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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goldstein’s Top 11 Rays Prospects

Five-Star Prospects
1. Evan Longoria, 3B
2. David Price, LHP
3. Wade Davis, RHP
4. Desmond Jennings, CF
5. Reid Brignac, SS

 

 

...holy five star prospects Batman.

aardvark Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:29 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: prospect reports

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   1. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:42 PM (#2649166)
Five stars for Brignac seems generous. Then again, I'd put Jake McGee right up there with Wade Davis (if not ahead of him), so the number of guys in that category wouldn't decrease.

Who is Desmond Jennings and is he any good?
   2. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2649170)
To answer my own question: he's a Low-A CF. 6'2" 180 lbs. Last year, his age 20 season, he hit .315/.401/.465 with 45/15 SB/CS in the Sally League. Probably a 2005 draftee. Five stars seems a little premature, considering how far away from the show he is, but those are some very impressive numbers.
   3. Dock Ellis Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2649171)
The list of the top Rays players under 25 is scary-good.

1. Scott Kazmir, LHP
2. Evan Longoria, 3B
3. David Price, LHP
4. B.J. Upton, CF
5. Matt Garza, RHP
6. Wade Davis, RHP
7. Desmond Jennings, CF
8. Reid Brignac, SS
9. Dioner Navarro, C
10. Jacob McGee, LHP

So is Navarro five-star or four?
   4. Valentine Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2649177)
Desmond Jennings was taken in the 10th round of the 2006 draft. Give him bonus points for remarkable progress.

Can Tampa Bay contend with this crop of prospects? Longoria and Brignac seem pretty close, and they should have 2-3 pitchers ready to break in by 2009. Add that to what they already have and.... ???
   5. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:53 PM (#2649186)
Once they win the Johan Santana sweepstakes next fall, yes.

(Seriously, how awesome would that be? A 2009 opening day rotation of Santana/Kazmir/Shields/Sonnanstine/Price - not too shabby. Assuming the guys in the field learn how to catch the ball by then, they'd be in great shape.)
   6. salfino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 08:58 PM (#2649197)
(Seriously, how awesome would that be? A 2009 opening day rotation of Santana/Kazmir/Shields/Sonnanstine/Price - not too shabby. Assuming the guys in the field learn how to catch the ball by then, they'd be in great shape.)

Don't forget Garza.
   7. Mike Green Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2649204)
Jeff Niemann turns 25 in February, so you can add him to that list. The Rays have finally come of age, and have a major league club and system worth watching.

Jennings and Brignac are probably not 5 star prospects, as Kyle S has suggested. Jennings turned 21 in October, and has succeeded in the Sally League. He might very well be a top prospect by this time next year. Brignac needs time, as his performance in double A and in Winter League showed. That is why the acquisition of Bartlett was smart. The Rays are likely to actually get good performance from Brignac in his pre-arb years (and Bartlett will slide over to second for a year or two when Brignac is ready).
   8. Diamond Research Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2649208)
And McGee...and Davis
   9. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2649225)
I assume it's going to be a five man rotation. Still, I shouldn't have forgotten Garza. So it would really be Santana/Kazmir/Shields/Garza/Price, with Sonnanstine as a bullpen guy. Not bad at all. Really, the Rays probably get more marginal benefit from dumping money into the lineup.
   10. The Essex Snead Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2649232)
Really, the Rays probably get more marginal benefit from dumping money into the lineup.

bullpen bullpen bullpen!

Tho given the sketchy returns on big-name, big-money bullpen spending, maybe not.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2649234)
Really, the Rays probably get more marginal benefit from dumping money into the lineup.

bullpen bullpen bullpen!

Tho given the sketchy returns on big-name, big-money bullpen spending, maybe not.


Do you run the Baltimore Orioles?
   12. MSI Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2649237)
I thought that Jake McGee is a 5-star easily...why wouldn't he be? He's almost comparable to Kershaw. I'd also have him there instead of Brignac.
   13. JPWF13 Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2649244)
9. Dioner Navarro, C
10. Jacob McGee, LHP

So is Navarro five-star or four?


