Monday, November 17, 2008

Who should we go after? Minor League Edition

After looking through a few sources (and perusing the Baseball America list of minor league free agents), here are some guys I think might be worth going after. I have 79 guys.

I've put the guys into categories...don't yell at me if they fall under more than one. Feel free to name anyone you don't see on the list now that it's finished. If you see mistakes (links, ages, etc.) post them in the comments and I'll correct them. Please let me know if someone has signed and I haven't noted it. I'd like to see some discussion on who ya'll think we should go after.

Signings are marked through Dec. 8. Please post a link in comments if you have confirmed the signing of any of these players!

Former ML'ers
RHP Brandon Medders-29-Rough 2008 in AAA but has a 3.52 career ML ERA in 151 IP.

OF Jeff DaVanon-35-career .259/.349/.400 slash line in the majors ain't bad at all. Pretty good plate discipline as well.
RHP Jeff Weaver-32-Not good since 2005, but why not throw him a bone?
3B Morgan Ensberg-34-Had 20+ HR in 3 of his 4 full seasons in ML. Draws a lot of walks, doesn't strike out TOO much...could be this year's Aaron Boone (but better).
RHP Oscar Villareal-28-Won 10 games out of the Diamondbacks' bullpen as a 21-year-old rookie in 2001. Rough 2008, but still worth having can NEVER have enough relievers!!! Career 3.86 ML ERA in 336 innings tells me to give this man a job.
RHP Tim Corcoran-31-Had a decent 2006 in ML but a bad '05 and '07. Wasn't too bad in '08 in AA/AAA and was pretty good in '07. Maybe the former 44th rounder has something left in the tank.
RHP Jack Cassel-28-"Cassel is Carlos Silva - his fastball tops out at 88, he’s got a sinker that gets an average amount of groundballs, he doesn’t have an out pitch, but he tries to make up for it by pounding the strike zone. Maybe you don’t think we need two Carlos Silva’s, but at the very least, he should stand as a glaring example of how stupid it is to throw money at veteran guys whose best skill is “eats innings”. Cassel’s every bit as good, and unlike Silva, he doesn’t cost $48 million to sign."-U.S.S Mariner. Matt Cassel's brother fared pretty well in his rookie year in 2007 with San Diego, but was knocked around for Houston in 2008. Cassel isn't going to strike out (or walk) too many guys, but he gives up a ton of hits (although most are singles).
RHP Mike Koplove-32-ML career ERA+ of 120 (with only 2 seasons under 100, one of which he only pitched 6 innings) to go with an ERA of 3.82. Had nice 2007 and '08 campaigns in AAA, with 2.50 and 3.46 ERA's, respectively. Doesn't walk many guys, decent amount of K's and could provide a veteran presence in our young bullpen. EDIT-signed with Philly.
Erasmo Ramirez-32-Decent K rate, not many walks, hittable. Too bad he gets righties out better than lefties!
RHP Scott Strickland-33-Career ML ERA: 3.34. Had some injuries, but in 2006 and 2008, he posted ERA's of 2.10 and 3.53, respectively to go with WHIP's of 1.07 and 1.16. Worth a shot.
SS Adam Everett-32-"Everyone knows of Adam Everett and his defensive wizardry. Injuries slowed his 2008 season, but he was still a better defender than Brendan Harris. Everett would make a fine shortstop (1.9 wins) or second baseman (1.6), although he is on the wrong side of 30."-Beyond the Box Score. Sadly, he's terrible with the bat. Would be a nice backup/late-in-the-game defensive replacement, though, and I'd much rather have him than keep Pete Orr.
1B Ben Broussard-32-Decent ML success in the past (career OPS+ of 104, career high of 127) and a decent career slash line against righties: .270/.331/.462. We have to sign at least one of these 1B/OF types, preferably a bunch for when our annual injury attack happens.
1B Chris Shelton-28-Speaking of 1B/OF types we should go after, we reach Chris Shelton. Here's what Beyond the Box Score has to say about him: "Most casual fans will remember Shelton as 'That one no-named guy who hit a lot of homeruns then fell off.' Well, that's not entirely true. Even in 2006 Shelton had an above average OPS. Oddly Shelton has a better major league career OPS versus righties than lefties." Shelton has a career 111 OPS+ in the majors and is still only 28. Definitely worth a few of Uncle Ted's bucks. EDIT-signed with Seattle.
RHP Kevin Cameron-29-This guy gets it done, quite simply. His ML WHIP (1.574) and walk (5.56 BB/9) numbers are discouraging, but his career ML ERA is 2.91 in 68 IP. And his minor league numbers are much better in terms of WHIP and walks (as they should be, but they're pretty significantly better). EDIT-Signed with Oakland.
RHP Ruddy Lugo-28-Has bounced around a bit and has had random, moderate success in a few places (2006 in the majors, 2005 and 2007 in the minors). A key player in my Baseball Mogul 2008 dynasty.
1B Chris "Remember Me?" Richard-34-Yeah, he's still around. Remember when he had 13 homers in 56 games for the Orioles in 2000? I'm sure O's Exec does. EDIT-signed with Tampa Bay.

