Notes from around the AFL and Caribbean Winter Leagues.
There was a full slate of action in the Dominican Winter League, although not one player did anything interesting enough to make my list. Not that there wasn't anything interesting going on. For instance, thirty-seven year-old Vladimir Guerrero, a career .318 hitter with 449 HR in 16 big league seasons, went 2-for-4 for the Tigres del Licey. And then there was Manny being Manny, playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. The 40 year-old, who is stuck at 555 career HR, homered in his DWL debut off the first pitch he saw from former big leaguer Daniel Cabrera, who ended up pitching seven strong innings and only allowing a pair of solo homers to Ramirez and former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who was celebrating after I recently moved him into my Marlins' projected lineup after a certain blockbuster trade. See, I told you there were some good times being had in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Gary Sanchez improves both at and behind the plate, Martin Perez continues to be a mystery, and Shelby Miller goes backwards.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, Reds (at Double-A Pensacola)
Corcino draws too many easy comps to Johnny Cueto, as he's short, thick, Dominican, a Red, and has a big arm. But let's talk about him on his own merits, which include eight no-hit innings on Saturday to lower his ERA to 3.34 in 13 Double-A starts. Corcino's best pitch is a fastball that ranges from 92-95 mph, and both his slider and changeup are at least average pitches. There's considerable effort to his delivery, which leads to some control issues, and when he has problems with his location, he tends to miss up. He's a potential No. 3 starter with some refinements, and the 21-year-old has already made plenty of improvements this year.
Jason has more notes on Royals and Indians prospects from his recent trip to Delaware.
“Baseball is my stereo, and this ain't no garden party, brother, this is wrestling, where only the strongest survive.” –Ric Flair
I just returned home from a five-day scouting expedition, where I saw organizational players and prospects alike recite their lines on the advanced A-ball stage. Wilmington, Delaware was the setting for this theater, and I probably escaped the state with more stories that originated outside the ballpark than on the field itself, and trust me, I was able to gather plenty of stories from the action taking place on the field. My next article might have to focus on the eclectic cab driver who took a casual conversation about adult metabolism and escalated it into a tale of karate and gunfights, the 30-year-old hotel bartender who foolishly thought he could play shortstop in the high minors, and the previously mentioned girl on the bus, who looked like a toy, complete with the plastic package that separates the product from the hands of the outside world, but baseball is still fresh on my mind, and the notes from the Wilmington Blue Rocks/Carolina Mudcats series are playing on repeat in my head. I was sad to leave the scene of the crime, but happy to find comfort in the documented history of my travels, the scouting scribbles on prospects like Royals right-hander Jason Adam and Indians middle-infielders Ronny Rodriguez and Tony Wolters. Let’s just do this.
Another week and another singular change in the Value Picks portfolio. This week, Sean Rodriguez and his hot June graduate from Value Picks, and an alumni in Mike Aviles returns to the portfolio. Rodriguez had an off week (.095/.095/.143 in 21 PA) but that did not stop ESPN owners from picking him up off the waiver wires, as his ownership skyrocketed to 41.3% of ESPN mixed leagues. However, don't think that off week was some aberration; Rodriguez AVG is due for some regression. What he can hopefully do to make up for it is take some more walks (right now, he's walking in just 3.2% of his PA) and hit for more power, two things PECOTA expects a lot of. If he is available and you need the middle infield help, he is still a solid pickup, provided you can handle the low AVG.
Value Picks goes all-Tampa for the AL side and looks at a former top prospect on the NL side.
Value Picks again makes one change for the week, as long-time VP member Ian Desmond graduates past the 20% ownership mark in ESPN mixed leagues and moves on in terms of value. Desmond maintained his slash line during the week, keeping his AVG above .270. With a believable .315 BABIP, you should expect to see that AVG stick throughout the season. And while Desmond will never be confused with Nick Johnson in terms of plate discipline, he's made for that a bit with his decent pop. Desmond ranks third among NL shortstops in RBI (33) and fifth in ISO (.143), so owners are getting decent value right now. While Jhonny Peralta still remains below the ownership threshold in ESPN mixed leagues, it is likely that most readers of Fantasy Beat are more than aware of Peralta's value as an average hitter in the hitting-poor shortstop position. As a result, he'll "graduate" with the caveat that he remains a solid choice for AL leagues.
Nate digs a little deeper into the running game, wondering if we've been understating the value of Yadier Molina.
Last season, only 39 runners tried to steal on him. In spite of their apparent selectivity, only 14 of those men succeeded. This was the fewest number of steals allowed by an everyday catcher since 1960 (minimum 100 games caught):