Note: Ages as of Opening Day 2011.
Florida Marlins (31)
OF Chris Aguila (32 years old, 149 games of ML experience)
New York Mets (24)
RHP Yhency Brazoban (30 years old, 115 innings of ML experience)
IF Mills Rogers (Carson-Newman College)
Hitting .254/.370/.331 in 37 games in the GCL. 33 hits in 130 at-bats with 20 doubles, 1 triple, 22 runs, 22 RBI, 23 walks and 25 strikeouts. Rogers has stolen 3 out of the 4 bases he's tried at. He has 4 errors in the field between 46 total chances at SS and 3B, but has been errorless in 216 total chances at 1B.
RHP Tim Dupuis (Assumption College)
1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 12 games (15 and 2/3 innings) in the GCL. 18 hits, 8 runs (8 earned), 12 strikeouts, 2 walks, .295 BA against.
Me likey the no-walkie.
RHP Zach Gerler (Austin Peay University)
0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in 9 games (12 innings) in the GCL. 11 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 8 strikeouts, 5 walks, .250 BA against. Gerler has also hit 5 batters.
Not a bad start for Gerler, but not a great one either. I may sound like a broken record, but he needs to strike out more and walk less. Easier said than done, though.
RHP Ben Graham (Emporia State)
3-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 14 games (27 and 1/3 innings) in Vermont and Hagerstown. 22 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 24 strikeouts, 5 walks, 3 homers allowed, .210 BA against.
Graham is off to an impressive start, moving all the way up to Hagerstown already (where he has pitched 21 of his 27 and 1/3 total innings). Batters are having a tough time with him, but they hit the ball hard when they get a hold of his pitches. Nice work by Graham to start yis pro career, though!
RHP Shane Zellers (Undrafted FA-Alvernia University)
1-0 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 games (17 and 1/3 innings) in Vermont. 20 hits, 10 runs (10 earned), 13 strikeouts, 8 walks, 3 homers allowed, .282 BA against.
Zellers is doing about what you would expect from an undrafted free agent. Not bad, but certainly room for improvement. Zellers has thrown 7 straight shutout innings, though, so that's a good sign.
RHP Brandon Meister (Miami (OH))
0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 7 games (6 and 2/3 innings) in the GCL. 5 hits, 2 runs (2 earned), 8 strikeouts, 0 walks, .208 BA against.
Meister doesn't have a whole lot of appearances, but I'm digging the 8 K and 0 BB thing. Let's keep that going, Mister Meister.
RHP Billy Ott (Cal State Northridge)
2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 9 games (31 innings) in the GCL and Hagerstown. 24 hits, 10 runs (9 earned), 24 strikeouts, 5 walks, .218 BA against.
Ott has also made it up to Hagerstown, where he has struggled a bit. He dominated the GCL, though, with a 1.17 ERA and a 19:3 K:BB ratio.
LHP Ryan Demmin (Minnesota State/Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
1-1 with a 1.47 ERA in 10 games (18 and 1/3 innings) with Vermont. 16 hits, 3 runs (3 earned), 20 strikeouts, 6 walks, .239 BA against.
Demmin is off to a great start in Vermont. He has especially done well against lefties, holding them to a .207 batting average.
The Nats have signed 32 of their 2010 draft picks, including 24 of their top 26. That number will reach 25 when Bryce Harper signs, as forecast expert Ollie Williams predicts. The Nats went over slot over the weekend to sign 2nd, 4th and 12th round pitchers Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray. All other Nats picks who have signed have played in the minors except 33rd round LHP Ryan Sherriff. Here is a recap on how the other draft picks have fared in their professional baseball debuts (recaps for rounds 21 on as well as undrafted FA signings will be posted tomorrow).
SS Rick Hague - 3rd round (Rice)
Hitting .289/.362/.388 in 30 games between the GCL and Hagerstown. 35 hits in 121 at-bats with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 22 runs, 16 RBI, 15 walks and 24 strikeouts. Hague is 3/4 on stolen base opportunities and still has not hit a home run. He has 13 errors on 92 total chances at SS.
