Thursday, December 10, 2009

Igarashi

Here is an Igarashi update from NPBT:

Sponichi has a brief report saying that Ryota Igarashi has received his first MLB offer — a one-year deal from an unnamed team. In the words of the source Sponichi cites: “it was a one-year, major league contract. His elbow (which he had surgery on in 2006) is not a problem, and they see him as someone who could perform in a middle relief role.”

The Orioles, Pirates, Giants and Rangers have shown interest in Igarashi, but there’s no indication that one of these teams made the offer.




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Rule 5 today

The Rule 5 is today, and while I normally follow it obsessively like all things related to prospects, this year, meh. Here is a BA summary of the picks from 2008 and a Wiki post that lists the picks for the last 5 years or so. The BA piece gives a thumbnail profile of the players selected in the ML phase, while the Wiki piece is cool because it gives a pretty thorough update on what happened to the players after the draft (2008-2006).

In the Major league phase, the Nats are rumored to take the NYY LHP Kroenke for, well, the NYY while the pirates were rumored to have switched their interest from a position player to an unnamed RHP. TX will take at least one and possibly 2 players (#3 from Baltimore, and our pick at 17 more or less). If they take two they will need to make a roster move once our new roster additions are finalized (Lowell, Harden, Ray in; Millwood, MAxRam out). Think German.

I have no clue who they might be interested in and the lists that I have seen comprise about 30 players of interest. They might take a (RH) 5th OF type who can play an AA CF. There are a couple of catcher/DH types of interest and maybe a couple utility infielders. The best bets are bullpen arms and there are quite a few of interest but I have to think that whoever TX takes they will have at least played at the AA level for most of 2009 (and perhaps in the AFL or Winter ball).

Players that I like: Aaron Breit, RHP (pen), 23.9 (4/1), HighA (if you believe in him in the pen and in his makeup); Johan Pino, RHP (starter/pen), 25.3 (4/1), AAA (back rotation candidate but probably only a middle/long reliever in the pne); Zach Kroenke, LH reliever, AAA, 26.1 (4/1);
Kevin Whelan, RH reliever, 26.2, AAA (if you can fix his command); Chad Thall, 24.7, LH reliever, AA; Corey Wimberly utility inf/of, 26.4, AA (only if he can play AA def. in cf and ss right now); Craig Baker, setup, RHP, HighA, 25.1; Edgar Osuna, 22.3, LHP (sp/rp), AA; Edgar Garcia, RHP (pen), 22.5 AA/A+; Jason Rice, highA, 23.9, bullpen; Archimedes Caminero, setup, 22.7, RHP (pitched mostly in SS in 09 with only 14ip in low A - a lot of buzz for his arm but has next to no experience).

Prime candidates that TX might lose: Tracy, Osuna, Ballard, Beau Jones, Brennan Garr.

I would expect TX to take 2-4 players in the minor league portion of the draft, the AAA portion (there are rarely any players taken in the AA and A phases). AAA, AA and A+ all need 4th OF/DH types (think Majewski or Steven Murphy types) for depth while AAA and and A+ need utility infielders. I wouldn't expect any pitchers to be taken.



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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bakersfield

Josh Levinthal on the Blaze:

I ran into High Desert owner Bobby Brett and Bakersfield owner DG Elmore yesterday, and neither reports much progress on solving their ballpark problems.

Meanwhile, Elmore said no progress has been made in Bakersfield’s quest for a new facility or home. There are simply no public funds available for such a project, thus the reason for the Blaze’s potential partnership Cal State Bakersfield falling through earlier this season. New Cal League president Charlie Blaney has been charged with finding a solution in Bakersfield.



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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Disappointing

Noel Arguelles signs with KC: ML deal 5yrs/7mill possible 2 million in incentives. Likely starts in High A ball and could finish the year in AA depending on how polished he turns out to be. That deal is less per year than TX offered Tazawa last year (~4/7.5). Disappointing indeed.



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Just because...

Chad Tracy's second halves the last two years:

2008 June-August (A+/AA)
322AB/990ops/415woba/.325/16hr

2009 July-Sept (AA)
245AB/.990ops/415woba/.325/16hr


Though Tracy was disappointing his first 2 years, and his progress has been slower than one would like, he seems like a legit prospect. If you like Lil' Lemon because he's gutsy and cerebral you should like Tracy for the same reasons. Unlike inveterate tinkerers like Whittleman and Schlact who can't seem to make the right adjustments, Tracy ultimately settles on the things that work and his explosive second halves are a testament to this fact.

IMO both he and Moreland have the same things to prove in AAA though Tracy never seems to be included in the conversation. Given that both are defensive liabilites at the ML level, I think they will stick in AA to start off the year so they can both get sufficient PT at 1b/COF to improve their D; the OF, DH, and 1b are blocked at AAA. I'm interested to see how both guys do next year as a measure for evaluating future hitters. Let's be clear though: neither will jump ahead of Max and Smoak in 2010 and will likely only make their debuts when the rosters expand if at all.



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Friday, December 4, 2009

Salty Update

Looks like TX might have to try to re-sign Pudge as Salty's status will remain ambiguous until he gets some game action in spring training:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia's discomfort not unusual

That's according to Dr. Greg Pearl, the Dallas-based surgeon who performed surgery on Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in September to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. Saltalamacchia experienced discomfort in his right arm during a winter-league game Wednesday and was examined today. He will be shut down for a month, and the Rangers aren't sure what his status will be for spring training.




And this from the DMN (wait, both updates are from the same guy, confusing, and lame, putting the primary quotes in only one report, trying to pretend like there are actually 2 different sports sections- pitiful):

Saltalamacchia won't resume baseball activities for a month, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. Saltalamacchia said he expects to be ready for spring training.

"The doctor said it is just a minor setback and was to be expected trying to play this quick," said Saltalamacchia. "I'll take a couple weeks off and get back to it."



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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rule 5

TX has a few guys who teams might take a flyer on: Chad Tracy, Beau Jones, Brennan Garr, and Mike Ballard. Given that all of them have something to prove in AAA this year, I can't imagine interest would be too great, especially the loogies, who can be readily had and for cheap even towards the end of spring training. Minor league loogies hardly seem worth a 40 spot, including Zach Phillips.

I will say that I'm a Chad Tracy fan, and he might find a spot somewhere before it is all said and done. Getting over his glacial starts would be a great step forward but then his blazing second halves over the last 2 years wouldn't be the stuff of legend now would they?



