Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sifting through the long list of minor league free agents: NL East Edition (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of my minor league free agent post (part 1 here). The basics: Baseball America has published their annual list of minor league free agents. Looking through all of these guys is obviously a long process, so I will post these guys in chunks by their 2010 teams. Once I get through everyone, I will reorganize them by position in one big post. This is going to take a long time to complete. My goal is to have things done so by the time New Year's rolls around and players latch onto new teams in full force, fans will be able to come here for a one-stop shop on their new spring training invites and minor leaguers.

Note: Ages as of Opening Day 2011.
Florida Marlins (31)
SS Emilio Ontiveros (26 years old, no ML experience)
Ontiveros hit .193/.271/.233 in 80 games in high A ball this year as a 25 year old. With little speed, no power and average fielding at best, he'll be lucky to find a spot next year. His only saving grace could be his ability to play both middle infield positions, but that's about it.

SS Tim Torres (27 years old, no ML experience)
I'm a little more intrigued in Torres than I probably should be. He's a switch-hitting infielder with a little bit of pop and speed and can take a walk. Either he's a late bloomer or he was just a 26 year old beating up on AA competition this year, but I wouldn't count out Torres' chances at showing up on a ML roster at some point in his future (although it would still probably be a few years away).

OF Chris Aguila (32 years old, 149 games of ML experience)
Aguila bounced around in 2010, ending up with the organization that drafted him in the 3rd round in 1997 and allowed him 141 games in the majors at 0.6 wins below replacement (-0.6 WAR). His power, speed, BB and K rates were all pretty poor in 2010, and at 32 in February, his ML future is in doubt unless his minor league numbers improve. That being said, he'd still be a decent guy to have around in AAA as a 4th outfielder.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

OF Brett Carroll (28 years old, 173 games of ML experience)
Carroll isn't much with the bat (.255/.323/.463 in his minor league career and .205/.284/.325 in the Majors). He's got enough power and speed to homer twice in batting practice and steal on Matt LeCroy, but not much beyond that. His defense, on the other hand, is what keeps him around. In his short ML career, Carroll is 15.4 runs below replacement with his bat, but 17.1 runs above replacement with his glove. I'd like to see more CF experience, but whatever he's got is fine with Dayton Moore; Carroll has already signed with Kansas City, so cross him off your lists.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

OF Jason Delaney (28 years old, no ML experience)
It's hard out there for corner outfielders/1B types that show little power in the minors. Delaney can get on base (.369 career minor league OBP), but has sub-.400 SLG's over his career at the AA and AAA levels. He probably has one more year to try and prove himself; otherwise, he'll probably end up in an independent league or abroad.

OF Jose Duarte (26 years old, no ML experience)
With 31 minor league free agents, the Marlins were bound to have a few interesting players. Duarte falls under the same category as Torres did; both have showed nice power and speed in the minors at levels they were old for. Duarte is a centerfielder, so he'll continue to get chances. If he can keep his BB rates in the 8-9 range, he should be able to keep moving up, but his time is running out.

OF Vinny Rottino (30 years old, 18 games of ML experience)
Listing Rottino as an outfielder is a bit misleading; he has extensive minor league experience at catcher, 1B and 3B in addition to working in the outfield. He amazingly put up his highest SB total of his career in 2010, stealing 23 bases in 25 tries. Rottino has decent all-around talent, with nice speed and doubles power, good on-base skills and the ability to play multiple positions, but he doesn't do anything all that well and has put up these numbers as a 30 year old in AAA. I'd sure rather have him than Wil Nieves, though.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

OF Lorenzo Scott (29 years old, no ML experience)
Scott is a decent base-stealer with a nice walk rate, but he has a career K% right around 30%. If speed is your game, I'd say it's pretty important to have the ability to put the ball in play more than 70% of the time. You can do a lot worse with a roster spot for your AA or AAA team, though, so Scott shouldn't have a huge problem finding a team.

OF Brandon Tripp (25 years old, no ML experience)
I am very interested in Brandon Tripp. He's one of the younger guys we've seen on the list so far that still has a chance to be a ML contributor in my opinion. He's got average or better tools across the board but struggles with strikeouts. His K% has dropped from the 30-33% range down to the 25-28% range since he switched from the Orioles organization to the Marlins, but I'd like to see it drop further than that still.