Hague's calling card is the ability to do everything pretty well, but nothing great. I'd like to see a little more power, but he has plenty of time to develop that. His fielding stats are scary-bad right now, but I'm not worried yet. He is looking decent so far.
SS Jason Martinson - 5th round (Texas State)
Hitting .241/.344/.321 in 51 games in Vermont. 45 hits in 187 at-bats with 5 doubles, 5 triples, 28 runs, 20 RBI, 28 walks and 52 strikeouts. Martinson is 3/5 on stolen base opportunities and still has not hit a home run. He has 13 errors on 208 total chances at SS.
Martinson's bat was considered his weakest piece, so it's a little disappointing to see his poor contact rates and lack of power at this point (although his power was never supposed to be that great). His season is far from a train-wreck, with an OBP over .100 above his batting average, but Martinson has a ways to grow in the minors. His .938 fielding percentage isn't anything to be afraid of yet, but he does need to cut down on the errors.
C Cole Leonida - 6th round (Georgia Tech)
Hitting .138/.225/.175 in 23 games in Vermont. 11 hits in 80 at-bats with 3 doubles, 11 runs, 3 RBI, 8 walks and 25 strikeouts. Leonida has no triples, home runs or stolen base attempts. He has 2 errors in 172 total chances behind the plate with 3 passed balls. He has only stopped 6 out of 25 base stealers.
It looks like Leonida missed the first 10 days of August due to injury (and was in a 2/23 slump going in), and I think it's fair to assume at least part of his poor performance is a reason. His defense is supposed to be more advanced than his bat, so we'll have to keep an eye on his stolen base and passed ball numbers after the season.
OF Kevin Keyes - 7th round (University of Texas)
Hitting .203/.347/.284 in 24 games in Vermont. 15 hits in 74 at-bats with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 7 runs, 13 RBI, 15 walks and 22 strikeouts. Keyes has been thrown out in 2 of his 3 stolen base attempts. He has made 1 error in 32 total chances in the outfield (mostly LF) with 2 assists.
Where's the power? 24 games is a small sample size to judge, but 4 extra base hits is disappointing for a guy whose power was his only above average tool.
LHP Matthew Grace - 8th round (UCLA)
0-1, 7.90 ERA in 7 GCL games (13 and 2/3 innings). 20 hits, 16 runs (12 earned), 7 strikeouts, 2 walks, .345 BA against. Grace had one terrible game where he allowed 8 runs without recording an out. In all of his other games, he has allowed 13 hits and 8 runs (4 earned), good for a 2.63 ERA. He's not walking anyone, but his strikeout numbers aren't that impressive, either.
Grace is tagged as only a future LOOGY by both John Sickels and Andy Seiler, so it's important to look at his vs L numbers as well: 2 and 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 0 walks, 1 strikeout with a .273 BA against. Not super encouraging, but not a total disaster. Remember, it's only 13 and 2/3 innings pitched.
RHP Aaron Barrett - 9th round (Ole Miss)
0-2, 9.26 ERA in 7 games in Vermont (11 and 2/3 innings). 13 hits, 14 runs (12 earned), 16 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers allowed, .271 BA against.
Barrett's consistency was often questioned by draft experts, and I can see why. He can show up in any game with his A stuff or his D stuff...looks like he's been showing a lot more of the latter this year. He was a senior, so I had hoped he would have been more advanced, but again it's too early to call his poor performance much more than disappointing.
IF Blake Kelso - 10th round (Houston)
Hitting .316/.362/.380 in 42 games in Vermont. 50 hits in 158 at-bats with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 18 runs, 18 RBI, 12 walks and 13 strikeouts. Kelso has stolen 5 out of the 6 bases he's attempted this year. He has made 7 errors in 149 total chances across the infield, with 2B being his best position (.971 fielding percentage).