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International Roundup

Salty had arm discomfort during his second outing and came out of the game.

Feliz has yet to make his debut with only 3 weeks left in the season. If he doesn't debut as a starter this week and ends up in the pen (if he debuts at all), you have to wonder if TX 1. has already decided to move him to the bullpen 2. doesn't believe he needs to be stretched out in order to contend for the rotation out of spring training.

MaxRam has a 10 game hitting streak (.350), batting .333 over his last 15, after batting .200 the 15 before that. His strikeout rate still remains high. One interesting note that might presage his future with TX in 2010 is that he is primarily playing DH.

If you could combine Renny Osuna and Lemon, they would make the ideal utility player. Renny plays ML average defense at 3 positions and hits lots of singles while Lemon plays a good second with more gap power and solid contact. Renny, by the way, one of my fav players, is batting .338 in the VZWL, splitting time at second and short. It is surprising for some but not to me. He batted about .360 in 2008 with lots of gap power, but mysteriously lost his swing in 2009, hitting about .255 and mostly slapping singles around. So, who knows, given his age, but his rookie debut was delayed for a year (stuck in the DR i think) due to some visa issues...And this league by the way, the VZWL, is a step _up_ in talent and especially experience from AA so kudos to him.

Luis Mendoza is having a great run in the Mexican league, but it is the Mexican league, which I would peg at about a AA level which lacks elite talent but which has more professional experience. So, while you cross your fingers that his sinker is back, he is still touching 96, and that his CB flashes above average (with an average change), you probably shouldn't hold your breath. The other issue is that he has already pitched a total of ~170 innings this year with 4 starts remaining for him. You gotta think that they would shut him down or send him to the pen right about now. 176 innings is about the max a minor leaguer will throw in a season of 28 starts.

Omar Poveda also shouldn't be throwing too many innings this winter but has surprisingly been moved into the starting rotation. He doesn't need any more innings, this kid, and he had shoulder issues in 2008. His last outing he pitched out of the pen so let's hope the move sticks.

Guillermo Moscoso continues to pitch out of the bullpen in the VZWL, like he has for the past 3 seasons. He doesn't really like pitching out of the pen, and, I would argue (as would he), he is more effective as a starter so I hope he is given a legit shot to compete for a rotation spot. By the way, for those who thought Moscoso a risky pickup due to his injury history, this marks the third consecutive year that he has pitched over 100 innings (including his winter ball stats). And lest you dismiss winterball as child's play, Caribbean winter ball is a serious deal, the Latin equivalent to MLB's season, and a national sport with high level talent. Winter ball matters; this ain't no AFL with 6 fans in the stands and 200 minor league geeks around the country creaming their jeans over AFL pitch f/x data...

Given how terrible Teabag looked at the plate on the AFL, I'm a little surprised that he isn't in the PR league getting as many at bats as he can - their league runs for 4 more weeks.


TX appears to be out of the running for any more Intl FA signs until the ownership thing gets settled but they could surprise me. Given the spate of signings in the last week, the Ranger's haven't been mentioned in any scuttlebutt. A quick summary:

Jacob Beltre, 60k (!), Seattle
Santo Aybar, Milw
E. Moronta, 570 k (!), NYY
Jochy Ogando, 275k, Sea
Jiminian, 250k, Seattle (per one Dominican-based source)


No TX links to Chapman, DePaula, or Arguelles in the last couple of weeks while Seattle has been busy (arrrgghh) and is still being linked to other kids of interest as we speak.



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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AFL Reprise

Badler: AFL Velos

Excerpt from Ben Badler:


New team, same stuff: Rangers righthander Danny Gutierrez spent most of the 2009 season on the disabled list, but he has shown two major league-quality pitches when healthy. Gutierrez, who the Rangers picked up from the Royals in September in the deal that sent catcher Manny Pina and outfielder Tim Smith to the Royals, showed a 90-94 mph fastball and a big-breaking 71-75 mph curveball in the AFL.

“He can really command his fastball," said Surprise pitching coach Tom Phelps, the Yankees’ pitching coach at Double-A Trenton this season. "He’s about as good as anybody here at commanding his fastball, and he knows how to change speeds. His curveball’s a good change of speed from his fastball—it really slows the hitters down. He’s a guy who could develop his changeup a little bit more and learn how to use it, but his fastball’s so good and he can command it so well, that’s how he attacks hitters.”



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International Roundup

Various reports: Formerly suspended 17yo turned reinstated 20yo CF Eladio Moronto signs an inflated deal with NYY at 570K. Best tool: plus plus speed. Downside: can't play baseball. He'll be 21yo next season during his debut so don't look for big things from him. The message here: 570k is wishing well coinage for a big market team.


Arguelles has most recently been tied to the Rays, Seattle the NYY and Oakland. Its a bit of an off-season fluff piece really but the most important observation: no mention of TX. For that matter, I've heard nary a word of any interest from TX in chapman in the sports tabloids. Hopefully the NYY spend all of their money on Chapman and leave us Arguelles. If small market Oakland steals him away from under us on the heels of the Ynoa deal, Hicks should finally be put out to pasture.


Texas might be interested in 35yo RHP Hinsanori Takahashi, though he strikes me as the next Fukimori. Best 2 pitches are 2-seam (85-89.5, sitting 87) and screwball (75-82.5, sitting ~78.5). He rarely touches 90 with his 2-s sitting about 87 it seems.


Some good stuff from La Esquina (sub):

• Cuban first baseman free agent Jose Julio Ruiz worked out for the Oakland A's, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners last week. While Ruiz is a free agent, he has yet to be unblocked by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), so he is not yet eligible to sign with a team.

• Cuban pitcher Israel Soto, 22, worked out for the Boston Red Sox this week. According to agent Joel Bello, Soto threw 30 pitches and hit 97-99 mph on the radar gun. He is scheduled to throw for several teams on Saturday.

• The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Santo Aybar, confirmed Brewers international scouting director Fernando Arango. Aybar was ranked the 18th best July 2 prospect by Baseball America. Aybar's deal with the Brewers is contingent on him passing an age investigation.

On Friday, heralded Oakland A's prospect Michael Ynoa, who was signed last year to a record $4.25 million bonus, will pitch in a game for the first time in almost seven months when he makes his debut for Oakland's instructional league team in the Dominican Republic. Ynoa, 17, who missed the entire 2009 season with elbow problems, threw a pain free, eight-batter, 25-pitch simulated batting practice session last week in front of A's general manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst in the Dominican.
"He looked great and pitched free and easy and pain-free," Forst said. "It's an excellent first step for him."

