.
Still unlikely, unless something changes with him over the next several weeks, which is also unlikely.
I expect the A's to leave him exposed and don't expect anyone to grab him. He's the type of player who might get a fake injury after being Rule 5'd, but he needs innings too badly for a team to take that sort of risk.
It all depends on how he develops. They could comfortably bump him up by 50 innings one year if they feel he can handle it. I'm more interested in what's going to happen with his body; he's a stick right now.
You're absolutely correct. We're dealing with different kinds of speeds. Not definitive either way.
Didn't mean any of this literally. I'm sure Billy Hamilton respects Usain Bolt's awesomeness. But I'd still like the two of them to silence the "Billy Hamilton is faster than Usain Bolt" crowd, if such a crowd exists.
If you have recommendations, don't hesitate to reach out to us via email. We always welcome suggestions.
The day following the Hickory series, Maikel Franco did unspeakable things to a baseball, crushing it past the scoreboard. 450 feet, I'd estimate. Oh, and it was on the first pitch he saw.
Glad you appreciate it! As always, let us know if there's anything you notice that may slip by us.
I've heard varying accounts from my grandfather's immediate family. The consensus seems to be that we are related, but nobody knows how.
That's irrational; obviously they'd play shortstop so their arms could be utilized. :)
I saw him play in Single-A several times last season and twice when he was in Double-A. He gets very angry when things don't go his way on the field, which happened quite a lot last season (especially when he was in Double-A).
He does have a lot of #want, though.
Still a pretty ugly scenario, with so many teams ahead of them and their lack of health. BP's playoff odds give them a 9.4% chance at making the playoffs. Might be the end of a very strong run.
Here anything on Jett Bandy? Looked great in spots this spring. Maybe a guy who moves quickly?
YES! Whereabouts? Mesa?
I didn't think that was a metaphor. The kid's "sexy."
Did Jon Bachanov have any chance? Was once a prospect for the Halos.
I laughed out loud at the Pujols and Breaking Bad guys. I remember thinking the same thing when I saw them. Good stuff.
Are Adrian Cardenas's days as a prospect over now that he's moved to LF? I know there's not much there outside of a spotty hit tool.
Sure Varitek lost money, but there was a chance he never made it past Double-A. No matter how big a prospect you are, there's a risk of failure. If Varitek tore his ACL in his pro debut and never played baseball again, he and his family would have had financial stability for a much longer period of time. It's a similar idea to the Matt Moore and Evan Longoria contracts. Matt Moore could be a monster for the next 8 years. Maybe he'll lose tens of millions by not hitting arbitration three times then signing with the highest bidder, but if he fails to live up to his hype, he can walk away with $14 million. Some players don't mind trading in future earning possibilities for security, and I'd feel the same way.
6:17 - Spectator attempts to high-five Cespedes, but fails.
I'm relatively new to BP, but articles like this and the comment sections that accompany them are truly awesome. One smart person delivers an idea, opinion, or story then dozens of other smart people offer their responses to the idea, opinion, or story. In most places the dialogue never advances further than that, but at BP the conversation develops over a few days and when it's all said and done we're left with pages of knowledge.
Thank you, Jay and the rest of the fine crew at Baseball Prospectus.
Interesting stuff. I just took a look at Fielder's homerun log at baseball-reference and noticed that he hit 8 of his 14 road homeruns at the parks of division rivals. It'd be interesting to see which balls would have stayed in or traveled out in the parks of his would-be division rivals.
The biggest surprise about the Josh Lueke trade is that the Rays gave up Jaso for him! The guy got on base at a .372 clip in 2010 and had 2.7 WAR. He had an awful .244 BABIP in 2011 and was still slightly above replacement level. They traded the guy for Lueke, who has tremendous makeup flaws OUTSIDE of the rape issue. Thumbs down, Mr. Friedman.
I really like this piece. I love the storyline that each of your articles has. You always mix the baseball information with an intriguing story and it's refreshing. Great job, professor.
Take a look at KG's writeup of Wieters from 2009:
He projects plus to plus-plus power and excellent contact. Wieters made tremendous strides with his bat in 2011 and he plays above-average defense. If he improves on this year and has a league-average BABIP next year, he could be a monster in 2012.
6.3-second 60-yard dash? Insane.
"D.J. LeMahieu got some time in the big leagues last year, and Ryan Flaherty is also close, but both are subpar defenders who have hit for power in the minors but need to cheat for it, which won't work at the highest level."
What do you mean "cheat for it?"
I really enjoy the way you present player evaluations. I love that you give your articles a short-story feel and still present 80-grade information. There is definitely an artistic element to your work that a lot of writers just don't have. Props, sir.