Finally, someone I can be really optimistic about! Kelso has Jamey Carroll written all over him, and has really impressed me so far. His ability to hit at higher levels is still a question mark, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
RHP Neil Holland - 11th round (Louisville)
2-0, 1.85 ERA in 14 games in Vermont (24 and 1/3 innings). 21 hits, 7 runs (5 earned), 30 strikeouts, 6 walks, 1 homer allowed, .233 BA against.
The sidewinding righty is doing exactly what he needs to be doing right now. His deceptive delivery needs to fool A-ball hitters if he wants it to fool ML batters, so he's starting on the right track. And for the record, I'm a big fan of the 5:1 K:BB ratio.
RHP Chris McKenzie - 13th round (San Jacinto College North)
1-2, 8.54 ERA in 8 games in Vermont (26 and 1/3 innings). 40 hits, 29 runs (25 earned), 22 strikeouts, 12 walks, 2 homers allowed, .357 BA against.
McKenzie supposedly has good stuff, but it's been far too hittable in Vermont so far. Lowering the BB rate and raising the K rate could help him out to start, but when you're allowing 13.7 H/9, you need more than just that.
C David Freitas - 15th round (Hawaii)
Hitting .327/.408/.497 in 46 games in Vermont. 54 hits in 165 at-bats with 16 doubles, 4 homers, 28 runs, 34 RBI, 20 walks and 32 strikeouts. He's even 2/2 in stolen bases! Freitas has thrown out 12 of the 32 runners who have tried stealing on him this year (38%) and has 1 error and 1 passed ball.
Freitas is apparently taking advantage of Leonida's struggles, with an impressive combination of contact, power and discipline. He was seen by many as an overdraft, so it's nice to see him prove the doubters wrong...to start, at least.
RHP Mark Herrera - 16th round (San Jacinto College North)
2-1, 3.04 ERA in 12 games in Vermont (23 and 2/3 innings). 19 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 30 strikeouts, 8 walks, .221 BA against.
Herrera has fared a lot better in his pro debut than his JuCo teammate McKenzie despite not having the raw talent. How is he getting people out? Don't know, don't care, as long as he keeps doing it.
RHP Tyler Hanks - 17th round (College of Southern Nevada)
4-0, 2.54 ERA in 8 games in the GCL (28 and 1/3 innings). 28 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 21 strikeouts, 5 walks, 2 homers allowed, .264 BA against.
Hanks was a nice pick in the 17th round and looks to be doing pretty well against rookie ball opponents. I'd like to see him challenged a little bit, since he is one of the more talented pitchers taken by the Nats in this draft.
2B Justin Miller - 18th round (Middle Tennessee St.)
Hitting .261/.354/.423 in 37 games in Vermont. 29 hits in 111 at-bats with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 24 runs, 18 RBI, 8 walks and 26 strikeouts. Miller is 2/3 in his stolen base attempts. He has committed 6 errors in only 42 chances; his infield work needs practice while his time in left field has been flawless.
He's doing well so far considering he projects to be a organizational or utility type of player. If he wants to separate himself, he needs to work to make one of his tools above-average, whether it be contact, speed, discipline or fielding.
OF Wade Moore - 19th round (Catawba College)
Hitting .278/.380/.391 in 51 games in Vermont. 47 hits in 169 at-bats with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, 29 runs, 24 RBI, 27 walks and 38 strikeouts. Moore is 13/14 in his stolen base attempts and has only committed 3 errors in 104 total chances this season.
Moore is a guy on my list to watch. He has been hitting lefthanded pitchers for a higher average and OBP than righties despite being a lefty himself. It will be interesting to see whether or not that stays. I like a lefty bat who can get on base and steal second. Maybe Nyjer should take base-stealing tips from Moore.
OF Chad Mozingo - 20th round (Rice)
Hitting .238/.351/.306 in 41 games in Vermont. 38 hits in 160 at-bats with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 27 runs, 12 RBI, 29 walks and 30 strikeouts. Mozingo is 6/9 in his stolen base attempts and has been almost flawless in CF and LF, with 1 error (and 3 assists) in 82 total chances.