Former top prospects
RHP Tim Spooneybarger-30-Cool name, still recovering from 2005 Tommy John surgery (7 and 1/3 innings pitched in 2008, 3 from really, 3 total innings pitched from 2004-07), in a band with A.J. Burnett (according to Wikipedia).
RHP Franklyn German-29-Huge (6'7", 298 lbs), throws 100 MPH, has more career BB than K, but still a 4.25 career ML ERA.
RHP J.D. Martin-26-"Martin is a command specialist who throws strikes and has a good enough change-up to miss bats occasionally. He came back from a long series of arm injuries to carve up Double-A, and while his stuff makes him more of a swing-man/long relief type, he could potentially turn into an okay #5 starter option."-U.S.S. Mariner. Good career ERA (3.50), better 2008 ERA (2.41). 35th overall pick of 2001 ML draft. EDIT-Signed with the Nats!
OF Freddy Guzman-28-Speed? Check. Patience? Check. ML success? Nope. But a .277/.355/.371 career minor league slash line and a .272/.337/.394 slash line this year (with 71 steals) makes him worth taking a chance on. Lots of doubles and triples, too.
RHP Jose Capellan-28-Called a "flamethrower" by Mets Today, can throw 100 MPH according to Wikipedia. Maybe Randy can straighten him out.
RHP John Van Benschoten-28-The 8th overall pick in the 2001 draft has been LeVale Speigner-esque in his parts of 3 seasons in the bigs, allowing 100 runs (92 earned) in only 90 innings pitched. Ouch. His minor league numbers continue to get worse little by little, but they're still decent enough to make me think he's got SOMETHING in the tank. Maybe try him out as a reliever? EDIT-signed with the Chi Sox.
OF Chris Duffy-28-Decent ML slash line of .269/.328/.361 for his career. Beyond the Box Score says Duffy is worth 1.3 wins in either corner outfield spot. Nice, but only if we don't keep Langerhans, who is better with the bat and the glove.
LHP Erick Threets-27-Still young, awful control (another Randy project). I pined for him back when the Giants DFA'd him in early June on but for some reason, nobody picked him up on waivers. Ridiculously bad BB:K ratios for someone with decent K numbers make it seem like he's a lost cause, though. EDIT-signed with LAD.
2B/OF Victor Diaz-27-Good enough numbers in the minors throughout his career, but surprisingly has a 106 career ML OPS+ in 147 games. Hasn't played 2B since 2003, so don't expect to use him there.
RHP Yorman Bazardo-24-Something wasn't right for Yorman in 2008. In basically the same amount of innings he pitched in '07 and '06, his hits and home runs allowed soared way above his career average. A commenter here says he has hit 98 on the radar gun. Not that you can believe any commenter, but I'm just sayin'...
1B Wes Bankston-25-"Wes Bankston is a former top prospect turned bust. He got some time in Oakland last season, but didn't showcase his impressive splits versus righties (.868) which would make him a decent platoon mate at DH/1B."-Beyond the Box Score. Basically the same as every guy on this list. Had a .280/.328/.496 slash line in AAA this year. From the looks of it, he's never lasted a full season (due to injury, I'm assuming). Doesn't strike out too much for a slugger, but doesn't walk enough either. Also a key piece to my 2010 World Series champion Tampa Bay Rays on Baseball Mogul 2008.
3B/SS Joel Guzman-24-Sure, he (still) hasn't amounted to much with the bat. But he's only 24. And he was a top prospect once. Hey, can't a guy dream that the next A-Rod is going to come out of minor league free agency?

