A three-man top tier stands a cut above the rest, but there are five-category contributors as low as tier three.
Today we continue our positional tier rankings. Last offseason, Derek Carty tackled the tiers by himself; this spring, we've decided to attack them as a team. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by the number of stars.
Five-star players are the studs at their respective position. In general, they are the players that will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they'll fetch auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be earl- round selections, and they're projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late round sleepers and roster placeholders. As was the case with our positional rankings series, the positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of the projected PECOTA values.
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Looking at some first-time starters in 2013 to see which ones will stick.
For every top talent like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado who claims a regular role from the moment he makes the majors, there’s a veteran who bounces around for years while he waits his turn for a chance to start somewhere. The following 10 players are looking to make the leap to full-time starter status this season. But do they have what it takes to succeed in their expanded roles, or will they be busted back to the bench?
Brandon Moss, Athletics, 1B
Moss’ power output was impressive last season, but it was partially a product of aggressive platooning by Bob Melvin, who limited him to only 62 PA against lefties. Chris Carter’s departure opens a path to more playing time for Moss (and speaks to Oakland’s confidence that he can repeat his success), but it will also make it more difficult to protect him against southpaws. Can he stick? No. A’s batting coach Chili Davis worked closely with Moss to get him to embrace his pull power, so it’s possible that his pre-2012 stats are deceptive. But the 29-year-old’s projection isn’t pretty: .238/.301/.421 with subpar secondary skills, which wouldn’t come close to cutting it at first base.
Miami's outfielder is attempting to accomplish a feat few others can claim.
Justin Ruggiano is having one of the league’s most surprising seasons. He entered Sunday with 245 plate appearances, a .324 batting average, and strikeouts in 25.3 percent of his plate appearances. Intuitively, we all know striking out more than a quarter of the time makes it tough to be a productive hitter, and nearly impossible to post a high average. Yet Ruggiano is angling to join an exclusive club of players with more than 250 plate appearances in a season, a strikeout rate above 25 percent, and a batting average of .300 or better:
“There are more people out there touring the nation in conversion vans chasing the purity offered by minor-league baseball than you think. And Durham was their Mecca.”
So observes James Bailey in his new, self-published novel, The Greatest Show on Dirt. Bailey should know: he worked for the Durham Bulls for three seasons, 1990-92. You haven’t done the minor leagues until you’ve done Durham.
The tater trots for May 31 (May 30 times are also included.
Family issues kept me from posting Monday's trots yesterday. There were 46 hit that day - the biggest day of the year, I believe - but I still had to go back and time then. The times are included below. Tuesday's home run haul was a little smaller, but it was still a pretty good day for taters.
A Durham Bull discussed raising a family and trying to eat well in the minors.
In this, the 44th installment of Minor Issues, Justin Ruggiano returns to talk about the trials and tribulations of raising a family, and eating well, on a minor-league salary. A 28-year-old outfielder in the Tampa Bay organization, Ruggiano is currently with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.
Justin Ruggiano, aka “Scrooge,” is number 11 in your Durham Bulls program. A 28-year-old outfielder who has seen action in 52 big league games, Ruggiano is hitting .289/,356/.469 with 13 home runs and 21 stolen bases for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate. He is also doing his best to keep track of his teammates’ names, nicknames and numbers.