Posted on: October 20, 2008 5:24 pm
 

Top Prospects: New York Mets

I’ve created this segment because I love watching young players grow through the system, and contribute at the big league level. Baseball’s minor leagues are the #1 source for most team’s additions. I get the impression that most baseball fans do not have a great understanding of you their team’s next great star is, so, I’m here to clue in.

The impact a great farm system, and great prospects, is currently taking center stage in the baseball universe. The Rays have overcome incredible odds to go from last place, last year, to the cusp of the World Series. How did they do it? The catalysts name is Evan Longoria. The top prospect in Tampa Bay’s farm to start 2008, became the leader of this Rays team, and has come up with big hits all year. Behind Longoria are players like B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, James Shields, and of course Scott Kazmir, all guys among the Rays best prospects few years ago.

Over the next couple of months I’m going to go team-by-team dissecting the organizations farm system, and pulling out each of their top 15 prospects; starting with the NL East and the Atlanta Braves. Once Baseball America starts to release their top 10 lists I will come back to each team and compare and contrast their list to mine. Come to see an assessment on your favorite team’s future, stay because you are just as interested in prospects as I am. If you ever feel as though I have left someone off, or you disagree with my placement of a prospect, or anything else of that nature, please comment, get your opinion out here, and I’ll consider your thoughts.

**As a disclaimer I just wanted to say a few things. First, I rank players based on their potential talent first and foremost, other factors include: age, what level they play at, their 2008 statistics, team needs, and my own gut feeling. The reason I decided on a top 15 list, despite the fact that many team’s good-decent prospects I can count on one hand, was because some team’s do go 15 or more prospects deep, and I wanted to get to include them as well – the Braves are a great example of this, they go 15-19 prospects deep, and it was tough enough for me to narrow it down to 15, let alone 10. Throughout the offseason trades are bound to happen. I currently have every team’s top 15 lists, but they may be forced to change due to trades. I will try my best to make the appropriate adjustments, and even update lists I’ve already posted as prospects come to and from teams. Also, other than Michael Inoa, I have no 2008 internationally signed players; I also do not feel as though they will be missed. Finally, I would like to say that I am not a professional, I do possess a good amount of information, but I will make mistakes, few, but they will be there. There are also some prospects I may not go into full detail about, but I will hit the mot important players, in my opinion of every organization. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this series, and consistently come here to read it. Good Luck to Everybody’s Favorite Team’s Offseason… go Rays.


Minor League notations in descending order

*AAA/AA signifies triple A, and Double A respectively… duh

*A+ signifies high A ball

*A- signifies low A ball

*A signifies a prospect played at both high, and low A ball throughout the course of the season

*a signifies short-season A ball

*R signifies rookie league

*MLL signifies minor league level last season

New York Mets Top 15 Prospects


1. Fernando Martinez OF Age: 20 MLL: AA

Mets fans are still awaiting the arrival of Martinez, and its likely they will have to wait another whole year before they get to see Martinez' pro debut. To me Martinez' tools are still just projection. Luckily, Martinez is still only 20, and has a full season of AA under his belt, so he has plenty of time to develop still. He hit a .292 BA, .345 OBP, but struck out 75 times compared to his 27 walks so , he has to improve his plate discipline. Martinez has been playing center field, but will make a switch, likely to right field. He is an average runner, but has a good arm, which should play well in right field. Having barely missed the playoffs the last two seasons, the Mets may push to get Martinez to the big leagues early next year, but I think it is best for him to spend all of 2009 in the minors (which is the same way I feel about Cameron Maybin of the Marlins).

2. Ike Davis OF/1B Age: 21 MLL: a

Ike Davis was the first first round pick for the Mets in 2008, from the University of Arizona. Davis' best tool is his raw power. He could hit somewhere between 35, and 40 HRs one day. Davis has been most mentioned as a first basemen when he reaches the majors, but he has the arm, and athleticism to play either corner of the outfield, which I think makes him a more attractive prospect. Where he plays in the big leagues will depend a lot on where Nick Evans ends up. If Evans settles in at first once Delgado is gone, then Davis will obviously end up in the outfield, which is where I believe he belongs. Davis is not a speedy, but is a smart base runner, and should have decent range in the outfield. He struggled in his pro debut this past summer hitting for a .256 BA, and failing to knock a home run. He may take a little longer to get to the big leagues now - which only means do not expect him in September of 2009, opening day 2010 is still a possibility.

3. Jon Niese LHSP Age: 22 MLL: AAA/AA

Niese lacks a strong fastball, throwing his somewhere between 88 and 92. However, his secondary pitches are great. Niese throws a possible plus-plus curveball, and good changeup. He also commands all of his pitches well. In 2008 Niese pitched well, playing in AA, AAA, and making his debut for the Mets. He pitched for an ERA of 3.13 striking out 144 in 164 innings. Due to his lack of a great fastball Niese does not have ace potential, but could become a solid #3 starter, or possibly even a #2.

4. Eddie Kunz RHRP Age: 22 MLL: AAA/AA

Kunz' best pitch is a heavy sinking fastball, which he throws up to 96/97 mph. He has a second plus pitch in the form of a slider - obviously making him a ground ball pitcher. Kunz is sure to be a an eighth inning set man, or closer one day. However, right now Kunz has some trouble with his control, and has a tendency to make bad innings worse.

5. Reese Havens SS Age: 22 MLL: a

Taken in the 2008 draft a the Mets' second pick in the first round. Reese will have to switch to either third, or more likely second base, due to his lack of range. However, with Jose Reyes, and David Wright stationed on the left side of the infield for the Mets, the move would have been probable anyway. Despite his range deficiencies Reese has a plus arm. Havens already has great plate discipline, and will also have above average power for a second basemen.

