You don’t have to read complaints about the weather today, let’s instead jump right into the Daily Dose:
The Los Angeles Angels beat writer for the LA Times, Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) quoted GM Tony Reagins on the likelihood of Mike Trout making it to Anaheim this year: “I would say it’s unlikely”, which is definitely the right thing to say right now. There’s no reason to put undue pressure on the top prospect and get him worrying about playing up to a standard that will earn him a trip to the show.
Do not take Reagins’ comments as a definitive guarantee that Trout won’t be up all year, though, because things can and will change as the season evolves. Looking at two of the best prospects to make their mark on the league last year, Jason Heyward and Buster Posey, they each elevated through minors pretty quickly. Posey was a college star at Florida State, though, so he’s a bit different than Heyward and Trout so let’s just look at Heyward.
Trout and Heyward both signed early as mid-to-late first round picks, but Trout signed earlier got 32 more games in than Heyward. Both sample sizes are too small to draw much from, but a nice taste for fans to see what their team’s first pick garnered. Both exploded in their second season and became top five prospects across baseball (Heyward 5th, Trout 1st). And that brings us to this year, Trout’s third. In his third, Heyward, after crushing A-ball with a taste in High-A, went back to High-A for 49 games and acquitted himself quite well. Trout crushed A-ball last year, too, but 50 of his 131 games were at High-A unlike Heyward who only had seven in his first go-round.
Is Trout ready to make the jump to AA after 50 High-A games? Heyward needed just 56. Of course Heyward only played 99 games in his third professional hampered by injuries so he only saw another 50 games between AA (57) and AAA (3) before reaching the majors last year. Barring injury for himself, Trout could start AA and play 60-70 games there. If he continues to mash as he has thus far, he could get another 50-60 at AAA before possibly earning a late season call-up to the majors.
I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I wouldn’t rule it out, either. That said, anyone in a re-draft league needn’t waste their time drafting Trout in March, not even if there is a reserve roster. There is no reason to tie up a roster spot on a slim chance. Besides, even if he comes up this year there is no guarantee he would be a contributor. I can’t wait to see how Trout progresses after his explosive 2010, but we will likely be waiting until Opening Day 2012 to see him suit up in Anaheim.
RotoAuthority has released their second basemen rankings for 2011 and they are veeeerrrry interesting to say the least. I’m already on record about the depth at second base, which I think is significant, and looking at this list only reinforces that belief. I don’t, however, fully agree with the ordering of the players. It starts off with a bang by not having Robinson Cano atop the list.
I like Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia plenty, but why you’d take either ahead of Cano is beyond me. Tsuyoshi Nishioka at #7 and Sean Rodriguez at #9 ahead of Brandon Phillips at #10? I wish there were projections tied to this list because I’d love to see the fall off in production that puts Martin Prado at #15 behind Danny Espinosa (#13) and Howie Kendrick (#14). If we all drafted using the same lists and valuations then this game wouldn’t be much fun, but some of these are real head-scratchers to me.
Second base was a hot topic today as Ross Tremblay over at Fake Teams compared Utley and Cano and their projections for the 2011 season. He ended up with Utley ahead of Cano in terms of who he would want. The biggest problem I see in Tremblay’s analysis is that he vastly underrates the injury risk and age-related decline of Utley. He compares the two at full health which is already a bit of a hypothetical stretch meant to strengthen the Utley side.
Second base, as Tremblay correctly points out, is a position that shows age-related attrition more than any except catcher. Add in that Utley has three significant injuries (hand, hip, finger) in the last three years (though he didn’t miss time due to the hip surgery in the offseason) and there is legitimate risk. Utley’s biggest statistical edge for Tremblay’s projections is in the stolen base department. Again, I find this somewhat tenuous as his running could be in danger in order to mitigate some of the injury risk.
He’s a remarkably efficient base-stealer and ran plenty in September, his first full month after the injury, but Tremblay has him down for 15-20 bags which strikes me as the high end best case scenario. He has topped 15 just once in the last five years, three of which were full seasons. A year older and coming off of a season in which he played just 115 games, I would have him down for 12-15 bags.
Tremblay concedes that Cano is slightly better than Utley on the whole, but the cost of each sways him toward Utley. Cano is a bona fide first round pick while Utley is going somewhere in the second round. I’m all for value, but I’m more for mitigating risk, especially in the early rounds. That reason alone is enough for me to value Cano a good bit higher than Utley, even if he costs my first round pick. I didn’t like the hypothetical comparison Tremblay used to show Utley had higher value.
He paired each with a first baseman and determined that the Utley and Mark Teixeira/Adrian Gonzalez combo is better than a Cano and Ryan Howard/Prince Fielder pairing. I don’t necessarily agree with that statement on its own, but more to the point, who says you have to take a first basemen in the first two rounds? It’s the deepest position along with starting pitcher. It’d be great to get a stud, but I think he is once again using a hypothetical device to strengthen his Utley position. When you’re talking about a one round difference at most, you definitely want the best player, especially when he is less risky, too. That is Cano.
Adam Rossi has a fun piece over at RotoHardball comparing players to various Hollywood starlets. He does a great job combining my favorite things in the world: baseball and women. Rossi points out early in the piece that those are his two favorite things, too! He was right to believe he wasn’t the only one. I take issue with his suggesting that Natalie Portman wasn’t still very attractive with the shaved head and that Carrie Underwood is the end all, be all of celebrity women.
She’s definitely pretty, but even he points out that she’s boring. And that’s just it, there’s nothing particular distinctive about her and thus she can’t be the #1 famous hottie. As I told him in the comments section, I could find a handful of girls as pretty or prettier than Underwood on University of Texas campus on any given day when school is in session. Silly disagreements aside, I like these kinds of different articles that offer a fresh way to look at things.
Knowledge Bomb: I want to share something I learned yesterday that you may already know. I absolutely love MLB.tv. I love how it works across many platforms and you can choose your broadcast and they are working to improve it yearly. One issue I always had was the fact that when you made it full-screen in your dual monitor setup, you couldn’t work on the other screen without it shrinking back down to regular size. I made this known to the @MLBtv Twitter feed yesterday and whoever runs it promptly messaged me letting me know that this feature is in place and I had just been missing it this whole time!!
If you go to this MLB.tv FAQ page, it will show you that the dual monitor feature is in the Settings able to be toggled on and off and allow you to have your game on one screen in full mode while you work on the other. This seriously (or sadly?) made my day yesterday. I knew the technology was available because Netflix Instant allows it. I’m just glad it’s now part of one of my favorite products. Sorry if you already knew this, but if you didn’t and have been clamoring for it, then it’s about as explosive as these knowledge bombs can get.