Results tagged ‘ prospects ’
Got this idea when my esteemed colleague Jason Ratliff found info about Minor League phase selectee Anthony Hatch in an old Blue Jays organization preview. Hmm, I thought, I wonder how many of these guys we’ve written about over the past couple of years in our previews and reviews. Those things are fairly exhaustive, so I figured there was a good chance we’d written about several of these guys over the years. Lisa Winston mentioned one in her recent discussion of Terrell Young over on Got MiLB? It’ll get repeated here. I’ll start with the Major League phase guys and move on from there. It’s interesting (at least to me) to go back and see what we were saying about these guys in years past (Many thanks to another fantastic co-worker, Kristen Zimmerman, for locating the archived previews and reviews).
1. Terrell Young (Taken by Nationals from the Reds)
2007 preview (Under the Radar section):
The 21-year-old was the Reds’ 10th-round pick in 2004 out of high school in Mississippi. The club has taken things slowly with him and consider him very much a work-in-progress but love his upside. He finished ’06 as a closer at Billings, limiting opponents to a .145 average in 23 1/3 innings as he posted a 2.70 ERA and struck out 32, though his command was an issue with 20 walks. He should start the year in the Dayton bullpen.
“He may have the best arm of the bunch at Dayton,” Terry Reynolds said. “He’s got a real power arm and he can develop a second pitch (either a curve or a slider to be determined) he could really be a guy to watch. He was so overpowering in the closer role that it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a second pitch.”
3. Everth Cabrera (Taken by Padres from Rockies)
2008 review (On the Radar):
The switch-hitting middle infielder, who saw 84 games at second and 34 at shortstop at Asheville, led the Minors with 73 steals, the second time in three years a Tourists player has achieved that feat (Eric Young Jr. did it in 2006). He batted .284 in that span.
4. Donnie Veal (Taken by Pirates from Cubs)
2006 preview (2005 draft recap):
Veal is probably used to lofty expectations, as he’s been compared to
Dontrelle Willis since he was in high school. Veal, like Willis, is
very aggressive and has a very extroverted personality. He pitches with
that passion and is very polished for a young hurler coming from a
junior college (Pima Community College). He could join Pawelek as a
nice 1-2 combination in Peoria, though there is a chance the
21-year-old will be pushed up to Daytona.
2007 preview (Climbing the Ladder):
In his first full season, the second-round selection in 2005 has emerged as perhaps the top starting pitching prospect in the organization. Just 22, Veal led the organization in ERA (2.16) and strikeouts (174) between two Class A stops at Peoria and Daytona and limited hitters to a .175 average, best in the Minors.
He throws the best curveball in the system, a fastball in the low 90s, and he is working on a change-up. With an aggressive delivery and personality, he is fun to watch and his numbers improved following a midseason promotion. The Cubs hope to see the same development when they bump him up to the Southern League to start 2007.
“He’s probably the best pitching prospect in the system,” said Oneri Fleita. “All he needs to do is tweak his command. That will come with time, and then you’ll see him quickly. He’s a young lefty with tremendous stuff.”
The young southpaw led all starters in 2006 with a .175 batting average against and posted a 2.16 ERA and 174 strikeouts between two Class A stops. He struggled with consistency in Double-A, going 8-10 with a 4.97 ERA at Tennessee, though his 131 strikeouts was good for a share of the organization lead. With his outstanding curveball and low 90s fastball, the 21-year-old will probably start ’08 back at Double-A but could move up as soon as he shows his stuff again. That shouldn’t take long.
2008 preview (10 Spot):
It was an extremely tough offseason for Veal, who just a few years after losing his mother, lost his father as well. That puts his struggles on the mound during the 2007 season in proper perspective.
Veal had difficulty commanding his pitches for much of the season, walking 73 in 130 1/3 innings. He did strike out 131, showing that the stuff was still very much there. The Cubs don’t want to make this comparison for obvious reasons, but Randy Johnson walked 128 in 140 Double-A innings back in 1987. The Cubs feel that Veal’s stuff — a mid-90s fastball, slider and changeup — combined with a tremendous work ethic should help him overcome his disappointing 2007 season. Time often sorts things out when you’re left-handed and have that kind of an arm. The Cubs didn’t want to add stress to Veal’s spring by bringing him to big-league camp and they’ll likely ease him back with another go-round at Double-A to find out where he is both physically and mentally.
2008 review (Kept Their Footing):
It was Veal’s second go-round in Tennessee, and while the numbers didn’t get appreciably better, he deserves credit for persevering following his father’s death. The southpaw still has outstanding stuff and if he can harness it with better command, he’ll have a very bright future. At age 24, there’s still plenty of time for him to figure it out.
