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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Lee: Initial B.J. Upton swing observations

B.J. Upton’s swing has changed some, but whether it’s the dramatic difference he needs remains to be seen.

Upton’s 2013 was a perfect storm of bad habits rolled into a swing that was all arms and generated no lower-body help. It led to slow bat speed, whiffing through velocity and not being able to drive anything up the middle.

I wrote in October that Upton’s 2013 swing had little load, a very slow trigger, a stiff front side and no lower-body torque. He didn’t generate any momentum to the ball, didn’t rotate to it, and his body went toward home plate instead.

Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:35 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: bad contracts, bj upton, braves, mechanics, scouting

Monday, November 25, 2013

On Jacoby Ellsbury’s Power

Some great analysis by Fangraph’s Dan Farnsworth.

We wanted to see what evidence there was for or against another power outburst from Ellsbury going forward.  My impression of his 2013 season is that he was never 100% healthy, and that was what disabled his power from showing up earlier and more frequently.  Not even necessarily because of one specific physical problem, I don’t think he ever was able to get comfortable this year because of the nagging injuries.  These mechanical issues were not big enough to ruin his season, but just enough to limit his power. 

If he can get a few months of clear-minded at bats where he’s not worried about pain, I think he settles down enough to get his front foot down and let his hands work, bringing with it the home run power.  That said, it’s not reasonable to expect perfect health based on his recent history, and because of that I would bet money on not seeing 30 home runs again.  If he is able to get a few full seasons of plate appearances, I feel comfortable betting on a 20+ home run season or two, with the floor of a high AVG guy who plays great defense and steals a bunch of bags.  Sign me up.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2013 at 04:15 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jacoby ellsbury, sabermetrics, scouting, scouting reports

Friday, November 15, 2013

How Branch Rickey Invented Modern Baseball

I loved this book when I first read it. I am enjoying re-reading it again. It’s one of my top five favorite baseball books (and I have read a lot of them). I highly recommend it.

There’s a bit of scouting in good journalism. Unless a writer is content to transcribe press conferences or stream along behind the league’s marketing men, unless he’s happy to write what everybody else is writing with just a slightly cleverer lead, he must himself drive hours off the main roads to find the great and undiscovered. Once there, he must identify, project, persuade, and he must know his stuff. Darned right there’s gut involved.

In the mid-1970s, Kevin Kerrane, an English professor at the University of Delaware, convened a lecture series on baseball in American life. A Phillies scout showed up for the series, Kerrane befriended him, and five years later Kerrane had talked his way into the Phillies’ draft room and onto the back fields of its spring training grounds. The same year Kerrane was doing his reporting, Sports Illustrated “discovered” Bill James, and the seeds were planted for the scouts vs. stats wars of the 1990s and 2000s. Anybody who read the results of Kerrane’s reporting, though, anybody who really knew scouting, would have seen the overlap. Scouting was all about data, if a different kind of data: data about sprint times and arm strength, and about race and faces and how big the mother’s ass was. Some of that data was probably terrible! But scouting departments were where baseball teams experimented, pushed for ever more precise knowledge, and tried to squeeze out market inefficiencies before their competitors had caught up. Dollar Sign on the Muscle was Blink before Blink, and it was Moneyball before Moneyball, and it was Baseball America before Baseball America. It’s not just one of the greatest narrative works about baseball; it’s several, per chapter.

“They use ‘inside baseball’ as a term to suggest esoteric knowledge,” writes David Simon, the creator of The Wire, in praise of the book. “That’s ridiculous. The inside is where anything worth knowing actually begins to matter.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 15, 2013 at 03:01 PM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: books, scouting

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Introducing the Interactive Spray Chart Tool | FanGraphs Baseball

Good stuff from Bill Petti.

