Notes on some interesting Mets and Red Sox prospects, including Jhoan Urena and Manuel Margot.
Throughout March, the BP Prospect Team is invading both Arizona and Florida to get some fresh looks at players as they prepare for their 2015 assignments. Between now and the start of the minor league season, they’ll be providing updates (and videos) on the prospects you know and love—and quite a few that you may not.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Even a limited look at the Cuban super prospect makes it clear why he's garnered so much attention.
Yoan Moncada’s journey from Cuba to Fort Myers has simultaneously been well documented and, as with so many Cuban defectors, shrouded in mystery. I, on the other hand, had only to forego a Friday night of debauchery*, respond to a 5 a.m. alarm clock, and make the cross-state trip through Alligator Alley in order to see the Red Sox newest acquisition in action for the first time.
The Twins and the Red Sox share space at the top of one particular leaderboard, but changes in the game have made it a poor time in history to be there.
I’m not a scout, but sometimes it’s fun to pretend. When I attend baseball games in person, I often do so alone, the better to scratch feverishly at a notebook all night long. On April 15, 2013, I got to Target Field early, settled in with George Will's Men at Work, and braced myself for a long night of cold baseball. The Twins were playing the Angels, and I had a dirt-cheap seat in the highest level of the seating bowl, but directly behind home plate. I was there, mostly, to see Mike Trout in the flesh, but also to witness the big-league debut of Oswaldo Arcia and to get a feel for this young, rough Twins club.
Trout had two hits. Arcia had one, and flashed his violent, lightning-quick swing. Joe Mauer had four hits, two of them for extra bases. (This was before his power disappeared into the ether.) The Twins won easily. What caught my eye, though—what began showing up in my scorebook by the second inning, and what I’ve tracked for two years since—was one peculiar element of Minnesota’s collective plate approach: They weren’t swinging at the first pitch of any at-bat.
The Red Sox will go with the veteran in a crowded outfield; meanwhile, the Rangers might pick up Beltre's option early.
Farrell tabs Victorino as starting right fielder
Injuries derailed Shane Victorino’s 2014 campaign, as the Wailuku, Hawaii native made three separate trips to the disabled list. The final stint required an early-August surgery on two bulging disks in his back. However, Victorino’s lost 2014 season won’t cost him a spot in Boston’s 2015 starting lineup, according to manager John Farrell, who told the media on Friday, “If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy he's our right fielder. I mean, that’s pretty simple."
Health is something that is becoming harder to count on from Victorino, who turned 34 in November and in recent seasons has an injury log littered with ailments that can be attributed to his all-out style of play. However, when he’s been on the field, Victorino has been one of the more reliable all-around outfielders in the game, averaging 4.7 WARP between 2010-2013, including a five-win effort in his most recent full season. A considerable portion of Victorino’s game throughout his career has been tied to his legs, with value added both on the basepaths and as a plus defender roaming the outfield. As he enters his mid-30s, it’s reasonable to expect a drop off in performance, but for now Farrell is willing to give the veteran the nod with the hope that he’ll resemble the catalyst who propelled the Red Sox to their 2013 title.
The Phillies' ace is sad to be here, while the Braves are looking at Jackie Bradley Jr.
Cole Hamels wants out of Philadelphia Cole Hamels trade rumors have been a common theme this winter, with a handful of teams reported to be active in talks with the Phillies only to be put off by the high price tag Ruben Amaro Jr. has put on the head of his ace. Hamels has remained quiet throughout the offseason regarding his next potential destination but finally broke his silence yesterday to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
The Red Sox will try to coach Jackie Bradley Jr. back to success, Mets might by happy with their surplus, and Chad Gaudin exists.
Red Sox working to revamp Jackie Bradley Jr.’s swing
After signing Rusney Castillo and Hanley Ramirez this offseason, on the heels of an impressive debut by top prospect Mookie Betts, the Red Sox don’t have a whole lot invested in one of their most-celebrated 2011 draft picks. Jackie Bradley Jr. had his chances to secure a long-term role in Boston’s outfield, and he squandered them by performing so poorly at the plate that his wizardry in center field became an afterthought.
The swing of one of the greatest hitters to ever grace the field is broken down.
There are good hitters, there are great hitters, and there is The Hitter. Ted Williams is the gold standard when it comes to honing and crafting a swing. While there were other hitters who put up better statistics or had better raw physical tools, there is no one who could more accurately be described as the physical embodiment of what it meant to be a hitter. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the pure genius that was Williams’ swing.
Can the Red Sox first baseman rebound from an injury-hindered 2014 campaign?
You all know Mike; you know him well enough to be completely unsurprised and even pleased to find out that his middle name is Anthony. You also know that ever since he broke into the league as a catcher with the Angels—playing Off-Broadway Roy Hobbs to Mike Scoscia’s Pop and Jeff Mathis’s Bump—Napoli has been leaving jersey buttons unbuttoned and three true outcome-ing a high percentage of his at bats. While his average and counting stats have had significant year-to-year variance due to his injury proneness and large BABIP variance, the power, patience, and strikeouts have always remained constant. That is until 2014.
The Texas right-hander's bad medicals won't stop a team from signing him, per reports. Meanwhile, Daniel Nava's going to chuck switch-hitting.
Alexi Ogando expected to sign next week
A three-win pitcher as recently as 2011, Alexi Ogando was non-tendered by the Rangers on December 2nd, falling victim to the “what have you done for me lately?” nature of the business. What he’s done lately is post a 6.84 ERA over just 25 innings of major-league work last year, before UCL trouble in his elbow forced him to the shelf, and that wasn’t worth a raise over his $2.6 million salary for 2014.