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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 08:37 AM (#4174300)
Daniel Bard turned in another nightmare yesterday. From Extra Bases;

Daniel Bard had another rough night for Pawtucket. He faced four batters and did not record an out, giving up two hits and hitting two. In 12 games since his demotion, Bard has an 8.78 earned run average over 13 1/3 innings. He has walked 10, hit six and thrown six wild pitches.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4174301)
Good roundup, Jose. Now I'm going to quibble with minor points.

-In the DSL, I'm a lot more interested in Manuel Margot than Raymel Flores. Both received significant (~$500k) bonuses, and Flores' OBP is not particularly impressive in the context of the DSL. Kids with rudimentary strike zone judgment can draw piles of walks off teenagers in the DSL, and Flores has a 30% K rate against those same DSL pitchers. Margot, on the other hand, has shown solid contact skills and hit for significant power, while playing CF and stealing 14 bases in 15 tries. He's the prospect in the DSL, so far.

-I guess I should start getting vaguely excited about KDLC soon. He's striking out a bit below that limit 25% rate and he has a ~.400 BABIP powering his numbers, but he's definitely a lot more of a prospect than he was in the offseason. And as that article points to, often becoming a successful major leaguer has a lot to do with out-working your peers in A-ball, and if De La Cruz has that kind of work ethic, it's a good sign.

-I was disappointed that Travis Shaw didn't make anyone midseason prospect lists. His numbers are excellent, but apparently the same scouts that pegged him as a 10th rounder still don't think he's that much of a ballplayer. I hope he continues to prove them wrong.

-On the other end of things, 2012 draftee Shaq Green-Thompson has disappointed about as thoroughly as is possible in five games in the rookie league. He has come to the plate 19 teams, and he has yet to put the ball in play - 16 Ks, 3 BB. There is not yet convincing evidence that he has swung the bat.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4174305)
My WAG is that Shaw will make most off-season lists if he continues to hit. I think most of the pundits are a bit wary of someone with a strong half-season (though Shaw hit in 2011 too). Sox Prospects says he is not very athletic but he is 8 of 9 in steals so at worst he has an idea what to do once he gets on base and at best he's improved himself in that regard a bit.
   4. Darren Posted: July 06, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4174381)
Nice roundup. Shaw's a fun one, it appears. Maybe he'll be the next Aaron Bates! :)

The more Bard struggles relieving in AAA, the more I think the move to starter was pretty irrelevant to his demise. He was already struggling with control in September last year and then seemed to do reasonably well as a starter to begin this year. I think he might just be in a place where his mechanics/confidence/??? went out the window.

My minor quibbles are with AAA: I think Wilson's 2.68, 37 IP, 36 K, 15 BB, 0 HR, 31 H line looks pretty darn good. Lars, on the other hand, has a line that translates really badly for a 1B. He's 24 now--it doesn't look good.
   5. Darren Posted: July 06, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4174410)
In other words, he translates to something like what Adrian Gonzalez is doing right now.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4174415)
Yeah, I overstates Lars though I still like the OBP. I really feel like there is a place for this guy, probably not with the Sox, but I'd like to see him get a shot.