I’ve been working on an interactive tool that allows you to create spray charts using Game Day data from the past two years for a few weeks now. I’ve always loved the Katron Batted Ball tool, and it’s been a great resource of mine for years. However, I wanted to put something together that was a bit more interactive, allowed for more filtering, and made side-by-side comparisons easier.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2013 at 09:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, scouting

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A baseball literary treasure returns to the spotlight. | SportsonEarth.com : Andy McCullough

Dollar Sign on the Muscle is one of the very best baseball books I have ever read. If you haven’t read the book, do yourself a big favor and get a copy. I can’t recommend this book enough. I own a copy but already purchased the new edition so I can reread the book on my Kindle.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 30, 2013 at 09:44 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: books, scouting

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Welcome to Baseball Scout School - The Triangle Blog - Grantland

Good stuff in part 1.

I’d love to take a look at the manual. Would anyone be willing to let me borrow their book? Message me. Thanks in advance!

Known more formally as the Scout Development Program, Scout School is a 12-day course designed to teach the basics of baseball scouting. It takes place in Phoenix each fall, and it’s run by the Major League Scouting Bureau, an organization (now under the domain of Major League Baseball) that has supplemented the scouting efforts of MLB clubs since 1974. More than 1,200 people have participated in the first 28 sessions of Scout School, and many of them have gone on to hold high positions with teams, including some general managers whose names you know.

Aspiring scouts and player development personnel make up most of the graduates, but in recent years other front-office members have begun flocking to Phoenix to be exposed to the scouting perspective. Progressive organizations have increasingly sought to combine statistics and scouting information in their efforts to evaluate players. As then–Baseball Prospectus columnist Dayn Perry once put it, asking whether a team should be run with scouts or statistics is like asking someone to choose between beer or tacos. The best answer is “Both, you fool.”

Read parts 2-4:
Baseball Scout School, Part 2: Rating Beers, Falling in Love With a Cub, and Imagining Another A-Rod
Baseball Scout School, Part 3: How to Write a Scouting Report
Baseball Scout School, Part 4: A Little Less White Space on This Previously Blank Scouting Slate

Jim Furtado Posted: October 22, 2013 at 08:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: major league scouting bureau, scouting

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Beasley: Bryce Harper “can handle” starting season with Nationals

Beasley: Bryceslist: Killer job.

New Triple-A Syracuse manager Tony Beasley believes Harper could use some more seasoning but has also demonstrated hints of the complete package
.
“I would hate to see him come all the way through the system quickly, skip levels and then get the major league level and really skid,” Beasley said. “The thing he has that is special, and I have talked to him about it, is his mindset - the way he believes and the level of confidence he has and his ability to play the game of baseball. I don’t think you want to shake that, especially at this age. I don’t think you want to take the chance of shaking that.”

...But all you can go on is what you have seen and Beasley believes in what Harper has produced in one season. He believes it is a very positive sign for what lies ahead for the Nationals and their top prospect.

“I think so far he has done outstanding. That is the tough call for general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson (to make). All we can do as a minor league field staff is to prepare him as best we can for on and off field situations. I think so far he is way, way ahead of his years and he gets it. I think (Harper) really understands it,” Beasley said.

So, is Harper ready?

“If he gets the call out of spring training this year,” Beasley said, “I have a feeling that he can handle it.”

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, nationals, prospect reports, scouting

SI.com: Economic considerations at heart of Carmona’s decision

An interesting analysis of signing ages, signing bonuses, and success rates in the Dominican Republic, by Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated ...

Teams pay premiums for 16-year-olds for two primary reasons: One, because teams often want to be the first to sign a promising player and, thus, avoid bidding wars with other teams; and two, clubs prefer to develop their players’ skills under the watchful eyes of their own club personnel rather than under those of unqualified and unaffiliated coaches or trainers.

But are 18-year-old Latin American players really worth 70 percent less than their 16-year-old counterparts? Here’s another data analysis that calls into question the industry practice of placing a premium on youth. Let’s assume the most basic marker of a successful signing is making it to the majors. We’ll make it simple and look at the 79 players who have made their major league debuts from 2008-2011 from Carmona’s Dominican Republic. Of those 79, only six were signed as 16-year-olds. The debuts suggest older players were more likely to advance to the majors. ...

[...]