During that session, Ynoa was throwing in the 90-91 mph range, which may raise some concerns considering that Ynoa's ability to throw in the mid-90s was what got him the record bonus as a 16-year-old signed out of the Dominican. But Forst said that Ynoa was only throwing at 80-85 percent effort.

"I don't think anyone has any concerns that he'll get back to that," Forst said. "I don't think anyone is concerned about his velocity."

Ynoa will throw one inning -- or a maximum of 25 pitches -- on Friday, and will throw a total of 10 innings in the instructional league. After Friday, Forst said, Ynoa will throw a pair of two-inning outings and one three-inning outing.

Mateo to see eye specialist

Amateur Dominican outfield prospect Wagner Mateo will visit an eye specialist next week in Florida with hopes that a new diagnosis will help speed up negotiations for a new contract. Mateo, 16, had signed a team-record $3.1 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals on July 2 that was voided because the team had concerns about what they determined was Mateo's deteriorating eye condition.

"We don't think it's a more serious problem than we originally thought," Mateo's trainer Edgar Mercedes said, "but we are looking for a more accurate diagnosis from a respected specialist in the U.S. that can help reassure teams."

Mercedes said about 15 teams are still interested in Mateo but that all of them are looking for answers in regards to his vision problems.

To help with negotiations, Mercedes has enlisted the help of noted agent Adam Katz, whose company represents such stars as Sammy Sosa and Hanley Ramirez, and who helped Mercedes negotiate a record $4.25 million bonus for Michael Ynoa last year. "We think that Mateo's contract will likely have specific clauses [related to his vision], so I hired Adam Katz to help me with the details," Mercedes said.

At this point it seems unlikely that Mateo will sign before the end of the year. More realistically, he will sign sometime in January. Mercedes said Mateo is set to participate in a Perfect Games tournament in Ft. Myers, Fla., on Jan. 8-10.

Payano may sign soon

Mercedes also said that 16-year-old left-handed pitcher Victor Payano, whose $900,000 contract was voided by the Boston Red Sox because of shoulder issues, may soon sign for a similar amount with another team.

Payano is scheduled to throw for the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"He's going to sign this month, I think," Mercedes said.



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Monday, November 23, 2009

Just for fun -

#1 underrated player TX-DSL2= Matt Harrison

Most likely to make debut by 8/1: Schepp (pen), DGut(pen), Smoak, MaxRam (DH - I throw him in though his debut was in 2008), Poveda (starter, injury replacement- likely won't be needed in that role with the depth we have), Kiker (setup if his command returns, his velo projects to improve out of the pen and if his CB becomes more consistent vs LHB - in the end, likely spends the whole year in AAA as a starter as he has lots to work on)
Breakout players: Golson (my 2010 reach), Brigham
Most underrated: (Timothy Smith), Sardinas, Mendonca, Doyle, Bleier, Easy Eddie Garcia, Carlos Melo, Kirkman, Trevor Hurley, Robbie Erlin, Poveda, Moscoso (as a starter), Ruben Sierra Jr.
Most overlooked: Alex Gonzalez
Sleepers: Justin Miller, Carlos Oropesa, Robert Morillo, Carlos Ramirez, Santiago Chirino Hill, Zeke Rijo, Juan Grullon, TK Ahn, Kevin Arrendell, Jose Monegro, Chris Matlock, Keith Campbell, J. Gunter, A. Mendoza, R. Rojas, L.Gil, J. Mavare
Ceilings limited by character: Velazquez, DGut
Celings limited by chronic injury: Main, MaxRam, NeRa, DGut
Ceilings limited by possible makeup issues (defined broadly): (Madrigal), Font, Kiker, Castillo, Beau Jones, NeRa, MaxRam, Clark Murphy, Beltre
Players who don't follow "the plan": Beltre, Kiker, DGut
Slowest starter, Fastest finisher: Chad Tracy, Eric Hurley
Most likely to be a ML platoon player of some sort: MaxRam, Moe
Starter most likely to be moved to pen (eventually): Kennil Gomez(shoulder), Kasey Kiker(makeup/curveball), DGut(makeup/changeup), NeRa (makeup/changeup), Main (health/changeup)
The better Grullon: Juan
Most likely to implode: Pedro Strop, Jumbo Diaz, 2009 Frisco bullpen
Most likely to explode: Pedro Strop
Shape most unlike a prospect: Round (Jumbo Diaz)
Highest proportion of breathless reportage: Moreland, Telis, Tullis, Alvarez, Escobar, Matt Thompson, Kiker, Mendonca (in the roundly negative)
Most overrated: Beltre, Kiker (as starter), Lemon, GG (G. Grullon), Guillermo Pimentel, AJ Murray, Tatusko, Matt Thompson, Richard Alvarez, (Manny Pena) Laughter, (Lueke)
Most undeserved patience during the development process: J. Arias
Player who received the least patience: J. Vallejo, German Duran
Most likely to spend 2 years at every level (and still be considered prospects by many): Michael Schlact, Zach Phillips
Most likely to spend 3 years at one level: Mauro Gomez, Ian Gac
Minor league coaching future: Cody Podraza
Least pitchability: Geuris Grullon, Reiner Bermudez, Justin King, Justin Gutsie, Kevin Castner
Least hittability: Braxton Lane, Riley Cooper, Engel Beltre
Least likely to appear in full season ball: Riley Cooper (NFL), Miggie de Los Santos (Visa)
Most likely to play in Japan: Alexi Ogando, Omar Beltre
Least Likely to make it out of AA: Engel Beltre
Players I like to root for: Chad Tracy, Renny Osuna, Trevor Hurley, Justin Miller, Vinny DiFazio, Easy Eddie, Chris Gradoville, Kevin Richardson, Cody Eppley, Chris Matlock, Gentry, Nam, Roark, Lawson, Butler, Eddie Martinez, Morrison, Campbell, Hunter, Monegro, Miggie, William Connor, Taylor Vail, Jared Prince
Most intriguing back-end relievers: Justin Miller, Johnny Gunter, Fabio Castillo
Most intriguing relievers we know next to nothing about: Kevin Arrendell, Jose Monegro, Francisco Mendoza
Most intriguing ceiling: Carlos Melo (#2 starter or closer)
Pitchers who might still have starting in their futures: johnny Gunter, Keith Campbell, Kyle Ocampo
Most mysterious switch to the bullpen (2009): Kyle Ocampo
Biggest question mark: Clark Murphy, Tim Murphy
Dark horse superstar: Ruben Sierra Jr.
Talent evaluation gone awry (moves)? Jose Vallejo, German Duran
Talent evaluation gone awry (draft/Intl)? Evan Reed (3), Tim Murphy (3), Matt West (2), NeRa (1s), Esdras Abreu (550k), Blake Beavan (1)
Most overpaid: Richard Alvarez (per Cole: 800K)
Most intriguing Prospect least likely to engender any discussion at all: Adalberto Flores
Player least likely to be his former self: Eric Hurley
DSL players most likely to make US debut in Spokane: Randol Rojas, Leonel Gil, Jose Mavare, Francisco Mendoza, Ayenil Mendoza, Denny Peralta, Kelvin de Leon
Players most likely to break into my top 10 by mid-season: DGut, Main, Velazquez, Mendonca
Most likely sit plus with their fastball (at its best): Melo (reportedly, 92-95+97), Dgut(pen, 93-95+97), Brigham (93-95), Ross (93-95), Perez (93-95), Castillo(pen 92-95+97), Gunter(pen +95), Main (+96), Moscoso (93-94 at his best as a starter with plus movement/deception), Trevor Hurley (hard sinker, 90-93, GB and SM pitch)
those sitting plus-plus with theirs? Schepp, Feliz, Font, Strop, Bermudez, Jumbo
Plus fastball least likely to matter: Castner (inj), King (inj), Gutsie (inj), Bermudez, Ovispo de los Santos, Laughter, Lueke, Jumbo
Players in the system who have hit 98: Feliz, Holland, Harrison, Font, Schepp, Strop, Bermudez, Jumbo - (Honorable mention to Luis Mendoza who has flashed 96-98 during the last 2 years)
Starting pitchers whose hype outstrips their realistic ceiling: Edwin Escobar (#4), Braden Tullis (#4), Matt Thompson (#5/pen), Joe Wieland (#4/pen), Boscan (#4/pen), Alvarez (#5 at best)
Most problematic MiL to ML transition least thought out by prospect geeks: rotation to bullpen - justification: "Oh, well, they're lefties of course". (think Harrison, Kirkman and for RHP, Eric Hurley)
The area most nebulous and under-analyzed by prospect geeks: hittability (or how a hitter hits as much as how a pitcher throws)



