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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Report: Gio Gonzalez traded to the Nats for four top prospects

here were multiple reports in the past hour or so that the Athletics were moving close to trading Gio Gonzalez, with most suggesting the Nationals as the most likely destination and some random Red Sox speculation.  Now Keith Law reports that a deal has been struck:  Gonzalez to the Nationals for four prospects: A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris, and Tom Milone.

This is a huge haul for Gonzalez, it seems to me. According to John Sickels, these guys rank as the Nationals’ third, fourth, sixth and ninth best prospects.  And given how good the Nationals’ number one and number two prospects are — Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon — you could easily move all of those numbers up if they had come from other organizations.

Thanks to Chet.

Repoz Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:22 PM | 89 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, nationals

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   1. JE (Jason) Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM (#4022214)
Have the reports of Billy Beane's demise been greatly exaggerated?
   2. TerpNats Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#4022221)
Gonzalez could be a fine #3 in the rotation, but I fear the Nats gave up too much. That 2011 draft haul of Rizzo's had really better be good to fill the void in the farm system.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:38 PM (#4022228)
BA ranked Peacock 3rd and Cole 4th in the Nats organization, and Norris 9th. Norris was 2nd the year before.

I think its a great haul for an overrated pitcher like Gio, although I'm not that high on Peacock. I love Cole, but he's a long way away. So it looks great, but I'll be kinda surprised if more than one of these players is a big contributor going forward. The Nats didn't exactly have a great system once you get past Harper and Strasburg.
   4. Guapo Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:45 PM (#4022241)
Gonzalez was tied for 13th in the league in pitching WAR last season (with C.J. Wilson) and everyone higher than him was younger than him except for Kershaw. The year before that he was 21st in the league in pitching WAR.
   5. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:48 PM (#4022249)
Milone is fun. He's a lefty who throws 85 MPH but has a good cutter and changeup. It's a very Chad Bradford-like pickup for the A's.

Peacock's reviews are all over the place; I don't think many people know what to make of him, but the stats are nice. Cole is universally liked as a high upside arm. Norris has lost some luster and is probably a backup, but maybe he gets the strikeouts under control. Will be a very interesting trade to track.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#4022252)
Looks like the Nats are getting ready to be a big-market team.

This division could be absolutely sick for the next few years. Poor Met fans.
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:52 PM (#4022254)
Tom Milone, who provided one of the most exciting moments at Nationals Park last season when he hit the first pitch he saw as a major leaguer into the bullpen.

Tom Milone is a pitcher.
   8. Swedish Chef Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4022259)
This is a huge haul for Gonzalez, it seems to me. According to John Sickels, these guys rank as the Nationals’ third, fourth, sixth and ninth best prospects.

Fantastic, there's a good chance that one of them will be good enough to be traded away for more prospects in a few years.
   9. geonose Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4022260)
Thank you, Mike Rizzo, for keeping him away from my team. Gonzalez is an overrated product of his home park.
   10. Boxkutter Posted: December 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4022261)
Good trade for Washington I think. I see both Peacock and Milone being back of the rotation arms. Neither project to even be #2 SPs. Norris seems like the kind of catcher who can hit HRs and take a walk, but will never hit for average. Miguel Olivo as a comp? Cole has nice potential, but is a long way off. We'll know more about him in the next year or so when he starts facing better competition.
   11. zonk Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#4022283)
Wow... That seems like an overpay to me.

I guess the Nats figure the time is now, and with the Phils aging, the Mets in the back of a repo van somewhere in Queens, and the Braves hole-filled.... Time to keep up with the Fishes, I guess.
   12. Davo Dozier Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:14 PM (#4022284)
Gio Gonzalez is Gio Gonzalez, but A.J. Cole could be anything--he could even be Gio Gonzalez!
   13. ColonelTom Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:17 PM (#4022287)
Terrific haul for the A's. My money's now on Prince Fielder ending up in Washington, because unless they're hell-bent on contending this year, giving up a large part of their minor-league pitching talent for a starter who is just starting to get pricey makes no sense.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:20 PM (#4022292)
Gio Gonzalez is Gio Gonzalez, but A.J. Cole could be anything--he could even be Gio Gonzalez!