Career minor leaguers
OF Bronson Sardinha-26-Looks like an average player across the board, with a .268/.348/.407 career slash line. Usually good for around 10-15 HR and SB. Drafted as a SS, but hasn't played infield since 2004. We could use our own "Flyin' Hawaiian."
RHP Matt Peterson-27-His Achilles heel has always been walks, with 376 career free bases in 867 and 1/3 innings pitched. In 2008, however, he only had 6 in 30 and 2/3 innings. Did he finally figure out how to throw the ball over the plate or was it the small sample size? Worth a shot, IMO.
OF Adam Greenberg-28-With one career PA in the bigs, it's hard for me to put him under "former Major Leaguers" but with his story, you can't really call it more than that. He got beaned in the head in his only major league at bat in 2005. He had an awful 2006, hitting
.209/.342/.272, but I would have to believe that was because he was scared of getting nailed in the head again. His numbers rebounded in 2007 to .266/.373/.428 before falling back to .271/.361/.347 this past season, but the high OBP makes me believe he would be a worthwhile pickup.
1B/OF Mitch Jones-31-The epitome of a career minor leaguer: 200 career HR, but 0 career ML games. Career AAA slash line of .262/.345/.527, but with more than 1 K/game over his career, not sure that he would be anything more than a AAAA guy (although with 35 HR in 385 AB in the last 2 years, he might be worth a shot anyways). EDIT-signed with the Dodgers.
OF Joe Gaetti-27-Believe it or not, Gary Gaetti's son is probably a better hitter than he was. Joe has hit (and hit well for that matter) at every single level he's played at, with a sub .800 OPS once (in 49 games at AA in 2007, the same year where he had an .845 OPS in 74 AAA games). With a .903 OPS in 2008, he's definitely worth a shot.
RHP Cory Doyne-27-To be honest, I have no clue who this guy is. But since being converted from a starter to a reliever in 2004, Doyne has been pretty lights out: 235 and 2/3 IP, 5.61 H/9, 4.47 BB/9 (too many), 10.08 K/9, 2.25 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 2.52 ERA. He's got 4 saves, 6 hits allowed, 3 BB and 6 K in 7 and 2/3 shutout innings in the Venezuelan Winter League as well. And if that's not enough, couldn't we use another reliever who wears a flat-brimmed cap?
RHP Lee Gronkiewicz-30-Career minor league worsts: 3.27 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.75 K/9. Career minor league averages: 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 2.46 BB/9. This is your Moneyball kinda guy-he's only 5'10", weighs 210 pounds ("not a jeans model" as Billy Beane would say), but how can you argue with those numbers? He had Tommy John surgery in April, but he'll be ready to play at some point this year. I want my team to be the team to finally give Gronk a real shot.
OF Wayne Lydon-27-Strikes out way too much for a "burner", but would be a nice guy to have when September call-ups roll around. Career 95/122 SB at the AAA level (78%), 427/531 (80%) overall. EDIT-Resigned with the Blue Jays.

