Posts tagged ‘prospects’

Tuesday: 02.19.2013

BA Top 100 Prospects

Some did not like the new form of Countdown entries as they’d gone away from the player profiles. That was because of time and I apologize, but I’m just devoting a lot of time to make sure the SP Guide gets out on time. Maybe in March once the SP Guide is done and things settle a bit I can pick the player profiles back up again.

In the meantime, we’re just three days from games and today was a big day in the minor league community as Baseball America released their top 100 prospects. In addition:

(told ya it was a big day!)

Monday: 05.9.2011

Prospect Spotlight: Jose Iglesias & Yamaico Navarro

The prospect parade continued on Sunday as the Boston Red Sox announced they were calling up slick fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias to take the spot of Marco Scutaro, who is headed to the disabled list.

JOSE IGLESIAS

This call up has exponentially less fanfare than that of Eric Hosmer for many reasons, chief among them being that he isn’t near the talent from a fantasy aspect and the fact that he’s essentially going to be a defensive replacement.

The 52nd-ranked prospect by Baseball America is unquestionably excellent with the glove which has allowed him to climb the minor league ranks and reach AAA at the age of 21, but his bat lags way behind.  It’s always going to, too.  His ceiling is going to be a Rey Ordonez-plus.  He likely won’t be quite as inept at the plate, but .700 OPS will be a challenge (Ordonez had a career .600 OPS).

His lack of skill with the bat combined with his role as a defensive replacement make him a complete nonfactor in all fantasy formats.  I have seen him drafted to minor league rosters in some AL-Only leagues and I’m not entirely sure why (and I’m talking long-term, not just ’11).  Perhaps it is because he is the top rated or at least one of the top rated prospects on a high profile team, but those lists are all-encompassing meaning his remarkable defense matters.

Unless you play a Strat-O-Matic or Scoresheet league, his defense means nothing for fantasy players.

YAMAICO NAVARRO

I was hoping that Yamaico Navarro would get a call soon even over Iglesias as he brings a lot more potential with the bat, but he suffered an oblique strain and on May 7th he hit the 7-day DL in the minors.  That may be more why Boston went with Iglesias.

Navarro had a strong season last year (hitting .275/.356/.437 in AA and AAA) crossing three levels including a 20-game stint with the Red Sox from late August through the end of the year.  He was clearly overmatched in the small sample (.143/.174/.143), but that’s not too surprising for a 22-year old who had just 16 games of AAA experience prior to reaching the big leagues.

He is back in Pawtucket and off to a great start this season hitting .329/.436/.612 in 101 plate appearances.  He has 14 extra base hits including eight doubles, two triples and four home runs.  He has driven in 12, scored 19 and two stolen bases.

Perhaps as impressive as anything in his start is the 1:1 K/BB split (13 apiece).  His plate patience has been something he seems to be working on constantly as he was sitting 2.4-2.5 in 2007 and 2008 before dropping to 2.0 in 2009 and then a really nice improvement to 1.3 last year.

Primarily a shortstop in his minor league career, Navarro has also seen time at second base, third base and all three outfield spots this season.  With that flexibility plus a great start at the dish, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Red Sox soon selected him to be their super-utility man especially in light of the fact that their backup outfielders, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald, are hitting a robust .158 combined (9-for-57).  It will depend on how those two play in the coming weeks and how quickly Navarro heals from the oblique.

But again even adding his 2011 start, he still has just 39 games above AA and he is still just 23 years old.  I think Navarro is someone to strongly consider depending on league format.  He may still be available in dynasty/ultra leagues, so check your wire.  Meanwhile, AL-Only leaguers using a more limited minor league roster (3-7 slots) might want to make room to invest as he will almost certainly get the call before September, especially if he keeps raking the ball when he returns from injury.  Don’t start releasing guys who are top 5-7 in their organization for him, but he is as good as any other lower rated org. guy… unless the org. is Kansas City.

Thursday: 04.14.2011

Prospect Spotlight: Keyvius Sampson

We already know that anyone pitching in San Diego’s PETCO is instantly a bit better thanks to the spacious dimensions of the yard.  The Padres are grooming some legitimately talented arms that can pitch anywhere to the point that the Petco Push will make them nearly unbeatable.  Most recently it has been ace Mat Latos while Simon Castro and Casey Kelly are rocketing through the minor leagues, but one of the prospect we might soon see destroying hitters regardless of venue is Keyvius Sampson.