6. Nick Evans 1B/LF Age: 22 MLL: AA

Evans has a big future batting 5th in the Mets' lineup. He hit well in AA before getting extended playing time with the Mets. Although Evans has played first base in the minors the Mets had him play at both corner outfield spots, I think he could be an adequate defender in left. Evans does not strike out as much as some power hitters his age, but he does not walk much either. He has the potential to hit 25-30 HRs.

7. Wilmer Flores SS Age: 17 MLL: A

Many people have Flores ranked much higher than this, and his potential alone may warrant that ranking, but I do not like to buy into young international players that early. Flores is going to end up too big for shortstop, but his arm strength will allow him to move to third base. His power potential should play there nicely, as will his ability to make consistent contact. Flores does not walk much, but he has plenty of time to work on that. Due to the fact Flores is at least three to four years away from think about the majors I do not want to over rank him, just keep in mind he could/will play above this ranking.

8. Mike Carp 1B Age: 22 MLL: AA

Has all the hitting tools, bad fielder, does not have speed. Mike Carp has moved up a little on my board. He hit a line of .299/.403/.471 (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/ Slugging %) in AA last season. Previously, the biggest knocks on Carp were his strikeouts, and his BA against LHPs. Last season he improved on both, hitting .268 against LHP (as opposed to .314 against RHP). Also, Carp struck out 88 times, while walking 79 times. He also possesses good power hitting 17 HRs in 2008, and finishing 2008 with a .874 OPS.

9. Dan Murphy 3B/2B Age: 23 MLL: AAA/AA

Murphy is a big mover having played well in AA, and AAA, and even spending time with the Mets down the stretch. For most of his career Murphy has played at the infield, or outfield corners, but now the Mets are trying him at second in hopes he will compete for the second base job next spring training. Murphy has a very low propensity to strikeout; he did so only 48 times in the minors in 2008. He also has average power, and should hit anywhere from 10-25 HRs a season – if he were to start for a whole season. Murphy’s not incredibly fast, but stole 14 bases in 2008, so he should add a little to the Mets’ already stacked arsenal of base stealers. Murphy is not a great fielder, but the Mets will work hard to get him comfortable at second. If he proves to be able to handle his spot in the middle of the infield Murphy should be a productive starter next season.

10.
Brian Rustich RHSP Age: 23 MLL: A-

A big power pitcher with a good fastball he throws in the mid 90s, and a power slider to go with it. Rustich has extreme control problems, but pitched well in a limited span of 49 innings in 2008. He threw for an ERA of 3.62, limiting opposing batters to a BA of .238, and he also struck out 48 batters (in 49 innings). Is Rustich likely to be moved to the bullpen...? Yeah, but if he conquers his control problems like his play this season may imply, he could be a solid second or third starter as well.

11. Dylan Owen RHSP Age: 22 MLL: AA/A+

Owen broke out this past season collecting 13 wins with an ERA of 3.66, 131 Ks, over 150 innings pitched in high A, and AA. I will not pretend to know much about him, but I am impressed with his 2008, and will continue to track him next season. I guess we could be looking at another back end of the rotation guy – feel free to comment about him, if you have any information about him.

12. Scott Moviel RHSP Age: 20 MLL: A

A rare example where I rate potential over an establish player (Moviel over Vineyard). Moviel was the second round pick of the Mets in 2007. Moviel is 6-11, and has yet to peak his fastballs velocity, he also throws a looping curve, and has started to develop his change – because of his power potential, he will likely add a slider at some point. Somewhat surprisingly Moviel played the whole season advancing up to high A, in 125 innings he pitched an ERA of 4.25 winning ten games, while only striking out 84 batters. Moviel has a lot of potential, and will likely break into the top ten next season as he further develops his pitches, and increases his strikeout total.

13. Nathan Vineyard LHSP Age: 20 MLL: A-

The 2007 first round pick of the Mets, Vineyard is a low upside, but very polished pitcher. Vineyard has excellent command over his three average pitches (a fastball, slider, and changeup). He projects to be a fourth or fifth starter in the major leagues. Vineyard sat out for most of 2008, after having rotator cuff surgery – his rotator cuff injury was not torn, so his recovery time will be much faster.

14. Robert Parnell RHSP Age: 24 MLL: AAA/AA

Parnell possesses a good sinking fastball that ranges between 92 and 95 mph. He also throws an average-plus slider, and below average changeup. Parnell is likely to move into the bullpen – possibly the Mets’ to start the season – because of his below average changeup, and below average stamina.

15. Ruben Tejada SS/2B Age: 19 MLL: A+

In the past Tejada’s greatest strength has been his advanced plate discipline – particularly compared to others his age. However, in 2008, he walked only 44 times, despite striking out only 77. Still, Tejada is only 19, and his strike out number is encouraging. Tejada has average speed, and arm strength, this will force a permanent move to second before he reaches the big leagues. He has little-no power, and is not likely to develop any. Tejada lacks upside, but could be an average everyday second basemen, and could also prove to be a good #2 hitter, with a high OBP.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 17, 2008 4:06 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2008 3:57 pm
 

Top 15 Prospects: Florida Marlins

1. Cameron Maybin CF Age: 21 Minor League Level last year (MLL): AA

Obviously the most well known Marlins prospect. Maybin was the centerpiece of the Willis/Cabrera trade. He may be the best prospect possessing all five tools. In 2008 he put up numbers of .277/.376/.456 (BA/OBP/SLG), those certainly are not great numbers, but I am not going to drop him because of them. He hit 13 HRs, but should still develop more power than that. He is a good fielder, and has already begun to turn his speed into stolen bases, with 21 in 2008. Maybin does strike out a lot - but, like many Marlin's prospects he also has a high walk rate. Personally, I feel as though Maybin would benefit from a full year in AAA during the 2009 season, but do not expect it to happen. If Maybin can cut back on the strikeouts, and start finding his power, he is going to be a superstar, hopefully starting in 2010.

