Don't stop believing in the AL Central, the Orioles' annual late-season wing-clipping, and instant replay on the job.
White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen was chatting with a group of reporters this past week, when the talk turned to analyzing the remaining schedules of the two contenders in the American League Central. Some felt that the Sox had the easier path to winning their first division title since 2005, a season in which they also won their first World Series since 1917. Others believed that the Twins had the clearer path to a second AL Central crown in three years.
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Kevin moves over to the senior circuit, highlighting NL players who have seen their stock rise or fall in spring training.
With spring training close to wrapping up and most prospects without big league jobs already reassigned to minor league camp, it's not too early to take a look at the spring statistics to see which player's stocks are rising and falling. Spring stats should always be taken with a grain of salt, so here's some additional background of some of the National League's best and worst performances by prospects. Statistics are through games of March 27.
Each author's ballot may be found later in the article. Here, we neatly summarize
the results. In each division standings table you'll find the average rank of the team, plus the standard deviation. The lower the standard
deviation, the more in agreement the authors were about that team's place in the division standings. In our AL column, the
Royals had a standard deviation of 0, meaning that all authors agreed they would finish last. We have similar consensus with
the old/new Washington Nationals, also picked to finish last across the board. Such agreement is rare around here, and
obviously means that both the Royals and Nationals will finish third in their respective divisions.
For shame, Dayn, for not even mentioning that Altoona's Jeff Keppinger is the only .400+ hitter in all of Double-A--his nearest competitor (Wright) is a full 40 points BEHIND him.
Granted, we know Keppinger's not on anyone's radar as a serious future star, but isn't the point of selecting players for 'All-Star' status supposed to be to reward those having strong performances?
I realize Keppinger doesn't have a single home run, but not even acknowledging Keppinger as an 'also-ran' ignores the fact that he is accomplishing something so far ahead of any of his peers to this point, is certainly an injustice. Give our boy Kepp a little love, would ya?
Moving Scott Schoeneweis into the starting rotation has been a good move for the White Sox. With all due respect to Jermaine Dye, Marco Scutaro has been the A's most encouraging find of the season thus far. And Jim Thome has been the only hitter carrying his weight for the Phillies this season. All this and much more news from Chicago, Oakland, and Philadelphia in your Monday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
No Relief: Maybe because everyone's more comfortable categorizing things, but whatever the reason, the media won't seem to leave manager Ozzie Guillen to make use his bullpen as he chooses and instead require him to label someone "closer" and everyone else as "lacking that secret special closer stuff". The choice for the ultimate fireman is still between Billy Koch and Damaso Marte. Assuming that the White Sox are still stuck in the mode of the classic closer usage--and there's little reason to think that they're not--there's little reason for Guillen to consider Koch the top reliever in the pen.
Let's compare J.J. Hardy and Bobby Crosby:
Player Age EqBA/EqOBP/EqSLG
Hardy 20 .240/.316/.380
Crosby 23 .273/.356/.490
Adjusted for park and league context, Crosby's numbers were much, much better. How to balance that against the age differential? I think the question becomes: How likely is it that Hardy will post a line of .273/.356/.490 or equivalent by the time that he's 23? It's possible, certainly, and it's also possible that he'll post a line even better than that. But I don't think that it's *probable*. That's a lot of improvement to make. PECOTA would put the possibility at somewhere around 25%, I'd think, and I think that's enough to render Crosby the stronger prospect.
In preparing the annual top prospect list for Baseball Prospectus 2004, BP authors participated in the annual extended roundtable discussion of baseball's top prospects. The ranking and review process balanced translated statistics, scouting reports, and injury reports with the strong personal opinions of BP's finest…all with the goal of putting together the "best damn prospect list the world has ever seen." In Part I today we'll listen in on the discussion of the top prospects among pitchers, catchers, first basemen and second basemen. Parts II through IV will run Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We'll also unveil the final list Tuesday, with the Top 50 prospects (we've expanded from prior years' Top 40) revealed. Rany Jazayerli will be along to discuss the Top 50 list and the process that went into compiling it in Tuesday night's Chat.