OF Greg Burns (24 years old, no ML experience)
Young and toolsy outfielders leaving the Marlins organization seems to be a trend this offseason, and Burns is no exception. He's got speed and can field fairly well, but the dude just can't hit well enough to keep moving up. At a young 24, Burns has room for improvement, but he has a ton to improve on. I'm not going to hold my breath for this one.

OF Jeff Corsaletti (28 years old, no ML experience)
Need a decent 4th outfielder? Look no further. Corsaletti walks about as much as he strikes out, puts the ball in play and has a little speed and gap power. He can play all 3 OF positions, although his experience in CF and RF are a little limited compared to what you'd like to see. I would be very happy to see the Nats shoot Mr. Corsaletti an offer with a Spring Training invite and some playing time in September. He's not ever going to be a full-time starter, but Matt Murton-types have value, too*.
*but apparently not according to ML GM's

New York Mets (24)
RHP Yhency Brazoban (30 years old, 115 innings of ML experience)
Remember when Yhency Brazoban used to be good? Yeah, he was never really that good. In his "good" seasons, he was lucky with a very low BABIP and HR/FB rate as well as a very high LOB rate. He always had too many walks and not enough strikeouts to make up for them. He threw fairly well in AAA for the Mets and in Mexico in 2010, but his walk rate still lies pretty close to 4, even against inferior competitions. He'll keep getting ST invites based on name value and his number of strikeouts, but I doubt we'll be seeing much more of Yhency Brazoban in the Majors in the near or far future.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Brian Bruney (29 years old, 239 innings of ML experience)
I can't think of many players I enjoyed watching less than Bruney. He pitches slowly (24.3 seconds/pitch this year, close to the 5 slowest with the league average around 21.5 seconds/pitch). He walks a lot of batters, often in situations where you don't want to walk a lot of batters. His 2010 season was brutal, but he'll continue to get shots at the Majors, or at least ST invites. During this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that Bruney won't be a National in 2011.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Chad Cordero (29 years old, 330 and 1/3 innings of ML experience)
I'm torn about Cordero's 2010 season. His ML numbers weren't great (although it was a very small sample size). His minor league numbers, on the other hand, were pretty good (3.03 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 9.1 K/9). I'm not sure if it's the fact that Cordero was my favorite National, but I think he might be mostly recovered from his shoulder issues. I'd love for the Nats to bring him back with a ST invite since Bowden is gone, but I would understand if he wants to move along due to his harsh exit.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Jack Egbert (27 years old, 2 and 2/3 innings of ML experience)
From what I've read (nothing official), Egbert had Tommy John surgery in April, which explains why he did not pitch in 2010. He tore through the lower levels of the White Sox organization, never posting an ERA higher than 3.38 in AA and below. His 2008 rate stats in AAA were decent, but they dropped off a lot in 2009. I'm wondering if it had to do with an arm injury, but that's something we'll see when he returns at whatever capacity in 2011-12.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Johan Figuereo (25 years old, no ML experience)
I'm not sure why the Nats dropped Figuereo after his 2009 season (2.92 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 8.4 K/9). I'm not sure why the Mets dropped him after his 2010 season (2.84 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, 10.2 K/9). Sure, his walk rates suck, but he's only been a pitcher since 2008. If I were either team, I would have kept him around for at least another year just to see if he would progress any more. His chance at bottoming out are much, much higher than his chances of getting somewhere, but when you have a guy with a live arm and not a whole lot of pitching experience, you never really know what you're gonna get.

RHP Carlos Muniz (30 years old, 25 and 2/3 innings of ML experience)
Muniz has really fallen apart the last 2 years in the minors. With rising BB rates and falling K rates, Muniz probably has one more year in AAA to make a statement if he wants a return trip to the Majors.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sifting through the long list of minor league free agents: NL East Edition (Part 1)

It is Christmas morning/week/month here in Blacksburg: Baseball America has published their annual list of minor league free agents! There are 533 players listed this year and I can promise you that I will look at each and every one of their Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference pages. Looking through all of these guys is obviously a long process, so I will post these guys in chunks by their 2010 teams. Once I get through everyone, I will reorganize them by position in one big post.