And if he's as good as Gio Gonalez, in four years, you can trade him for four more prospects! The possibilities are endless!
   15. Steve Treder Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:20 PM (#4022293)
Fantastic, there's a good chance that one of them will be good enough to be traded away for more prospects in a few years.

Bingo.
   16. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:20 PM (#4022294)
Milone's first pitch HR video <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110903&c>here</a>.
   17. Guapo Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:21 PM (#4022295)
When was the last time a team traded four of its top ten prospects for one player?
   18. user Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:23 PM (#4022297)
Norris seems like the kind of catcher who can hit HRs and take a walk, but will never hit for average. Miguel Olivo as a comp?


[/nitpick]
   19. McCoy Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#4022303)
When was the last time a team traded four of its top ten prospects for one player?

Herschel Walker? Ricky Williams?
   20. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:28 PM (#4022306)
When was the last time a team traded four of its top ten prospects for one player?

The Phillies traded #1, #4, #8 and #10 on this list for a year and a half of Cliff Lee. I'd never heard of Jason Knapp before the trade, and haven't heard of him since. Apparently his shoulder has been injured for most of the last 28 months.
   21. TerpNats Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM (#4022307)
When was the last time a team traded four of its top ten prospects for one player?
They weren't prospects, but a chill just went up some older Washingtonians' spines, thinking about Denny McLain. Hey, at least the Lerners aren't Bob Short.
   22. asinwreck Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM (#4022308)
Gio has now been traded for Jim Thome, Freddy Garcia, Nick Swisher, and this quartet. If he follows the Edwin Jackson trajectory, we could soon field a solid team of players acquired for him.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:33 PM (#4022310)
I can't find the Diamondbacks pre-2004 prospect list, but they certainly traded a lot of people for Richie Sexson.
   24. DCA Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:40 PM (#4022318)
Terrific haul for the A's. My money's now on Prince Fielder ending up in Washington, because unless they're hell-bent on contending this year, giving up a large part of their minor-league pitching talent for a starter who is just starting to get pricey makes no sense.

Nats are certainly looking at contending, and Prince fits them perfectly (moving Morse to LF). With Prince,

The starting rotation is good, with serious upside at the top in Strasburg/Zimmermann/Gio and still plenty of depth (Gorzellanny, Detwiler)
The bullpen is very good

Plus players at C, 1B, 2B, 3B, all in their prime or younger
Werth + Morse in the corners should both regress to the mean, together they should be average for a LF/RF pair
1 win below average in CF (Bernadina/Cameron platoon) and SS (Desmond)

This looks like an 85-90 win team, with more upside than downside (though position player talent is thin, and injuries could sink it).
   25. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#4022324)
Cameron? MIKE Cameron? I missed that news. Good to have him still around.

Didn't he quit on the Marlins after some weird incident last year?
   26. spike Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:45 PM (#4022325)
Grimly recalling Andrus, Salty, Feliz, and Harrison for Teixeira.
   27. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:56 PM (#4022332)
And here I was thinking the Nationals had a nice near future.
   28. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:58 PM (#4022333)
Milone is fun. He's a lefty who throws 85 MPH

Fangraphs has him at 88 (around Eric Milton range). Oakland's a decent place for him. Homers project to be the main problem for him and that park should help some. Regardless of what you think of his stuff, he's more than earned the chance to show what he can do in the big leagues.
   29. Swedish Chef Posted: December 22, 2011 at 11:59 PM (#4022334)
Grimly recalling Andrus, Salty, Feliz, and Harrison for Teixeira.

And here I was thinking the Nationals had a nice near future.

They get four years of Gio, you know. Not a rental.
   30. Boxkutter Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#4022336)
[/nitpick]


My bad... I was thinking about the Rockies and typed Olivo instead of Ianetta.
   31. Squash Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:03 AM (#4022337)
Fantastic, there's a good chance that one of them will be good enough to be traded away for more prospects in a few years.

Bingo.