The diminutive (6’0) 20-year old is currently a second tier prospect in the Padres organization, but his talent has top 100 potential.  The 2009 4th round pick out of high school struggled with injuries in his first full season last year pitching just 43 innings in 10 starts.  However, he did impress in the limited sample with mid-90s velocity (sits 91-93, touches 95) that drove his gaudy 12.1 K/9.  The secondary stuff is behind the heater right now which is why he’s an org prospect right now as opposed to a top 100 guy, but it’s on the come.

He has good feel for both a curveball and changeup so while neither is terribly consistent just yet, at least both are in the arsenal as opposed to needing that third pitch which would leave him on the fence between starter and reliever.  Some reports have the changeup a bit ahead of the curve, but then others suggest the curve is a bit better.

So far in 2011, it would appear that the three pitches are firing on all cylinders as he has put together two truly excellent starts amassing 19 strikeouts in 11 shutout innings walking just one and allowing a mere two hits.  His first outing included six no hit innings with 10 Ks while Wednesday’s was nearly as impressive with five innings of 2-hit ball with nine Ks and the lone walk he’s allowed.  His next hurdle is proving health.

Elbow soreness got him shutdown last year and it likely stemmed from a tear in his right labrum, but so far he looks 100% healthy.  I think the Padres would just like to see him stay healthy and spend the season in A-Fort Wayne of the Midwest League as opposed to worrying about a promotion as the next step if the California League where pitchers routinely get destroyed regardless of talent.

If he can pitch a full season in A-ball and continue to excel, then he might be in line to skip High-A and go straight to AA-San Antonio for 2012.  The Padres did just that with Latos and Castro, allowing them to skip the pitcher’s hell that is the Cal League.

He is one to keep on the radar from a fantasy standpoint, but this white-hot start is definitely worth noting.

Thursday: 03.10.2011

National League Pitching Prospects List

This will serve as the 3/10 Daily Dose

It’s time for my prospect rankings for each league and I want to throw out a few points before I get to today’s National League list:

o   I’m new to prospecting.  This is my first ranking of prospects as I’ve spent the last two years getting better at it before finally diving in this year.  Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, John Sickels, Jason Collette, the BA folks (Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, John Manuel, etc…) and Adam Foster are all much more seasoned, just to name a handful whose work I enjoy.  I stand 100% behind the work, but this isn’t yet an area of expertise for me.  I wouldn’t necessarily be eager to suggest anything is an area of “expertise” for me, but I’m much more in my element discussing major leaguers right now, but I want to get better at prospecting so it’s time to start ranking.

o   I have seen a handful of these guys live, though the bulk of my experience with them comes from reading extensively and watching video online.

o   There aren’t individual player capsules here, those are all in the Starting Pitcher Guide.

o   The ceiling is a best-case scenario as I see it.

o   The ranking combines the best-case scenario with how likely they are to reach it.  This means someone might project with a higher ceiling, but be less likely to reach it and thus rank below someone with a lower ceiling who is closer to it.

o   This doesn’t slant toward 2011.  It’s all encompassing.  In other words, don’t use it in your re-draft fantasy leagues and get upset with me if Arodys Vizcaino doesn’t throw 120 innings for you later this summer.  It’s meant more for leagues with minor league rosters of any size and dynasty leagues.

RK Player TEAM ETA Ceiling
1 Julio Teheran ATL 2012 1
2 Jameson Taillon PIT 2014 1
3 Mike Minor ATL 2010 2
4 Jarrod Parker ARI 2011 1
5 Shelby Miller STL 2012 1
6 Simon Castro SD 2011 1
7 Jordan Lyles HOU 2011 2
8 Jenrry Mejia NYM 2010 1
9 Randall Delgado ATL 2012 1
10 Tyler Matzek COL 2013 1
11 Zach Lee LAD 2013 1
12 Casey Kelly SD 2012 2
13 Trey McNutt CHC 2012 1/Closer
14 Arodys Vizcaino ATL 2013 1
15 Trevor May PHI 2013 1
16 Stetson Allie PIT 2014 1/Closer
17 Matt Harvey NYM 2013 1
18 Zack Wheeler SF 2013 1
19 Brandon Beachy ATL 2010 3
20 Jarred Cosart PHI 2014 2
21 Christian Friedrich COL 2011 2
22 Tyler Skaggs ARi 2013 2
23 Chad James FLO 2013 2
24 Cory Luebke SD 2010 3
25 Brody Colvin PHI 2014 1
26 AJ Cole WAS 2014 2
27 Chris Withrow LAD 2012 2
28 Rubby de la Rosa LAD 2013 1
29 Brad Hand FLO 2012 3
30 Mike Foltynewicz HOU 2014 2
31 Luis Heredia PIT 2014 1
32 Chad Bettis COL 2014 3
33 Jesse Biddle PHI 2014 2
34 Juan Urbina NYM 2014 2
35 Jay Jackson CHC 2011 3
36 Lance Lynn STL 2011 3
37 Juan Nicasio COL 2013 2
38 Sammy Solis WAS 2012 3
39 Aaron Miller LAD 2012 3
40 Hayden Simpson CHC 2013 2
41 Carlos Martinez STL 2014 1
42 Daryl Thompson CIN 2008 3
43 Ethan Martin LAD 2013 2
44 David Holmberg ARI 2014 3
45 JJ Hoover ATL 2012 3
46 Pat Corbin ARI 2013 3
47 Mark Rogers MIL 2010 3
48 Tyrell Jenkins STL 2015 2
49 Bryan Morris PIT 2011 3
50 Brad Boxberger CIN 2012 3