Former Nats farmhands/players
RHP Emiliano Fruto-24-Acquired in the Jose Vidro trade, dealt for Chris Carter who was dealt for Wily Mo Pena. Hasn't been good since 2006. Ranked by NFA as the Nats' #6 prospect in July of 2007.
OF Jason Dubois-30-Spent time in Columbus in 2008 (and sucked), moved along to play for the Cubs' AAA affiliate, put up .307/.399/.664 slash line.
RHP Tomo Ohka-33-Traded to Milwaukee for Junior Spivey in 2005, ironically the last year he was effective. Maybe now that Frank is gone, we can convince him to come back. A switch-hitter. EDIT-signed with Cleveland.
1B Matt Whitney-25-2007 Rule V draftee, not as impressive in 2008 (10 HR, .760 OPS) as 2007 (32 HR, .909 OPS). Walk numbers are up, strikeout numbers are down, and with Broadway and Jimenez likely leaving the organization, we'll have room for him. EDIT-Whitney signed with the Nats. Who called it? :)
3B/OF Tony Blanco-27-Am I kidding? Strangely, no. The 2005 Nats' Rule V draftee spent almost all of 2008 with the Tulsa Drillers, the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They taught him to drill the ball there, because a .323/.385/.587 slash line, 67 XBH and 88 RBI in only 103 games is pretty darn good. Okay, it was as a 26-year-old in AA, but maybe he's finally turning that raw talent into on-the-field performance?
1B/OF Val Pascucci-30-
"Pascucci is a right-handed Todd Linden with worse defense. He can hit a fastball a long way, though, and he’s good enough to be someone’s platoon partner."-U.S.S. Mariner. Career slash line of .285/.404/.524 in AAA, including a .280/.403/.508 line this year. We have to find a spot for this guy (note-he was drafted by the Expos and played with the organization through 2004).
2B Bernie Castro-29-I don't know why, but I always loved this guy. Maybe it's because his name is Bernie. Maybe it's because Bernie is short for Bernabel. Or maybe it's just because I have a heart for little guys who are fast (basically the anti-me). His batting average went down a little in 2008, so for a contact hitter it made all of his stats look awful. But his BB and K numbers are rapidly moving toward each other, which is a great (and promising) sign. Bring Back Bernie!!
OF Brandon Watson-27-Again, I don't know why, but I liked Watson as well. After I got past his stupid "Hollywood" attitude, that is. As much as I hate guys like Nook Logan who could never get on base but had great speed, I always beg for them on my team. Please, for the sake of the Nationals, keep Willy Taveras out of my grasp!
2B/3B/SS D'Angelo Jimenez-31-I will never forget the nice little .245/.379/.373 line he put up for the Nats in 2007. Sure, it's nothing special, but after hitting .040/.172/.040 through his first 31 plate appearances, it was a pleasant surprise (for a reference point, he hit .312/.442/.481 in his 97 plate appearance after that awful start...and unrelated, but semi-similar-Elijah Dukes hit .038/.188/.077 in his first 32 plate appearances as a National and .293/.413/.528 in his 298 plate appearances afterwards).
OF Ryan Langerhans-29-We all know Langerhans. I once hated him because of his awful 2007 season, but learned to love him for what he does best: defense. This article from FanGraphs (via FJB at the previous link) really shows how valuable Langerhans is. And his bat isn't HORRIBLE anymore (and it was actually above league average in 2008). I want him back in the Curly W in 2009! EDIT-resigned with the Nats.
RHP Claudio Vargas-30-This guy's been around forever and is still 30? He hasn't been "above average" in terms of ERA+ since his rookie year, but has never really strayed much away from average.
RHP Chris Schroder-30-Goodness, did we toy with this guy this year. He almost had as many call-ups (and send-downs)-3-as games pitched-4. He had a very good 2007 in the majors and was alright this year in AAA. I don't blame him if he wants to go somewhere where he'll at least know where he'll be pitching every day, but I'd like him back. EDIT-signed a ML deal with Oakland. Good for Schrodes.
OF Chris Snelling-27-We know he can hit, but staying healthy is the problem. Sign him to a minor league deal, call him up to the majors and let him get as many games in as possible before getting hurt. Just don't count on him for any more than 5 games.
3B/OF Yurendell DeCaster-29-The Rockin' Curacaoan should be brought back for his performance, but also to continue to mentor fellow Curacaoans (is that how you spell it?) Roger Bernadina and Shairon Martis.
1B Luis Antonio Jimenez-26-Did nothing but hit this year. Okay, that's not true. He did play 1B some and walked some, but he did his fair share of slugging for Harrisburg and Columbus. BB numbers going up, K numbers going down...I like what I see.
LHP Arnie Munoz-26-Spent most of the year on the shelf with a shoulder strain. Pitched well in the minors in 2007. I wouldn't be opposed to bringing him back.
LHP Larry Broadway-29-Not a typo. 2008 numbers: 6 and 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. Makes for a 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 0 BB/9. Why not? He's not making the majors as a slugging first baseman. "Broadway is a 6-foot-4 left-hander who pitched his freshman year at Duke. The side-armer made a pitching appearance earlier this season against Louisville", "The Nationals might be wise to let Broadway pitch here and there to see if maybe he can standout on the mound. Move him around to a few other positions to see if he could handle himself at other spots on the diamond. They might find that there's something about Broadway that does stand out, after all.", plus a full article about him as a pitcher on