2. Mike Stanton OF-RF Age: 19 MLL: A-

Stanton is so hard to evaluate. There are three numbers that really stick out on his stat sheet: 1. he hit 39 HRs in 2008 2. 153 strikeouts 3. He is only 19 years old. I am going to choose to ignore the strikeouts. Why? .293/.382/.611 No player in any minor league system has a line that good. His .611 SLG% was 90 points higher than the next player's (Frederick Freeman) in the South Atlantic League. Now the strikeouts could end up being detrimental as he rises to higher levels, but I believe his other numbers support my belief that Stanton will become a real special player, and one of the best corner outfielders in baseball.

3. Matt Dominguez 3B Age: 19 MLL: A-

You will not find a someone bigger on Dominguez than me. He is a complete stud. He was drafted due to his great fielding ability - future gold glove like ability. But, in his first pro season Dominguez smashed the ball for 18 HRs while hitting for a .296 BA, and .853 OPS (on base + slugging) in low A ball. Dominguez also has the fourth highest slugging % in the South Atlantic League at just a tick under .500. He also struck out only 68 times all season. The bad, he only walked 28 times, but that is because he is still an undisciplined hitter, which makes his other numbers unbelievable. Dominguez has a bright future in front of him, and will certainly be one of the stars of this team when they go for their next championship... maybe 2012?

4. Ryan Tucker RHRP Age: 22 MLL: AA

Tucker is the Marlin's closer of the future, and with Kevin Gregg likely headed out the door that future could be in 2009. Tucker was only recently converted into a reliever, but certainly has the stuff to be an excellent late innings guy. He commands his fastball well, and has a good developing slider that he throws in the low to mid 90s.

5. Kyle Skipworth C Age: 18 MLL: R

The #6 pick in the 2008 draft. Skipworth has an incredible amount of raw power, he can hit the ball to either poll from the left side of the plate. Skipworth also possesses a great arm behind the plate, but need work receiving back there. He struggled in his first taste of pro ball, but should improve next year.

6. Chris Coghlan 2B Age: 23 MLL: AA

Another Marlin's prospect I like a lot. He has great plate patience with a K/BB ratio of 1:1. Coghlan stole 34 bases in 2008, and is good fielder at second base. If Uggla is traded during the offseason Coghlan may be able to step in immediately, and I would bet he would be solid from the start.

7. Sean West LHSP Age: 22 MLL: A+

With the graduation of Chris Volstad, Sean West becomes the Marlins' best starting pitching prospect. West had an effective season in high A ball, striking out 92, in 100 innings with an ERA of 2.41. His biggest problem is that West does not go deep enough into games to be a starter in the major leagues. Nevertheless, there is a #3, or maybe even #2 pitcher in there.

8. Gaby Sanchez 1B Age: 25 MLL: AA

Up until recently Gaby Sanchez has been a catcher, but his bat plays at first. He hits for a good average, .304 in 2008, hits for pretty good power, 17 HRs in 2008, and best of all is Sanchez' 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Sanchez probably will not be a star, but he is a very developed hitter, and you know what you are getting with him. If Mike Jacobs is traded this offseason Sanchez is one of the likeliest candidates to replace him - assuming Uggla doe not make the switch.

9. Logan Morrison 1B Age: 21 MLL: A+

Morrison is a low ceiling first basemen. He has all the hitting tools, he finished 2008 at .322/.402/.494 (BA/OBP/SLG%). Morrsion hit only 13 HRs, but he has more power than that. It will be interesting to see Morrison, and Sanchez battle each other for the chance to play first base for the Marlins over the next couple of years -- then again Sanchez is four years older, and could spend some time with the major league team, and then get traded to avoid a salary jump in time for Morrison to take his spot.

10. Issac Galloway OF Age: 19 MLL: R

The biggest steal of the 2008 draft. Galloway slipped to Marlins in the 8th round despite having 1st round talent. Galloway is a 5-tool outfielder, unlike most his age Galloway's power, speed, and hitting ability are already well developed, although he does not excel at any one of them. Galloway should move through the system pretty quickly, he also does not seem like the type of players to have any hiccups along the way. A perennial 20/20 player with above average defense is certainly possibly.

11. Brett Sinkbeil RHSP Age: 24 MLL: AA

Last year Baseball America ranked him the Marlins' #2 prospect. Now, I do not expect much from him. I think he is best suited as a middle reliever, which is how he will start the 2009 season.

12. John Raynor OF Age: 24 MLL: AA

Raynor's greatest tool is his speed, as he stole 48 bags last season. He still strikes out an alarming 122 times - alarming at age 24 at least, especially since he does not have great power- however, Raynor also posted a .402 OBP. He does have some power, 13 HRs last season, and is a fine fielder. Raynor's biggest problem is the depth the Marlins' have in the outfield, with Jeremy Hermida, and Josh Willingham already stationing the corners, and Maybin likely to start in center in 2009, there is nowhere for Raynor to go, but the bench.

13. Gaby Hernandez RHSP Age: 22 MLL: AAA/AA

There are a lot of people who really like Hernandez, and feel as though he can be a solid #3 starter this upcoming season, but I am not among them. At best he's an adequate #4, or 5 starter, but nothing more. He just has not showed me the numbers at the higher levels, or in his time with the Marlins.

