July 2010

Draft update

I know I owe you some more MiLB Pitcher of the Year candidates and I promise I’ll get to that soon.

But with news of the potential signing of No. 10 overall pick Michael Choice (A’s), I thought it’d be a good time to update what was going on with other first rounders. Once Choice is officially signed — looks like tomorrow will be a good day for that — that will make just 13 of 32 first-rounders who have signed and two of the top 10: Colon and Choice.

There’s not much to report on the top three. I’m fairly confident in that Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado will be last-minute, up against the deadline deals. The same for No. 5 pick Drew Pomeranz (with his workload at Ole Miss, that might not be a bad thing for the Indians).

No. 6 pick Barret Loux has the whole injury situation. He failed his physical and now things are kind of in limbo. I’m told the negotiation process is on-going with the Diamonbacks, so maybe they can come to some kind of discounted deal (like Tim Stauffer and the Padres years back).

No. 7 Matt Harvey is another one who likely will go down to the wire with the Mets.

The Astros and No. 8 pick Delino DeShields continue to have positive negotiations and there was sincere hope something would get done well prior to the deadline.

Look for the Reds and No. 12 pick Yasmani Grandal to work up until that Aug. 16 deadline to try and make a deal.

Nothing to report thus far with the Giants and No. 24 pick Gary Brown.

The Rockies and No. 26 Kyle Parker seem to be far apart, with a deadline set by Parker passing. It’s believed that was a deadline set in order for him to not play football — he didn’t want to leave Clemson in the lurch. But maybe they can work something out where he signs and still plays football in the fall.

That’s it for now. I’ll hop on as I hear things leading up to that August 16 deadline.

Pitchers of the Year, Part I

We’re on a roll here now and I wanted to keep the momentum going. Over the last two days, I provided 10 potential candidates for Player of the Year in the Minor Leagues. Now it’s time to move on to pitchers.

Once again, here’s the disclaimer: Pitcher of the Year does not necessarily mean prospect of the year. I’m looking at performance, not status. With that in mind, here are three nominees for your consideration. As always, please interact and give suggestions in comments.

Joe Gardner, RHP, Indians: Not a bad first season for the 2009
third-round selection. The right-hander has held hitters at two levels
to a .188 BAA, fourth lowest in MiLB. At the same time, he’s been a
groundball machine, topping MiLB with a 3.50 GO/AO ratio. He’s struck
out 113 in 104 innings and has a 1.07 WHIP to go along with a 2.77 ERA.

John Lamb, LHP, Royals: Other arms in this system may get the attention (Crow, Montgomery), but that should change now. The 2008 fifth-round pick just turned 20 this month and has already jumped a level, from Class A to Class A Advanced ball. And he’s pitched better up a level. Overall, he leads Minor League Baseball with a 1.38 ERA and hitters have hit just .197 against him (good for seventh lowest in MiLB). His 0.98 WHIP is eighth lowest. He’s seventh overall with 128 K’s, doing that while walking just 32 in 110 2/3 IP.

Michael Pineda, RHP, Mariners: Just 21 years old, he’s already in Triple-A. Combined, he’s gone 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA in 18 starts. Over 106 IP, he’s struck out 109 while walking just 26. The right-hander has held opposing hitters to a .219 batting average against (just .196 in his five Triple-A starts thus far).

More to come…

POTY, Part Deux

It’s time to take a look at a few more Player of the Year candidates. Five were listed in yesterday’s post. Here are more for your consideration. Keep in mind, this isn’t only about prospects — it’s about best player in the Minor Leagues. But feel free to send in suggestions for candidates.

dbrown.JPGDomonic Brown, OF, Phillies: Is he a candidate more because of his prospect status? Perhaps, but the Futures Gamer is having a heckuva year. Between Double- and Triple-A, Brown has hit .325/.388/.586. He’s got 19 homers, 63 RBIs and 14 steals in 86 games. He’s among a small group of players closing in on 20-20 seasons in the Minors.