Wilson I stand by. He's pitched alright but he has been inconsistent and I think the 5 unearned runs change the results fairly meaningfully. Maybe I'm expecting too much from him but I see guys like Mortensen and Tazawa (K rate is excellent, similar unearned run issue) outperforming him and I think he is not there yet. He has strung together 3 excellent outings in a row (6.2 IP, 2 hits, no runs, 9 K).
   7. Darren Posted: July 06, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4174421)
The unearned runs thing is hard to gauge. Runs in general often depend on other relievers who follow the guy in question. For unearned runs, it's hard to tell if these are dropped pop ups, botched grounders, or screaming liners that tick off of OFers gloves. I do like Tazawa a lot and would love to see him take Albers' place.
   8. cseadog Posted: July 06, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4174431)
Free Drew Hedman
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4174462)
The 25-year-old 1B with a 760 OPS this season between single- and double-A?
   10. cseadog Posted: July 06, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4174652)
Well, there is his 1.139 OPS and 4 HR's since his promotion to AA and a chance to play every day. Nice run for a 50th rounder and perhaps it will actually lead to a legit shot.
   11. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4174664)
It's a nice run but it's 9 games. What is more likely is that he's having a little hot streak.
   12. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 06, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4174691)
It's only been a few games, but Barnes has run into a little trouble lately. Barnes has a 15.12 ERA in his last 3 starts, walking five and K'ing six. Even with those disastrous outings, his ERA is still at 3.48, with a 1.14 WHIP and 4.5 k/bb. Barnes will probably need to get back on track in Salem before there's any serious talk about moving him up to AA.
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4174827)
From Keith Law's blog of "best of..." the Future's Game;

Best power: Xander Bogaerts, SS (High Class A Salem)

Bogaerts hasn't even filled out yet physically, but for raw power -- particularly easy raw power -- he's as good as it gets in this game, with the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field in addition to plain old pull power.
   14. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 06, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4174840)
Bogaerts hasn't even filled out yet physically, but for raw power -- particularly easy raw power -- he's as good as it gets in this game, with the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field in addition to plain old pull power.


Well that seems like a crazy, crazy overstatement, but I'll take it.
   15. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4174868)
"This game" just means the Futures Game, not baseball.
   16. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 06, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4174880)
"This game" just means the Futures Game, not baseball.


Ah, that makes more sense. My reading comprehension is a bit off today.
   17. villageidiom Posted: July 06, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4174972)
The more Bard struggles relieving in AAA, the more I think the move to starter was pretty irrelevant to his demise. He was already struggling with control in September last year and then seemed to do reasonably well as a starter to begin this year. I think he might just be in a place where his mechanics/confidence/??? went out the window.
This is why I liken it to Buchholz' demotion a few years ago. (As a best case, of course.)

I suppose it's possible Bard will be a MLB stalwart, and that he could still be a good starter. But his confidence right now seems shot, just as it would sometimes get before this season. I think they're right to get him back to relief, if only for two reasons. First, he's likely more comfortable there given past success, so if it helps him regain confidence then great. Second, until he has confidence/mechanics where they need to be, I'd think he would be risking injury as a starter. There'd be a greater temptation to get more IP out of him as a starter, and bad mechanics/confidence (chicken/egg) over a longer outing could lead to all kinds of physical problems. If he's a reliever, I think it's easier to pull him quickly.

The risk of putting him in relief is that he might never regain confidence as a starter, which limits his potential value. But they need to get him back to the point where he has any upside, never mind high upside.
   18. Mattbert Posted: July 07, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4175305)
Yeah, I overstates Lars though I still like the OBP. I really feel like there is a place for this guy, probably not with the Sox, but I'd like to see him get a shot.

Have the A's had the same first baseman for more than three weeks? Time to give Billy a call!
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 07, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4175386)
On the depressing side of things, Deven Marrero is not exactly tearing up the NYPL so far. He had basically his first good professional game last night, going 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Those two doubles tripled his extra-base hit total for the short season. He added a caught stealing. The big night brought his OPS above 600 for the first time in a week or so.

The story with Marrero was that he had good hitting tools, but there was something wrong with his swing that was preventing him from producing in college. So far, whatever was wrong in Arizona appears to still be wrong. It's early and this could be a sample size fluke, or he could be adjusting to pro ball, or maybe the Sox haven't had time to fix Marrero's swing. But this is also what it looks like when a prospect busts.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4175398)
And a positive one to balance that out. Christian Vazquez looks like an interesting semi-prospect. He was drafted out of Puerto Rico as a 17-year-old in 2008, as a catcher, and he's been moving through the system very slowly - repeated the GCL, then to Lowell in the NYPL, then repeated the Sally League. Last year, though, he had a bit of a prospect season. He hit 280/360/500 as a 20-year-old in the Sally League with reasonable strikeout numbers, and he was named the Red Sox minor league defensive player of the year.