Who knows?
He hit .177/.238/.254 in the first half (yikes!)
and .285/.340/.475 in the second half.

In his MLB career he is at .247/.316/.360, but he doesn't turn 24 for another month and a half.
Catchers as a whole hit .254/.317/.393 in 2007.

as a 19 year old he hit .321/.375/.469 split between A+ (FSL) and AA

My gut feeling is that over the next 3-5 years he'll be lot closer to .285/.340/.475 (2007 post asb #s) than his overall career numbers, but I wouldn't be serious $ on it.

The Rays could be REAL good in 2 years, but any number of things could derail that progress,
Redsox/Yankees/Rays/Jays...
If I was an Oriole fans I'd consider switching my allegiance to the Nats before another year or so.
   14. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2649245)
What about some prospects to the A's for Ellis and Blanton? If anybody could use an innings eater and great defensive 2B it'd be the Rays.
   15. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 09:56 PM (#2649259)
I disagree. The Rays don't have a dire need at starting pitcher - they could use another starter now, but they're not going to win in 2008 anyway and by 2009 they'll certainly have SOMEONE out of the Price/McGee/Davis/Niemann group ready to help, and probably more than one person. They could most use help at the back of the bullpen (although I think spending money on the pen is the wrong approach - ask the Blue Jays or Orioles) or at DH. The upgrade from Iwamura to Ellis would be very marginal.
   16. MSI Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2649267)
What money did the Blue Jays spend on the bullpen, aside from BJ Ryan?
   17. rfloh Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2649274)
Is Iwamura's D good?
   18. JPWF13 Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:13 PM (#2649276)
I disagree. The Rays don't have a dire need at starting pitcher - they could use another starter now, but they're not going to win in 2008 anyway


hmmmm

2007 OPS+ 103
ERA+ 82

2007 SPs- Kazmir, Shields (and vortex of suckitude)
2008 Sps- Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Edwin Jackson (who didn't suck in the 2nd half of 2007) and ... ???
add Blanton....

That could be an above average rotation

2007 defense- dreadful
2008- likely much much better, with Upton out of the IF, a real SS....
2008 offense- likely return to mean for Pena, likely incremental increases most everywhere else, about the same I guess

The 2008 Rays *could* easily shoot up to 85 wins I guess, but I;'m not sure that woudl make them competitive in 2008
   19. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:18 PM (#2649289)
Is Iwamura's D good?


It was excellent at 3B (I don't care what the advanced stats say, I watched him all year and everyone else that did also praised his defense) but 2B is somewhat of an unknown. He has good hands, quickness, and good footwork so I think he should be fine there.
   20. something clever Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:21 PM (#2649294)
The upgrade from Iwamura to Ellis would be very marginal.


This is the problem the A's are going to have in getting value for Ellis. Even relatively informed fans have little idea as to how good he is.

By WARP numbers Ellis was _6_ wins better than Iwamura in 2007. That's hardly marginal.
   21. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2649296)
I think they could use a guy like Blanton because he will usually give you 6 or so innings and that is nice to have when a team has so many young starting pitchers. Even Kazmir has problems with throwing too many pitches per inning so getting the bullpen some time off would be good for their staff.

I'm not sure about Iwamura's defense at 2B but I know that Ellis is an elite defender. The combination of these two players could prove valuable to help protect their other top young pitchers.

Also these guys would provide veteran leadership for this team. Ellis and Blanton are very professional team players who have never been in any trouble that I've heard of.
   22. MSI Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:29 PM (#2649302)
Their offense isn't going to be as good next year. BJ Upton will regress, what with his 150 k's and ridiculous BABIP, and Carlos Pena will probably come down a bit too. Improvements on Delmon Young can't be expected, and Longoria might also take a few years to hit his prime. Plus, relying on Cliff Floyd, Johny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli isn't exactly a good plan.