I’ll be hosting a chat soon to discuss both this and more of the Starting Pitching Guide. Plan for next Thursday, but I’ll definitely post the details ahead of time. In the meantime you can reach me on Twitter or Facebook if you have questions about this list.

Wednesday: 02.9.2011

Daily Dose – February 9th

As much as I hate the miserably cold (relative to our climate) weather that has besieged Austin, I am comforted by the knowledge that baseball is on the way and we are seeing more baseball preview content up every single day.  Soon MLB Network will start their 30 Clubs in 30 Days series and with that hopefully the bitter cold of mid-20s with near single digits wind chills will head back to the Midwest and Northeast where it belongs.  I wish this kind of weather understood how unwelcomed it was here in central Texas.  Go back to the people who are insane to actually crave four seasons of weather.  I’m fine with one: summer.

Ray Flowers (@BaseballGuys) has a fun series over at RotoTimes.com called “I Like Because…” where he digs deeper on some second and third tier players to show their upside.  He makes his case for getting away from the term “sleeper” positing that in the information age, they don’t really exist.  I see where he is coming from on the whole sleeper thing mainly because I think there are different levels of players being undervalued and putting them all under the header of sleeper simplifies it too much, but no need to rabbit-hole on that right now.  I still use the term, but I like to categorize my sleepers when I do articles dedicated to identifying them.

I don’t agree with everything in the article, but I do like that he gives some love to Justin Masterson, someone I’ve been a fan of for a couple of years now.  Masterson didn’t perform as I expected last year as he continues to get positively obliterated by left-handers.  He needs to figure that out if he is ever going to reach his potential.  For his career, lefties have a .291/.381/.433 line against him while righties are much worse at .228/.304/.322.  Until he shows noticeable improvement against southpaws, he is a spot-starter against right-handed-heavy lineups only.

Over at FanGraphs, Carson Cistulli (@cistulli) did some great analysis in examining some of the top scouts of the last five years.  Through his own admission, this piece is merely a jump off point to further analysis, but it is a very interesting study that I look forward to seeing fleshed out either by Cistulli or others.

As the baseball season draws nearer, so too does the release of MLB 2K11 (March 8th), the latest of a series that just keeps getting better annually.  Initially the bar was pretty low, but last year was a huge stride forward and 2011 is setting up to be yet another large step toward perfection.  Jon Robinson got a chance to interview Roy Halladay, this year’s cover, and discuss aspects of pitching a perfect game in 2K11 which is again will be worth a million bucks as it was last year, though Halladay admits it will be tougher.  I took a few no-hitters into the 8th inning last year and one into the 9th, but I was never more than six innings into perfection.  Operation Sports has plenty of MLB 2K11 coverage, too, including screenshots and previews.

MLB.com has released their fantasy baseball positional previews.  It’s a great primer to kick off your 2011 fantasy prep work.  They go deep at every position with 73 catchers, 83 first basemen, 95 second basemen, 85 third basemen, 81 shortstops, 202 outfielders, 21 primary DHs, 230 starting pitchers and 128 relievers.  Each player capsule has the pertinent previous 3 years of stats, projections for 2011, a dollar value, a paragraph with their outlook and a “Fantasy Bottom Line”.  Best of it, it’s all free.  It would be a value at $8-10 which is what you would pay for a fantasy magazine that is outdated long before it hits the shelf.

Want another opinion on players?  How about four more opinions?  Yahoo’s team of guy has released their positional rankings as well as a top 100.  These rankings are short on analysis containing just the 1 through however many deep each position goes, but the Y! gang will have plenty of content coming out throughout February and March so this is just something to whet your appetite for now.