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System Rankings/Ceilings

BBTIA just released their top 25 today so I thought I would repost my lists from 2 months ago. Prospect ceilings are noted next to each entry. I will likely post revised preseason profiles (see side bar) over the next 2 months so don't hold your breath...

Draft of my top 40
Draft of my back 40
Draft of DSL Talent



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Nuggets from Grey on TX AFL kids

From Insider QA....good stuff -


ME:

Follow up on some aspects of TX prospects:

Scheppers: What did you think of the slider and change (in games or bullpens)?

Gutierrez: Has he added a cutter ~87mph? How did the change look? Gutierrez's response to Terry Clark (AAA pitching coach) that he needed to throw his change: "I don't need it." Any scuttlebutt on his attitude since the trade from KC?

Moreland: Any weaknesses as hitter that might limit his ceiling? For scouts who are skeptical, what is their pov?


JASON GREY:

goyo: Mentioned the change in my recap of Scheppers; did not see the slider (or the cutter he supposedly has) in any of the outings I watched. - was mostly 4-seam, CB, occasional change

Gutierrez: No, 4-seam, 2-seam, CB, CHG is his repertoire. Low-80s change with some fade; below-average now but with some potential. Did throw it a bit down here, so after being a little headstrong about it early, did incorporate it. No real negs so far since the deal.

Moreland: tendency to get big, but biggest thing is bat is slow. However, he has such a good approach and feel for hitting it hasn't been an issue yet, but could be going forward.



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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chih-Lung Huang

There was some speculation that TX was interested in Huang, and had been following him for a few years (offering him a 130k contract a couple years ago).
He ended up signing with an NPB club, the Yominuri Giants. Huang probably would have competed for a BP spot next year and sent to the high minors if not ready. At his best he was a low 90's guy and only 5'9" but young (~21) and Taiwanese (why not?).



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Chapman Update

In a strange turn of affairs, Chapman has switched agencies at this late juncture. Arangure has the update and tweets that it might give the NYY an advantage since his new agency also has a number of high profile Yankees' players.

I don't really expect TX to be players for him. It doesn't make sense for TX to add that kind of salary (at least 8million for 4 years you would think) unless he can make the 25 as a back end bullpen guy or starter a/o 4/1. Now if TX had a new owner and an established 5-man starting rotation maybe you can wait for him to break into the rotation in 2011 but that is not the case right now. I'd rather sign a lower ceiling guy like Arguelles and wait 2 years for him for a lot less money and then sign Igarashi with the savings (why not?). If Arguelles turns out to be a mid-rotation caliber lefty, I'd be very happy. And the cachet of adding a Japanese and a Cuban to our system could prove a boon to recruiting others...



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Friday, November 20, 2009

Keith Law's Top 50 FA

He has a few intl. guys on the list that I have written about before:


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Rank Player
5 Aroldis Chapman
Age: 21 Bats: L Throws: L
Position: Starting pitcher
'09 team: Cuban national team Status: Free agent



Chapman is the wild card of the free-agent market, as his track record is largely unknown, he's barely thrown for clubs since defecting and he's represented by agents who haven't handled a free agent of this magnitude before. When Chapman is on, he'll show No. 1 starter stuff, with a fastball in the mid-90s (and yes, as high as 101 mph) with good tail and a mid-80s slider that will show plus with legitimate tilt, although the latter pitch isn't consistent. He does have a soft changeup but lacks feel for it and pushes it out of his hand rather than selling it with good arm speed. His command isn't good, and he's more thrower than pitcher, with a very loose arm that makes the velocity come out easily. Since defecting, he has worked on his body and scouts who've seen him recently say he's stronger and in better overall shape. He might be a No. 1 starter; he might be an ace closer; he might be a mountain of frustration. Is that worth $60 million? Or the fourth- or fifth-biggest contract of the offseason? Not to me, but he's worth some eight-figure amount because of the almost limitless upside.