Mozingo can take a walk, play the field and could grow into being a decent base-stealer. But until he can learn to put the ball in play, his ML future is limited.
The newest member of the Washington Nationals, that's who! The Nats made their first splash on the trade market Thursday night, moving All-Star closer Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins for minor league catcher Wilson Ramos and lefthanded pitcher Joe Testa. The 22 year old Venezuelan catcher hit .296/.321/.407 in 7 games for the Twins this year, but struggled in 71 games in AA, to the tune of .241/.280/.345. The 24 year old New Jerseyan reliever burned through low levels of the minors after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, but has been hit hard in his first stay in AA this year, allowing 22 earned runs in 25 innings.
Ramos' rankings amongst all prospects:
#42: Keith Law of ESPN (1/28/2010)
#58: Baseball America (2/23/2010)
#65: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (3/3/2010)
Ramos' rankings amongst Twins prospects
#2 overall prospect, best power hitter, best defensive catcher: Baseball America (1/12/2010)
#2 overall prospect, Marc Hulet, Fangraphs (12/14/2009)
#2 overall prospect, Josh Johnson, Josh's Thoughts (4/16/2010)
#4 overall prospect: John Sickels, MinorLeagueBall.com (10/19/2009)
Winter League Player of the Year: Baseball America (3/5/2010)
Notes on Ramos:
"Grade B-. Power and defense are positives, main question is weak walk rate." John Sickels, MinorLeagueBall.com (10/19/2009)
"The Venezuela native isn’t far from being MLB-ready after hitting .317/.341/.454 in ’09 at double-A. Ramos has always hit for a solid average, but he’s also consistently produced healthy BABIPs, although many catchers suffer from chronically-low numbers in that area (due to a lack of foot speed). A catcher with raw power, he has nonetheless failed to post an ISO above .149 in his four-year career. Ramos also posted a walk rate of just 2.8% in ’09, so that obviously has to improve and he typically walks about 7.0%. His strikeout rate plummeted from 22.8% in ’08 to 11.2% in ’09, but injuries took a chunk out of his season and he had just 214 plate appearances. We’ll have to wait for 2010 to see if that was a true adjustment, or a small-sample-size blip. Behind the dish, Ramos has thrown out +40% in each of the past three seasons." Marc Hulet, Fangraphs (12/14/2009)
"While Ramos seems capable of becoming a quality starting catcher in the majors one day, he has struggled to stay healthy: he broke the tip of his left middle finger and injured his hamstring last year, missing nearly three months total. Also, Ramos doesn’t have much experience in the upper levels of the minors. He took 214 trips to the plate at Double-A last year and was off to a slow start at Triple-A this season (.179/.214/.328 in 70 PA, with three walks and 15 punch outs). CHONE projected a .263/.303/.394 line prior to 2010, and ZiPS had a .256/.297/.369 forecast. Four-for-five start aside, Ramos might not hit the ground running." David Golbiewski, Fangraphs (5/3/2010)
"A key factor for Ramos going forward will be learning when to use his aggressiveness, strength and bat speed, and when to lay off pitches. His plate discipline showed signs of improvement in winter ball. Overall, after drawing just six walks in 224 at-bats during the minor league regular season, Ramos drew 29 in 273 at-bats in Venezuela." John Manuel, Baseball America (3/5/2010)
"Ramos' offensive prowess is mostly what he is known for, but Ramos is also a stout defender behind the plate. Pitchers like the way he calls the game and his strong arm makes it hard for base runners to steal on him." Josh Johnson, Josh's Thoughts (4/16/2010)
"Even if this year's struggles can be chalked up to some bad luck, however, Ramos is far from a sure thing as a prospect. His walk rates, while along his career norm, are still very low. For his professional career, Ramos has walked just 82 times in 5 seasons, spanning over 1400 plate appearances and coinciding with 242 strikeouts. Without the power to compensate such free-swinging tendencies, Ramos will have to hit for a high average in the majors in order to avoid being an out-making machine. Whether or not he is able to adjust to major league pitching and curtail his tendency to hack away at the plate will ultimately determine his career path as a major leaguer, but his Mendoza Line-straddling batting average this year in Triple-A is no more a prediction than was his red-hot major league debut." MLB Prospect Watch (7/6/2010)
"On the other hand, Wilson Ramos has been totally overmatched by Triple-A pitching, posting a hideous 41-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio while hitting just .208/.244/.319 in 52 games. Ramos showed reasonable enough plate discipline in the low minors, but since advancing to Double-A last year he has 14 walks and 64 strikeouts in 106 games. He's making contact at a palatable rate, but the total lack of patience is disturbing along with a .427 career slugging percentage.