What’s more, SI tracked down the bonus data for 60 of the 79 players. Fernando Martinez, signed by the Mets in 2005 for $1.3 million, was the only one to receive a seven-figure bonus. Only nine others signed for six figures and one — the Rockies’ Juan Nicasio — received nada to sign, according to the data obtained by SI. The median signing bonus among them tallied a paltry $35,000.

Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 21, 2012 at 05:09 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, international, mets, miami, minor leagues, rockies, scouting

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: Indians Top 11 Prospects

System in 20 Words or Less: This is the youngest, riskiest, most volatile Top 11 I’ve ever done.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Francisco Lindor, SS
Three-Star Prospects
2. Dillon Howard, RHP
3. Ronny Rodriguez, SS
4. Austin Adams, RHP
5. Tony Wolters, SS
6. Nick Hagadone, LHP
7. Dorssys Paulino, SS
8. Luigi Rodriguez, OF
Two-Star Prospects
9. Scott Barnes, LHP
10. Robel Garcia, INF
11. Elvis Araujo, LHP

Nine More
12. Jake Cisco, RHP: This 2011 third-round pick has size and stuff, but he’s raw.
13. Zach McAllister, RHP: He has command and fastball movement, but little else. His ceiling is a fifth starter.
14. Felix Sterling, RHP: This young righty has a power arm and big potential, but he needs refinement.
15. Jorge Martinez, SS: He’s yet another teenage Dominican with loud tools. He profiles as a third baseman with power.
16. Chen Lee, RHP: This undersized righty has an electric fastball. He should pitch in big leagues this year, and has a seventh- or eighth-inning ceiling.
17. Levon Washington, OF: He’s still a great athlete, but his swing fell apart in 2011.
18. Jesus Aguilar, 1B: This massive first baseman is a bat-only prospect, but there are questions about what he can do other than hit for power.
19. Chun-Hsui Chen, C: He has impressive offensive skills, but he’s well below average behind the plate.
20. Zack Putnam, RHP: Like Lee, Putnam should reach the big leagues this year, but he profiles as a solid reliever, not an impact one.

 

Tripon Posted: January 20, 2012 at 01:33 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Thursday, January 19, 2012

IIATMS: Jim Callis of Baseball America Talks Yankees Prospects

(checks fine print for Calvin Riggar update)

CB:  Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are two of the brightest and most highly sought after pitching prospects in the Yankee system.  While they each miss a lot of bats and generate big strikeout numbers; both have exhibited difficulties in limiting walks.  After watching each struggle with their command in 2011, are you still projecting both pitchers to be top of the rotation starters?

JC:  I don’t think I’ve ever projected Betances as a frontline starter. That may be his ceiling, but given his slow development path and still less-than-stellar command, I’ve suspected for a while that he’s going to end up as a reliever. I still see Banuelos as a starter, however, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever called him a No. 1 starter. He’s a No. 2 or 3 if everything comes together.

CB:  After being listed as Baseball America ’s 108th best prospect prior to the 2011 amateur draft, the Yankees selected Dante Bichette, Jr. with the 51st pick.  He signed quickly and promptly set the Gulf Coast League afire hitting .342/.446/.505 and winning league MVP honors.  Looking back, do you think your initial evaluation was accurate?  If not, what has changed?

JC:  Our initial evaluation was based in part about suspicions that he’ll eventually wind up in the outfield. If he can stay at third base, and the Yankees think he can, then he’ll have more value. Bichette has boosted his stock since the draft with his strong debut and his initial play at third base.

Repoz Posted: January 19, 2012 at 06:13 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, yankees

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Chicago White Sox

Leapin’ Lukevics! What a mess!

1. Addison Reed, rhp
2. Nestor Molina, rhp
3. Simon Castro, rhp
4. Trayce Thompson, of
5. Jake Petricka, rhp
6. Keenyn Walker, of
7. Jhan Marinez, rhp
8. Tyler Saladino, ss
9. Juan Silverio, 3b
10. Ozzie Martinez, ss

With his farm system failing to supply impact players, GM Ken Williams constantly has had to be on the lookout for OPT—other people’s talent. He has chosen poorly in recent years, hamstringing Chicago with bad contracts for Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios.

