A look at the who's who of the first winter league to begin play down in Venezuela.
We interrupt our Arizona Fall League preview series to take a trip even further south, as the Venezuelan Winter League-or as it's knows to the locals, Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional, begins play tonight. The political situation there, as well as fears of crime, has kept many teams from sending many American players there lately, but there are still a number of outstanding prospects who will get some more reps in when they go home for the winter.
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Astros outfielder John Gaston keeps rolling, Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata gets hot, and a 30-year-old in the Gulf Coast League who deserves your attention.
The hits just keep coming
Jon Gaston, OF, Astros (High-A Lancaster) Tuesday's stats: 2-for-3, 2 HR (27), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, K
A day after getting credit for crazy numbers, even in a crazy great ballpark for hitting, Gaston upped the crazy a bit by smacking two more bombs. His .310/.397/.676 line is a thing to behold, but keep in mind that he's slugging .800 at home, and with 100 strikeouts in 96 games, he's going to have trouble hitting for a high average once he moves to more normalized environments.
Another Oriole arm to know
Zach Britton, LHP, Orioles (High-A Frederick) Tuesday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 7 K
A third-round pick in 2006 out of a Texas high school, Britton lowered his Carolina League ERA to 2.66 with last night's start, good for second in the circuit, and the scouts are speaking just as highly as his numbers. With a low-90s sinker than generates as many groundballs as it does swings and misses, along with a solid slider a changup, many evaluators think he's just one step below the much-hyped trio of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.
In a shocking move Tuesday, the Pirates dealt Nate McLouth to the Braves, and called up heralded prospect Andrew McCutchen to take McLouth's center field duties. The 21-year-old McCutchen was hitting .303 (61-for-201) with four home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for Triple-A Indianapolis prior to his promotion. For the Bucs, McLouth was the final piece - and the last star - left in one of the best outfields in the Majors last season.
The senior circuit's collection of talent on the rise, and the chances of each prospect to become his organization's best.
Prospecting is all about the future, so let's look deep into the coming year and try to figure out who might be topping next year's prospect lists in their respective organizations, as well as who could be moving up, down, or even out, beginning today with the National League. The American League version is here.
Though we had fewer trades this week than we've had in recent years, we did have more big-ticket trades, beginning with the CC Sabathia-to-Milwaukee deal, and culminating in the Manny Ramirez blockbuster trade to the Dodgers. This was overall a fairly satisfying trade period, even if there were more fizzles than trades on deadline day Thursday. When evaluating these deals from a fantasy perspective, often it's the ancillary effects that are the most interesting. After all, there's not much to analyze in terms of what Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, Jason Bay, or even Casey Kotchman might do. We'll instead train the vast majority of our focus on how the rest of the dominoes fall, starting with the two major deals on Saturday.
Team USA is dealt in, the Yankees begin hoarding chips, and the White Sox hold.
The idea of sending a baseball Dream Team to the Olympics has been dead a while now. Major League Baseball would never consider shutting down its season for two weeks to send an All-Star team to an Olympiad, and furthermore, baseball will be discontinued as an Olympic sport after next month's games in Beijing. The opening ceremonies are August 8, and the baseball competition will be held from August 13-23. Thus, baseball will be taking a back seat to a lot of other sports in the Olympics. You have to search to find the games on television, and strain even further to find much coverage online or in print.