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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

How Not to Call Up a Position Player Prospect

Despite their third-place finish, there were plenty of reasons to be excited about the Rockies’ future in 2016. That year, Baseball America ranked David Dahl (22), Ryan McMahon (43), and Tom Murphy (97) among the Top 100 Prospects in the game, and Raimel Tapia (49) joined them in 2017. All four had advanced at least to Double-A by 2016—Tom Murphy was in Triple-A and had already made his major-league debut—and Rockies fans believed that well-regarded, young reinforcements were on their way to Coors Field to augment Nolan Arenado and a burgeoning pitching staff.

Two years later, neither Dahl, McMahon, or Tapia are starting at the major-league level, and Tom Murphy’s status appears undefined as well. Tapia was recently sent back down to Albuquerque after an 18-game stint with the big-league club, during which he received a grand total of 20 plate appearances. McMahon has been yoyoed between Denver and Albuquerque all year and has started back-to-back games only fifteen times.

This piece focuses on the Rockies and their reluctance to put their prospects in the lineup, but the scope goes much broader than that. A nice look at which teams are willing to go with the kids (spoiler alert: it’s the good teams).

Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2018 at 12:12 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rockies

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   1. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5722485)
Among other things, there's a nice analysis in here of how quickly teams call up their top prospects. The Astros didn't let Luis Valbuena stand in the way of Alex Bregman, but somehow, the Rockies are letting the useless Gerardo Parra block both David Dahl and Raimel Tapia.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5722496)
Seems like Dahl has had chances, but keeps getting hurt.

Tapia is definitely buried, and that's a shame, because he's a fun guy to watch.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:30 PM (#5722517)
a burgeoning pitching staff
At any given moment in time, there are countless things currently burgeoning. And yet, in retrospect, nothing has ever burgeoned, and nothing will burgeon in the future. Odd.
   4. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:34 PM (#5722522)
This guy on the Astros, he's burgeoning and in ten years he has a chance to be a star.
This guy over here on the Rockies, he's burgeoning now and in ten years he has a chance to have burgeoned.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5722524)
I will bet you any amount of money that there will be zero articles in 2028 referring to either Bregman or Dahl having burgeoned in 2018.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:46 PM (#5722535)
It's going to drive me crazy when the Rockies re-sign LeMahieu for too many years and too much money this offseason, blocking Garrett Hampson in the process.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5722538)
Some things can have burgeoned. A bud, certainly, may have burgeoned into a flower, at a certain time.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5722548)
No, that bud would have blossomed or bloomed. No one would describe it as having burgeoned.
   9. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5722549)
Sure, Peter Bergeron would pick up the phone if called...
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5722565)
It's going to drive me crazy when the Rockies re-sign LeMahieu for too many years and too much money this offseason, blocking Garrett Hampson in the process.


They've got not just Hampson but Brendan Rodgers to make room for. Given that the two best position players on the team are the third baseman and the shortstop, one hopes they have enough sense to clear some space at second base.

The Blackmon contract is already not looking great, too.
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5722578)
The Rockies just sent down catcher Tom Murphy, one of the prospects discussed in the article. But they kept catcher Tony Wolters, who's hitting .159/.282/.262.
   12. Perry Posted: August 07, 2018 at 07:35 PM (#5722726)
The Rockies just sent down catcher Tom Murphy, one of the prospects discussed in the article. But they kept catcher Tony Wolters, who's hitting .159/.282/.262.


At least Wolters can catch (and fill in in the IF in a pinch). Murphy pretty much cost them a game single-handedly the other day with 2 WPs allowed (one on what would have been a game-ending third strike) and a CI in the same inning. And he hasn't hit much better than Wolters in the majors, although he's torn up Albuquerque. (Also he's 27 -- older than Wolters.)
   13. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: August 07, 2018 at 07:48 PM (#5722730)
what's ambiorix burgos up to these days?
   14. puck Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5722747)
It was bizarre how long they had the 3 catchers on the roster.

Is not playing the youngsters a Bud Black thing? The Rockies don't seem to have a habit of blocking young position players. Usually that's the only thing that works out for them.

Dahl seems like in a different category as he was getting starts but is made of glass. It would have helped if Ryan McMahon had hit even a little. Bu when Desmond wasn't hitting, neither was McMahon. Now Desmond's hot month and a half or whatever will probably keep him in the lineup through at least 2019.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:30 PM (#5722754)
I hadn't noticed how badly Murphy had tailed off - he's 0 for his last 17. I'd still much rather have him than Wolters.
   16. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5722981)
How much did the re-signing of Carlos Rodriguez screw up the paths of Dahl, McMahon, and Tapia? It seems like rather a lot, since that took up an outfield spot and pushed Desmond to first. (Or I suppose you can lay at least some blame on the Desmond signing in the first place.)
   17. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5723013)
This piece focuses on the Rockies and their reluctance to put their prospects in the lineup, but the scope goes much broader than that. A nice look at which teams are willing to go with the kids (spoiler alert: it’s the good teams).

