Monday, September 8, 2014

2015 Roster Projections

The 2015 roster projections for the Texas system are now posted in the side bar.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dominican Summer League Starts Today

DSL play starts today and Texas has indeed added a second team.  The rosters have been updated accordingly. Many of the new players that appear to have signed in the last few months are Venezuelan:  Lugo, Silva, Suarez, Mavo, Rojas.

I would expect that some of the higher ceiling players will only be there until short-season ball starts, with some ticketed for the AZL club, for example, Diplan, Yrizarri, and Almonte.  To have your 7-figure guys spend the whole year in the DSL would be disappointing indeed.  I would expect that Jeremi Profar and Michael de Leon, both whom have been assigned to full-season clubs, will be sent to Spokane and Arizona, respectively.  Other players who did well last year in the DSL will also be candidates for promotion once short-season play begins, particularly those who have been stateside in Arizona for extended spring training.

The AZL rotation will likely be filled with DSL kids this year:  Jurardo, Lopez, Pena, Martinez.  Sosa will likely move to Spokane when their season opens.  Expensive sign Pedro Payano (650K), perceived as a packaged sign accompanying Jairo Beras, has yet to make his stateside debut, but he may have pitched well enough last year to come over as well, but won't likely earn his contract; DSL repeats rarely do.  I would bet on Marcos Diplan and Yonelvy Pichardo moving over as well when the AZL season begins or shortly thereafter.

Edgar Isaac Arredondo is sidelined by TJ surgery which he had shortly after signing in July 2013.  Dominicans Francis Cespedes and Jeily Arias are still no shows in the system.  Arias signed for a reported 500k in 2011.  I assume his contract was voided, likely due to age/identity issues. Cespedes was signed June 2013 and his contract was said to be pending.  I doubt it gets approved at this point.  I've repeatedly asked Ben Badler and John Blake  if they could update the contract status for both players but they have not responded, so there's that.

My DSL sleeper for the year is RF Ronny Carvajal.  The club worked on his swing last year and he finished the second half of DSL play on a nice hot streak.  Of course the last DSL player that I spoke well of because of a good second half never amounted to much:  Carlos Oropeza.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Texas adding 2nd DSL squad?

If the DSL schedule is accurate, it looks like Texas is adding a 2nd squad.  Texas had previously operated 2 teams, with one team acting like a reserve squad with lesser prospects, but contracted to 1 squad after they left their old facility.

The DSL starts 5/31.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Edgar Isaac Arredondo Guzmán

While looking for some info on his signing bonus, I came across the press conference covering his signing that features A.J. Preller.

Some quotes from the presser can be found here and here.

Kid is apparently 6.3 and somewhere in the 177-192 range with good command and mechanics, a FB in the 88-90 range, a good changeup, a curve (and messing with a slider).  He will likely be the youngest guy in the system next year at 16.8 a/o 4/1.

Missed this report a couple of weeks ago:  Arredondo had TJ surgery last July, shortly after signing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tempting Targets: Rangers Rule-5 Players

There is still time to add a couple of players to the Texas 40-man roster, which now stands at 38.   I would think that Chris McGuinness might be outrighted off the 40 and Brett Nicholas added.  Nicholas might have a future as a platoon bat off the bench - .900 OPS RHP- (the same ceiling that some thought McGuinness might have had but who is clearly an 4A guy after an unimpressive 2013) but the contact issues that he demonstrated in AA and in the AFL suggest that he is a 4A stud and nothing more.

I was surprised that Randy Henry was not protected and may therefore be injured. His ceiling is MR, high groundball rate on his moving FB, low strikeout rate.   Chad Bell was the last surprising omission from the 40-man who I speculated was injured and it turned out that he had off-season TJ surgery last spring.  This time around Bell is unprotected again as he is still rehabbing so is unlikely to be protected or selected but will likely make his way back to the AAA rotation by mid-season unless his arm is slated to be protected in the pen all year.  His is a fringy #5 ceiling, middle reliever/loogie, whose #s took a hit when he jumped to AAA in 2012.

There are a few players - only 2 really-  that teams might take a flyer on as 25th men:

Ryan Rodebaugh- had a terrific AA stint in 2012 whose walk rate doubled in 2013 at the same level
Jimmy Reyes- not impressive vs RHH but effective enough vs LHH that someone might take a flyer on him as a loogie.