Notes: Ages as of Opening Day 2011.

P.S. This is going to take a long time to complete. My goal is to have things done so by the time New Year's rolls around and players latch onto new teams in full force, fans will be able to come here for a one-stop shop on their new spring training invites and minor leaguers.

Atlanta Braves (10)
RHP James Parr (25 years old, 36 and 1/3 IP of ML experience)
Parr, a Braves 4th rounder back in 2004, has had two cup-of-coffee ML stints in 2008 and '09. He threw 6 shutout innings against the Nationals in his ML debut, but had little success after that, with a 5.20 ERA and 4.71 FIP in his short career. He's a decent strikeout guy (7.0 K/9 in his minor league career and 6.4 in the majors) but he needs to keep his walk totals down if he wants to get back to the majors. He's still young enough to get back to the majors, but 2011 will be a bounceback year, as he only had 9 starts in AAA due to injury.

LHP Mariano Gomez (28 years old, no ML experience)
While Gomez has put up pretty good conventional numbers over the last 3 years in AAA with ERA's of 2.76, 1.99 and 2.89, respectively, his peripherals likely are the reason he has not reached the bigs. His FIP's have ranged from 3.43 to 4.11 to 3.78 over the last 3 years, and his career K:BB ratio is 1.95 (and 1.58 in 3 seasons of AAA). Gomez is a big guy at 6'6", 240 lbs, but his hope of being the second Honduran to pitch in the major leagues continues to fade.

C Orlando Mercado (26 years old, no ML experience)
Orlando Mercado had an illustrious career as a backup catcher from 1982-1990, hitting .199/.259/.281 over about 600 at-bats. His son Orlando, a 2003 6th round pick, has not made it to the majors yet. He still looks to be better than pops, though, with solid defense and on-base skills. The younger Merdado could be a useful piece with the ability to fill in at the ML level, but he needs to prove he can handle AAA first.

C Clint Sammons (27 years old, 31 games of ML experience)
Sammons hasn't done much in the minors (.243/.314/.347) or the majors (.176/.243/.235) and isn't getting any younger. He'll sign with a team to be their AAA backup or platoon guy, but barring a major improvement this year, his 3 ML stints are all he's going to get.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

2B Joe Thurston (31 years old, 183 games of ML experience)
Joe Thurston is not a good Major League player. He's got speed, but doesn't steal bases well. He can play a lot of positions at or below average. For a lefthanded batter, he hits righthanded pitchers very poorly. He draws a fair number of walks, but strikes out way too much. That being said, Joe Thurston is a good minor league player. With a .293/.355/.420 career minor league triple slash and the ability to play pretty much anywhere on the field, he is the perfect utility guy to have on your AAA team. He won't embarrass you if you call him up to your ML squad, but he won't exactly help you win games, either.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

3B Christian Colonel (29 years old, no ML experience)
At different points of his career, Colonel has put up numbers that suggest he has a broad range of skills; he stole 35 bases in 2004, put up 64 extra base hits in 2007 and has hit over .300 three different times in his career. Colonel's problem is that his speed and power have diminished greatly over the years without any other tools getting much better. His ability to play the infield and outfield corners can be useful for a AA or AAA squad, but Colonel's chances of playing Major League Baseball are looking slim at this point.

3B Eric Duncan (26 years old, no ML experience)
The 2003 first round pick hasn't figured out AAA yet. He's still young enough to keep getting chances thanks to his 1st round pick tag, but corner infielders who can't hit AAA pitching (and can barely hit AA pitching) aren't too valuable.

3B Wes Timmons (31 years old, no ML experience)
Poor Wes Timmons. With decent speed and great on-base skills, you think the guy would have gotten a shot by now. His problem to this point is that he has very little power and was previously limited to 1B/3B action. He plays a little bit of 2B; playing it well could be his ticket to a successful career in Japan. He's not quite a Rick Short-type of player, but he has a few valuable skills that could help an AAA team or an ML one in a call-up stint.

SS Luis Bolivar (30 years old, no ML experience)
Bolivar is your prototypical AAAA shortstop. He's quick, can play multiple positions and can't hit worth a dime. He'll sign to someone's AAA team and serve as a utility guy, but I doubt we'll be seeing him in the Majors unless he makes some big strides this year. He threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout in 2009, so maybe he should try pitching. It's never too late to do that, right Matt Bush?