...The club could struggle to contend in the immediate future because it has done a poor job of signing and developing its own talent. Chicago has the worst farm system in baseball, and it’s no coincidence that it ranks last in draft spending in the last five years ($18.3 million) and has had little presence on the international amateur market in that time.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 07:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, white sox

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: Cincinnati Reds Top 11 Prospects

System In 20 Words Or Less: Considering the trades made for a 2012 run at the National Leaugue Central, there is still some strength in the system.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Billy Hamilton, SS
2. Devin Mesoraco, C
Three-Star Prospects
3. Zack Cozart, SS
4. Robert Stephenson, RHP
5. Daniel Corcino, RHP
6. J.C. Sulbaran, RHP
7. Didi Gregorius, SS
8. Todd Frazier, UT
9. Neftali Soto, 1B
10. Henry Rodriguez, 2B
Two-Star Prospects
11. Yorman Rodriguez, OF

Nine More:
12. Kyle Lotzkar, RHP: Can’t stay healthy, but continues to tease with some of the best stuff in the system.
13. Kyle Waldrop, OF: Athletic outfielder impressed Pioneer League scouts in 2011, has excellent chance to move up.
14. Donnie Joseph, LHP: Lefty reliever has bat-missing arsenal; could reach big leagues in 2012 with more strikes.
15. Gabriel Rosa, 3B: 2011 second-round pick is raw, but has the potential for plus power and defense.
16. Tony Cingrani, LHP: 2011 third-rounder has crazy number in pro debut, but projects for many as reliever.
17. Ryan LaMarre, OF: 2010 second-rounder has speed and contact ability, but leaves scouts underwhelmed with overall hitting.
18. Tucker Barnhart, C: Will get to the big leagues on defensive chops alone, but backup bat.
19. Juan Duran, OF: Finally began to untap the power in 2011, but is still uncoordinated after growing to six-foot-seven.
20. Ryan Wright, 2B: Overachiever with more skills than tools, but hard not to like.

Tripon Posted: January 17, 2012 at 07:26 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, reds, scouting

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: White Sox Top 11 Prospects

System in 20 Words or Less: Two words: Not good.

Four-Star Prospects
1. Addison Reed, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
2. Nestor Molina, RHP
3. Trayce Thompson, OF
4. Jake Petricka, RHP
5. Simon Castro, RHP
6. Keenyn Walker, OF
Two-Star Prospects
7. Eduardo Escobar, SS
8. Jhan Marinez, RHP
9. Myles Jaye, RHP
10. Tyler Saladino, SS
11. Andre Rienzo, RHP

Nine More
12. Juan Silverio, 3B: He’s a third baseman who has the ability to hit, and could move forward in 2012.
13. Jared Mitchell, OF: This former first-rounder still has tools, but the results have been disastrous.
14. Brandon Short, OF: His plus hit tool is matched with a poor approach and a lack of corner-outfield power.
15. Pedro Hernandez, LHP: He was acquired from the Padres in the Carlos Quentin deal. Martinez could pitch in the big leagues this year, but he has a seventh-inning ceiling.
16. Gregory Infante, RHP: Infante is another potential 2012 bullpen piece. He has a power arm, but does not have much to go with in.
17. Erik Johnson, RHP: This 2012 second-round pick has a plus fastball and slider, but he needs to refine his changeup and command.
18. Michael Blanke, C: He has raw power and a good arm, but there are big questions about his bat.
19. Dylan Axelrod, RHP: His ceiling is a fifth starter, but he might already be there.
20. Ozzie Martinez, SS: Martinez arrived from Florida in the Ozzie Guillen deal. He’s a future utility player.