14. Aaron Thompson LHSP Age: 21 MLL: AA

I have not given up on Thompson yet, but he doe have a lot to prove next season. All of his numbers plummeted this season, especially his K rate. Thompson is still only 21, so, do not be surprised if he makes the necessary adjustments, and springs back up into the top ten next season.

15. Bryan Peterson OF Age: 22 MLL: AA/A

An unheralded player. Peterson had a great statistical year at three levels of the minors. Peterson hit .293, with a .370 OBP, and .848 OPS, slightly above average numbers. What really impressed me was his 23 HRs, and 23 SBs. I am not sure what to expect from Peterson, but he is someone I will keep an eye on the next couple of years.


Strengths: Every position is filled. A possible 2012 lineup could look something like this:

C - Skipworth
1B - Morrison/Sanchez
2B - Coghlan
SS - Hanley Ramirez
3B - Dominguez
LF - Stanton
CF - Maybin
RF - Galloway/Hermida

That is a lineup the Marlins can win a championship with. The Marlins have a large number of potential plus power guys in Maybin, Stanton, Skipworth, Dominguez, Morrison, Sanchez, and possibly Peterson.

Weaknesses: Pitching. There are only five pitchers on this list, and none of them equate to a front of the rotation type of starting pitcher. But, the Marlins did just graduate Chris Volstad, a #1 or 2 pitcher, and still have Josh Johnson, so they may be fine without much help from the farm. Otherwise the Marlins do not have any weaknesses.

**Minor League Level distinctions
R = rookie league
sA = short season A ball
A- = low A ball
A+ = high A ball
A = player spent time at both A levels


Next up: The New York Mets
Category: MLB
Posted on: October 16, 2008 5:38 pm
 

Top 15 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

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[Ok, so I have no idea what these "<o:p></o:p>" are, but they aren't too distracting, so please just ignore them]

I’ve created this segment because I love watching young players grow through the system, and contribute at the big league level. Baseball’s minor leagues are the #1 source for most team’s additions. I get the impression that most baseball fans do not have a great understanding of you their team’s next great star is, so, I’m here to clue in.

The impact a great farm system, and great prospects, is currently taking center stage in the baseball universe. The Rays have overcome incredible odds to go from last place, last year, to the cusp of the World Series. How did they do it? The catalysts name is Evan Longoria. The top prospect in Tampa Bay’s farm to start 2008, became the leader of this Rays team, and has come up with big hits all year. Behind Longoria are players like B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, James Shields, and of course Scott Kazmir, all guys among the Rays best prospects few years ago.

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Over the next couple of months I’m going to go team-by-team dissecting the organizations farm system, and pulling out each of their top 15 prospects; starting with the NL East and the Atlanta Braves. Once Baseball America starts to release their top 10 lists I will come back to each team and compare and contrast their list to mine. Come to see an assessment on your favorite team’s future, stay because you are just as interested in prospects as I am. If you ever feel as though I have left someone off, or you disagree with my placement of a prospect, or anything else of that nature, please comment, get your opinion out here, and I’ll consider your thoughts.

**As a disclaimer I just wanted to say a few things. First, I rank players based on their potential talent first and foremost, other factors include: age, what level they play at, their 2008 statistics, team needs, and my own gut feeling. The reason I decided on a top 15 list, despite the fact that many team’s good-decent prospects I can count on one hand, was because some team’s do go 15 or more prospects deep, and I wanted to get to include them as well – the Braves are a great example of this, they go 15-19 prospects deep, and it was tough enough for me to narrow it down to 15, let alone 10. Throughout the offseason trades are bound to happen. I currently have every team’s top 15 lists, but they may be forced to change due to trades. I will try my best to make the appropriate adjustments, and even update lists I’ve already posted as prospects come to and from teams. Also, other than Michael Inoa, I have no 2008 internationally signed players; I also do not feel as though they will be missed. Finally, I would like to say that I am not a professional, I do possess a good amount of information, but I will make mistakes, few, but they will be there. There are also some prospects I may not go into full detail about, but I will hit the mot important players, in my opinion of every organization. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this series, and consistently come here to read it. Good Luck to Everybody’s Favorite Team’s Offseason… go Rays.


Minor League notations in descending order

*AAA/AA signifies triple A, and Double A respectively… duh

*A+ signifies high A ball

*A- signifies low A ball

*A signifies a prospect played at both high, and low A ball throughout the course of the season

*a signifies short-season A ball

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*R signifies rookie league

Atlanta Braves Top 15 Prospects

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1. Jason Heyward OF-RF Age: 19 Minor League Level last year (MLL): A <o:p></o:p>

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Heyward is the letterhead of the Braves farm system. He is only 19, but has already developed excellent plate patience, striking our only 78 times last year, and walking 51 times. Once Heyward arrives at the big leagues he’ll consistently hit .300+, with 30 HRs, and 20 SBs. He plays good defense, but due to the logjam of Braves OFs, many of whom are excellent defenders, he’s likely to settle in at LF.

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2. Jordan Schafer CF Age: 22 MLL: AA<o:p></o:p>

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Schafer is probably the most well known Braves prospect. Schafer doesn’t hit for a great average, .261 BA in 2008, but also does not massacre his swing by striking out. He has plus power potential, but hit only 10 in 2008. Schafer does have gold-glove defense, and will be the Braves CF as early as Opening Day. However, he is terribly inconsistent on offense, and should spend the entirety of 2009 in AAA.

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3. Tommy Hanson RHSP Age: 22 MLL: AA/A<o:p></o:p>

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I become visibly angry when people rank Hanson lower than third. In AA, and A ball this past season he threw in 138 innings, while posting a 2.41 ERA, and striking out 163 batters, 163! That is a K/9 of 10.6. Hanson throws his fastball in the 92-95 range, and complements it with what I believe to be a plus-plus curveball. He is not going to be an elite ace, but he could be one of the better number twos.