Come back for more Rule 5 stuff tomorrow…
Greetings all —
Finally crawled out from under the avalanche that was the Top 50 prospects list. Hope everyone is enjoying it so far. If you haven’t seen it, by all means, go and check it out now. We’re revealing 10 per day and have gotten down to No. 21, so only the top 20 remain. I always enjoy doing it, but man, I’m always glad when I’m done with it.
There are two ways people can get involved. They can send in their own top 10 — and we’ll put together a fan top prospect list based on those. Email that to: Top10Prospects@gmail.com. You can also email me comments, complaints, smart remarks. Honestly, it’s why I do the list in the first place, to elicit response. So respond at will.
On to other things…
B3 friend and colleague Lisa Winston has been an interviewin’ fool over on Got MiLB? Her “Beyond the Box Score: Getting to Know…” series is taking off. Since last I mentioned, there are three more players who you can get to know with these in-depth, off-beat interviews:
Read ‘em all, you’ll be better for it.
Whaddaya folks think about the Javy Vazquez trade? Gotmilby (that’s Lisa) and I were talking about it and both of us first thought the Braves gave up too much. We saw Tyler Flowers hit in the AFL and color us impressed. Even if he can’t catch — and the guess here is that the Braves think he can’t — that’s a big bat to give up for a mediocre starting pitcher and Boone Logan, isn’t it? Unless they felt he was incapable of handling any position at all, I was a bit surprised to see Flowers in the deal. Now, the AFL is indeed a small sample size, so we shouldn’t go too crazy over what he did there.
The other guys aren’t bad, either. Granted, Brent Lillibridge seemed to take a step back in 2008, but I think he still could be a utility guy in the future. Jon Gilmore is just getting started and has a ton of power potential as a third baseman. Santos Rodriguez isn’t known to most, having only played in the Gulf Coast League in the U.S., but he’s the kind of arm that years from now could end up being the key component in the deal. I don’t care what the level is, 45 K in 29 IP makes you take notice. So does the .155 batting average against, not to mention the 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame and age (20).
Thus ends the Jake Peavy drama in Atlanta, huh? Truth be told, I’d rather give a rotation spot to Tommy Hanson on Opening Day than have Javy Vazquez, but those decisions aren’t up to me.
Hey, folks, sorry I’ve not been on here in a while — been a crazy several weeks. Not a good excuse, but I’m back and hope to be more active now that exciting AFL action is about to begin.
With that in mind, I wanted to let you all know about a new wrinkle to our coverage: AFL blogs. The days of journals are gone with the dinosaurs (you know, those things Sarah Palin claims ran the earth in the 1920s…). Not only did we go out and try to find a few bloggers to discuss their experiences in the Arizona Fall League, we decided to try to find one for every MLB organization! That’s right 30 blogs for your reading pleasure (still working on securing all of them, but we will). We’ve got lead bloggers for each organization and we’ll work to get guest bloggers from each team to chip in as well to give you as robust a look at life in the AFL as anyone has ever seen.
Today, we kicked things off with the NL West and I’m happy and proud to link you up:
Diamondbacks: Lead blogger — Hector Ambriz
Dodgers: Lead blogger — Lucas May
Giants: Lead blogger — Kevin Pucetas
Padres: Lead blogger — Chad Huffman
Rockies: Lead blogger — Mike McKenry (We had some technical issues with this one, so look for his first post later on today)
Games kick off tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 7), so keep an eye out for all our great coverage at our AFL site.
In addition to the AFL stuff, we’ve also kicked off our annual organizational reviews and I must say that this year they look better than ever, from both an aesthetic and content perspective. Kevin Czerwinski kicks things off with our look at the Washington Nationals. One of the cooler things we’re doing this year is name MiLB.com organizational hitters and pitchers of the year in each review. For the Nats, it was Roger Bernadina and Jordan Zimmerman being so honored. To cap it off, Kevin C.’s has added “One More Thing” about the Nats on his excellent blog: Minor Leagues, Major Thoughts.
Tomorrow, we’ve got Kevin’s Mariners review. And I promise to have a lot more to say about the AFL and other things as we move forward from here. So welcome back, and if you’re a first-timer, thanks for checking this out…
I figured Matt LaPorta’s gotten enough attention (though you can watch my interview with him in Akron last night on the MiLB.com homepage). What about a guy like Robert Bryson, the low-A RHP included in the deal? How about some love for him?
I’m no stats geek (though I like them to an extent), but I was looking at his performance since he began his pro career and something stuck out: He seemed to have a lot of strikeouts. Seventy in 54 IP for Helena last summer in the Pioneer League, then 73 more in 55 IP in West Virginia prior to the trade. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 143 K’s in 109 IP.