Over at AOL Fanhouse, Frankie Piliere (@FrankiePiliere) released his top 100 prospects list for 2011.  His #1 player won’t surprise, but his #2 might as might a noticeable absence from the top five.  Piliere has experience as a talent evaluator and scout so this is far from a dartboard approach to he is using.  He certainly doesn’t tow the industry line either.  I scanned the list 1-100, but I’ve yet to read every capsule so I’m interested to see his analysis on players (1-50 have a paragraph of breakdown included).

Bill Ladson was on the Beyond the Boxscore podcast this week and he said he expects Stephen Strasburg to be pitching in September of this year.  That’s probably the most aggressive projection for Strasburg’s return as many have had him out for all of 2011.  If this is true, it possibly raises an interesting question for non-keeper drafters about whether or not to take Strasburg and when.  Obviously if you have to keep him in the active roster all year, there is no way you would draft him in March.

However, if there is a reserve roster system in your league then you have to weigh the potential of him helping you for a stretch run against killing a precious roster spot for a guaranteed five months.  For me personally, I wouldn’t even entertain it, but that’s my conservative approach.  Who knows what he would even deliver in six or seven starts to close out the season.  He could be like teammate Jordan Zimmerman who went 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 7.8 K/9 in seven starts or slightly better like Tim Hudson in 2009 who went 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 6.4 K/9 also in seven starts.  Neither was a game-changer for their owner down the stretch, but neither has the talent of Strasburg, either.

OK, I like Blake Griffin as much as the next guy, but what the hell is going on here??  It’s pretty hilarious if you ask me, but definitely in a creepy kind of way.

In addition to being hilarious, this is also awesome: Saved by the Bell Megacast!  I don’t have a clue who Rob Cesternino or Eric Stein are, but by listening to the podcast I eventually learned that they are reality TV people of some sort.  That information is totally irrelevant.  All that matters is that they did a 2 hour and 51 minute podcast devoted solely to Saved by the Bell.  If you grew up loving the show like I did, watching the 2 hour blocks on cable during the weekdays and then the new episodes on Saturday mornings on NBC, then this is a must-listen.

Knowledge Bomb: In keeping with the theme of ranking lists being released today, I’ll share my top 24 catchers for 2011 in today’s KB.  Catcher remains top-heavy in terms of star power, but the next level down is much deeper than it has been in past years.  Catcher is a tough position to figure in fantasy baseball because it’s the only position with built in days off and the grind of catching can easily add extra days off to that total thanks to nicks and bruises throughout the season.

It is rare that the top catcher will be on par with the top guys at the other positions.  The exceptions are transcendent seasons like Joe Mauer’s 2009 campaign.  One strategy to consider is find catcher-eligible guys who will spend a lot or even most of their time elsewhere on the diamond this year.  Their value will still be highest at catcher on your roster, but if their team plays them at first base, outfield or DH, that’s a good thing for your team.

  1. Joe Mauer
  2. Victor Martinez
  3. Brian McCann
  4. Buster Posey
  5. Carlos Santana
  6. Mike Napoli
  7. Geovany Soto
  8. Miguel Montero
  9. Matt Wieters
  10. Kurt Suzuki
  11. Carlos Ruiz
  12. Chris Iannetta
  13. Jorge Posada
  14. Yadier Molina
  15. J.P. Arencibia
  16. A.J. Pierzynski
  17. John Buck
  18. Miguel Olivo
  19. Ryan Doumit
  20. Alex Avila
  21. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  22. John Jaso
  23. Russell Martin
  24. Jesus Montero
  25. Jason Castro

Overvalued: Buster Posey – his great debut and playoff exposure has him going in the 4th round of a lot of drafts.  That’s really high for most catchers, but especially for those with just 423 at-bats on their record, even for a wunderkind like Posey.

Undervalued: A.J. Pierzynski – he’s not great by any stretch, but he’s often overlooked.  2011 will be no different as a putrid April and weak May tanked his numbers and covered up a .299 AVG/.719 OPS in the second half (up from .247/.664).

Best of the Rest: Josh Thole – a great approach at the plate (24 BB/25 K in 227 PA) plus a wide open chance at the full-time gig gives the 24-year old a chance at a solid season.  He’s never had even a modicum of power (10 HR in 1733 minor lg PAs) and that’s really what you want from your backstop which is why he didn’t crack the first 25.

Rookie to Watch: Jesus Montero – it’s hard not to be impressed with the prospects of Montero as he has ripped through the minor leagues like few before him, but the presence of Posada and Martin make it tough to project much playing time for the 21-year old right now.  Given that he needs to work on his defense if he expects to stay behind the dish, he’s like to spend a lot of time in AAA to hone his defensive skills.

