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Friday, February 14, 2020

Picks to Click: Who I Expect to Make the 2021 Top 100

When publishing prospect lists — in particular, the top 100 — I am frequently asked who, among the players excluded from this year’s version, might have the best chance of appearing on next year’s version. Whose stock am I buying? This post represents my best attempt to answer all of those questions at once.

This is the third year of this exercise, and last year Kiley and I instituted some rules. First, none of the players you see below will have ever been a 50 FV or better in any of our write-ups or rankings. So while I think Corbin Martin will return from Tommy John and become a 50 FV again later next year, I’m not allowed to include him here (although I just sorta did). The second rule is that I am forbidden from using players who have ever been on this list before, which means no Gilberto Celestino (on the list two years ago) or Lenny Torres (who was on last year’s) even though they might soon be 50s. McDaniel and I were right about 18 of the 63 players we picked the first year, about a 29% hit rate, and we were right about 16 of the 55 players on last year’s list, which is also 29%. Two years still isn’t long enough to know whether that’s good or not, but it does appear as though a baseline is being established.

At the end of the piece, I have a list of potential high-leverage relievers who might debut this year, because readers seem to dig that category. These are not part of the 50+ FV forecasting; it’s just a way to point an arrow at guys I like who might have real big league impact in a smaller role very soon.

I’ve separated the players into groups or “types” to make the list a little more digestible and to give you some idea of the demographics I think pop-up guys come from, which could help you identify some of your own with The Board (with The Board, through The Board, in The Board). For players whose orgs I’ve already covered this offseason, there is a link to the applicable team list where you can find a full scouting report on that player. I touch briefly on the rest of the names in this post. If you want to peek at the previous lists, here is Year 1, and here is Year 2.

Note to self: Check back in at this time or so next year, and see how many of these people made that list.

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, the future

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

With no sure things, next year’s Hall of Fame ballot could be unpredictable

The 2020 Hall of Fame class is set after the Baseball Writers Association of America elected Derek Jeter and Larry Walker. They will join Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons, who were elected by the veterans committee in December.

For the new Hall of Famers, the celebration is on. For those whose candidacy will begin or continue on next year’s ballot, it’s time to look ahead. That’s also what we’re here to do.

Our first glance tells us there are a wide range of possibilities in 2021. That’s in part because the next crop of first-time eligible candidates is remarkably underwhelming. There’s not a slam dunk like Mariano Rivera and Jeter have been the last two years. In fact, there’s not a new candidate that appears likely to reach the 75 percent required for election now or in the future.

It’s also because there’s a group of returning candidates that haven’t been fully embraced by the voters. Curt Schilling had his strongest showing yet in 2020 at 70 percent. Will he finally make the big leap? Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are inching closer to 75 percent, but with only two years remaining on the ballot can they make up the necessary ground?

The Baseball Hall of Fame ballot discussion is over- long live the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot discussion!

 

QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, the future

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The Pen: How baseball might change in the 2020s

Baseball has such a long history of proud consistency and a culture built on self-referential comparisons between eras. From a distance it’s defined by sameness across centuries, but when you zoom in, it feels like we’re always in a moment of pivotal — and controversial — change. That was true of the last decade (10 years ago there wasn’t even in-season testing for human-growth hormone, only the Los Angeles Angels were interested in a young man named Mike Trout, and instant replay applied only to home runs) and it will certainly be true of the 2020s.

For instance: an overhaul of the way pitch selection is relayed and even who does the relaying. On Monday, I reported on Major League Baseball’s plans to test prototypes as soon as this spring for technological communication of pitches. We don’t know yet what that will look like — wearable random number generators, lights in the mound, or something else entirely — but I’m sure its implementation will be contentious and hand-wring-y and full of opportunities to lament the state of a once-great game.

I, for one, am looking forward to it. Implicit in that news was another forthcoming change. MLB (in this case that means people within the commissioner’s office) expects teams to shift toward having coaches in the dugout calling the game instead of catchers behind the plate. The various trickle-down effects — making the backstop more of a filler role for another offensive powerhouse — are fascinating, both fun to predict and exciting in their exhaustive unpredictability. Baseball doesn’t change so much as evolve — developments in the wider world beget necessary reactions which beget adaptations or even exploitations and counterstrikes and codifications and overcorrections, and the whole process is constantly acting on all areas of the game in perpetuity.

In the spirit of all this and the new decade, here are a handful of (arbitrary and largely uninformed) predictions for baseball in the 2020s

Which of these shifts will we see? Which won’t happen? Which of these will, but that we wish didn’t?

QLE Posted: January 08, 2020 at 12:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: montreal, player managers, robot umpires, schedule, the future

 

 

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