Boy, I thought, that seems like a pretty good rate. I wonder, I pondered aloud (that was strange because I was working in a coffee shop and people turned and stared. But I digress…), where that ranks among Minor League pitchers over the same time frame. So like I did with the LaPorta power numbers, I asked my good friends in the MLBAM stats department to do some crunching for me. They came back with great abs. When I told them I meant for them to crunch the numbers, they said, “Ohhhhh,” punched themselves in the stomach and got the spreadsheet up and running. Lo and behold, this is what they found, using the strikeout per nine inning ratio and using all pitchers from June 22, 2007 (Bryson’s debut) and a minimum of 100 IP:
Santo Luis, Astros/White Sox, 12.62 K/9
Victor Garate, Astros/Dodgers, 12.03
Neftali Feliz, Rangers, 11.83
Rob Bryson, Brewers, 11.81
Jeremy Jeffers, Brewers, 11.78
I almost want to discount Luis and Garate since both are older (Luis is 24; Garate 23) and pitching in low-A ball. Not that they can’t have careers, but they’ve been around since signing in 2001 and 2002 (both by the Astros, who let them go, if that’s telling at all). Feliz is legit and is in Double-A now at age 20. Jeffress has ridiculous arm strength, but has had some off-the-field issues and it remains to be seen what he becomes. But he’s still very young. And there’s Bryson, No. 4 overall in the Minors with his K/9 rate. So while LaPorta is clearly the big fish the Indians wanted to reel in with this trade (C.C. makes for some imposing bait, no?), don’t just relegate Bryson as “some random guy” thrown in. Dude can throw and if he can figure some things out, he could be a nice arm, either in the rotation or more likely as a short reliever, down the line.
Inning: Bottom 7
Situation: One out, no one on. Score tied 5-5.
Outcome: Tapper back to the mound.
Facing a lefty for the first time, John Flanagan, Beckham took a ball before getting fooled on Flanagan’s second pitch. He was way out in front, tried to hold up his swing and ended up with a check-swing tapper back to Flanagan. Flanagan’s got a real funky delivery and comes from a three-quarters arm slot and the guess here is Beckham didn’t see too much of that in high school. Flanagan’s tossed three scoreless innings, so it’s not just Beckham having trouble picking the ball up.
So Beckham is 1-for-4 tonight. Combined distance of all of his balls in play, I think, would be about 300 feet. But hey, he hasn’t struck out yet.
Inning: Bottom 4
Situation: .Two outs, none on. Princeton leading, 5-3.
Outcome: Groundout to the shortstop, end of inning.
Getting a third look at Lehman, he took a couple of pitches to run the count to 1-1. He then hit a grounder in the hole to short, fielded by Lifete Jose, who threw out Beckham by a half-step. Beckham’s 1-for-3 on the night, but hasn’t gotten the ball out of the infield as of yet. He has shown an ability to get down the line in a hurry.
At this rate, he’s going to have about 6 ABs…
Inning: Bottom 2
Situation: Runner on third, two outs. Princeton leading 3-0.
Outcome: Grounder to second, side retired.
Beckham took the first offering from Lehman in his second at-bat and went the other way with it, right at Franco. It was a routine play and Franco made it. Beckham will have to wait for his first pro RBI.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to dust off the ol’ “Travelblogue” term and figured now would be a good time to do so, it being the Midwest League All-Star Game and all.
I wrote in detail about Midland, the area, the history and the ballpark, when were here back in April 2007. Still a good town, still a great ballpark and I was able to get another burger and shake at Daddy O’s on Main Street. So all is right with the world.
Last night, they had the obligatory home run derby. I must admit, I’m growing tired of them, but the fans still love ‘em (think about it, the folks here in Midland don’t get to see derbies as often as I do) and the kids put on a good show, with Felix Carrasco winning the title over the Midwest League home run leader, Ian Gac. You can read my story about it here, along with info on tonight’s starting pitchers and a note on a former All-Star in attendance.
They’re getting ready for batting practice at Dow Diamond currently, so I’ll have to keep this short. It’s a great league for talent this year, with the all-star roster having four players from last year’s first round. And that’s just the top 30. There are two more sandwich picks and a second rounder here as well tonight. That doesn’t include the legitimate international prospects, not to mention the guys not from the 2007 draft class.
All of that leaves us (myself and producer Joe Cronin with plenty of options. Look for a feature on Jarrod Parker as well as interviews (we hope) with fellow ’07 first-rounders Ben Revere and Pete Kozma.
Stay tuned for more…I’ll try to post a recap of the evening’s festivities when I have the chance.
I’m back, baby. The draft is over and now I can get back to B3 on a more consistent basis. I thought I’d start it back up with a good “FIND THE MINOR LEAGUER REQUEST.”
on your offer to find a minor leaguer. I am looking to see where Jacob Reust is
now and how he is doing. My nephew, Taylor Smith, married Jacob’s sister, Jess Reust, now Smith, in
September, 2007. Jacob’s entire family came to Roanoke, VA which is where my
family and I live, to be married at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church. Jacob was an
usher and I got to meet him for the first time there. At the wedding reception,
I talked with him and, believe it or not, brought baseballs for each of us in our
family for him to sign. — Dianne V.