This year he earned a promotion to Salem, started the season a little late, and he was unimaginably bad in May. He struck out 24 times in 21 games, against four walks, with just one extra-base hit. His OPS was 369. That's so, so bad that you want to find some explanation. Vazquez started the year a little late, and it makes me think he was still not fully healthy or not in a game shape. Not "fit" in soccer parlance. Since May, he's been a total beast. Vazquez has hit 317/434/536 with more walks than Ks (17/12) and twelve XBH. These are selective endpoints, of course, but the difference in production is so extreme that I'm optimistic that Vazquez should be able to keep producing at a level closer to his June/July numbers over the second half. And if he does, that's a legitimate prospect.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 07, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4175472)
Apparently I can't read. Vazquez did not start the season late. He played all of April, and he was perfectly fine but hardly breaking out (286/371/383 with 17 Ks and 10 BBs). Then he had that awful May, and since then he's been killing it. That kind of hurts my theory. Damn.
   22. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 16, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4184194)
Latest and greatest is Keith Law's mid-season top 50. His list includes six players who were drafted in June or international signings (Soler #50). This makes it a bit different from others and he lists two Sox;

29. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (age 19)
Current level: High Class A (Salem)
Preseason ranking: 62

I see virtually no chance Bogaerts will remain a shortstop in the long run, but he is more than athletic enough to profile at third base, where his easy plus power should make him an above-average regular.


43. Jackie Bradley, CF, Boston Red Sox (age 22)
Current level: Double-A (Portland)
Preseason ranking: NR

A plus defender in center who is using the whole field now rather than trying to pull the ball and is showing legitimately better plate discipline.


Barnes is listed as a "just missed."
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 16, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4184195)
Catching up on a few of recent note;

Deven Marrero - .350/.447/.500 in his last ten games, .287/.361/.391 overall.

Matt Barnes - Best outing in a month on Saturday; 5 IP, 1 run, 4 K

Christian Vazquez - Still hot, .387/.500/.581 in July

Alex Wilson - Knocked around a bit yesterday but that was after four consecutive appearances in which he threw at least 2 innings of shutout ball.
   24. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4188268)
I'm not sure if this is a new thing, but Barnes seems to be on a pretty strict pitch count these days - he was pulled after 75 pitches yesterday, despite striking out 5 and walking 1 in 3 IP. Can't say I disagree with taking the cautious approach, but hopefully it's just a sign of the Red Sox being careful rather than an indication that they think Barnes is particularly fragile.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 21, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4188711)
Jackie Bradley's made an impressively fast adjustment to the high minors. In 30 games, he's hitting 310/400/470 with a respectable K rate. On top of that, the midseason reports are that he's a plus defensive CF. I'm starting to get unrealistically excited.
   26. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: July 21, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4188717)
I like Bradley a lot.
   27. OCD SS Posted: July 21, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4188756)
I was originally prepared to spend JBJ's entire career comparing him to Josh Bell, but this kid is looking like a steal in the supplemental round. I'm seeing him as a direct replacement who will step right in for Ellsbury. I'm starting to wonder if the Sox shouldn't make a more serious play for Upton with the idea if adding RH power to the OF. I guess the only problem is that there's no way to gage his (Upton's) health and if his power is not coming back that's only going to further hamper the Sox in a season where there margin of error is very thin.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 21, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4188758)
I have no desire to see Ellsbury go, and I think it would be really disappointing if the Sox got outbid for him. Bradley has a strong arm - I'm imagining a future outfield of Crawford-Ellsbury-Bradley with Seattle 2001 style knock-on effects from the outfield defense.
   29. OCD SS Posted: July 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4188802)
I've seen his arm described as "strong" but with the idea that it was good for a CFer, not a RF cannon. OTOH Callis has described him as already a better defensive CFer than Ellsbury based on his reads and routes. it just seems like a case where the Sox can go with the younger player and use those resources elsewhere, especially when you consider what Boras is going to be looking for for Ellsbury's thirties. With the new CBA reducing FA compensation would be nice if the Sox could deal him for top notch pitching, but I think the more likely scenario is they let him walk in FA. Dealing him is probably just not possible given how the FO wants to compete every year, so if he's doing well they'd keep him and if he's doing so poorly that they would give JBJ the job he wouldn't bring much in return.
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 21, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4188809)
I've submitted it as a news item also but I'll note here that Alex Speier has a terrific piece about poor Shaq Green-Thompson today.
   31. Dan Posted: July 21, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4188829)
OTOH Callis has described him as already a better defensive CFer than Ellsbury based on his reads and routes.