10 Noel Arguelles
Age: 19 Bats: L Throws: L
Position: Starting pitcher

'09 team: None Status: Free agent

Arguelles defected from the Cuban junior national team with current Red Sox prospect Jose Iglesias in the summer of 2008 and is just now at the point where he's ready and able to sign with a major league team. Arguelles is 19 and already pitches with a solid-average fastball, although before he defected he had worked as high as 91-94 and will probably return there once he's throwing on a regular schedule again. His changeup projects better than his curveball, with the change a potentially plus pitch. What everyone notices about Arguelles is his body -- loose, lean, athletic, with good projection; his new agents took him underground for a few weeks to get him back into playing shape and the results have definitely impressed. If he was an American high school or junior college player, he'd be a solid first-rounder with a chance to be a top-10 guy and would probably be a $4 million bonus baby. As a free agent, he should easily double that.


Rank Player
25 Ryota Igarashi
Age: 30 Bats: R Throws: R
Position: Relief pitcher
'09 team: Tokyo Yakult Swallows Status: Free agent
Tokyo Yakult Swallows
2009 STATS
GM 44 IP 43.2 SV 3 BB 6 K 42 ERA 2.47


It's unclear whether Igarashi will come over from Nippon Professional Baseball this winter, but he's eligible to do so and has expressed interest in playing in the majors in the past. Igarashi is a slightly wild power reliever who missed all of 2007 and part of 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but has fully recovered and handled a regular workload in 2009. He has a very quick arm and has been clocked at 98 mph, although he'll probably pitch at 93-96 in a one-inning role in the U.S. His best off-speed pitch is a mid- to upper-80s splitter with good bottom, and he can throw the pitch for strikes instead of waiting for hitters to chase it in the dirt. He has some deception in his delivery, and he's almost a "drop-and-drift" guy without great forward momentum towards the plate.


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Couple of notes -

Arguelles: the comment on his "nice lithe body" is a bit strange given that he was taken off the market for a month because he had gotten fat and disappointed at his workouts. There is no reason to believe that he won't regain his velo range once he gets back into to shape and starts pitching competitively again - he last pitched in the summer of 2008 when he defected. As a LHP with international experience, he has a lot of value and would likely start off in highA.

Igarashi: Law overstates his velo, as he touched 98 years ago before his injury and will be 31 next year. However, he could be viewed as a setup guy who pitches 92-94 so he could be worth a shot with TX. He would also give TX some Japan clout which could always prove useful during next year's NPB draft...



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Thursday, November 19, 2009

2010 Roster Projections

I've added my 2010 system-wide roster projections to the sidebar. If you have trouble accessing them on google docs, just leave a comment...

Only Kirkman and Phillips were added to the 40 today. Mike Ballard, Beau Jones, Brennan Garr and Chad Tracy were left unprotected.



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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Minor League FA

The following players filed for minor league free agency on 11/9:

AJ Murray, Travis Metcalf, Majewski, Gac, Mauro Gomez, Casey Benjamin, Adam Fox, Bryan Corey, Lizard, Ragsdale, Peguero, Brian Gordan, Huffman, Leone, Hinckley, Kevin Thompson, Josh Rupe


MiL FAs who have re-signed (11/13):
Jose Jumbo Diaz, Adalberto Flores, Guilder Rody, Kevin Richardson (11/1)


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Friday, November 13, 2009

News and notes

AFL Today:
DGut throws 3 changeups(!!) today in his 3 innings. He clearly reads this here blog.
Scheppers implodes in his inning.
Teagarden is vying to be sent back to AAA in '10 (0-5, 4so, .158).
Moe walks 3 times with an rbi.

Here is a nice post-game article with lotsa Lil' Lemon quotes. It confirms my suspicion that he is playing CF due to a lack of OF and the opportunity to get more at bats.

Here's a puff piece on Nelson Cruz.



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Chapman, Lemon

Here is an AP interview with Aroldis Chapman (in which he says he throws 5 pitches- yeah right).

Also, Sickel's take on Lemon, who he was happy to comment on, but who didn't see him in the AFL, only during his second half swoon:


Marcus Lemon
Ceiling: utility infielder or starting second baseman? And if you happen to have seen him in CF, do tell….

lemon
didn’t see him in Arizona. I did see in him August, and I don’t think he’ll hit enough to be a regular. Good athlete though, hustles.




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Badler's corner

Excerpts from Badler's free notebook on Scheppers and a salutary warning:



"• Tanner Scheppers has created buzz by pitching in the mid- to high-90s for Surprise. A likely top 10 pick out of Fresno State in the 2008 draft prior to hurting his shoulder that April, Scheppers opted not to sign with the Pirates when he slipped to 48th overall in the draft that year. After rehab and pitching for the St. Paul Saints in independent ball this spring, he signed with the Rangers for $1.25 million as the 44th overall selection.

One scout pointed out that Scheppers still has a hitch in the back of his delivery, but he’s flashed plenty of arm strength in his brief appearances.

“He’s got a pretty good idea of what he’s trying to do, especially for not being in pro ball,” Phelps said. “I know he played one year in the independent league after he got drafted, but for a young kid he’s pretty mature and he’s got a pretty good idea of what he’s doing. He’s got that plus fastball, he’s got good angle with it. He doesn’t have the command with it yet, but when he gets the command, he could be something pretty special.

“With that arm speed, he’s got a curveball that has big bite and can be a plus pitch for him. The changeup he’s still developing, he’s still trying to trust and use it in the game. When you’ve got that big plus fastball a lot of times it’s tough for him to start working in that changeup, but I think over the next few years he’ll develop that.”


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"Finally, a word of caution for any conclusions to draw from the AFL, be it from the numbers or first-hand observations. The AFL is a great way to congregate prospects in a relatively small area. While at a typical minor league game there might be just a few future big leaguers on the field, almost everyone here in the AFL is worth bearing down on.

Still, from seeing some of these players during the regular season compared to now, and from talking to scouts about the challenges of AFL evaluations, putting too much stock into what you see at the AFL can be dangerous.

The first week of the season can be especially deceiving with hitters and pitchers coming back from a long layoff. Scouts who have been around the league for a while say that several players’ mechanics look sharper than they did the first week of the season. Velocities have greater variance here the first week of the season as pitchers are getting back into their routines, and throughout the entire AFL season because they throw in shorter stints than they do in the regular season.

Then there are other players who simply look tired. I’ve heard a few players now who said they’re just looking forward to having the season end and are ready to go home at this point.