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4. Josh Anderson CF Age: 26 MLL: AAA<o:p></o:p>

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Anderson is one of my favorite prospects in all of baseball. You can tell he used to be part of the Astros’ system because he is probably a little high on my list, but I do feel he deserves it. Anderson has hit .300 at every level since being drafted by Houston, including hitter .300 in September for the Astros, and again this season when he was with the Braves. He also plays good defense, having great range in center thanks to his elite speed. Anderson has also been one of the minors’ top base stealers his entire professional career. He strikes out too much for a guy with limited power, and does not draw as many walks as you would like from a prospective lead off hitter, but, other than those flaws he is a great player. Last offseason he was shipped to Atlanta after the Astros traded for Michael Bourn. If a major league club ever gave him the opportunity to start, and have consistent playing time, I think he would be a solid center fielder, or right fielder, or left fielder, for that matter.

5. Frederick Freeman 1B Age: 19 MLL: A-

Freeman hit for an average of .316, a slugging % of .521, and an OPS of .899 in low A Rome, and he did it at the age of 18. Freeman also knocked 18 HRs, while only striking out 84 times. Freeman was a second round pick in 2007, and should be Atlanta’s everyday first baseman by 2012, at the age of 22.

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6. Brandon Jones OF Age: 25 MLL: AAA<o:p></o:p>

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Brandon Jones spent time with the major league club in 2008; he just didn’t get 130 at-bats in. I am not high on Jones; his ranking is propelled by his ML readiness. I think Jones will be a good fourth outfielder, but he is simply not effective enough to be an everyday starter, particularly over Anderson. Others will say Jones is a better player than Anderson, he has a wider range of tools, but Anderson is better at the ones he possesses – speed, defense, making contact with the ball.

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7. Gorkys Hernandez CF Age: 21 MLL: A+ <o:p></o:p>

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Yes, another outfielder. Hernandez has some good tools. He has more power than Anderson, and will probably end up hitting for a better average than Jones one day, Hernandez also has good speed – again less than Anderson, but more than Jones. Hernandez’ greatest tool is his defense, as he may be the best defensive outfielder not at the major league level. I like Hernandez, but it is tough to tell what the future holds for him in Atlanta. He would be graduating to the majors certainly after Schafer, and around the same time as Heyward.

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8. Brent Lillibridge SS Age: 25 MLL: AAA<o:p></o:p>

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Lillibridge has become a complete bust, or at least with his bat. He remains a great fielder, but had an On-Base-Percentage under .300 in 2008 at AAA, that is not going to cut it in Atlanta. Still, he stays in the top 10 because of his defense, and he’s the best non 1B infield prospect has.

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9. Charlie Morton RHSP Age: 24 MLL: AAA<o:p></o:p>

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Morton is a guy I am really high on. He pitched well at AAA, before pitching some in the majors, accumulating a 2.05 ERA and 72 Ks over 79 innings pitched. Even more impressive to me is that he allowed ZERO, (0), home runs in that span of 79 innings.

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10. Jose Teheran RHSP Age: 17 MLL: N/A<o:p></o:p>

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If I was ranking based upon potential alone Teheran would slide in right behind Schafer, and Heyward. But, he slides all the way back to no. 10 because he has very limited playing experience, and it is so tough to look 5-7 years the road when it comes to pitchers. Teheran does possess ace-like stuff, his fastball hits the mid-90s, and he’s only 17, so as he develops that velocity will probably rise.

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11. Cole Rohrbough LHSP Age: 21 MLL: A<o:p></o:p>

Cole’s is a strikeout artist lefty. In 2008 he K’d 104 batters in 90 innings. He throws two quality pitches a moving fastball, and a hammer curve.

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12. Jeff Locke LHSP Age: 21 MLL: A-<o:p></o:p>

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Another left-handed pitcher, who happens to be the same age, and around the same level as far as development is concerned. Locke throws a plus fastball in the low to mid 90s, with late movement. He also throws a developing curveball that projects as a plus pitch.

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13. Kala Ka’aihue 1B Age: 23 MLL: AA<o:p></o:p>

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Not to be confused with Kila, his not twin brother with the Royals – although I do believe they were born on the same day, just different years, or so the legend goes. Kala has a very advanced approach to the plate; he walked 88 times in 2008 posting a .417 OBP, despite only hitting a .274 BA. Kala also has some power hitting 14 HRs, along with the resulting 119 strikeouts. Kala will be ready for the major league team some time in 2009 pushing him one spot ahead of another first basemen…

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14. Cody Johnson 1B/LF Age: 20 MLL: A-<o:p></o:p>

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Johnson is one of the most intriguing prospects in Atlanta’s system. Atlanta has considered putting him in the outfield, but due to quantity of future major leaguers there in the organization, Johnson will most likely stay at first base. The thing to like about Johnson is his unmatched power numbers. He hit 29 HRs in low A in 2008, unfortunately accompanying that power are the predictable strikeouts, 177, and low average, .307 OBP. If Johnson learns some patience at the plates, and learns to hit for contact as well as power, he could shoot up this list, much like Lars Anderson of the Red Sox – that is a pretty big if though.

<o:p> </o:p>

15. Brett DeVall LHSP Age: 18 MLL: R<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

DeVall is Atlanta’s 2008 top draft pick. He throws three pitches, and can command all three, as a player out of high school. His fastball only clocks at about 91 mph, but could increase as he matures, and fills out. His curveball, and change up could both develop into above-average to plus pitches.

