Results tagged ‘ Winter Meetings ’

A few parting Winter Meetings thoughts

I’m home now after another Winter Meetings in the books (for the record, this was my 11th Winter Meetings, third here in Dallas), and I figured I’d leave with a few parting thoughts, of course with a prospect slant.

  • With Mr. Pujols now officially gone from St. Louis, most talk has been about moving Lance Berkman or Allen Craig to first base. I wonder if they’ll give Matt Adams a shot to play somewhere now. Probably unlikely, but that guy can hit.
  • With Mr. Wilson now officially gone from Texas, is there anyone internally who’d get a crack at that rotation? Martin Perez isn’t ready,  maybe a Neil Ramirez type? Of course, Texas could dive into the Yu Darvish sweepstakes (more on him after I get home). Conversely, with the Angels getting him, does that mean a guy like Garrett Richards can get more development time in the Minors?
  • With the Marlins not getting Wilson or Pujols, do they have enough left in the piggy bank to go after Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes?
  • Will the best players not taken in the Rule 5 Draft — Jiwan James, the intriguing story of Drew Cumberland — make people wish they had taken them with strong seasons in 2012?
  • Will anyone provide the A’s with enough prospects to get Gio Gonzalez? Sounds like Oakland is selling high, so we’ll see if a team that needs a starter is willing to bite.

That’s it for now. Take a deep breath and we’ll talk more next week.

The skinny on Nestor Molina

The Blue Jays got a dynamic late-inning reliever in Sergio Santos, but the White Sox got a pretty good pitching prospect in return. Here’s some more information on right-hander Nestor Molina.

Like the big leaguer he was traded for, Molina is also a convert to pitching. The Venezuelan originally signed as a hitter, playing the outfield and third base in the Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues in 2006-2007 before turning to pitching full-time in 2008.

He made his United States debut in  2009 and spent nearly all of his first two seasons in the country as a reliever. He pitched well in that role, with a 1.67 ERA in 2009 and 3.11 in his full-season debut across two levels in 2010.

The Blue Jays moved the 22-year-old into a starting role in 2011 and he took to it well, leading the system in ERA (2.21) and finishing third in strikeouts. He walked only 16 while striking out 148. He was a Florida State League All-Star and earned a late promotion to Double-A, where he was extremely effective over five Eastern League starts. The success he had earned him a spot on Toronto’s 40-man roster in November.

Molina features an intriguing four-pitch mix with an advanced feel for pitching. He’ll throw his fastball in the 89-92 mph range and complements it with a slider and a changeup. His best pitch, though, might be his splitter, a true plus offering with a ton of deception. Some have said he might be better-suited to be a top-flight bullpen/setup guy, but his stuff and command say he’ll get more time to start.

Catching up on the prospects

Certainly was a busy day here at the Witner Meetings on Monday. I figured now would be a good time to catch everyone up on the Minor Leaguers who have changed hands so far, as well as other goings on.

* The Marcum-for-Lawrie deal became official yesterday afternoon and here’s my report on what Brett Lawrie brings to the table.

* The Diamondbacks got two power arms for Mark Reynolds. One of them, Kam Mickolio, is sort of a prospect. Here’s what I wrote about him:

kam_mickolio.jpgThe Seattle Mariners deserve credit for a nice scouting find
with the selection of Mickolio in the 18th round of the 2006 Draft.
The 6-foot-9 product of Utah Valley State reached Triple-A in his first full
season, finishing with a 2.68 ERA, better than a strikeout per inning and a
.219 batting average against. It was enough get the attention of the Baltimore Orioles,
who got Mickolio as part of the Erik Bedard trade before the 2008 season. He
got his first taste of the big leagues that year, appearing in nine games out
of the Orioles bullpen and 11 more in 2009. In the Minors, he kept racking up
strikeouts, even with injury issues – including a groin strain – keeping him
off the mound at times. In his Minor League career, Mickolio has a 9.9
strikeout per nine ratio. In his brief big-leageu stings, he’s struck out 9.4
per nine. He also has a 3.7 walks per nine ratio in the Minors (and
5.0 in the big leagues) and that’s where the issues have arisen, though he was
much better during his stint in the Arizona Fall League that recently
concluded. Mickolio is a sinker/slider guy who was clocked up to 96 mph with
his sinking fastball in the AFL. With his size, he gets a good downward angle
and his sinker can be very heavy (He had a 1.91 groundout-to-flyout ratio in
the Minors in 2010). He doesn’t always command his fastball well, not getting down in the zone consistently. At the same time, he doesn’t always throw his slider consistently well. The quality of his breaking ball comes and goes and when he doesn’t have a feel for it, he becomes a one-pitch pitcher.