Nah, we'll be in San Jose in four years.
   32. TerpNats Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:05 AM (#4022339)
Nats are certainly looking at contending, and Prince fits them perfectly (moving Morse to LF). With Prince,

The starting rotation is good, with serious upside at the top in Strasburg/Zimmermann/Gio and still plenty of depth (Gorzellanny, Detwiler)
The bullpen is very good

Plus players at C, 1B, 2B, 3B, all in their prime or younger
Werth + Morse in the corners should both regress to the mean, together they should be average for a LF/RF pair
1 win below average in CF (Bernadina/Cameron platoon) and SS (Desmond)

This looks like an 85-90 win team, with more upside than downside (though position player talent is thin, and injuries could sink it).
Strasburg will have an innings limit a la Zimmermann last year, so at best I see them on the periphery of the playoff race. It's more likely that 2013 will be the Nats' breakout year, especially since Harper should then be up for a full season.

Prince would help with power, and if any franchise could use a black star player to sell tickets, it's the Nationals.

Also, it appears Mark DeRosa will be with the Nats next season, bolstering the bench. Good utility pickup.
   33. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM (#4022342)

Fangraphs has him at 88 (around Eric Milton range).


I saw that, but all the reports I saw were 84-86 and they were recent (middle of last year). Even 88 is a big step up and should help considerably. I like the pickup.
   34. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM (#4022343)
This is an insane haul for a guy that walks a crap load of players. He's dealing with Beane here , not freaking Brad Pitt. What a stitch up
   35. Willie Mayspedester Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:27 AM (#4022346)
Loving this trade right now for the A's. I think that the Nats will like Gio for the next 4 years. He'll put up big K numbers in the NL and should be good against the Phillies with all their lefties in the lineup. He's also a fan favorite due to good sense of humor.
   36. Don Malcolm Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#4022347)
FWIW, MLBTR has the A's tossing in Robert Gilliam with Gio for the fearsome foursome.
   37. Brian White Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:40 AM (#4022348)
So, this is the fourth time Gonzalez has been traded, but the first that didn't involve the White Sox. It's a shame Billy Beane didn't try to get Kenny Williams involved in this one.
   38. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 23, 2011 at 12:57 AM (#4022351)
As perhaps the world's only dual a's- nats fan, I pronounce this trade...acceptable? I am not really sure how to feel, other than I had a weird attachment to derek norris as a nat because he made the HOF with them in one of my baseball mogul sims.
   39. Squash Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:19 AM (#4022365)
I too like the trade for the A's, for the simple fact that the ML team isn't winning anything any time soon, so we might as well entertain ourselves with dreams of how good everyone in the minors is going to turn out (not that I would call the system particularly good, though this trade obviously helps a lot). I get no joy from watching a bunch of bums with a few good pitchers sprinkled in winning 75 games a year. Might as well tear it down, kick the can down the road until the proverbial day there's a proverbial new stadium in a proverbial city, and give us something to hope for in the future.
   40. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:32 AM (#4022373)
Seems like a good haul for the A's but it's pretty pointless. Beane just keeps endlessly churning through prospects, no plan in sight.
   41. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#4022376)
Yeah, it's an overpay, but Rizzo was dead set on a quality lefty. I'm gonna have an ulcer watching this guy walk pitchers, but if he performs at the same level, I'll accept losing the four guys. Milone has a chance to be really good in that ballpark, from the few starts I saw, he likes to work inside, and will get some free outs on pop-ups in that foul territory.
   42. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:46 AM (#4022378)
Brandon McCarthy @BMcCarthy32
Day 1 of Spring Training is going to be a meet and greet party with all of us in name tags it seems.


I'll believe that a stadium is coming when it starts being built, and not a day sooner. It really sucks being in this limbo for what seems like forever now. I find myself caring less and less about the quality of the team on the field every day, when it's pretty clear that Wolff won't try to compete until he gets his stadium / real estate development.
   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 23, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#4022400)
Pitchers who've started at least 20 games for the A's in the last 5 seasons (comprising the post-Big Three era, after Zito left):
Anderson
Blanton
Braden
Cahill
DiNardo
Duchscherer
Eveland
Gaudin
Gonzalez
Harden
Haren
Kennedy
Mazzaro
McCarthy
Moscoso
Outman
Sheets
Smith (remember him?)