<o:p> </o:p>

Strengths: Depth. The Braves have five or six guys who could become more than reliable starters at the major league level. They also have three great first base prospects, a position of weakness in Atlanta. Biggest of all is their outfielders, who possess a diverse collection of tools. The Braves are also not lacking in talent with two of the best prospects in baseball in Heyward, and Schafer.

<o:p> </o:p>

Weaknesses: The infield. There are not many capable infielders in this organization other than first basemen; there is the aforementioned Lillibridge, and the not mentioned Van Pope, who is a great fielding third basemen. This is especially troubling seeing how Chipper is soon to retire – 2-3 years maybe, but soon as far as raising capable replacements is concerned. There also will not be much depth behind Kelly Johnson, and Yunel Escobar, neither of whom inspire visions of a World Series anyway – or at least in my opinion.

Next up: Florida Marlins

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 29, 2008 2:47 am
 

The Chronicles of Ed Wade

Well, Houston Astros fans... there are still Houston Astros fans, right? It is at this point in time when people are talking about how this season is a wash, and Drayton McClane (the owner) won't spend money on quality free agents, and the like. There are many other's who wish Houston to hold a Marlin's style fire sale, and many others want Ed Wade's (the GM) head on a pole (which makes Shawn Chacon somebody's hero). I am not one of those fans, but I certainly think Ed Wade has made terrible trades from the very beginning of his reign. I'm here while the dust is still unsettled to talk about those deals, and maybe make a point. If you're a "what if" person, I think you're going to like this blog. When I say like, I mean you're going to lie awake at night trying to think of ways to prevent these trades from happening.
I do not count Kaz Matsui's signing a mistake by Wade. Although injured at times Matsui has done well, and is playing very well from the lead spot. Is worth the 16 million he signed for? No, he's a little overpriced, but it isn't my money, so I don't care. What I do care about is the three trades that have turned Houston from a playoff contender to a last place team with a 2-7 record vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Trade # 1: Brad Lidge to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, and Geoff Geary... and a prospect later part of the Tejada trade
What did Houston give up? Well, right now he's the best closer in the National League. How this is an acceptable trade is beyond me. I think Wade saw an opportunity to get a guy he really liked, Bourn, and pulled the trigger. I think Houston could of, and should of gotten more in this deal. But, as it stands Houston received a good middle reliever, and a center fielder who has spent most of the season leading off with a sub-.220 BA. Another thing I'd like to point out is how J.R. Towles was sent to AAA when he was struggling at the plate, but Bourn has been given a much longer leash.

Trade # 2: Chad Qualls, Chris Burke, and Juan Guitierrez to the D'backs for Jose Valverde
Houston sent Brad Lidge to the Phillies, and he goes from head case to all-star. They replace him with Valverde who does the opposite. Valverde is still a decent closer, but he has blown too many saves, and always is giving up runs. I don't remember the last time I saw him go an inning without an Earned Run.

Trade # 3: Luke Scott, Houton's top pitching prospect and three others to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada... the day before the Mitchell Report came out
I have nothing negative to say about Tejada. He has been pretty good offensively, and has been well above expectations defensively. But, Houston gave up way too much to get him, and this will make more sense when I show the "bigger picture"


Big Picture # 1: Brad Lidge out, Jose Valverde in
This isn't even close. Brad Lidge is the best closer in the NL, while Valverde has accounted for more losses this year, than Lidge ever did, Lidge just did it in bigger games.

Big Picture # 2: Luke Scott out, Michael Bourn in
Luke Scott has hit 17 home runs, and has a better BA than his counterpart. Obviously Houston would lose some defense with Hunter Pence in center as oppose to right, and Luke Scott in right, but the offense would be more than that much better.

Big Picture # 3: Chad Qualls out, Geoff Geary in
Ok, so this one is about even, but I would prefer Qualls because I think he is one of the best setup man in baseball, and could fill in at closer fine.

Big Picture # 4: Houston's farm system out, Miguel Tejada in
The entire farm system is not that much of an exaggeration either. Troy Patton, Matt Albers, Juan Guittierez who were three of Houston's top five, or six pitching propects. Plus Chris Burke, Eric Bruntlett, and Dennis Sarfate. This one goes in favor of Tejada.

I really think Houston would've been much better off had no deals been done. Of course I say that as there are talks about Tejada going to Boston. I am personally hoping it happens with either Justin Masterson or Michael Bowden coming to Houston with rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie. I really want this to happen.

Now, back to Wade. I previously stated that I don't want Ed Wade fired. My reason for this is because Houston was headed in this direction regardless, and I admire the fact that he he stuck his limbs out there and tried. Last offseason there were no quality starting pitchers available, so Wade did what he could. He took gambles, and they didn't pan out. I think he should keep his job, and give it another go this offseason. There are an abundance of starting pitchers available, and more importantly Wade is notorious for rebuilding the farm... look at the Phillies today, that's what this guy can do. So, I ask you all to put this season into perspective, and please stop paying Astros players to attack Ed Wade.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 26, 2008 4:32 pm
 

NBA Draft

Well, I've been busy transferring schools, but I am back to preview the NBA draft.  I know, it may seem that I just really like doing mock drafts, partly true, but, I swear I will be back to my usual blog self soon.  So, expect me to jump onto a new bandwagon any day now.  In the mean time, another draft approaches.  The ground rules: the team with the pick must pick.  Meaning, a number of teams are likely to trade their pick, its the NBA, its expected. However, I'm not going to try and venture guesses as to who will trade up, down, or out of the draft.  I'd also like to remind readers that the following is a combination of team needs and what I think is best for that team. So, without further ado, here's my take...