One other major variable affecting the hitters is that they don’t get to play every day. During the minor league season, any player who is a prospect is going to be in the lineup every day. That just doesn’t happen in the AFL, where every organization is going to want their position prospects to play as many games as possible. They might take batting practice, but not facing live pitching every day the way they’re used to can throw some guys off.

So while the AFL is a great tool for evaluators, it’s important to remember not to get too carried away with what happens here."



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Moves and Notes

Travis Metcalf and Mike Henckley declare free agency.

Is it time to worry about MaxRam yet? His batting average has dropped 30pts to .207 (.189 vs rhp, 27g) during an 8game slump ( .083 ). Remember that this is the same league that he won the MVP in last winter. Given that he played in 50 games last winter after a full season, and came out of the league with 1 or 2 wrist injuries that shelved him for much of 2009, I'm not sure I like the idea of him playing again this fall. Why not give him some time off to get healthy? Given the uncertainty about his health (and all of the possible bad habits that may have emerged attempting to compensate for his injuries while playing), I'm not sure it is time to panic yet if his VZWL performance falls flat.

However, his prospect rating has definitely taken a hit in my book, as I'm not sure he can be considered a catcher proper anymore given that he has essentially missed a year of his development at the position, perhaps the most critical year of his career given how ready he was thought to be as a hitter along with the failure to convince many he had the chops to remain at the position. I think he is most likely a DH now as no team is going to want to wait for him for 2-3 years at the ML level to develop as a catcher going on 26 - Salty is an ugly reminder of what poor ML catching looks like when your skill set is not adequate to the task.

After a disastrous 0-5 outing with 4 strikeouts, Lemon was batting .166 with zero xbh after his first 6 AFL games, continuing a ruinous second half for him. He appeared overmatched in a league which was about the same skill level as Frisco. The coaching staff apparently saw a few things and helped him make some adjustments of the next 5 days in which he did not appear in a game. Over the last 9 games(34ab) since his return, he is batting .441 with 2 doubles 2 triples 2 homers 9 rbi and 8 runs with a walk and 2 strikeouts. IF his bat comes around next year, he has a chance as a starting second baseman it would seem, but he did not have a good year in the end. I wonder if scouts think he can play SS well enough to land a utility infielder role, primarily at second, sometimes at SS; His fringy range might be a problem. If not, this would definitely crimp his chances to make a roster some day as he could succeed only in the capacity of a starter and all of the stars would have to align. I seem to say this every year on the kid, but I think we might have a pretty definitive answer around 8/1/2010, when you hope he might have been in AAA for a month or two by that time...

PRWL started yesterday. The roster sizes are enormous as they had to integrate the Cangrejeros' players throughout the league due to the disbanding of that team over a stadium use dispute. So, don't expect to see them get a lot of playing time. I was hoping that Miguelito would get a fair amount of time just to see if he can handle what will be AA-AAA pitching with lots of professional experience. As I stated previously, Sierra and Torres are likely considered reserve players there to be mentored. Also, I am very happy to see Mike Ballard there as he is the lefty in the system who might be the most likely candidate for a loogy role next year (unless Kiker emerges in ST, and he would be more than a loogy hopefully). AJ Murray didn't deserve the hype. Now that Hinckley is a FA, I think Ballard gets the call for a 40 spot over Murray.

Criollos:
Kevin Torres
Miguel Velazquez
Ruben Sierra Jr
Pudge
Michael Ballard

Leones:
Adalberto Flores



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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blair Redux

For those of you Mavs fans out there who believe like me that (Donnie) Jr. made a mistake in picking BoBo over DeJuan Blair (and perhaps a couple of others), here is a quote you can chew on:

Brute force: The Mavericks got an up-close look at rookie DeJuan Blair, who was drafted out of Pittsburgh with the 37th pick by the Spurs.He rejected a Nowitzki drive in the second quarter and has been a consistent contributor for the Spurs.On draft night, the Mavericks toyed with trying to find a pick early in the second round to use on Blair.
"He was a great pick," Carlisle said. "My understanding is there were rumors of physical problems that allowed him to drop. But he's a fine player [with a] physical presence, athleticism, toughness and he's played well so far. He's going to be a good player here for a long time."



""""""""""

AFL Notes

Matt Harrison last pitched on 11/02 in what appeared to be an injury-shortened outing in which he failed to finish his first inning of work.

Evan Reed has pitched in one game in the last 13 days, last pitching on 11/5 when he was lit up for 4 ER in the 9th.

Let's hope that both aren't injured.

Taylor Teagarden may end up going to the PRL to get some more at bats in December. Right now he is 0-11 in the last 3 games.



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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Don't talk to me about baseball, Clark..."

Here is some nice video cut by an LSB poster of the appearances by DGut and Schepp at the AFL future's game.

In that same thread, here is an excerpt from an interview that Jason Cole (Lonestardugout.com) did with Terry Clark, AAA pitching coach. All I can say is what I've been saying all along, police blotters don't lie (and say hello to your newest bullpen prospect):

Cole: How much of a focus with Gutierrez is his changeup right now, as he tries to get that third solid pitch?

Clark: I just talked to him today about making him throw his changeup more in the Fall League to obviously get him to get a feel for it. He’s had such good command on both sides of the plate, his response is, ‘Well, I don’t need it.’ And I’m like, ‘You might not need it now, but you’re going to need it later.’ That’s the big issue—making him throw his changeup at least five to six times to get him to get the feel for it.



For those who think he has what it takes to be a closer, think again. Of the 23 closers with 25 saves or more last year, not one relied on a curveball as his second pitch. I say again, not one. He will need to add a third pitch to succeed as a curveballin' closer, but then, if he was willing to work on a third pitch, we wouldn't be talling about the matter at all, would we? I should add, in passing, Tim Smith's BWC stats: 9g/8gs/29ab/.414/.471/.690/1.161.



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Monday, November 9, 2009

Igarashi

Ryoto Igarashi (see NBPT profile and vids) is intent on pitching in the majors next year. The 30yo reliever has a plus fastball (93-96+97) and a forkball (86-89) - see velo chart on his 8/12 appearance. He had TJ surgery in 2006 and his command will likely prevent him from closing but he appears to be a guy who has the stuff to be a set up guy to compliment CJ.