Tripon Posted: January 16, 2012 at 03:15 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, white sox

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: New York Mets Top 11 Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Matt Harvey, RHP
2. Zack Wheeler, RHP
Four-Star Prospects
3. Jeurys Familia, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
4. Brandon Nimmo, OF
5. Juan Lagares, OF
6. Jordany Valdespin, 2B
7. Jenrry Mejia, RHP
8. Reese Havens, 2B
9. Cesar Puello, OF
10. Michael Fulmer, RHP
11. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF

Nine More:
12. Cory Mazzoni, RHP: 2011 second-rounder was great in brief debut; will move to rotation in 2012.
13. Akeel Morris, RHP: 20-year-old Virgin Islands native has big, but unrefined, power arm.
14. Darin Gorski, LHP: Had arguably the best stats of any pitcher in the system, but he’s older and has more finesse than stuff.
15. Phillip Evans, SS: Over slot 15th-rounder profiles as offense-oriented second baseman
16. Wilmer Flores, INF: Bat has never taken expected move forward while scouts see big moves down defensive spectrum.
17. Jefry Marte, 3B: Age and strong showing in Arizona Fall League saves him; some scouts still believe in the bat.
18. Juan Urbina, LHP: Shows flashes of high-ceiling potential, but not enough of them.
19. Chris Schwinden, RHP: Reached the big leagues, but what you see is what you get with potential to be a number-five starter.
20. Darrell Ceciliani, OF: Plus speed and a leadoff man’s approach, but never got going with the bat in full-season debut.

Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Kevin Goldstein: Athletics Top 11 Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Michael Choice, OF
Four-Star Prospects
2. Jarrod Parker, RHP
3. A.J. Cole, RHP
4. Brad Peacock, RHP
5. Sonny Gray, RHP
6. Derek Norris, C
7. Grant Green, OF
Three-Star Prospects
8. Chris Carter, 1B
9. Collin Cowgill, OF
10. Raul Alcantara, RHP
11. Max Stassi, C

Nine More
12. Michael Taylor, OF: He made some improvements in 2011, but the A’s showed “confidence” in Taylor by acquiring Reddick and re-signing Crisp.
13. Josh Donaldson, C: He doesn’t have any star-level tools, but he has improved defensively and has always had solid power.
14. Yordy Cabrera, SS: He had an ugly full-season debut in 2011, but the seven-figure tools are still there.
15. Bobby Crocker, OF: This 2011 fourth-round pick is a big-time athlete with speed and power potential.
16. Aaron Shipman, OF: He could explode with some hitting refinements due to his speed and advanced approach.
17. Vicmal De La Cruz, OF: De La Cruz was beat up in the Dominican Summer League. His speed and bat are his best tools.
18. Ian Krol, LHP: He lost 2011 due to injury, but his instructional league showing has officials optimistic for a bounceback.
19. Miles Head, 1B/3B: Head came over in the Andrew Bailey trade. There is nothing pretty about what he does, but his power is significant.
20. Jermaine Mitchell, OF: He finally had his breakout season, but he is also 27 now.

Tripon Posted: January 14, 2012 at 04:26 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Cleveland Indians

Pork Chop Pough, don’t ya know!!!

1. Francisco Lindor, ss
2. Dillon Howard, rhp
3. Nick Hagadone, lhp
4. Chen Lee, rhp
5. Luigi Rodriguez, of
6. Zach McAllister, rhp
7. Tony Wolters, ss
8. Austin Adams, rhp
9. Scott Barnes, lhp
10. Zach Putnam, rhp

If things don’t click for the Indians, they’ll likely have to turn back to trade market. The trades of White and Pomeranz and graduations of Chisenhall and Kipnis have left the system thin of talent. Cleveland’s strength in the minors is its depth of relief pitching, but Hagadone, Chen Lee, Zach Putnam and Co. aren’t going to provide the foundation for a contender.

The Indians’ best prospects are years away from contributing. They paid $4.75 million for their first two picks in the 2011 draft, shortstop Francisco Lindor and righthander Dillon Howard, but they’re high schoolers with a combined five games of pro experiences. Similarly, Dominican outfielder Luigi Rodriguez and shortstop Tony Wolters have played just 34 games in full-season leagues.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2012 at 09:46 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles

Bundy: From Ann Rule to Oriole Way…always with the damn restrictions.