Number born abroad: 2 of 18. Harden (Canada), Moscoso (Venezuela).
Number who were on the team after their age-27 season: 5 of 18. DiNardo (28), Kennedy (28), Sheets (31), Harden (29), Duchscherer (29-32).

Currently their starters are of the relatively elderly ages of 28 (McCarthy), 28 (Braden), 28 (Moscoso), 27 (Outman), 24 (Anderson), 23 (Parker), and 23 (Ross).
   44. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: December 23, 2011 at 02:55 AM (#4022420)
I'll believe that a stadium is coming when it starts being built, and not a day sooner. It really sucks being in this limbo for what seems like forever now. I find myself caring less and less about the quality of the team on the field every day, when it's pretty clear that Wolff won't try to compete until he gets his stadium / real estate development.

Just step off the merry-go-round entirely. It's very freeing.


Smith (remember him?)

Who could've forgotten history's greatest pickoff move?
   45. tshipman Posted: December 23, 2011 at 03:11 AM (#4022431)
Beane has lost his mojo, hasn't he?

What's the point of trading all these young, cost controlled guys for prospects? so that they can trade those guys in 4 years if they work out? Oakland seems like they'd be better off going in a new direction.
   46. Honkie Kong Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:05 AM (#4022456)
Nats gave up a lot of depth. Another team buying into the thesis Rany was spinning.

NL East is gonna be a dogfight, and with Beltran signing with the Cards, the Braves might have lost their one way of improving their existing roster significantly.
   47. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:17 AM (#4022459)
It does appear as though the second wild card spot has caused teams to start trying to scratch out as many wins as possible farther down the success cycle. That will, of course, accelerate the growth of salaries and payrolls. If the Yankees and Red Sox really do cut down to below the luxury tax threshold, I wonder if we're going to see much more parity of payrolls in the coming years, as more teams push their budgets in the quest for 87 wins. With randomized playoffs and a (self-imposed) hard salary cap, the NFLization of MLB will finally be complete.
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:22 AM (#4022460)
If the Yankees and Red Sox really do cut down to below the luxury tax threshold, I wonder if we're going to see much more parity of payrolls in the coming years, as more teams push their budgets in the quest for 87 wins. With randomized playoffs and a (self-imposed) hard salary cap, the NFLization of MLB will finally be complete.


No concussions?
   49. PreservedFish Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:51 AM (#4022490)
What's the point of trading all these young, cost controlled guys for prospects? so that they can trade those guys in 4 years if they work out? Oakland seems like they'd be better off going in a new direction.


I think he's hoping that one of these prospect cohorts will be as good as the Tejada/Giambi/Hudson/Zito/Mulder crew. It might take another 50 years.
   50. KingKaufman Posted: December 23, 2011 at 10:05 AM (#4022523)
I'll believe that a stadium is coming when it starts being built, and not a day sooner. It really sucks being in this limbo for what seems like forever now. I find myself caring less and less about the quality of the team on the field every day, when it's pretty clear that Wolff won't try to compete until he gets his stadium / real estate development.


Yeah. Something about this trade broke the camel's back for me. The A's are my No. 2 team, my A.L. team, but I'm in the market for a new team to root for. When the A's decide to return to the major leagues, I'll come back. I've been rooting for them for 30 years and I like them, but I feel like I'm being played for a sucker. I felt the same way rooting for the Golden State Warriors in the '90s, when they stopped being an actual NBA team, so I threw them over and started rooting for the next team over, the Sacramento Kings, which worked out nicely.

Who should I root for in the A.L. now? Leaning toward the Angels. They were my childhood No. 2 team, they have Pujols, and they're no longer wearing those ugly blue uniforms with the vests and the wings. Downside: They play in Orange County. Not a fun road trip.
   51. Something Other Posted: December 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM (#4022526)
It does appear as though the second wild card spot has caused teams to start trying to scratch out as many wins as possible farther down the success cycle. That will, of course, accelerate the growth of salaries and payrolls. If the Yankees and Red Sox really do cut down to below the luxury tax threshold, I wonder if we're going to see much more parity of payrolls in the coming years, as more teams push their budgets in the quest for 87 wins. With randomized playoffs and a (self-imposed) hard salary cap, the NFLization of MLB will finally be complete.
Thanks a lot.