For future success, they still need to have all their prospects successfully develop, preferrably quickly, and spend money to keep stars like Kazmir and Crawford. I'm not predicting any 2010 playoff tickets just yet.
   23. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2649303)
Oh ya and I'd put Edwin Jackson in the bullpen. He's got electric stuff but can't seem to hold it all together for a whole start, he has a chance of being dominant in the bullpen.
   24. Dock Ellis Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:39 PM (#2649308)
Improvements on Delmon Young can't be expected

Good thing they traded him for Matt Garza!
   25. Honkie Kong Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:41 PM (#2649309)
MSI, I think Longoria is going to rake right out of the gate.

you mean, with her nails to start. kinky!
   26. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:46 PM (#2649316)
I think Longoria is going to rake right out of the gate.

agreed. He and Jay Bruce lead Dingbat Charlie's all can't-miss team.
   27. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:47 PM (#2649318)
I'd watch Longoria rake near her gate!
   28. Kyle S Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2649326)
By WARP numbers Ellis was _6_ wins better than Iwamura in 2007. That's hardly marginal.

Yet another example of why WARP (I assume you mean BP's version) is terrible. Ellis was only a little better than Iwamura rate-wise last year (110 vs 105 OPS+) so the difference is a little bit more PT due to Iwamura's injury and defense. Indeed, the difference between them is 50 runs of FRAR. Hmm.

While researching this post, I learned that Mark Ellis was worth nearly 11 wins better than replacement last season according to WARP2 (nearly a win and a half better than David Ortiz and just a hair behind Magglio Ordonez). AL MVP voters, what happened? You guys dropped the ball!

But anyway, I'm not talking about last season. I said, and I quote (as you did):
The upgrade from Iwamura to Ellis would be very marginal.


Ellis is projected by CHONE to hit .273/.341/.422 in 575 PAs. Iwamura is projected to hit .271/.341/.416 in 551 PAs. Last year, OAK played to an 89 BPF, TBD had a 93 BPF, so Ellis gets a slight bump there. All in all, what's that difference, 5 runs or so?

Then there's defense. Sean S projects Ellis as +13 at second for next season. Iwamura doesn't have a 2B projection. In order for there to be a six win difference between them, Iwamura would have to grade out as a -42 at second. I think he can beat that.

I think Iwamura is probably a -5 or so projected at second, which would put ellis about 25 runs ahead. That seems reasonable to me. I think that's probably a little more than a "marginal" upgrade, so perhaps I understated slightly. I apologize. Again, why would you sacrifice talent to upgrade the Devil Rays a couple of wins in 2008? Ellis is a free agent after the 2009 season, right?
   29. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 18, 2007 at 10:57 PM (#2649334)
Wow, didn't notice Fern made the top 10 list. Nice. He's the guy who wrote an article this spring that I linked to. Most of the people who posted there seemed to like it. I'm just glad to see he had such a monster year.
   30. aardvark Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:00 PM (#2649337)
To put Jennings .315/.401/.465 line into context league average in the Sally League from 2003-2005 (sorry I can't find more recent data) was .256/.332/.378.
   31. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2649342)
I thought Ellis had 2 more years, maybe not such a good one for the Rays unless they extended him.
   32. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:07 PM (#2649349)
Wow the Rays have the #1 pick again next year.
   33. Bad Doctor Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:24 PM (#2649362)
Their offense isn't going to be as good next year. BJ Upton will regress, what with his 150 k's and ridiculous BABIP, and Carlos Pena will probably come down a bit too. Improvements on Delmon Young can't be expected, and Longoria might also take a few years to hit his prime. Plus, relying on Cliff Floyd, Johny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli isn't exactly a good plan.