I would think there has to be a bit of a success bias happening here. Good teams play kids because good teams have good kids. Bad teams tend not to have good kids to call up and play.

The Cubs at one point in time with Hendry, Baylor, and Baker were thought to have a good minor league system and that Baker was unwilling to play the kids. Well, the pitchers, who turned out to be rather good, got to play and the hitters, who don't seemed to have been very good, got yo-yo'd around and or had little playing time. If your youth is good they will play. This isn't 1952 where you only had 16 teams and you could stockpile talent if you had enough money.
   18. puck Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5723043)
How much did the re-signing of Carlos Rodriguez screw up the paths of Dahl, McMahon, and Tapia? It seems like rather a lot, since that took up an outfield spot and pushed Desmond to first. (Or I suppose you can lay at least some blame on the Desmond signing in the first place.)


Gonzalez...given that no one's projections for this season were that great, I don't blame that as much as wonder why did they sign Parra and Desmond in the first place. (Looking at steamer pre-season projections, of these guys only CarGo was projected with a league avg wRC+. Zips liked McMahon more than Steamer and CarGo less.)

It doesn't seem they think Tapia is that much of a prospect so they probably didn't care if they were blocking his path.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5723075)
Desmond was always ticketed to play first base, so he's only blocking McMahon. As puck notes, the problem isn't so much Gonzalez as Parra. They signed Gonzalez late this spring, so I suppose you could blame him, but on the other hand, he's a much better player than Parra. There's no excuse whatsoever for playing Gerardo Parra ahead of David Dahl.

One problem for the Rox is that every single one of their outfielders - Parra, Blackmon, Gonzalez, Dahl and Tapia - hits lefthanded, so you can't platoon these guys at all.
   20. Perry Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:17 PM (#5723153)
One problem for the Rox is that every single one of their outfielders - Parra, Blackmon, Gonzalez, Dahl and Tapia - hits lefthanded, so you can't platoon these guys at all.


Maybe they could swing a deal with the Cardinals, all of whose OFs -- Ozuna, Bader, O'Neill, Martinez, now Adolis Garcia -- hit righty. They've been giving Yairo Munoz some time out there too -- another righty. Even Fowler hits better righthanded. Dahl for O'Neill maybe?
   21. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5723159)
Both Gonzalez and Parra are off the books after this year, so that should clear things up a bit. I imagine they'll go into 2019 with Blackmon-Tapia-Dahl in the outfield.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5723291)
Dahl for O'Neill maybe?


Dahl is better than O'Neill. Of course, the Rockies are dumb, so they might go for it anyway.
   23. Perry Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5723319)
Dahl is better than O'Neill.


Yeah, that's been true. But Dahl has missed SO much development time with all his injuries, and O'Neill has made such a leap forward this year (311/388/711 in 260 PA in AAA this year, 309/333/491 in the majors, and yes, SSS warning) that I'm not so sure any more. Also he's a year younger than Dahl.
   24. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5723331)
in retrospect, nothing has ever burgeoned,


Maybe Anthony Burgess.

And Smoky Burgess definitely burgeoned. Gawd, by the mid-sixties he was wearing muu-muus instead of jerseys.
   25. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:59 PM (#5723401)
Of course, the Rockies are dumb, so they might go for it anyway.


Eh, they're not that dumb. I mean, they were in the postseason as recently as last year.

Of course, they do some dumb things. Their free agent signings are generally atrocious, and they still don't seem to have a handle on evaluating offense in the context of Coors Field (which is related to the first point, in that they think that Gerardo Parra is somehow an acceptable hitter for a corner outfielder).

They do some things really well, too. Their farm system has been strong in recent years, and they have a cheap, young, entirely home-grown rotation that is consistently good - Chad Bettis is the oldest and worst of the crew, and he's not terrible.

And that points up the fact that they're rarely dumb in this way. They rarely give away young unproven talent, even though their farm system has been churning out a lot of players lately. They did give away Corey Dickerson for a middle reliever, but that was three years ago.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:58 PM (#5723537)
In some ways, the Rox are similar to the A's and Rays. They spend more but that extra money isn't often spent wisely. It leaves them most years with a collection of youngsters who weren't at the top of the prospect lists, mediocre arb/vets and a couple of recognizable names that aren't what they used to be ... and usually manage to be 500-ish and sometimes a weak WC/division title. Or maybe the mid-2000s Padres teams would be better.

Somewhat surprised to learn the other day that the Padres hadn't made the postseason since 2006. That wouldn't have surprised me if they'd been in the ALE but out of the NLW, I'd have thought they'd cobbled together a WC or 88-win division. But they'd fallen on harder times than I realized -- they did manage 90 wins in 2010 (missing the one WC spot by a game) but that's their only above-500 season since 2007.

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