UPDATE: Actually, as 11/21 was the deadline to set 40-man rosters it is too late to protect anyone.  I guess it speaks volumes that Texas chose to keep McGuinness on the 40 while leaving Nicholas unprotected.

UPDATE II:  Looking at the depth chart, and thinking about what kind of players Texas might be looking for in the minor league phase of the Rule-5 draft in mid-December, they could be in the market for a 1b, LF & UIF at the AA-A+ levels, while they will be looking for infielders at the AAA level, though they will likely sign veterans  with ML experience in Jan/Feb for 2 of the three vacant spots - 2b, 3b, SS - as possible 25th-26th man candidates as injury-call ups.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Eddy Morrobel

BA has some interesting notes on the Rangers' newest converted infielder piitching prospect, Eddy Morrobel:

Texas Rangers
RHP Eddy Morrobel (released by Rockies, March 21, 2012)
Northeast area scout Takeshi Sakurayama discovered 20-year-old righty Eddy Morrobel after watching him throw bullpens with head coach Scott Dulin at Fisher College in Boston. Born in the U.S., Morrobel moved to the Dominican Republic as a youth and originally signed as an international free agent with the Rockies in 2010, spending two years as an infielder in the Dominican Summer League. He moved back to the Northeast to live with his cousin after being released in March 2012, and he first began pitching in the wood-bat Yawkey League that summer while taking classes at Bunker Hill (Mass.) CC. The Rangers sent Morrobel to instructional league in the D.R. to continue learning to pitch.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Projected Rosters are Up!

I've taken a preliminary stab at projecting the rosters for the Texas system in 2014.  Link in the side bar. Enjoy!

UPDATE:  Link fixed so no google sign-in required.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Enough Depth for an Impact Bat?

I feel like posting something today, and I don't feel like editing whatever I blurt out so....

While Texas has had some luck finding impact bats to fill in lineup holes - Napoli - and had the prescience to nab an underrated mid-order bat via FA - Beltre - they don't seem to have game-planned the 2013 and 2014 rosters very well.  Hamilton and Naps were replaced by Berkman and Pierzynski (with TX refusing to overpay in trade or $$ other players during the offseason), while a Moreland bounce back was predicted and a resurgent David Murphy was presumed.  For 2014, both Cruz and Murphy are FA and there are ZERO middle-order prospects on the horizon now that  Olt has been traded.  

Given that the only high level assets are in LowA (all hitters and no high ceiling starters to speak off outside of Jackson) , and that there aren't any impact FA bats available during the off-season, it looks like it might have been worthwhile to overpay on a couple of big bats (in FA $$ or prospects) this year in anticipation of the dearth of free agents in 2013 as well as the the lack of high minors bats ready to play or trade.   Texas will be in a bind next year, having to find 4 starters (RF, LF, C, DH) and a 4th OF from a restricted pool of compelling FA  while their trade prospects will be limited by a lack of diversity in their prospects (all hitters from Low A).  Texas will likely have to plug in league average/fringe average vets on 1 year deals once again, and it will have to further denude its minor league system of its only assets (hitters).  They might even be tempted to sign some bad deals but they might choose to settle on a stop-gap approach similar to 2013 and continue to rely on improving their pitching staff as much as possible and upgrade (and overpay in prospects) at the deadline (again -though the depth will be even thinner in 2014).

So, by way of that digression, what kind of prospects does Texas have in order to acquire one or more bats for their playoff run?  Do they have enough to acquire a high impact bat or will they have to settle for a couple of 34yo platoon types who won't be around next year but whose loss will continue to be felt during the following offseason/ trade deadline due to the thinned out prospect pool averrable for trade.  It would seem that one good bet would be to acquire someone with another year on their contract to fill a roster spot next year and reduce the need to overpay in  FA or trade.  Unless you want to give up Sardinas or Odor or Jackson (further limited by another NeRa DL stay, likely eliminating him from any deal) you'll likely only be able to acquire an older veteran for what you are willing to pay:  your #5 starters on the HighA roster (Eickhoff, Asher, Martinez); your high-leverage relievers  Font, Miller, Lindblom(?), Bonilla(?), Henry(?), Payano(?); possibly some Low A kids like Sadzeck,  LeClerc, Kela); your plus-D reserves (Beltre, Garcia, Gentry(?)).  That is all you got, right?  Not really enough for a young impact bat to be sure.   