OF Mike Daniel (26 years old, no ML experience)
Daniel showed a little bit of speed and power in 2007 with a fancy-looking .294/.362/.458 triple slash in A and high A ball. I was instantly a fan and though he would make a nice 4th outfielder for the Nats. Unfortunately, his career never progressed much past 2007 and he's stuck between being a good AA player and a mediocre AAA player. Daniel is still young and toolsy enough to keep getting calls, but he needs to improve his hitting if he wants to reach the majors as a 4th/5th OF, pinch-runner type.

Florida Marlins (31)
RHP Natividad Dilone (28 years old, no ML experience)
Natividad has a cool name and a 3.80 career ERA, but that's about it. He's a 28 year old who has never graduated high A ball. He can strike guys out, but only when he can figure out where the ball is going (and with a career BB/9 just under 5, we can tell that it doesn't happen too much). Keep moving, folks.

RHP Jon Fulton (27 years old, no ML experience)
Fulton was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft out of high school as an infielder. He couldn't hack it as a hitter and switched to pitching in 2008. His first two seasons as a pitcher went well, posting ERA's of 3.04 and 2.42 and FIP's of 2.65 and 2.71 with tons of strikeouts and tons of walks. His third year, 2010, did not go so well, with a declining K rate and poor overall numbers. 2011 is a very important year if Fulton wants to make it; while he has the ability to get guys out, he needs to transform it into a habit of getting guys out, as he can only be a "project" player for so long.

RHP Brian Lawrence (34 years old, 963 IP of ML experience)
I got really excited when the Nats traded Vinny Castilla for Lawrence after the 2005 season. Finally, a starter who can eat innings without getting bombed! Turns out he had a torn labrum and rotator cuff, so his stint in DC effectively never happened. Lawrence is finally looking like the pitcher he was before his injury; his innings total is building back up, his walks are staying down and his strikeouts are starting to rise back into the 6-7 range rather than the 4-5 range. Lawrence could be a real steal out of these minor league free agents; I wouldn't be surprised to see him make a team out of Spring Training.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Tom Mastny (30 years old, 94 IP of ML experience)
If Mastny never pitches another inning in the Majors, he'll still be in the record books; Mastny is the first Indonesian-born player in ML history. I'm sure he'd much rather be in the record books for being an awesome pitcher, but I guess you take what you can get. Mastny's career ML ERA is 6.13, and although his FIP at 4.91 suggests he was unlucky, he still wasn't that good. He pitched decently in AAA this year and will surely keep getting AAA opportunities, but his chances of being a significant ML contributor are pretty low at this point.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

RHP Matt Peterson (29 years old, no ML experience)
As another former high draft pick (2nd round-2000 by NYM), Matt Peterson saw his numbers plummet from pretty good with the Mets to awful with the Pirates after his mid-season 2004 trade. He proceeded to move to the bullpen, where he consistently put up decent (albeit generally overachieving) numbers. Peterson has never been much of a strikeout pitcher and his walk totals are pretty lackluster. Generally, I see guys get converted to relief work, put up nice ERA's in AAA and see bright futures for them. Peterson still has a chance to break out at an ML level, but I don't expect it to happen based on his peripherals.

RHP Nic Ungs (31 years old, no ML experience)
Question: If a guy who is great in AAA but can't quite hack the Majors is called an "AAAA" player, what do you call a guy who is great in AA but can't quite hack AAA? Answer: Nic Ungs. Ungs has pretty good career numbers as a whole, generally keeping his BB/9 close to 2 and his K/9 over 6...that is, until he pitches in AAA, where they are closer to 3 and 5, respectively. His chances at ML success are slim unless the Marlins, who he has spent all but one year of career with, decide to throw him a bone with a September call-up. Ungs, if nothing else, has a pretty cool name.

