Notes on prospects in the Arizona Fall League, Dominican Winter League, and Venezuelan Winter League.
It was great to see some baseball news back on my Twitter feed, even though the only significant roster-altering move on Wednesday (Padres catcher Yasmani Grandalsuspended 50 games after testing positive for elevated testosterone) hurts the team that I've been cheering for since I was a kid. Rumors are always fun, though, and there were some interesting names, including Justin Upton), mentioned as potential trade candidates and a few teams (Mariners, Orioles) being named as possible favorites in the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes. Speaking of which, make sure you're getting caught up on all things Hot Stove with Daniel Rathman's Rumor Rounduphere at Baseball Prospectus. Now for notes around the AFL, DWL, and VWL.
The major league power outage could have its cause in the minor leagues, writes Kevin Goldstein.
Home runs are down nearly twenty percent from their 2004 peak, and scouts have made it clear that, based on what they are seeing in the minors, the downward trend is going to continue. With Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the big leagues and Seattle's Jesus Montero beginning the year there, all of a sudden there are precious few power hitters in the minors. While there are plenty of theories as to the cause, there's no obvious answer as to why.
Reviewing a new documentary about the often agonizing July 2nd signing process for international amateur prospects.
During last year’s Wisconsin Film Festival, I watched a documentary entitled Open Season, about the events surrounding the tragic shootings of eight deer hunters in northern Wisconsin by a trespassing Minnesotan. The film was reasonably well-made and even-handed, given that the shooter happened to be a Hmong refugee and the victims were white Midwesterners, facts that could have easily enabled a broad black-and-white narrative of culture clash and racism rather than the grey-scale collision of individuals in a moment of escalating conflict. Watching the film didn’t teach me anything new about the shootings and subsequent trial, as both occurred near my hometown, two of the victims were related to me, and it was unlikely the filmmakers could learn and express as much about the events and the environment surrounding them as I already knew, having to some extent lived them.
Kevin caught two young power threats in a recent Midwest League matchup.
It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. My mom used to say that a lot, and I used to think it was a load of crap. I still do in many ways, but it sure does apply to how I watch minor league baseball. I actually had to look up the final score (Beloit 9, Kane County 7) of my first minor league game of the season, because I really don't care who wins. I wasn't there to see a collective group of Snappers or Cougars, I was there to see players, specifically a pair of 18-year-old cleanup hitters: Jorge Bonifacio of Kane County and Miguel Sano of Beloit. Neither disappointed.
After a miserable 2011 at the major-league level, will Minnesota at least see some happiness on the farm?
Prospect #1: 3B Miguel Sano Background with Player: Industry sources Who: Sano, who has soul-crushing power from the right-side, stands in very elite company when it comes to his raw slugging ability; scouts line up to throw 80s of the future of the tool. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for a robust $3.15 million, Sano might only have a short-season résumé, but the 18-year-old should be considered one of the top offensive prospects in the game.
In the field, Sano has very little chance of sticking on the left side of the infield. He has good athleticism for his present size and a strong arm, but the teenager is already a very large man and all signs point to him getter even larger during the maturation process. This will push his glove to right field or first base, though he has enough offensive potential to have value regardless of where or how he plays on the field.
Straight from one man's scouting mission to the island, video, scouting reports, and rumors from the Dominican.
I'm back from the Dominican and I come bearing gifts: full scouting reports, on-the-ground buzz, first-hand accounts of top prospects, and the videos to prove it. I've got way more than I can fit in one article, but I'll try to cram as much as I can into this space. For non-subscribers who can't read much further, the embedded videos below can all be found here.
Before we jump into things, I wanted to revisit a topic that I covered last week. Teams seem to be even more open to a give-and-take between their draft and international budgets when it comes to a weak draft class, a struggling economy, and increasing bonuses being paid out in Latin America. One club official noted that it has always been common for teams that didn't plan to spend their entire draft budget to roll the excess into their international budget once they know what players they selected. It has also been circulating that a few teams may be trying to dump big-league salaries to free up more money for international purposes, with the most frequently mentioned team being San Diego, and their most mentioned contract being Jake Peavy's. The fact that Peavy blocked a trade to the White Sox recently didn't do much to quell this talk.