I assume that CJ will co-close again next year given FF's injury issues and the fact that he pitched in 1/3 of the team's SVOs - the CJ to starter rumors seem like so much hot air. Though I will say that it is a bit weird that Feliz has yet to pitch in winter ball but he only needs about 20-30 innings to get stretched out enough to be considered for a starting role next year. I expect that he is getting stretched out and will appear around mid-November.



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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Notes

The Puerto Rican League rosters apparently have not been released yet, and one team has had to withdraw due to a conflict with the city over stadium use - their players will be redistributed - but I did notice that Ruben Sierra Jr was drafted in the 4th round (Caguas) back in the prospect draft in early October. As I have written previously, expect to see Miguel Velazquez and Kevin Torres there as well, with Miguelito being the only guy likely to play. Last year he and Torres served on a reserve or taxi squad it seems and never got into any games. Sierra will probably be in that position this year.


Cuban defector (~23) 1B Jose Ruiz is generating positive buzz the last couple of months during his workouts in the DR with some projecting him as a possible outfielder (prob. LF). No word if there is any interest in him by TX but he still has to be cleared by customs, a process that will take longer in his case than for Chapman, because Chapman managed to keep his passport while defecting, whereas Ruiz did not. Cuban team officials normally confiscate them during travel abroad and defectees might have to wait up to 9 months to confirm their age/identity as a result. Chapman's clearance took only a matter of months by comparison.


For those of us who have been following TX prospects all season, it has been clear that the AFL pitch fx velo info has been pretty accurate as it corresponds to the velo range players demonstrated during the season. For any doubters, Harry Pavlidis takes a look.

BTB's Jeff Zimmerman does a really interesting analysis of the strike zone as actually called by umpires that revisions the strike zone as more of a cross-pattern, which also suggests the inside strike is called with greater frequency vs LHB compared to RHB (though pitching inside seems to be your best bet for a strike in general) while the corners are not called much at all for either.


If you search hard enough, you can watch more live games streamed online coming out of the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues than you can AFL games though the quality can be a bit halting...

Update: the DR Toros are reporting that they met with TX officials last Wednesday and were told that they hope that Salty will be healthy enough to report to their team in December.




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Friday, November 6, 2009

Scheppers

From Jason Grey:

...

"In his first AFL outing, he hit 99 mph three times pitching in short stints, and sat at 94-96 mph with easy velocity and good boring action, holding those readings from the stretch as well. He rocks back and forth a bit before delivering the ball from the windup, which is a little unusual, but there are no red flags in his delivery.

Scheppers' low-80s curveball has great rotation and two-plane break; the depth is just filthy. He's in the AFL not only to get some experience but also to work on his changeup, which is below average right now. But it's getting better as there is some decent sink to it when he throws it right. He has also shown the ability to keep the ball down in the zone and the potential to command his fastball, as he's been getting lefties out by jamming them on the inner half, spotting his heater well on the glove side."

...



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DePaula

According to one Domincan-based source, Rafael DePaula threw for Preller, Service and Anderson at the TX academy today. No further word on Arguelles.

Misc:
Badler, ProjectProspect, and Sickels are or will be in AZ thru the end of next week. I am hoping to do a story on Moreland before Grey does but mine will focus on the utter lack of analysis of Moe's hitting mechanics (if I have time).



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Grant on King Preller (@BA)

"There will be directors of pro, international and amateur scouting, but all will report to Preller.Former Baseball America staffer Josh Boyd will handle the pro scouts and Mike Daly will move from assistant director of international operations to direct the international efforts. The biggest change comes on the amateur side, where national crosschecker Kip Fagg moves into the scouting director's position, though it's likely that Preller will have the ultimate authority in that area. Scouting director Ron Hopkins will become a special assistant to the GM after running drafts that produced current Rangers Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland and Julio Borbon.

"These moves are designed to strengthen and further integrate our scouting departments across the board," Daniels said. "It is consistent with our goal to be the top scouting and player development organization in the game as well as our belief to promote from within when appropriate."

The moves also should further strengthen the voice of senior director of baseball operations Don Welke. Welke and Preller have a close working relationship and spent time together in the Dodgers organization. Welke's voice also grows because the Rangers fired special assistant to the GM Jay Robertson, whose voice often carried the most weight for Daniels' first couple of seasons on the job, and senior adviser Mel Didier, who has spent more than 50 years in pro baseball. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the moves is that the Rangers shuffled bodies around in an organization that seemed to have scouting and player development working well together. BA ranked the organization No. 1 in minor league talent prior to the 2009 season. "



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Monday, November 2, 2009

Random Rangers Dump

Notes and Quotes

Bill Mitchell has a piece up on Scheppers and Crow and this note on who Teagarden is replacing on the Rafters squad( by my count TX now has a 9 person 7-man squad):

Other players leaving the league due to injury include Scott Sizemore (Tigers), David Lough (Royals), Austin Romine (Yankees) and Lucas Duda (Mets). Sizemore has a broken left ankle. Big league catcher Taylor Teagarden (Rangers) will replace Romine on the Surprise roster. Lough was replaced by outfielder Jarrod Dyson (Royals).

Nothing too interesting really except a demonstration that that the nature of Schepper's injury still remains a most elusive quarry to sports writers - in this case, "wear and tear", in others, "torn labrum" - while not diminishing their propensity to make truth claims about it, and from these, negative assessments of Schepper's future ("that shoulder could implode at any moment"). I wish they would simply grow some cajones and ask the kid straight up, or just shut up. That's what journalists do, interview the people they write about, right? Callis was even there watching Scheppers pitch but I guess he was too busy with, you know, pointing the radar gun and stuff...

Connor Glassey has piece up about the World Wood Bat Championship games. I thought that Mateo was going to be on one of those teams but I haven't heard any notes or quotes to that effect. Mateo was at the Bo Jackson skills thingy though:

Mateo, a free agent, hit an absolute laser that bounced off the Cardinals’ offices beyond the right-field wall that was rumored to have hit Jeff Luhnow’s window. The Cardinals signed Mateo for $3.1 million over the summer, then voided the contract, citing his eyesight. Mateo later blasted one that landed on the roof of the building.


UPDATE:

Badler Tweets
Dominican LHP Edgar Ferreira, still unsigned, also listed on the WWB rosters
10:34 AM Oct 23rd from web
Wagner Mateo in Jupiter for the World Wood Bat Championship. Came in this morning to pinch-hit, laid down a sac bunt
10:32 AM Oct 23rd from web


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Jayce Tingler Stateside 2010? Found a nice late July article on DSL coach Jayce Tingler. The interview suggests that Tingler will be stateside come 2010. During his time in the DSL he sees his wife once every 5 weeks!

