As promised, our prospect coverage takes a big step forward.
It’s been almost three months since a cryptic instant message from Kevin Goldstein appeared on my screen: “Just had a weird thing this afternoon.” That was my first indication that we might have some remodeling to do. Fortunately, we had a capable successor in place, and once we knew we had to make changes, Jason Parks’ presence made the transition smooth. Our first priority has been to keep the content you’re used to coming: Bradley Ankrom has adopted (and added to) the Minor League Update, Hudson Belinsky has covered The Call-Up, and Jason has coordinated a tag-team approach to the Monday Morning Ten Pack while beginning his preparations for the prospect rankings process.
Now that we’ve solidified the staples, we can expand and experiment. Over the past few weeks, Jason, Joe Hamrahi, and I have drawn upon our own experience and the input of others to put together a bigger prospect staff than we've had at any point in BP's past. The talented team we're introducing today will allow us to increase the volume of our prospect coverage without compromising its quality. We know you still want to see the same stuff we’ve been doing, and we’ll be bringing you even more of it. But we’ll also be branching out. The additional voices in the room will give us the freedom to try a whole host of new things, from frequent scout quote collections to roundtable discussions and prospect debates to information on levels of competition and aspects of the player development process that BP has barely delved into. We hope you’ll enjoy joining us on this journey, and we’ll welcome your feedback along the way.
Existing and future attempts by MLB to fix the draft have been, and will continue to be more trouble than they are worth.
Another year, another draft signing deadline, and more deals than ever not getting announced until the final hours, and in the end, more money than ever being spent on bonuses. There are no real shocks here, no big surprises, as in the end, San Diego selection Karsten Whitson was the only first-round pick not to come to terms for purely monetary purposes.
Trot Nixon is still about a week away from returning to the Red Sox lineup as the team battles for the Wild Card slot. Nixon's calf is making progress, but team sources say that he's still experiencing "catches" when he runs above a certain effort level. Given their current lineup, moving Nixon to DH isn't an option, but there's been some internal discussion about trying him at first base. Outside of a change in the current situation--like a positional move or another injury--Nixon is likely to be back in the lineup for the weekend series against the Indians.
As expected, Melvin Mora tore his MCL in Toronto, but the news could have been much worse. The MRI returned only a partially torn ligament, and it is likely that Mora will be able to avoid surgery. Once the swelling is reduced he'll begin an intensive rehab program, and will make a final decision on surgery by November. Why November? To give him time to recover in case surgery is necessary. All indications are that he should be able to avoid the knife and be ready for spring training. More importantly, Mora should retain his versatility and mobility.
When Randall Simon made the diving catch and threw to Matt Clement in stride, I cheered for two reasons: 1) Because it was a great play by my new favorite Cub, and 2) Because I knew right then that Clement had no residual problems with his groin. I did get clarification on the groin/calf mix-up, and it makes a bit more sense to me now. Clement was hit in the calf by a batted ball during his start on September 3rd. Running the bases afterwards, his changed gait caused a cascade which led to the strained groin. The muscle tends to tighten up on him after running, not pitching, so as long as his mechanics stay compact--always a problem with Clement--he should be fine.
One of the problems that can arise with a lower-revenue team is depth, but the A's have always been able to find a spare part--either on the open market or in Sacramento--to fill the gaps and step up. With Jose Guillen dealing with a wrist problem that I am told is similar to the one Doug Mientkiewicz is fighting through, and with Chris Singleton dealing with a disc problem in his lower back, the A's will test that depth, coming down to their last few outfielders. In the playoffs, a threesome of Jermaine Dye, Terrence Long, and Billy McMillon won't inspire much fear, but it's capable and the A's still have Eric Byrnes on the bench. This is yet another obstacle for the A's--but in the playoffs, anything can happen, right?
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