Between the surprises of urban planning and the surprises of backfield performances, Jason still has plenty to share as his time in Arizona winds down.
Day 30, 8:00 AM
Patricia, before arriving at the Spring Training facility each morning, Roommate Jason and I cruise the main drag in Surprise, Arizona looking for hot coffee from below-average gas stations. You might wonder why going out for coffee is a necessity when we have a coffee maker at the house, and why gas station coffee is the preference when a Starbucks is only a half of a mile farther down the road from the complex, but I’d suggest just letting it go. We all make mistakes, and some of us make a habit of making mistakes. This is a prime example of the latter. The thoroughfare in question is called Bell Road, and it’s probably the most dangerous stretch of road in the modern world. Traversing Bell Road multiple times a day shows the devolution of society, with each near automotive accident and each ten-minute trip that inevitably turns into a twenty-minute trip; however, the road itself is merely a victim of the incompetence of design, as the city expanded from a one-horse-town to a growing sprawl of chain restaurants, ubiquitous examples of chain retail consumerism, and all things cookie-cutter America. The sprawl was allowed to sprawl directly off of this main road, which is ill-equipped to support it.
Bell Road was the spine of this dusty little town, which worked fine when the town was dusty and little. But when the Rangers and Royals decided to build a beautiful baseball facility and make the town attractive for at least one month a year, the city reacted to this economic boom with the efficiency of a dial-up connection. This ghost-town that is now all grown up has yet to adjust to the resulting sprawl by allowing drivers to actually reach that sprawl from the main road. U-turns and complicated maneuvering through parking lots are almost always required to reach your consumer sprawl destination of choice, and even when you are lucky enough to locate a consumer sprawl off a stoplight, the consumer sprawl in question is almost always designed so that you can’t enter the parking lot without first negotiating the parking lots of another sprawl, in which you might have to halt your vehicle at one of the numerous stop signs contained within the larger parent sprawl, which are de facto duck crossings for the elderly, and trust me, there are a lot of really slow, elderly people that like to walk across the parking lots of the consumer sprawls, and their pace is somewhere between ice melting on a cold day and Calvin Pickering’s metabolism.
Things you didn't know about Francisco Lindor: he can fly, heal the sick, and turn rocks into seven-layer cake.
Prospect #1: SS Francisco Lindor Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources. Who: Selected eighth overall in the 2011 draft, Lindor had enough heat on his name after pre-draft workouts that some in the industry thought Seattle would pop the young Puerto Rican with the second-overall pick. I’ve seen a lot of quality up-the-middle talent since I started down this prospect evaluation road, and rarely will a 17-year-old (now 18) shortstop showcase the type of skills to make you feel confident in their future major-league success. After watching Lindor in the Fall Instructional League, I have very little doubt that he will develop into a very good major leaguer, one that can play a premium defensive position while providing above-average offensive production. At the plate, Lindor can track balls from release point to target like a ten-year veteran, showing advanced recognition skills and an approach that should put him in favorable hitting environments. His hands and hips work very well, showing fluidity when they fire, and bringing his bat head into the zone quickly and efficiently. He shows contact ability and he drives through the ball with excellent extension; it’s easy to project a plus hit tool and at least solid-average power at maturity. In the field, Lindor is as precocious and instinctual as positional prince Jurickson Profar, showing easy actions, a very strong arm, and a preternatural feel for his craft. I’m slobbering all over Lindor without apology. I put a note in his locker after class. I hope he checks the box marked “yes.”
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Lindor was a young high school draftee, turning 18-years-old after the 2011 season had already ended, so that youth will ride sidesaddle in the developmental process, both as a positive and negative. The downside to youth is inexperience, and all the praise that Lindor receives for this tools and his polish can’t change the reality of his limited existence. It’s likely that Lindor moves to full-season ball at some point in 2012, and the jump will represent the biggest challenge so far in Lindor’s brief career. Development is about failure and adjustment, and given the level of competition Lindor is likely to face, I think he could initially struggle, at least until he makes the necessary adjustments. This is a player that needs to see sharp breaking balls, that needs to see above-average velocity, that needs to face sequences and situations that you just can’t simulate with the same intensity on a practice field. Failure can be a good thing for young players, even if the exposure to failure is short-lived, as it most likely will be in the case of Lindor. I think he has a chance to be a star, and to be honest, I think he makes the necessary adjustments very quickly and emerges as a top tier prospect in the game before the year is out.
Kevin Goldstein, ear to the ground, tells you how he hears the draft will go down.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates: Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA. Upgrade this call from “lean” to “heavy lean.” It seems clear that Anthony Rendon is out of the picture, so it's between Cole and Danny Hultzen, who did himself few favors by throwing out a big bonus number over the weekend. With no inexpensive option to turn to, Cole is the guy. Last Mock: Gerrit Cole.
Kevin's official Mock Draft will come Monday, but here is the ashcan version, complete with raw notes so you can see how the pieces come together.
What you see below is my current mock draft. Instead of big write-ups, which I’m saving for my final mock draft on Monday, these are the notes from calls and texts in my latest mock worksheet with source names removed. I hope it's a fun look at how the sausage is made.
Some quick notes from a day off phone calls, IMs and text messages.
Late on Friday afternoon, following my chat at 4pm ET, I will be releasing what I'm calling my 2011 Mock Worksheet, which is basically an only slightly cleaned up version of a file called 2011mock.odt that's been sitting on my desktop for well over a week, with source names removed. I hope it will be a fun look at how the sausage is made, but even with just the weekend ahead, one gets the sense that we'll still have more answers than questions at that point. Still, let's not go a full day without some juicy rumors, so here's some happenings from a day of phone calls, IMs and text messages.