Thanks for writing in, Dianne. I guess my first question is, “Why don’t you ask your nephew’s wife?” In all seriousness, I have found out some information on Reust. The Australian right-handed pitcher signed with the Indians organization in February 2007. He attended the MLB Australian Academy in 2007 and once represented Australia in the Cal Ripken World Series (2002). Just 18 years old, Reust is listed at 6-feet and 189 pounds (well, 183 cm and 86 kg, but I converted) and is reported to throw his fastball in the 90-mph range.
Reust is currently in Winter Haven, Fla., home of the Indians’ extended Spring Training facility, recovering from a shoulder injury — right shoulder capsulitis. He’s working with the organization’s rehab specialist and when/if he’ll play this summer will be determined when he’s closer to being healthy, in about a month.
I’ll be back in the coming days with more stuff…
Hey all. Sorry B3 has been on hiatus awhile. Me and Mrs. B3 were away for a week in honor of our 10th wedding anniversary (a complete blog post on that will be forthcoming, for those curious).
Back in the saddle now, the job has taken me to Lynchburg and Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday and today. Aside from getting driving through what I think was the worst thunderstorm ever to get from Lynchburg to the hotel here in Charlottesville, it was a very productive trip.
We got a little lucky yesterday. We came here with the objective of doing a feature on Orioles top prospect (and 2007 first-round pick) Matt Wieters. That mission was indeed accomplished, but we got a lot more bang for our buck. Turns out that Daniel Moskos was on the hill for Lynchburg and we got to talk to him post-game as well (throw in an interview with Carolina League batting leader Jim Negrych and I’d say we got our money’s worth. Look for all of this fine work in the coming days).
Remember, this wasn’t just a matchup of two first-round picks from last year. It was the guy the Pirates did take — Moskos — facing the guy everyone thought they should take — Wieters. It was pretty clear that the intrigue in that wasn’t lost on Moskos, who picked a good day (since we had come all this way) to have the best start of his pro career. He pitched into the seventh inning (6 2/3 to be exact) and didn’t allow a run, not walking anyone and allowing just three hits while striking out three. By my count, he induced 12 groundball outs (As an added bonus, he was facing Pedro Beato, a good pitching prospect in his own right. Beato had some nasty stuff, but was all over the place command-wise in the first inning, forcing his pitch count up and forcing him out of the game after four innings.).
The biggest reason for his success compared to some of his previous up-and-down outings? Fastball command. Now that may sound a little oversimplified since it’s always about fastball command, isn’t it? But it should be noted that the Pirates have asked Moskos to focus on throwing his four-seamer more often and more consistently. So some of the reasons he’s been a little inconsistent is that he’s, in effect, learning how to throw the pitch in on-the-job training. Last night, he simply had really good feel for the heater.
As for the Wieters-Moskos matchup? It looked like the catcher would have the upper-hand early, when he hit a ball opposite field off the wall in the first inning. But Moskos got him to ground out the next two times he faced him, so Round 1 goes to Moskos, though as the lefty put it — Wieters did go 1-for-3 and that’s about what people should expect from the guy.
As the resident draft guy, it sure was fun to see these guys play in person for the first time. Wieters is a ridiculous physical specimen and you wonder how a guy that big can stay behind the plate. But then you see him move and it makes some sense. He’s incredibly agile and athletic. Frederick manager Tommy Thompson was emphatic in his praise of how Wieters has handled the spotlight and about his leadership skills behind the plate. Keep in mind that he’s basically calling his own game for the first time. It’s one of the bigger problems with big college programs, in my opinion — everything is over-programmed and the coach controls everything. At Ga. Tech, Wieters wasn’t charged with anything — calls on pitch selection, location, even pickoff throws to first, all came from the dugout. Now, the O’s are asking Wieters to pick up all of those skills during his pro debut season. So far, he seems to be a quick study.
Today, I put on my draft hat and go to see Howie Long’s kid (Kyle), who’s actually a baseball player. Then we go on to watch University of Virginia tonight, so you can check out my report on that visit over at Geeking on the Draft.
I leave you with this: On the long drive down from Pittsburgh, I’m enjoying the farms and rolling hills of Virginia. Beautiful country, really. I pass by a little road-side store which sports a big sign that says, “FRIED CHICKEN GIZZARDS.” Now, I have no problem with any store selling anything and maybe that’s a delicacy in these parts. What is concerning to me is that it’s so popular that this place of business felt it would be a huge drawing card to trumpet that they carry the item.
Anyone know what fried chicken gizzards tastes like? And “it tastes like chicken” is not an acceptable response. If you want a recipe for this “delicacy,” check one out here.
I’ll catch up with y’all (see, I’m fitting right in) later.