1. Dylan Bundy, rhp
2. Manny Machado, ss
3. Jon Schoop, inf
4. Parker Bridwell, rhp
5. L.J. Hoes, of/2b
6. Nicky Delmonico, 3b/1b
7. Ryan Flaherty, inf/of
8. Jason Esposito, 3b
9. Xavier Avery, of
10. Dan Klein, rhp

Angelos is now on his eighth different GM since buying the Orioles 18 years ago. MacPhail lasted the longest, at four and a half years. Before him, Angelos ran off baseball icon Roland Hemond, who left after the 1995 season; Hall of Famer Pat Gillick, who fled after 1998 despite making the AL Championship Series twice in three years; Frank Wren, who lasted only one season and has found success as GM of the Braves; Syd Thrift, a recycling experiment similar to Duquette that lasted three years; and Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, who served as a two-headed GM for three years before Flanagan did a year and a half on his own.

Angelos has done a poor job of creating a unified baseball operation pulling in the same direction toward a shared goal, instead fostering an atmosphere where departments seem to function as autonomous units. Duquette, of course, pledges to change that. Empty promises have remained one of the few constants with the Orioles during the last 14 years.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2012 at 07:56 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, orioles, prospect reports, scouting

Phillies Top-15 Prospects List

1. Trevor May | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – B

2. Jesse Biddle | LHP | Age – 20 | Grade – B

3. Phillippe Aumont | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – B/B-

4. Maikel Franco | 3b | Age – 19 | Grade – B-

5. Justin De Fratus | RHP | Age – 24 | Grade – B-

6. Sebastian Valle | C | Age – 21 | Grade – C+

7. Larry Greene | LF/1b | Age – 19 | Grade – C+

8. Freddy Galvis | SS | Age – 22 | Grade – C+

9. Austin Wright | LHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+

10. Jon Pettibone | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+

11. Brody Colvin | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+

12. Lisalberto Bonilla | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+

13. Jiwan James | CF | Age – 23 | Grade – C+

14. Tyler Greene | SS | Age – 19 | Grade – C+

15. Adam Morgan | LHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+

NoVaO Posted: January 11, 2012 at 05:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, minor leagues, phillies, prospect reports, sabermetrics, scouting

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Boston Red Sox

Next time I go to an EXXXOTICA Expo convention, I’m signing in as Xander Bogaerts.

1. Will Middlebrooks, 3b
2. Xander Bogaerts, ss
3. Blake Swihart, c
4. Anthony Ranaudo, rhp
5. Bryce Brentz, of
6. Brandon Jacobs, of
7. Garin Cecchini, 3b
8. Matt Barnes, rhp
9. Ryan Lavarnway, c
10. Jackie Bradley, of

The Red Sox may have embarrassed themselves and missed the playoffs for a second straight season, but they still won 90 games and will remain a contender in the near future. Likewise, Boston’s farm system didn’t cover itself in glory in 2011, yet still has plenty of talent. The system does lack an elite prospect, however, and many of its best players haven’t advanced past Class A.

For the third time in four years, the Red Sox set a new franchise record for draft spending, upping the ante to $11 million in 2011. Their haul included catcher Blake Swihart, righthander Matt Barnes and outfielder Jackie Bradley, all of whom rank among their Top 10 Prospects. The draft changes that came out of baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement may hit Boston more than any club, as it will have a relatively small signing bonus cap and fewer extra picks going forward.

Repoz Posted: January 08, 2012 at 10:44 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, red sox, scouting

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Kevin Goldstein: Rockies Top 11 Prospects

System In 20 Words Or Less: There’s a good combination of near big league-ready talent and youngsters to dream on.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Nolan Arenado, 3B
2. Drew Pomeranz, LHP
Four-Star Prospects
3. Wilin Rosario, C
4. Chad Bettis, RHP
5. Tim Wheeler, OF
Three-Star Prospects
6. Tyler Matzek, RHP
7. Rosell Herrera, SS/3B
8. Trevor Story, SS
9. Josh Rutledge, SS
10. Tyler Anderson, LHP
11. Kent Matthes, OF