Ramos remains a very solid prospect largely due to projecting as a good defensive catcher, but it was always wishful thinking to assume he was even close to an MLB-ready impact bat and that notion now looks silly. With that said, he's still just 22 years old and has fewer than 450 plate appearances above Single-A, so there's no need to sour on Ramos too much." Aaron Gleeman (7/7/2010)
Not a whole lot on Testa.
He had a Q and A with SethSpeaks.net in 2009: "I throw a fastball, curve, slider, change up and a cutter. I’d say my out pitch would be my fastball and cutter. I’ve been working a lot more on my off speed pitches and my pick off move."
Bleacher Report (via Baseball News Share, as the original article has been taken down) had him as the 49th Twins prospect in 2010. Top insight: "He doesn’t have great velocity on any of his pitches, in fact he tops out around 90 mph, but he does fool hitters with outstanding movement."
Getting a top 50-75 prospect in return for a non-elite closer is a great deal in my opinion. Getting an interesting lefty as well is icing on the cake. Well done, Mike Rizzo. Best of luck in Minnesota, Matt Capps.
MLB Trade Rumors first reported a month ago yesterday that the Nats were interested in Edwin Jackson. I thought the interest was just going to blow over, as teams have "interest" in dozens of players at any given time. But on Saturday, Jackson's name was tied to the Nats again. And yesterday, Tim Dierkes reported on two different rumors, one where the Nats would get Jackson in a 3-way deal that would send Adam Dunn to the White Sox and another where the Nats would simply acquire Jackson for prospects. There are more than just 3 reasons I think making a move for Edwin Jackson would be a bad idea, but these are 3 reasons I think are specific to the Nats.
1. In a deal for Dunn, Jackson is worth less to the Nats than an elite prospect would be.
Daniel Hudson alone is worth more than Edwin Jackson to me. If the Nats can snag him alone for Dunn, they've made out okay at least. If, as rumored, they can come up with another nice prospect like Danks/Flowers/Morel, or even a guy a tier below that, they've blown a Jackson-for-Dunn deal out of the water. The prospects they can get back for Dunn can come close to Jackson's performance right off the bat, but will also be controllable (and cheaper) for many more seasons. This leads into my next point.
2. Jackson is expensive and only controllable through 2011.
3. Jackson is potentially overworked.
This is my biggest beef with Jackson. Not every pitcher is made equal, and I certainly am not an expert on pitching, but if I had a penny for every red flag there is concerning Jackson's workload, I would be a rich man.
Jackson's 149 pitch no-hitter leads the league in pitches thrown by 17. He's atop the charts by an obscene amount in total Pitcher Abuse Points (151623 to second place Roy Halladay's 84331). You can check out this Baseball Prospectus sortable stats page if you want to sort through these things yourselves.
Some pitchers, Livan Hernandez for example, can handle a lot of Pitcher Abuse Points. But the Nats are paying Livan $900k. If I'm paying a guy $8 million+, I want to know for sure that he isn't damaged goods.
If the Nats could acquire him for a combination of fading prospects like Shairon Martis and middle relievers like Sean Burnett and Joel Peralta, sure. Jackson can an effective middle-of-the-rotation starter But if the Nats have to give up Adam Dunn or anyone that sniffs their top 15 prospects for him, I'll pass.