1. Chicago Bulls:  Derrick Rose PG Memphis
2. Miami Heat:  Michael Beasley PF Kansas State
3. Minnesota T-Wolves:  O.J. Mayo S/PG USC
4. Seattle SuperSonics:  Jerryd Bayless P/SG Arizona
5. Memphis Grizzlies:  Brook Lopez C Stanford
6. New York Knicks:  Danilo Gallinari SF Italy
7. Las Angeles Clippers:  Eric Gordon SG Indiana
8. Milwaukee Brewers:  Joe Alexander SF West Virginia
9. Charlotte Bobcats:  Kevin Love PF UCLA
10. New Jersey Nets:  Anthony Randolph PF LSU
11. Indiana Pacers:  D.J. Augustin PG Texas
12. Sacramento Kings:  Russell Westbrook S/PG UCLA
13. Portland Trailblazers:  Alexis Ajinca C France
14. Golden State Warriors:  Darrell Arthur P/SF Kansas
15. Phoenix Suns:  Brandon Rush SG/F Kansas
16. Philadelphia 76ers:  Robin Lopez C Stanford
17. Indianapolis Pacers:  Marreese Speights C Florida
18. Washington Wizards:  Donte Greene SF Syracuse  -- 
(here's my one trade prediction. Houston comes up to get Greene here).
19. Cleveland Cavaliers:  Koste Koufos C Ohio State
20. Denver Nuggets:  Mario Charlmers PG Kansas
21. New Jersey Nets:  JaVale McGee C Nevada
22. Orlando Magic:  Chris Douglas-Roberts SG Memphis
23. Utah Jazz:  Roy Hibbert C Georgetown
24. Seattle Supersonics:  Serge Ibaka C Congo
25. Houston Rockets:  Jason Thompson C Rider
26. San Antonio Spurs:  Nicolas Batum SF France
27. New Orleans Hornets:  Courtney Lee SG Western Kentucky
28. Memphis Grizzlies:  DeAndre Jordan C Texas A&M
29. Detroit Pistons: Ryan Anderson PF California
30. Boston Celtics: Ante Tomic C Croatia

This weekend I'll be analyzing the actual draft, so come back for that.
Category: NBA
Tags: NBA Draft
 
Posted on: June 4, 2008 2:37 pm
 

MLB Draft

Twenty four hours from now the MLB draft will start. I get the impression that many baseball fans, from the casual to die-hard fans don't know all that much about the draft. So, I have created my very own mock draft to give fans a better idea of the prospects that may called upon by your favorite teams tomorrow. I'll be back this weekend to recap the draft.<o:p></o:p>

1. Tampa Bay Rays: Buster Posey C Florida State <o:p></o:p>

This pick could easily be either Beckham or Posey. Posey is a catcher who can hit, and will be able to field well behind the plate time. Beckham may be the best overall player in the draft. He’s a toolsy SS, who will be able to stay at that position in the MLs. In so many words, he’s B.J. Upton with less power. I think the Rays will choose the slightly less talented Posey, because they need a catcher, and he will move to the big league much quicker than Beckham and the Rays are ready to win now (see the AL East standings). I think Posey is the final piece to their puzzle.<o:p></o:p>

2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Tim Beckham SS Griffin HS Griffin, Georgia<o:p></o:p>

Word from the Pirates is they are taking Pedro Alvarez, the best overall hitter in the draft. But, if Beckham falls to them I don’t see them passing up the best player in the draft. <o:p></o:p>

3. Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer 1B American Heritage HS Plantation, Florida <o:p></o:p>

This pick comes down to two Boras advisees. Hosmer is a great high school hitter who is likely to develop plus power, he makes great contact. Alvarez’s bat is major league ready, but he has some injury history, and it is likely he will have to shift to 1B eventually. Hosmer could play in the outfield, and could surpass Alvarez’s bat in time. <o:p></o:p>

4. Baltimore Orioles: Pedro Alvarez 3B Vanderbilt <o:p></o:p>

Alvarez was the suspected first pick up until the past couple months, where Posey has played his way into consideration. He will probably play at first in the MLs, but he could stay at third, his bat is ready to play now. The Orioles won’t hesitate to take Alvarez here, although he won’t be cheap (he’ll sign for the highest bonus in the draft, Boras, of course), but the Orioles can’t pass up the prospect of having Matt Wieters, and Alvarez in the heart of their lineup as soon as next year. Matusz could be the pick if the
Orioles go for a pitcher.<o:p></o:p>

5. San Fransisco Giants: Justin Smoak 1B University of South Carolina<o:p></o:p>

The Giants are jumping out of their socks with the possibility of Posey or Alvarez dropping to them, but they probably won’t. Justin Smoak is a switch hitting first basemen. He is a good fielder at first (but, limited to first), and has plus power. He could be the first player from this class to make the big leagues. The Giants will take a college bat with this pick.<o:p></o:p>

6. Florida Marlins: Brian Matusz LHP University of San Diego <o:p></o:p>

Much like the scenario in Pittsburgh, the word out of Florida is the best catcher available. That’s Kyle Skipworth, he’s got the most power in the draft, and can field behind the plate with a plus arm. But, with Brian Matusz falling, the Marlins will grab the best pitcher in the draft. He’s a left hander, with four pitches, including a great fastball/curveball combo.<o:p></o:p>

7. Cincinnati Reds: Yonder Alonso 1B University of Miami<o:p></o:p>

Any name could fall in here, including Aaron Crow and Skipworth. Casey Kelly the SS/RHP/QB has been the hot rumor here, but it’d be a big reach. Yonder Alonso is a great overall hitter, with great plate discipline. <o:p></o:p>