Royce Ring-28-"Ring didn't pitch too much for the Braves, but was decent, not nearly as good as his major league career totals indicate he could be however. The former San Diego State closer throws in the upper 80's and has pitched for three teams since 2005."-Beyond the Box Score
"Ring is a former first round pick with a nasty curveball and a sinking fastball that gets a lot of grounders. His command is a problem, but he’s got two major league pitches and he’s left-handed. For a team short on bullpen lefty’s, he’d be a nice NRI to spring training."-U.S.S. Mariner
Carmen Pignatiello-26-rough 2008 campaign but still did okay against lefties. Walks a lot of lefties but strikes out more.
Ian Ostlund-30-"Ostlund is 30 years old and a Tommy John Surgery survivor (yes, survivor). Last season he got 11% swinging strikes and had a 2.94 FIP, impressive, add in a 2.18 BB/9 and there is little to question, except his GB%. Ostlund only gets 36.55 grounders, but he didn't give up a ton of homeruns. Odds are that changes a bit in the majors, but there's something decent about him considering the swinging strikes amount."-Beyond the Box Score.
I guess TJ surgery is the reason this guy has never gotten a shot in the majors. Career 3.18 ERA in the minors (2.87 in two AAA seasons). VT grad. EDIT-Ostlund signed with STL.
Mark McLemore-28-No, not THAT Mark McLemore. Extreme fly-ball pitcher. Looks like he missed all of 2008. Injured? Retired? Who knows...
Carmen Cali-30-"Cheap left-handed reliever candidate. Gets a lot of ground balls, but control is spotty"
"Cali is a 30 year old who sits in the lower-90's. Last seen in the majors with the Twins in 2007, and the Cardinals in 2004/2005 Cali's control has abandoned him in his major league stints. He gets nearly 11% swinging strikes, and nearly 55% groundballs. Cali is at least worth a look as a non-roster invitee. Also has the best name of the list: Carmen Salvatore Cali."-Beyond the Box Score. EDIT-signed with the Dodgers.
Stephen Randolph-34-"Randolph...last spent time in the majors for the Astros in 2007, and in 2003/2004 for the Diamondbacks. He too sits in the low 90's, but got the most strikes swinging of anyone else on this list last season with 15.9%, he walked quite a few (nearly 6 per nine) but gave up only 0.38 homeruns per nine despite a 38 GB%."-Beyond the Box Score. A forgettable part of his forgettable 2005 campaign was for the Nats' then-AAA affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he allowed 31 earned runs in 29 innings (think LeVale Speigner in 2007, but worse). My opinion on Randolph isn't incredibly favorable...He's almost 35-if he was ever going to be a productive major leaguer, it would have happened by now. Then again, so could have been said about Type A free agent Darren Oliver...
Sean Henn-27-former top prospect, has been pretty awful in the majors, but minor league numbers are still semi-promising. Could become another Charlie Manning...woohoo?
Daniel Haigwood-25-a young guy with decent minor league numbers (K/9 over 9, ERA of 3.68), but tragically walks too many guys. If only we could sign all of the "walks too many guys" and one of them figures it out. EDIT-signed with Pittsburgh.
Mike Gosling-28-another example of K's going up and BB's going down. Don't confuse his ML experience (92 career ML IP) for ML success (4.79 ERA, 1.848 WHIP, 1:1 K:BB ratio), though.
John Rheinecker-29-if he is used strictly as a LOOGY, he'll be great. If not, he'll be horrible (career ML splits here). "John Rheinecker is perhaps the most interesting of the list. A former first (actually supplemental) round pick of the Oakland Athletics, Rheinecker was dealt in March of 2006 in a deal that netted the Cubs Freddie Bynum, the Athletics Juan Dominguez, and the Rangers John Koronka as well as Rheinecker. In 2006 Rheinecker was primarily used as a starter (13 of his 21 appearances), his starts would be curbed in 2007 but one thing remained: struggles against right-handed hitting. Rheinecker missed 2008 due to a surgery to remove a rib as well as arthroscopic shoulder surgery that caused him to miss almost the entirety of the season. Astoundingly good against lefties, Rheinecker is only 29 and pitches in the mid-80's, but still finds a way to get more than 9% swinging strikes."-Beyond the Box Score
Heath Phillips-27-I've never seen him play, but here's what Beyond the Box Score had to say about him in 2007. Rising WHIP scares me, I'd say lay off.