This came up in the Young/Garza thread. Sure, Pena and Upton will backtrack, but Tampa's shortstops hit .259/.318/.379 last year and usually sported Brendan Harris's glove. Bartlett is a huge upgrade. Their catchers hit .219/.276/.354, as Navarro had a .208 BABIP in the first half. Their third basemen hit .279/.343/.414, and barring a Gordon-esque orientation, Longoria figures to improve on that. And all Gomes, Floyd, Baldelli, and various injury replacements have to improve on from 2007 is .281/.314/.421 in RF and a .239/.327/.379 from DH.
   34. Shalimar Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:27 PM (#2649364)
Questions, questions. Is Rays a new synonym for women with big boobs? What good is Goldstein's top 11 prospects without pictures? Are any of them going to appear in the magazine? Is there still a magazine? Is there still a Goldstein?
   35. Rally Posted: December 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM (#2649380)
BJ Upton will regress, what with his 150 k's and ridiculous BABIP


I think its more likely that BJ improves in other areas and his overall offensive value is similar to last year. Forget what my projections say. BJ is the second coming of Eric Davis. Hope he can stay healthier.
   36. shattnering his Dominicano G Strings on that Mound Posted: December 19, 2007 at 02:50 AM (#2649516)
Regarding Upton: I don't think anyone expects him to hit for average like a high contact, hollow BA Polanco type. And I expect his BABIP to regress. But I will say this: I watched the Rays play around 100 times last year on MLBTV. They are my favorite team to watch. I love listening to the corpse of Dewayne Staats. Plus, I always like watching younger players learn to play. After watching Upton play as much as I did, I came away with one strong impression: BJ Upton squares up on the ball very very well. His swing seems to generate a lot of solid contact, he's quick through the zone, and when he hits the ball, he hits it solidly. Only a fool would argue that the BABIP will stay <I<that</I> high. But only a bigger fool would argue that it will regress too awfully much. I like the Eric Davis comparison. BJ Upton won't mash 50 home-runs, but I'd be shocked if he didn't have a couple of 30 home-run seasons in his future. And, yes, I expect to get ripped for "trusting my eyes" and expecting all of you to "trust them too." But, I don't really care.
   37. Honkie Kong Posted: December 19, 2007 at 03:00 AM (#2649525)
And, yes, I expect to get ripped for "trusting my eyes" and expecting all of you to "trust them too."

you would be surprised how little criticism you will get for your post. People have said that about Upton for a while. "trusting your eyes" gets blasted on this site, mainly when it comes to defence.
   38. David Wrightwing obstructionist Posted: December 19, 2007 at 03:21 AM (#2649543)
I'd love to see the Rays be the feel good story of the year for numerous reasons:

-I attended school(K-9th) in Chesapeake(Indian River) and have been telling guys here in CO for years thats a hotbed for athletes so I have to cheer for those guys

-really what better script could you write than a bunch of kids coming together to challenge the supremacy of the Red Sox and Yanks, I've always been an underdog guy anyway

-I want Kazmir to make the Mets ownership eat #### everytime he toes the rubber

-I need an AL team to cheer for

-what #37 said

Here is to hoping that break through is coming sooner than later
   39. formerly dp Posted: December 19, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2649585)
Quick diversion while we're talking about Uptons- what should we expect out of Justin this season? I have to pick 5 keepers from a pool that includes him, Longoria, Chris Young, Duston Pedroia, Miguel Tejada, John Smoltz and a few others...

My gut says go with youth with keepers, but I've been burned by that before.
   40. Don Guillote (The Cheat) Posted: December 19, 2007 at 04:48 AM (#2649606)
To put Jennings .315/.401/.465 line into context league average in the Sally League from 2003-2005 (sorry I can't find more recent data) was .256/.332/.378.

According to the indispensable B-R, league average was .254/.331/.376 in '06 and .263/.336/.399 in '07
   41. MSI Posted: December 19, 2007 at 06:15 AM (#2649665)
Note: I said Delmon Young's improvements can't be expected because he's on a different team.
   42. Every Inge Counts Posted: December 19, 2007 at 06:27 AM (#2649670)
Desmond Jennings should be red-shirting at WR for Alabama right now.

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