RHP Tim Wood (28 years old, 50 IP of ML experience)
Wood was decent in 2009, posting a 2.95 FIP in AAA and 4.31 in the majors. He regressed in 2010, though, to a 6.06 FIP in AAA and 4.92 in the bigs. He doesn't strike out nearly enough guys (7.4 K/9 in his minors career, 4.7 in ML) to justify his high walk rates (3.8 BB/9 in his minors career, 4.5 in ML). He might get some more ML opportunities, but I wouldn't go expecting another 2.82 ERA like he had in 22 and 1/3 innings in 2009.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

LHP Jeff Gogal (28 years old, no ML experience)
Gogal might have turned a corner in 2010. He finally kept his walks low (2.4 BB/9) and strikeouts high (8.3 K/9). Whether or not he keeps it up in 2011 is a different story, but he still needs to show he can handle AAA before he sniffs the Majors.

LHP James Houser (26 years old, 1.1 innings of ML experience)
I really hope Houser gets another shot at the majors; a 20.25 career ERA is just sad. The former 2nd round pick (TB, 2003) has put up decent numbers in AA and below but lackluster ones in AAA. He's still young enough (and a lefty), so he'll get plenty of opportunities, but he still is a while away from being a ML contributor.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

LHP Wes Whisler (27 years old, 1.1 innings of ML experience)
Whisler did a little bit better in his 1.1 ML innings, with a 13.50 ERA. Okay, not really. The White Sox' 2004 second round pick has never been a control guy or a strikeout guy, and I don't expect him to be an ML contributor unless he becomes one or the other.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

C John Otness (29 years old, no ML experience)
Otness has decent on-base numbers in his minor league career, but has only played 8 games in AAA. Looks like an organizational depth guy at this point, but with 1B/3B/OF experience, he could be a nice AA/AAA piece for a team looking for a vet.

C Neil Wilson (27 years old, no ML experience)
Poor defensive catcher with poor on-base skills and a little pop. Wilson will likely serve as a backup catcher for somebody's AAA squad.

1B Mark Saccomanno (30 years old, 10 games of ML experience)
Saccomanno is an AAAA slugger who can routinely put up 20 homers with a below average eye and a bunch of K's. He had a down year in 2010 but will likely be back to portraying the AAA version of Adam Dunn next year.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

2B Wes Long (28 years old, no ML experience)
Long spent three years in the A's organization, never progressing above A ball. After three more years in independent leagues, he resurfaced in 2010 only to fail to progress above A ball again (at the age of 28, no less). He's got speed and the ability to play a handful of positions to his credit, but not a whole lot else.

2B Danny Richar (27 years old, 79 games of ML experience)
It's refreshing to see a familiar face on the list every once in a while. Richar was involved in the Ken Griffey Jr. to the White Sox trade back in 2008 and hasn't done a whole lot since. Lefthanded-hitting middle infielders with a little power are definitely not in great abundance, making it impressive that Richar has kept himself out of the Majors like he has. His minor league numbers point to averageness, but he hasn't translated them to any ML mediocrity. Because of his handedness and tools, he'll keep getting calls, but he needs to make a move this year if he wants to even be a Miguel Cairo-type.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

2B Rigoberto Silverio (24 years old, no ML experience)
Silverio has yet to progress past A ball and his numbers don't suggest he has any special tools. Keep moving, nothing to see here.

3B Lee Mitchell (28 years old, no ML experience)
Mitchell has gotten a shot at AAA three years in a row and has failed to do anything with it. His average power and on-base abilities fail to make up for his massive strikeout totals. Mitchell is another one of those guys who can play well in AA but can't hack AAA.

SS Gookie Dawkins (31 years old, 55 games of ML experience)
Reds. Dodgers. Royals. Cubs. Tigers. Pirates. Mariners. Phillies. Royals (again). White Sox. Marlins. Dawkins has played for 1/3 of the organizations in the league and will likely continue to fight until he can make it back to the bigs, where he last played in 2003. The one-top prospect's 2010 numbers in AAA weren't bad at all (.268/.332/.479), but his chances of making it back to the Majors in any significant role are pretty slim.
FanGraphs, B-R (Majors), B-R (minors)

SS Javier Guzman (28 years old, no ML experience)
Guzman is lucky that we've already discussed Wes Long on this list; otherwise, his failure to figure out AA at the age of 28 would be even more embarrassing. Guzman can't hit for power, field, or get on base, and his speed and contact has faded since his first few years in the minors. The end of the road could be near for Javier.