Nine More:
12. Charlie Blackmon, OF: He reached the majors and got hurt. Scouts wobble between him being a good fourth outfielder and second-division starter.
13. Christian Adames, SS: He has the potential for well above-average defense, but will he hit enough?
14. Edwar Cabrera, LHP: He put up incredible numbers thanks to an outstanding changeup, but he’s a bit of a trick pitcher.
15. Kyle Parker, OF: This first-round pick didn’t mash at Low-A, especially away from Asheville.
16. Christian Friedrich, LHP: His dominance in 2009 is in the rearview mirror with no great explanation for his decline.
17. Corey Dickerson, OF: Last year’s sleeper slugged 32 home runs, but he also had baseball’s most extreme splits; he had a .354/.417/.844 line at home, and .193/.280/.363 mark on the road.
18. DJ LeMahieu, INF: This future utility player offers some hitting skills and positional flexibility.
19. Will Swanner, C: He’s a catcher with plus power who needs to improve behind the plate.
20. Rafael Ortega, OF: Ortega is an athletic center fielder with tools in a small package, but his approach is a mess.

Tripon Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, rockies, scouting

Kevin Goldstein: Miami Marlins Top 11 Prospects

System In 20 Words Or Less: The system finds some depth and star power in Yelich, but there is still an overall lack of elite-level talent.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Christian Yelich, OF
Four-Star Prospects
2. Jose Fernandez, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
3. Marcell Ozuna, OF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Chad James, LHP
6. Matt Dominguez, 3B
7. Jesus Solorzano, OF
8. Jose Ceda, RHP
9. Jose Urena, RHP
10. Rob Rasmussen, LHP
11. Noah Perio, 2B

Nine More:
12. Austin Brice, RHP: Big, athletic righty with well above-average velocity and lots of projection.
13. Adam Conley, LHP: 2011 second-round pick has outstanding velocity for lefty, but secondary offerings need work.
14. Mason Hope, RHP: Fifth-rounder was overshadowed by big-name Oklahoma arms, but fastball and curve are both above-average.
15. Chris Hatcher, RHP: Marlins have dreams of converted catcher being the next Jason Motte. Good command of mid-90s heat.
16. Scott Cousins, OF: Left-handedness all but assures him of fourth outfielder work; has ability to turn into second-division starter.
17. Kyle Skipworth, C: Sixth overall pick in 2008 still has plenty of raw power, but approach is a mess and defense has not improved.
18. Kyle Jensen, OF: Put up big numbers in the Florida State League, but is an older corner outfielder who has to keep hitting.
19. Mark Canha, 1B: Another Jensen type, Canha has very real power, but as a 22-year-old first baseman in Low-A last year, he was supposed to mash.
20. Alejandro Ramos, RHP: Wipeout slider has missed plenty of best as A-level closer, but scouts wonder if he has enough of a fastball for it to work in the upper levels.

Tripon Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:37 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: miami, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting

Milwaukee Brewers Top-15 Prospects of 2012

1. Wily Peralta | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B

2. Taylor Jungmann | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B

3. Tyler Thornburg | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B/B-

4. Jed Bradley | LHP | Age – 21 | Grade – B-

5. Jorge Lopez | RHP | Age – 19 | Grade – B-

6. Logan Schafer | CF | Age – 25 | Grade – C+

7. Scooter Gennett | 2b | Age – 22 | Grade – C+

8. Cody Scarpetta | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+

9. Taylor Green | INF | Age – 25 | Grade – C+

10. Michael Fiers | RHP | Age – 26 | Grade – C+

11. David Goforth | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+

12. Orlando Arcia | SS | Age – 17 | Grade – C+

13. Caleb Gindl | OF | Age – 23 | Grade – C+

14. Michael Reed | RF | Age – 19 | Grade – C

15. Khris Davis | OF | Age – 24 | Grade – C

NoVaO Posted: January 05, 2012 at 02:01 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, fantasy baseball, minor leagues, prospect reports, sabermetrics, scouting

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: New York Yankees

Damn rotter, Eenhoorn!

1. Jesus Montero, c
2. Manny Banuelos, lhp
3. Dellin Betances, rhp
4. Gary Sanchez, c
5. Mason Williams, of
6. Dante Bichette, 3b
7. Ravel Santana, of
8. Austin Romine, c
9. J.R. Murphy, c/3b
10. Slade Heathcott, of

It wasn’t all great news for New York on the player-development front. Righthander Andrew Brackman, a 2007 first-round pick who collected nearly $6 million on the big league deal he signed without reaching the majors, didn’t have his $2.2 million option for 2012 picked up after a terrible season. He contemplated quitting baseball and has gone 15-29, 5.11 as a pro.