Clearly you want to avoid throwing in any of  Sardinas, Odor or Jackson to preserve your flexibility to trade for a young impact bat during the off-season; those three guys might be your best bet to headline a deal given that they will be the only prospects in the upper minors worth acquiring.  Including a high ceiling bat with that group (say Gallo, Williams, Brinson or Alfaro) and maybe an arm from the ML roster, and you might have yourself a new middle-order bat.  But I digress, yet again.  

So, keeping in mind the players you need to keep for some off-season trade flourishes, coupled with NeRa removing himself form the prospect pool due to another DL stay (and chronic shoulder problems), which further delimits Texas' available prospect pool by TWO (reserving 2 more prospects to complete the terms of the Garza trade with the Cubs), Texas has limited resources that will likely bring limited returns.  So I think the most likely scenario for this season, is that Texas will acquire a starting caliber, 30-something RH bat (RF/LF/DH/1B) with a year on his contract along with a reserve RH bat for the limited ceiling prospects articulated above, while saving their high-ceiling players to use for trades this off-season to fill a couple more holes in the lineup.  At that time, the high-ceiling Hickory bats will have had a full year in the minors, giving scouts a good look at them, with most of them ready for HighA, while the Odor-Sardinas-Jackson triumvirate will have graduated to AA, providing clubs some near-ready ML talent to choose from.

That would be the analysis through rose-colored glasses; I just borrowed them from Mark Cuban.  

Wait.  The real (off-season) wild card here is probably Andrus and Kinsler.  The best way to trade for an impact bat would be to trade one of these guys and plug Profar into whatever role remains.  So, yeah, I take all that back about 2014 and prospects and stuff;  one of these guys is gone.   There are just two many holes to fill on the club to not take advantage of their value.

And one more thing.  It might be reassuring to list the injured players who will be coming back next year as well, infusing the system with a couple more high-ceiling prospects, though, many with injuries, if not also warts of some other kind:  Matt West (TJ; setup; PEDS), Roman Mendez (elbow fracture, again; setup); Zach Cone (achilles {heel; hitting}; possible 4th OF); Kevin Matthews (shoulder impingement; terrible command); David Perez (TJ; terrible pre-injury; makeup); Chad Bell (TJ; 5th starter?); Cody Buckel (Yips; #4?); Jeily Arias (DSL; injured?/500K; with team?).

Or they could do nothing and hope to acquire players after the trade deadline.  Welp.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Matt Garza for Kids

So Texas acquired Matt Garza today for a pretty steep package:  Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, CJ Edwards, and PTBNL.  The relative pain of the package depends entirely on the last item.  Could it be a high ceiling, high risk flyer (Alfaro)?  Or and injured player contingent upon health at end of year (maybe they take Brigham back?)? Odor?  Sardinas?

Basically, there is a lot of risk with Olt as he has had a terrible year (.193 vs RHP) and has some seemingly unresolved vision/mental issues.  But, as he is blocked in Texas for the next few years, unless you wanted to see him at 1B or LF, then getting a mid-roto starter for him is exactly how you'd expect his value to be cashed in.  As for Grimm, he had lots of buzz from some about being a solid #3 type starter, while many, including myself, thought he seemed more like a #4 (given his terrible struggles in AAA in '12, changeup, flat FB) and he has pitched like a # 4 this year, err, badly, this year, but I can see why people might still think of him as a # 3 with 2 plus pitches and nice command.

I've heard folks like the two Jasons (Parks and Cole)  pin a likely #4 ceiling on Edwards though I'm not exactly clear why.  Maybe his secs (stuff/feel) don't profile as plus offerings or it is his complete lack of physical projection, or difficulty maintaining velo after the 5th inning, I don't know. But if he is 3 years away as a #4, I can live with that, although his loss hurts given the complete preponderance of #5/LR profiles throughout the system due to poor drafting (thus far), and previous trades, etc.