SS Ryan Klosterman (28 years old, no ML experience)
Klosterman is yet another name on this list that has little success above AA. He used to have decent power and speed, but it looks like those tools have faded. His ability to play 2B, 3B and SS combined with a decent batters eye will keep getting him opportunities, but even utility guys that can get on base have an expiration date.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We all need to step it up

Our offseason grade so far is F; we have lost two huge pieces to retirement. As you might remember, Brian from NFA retired from blogging back in September and yesterday Steven from FJB hung up his keys, retiring from the blogging world. I am as guilty (actually, more guilty) as anyone in a lack of posting, with only 43 posts this year and none since August. What I will pledge to do, though, is step up my game in the future.

I'm never going to be an every-day blogger. I don't really have the desire to do so. There are rah-rah blogs for every team out there, and the Nats don't need another (although they do need something to cheer for!). What we need to do is strive, across the board, for more in-depth posting. Some of you are already doing your part, and I'm not saying regular posters are slacking off, but rather that we need to pick up the slack from NFA and FJB. The Natmosphere has light years ahead of the Nats in performance, and we need to keep our standards high as the team improves.

I'm excited to write my first substantial post this week as soon as the minor league free agent list is published (Matt Eddy from Baseball America said it would be posted as soon as MLB provides it to them). My challenge to the rest of the Natmosphere, even if you have been inactive like me, is to come up with a strong and informative post by the end of the month.

We've heard the same thing a million time from all perspectives concerning Adam Dunn's pending free agency. Let Dunn walk-ers, explore scenarios where the Nats offense could improve even with losing Adam Dunn. Keep Dunn at all cost-ers, try to find comparisons to Dunn that have aged well or prove to us that there is no other option on the market anywhere near his value. People bored with the Dunn story, try to play matchmaker with guys rumored to be on the trading block or write a heartfelt letter begging Cliff Lee (or whoever you want the Nats to sign) to come to Washington. Just write something original. We've lost two awesome bloggers in just over 2 months, Nats bloggers. We need to step things up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Harper signs, plus draft pick updates

Stan Kasten pie-ing Mike Rizzo in the face to celebrate the Harper signing. Tweeted by Nats Daily News.

The wait is over; Bryce Harper is officially a Washington National. It is no surprise that he waited until the last second to finalize his $9.9 million contract (total, not all signing bonus). Everyone knew Harper was going to sign, so we'll move right along to some information people might want access to: the professional performances of 2010 Nats draft picks. Part 1 happened last night, so we'll just pick up where we left off!

OF Connor Rowe - 21st round (Texas)
Hitting .234/.280/.416 in 24 games in Vermont. 18 hits in 77 at-bats with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 11 runs, 11 RBI, 4 walks and 27 strikeouts. Rowe has been thrown out in 2 of his 3 stolen base attempts. He has 2 assists from center field but 3 errors in only 44 total chances in the outfield.

Hitting isn't Rowe's best tool, but a 4:27 BB:K ratio just doesn't cut it for a non-pitcher, especially one hitting .234. I have no issue attributing Rowe's errors to a small sample size. He'll be a good defensive CF, it's just his bat we need to worry about.

RHP Cameron Selik - 22nd round (Kansas)
1-0, 3.04 ERA in 13 games in Vermont (23 and 2/3 innings). 21 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 23 strikeouts, 13 walks, 1 homer allowed, .228 BA against.

Selik is doing what he needs to do right now, but he needs to walk less batters while maintaining his strikeout rate if he wants to climb levels. A nice start, though!

RHP Colin Bates - 23rd round (North Carolina)
3-3, 5.26 ERA in 11 games in Vermont (37 and 2/3 innings). 44 hits, 24 runs (22 earned), 35 strikeouts, 6 walks, 3 homers allowed, .291 BA against.

Bates has the BB and K rates we're looking for, but has been a little too hittable so far. For a guy whose best tool as described by Andy Seiler, "is a rubber arm that can be used on a regular basis out of the bullpen," I'll take the 1.4 BB/9 rate and run with it.

DH Russell Moldenhauer - 24th round (Texas)
Hitting .234/.366/.506 in 23 games in Vermont. 18 hits in 77 at-bats with 3 doubles, 6 homers, 17 runs, 19 RBI, 16 walks and 16 strikeouts. Moldenhauer is 1/1 in his stolen base attempts. He hasn't played the field at all.