* It didn’t get that much attention, but the Mariners gave $2.9 million to 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero. Here’s what one Latin American scout had to say about him:
 

Peguero is an average runner and a fair defender. His best
tool is his bat and he profiles as an above-average hitter. He may not be a
shortstop when all is said and done, but could be an offensive second baseman.
He won’t have a ton of home run power, but should hit plenty of doubles along
the way.

* And, in case you missed it, my story on Mike Moustakas coming to the Winter Meetings to get the Joe Bauman Award for topping the Minors in home runs.

Getting started at the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings here in beautiful Lake Buena Vista (that’s Orlando for most of you) are just getting going, but things are already rolling on the prospect front. It’s not often that two Top 50 type prospects get dealt in the span of an entire Winter Meetings, but we’ve got two — one confirmed, one likely soon to be — already changing hands.

The first, of course, was Casey Kelly, going from the Red Sox to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez deal. He was No. 28 on MLB.com’s Top 50 prospects list before the 2010 season and while his performance didn’t measure up, scouts still love his stuff. Take a look at the run-down on him and the two other good prospects (Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes) the Padres got for Gonzalez.

And while it’s not official — yet — it certainly appears likely the Brewers will send Brett Lawrie (No. 26 on that Top 50 list) to Toronto for Shuan Marcum at some point in time. His bat remains his best tool. Stay tuned for a run-down on him if/when that thing becomes official.

Much, much more to come from me as the week wears on. Whenever there’s a prospect involved in a trade, I’ll be there to provide analysis. And don’t forget the all-too exciting Rule 5 Draft preview — complete with potential picks — coming on Wednesday.

Today, I’ll get the chance to talk to Royals Mike Moustakas, who’s here to accept the Joe Bauman Award for topping the Minors in home runs in 2010. So stay tuned for that story later on.

Time to hit the ol’ lobby to see what the latest is…

Vegas baby

It’s certainly an interesting locale for the Winter Meetings, isn’t it? I mean, where else could be better for wheeling and dealing?

Already one deal made — and I’ll be back with some detailed info on Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo, the two Minor Leaguers sent to the Rangers for Gerald Laird — and I’m sure more to come. I’ll be providing analysis on any and all prospects involved in deals while were here.

And it doesn’t even have to be direct involvment. Think about the Edgar Renteria signing in San Francisco, announced a while back. That was, on the surface, just a free agent signing. But it does directly impact some young players in that system. So much for Emmanuel Burriss being the shortstop of the immediate future, right? Maybe now he gets a shot to play second base. If that’s the case, then what happens to Kevin Frandsen? Could there be a competition at second, or will Frannie have to battle it out with Eugenio Velez for a utility spot? Frandsen does have the ability to fill in at three infield position and probably would sell hot dogs if it meant he could help the team and get his name in the lineup. Should be an interesting spring there…

The other big rumor involving a young player so far has been Homer Bailey to the White Sox for Jermaine Dye. I know GM Walt Jocketty has denied it publicly, but don’t be shocked if Homer does get dealt at some point. Some folks I’ve talked to have told me that there is some truth to the Dye-for-Bailey rumor and here’s why: The Reds need a right-handed No. 3 hitter to put between the young guys (Votto and Bruce). Dye and Reds manager Dusty Baker know each other well and get along. The Reds are not sure Bailey will ever throw strikes consistently because of too much length in his arm action. That also might keep him from finding consistency with his breaking ball. Add into the mix that there’s pressure from Reds ownership on Jocketty to make something happen and it’s possible this isn’t done yet.

Plenty more later…

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