Jared Goedert, 3B, Indians: Back in his first full season (2007), Goedert began like a house on fire in Class A ball and finished the year with 20 homers and a .317/.431/.590 line. Two years of so-so to below-average production followed, with a shoulder injury playing more than a little part. He’s pain-free now and has split the year between Double- and Triple-A, hitting at both stops. He’s hitting .321/.383/.623 on the year with 23 HR and 65 RBIs in 83 games. He’s tied for fifth in homers and is sixth in SLG.

Kila Ka’aihue, 1B, Royals: What’s this guy got to do to get a
realn shot? Two years ago, he was a Player of the Year candidate when he
hit a combined .314/.456/.628 with 37 homers and 100 RBIs. He’s at it
again in 2010, hitting .307/.460/.588 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs in 81
Triple-A games. He’s fourth in OPS in the Minors and second in OBP.

Jerry Sands, 1B, Dodgers: As a 25th rounder in 2008, he’s had to prove himself every step and it looks like he might be doing it. The 22-year-old started back in the Midwest League this year, but after hitting .333/.432/.646 in 69 games, he got double-jumped to Double-A, where he’s held his own (.293/.406/.610). Combined, his 1.062 OPS is second-best in the Minors, he’s tied for second with 26 homers and he’s fourth with a .637 SLG.

Mike Trout, OF, Angels: Trout has been nothing short of fantastic in his first full season of pro ball (Come on Kevin Orris, you didn’t think I’d forget him, did you?). He won’t turn 19 until early August and he’s already been promoted to the Class A Advanced California League. So far, the jump hasn’t seemed particularly daunting, with a five-game hitting streak and a .320/.433/.600 line over seven games. His .359 combined batting average is second best in the Minors and his .452 OBP is fourth. He’s second overall with 45 steals as well.

Others worthy of consideration:
Dan Johnson, Marc Krauss, J.D. Martinez, Paul McAnulty, Matthew Rizzotti

PITY-POTY

For the uninitiated, that stands for: Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year. And of course, I’m talking about in the Minor Leagues.

We’re well into the second half of the season — there’s about six weeks of the Minor League season remaining — so I thought it’d be a good idea to look at some of the potential candidates for top oveall MiLB player and pitcher. I’m going to start with 5 position player canididates, with more to come in the coming days.

Please let me know who you’re choice would be. If you have other candidates, let me know about them as well.

Player of the Year Candidates

J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays: It’s been quite a bounce-back season for the 2007 first-rounder. Sure, he’s playing in Las Vegas, but it’s not nothing that he tops the Minors with 28 homers and .669 SLG. His 1.036 OPS is fifth overall, he’s hitting .316 and his 69 RBIs are good for third in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants: If you’re not familiar with him, you
should become acquainted. A fifth-rounder taken in last year’s draft out
of the University of Texas, Belt has hit better as a pro than he did
with the Longhorns. He began his first season in the California League,
but got promoted to Double-A 14 games ago. He’s raked throughout and his
.383 average and 1.129 OPS lead the Minors. He’s first with a .483 OBP
and third with his .645 SLG.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks: Yes, he’s 22 and he’s been playing in the hitter-friendly California League. But he’s tied for the Minor-League lead with 56 extra-base hits, tied for second with 26 homers, fifth with 73 RBIs while hitting .312 and slugging .605

Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds: Talk about a breakout. The 2007 first-rounder has split the year between the Class A advanced Carolina League and Double-A Southern League, not exactly known as hitting-friendly circuits. Neverthleless, the 22-year-old Mesoraco has hit a combined .319/.389/.631 in 80 games. His 1.021 OPS is good for eighth overall. He’s got 20 homers and 53 RBIs. And he’s thrown out 42 percent of would-be base stealers. Not a bad combination of skills.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals: The Futures Gamer and 2007 first-rounder just got bumped up to Triple-A and for good reason. He’s hitting .333 and his 1.050 OPS is third best in the Minors. He’s second in SLG (.652), fourth in RBIs (76) and has 21 homers. 

More to come…

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