The plate discipline and power are nice, don't get me wrong, but we have to find this guy a position to play (even if it's inside linebacker for the Redskins). The fact that he's DHing in A ball does not speak volumes about his future in a National League organization.

LHP Christian Meza - 25th round (Santa Ana College)
1-2, 1.83 ERA in 8 games in the GCL (19 and 2/3 innings). 12 hits, 7 runs (4 earned), 20 strikeouts, 8 walks, 1 homer allowed, .174 BA against.

Meza has pitched extremely well. His 5.5 H/9 rate is completely unsustainable, but his 9.2 K/9 looks nice. Hopefully he can keep it that way while lowering his BB rate from 3.7 to 3 or lower.

LHP Chris Manno - 26th round (Duke)
0-0, 1.46 ERA in 8 games in the GCL (12 and 1/3 innings). 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 20 strikeouts, 6 walks, .143 BA against.

Like I said about 11th rounder Neil Holland yesterday, Manno's deceptive delivery means he needs to be getting hitters out at all levels, especially low ones. He's killing the GCL right now, which is a good sign. Manno is one to watch-I wouldn't be surprised if he shot up through the organization this year and next.

OF Rick Hughes - 29th round (Marin CC)
Hitting .266/.365/.406 in 19 games split between Vermont and the GCL (16 of 19 in the GCL). 17 hits in 64 at-bats with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 13 runs, 9 RBI, 9 walks and 21 strikeouts. Hughes is 2/3 in his stolen base attempts. He has 1 OF assist and no errors in the field yet.

Hughes hasn't really shown us anything yet. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but his stat line is very average, especially for a 20 year old playing mostly in the GCL.

C Jeremy Mayo - 31st round (Texas Tech)
Hitting .267/.382/.477 in 28 games in the GCL. 23 hits in 86 at-bats with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 18 runs, 13 RBI, 15 walks and 26 strikeouts. Mayo was caught in his only stolen base attempt.

While Mayo's offensive numbers look nice, his defensive numbers are disappointing, with 3 errors, 8 passed balls and only 5 basestealers thrown out in 25 attempts. He'll need to improve them if he wants to keep moving up in the system.

OF Randolph Oduber - 32nd round (Western Oklahoma State JC)
Hitting .375/.445/.616 in 29 games in the GCL. 42 hits in 112 at-bats with 9 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers, 26 runs, 29 RBI, 11 walks and 27 strikeouts. Oduber is 15/16 in his stolen base attempts. He has 2 outfield assists and has made no errors this year.

If an MVP of Nats draft picks had to be picked right now, Oduber would be the winner, no doubt. His stat lines look like those of the 2006 version of Alfonso Soriano when compared to the rest of his teammates. Lots of power, lots of speed...he's an exciting prospect to watch.

LHP Ryan Sherriff - 33rd round (West Los Angeles JC)
Still hasn't pitched this year. Not sure what the deal is. Brian from NFA posted back in June that Sherriff was the one discrepancy in a re-released list of picks to sign, so maybe he didn't sign after all.

1B Tyler Oliver - 35th round (Wabash Valley JC)
Hitting .219/.318/.288 in 25 games in the GCL. 16 hits in 73 at-bats with 2 doubles, 1 homer, 8 runs, 11 RBI, 11 walks and 19 strikeouts. Oliver stole a base on his only chance. He has made only 1 error in 125 chances at 1B so far.

Oliver must have used up all of his homers this spring when he hit 30. 73 at-bats is way too small of a sample size to declare his power gone, but it would be nice to see some improvement before the season ends.

OF Wander Nunez - 36th round (Western Oklahoma State JC)
Hitting .234/.318/.330 in 30 games in the GCL. 22 hits in 94 at-bats with 1 double, 4 triples, 11 runs, 10 RBI, 7 walks and 19 strikeouts. Wander has no homers and is 4/5 in his SB attempts. He has 2 OF assists and has made no errors in 41 total chances.

Nunez is a toolsy type, so it's no surprise he has a bunch of triples, steals and nice fielding numbers. He needs to start hitting to move up, though.