This is stupid and probably based on his one bad defensive year in 2009. Outside of that season, Ellsbury has been a fantastic CFer, on the order of 10 runs above average per year. Projecting anyone to be better than that on defense is a fool's game.
   32. OCD SS Posted: July 21, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4188897)
Callis is certainly using scouting opinion, and I'm not so sure how much I'd rely on PBP defensive metrics to contradict him. Early on Ellsbury really did seem to break wrin and take poor routes in CF (which did not seem to be a problem for him in the corners - IIRC that was part of the reason the Sox planned moving him to LF for Cameron in 2010) and then rely in his speed to catch up. While Ellsbury has clearly been better lately, I have yet to see anyone project JBJ as anything less than an excellent defensive CF.

Before you can even consider giving Ellsbury the money Boras is going to ask he's really got to put up another big year. Even then I think his fragility makes him a pretty big risk for a long term contract. I'd much rather plug JBJ in and use that money elsewhere.
   33. Dan Posted: July 22, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4189283)
Ellsbury looked horrible in CF in 2009 too though. So scouts thought he sucked, and PBP metrics, as well as defensive metrics that don't rely on the zone data like FRAA. But that year was the only time in his career that he hasn't been an excellent outfielder. I don't think anyone really knows why he was so bad that year, but I think it's pretty clear that it was a one season aberration by a good defensive player.
   34. OCD SS Posted: July 22, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4189339)
Well, I seem to remember quite a few people kvetching about his routes and that he wasn't as quite as good as UZR (or whatever) suggested; his CF sample prior to 2009 isn't great, although he also looked good in the corners, which probably helped. Regardless of how good he may be defensively now, that does not necessarily mean that 1) it is impossible to project JBJ to be comparable defensively, or 2) it makes it a good idea to keep Ellsbury at a high cost over planning for JBJ as a successor. After all, I don't think anyone every really projected Ellsbury to have a .402 wOBA season like he did in 2011, so sometimes these guys surprise you.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 25, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4191696)
More good news on the farm - Michael Almanzar (remember him?) is hitting the crap out of the ball in Salem. Almanzar had disappeared for three years after his big bonus and hot GCL debut in 2008, but he's still younger than any of the disappointing college guys in short season ball. He's on a crazy hot streak right now, with a 1400 OPS in his last ten games, seven XBH and seven walks against only four Ks. He was hitting passably well before that, and his season line is up to 310/364/475. His K rate is solid (under 20%), and his walk rate isn't great but his K/BB is only slightly over 2.

I'm somewhat concerned whether Almanzar is truly a 3B, since he's a big dude (listed 6-3 190) and he was juggled to 1B a lot last year. If he's a real third baseman, Almanzar looks like a legitimate rejuvenated prospect.

Jose called this one in the original post. Well done not jinxing the kid.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4191729)
My jinxing powers are limited to Spring Training. I leave the in-season jinxes to Dr. Jinxtable.

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