Aaron Boone-types (Corner IFs who can hit)
1B/3B/OF Mike Cervenak-32-He's about as old as Aaron Boone and has 0.3% of Boone's ML experience, but who cares about experience anyways? Good AVG, ok plate discipline, doubles power. EDIT-Resigned with the Phillies.

Mike Restovich-types (AAAA 1B/OF types)
1B Scott Thorman-26-Pretty awful for the Braves in 400+ AB's from 2006-07. LH hitter, will keep getting chances as a platoon guy, especially at his age. EDIT-signed with Milwaukee.
1B Kevin Barker-33-has had 4 cups of coffee (1999, 2000, 2002, 2006). Career .272/.356/.476 line in the minors (to go with 226 career HR), LH hitter, VT grad. EDIT-signed with the Reds.
1B/OF Todd Linden-28-"Linden is one of those classic tweeners; a guy with just enough bat to kill Triple-A but not enough to earn a job as a corner OF/1B, especially since he’s not a great defender. But he’s a switch hitter, he can take a walk, and has at least gap power. If anyone’s a candidate to pull a Ryan Ludwick and develop late, it’s Linden."-U.S.S. Mariner. The career .231/.303/.335 major league slash line won't cut it, but he definitely wouldn't be a bad guy to have hanging around AAA for when Nick Johnson gets hurt. And you can ALWAYS use a switch-hitter.
OF Nick Gorneault-29-Spent the last 4 years in AAA hitting .275/.350/.489. Good enough with the bat, good enough with the glove, could be a nice 5th OF. We could definitely do worse than Gorneault...looks like a Restovich clone to me.
OF Ray Sadler-28-Classic AAAA outfielder...20ish homers, way too many K's, not enough BB's to outweigh them.
OF John-Ford Griffin-29-Called a "free swinging AAAA outfielder" by Mets Today, Griffin is pretty much as advertised. He hits righties very well (.305/.387/.557 this year) but basically just loses his power against lefties (.333/.377/.386). Not too shabby. In 23 career ML at-bats, Griffin has a .304/.370/.696 slash line. If we weren't overrun with outfielders, I would definitely say go for him, but if we can teach him 1B, he could become a valuable lefty bat off of the bench.
1B Justin Huber-26-.271/.347/.470 splits over his career in AAA, but was awful in 2008 (although he didn't play a whole lot-only 61 games in AAA and 33 in ML). Needs to improve his BB/K ratio, but he would be nice AAA depth.
1B/OF Paul McAnulty-28-Career major league numbers aren't TOO terrible (.208/.324/.330). Looks like a very disciplined hitter with a little pop, best suited for the bench. EDIT-signed a minor league deal with the Red Sux.
1B Brett Harper-27-Hit .315/.338/.577 in 2008, his first year of AAA, but his K/BB ratio is awful.
1B/OF Garrett Jones-27-BB numbers slowly creeping up, K numbers slowly creeping down, has always had the raw power to be an ML slugger.

Rare Commodities (Catchers and Middle Infielders)
2B/3B/SS Robinson Chirinos-24-Could be even more rare-apparently training at C in Arizona. That blog post also speculates Chirinos will return to the Cubs, as they wouldn't send him to Arizona only to have him leave as a minor league FA. Hasn't hit much above A, but still couldn't ignore the .283/.431/.475 slash line he put up in 120 A+ AB's this year.
2B/SS Erick Almonte-31-I don't really know why I like this guy so much (maybe I have him confused with Danny Almonte?), but once again you have a guy whose walk numbers are finally rising and strikeout numbers are falling. Might be too late for him to turn it around, but it's not like we have great organizational depth at SS.
2B/3B Adam Morrissey-27-Good batting average/OBP combo. Not much power, but he's a 2B so that's semi-expected. Top Prospect Alert said something probably 4 or 5 years ago that might hold true: "Odds are, Morrissey will be a player that is slow to break into the big leagues, probably earning a regular roster spot closer to age 26 or 27 than age 24. He may very well have a decent major league career, but it is doubtful that he will ever earn much more than a utility role with a big league team." He's 27 now, so it's make or break time for that prediction of him.
C J.D. Closser-24-You know, .239/.320/.367 in the majors for a catcher isn't really that bad. His power seems to have left him over the years, but he also hasn't played a full season...ever? But with only 148 games played over the past 2 seasons, I think it might be safe to assume injury sapped some of his power. I want this guy to compete for a backup job. He can hit...and at the very least, if his hitting starts to suck, he at least can walk (and doesn't strike out too much).