8. Chicago White Sox: Gordon Beckham SS University of Georgia<o:p></o:p>

I hate the White Sox, and I would love to see him drop, but Beckham seems to be the easy choice for Chicago. He’s a good hitter with pretty good power. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but will be able to steal a few bags. He is a pretty good fielder, but may have to slide to second in the big leagues. Brett Wallace or Kyle Skipworth are other choices.<o:p></o:p>

9. Washington Nationals: Kyle Skipworth C Patriot HS Riverside, California <o:p></o:p>

The way I see this draft, there are ten guys who are significantly better than the rest. They should be the top ten picks. I think the Nationals will take the four tool high school catcher in this scenario. Brett Wallace or Shooter Hunt are other options. <o:p></o:p>

10. Houston Astros: Aaron Crow RHP University of Missouri<o:p></o:p>

The Astros need help everywhere in their organization, and they’ll likely take a college player with this pick. Shooter Hunt, Christian Fredrich, and Andrew Cashner are all options. Going with my ten best theory the Astros will take whoever is left of that group. In this case, that is Aaron Crow. He may have the best stuff in the draft with a mid 90s fastball and a power slider. He could easily be taken earlier, but if he falls this far, Houston should take him, or else their fans, led by this guy [me], will have Ed Wade’s head.<o:p></o:p>

11. Texas Rangers: Shooter Hunt RHP Tulane<o:p></o:p>

12. Oakland Athletics: Christian Fredrich LHP Eastern Kentucky<o:p></o:p>

13. St. Louis Cardinals: Aaron Hicks OF/RHP Woodrow Wilson HS Long Beach, California<o:p></o:p>

14. Minnesota Twins: Ryan Perry RHP University of Arizona<o:p></o:p>

15. Las Angeles Dodgers: Zach Collier OF Chino Hills HS California<o:p></o:p>

16. Milwaukee Brewers: Andrew Cashner RHP Texas Christian<o:p></o:p>

17. Toronto Blue Jays: Brett Wallace 1B/3B Arizona State<o:p></o:p>

18. New York Mets: Ike Davis OF/1B Arizona State<o:p></o:p>

19. Chicago Cubs: Brett Lawrie C/3B/LF Langley, B.C. [Canada]<o:p></o:p>

20. Seattle Mariners: Josh Fields RHP University of Georgia<o:p></o:p>

21. Detroit Tigers: Tim Melville RHP Wentzville Holt HS Missouri<o:p></o:p>

22. New York Mets: Jason Castro C Stanford<o:p></o:p>

23. San Diego Padres: Daniel Schlereth LHP University of Arizona<o:p></o:p>

24. Philadelphia Phillies: Ethan Martin RHP Stephen County HS Toccoa, Georgia<o:p></o:p>

25. Colorado Rockies: Jake Ordorizzi RHP Highland HS Illinois<o:p></o:p>

26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Casey Kelly SS Sarasota HS Florida<o:p></o:p>

27. Minnesota Twins: Brett DeVall Niceville HS Florida <o:p></o:p>

28. New York Yankees: Anthony Hewitt Salisbury School Connecticut <o:p></o:p>

29. Cleveland Indians: Jermile Weeks 2B University of Miami

30. Boston Red Sox: Reese Havens SS University of South Carolina
<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Draft
 
Posted on: March 12, 2008 11:32 am
 

Big East Tournament: Round 1, Game 2

5 West Virginia v. 12 Providence

On paper these two teams are identical. \
ppg
wv - 76
prov - 73
fg%
wv - 45
prov - 45
3%
wv - 35
prov - 37
reb
wv - 40
prov - 38

The only difference is Providence commits slightly more turnovers. What does this tell me? There are no reason's why West Virginia shouldn't win as they should. But, there is not a reason why Providence can't upset West Virginia either. The most important factor I see in this game has nothing to do with the guys playing on the court. While some teams, like Syracuse and Villanova are playing to get into the NCAA tournament. Tim Welsh (Providence) is coaching for his job, and I think that will make the difference today.

Outcome: Providence upsets West Virginia 79-77
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 12, 2008 11:19 am
 

Big East Tournament: Round 1

I'm going to have to make this quick,I'm expected to be at a pals house to watch the SU game in an hour. \

8 Villanova v. 9 Syracuse

This games has the most NCAA tournament implications. The loser of this game is out. The other fights another day. Many say if Syracuse wins they are in, many other say Syracuse has to win it all, or make it the semi-finals. I'm not interested in the technicalities. If Syracuse loses, they are out. For, both Syracuse and Villanova, that is what matters today.

Both teams are running with two game win streaks, but I feel Syracuse has more momentum coming off their fifteen point victory against Marquette. Villanova and Syracuse split their regular season series, winning on each other's home court, so it is only just for these two to settle the dispute on a neutral court... Madison Square Garden. Wait. Neutral court? Syracuse is beloved in MSG, and Villanova is a Philly team. This could spell disaster for Villanova, or maybe Syracuse, since the visitor has won the previous two games.

For Syracuse to Win: Syracuse has to force, and avoid, turnovers. Create fast breaks. But, the key for Syracuse is to get the ball inside. Onuaku should have a field day against Nova's front court, and Donte Greene needs to do exactly what he did Saturday take the ball to the hoop, and avoid shooting lazy threes. On defense they need to extend the zone like they did against Marquette and contest Nova's shooter.

For Nova to Win: Make jump shots. Exploit the zone, because Boeheim's not coming out of it. If they can get Syracuse's big men into foul trouble early. Syracuse will be doomed if Onuaku and Greene have to spend extended times on the bench. On defense, they need to force Syracuse to take outside shots.

Outcome: I have Syracuse winning 79-68
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com