The NL East is the new AL East, with the Mets in the Orioles slot.
Thanks again. What a joy this thread has been.
   52. OsunaSakata Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:03 PM (#4022539)
The NL East is the new AL East, with the Mets in the Orioles slot.


Unfortunately for the Nats, they're the Blue Jays.
   53. Al Peterson Posted: December 23, 2011 at 01:37 PM (#4022546)
Like the move if a bit of an overpay by the Nats. I could see three prospects as ideal but prospects by nature will have some flameouts. Nice pitching staff the Nationals are putting together.

Starters: Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Lannen, Wang, Detwiler
Relievers: Storen, Clippard

That's a nice, young (except Wang) base to build off of. As recently as 2009 the #1 starter for Washington was Lannen who really is a #4 type. Now if the lineup can hit to any degree then you are onto something. This team will be worth a couple visits to Nationals Park.
   54. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#4022553)
If only WAS had waited a year and given Werth's money to, say, Fielder or Darvish...the Werth deal might go down with Mike Hampton, Barry Zito, and Mo Vaughn when all is said and done...
   55. A triple short of the cycle Posted: December 23, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#4022578)
[sobs into Athletics towel]
   56. WhoWantsTeixeiraDessert Posted: December 23, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#4022580)
The Werth deal is bad because of the length, but in annual value it's not really different than what the Angels gave Torii Hunter. One year isn't long enough to compare it to those other heinous contracts.
   57. Chris Needham Posted: December 23, 2011 at 03:32 PM (#4022582)
If only WAS had waited a year and given Werth's money to, say, Fielder or Darvish...the Werth deal might go down with Mike Hampton, Barry Zito, and Mo Vaughn when all is said and done...

And even with the Werth deal, the team's payroll has been about 60-65 million, well under what the market can and will support. So it's hard to view this in quite the same light.
   58. Esoteric Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#4022609)
Yeah, the Nats are most assuredly not hampered in their ability to go after big-name free agents because of the Werth signing, however dumb it may turn out to be. This team isn't the Royals or Athletics in terms of $$$ available.

Honestly, people talk about the Lerners being cheap, but I'm not I buying it, at least as it relates to signing roster talent. The Nationals have paid eye-opening amounts to sign their draft picks, and ol' Teddy hasn't been shy about letting Rizzo crack open the piggy-bank to go after free agents like Teixeira, Werth, and maybe now Fielder.

Incidentally, I'm of the opinion that we overpaid in absolute terms for Gio Gonzalez, and I'm worried about how he'll hold up outside of Oakland's spacious confines. But it isn't a drastic overpay, given the depth the Nats had at catcher and my opinion of Milone (he ain't much).
   59. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#4022617)
Who should I root for in the A.L. now? Leaning toward the Angels. They were my childhood No. 2 team, they have Pujols, and they're no longer wearing those ugly blue uniforms with the vests and the wings. Downside: They play in Orange County. Not a fun road trip.


If you're in the market for a new AL team, it's still the best road trip option you've got.
   60. Guapo Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:44 PM (#4022620)
Proposed new marketing slogan:

WASHINGTON NATIONALS- WE'VE GOT #2 WILD CARD FEVER!
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#4022627)
To me, the most interesting thing about this trade is the timing. I've thought for a while that there's a prospects bubble in MLB, but I expected the new CBA's spending constraints for amateurs would further inflate the bubble, at least temporarily. Trading four prospects was an aggressive move by WAS.
   62. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#4022628)
Well, our starting rotation is definitely set now, and it should be a pretty darn good one.

Now we just need to add a hitter to help bolster that weak offense.
   63. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 23, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#4022630)
Now we just need to add a hitter to help bolster that weak offense.


Are the Nats still in on Fielder? It would be a lot of fun if they got him.
   64. Chris Needham Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#4022634)
Honestly, people talk about the Lerners being cheap, but I'm not I buying it, at least as it relates to signing roster talent.

It's interesting. On one hand, yeah, there's a lot of draft spending you can point to. But then, much of that was Strasburg and Harper (though not all) who are once-in-a-generation kind of talents -- or at least their hype is.

