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Wednesday, December 9th

Wuilmer Becerra, LF, New York Mets (Tigres de Aragua) 1-1

Becerra was arguably the best "prospect" left exposed to the Rule 5 draft. It was unlikely he would get selected, as he spent all of last season in the South Atlantic League and doesn't have an up-the-middle glove you can hide anyway. This was a calculated risk for the Mets, as he may be a level-by-level player and they would have had to start his option clock a year before they'd have liked to. If Becerra continues to develop, there is a nice plus-power, right-field profile in here, think something like late-career Marlon Byrd. In 2016, against major-league pitching, however, he would have been a dead duck.

Josmil Pinto, DH, San Diego Padres (Tigres de Aragua) 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K

One of the longest conversations I had with a scout about a player was about Pinto. This is because oh man do ex-catchers like to talk about catching. I learned a lot about catcher evaluation that day, and have always kept an eye on Pinto since. The bat always jumped out to me, despite a bit of a hand waggle, he'd get the bat to the ball and do some damage when it got there. Unfortunately, as important as framing has become in evaluating catcher defense, you can't go 0-for-20 throwing out runners and give up 14 wild pitches/passed balls in 25 games like Pinto did in 2014. He is mostly a DH now—such is life for catching prospects. If they can't catch, they ain't prospects.

Adam Kolarek, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Gigantes de Carolina) 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

I have seen Adam Kolarek on a mound more times than any other minor-league baseball pitcher. This is not surprising. He is a left-handed reliever, so he works often. He has spent parts of the past four seasons in the Eastern League, which has three parks I regularly visit. So I have grown a bit fond of him. Well first I got tired of seeing him over and over, but that eventually warms into a fond familiarity (plus you can close your notebook and check twitter for an inning or whatever). He even came on as a guest in the early days of my Mets podcast. So I was pleased he got snapped up as a minor league free agent by the Orioles this offseason, since he was born in Baltimore. Then he got picked in the minor league portion of the Rule 5. Baseball can be a cruel game, but I suppose it also can keep you employed for a long time if you are left-handed.

Japhet Amador, 1B (Charros de Jalisco) 2-4, HR (14), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

I have nothing new to add since last week on Amador, but if he hits a bomb on days I am covering, he is going to get a mention. Based on how he is going, the odds aren't bad.

Thursday, December 10th

Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (Gigantes de Cibao) 0-2, R, 2 BB

I always liked Maikel Franco's bat. I did not think he was going to be a major-league third baseman. He is, sort of. Maybe he shouldn't be, but the bat looks like it might being even better than I expected. Base on balls are always nice to see in the box score, even in the VZWL, since 2015 was the first professional season since A-ball where he has been within a shout of an average walk rate. If he can maintain that it will round out his offensive profile nicely. Which will help, because I am still not sure he is a major-league third baseman.

Deolis Guerra, RHP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Navigantes de Magallanes) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Deolis Guerra finally pitched in the majors in 2015. Deolis Guera was in the Johan Santana deal during the 2007 offseason (no. 1 song in America: “Low” by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain). Guerra at the time was considered a pretty high-upside arm, having just spent all of his age-18 season holding his own in the Florida State League with a potential plus change-up and a wide range of velocity readings depending on when you caught him. He meandered his way to the upper minors, converted to relief, lost a season to a blood clot in his pitching arm, before finally getting a cup of coffee in the Pirates pen. He sits around 90 now and still throws the change a lot, which was good enough to get him popped by the Angels in yesterday's Rule 5 draft. I suppose he still has an outside shot at being the second-best player in that deal. Mets fans were just happy the team didn't trade Fernando Martinez. I have no idea if these facts are worth considering before evaluating the Shelby Miller deal or others of that ilk.