Outside of Banuelos, the Yankees continue to struggle to develop lefties. Even with the success at the lower levels, the system’s domestic clubs struggled to reach .500.

But on Cashman’s watch, New York has been the majors’ most consistent winner and produced its share of homegrown talent. As the GM begins a new three-year contract, it’s easy to say that he has earned it.

Repoz Posted: January 05, 2012 at 06:30 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, yankees

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sickels: New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2012

As we used to say back in the 80’s…Hurry up Todd, Demeter is running.

1) Jesus Montero, C-DH, Grade A: What he did in the majors last year was not a fluke. It was at the high end of expectation, yes, and I wouldn’t expect him to hit like that over 500 plate appearances at age 22. He may need some adjustment time, but his bat is truly outstanding and he wasn’t just getting lucky. His glove isn’t very good and while he’s not a complete player in terms of contributing speed or defense, his hitting is so strong he still gets a Grade A from me.

2) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Excellent power production in full-season ball at age 18; that is rare. His glove needs work and he needs to take his career more seriously, but he has time to outgrow emotional immaturity.

3) Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. He got a B last year and I can’t bump his grade up a notch given the command difficulties he had in Double-A. He’s still a fine prospect, however, projecting as a number three starter if all goes well.

4) Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. He’s got plenty of stuff but command wobbles prevent the B+ at this time. Ceiling is a tad higher than Banuelos, but I’m less confident that he’ll reach it. Depending on what happens with his command, he could develop into anything from a number two starter to a disappointing mop-up man.

5) Mason Williams, OF, Grade B: We need to see him higher than the New York-Penn League, but he showed progress with both the bat and the glove. Main question is how much power he’ll develop. Grade may be a bit aggressive.

...Banuelos, Betances, and Andrew Brackman were the Three Bs this time last year. Brackman washed out in Triple-A and is now in Cincinnati, while both Banuelos and Betances had command struggles in Double-A. They are both impressive prospects still, but they didn’t progress as hoped and they might not be ready as soon as anticipated last spring. The Yankees also seem to have a knack for finding solid pitching from the college ranks and pitchers who can contribute from the middle and later rounds of the draft, particularly in the bullpen.

Repoz Posted: January 01, 2012 at 10:31 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: business, minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, yankees

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sickels: Chicago White Sox Top 20 Prospects for 2012

“The horror. . .the horror.”

1) Nestor Molina, RHP, Grade B+: Acquired from the Blue Jays for Sergio Santos, and immediately became Chicago’s first or second-best prospect. I think he can remain a starter. Molina was a big topic of discussion earlier this month.

2) Addison Reed, RHP, Grade B+: The best closer prospect in baseball thanks to superior command of 93-97 MPH fastball and devastating slider. You can make a case to rank him ahead of Molina, if you think Molina will be a reliever.

3) Tyler Saladino, SS, Grade C+: 2010 seventh round pick out of Oral Roberts developed from draft sleeper into solid prospect. Good power for a middle infielder, and has some idea about the strike zone, scouts like his work ethic. Main issue now is if he can stick at shortstop, and I think he has a decent chance to do so.

4) Trayce Thompson, OF, Grade C+: Highest-ceiling bat in system, tapping into his power now and making good progress on defense. Kills lefties but has serious contact problems against right-handed pitching. Struck out 172 times while repeating Low-A. Has the tools to be a star slugger but also carries a high risk of failure.

5) Hector Santiago, LHP, Grade C+: Came out of nowhere to reach the majors (briefly) in 2011 thanks to development of a new screwball to go with 90-95 MPH fastball. Third pitch still needs work and it is unclear if he starts or relieves in the long run, although recent rumors indicate the Sox will continue to start him. Projects as number three/four starter if third pitch develops, or a power relief arm.

Repoz Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:55 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, scouting, white sox

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