LHP Nick Serino - 37th round (University of Massachusetts)
2-2, 2.70 ERA in 11 games in the GCL (16 and 2/3 innings). 13 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 18 strikeouts, 2 walks, .206 BA against.

2 walks in 16 and 2/3 innings? Sweeeeeeeeeet. Serino can keep moving up pretty quickly with control like this.

RHP Kevin Cahill - 41st round (Purdue)
0-1, 4.15 ERA in 10 games in Vermont (17 and 1/3 innings). 17 hits, 8 runs (8 earned), 24 strikeouts, 9 walks, .254 BA against.

Cahill is pitching well in Vermont. His walk numbers are a little high, but his strikeout numbers are very impressive.

OF Rashad Hatcher - 49th round (Patrick Henry CC)
Hitting .138/.194/.138 in 22 games in the GCL. 4 hits in 29 at-bats with 3 runs, 3 RBI, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts. Yet to get an extra base hit or steal a base, although he was caught once. Hatcher has successfully played all 15 chances in the field he's gotten.

Hatcher has been pretty bad, but it's still only 29 at-bats. Not sure why he's gotten so little playing time, but he could fall off the radar soon if he doesn't start hitting.

Now onto some undrafted free agents:
RHP Mike Gallo (Milligan College)
0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in 10 games (15 innings) in the GCL. 22 hits, 23 runs (18 earned), 5 homers allowed, 11 strikeouts, 8 walks, .314 BA against.

Mike is a friend of the program, so he gets to go first. His first stint in the GCL has been pretty discouraging, but his BB and K rate stats aren't awful. If Mike starts to keep the ball in the yard like he did in college, he'll be back on the right track.

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.

Monday, August 16, 2010

32 signed, 1 to go


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 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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nats to sign Solis and Cole

According to Baseball America's Jim Callis, the Nats have agreed to terms with 2nd round pick Sammy Solis ($1 mil) and 4th round pick A.J. Cole ($2 mil). I am ecstatic.

-Before today, I had zero confidence the Nats would get something done with Cole, simply because I had heard nothing at all on his negotiations.

-12th round pick Robbie Ray visited Nats Park over the weekend...will meeting Strasburg and getting his own personalized Nats jersey be enough to get him to sign? If so, the Nats will end up signing 25 of their top 26 picks (because there is no way Bryce Harper goes back to school). The only one missing would be 14th rounder Tim Smalling, who is returning to Virginia Tech due to an injured shoulder, which brought down the Nats' contract offer. Well done, Rizzo and crew.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who is Wilson Ramos?

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, (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, (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)

Here are Wilson Ramos' Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference links.

Not a whole lot on Testa.

He had a Q and A with 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."

Here are Joe Testa's Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference links.

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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

3 reasons why the Nationals should avoid Edwin Jackson like the plague

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.

Jackson signed a 2 year, $13.35 million extension with the Diamondbacks in February, with $8.35 of the payment planned for the 2011 season. He stood at 4 years and 70 days of ML service time going into the 2010 season and is more or less a lock to hit the 6 years of service time needed to reach unrestricted free agency at some point next year (thanks to Cot's for the info).

While Jackson is on the borderline between Type A and Type B status in Eddie Bajek's latest Elias Rankings Update on MLB Trade Rumors, his value there is trending downwards. It stands at 70.663 now while it stood at 73.050 on July 14 and 74.41 on May 23 (a score of 71.5 is currently the cut-off in the NL between types A and B). Jackson will need to repeat (or better) his 2009 performance in 2011 to be a type A, as the rankings only take into account the last 2 seasons. The Elias Rankings involve some combination of games, innings pitched, wins, ERA and K's, and Jackson's win total and ERA this year have seriously underwhelmed. He'll have to work himself back towards the 13-9 record and 3.62 ERA he put up last year to make it back.

While there is always a chance the Nats retain him into his free agent years, he's not worth as much to the team them. You trade for young pitchers in part to try and get as many years out of them as you can at less than market value. Once pitchers hit free agency, you start paying true value or more for them.

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.

(Some links on Jackson's workload: 6/2009 (Baseball Daily Digest), 6/2010 (FJB), 6/2010 (Sabernomics), 7/2010 (AZ Central)

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.