So yeah, the PTBNL will make or break this deal for me.  The loss of any of the three could make you wince in retrospect a few years down the line, possible as soon as next year with Grimm/Olt, especially considering that those two might have been used to trade for a COF next year given that we will need two.

The biggest question about Texas' current quandaries at the deadline, is that 2 of the 3 gambles that Texas took in April have failed (Pen, Roto, Lineup), necessitating a big package (still one to come for a hitter?) to close the holes.  Texas gambled that they had the rotation depth necessary to avoid signing a mid-rotation arm during FA, or perhaps traded for one with the SAME prospect package (for 33 starts), while also gambling on their lineup by assuming that they could get by with Murphy (and Moreland) as starters and that Berkman would be healthy.  Moreland was fine pre-injury, while Murphy and Berkman have been busts.  Those are the kind of gambles that cost you all of your upper tier prospects and we're just waiting for the other shoe to drop when a hitter is acquired (kiss Sardinas or Odor + goodbye?).

It is all good and fine that Texas pinned its hopes on internal development (Perez, Grimm, Tepesch, Scheppers, Martin, Ortiz, Moreland, Ross) and hole-plugging (Pryz, Berkman) while hoping for bounce-back years from vets (and we got those from Kinz, Cruz) but an argument could be made that the price for filling the current holes on the roster will strip a good chunk of the upper level talent in the system when it could have been avoided during the off-season/Spring.

Couple of twitter updates from, well, twitter:

#Texas didn't include Odor after some concerns arose from TX re Garcia's elbow.  So they got Grimm instead.  Is Odor more highly rated than Grimm?  Had Grimm been that bad?  Who know....twitter gossip.
#As for the PTBNL, it could be NeRa, but if it isn't the Cubs can select two other prospects.  WOW!  If true, man, this could be a 5 prospect deal.  Rich.
#and now twitterverse tells us that Olt's concussion issues and Garcia's elbow cancelled out or something...
#The twitter-reported refusal to inlcude Jackson in any deal suggests that Texas scouts think that Jackson is a likely mid-rotation starter, which runs counter to some prospect writers pegging him as a likely pen arm.  But then Don Welke probably still loves Jordan Akins so who's to say....

I will say that I say the NeRa-like pen profile for Jackson is because, like NeRa,  he has been a 5ip/100pitch guy, inefficient enough with the approach and the mechanics and the command to firmly move the dial in the scouts imagination firmly towards the pen and away from the roto. However, after skipping 3 starts over late may to late June (not due to injury to my knowlege), Jackson might have been tweaked a bit to improve his efficiency and command, pitching into the 6th inning in 5 straight starts.  Food for thought.  If you think he is a # 3 then he is the only #3 currently in full-season ball in the Texas system (think about that for a second...WOW!) so he might very well be worth holding onto for that reason alone.

So until the Player(s) TBNL are, well, named later, the upper levels of the Texas system have only three starting-caliber prospects:  Odor, Sardinas, and Jackson (with some still suggesting they see him as a late-innings guy).  NeRa is almost universally regarded as a pen arm (and an interesting one to be sure, a possible closer?).


Maintaining a good reputation with your trading partner is important.  Remember when Jake Brigham landed on the DL last season shortly after being traded to the Cubs for Soto?  Well, the Cubs might have been none to happy as they preferred Loux and got an injured Brigham in his stead.  At the end of the year, Texas rectified that situation and returned Brigham in exchange for Loux and a PTBNL.  Now Texas was either overcompensating the Cubs, essentially admitting that Brigham's issue might have been more serious (or something), or they already knew that Brigham had some red flags from last year and had already made this arrangement with the Cubs in case Brigham faltered.  What makes me think Texas was admitting some fault and desired to make amends to keep from injuring their rep on the trade market, rather than simple consummating a variation of the trade already agreed upon, is that there was complete radio silence about he matter from both the Cubs, the Rangers, and the beat writers about the issue. Texas seems to have simply said, sorry, let's work this out so that there are not aggrieved parties or unintended consequences, like, say, having the Cubs boycott TX from future prospect-laden deals.  That whole thing was handled strangely, quietly, but amicably in the end.

The deal likely just got worse with NeRa going on the DL today with a biceps injury per Scott Lucas. So this now becomes a 5 for 1 deal; cross your fingers that no high-ceiling position players aren't thrown into the deal.