On the other hand, this is a team in a major market that's still running a $60 million payroll. They spent less money on the major league team last year (or about the same) as they did in 2005, when Major League Baseball still owned the team.
   65. Chris Needham Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#4022638)
Are the Nats still in on Fielder? It would be a lot of fun if they got him.

Early on, the team (through the local media) said they weren't. But there's a Boras connection, and he's tight with the owners. And he's a natural fit for them. Yesterday's move was a win-now move, and they could fit him in the payroll and still be below $85-90 million.

It wouldn't surprise me if they were much more active on him than the local guys are letting on. They're usually among the last to know these things, only jumping on things once one of the national guys tweets something -- and some of the national guys have been hinting that the Nats are in on him.

If they got him, they're definitely playing interesting games deep into September.
   66. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#4022640)
To me, the most interesting thing about this trade is the timing. I've thought for a while that there's a prospects bubble in MLB, but I expected the new CBA's spending constraints for amateurs would further inflate the bubble, at least temporarily. Trading four prospects was an aggressive move by WAS.


It seems like some of this is fueled by a handful of franchises that have not been all that successful in the past few decade or so, but have been slowly accumulating a lot of young talent and are now ready to make their big splash - Cincinnati, Toronto, Arizona, Washington. Milwaukee did this last year. I expect KC to do this next year. What is interesting is how pretty much no big market/traditional behemoth franchises have gotten involved - no Yankees, no Red Sox (although they were in on Gio), no Braves, no Phillies (they blew their wad a few years ago). And its not a shortage of prospects from those four franchises - they're all pretty loaded. I guess they figure they can just buy their talent and hold onto their prospects while the mid-sized markets can't afford that luxury.
   67. JJ1986 Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#4022650)
no Phillies (they blew their wad a few years ago)


They used up a lot of it to get Pence just a few months ago too.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#4022653)
much of that was Strasburg and Harper (though not all) who are once-in-a-generation kind of talents

If one team has two "once-in-a-generation" talents, it might be time to dial back the hype.
   69. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#4022658)
If one team has two "once-in-a-generation" talents, it might be time to dial back the hype.
The Nationals were lucky enough to select first in the only two drafts in the last ten or so which featured a once-in-a-generation talent. That doesn't seem crazy to me.

Previous to Strasburg and Harper, who had that kind of hype? Mark Prior is the last I can remember. Perhaps Josh Hamilton and Josh Beckett in '99, and then back to ARod in '93. It just happened that the Nats got lucky.
   70. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#4022663)
I don't remember that much hype for Hamilton when he was drafted. Prior definitely. A-Rod definitely. JD Drew had a fair amount of hype, but not quite on the same level, and some of it was for turning down the Phils.
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#4022666)
The Nationals were lucky enough to select first in the only two drafts in the last ten or so which featured a once-in-a-generation talent. That doesn't seem crazy to me.

Previous to Strasburg and Harper, who had that kind of hype? Mark Prior is the last I can remember. Perhaps Josh Hamilton and Josh Beckett in '99, and then back to ARod in '93. It just happened that the Nats got lucky.


So that's at least 5 in the last 20 years (the absolute minimum for a generation). See the problem.
   72. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#4022668)
It should be noted, of course, that "once-in-a-generation talent" doesn't usually turn in a Hall of Fame career, and lots of guys who didn't get anything close to that level of hype turned into the best players in the game. But the evaluations of Harper and Strasburg really have been qualitatively different than those of any other amateur players drafted since Prior.
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4022669)
So that's at least 5 in the last 20 years (the absolute minimum for a generation). See the problem.
Baseball careers are way shorter than human lives. I don't think anyone sees Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey as members of the same generation, though they debuted just a decade apart. I'd say a baseball generation is about 10 years, so you get maybe three in a generation. And, of course, each of their talents is different - a great hitter, a great power pitcher, a great all-around pitcher, a five-tool CF, and so on. The "once-in-a-generation" thing doesn't mean exactly one in ten years, it means one of this sort of player of this sort of quality in ten years.
   74. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#4022678)
The Nationals were lucky enough to select first in the only two drafts in the last ten or so which featured a once-in-a-generation talent. That doesn't seem crazy to me.


