When position means everything

Matt McBride
, C/1B, Indians (AFL: Peoria Saguaros)
Yesterday’s stats:2-for-4, 3B, HR (4), 2 R, RBI, K

A second-round pick in 2006, the story on McBride has always been the same. He can hit a bit, but he’s not a good defensive catcher, and he can’t stay healthy. He stayed healthy in 2009, batting a whopping .405/.453/.667 in the Carolina League before slumping to a line of .247/.301/.427 at Double-A, but he didn’t catch. He split time between first base and left field primarily, two positions where you can’t just hit a bit; you have to mash. The big story here is that he’s catching again, which is the difference between him being kind of a prospect or not a prospect at all.

Late-round bullpen find No. 1

Mickey Story
, RHP, Athletics (AFL: Phoenix)
Yesterday’s stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

A 31st round pick in 2008 out of Florida International, Storey pitched for all four Oakland full-season affiliates in 2009, compiling a Gibson-esque 1.22 ERA with a downright silly 71-8 strikeout to walk ratio in 51 2/3 innings while allowing just 27 hits. Closer of the future? Probably not. Command, location and deception are the name of the game for Storey, but he does have enough stuff for scouts to believe he’s more than just a smoke-and-mirrors charlatan who will never have big league success.

Late-round bullpen find No. 2

Josh Judy
, RHP, Indians (AFL: Peoria Saguaros)
Yesterday’s stats: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

When you think about college baseball, the Indiana Institute of Technology is probably not one of the first schools to come to mind, but the Indians found an arm there in Judy, who was taken in the 34th round of the 2007 draft. Pitching at Double-A Akron this year, Judy limited the Eastern League to a .198 average while striking out 63 in 49.1 innings, and more importantly the scouting reports match the stats. Both his 91-94 mph sinking fastball and slider rank as plus pitches, and while he doesn’t project as a late-innings type, getting anything in the 34th round is gravy.

Slipping away

Taylor Green
, 3B, Brewers (AFL: Peoria Javelinas)
Yesterday’s stats: 2-for-5, HR (5), R, 3 RBI, BB, K

After a bit of a breakout year in 2008, Green’s 2009 campaign was just as big a step in the wrong direction. Plagued by injuries, he played in just 87 games for Double-A Huntsville during the regular season, hitting an unimpressive .258/.330/.356 line in the process. Things aren’t going any better for the Javelinas, as he’s now down to .184 without an extra base hit in 12 games. After narrowly missing last year’s Top 11 prospect list, he’s suddenly facing a bit of a make-it-or-break-it 2010 campaign.

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Josh Judy ended up with Espinosa's blurb from Nov. 6.
So, does McBride catch well enough to get put on the 40? To pass Chris Gimenez in the pecking order? Wyatt Toregas? The Indians need to trade a backup catcher soon, yes?
Any word on Donald Veal, seems like in a league full of top offensive prospects, a pitcher shutting them all down would be a story.
From a one game sample last Friday night in Peoria, McBride looks like an outfielder or first baseman trying to catch. He had trouble holding onto pitches cleanly, and looked somewhat awkward in his gear. Lorenzo Cain led a group that ran on him (and several pitchers) at will. McBride does look like a hitter, though, and in a league where the average OPS is over .900, he is crushing the ball.
Kevin: On Mickey Story: Should this sentence read "doesn't", not "does"?: "Command, location and deception are the name of the game for Storey, but he have enough stuff for scouts to believe he's more than just a smoke-and-mirrors charlatan who will never have big league success." Regards,
I think smoke and mirrors guys are underrated in general because unlike MPH, the reason they get people out is hard to measure, at least given the tools available at minor league parks. Sergio Romo is probably the poster boy for the smoke and mirrors crowd. He was striking out batters in the minors at over 10/9, and in 68 innings in the majors, he has done the pretty much the same thing. There is no reason not to give Story the same opportunity in spring to show it isn't a fluke.