View from the turtle during batting practice at this year's MLB Futures Game during All Star Weekend.
The Baseball Prospectus prospect team is constantly on the road, getting eyes on the top talent throughout baseball -- from the amateur ranks up through the majors. Moving forward I'll be working to bring you inside my travels (hopefully with contributions from others on the prospect team), including pictures and video. There will be a lot of baseball and some broader travel stuff if I think you might find it interesting.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco and Diamondbacks righty Chase Anderson.
Hitter of the Night: Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies (Lehigh Valley, AAA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, K.
Franco isn’t the only Top-101 prospect whose ultra-aggressive approach at the plate has run him into some trouble at a new level this year, and his natural ability to put the barrel on the ball leads to some bad contact when he’s cold. When he’s hot, however, it leads to nights like these, and the Phillies are ready for him to heat up with the weather and take Cody Asche’s place in a month or two.
Pitcher of the Night: Chase Anderson, RHP, Diamondbacks (Mobile, AA): 7 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K. A
Anderson’s mediocre stuff plays up thanks to a plus changeup, which, when it’s working, can miss a lot of bats. He’s also 26 now and back in Double-A after getting trounced in Triple-A last year. He’s more depth than anything else at this point, though he could still carve out a back-end/long-relief role.
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In advance of his foray into Tout Wars, Mike explains how he'd adjust his values for OBP leagues and unveils this week's update.
In eight days, I’ll be participating in my fifth Tout Wars expert league auction (on the National League side of the fence). However, this will be the first year we will be using on-base percentage—instead of batting average—as a category.
The attached spreadsheet offers my adjusted bid values for on base percentage leagues. More than the changes, what will probably jump out to readers is how few players’ values changed in both leagues. Forty-five NL hitters saw a change in value, while 38 AL hitters were moved up or down. Given that 125 AL hitters and 118 NL hitters saw a value change of $1 or more in 2013, shouldn’t there be more fluctuation in my bid limits for OBP?
This aging club has some intriguing players, but many of them carry significant injury risk.
It’s easy and fun to make jokes about how old the Phillies are, but the team’s advanced age curve does have an impact from a fantasy perspective. Nine players on the team’s projected Opening Day roster are 33 years of age or older. Post-peak players aren’t worthless and certainly can provide fantasy value. However, discounts have to be built in for potential injuries and breakdowns, especially in deeper leagues where good replacement level players are harder to find. The Phillies are becoming a Bermuda Triangle in fantasy: a lot of players are worth owning, but the risk factor here is high in many cases.
The offensive bar is set high for these minor leaguers, but their defensive shortcomings won't hurt your fantasy squad.
Given all of the major-league talent and production that plays at first base, you’d think that there’s a veritable cornucopia of names that are lurking just below the surface, waiting to be promoted and produce. Well, you’d be wrong. So very, very wrong. And not the kind of wrong where you don’t want to be right, either.
Instead, what we find is a smattering of players who have a strong enough offensive profile to withstand the weight of expectations placed on a first baseman, while also featuring a lack of defensive ability so distinct that their teams aren’t even attempting to play them out of position with the hope that they could somehow not be a first baseman. Instead, the depth at the major-league level is created when teams ultimately give up on the guys they are playing out of position and transition them down the defensive spectrum, because, at this point, winning games starts to matter.
Notes on prospects playing abroad, including White Sox infielder Leury Garcia and Red Sox shortstop Heiker Meneses.
Leury Garcia, INF, White Sox (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 1-3. Garcia probably won’t hit enough to play every day and has virtually no power to speak of, but his versatility could make him a solid utility man, perhaps as soon as this year. He’s been playing all over the infield in the Dominican this winter and has the tools to play multiple middle-of-the-diamond positions at the major-league level.
Notes on players who stood out abroad, including Padres outfielder Rymer Liriano.
Prospect of the Day: Rymer Liriano, RF, Padres (Tigres del Licey, DWL): 1-4, R, HR. You may have forgotten about Liriano because he missed the entire 2013 season after having Tommy John surgery in Feburary. The time off was a big blow for the super-toolsy but raw Liriano, who needed all the minor-league at-bats he could get. TJ for position players is different than it is for pitchers, so there’s not too much concern about his plus arm coming back, but the missed at-bats could hurt his hit tool, which was his weak link anyway. He just joined the Tigres to help make up for lost time and should return to Double-A where he struggled in 2012.
Notes on prospects playing abroad, including Maikel Franco, Jonathan Singleton, and Eddie Rosario.
Prospect of the Day: Maikel Franco, 1B, Phillies (Gigantes del Cibao, DWL): 2-4, R HR. The beauty of power-hitting prospects with questionable hit tools is that every time you start to doubt them a little bit, they run into one and remind you why you like them in the first place. Franco got his first home run of the winter on Tuesday while playing first base for the Gigantes, something he’s expected to do more of this season.