I just want to throw Justin Upton's name out there. I don't think the hype matches, but his baseball trajectory doesn't seem all that different from Harper's. Upton's progression: #1 overall pick as a 17-year old -> MLB debut at age 19 -> started 100 games at age 20 -> excellent player by age 21 -> 40-40 season in 2012 (at least that's what I hope because of my fantasy team)....
   75. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: December 23, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#4022729)
Upton was also just the third player to be named the number one prospect before playing a professional game, after Griffey and Rodriguez.
   76. rlc Posted: December 23, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#4022738)
So that's at least 5 in the last 20 years (the absolute minimum for a generation). See the problem.

Baseball careers are way shorter than human lives. I don't think anyone sees Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey as members of the same generation, though they debuted just a decade apart. I'd say a baseball generation is about 10 years, so you get maybe three in a generation.


Interesting. Wrong, but interesting.

With a few notable exceptions, baseball players don't sire other baseball players. Baseball fans, however, do. The sensible way to interpret once in a generation is as a reference to generations of fans, who do sire or give birth to other fans. So you can talk about who was the once in a generation pitching prospect of your generation to your child, who will roll his or her eyes, sigh exaggeratedly, and then explain why there are three kids who got cut from the Montgomery Biscuits who are all better than the fossil you're clinging to.
   77. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 23, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#4022740)
The NL East is the new AL East, with the Mets in the Orioles slot.

Except for the postseason success part.
   78. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 23, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#4022751)
The difference between J. Upton and Strasburg and Harper is there was a lot less media attention on Upton during his amateur career. Strange since he was the brother of the Bossman Junior, but I remember this being the case. I certainly don't know what high school he went to.
   79. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 23, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#4022782)
The difference between J. Upton and Strasburg and Harper is there was a lot less media attention on Upton during his amateur career. Strange since he was the brother of the Bossman Junior, but I remember this being the case. I certainly don't know what high school he went to.


Anyone know if Strasburg or Harper are white kids from the suburbs?
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#4022787)
The sensible way to interpret once in a generation is as a reference to generations of fans, who do sire or give birth to other fans.


then in that case I'd say "generation" is still roughly 10 years or so.

For instance, I'd say that "my" generation of Mets fans were those who became Mets fans between about 1975-1984.

Those who became fans after 1984 were definitely not part of "my generation," those who became fans before 1975 were not either. I suspect that fans of other teams have similar perceptions
   81. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#4022789)
I think Strasburg is from the 'burbs but Harper is from the city. I think the Uptons grew up in a swampy rural part of Virginia, but I don't know.
   82. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 23, 2011 at 09:30 PM (#4022790)
I don't know if Upton is from the suburbs, but he went to a suburban high school. The same one as Michael Cuddyer, it appears.

Bossman Junior went to an independent Christian school. Here's a picture of their current baseball team. Here's the basketball team.

Harper is really unique in recent memory in being so hyped in the mass media while still in high school. I didn't hear of Strasburg until college.

Based on the website of Harper's high school he must have come from an extremely underprivileged background, since they couldn't get anyone with more than an eighth-grade education to design their website.
   83. JJ1986 Posted: December 23, 2011 at 09:45 PM (#4022797)
The Uptons, Cuddyer, Zimmerman, Wright and, I think, Mark Reynolds, are all from the same area.
   84. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 23, 2011 at 10:07 PM (#4022803)
Yea, I remember an SI article about how all those guys grew up in the Virginia Beach area IIRC and some youth league coach was given a lot of credit for taking the league to the next level and helping develop all these guys.
   85. Brian Posted: December 24, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#4022851)
IIRC Zimmerman, Wright, Reynolds and the older Upton were on the same summer team growing up. That is amazing.
   86. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 24, 2011 at 01:34 AM (#4022857)
It was an AAU team and I don't think Reynolds wasn't on it.

According to Wright, he played 3B. Upton was at SS and Zimmerman at 2B.
   87. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 24, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#4022862)
   88. Brian Posted: December 24, 2011 at 02:24 AM (#4022882)
Thanks for the article Tyler. Just a great story.

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