I’ll leave you with a breakdown of reporting dates for each organization as we get closer & closer to the beginning of Spring Training:

Monday: 02.7.2011

Daily Dose – February 7th

Today is being unofficially tagged as the official start of baseball as it marks the end of football for… who knows?  For me the baseball season never really ends.  The Hot Stove and offseason is enough to keep my baseball juices flowing even after the playoffs end.  I don’t hate football or anything like that.  I fully understand the game, have a rooting interest in both the pro and college games, but it’s easily #2 to baseball for me.  So those who are turning the page on football to focus their attention baseball are merely joining me and others who are entrenched in baseball year-round.  Before we turn that page, let’s start the Dose with a little Super Bowl coverage:

The commercials have by and large been a major dud the last four or five years as the ad execs appear to have just mailed it in anymore and decided to aim only at the lowest common denominator.  I expected the same this year, but I was pleasantly surprised when the best of bunch wasn’t just the least annoying work of the night, but rather legitimately quality work.  As a native Detroit resident, I’m partial to the Chrysler ad with Eminem and that ended up as my favorite of the night:

I could understand how those from Detroit might not enjoy it as much as me and Michigan brethren, but I was surprised that there was actually some legitimate backlash against the spot.  Of course the loudest critic I saw of the ad also thought the Motorola ad for their fake iPad was good so perhaps commercial critiquing isn’t their strong suit.

I also enjoyed what seems to be the overwhelming fan favorite of the night drawing off of the early week buzz it got by releasing before the Super Bowl, the Darth Vader/Volkswagen commercial.  During the game was first time I had seen it and I definitely enjoyed it.  It worked very well even as a 30-second spot, but there’s a full minute one if you haven’t seen it:

And just so this doesn’t become a complete recap of all the commercials everyone has already seen, two others that I really enjoyed were the NFL Fans one and the Bridgestone Reply All.  I was really surprised that the Reply All ad ended up being for Bridgestone, but I guess they were going for straight humor regardless of how it related to their product.

One more video before I get into some actual baseball stuff at the BASEBALL by Paul website.  I will admit out front that I don’t find Kenny Mayne particularly funny.  I used to enjoy him on SportsCenter to the point where I still use some of his catchphrases, but his brand of humor is pretty much one note and wears quickly.  All of that said, I loved his Super Bowl Mayne Event about Mike McCarthy.  Of course, it is entirely because of Matt Damon.  Just another reason why he’s my favorite actor.

And now for some baseball:

Dirk Hayhurst is one of the more popular ballplayers around thanks to his Bullpen Gospels which I believe started out as a blog and eventually become a book (which I own, but have yet to read).  His Twitter, The Garfoose, is pretty popular just for the unique name, but also because he has brought his blogging goodness to the 140-character format.  I believe he is scheduled to be on the Jonah Keri Podcast on Tuesday, too.  But I especially enjoyed his 10 Commandments for Social Media for Professional Athletes.   There’s a lot of wisdom to be found within those commandments, especially in light of how many athletes have thoroughly embarrassed themselves or outright buried themselves on the medium.

Razzball has released their Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Players for 2011.  Surprisingly, Albert Pujols does not top the rankings.  I’m 100% fine with their top guy.  I loved their outlook on the ultra-popular Rockies so far this offseason, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez as well as their thoughts on Matt Kemp.  Of course they were WAY too high on Ryan Howard for my tastes so there is give and take throughout the list.

Even if you are not big into prospects, I encourage you to check out Project Prospect’s Top 100 Prospect List released today.  It is a very handy fantasy tool if your league drafts minor leaguers, but also all fantasy players should be up on the next wave of talent.  It’s basically the last bastion of knowledge in which one can gain an edge on their opponents.  And it’s not like the window for it will close because prospecting is far from an exact science.  Adam Foster (@AdamWFoster) and his crew are doing excellent work on the prospecting front over at PP and I highly recommend you check them out.

Speaking of prospects, NBC Hardball Talk reports that Toronto’s Kyle Drabek may not have a firm innings cap placed on him this season.  You may recall last year that there was a lot of talk around San Diego placing a cap on Mat Latos’ innings.  It likely caused him to be much cheaper in drafts and auctions than if news like this had come out or if nothing at all had been said.  Instead, everyone was so worried about his season ending at 150 innings that they waited too long or pass altogether.  He ended up throwing 185 brilliant innings for a competing Padres team.  Bet on the talent and let the playing time factors play out as the season progresses.

And finally, in what has unintentionally become my Baseball Prospectus Plug O’ the Day, I suggest you hightail it over there as fast as you can because if you had reservations about paying, you can get it all for free today and see what I’ve been talking about all this time.  The free preview coincides with the release of their PECOTA Projections.

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