My final top 10:
9-RHP Mike Koplove (Signed with PHI)
2-OF Ryan Langerhans (signed with the Nats)
Honorable mention:
Gronk (missed because of injury concerns)
Jose Capellan (missed because I don't know if he can throw strikes)
J.D. Closser (missed because of his lack of recent success)
Wil Cordero (no, seriously, he was on the list!)

-2009 Opening Day age listed
-The 2001 sandwich round will be made famous by my list: #34-Bronson Sardinha, #35-J.D. Martin, #37-John Rhinecker, #41-Todd Linden. Not to mention #33-Jeff Mathis and #38-David Wright.
-Is Langerhans really a free agent? The 2007-08 offseason was his first year of arbitration. He was never released (was outrighted to AAA and cleared waivers). But lists him as a free agent. But has on their transaction blog that the Nats signed him. No news on this, will need to dig deeper.


  1. I think we need Royce Ring for his name alone! I'd LOVE to own that jersey!! And don't forget the Silly Sunday Sweepstakes...I'm Particularly Proud of today's snap!

  2. Cory Doyne was in the St. Louis minor league system about 3-4 years ago. Their AA team is in Springfield, MO where I live. He's not bad. Seems to throw harder than the radar gun indicates. Appears to throw a heavy ball. Control isn't bad. Secondary stuff is mediocre. However, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't he with Baltimore last year? If that was him then he was in their bullpen for a time. Not sure how he did, though.
    I wouldn't count on him for much more than filling a roster spot or taking up innings in AAA.

  3. R.J. Swindle:

    Career minor league WHIP of 0.90 and ERA of 1.58. 226 K's and 25 BB's over 194 IP is unreal. And he's left-handed.

    The only knock on him is he apparantly throws a 82-ish MPH fastball.

  4. Since Steve Shell seems to have been a find, you might consider Chris Bootcheck. He never really got much of a chance with the Angels, but has been reasonably effective in middle relief. Of course, his agent is Steve Boras :)

  5. Great work, but really AMAZING that Mike Bacsik, a Lefthander, a former Big Leaguer, AND a former National does not make your list... Bacsik likely has 0% interest in being a National after Bowden screwed him (the list of players screwed by the shiester Washington calls a GM is large!)last year, but at least he has multiple offers to be in the Bigs on another team in 2009!

  6. Anony1-I did see that he pitched for Baltimore but chose not to mention it because he only pitched 3 and 2/3 innings. Thanks for the scouting report.

    Hello-Very nice catch on Swindle. He strikes out a ton of people for an 82 MPH fastball.

    Anony2-Bootcheck has been decent for the Angels in relief and will find a job with someone. Could be with the Nats, could be with someone else.

    Anony3-I think Bacsik was a great guy and all, but he's not that effective of a pitcher and his minor league numbers weren't really good this year either. A lot of guys in similar situations did make the list, but they're ones I haven't seen pitch before, whereas I have seen Bacsik pitch and wasn't impressed (to say the least).

  7. You didn't mention rhp Tom Shearn, who went 3-0 for the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 and is now a FA.

  8. Shearn looks decent. I admittedly missed a lot of names, having gone through roughly half of Baseball America's list (mostly on names I recognized) and then finding suggestions from other sources. So some guys (like Swindle, for example) fell through the cracks.

  9. I have also seen Cory Doyne pitch in person. I live in Virginia Beach, and the Norfolk Tides (right next door) are the Oriole's AAA team. He was the Tide's closer for awhile, and was pretty good, although i remember at least 2 occasions where he blew easy saves. He'd definitely be a great pick up for a team like the Nats. Doyne throws hard but he has had some injuries the last season or so. I appreciate that you pointed out his flat-brimmed cap, which my friends and I have teased him about amongst ourselves.
    I hope he pitches somewhere this year!

  10. I am 99% sure I read somewhere that the Nats resigned Ryan Langerhans.

  11. I keep seeing it but I haven't seen an official article from a trusted source yet. I certainly hope it's true.

    I like Doyne, certainly couldn't hurt the Nats to sign him.


    Here's your source. Found it.

  13. Swindle signed with Milwaukee today:


Please leave your questions and/or comments here and I'll get back to you ASAP!