Also came across a late February article on the Dominican Academy system with a quote from Tingler and Guillermo Pimentel.


..and also this slide show of photos Evan Grant took of the DSL academy in the spring of 2008!

Here's an interesting article on the Cuban National team in the WBC from March, with a few references to this year's crop of defectors.


Here is a cool blog series from Jesse Sanchez on his trip to the DR, Xmas 2006.


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Grey on Law on the AFL:


"Keith also had an interesting thing to say in his Thursday chat when asked about the AFL: "AFL performance is not meaningful."

You know what? He's absolutely right.

Even a great statistical performance like Grant Desme's power production the first two weeks of the AFL isn't as significant as some would make it out to be, especially given the context of the league, which is a stronger hitting environment than ever in the early going (and that's saying something).

However, while the statistical performances are not meaningful, the AFL itself is very meaningful (if it weren't, we wouldn't have this blog), because it's about the hands-on scouting and not the stats.

What's more important than Desme going yard 10 times already is how he looks at the plate, how he is going about getting those homers, and what kind of pitching is he doing it against. What pitches is he hitting bombs on? How does he look when he sees a good breaking ball? Based on what we are seeing in his swing and approach at the plate, how do we think it will play against advanced levels of pitching? For the record, all of Desme's homers have been of the "no-doubt" variety and not what we call the "AFL homer" which is the wind-blown, ball-carries-well-in-the-Arizona-heat type. However, even that news is not necessarily meaningful.

This is where the underlying scouting of a player comes into play. We cannot be results-oriented when it comes to the Arizona Fall League. It's about the tools and the raw abilities where the value lies."


#################


ESPN Rumor Mill

"ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law has informed us that sources have told him the Aroldis Chapman camp has officially begun receiving offers. The dicey thing here is sifting through what teams are merely interested, and what teams are willing to pony up the kind of cash -- likely in the neighborhood of $60 million -- that will get Chapman into camp.

A tentative list has the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Mariners, Braves, Angels, White Sox, Orioles, Rangers, Dodgers and possibly the Cubs with interest. Of course, again, all the reporters we've asked said "interest" is such a loose term here. The Spokane Indians, ostensibly, have interest, but cash is king here.

The bigger question then is whether Chapman will start in the majors. We asked Law, who says he thinks Chapman will be on a Major League roster, but workload issues will be an early key. The Joba Rules have nothing on The Chapman Rules."


(UPDATE: Atlanta is in on Chapman as is Florida, a new suitor, and Seattle while the Cubs and Toronto are apparently out. Not much buzz about interest from los Rangers.)




AZL FAll League

AFL 11/2
Harrison 92-94+95 (once), slurve, change
may have been taken out due to injury/precaution
Scheppers 95-98, 2 curveballs, 2 changeups
DGut 91-93+95 (once), curveballs, one 87mph pitch


Scheppers in AFL




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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Eastern Flava'

Ok so, Kikuchi is out, but don't forget that there are 2 college pitchers who could still leave for the majors, though the fact that there has been zero press about them probably indicates that they are NPB bound: clg RHP, Kazuhito Futagami; clg RHP, Hisashi Takeuchi (the better of the two).

There is also a fringy prospect who does intend to come over:

NPBT: "Sanspo is reporting that Aomori University righty Shota Ichinoseki is looking to begin his pro career overseas. Ichinoseki is a rather obscure player; he didn’t have a page on Draft Reports until this news broke, and even Deanna has never mentioned him. There’s no indication that he appears on any NPB team’s list of draft candidates. The 21 year-old student’s fastball tops out at 144 kmph (90mph) and he compliments it five breaking pitches including a slider and a forkball."

Deanna, is absolutely the most obsessive gringa (or goya?) baseball chic in Japan who authors the dizzying site http://marinerds.blogspot.com/ with its endless array of vids, stills, food shots, fan shots, box scores, play by play, and musings about all things baseball in Japan. Check it out. Be forewarned - may cause seizures. This site now knocks off tawainbaseball.blogspot.com from the top spot for "site most likely to induce vertigo".


No further updates on the status of Chih-lung Huang, the 22yo Taiwanese reliever that TX has maintained interested in.



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Southern Flava'

Wagner Mateo
AFter the showcase Mateo went stateside to play with a prospect scout team (in florida I believe) and also competed in and won the Bo Jackson 5-Tool contest:

Mateo, from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, did not win any of the five individual contests, but he had the highest composite score for the entire 5-Tool Competition with impressive results in all five categories, including several massive home runs.

If a club is sold on his vision, the kid merits 7-figures, but you know clubs are going to low ball him. I say he signs for 1.6 million with a big-market team - SF is rumored to be the front runner at the moment. I wonder how TX feels about major leaguers and coke-bottle lenses...?

Kiley MCDaniel Tweets:
Tweet: "20-year-old Dominican OF Eladio Moronta worked out last weekend post age-gate & ran a 6.3 & flashed a 60 arm, but age/bat will hold him back. KM thinking Low 6 figures."

Tweet: Columbian catcher Jorge Alfaro Eligible now, plus arm, impressive bat/pwr, has SEA on him & offers over $500k.

Tweet: one more from the showcase: 2010 eligible Dominican SS (soon 3B) Estailon Peguero. Big pwr, good hands, 7 figure talk.

Tweet: video of 2010 bonus baby, CF, Vicmal de la Cruz, 7 figure area code.

Arangure
(subscriber): Bello said his agency now represents Ruby Silva, a 20-year-old Cuban CF, who hit .276 with four home runs for Havana. Silva, Bello said, was a member of the Cuban junior national team. One of Bello's other clients, Cuban first baseman Jose Julio Ruiz, continues to impress scouts and could get a multi-million dollar bonus.


Jose Iglesias:
This Cuban SS signed by Boston for a cool 3million bonus (4/8.2) might very well have been the primary target for TX given previous reports of their interest and their demonstrated interest in signing some high level SS talent this spring. Iglesias, only 19yo, is said to have had a decent bat during his surprising assignment to the AFL. The knock on this year's best intl FA SS was that he couldn't hit, but scouts now think that he can be a fringe average hitter and that will be enough given his stellar glove:

Arangure (subscriber): Jose Iglesias has had a promising start to his professional career. The Red Sox shortstop is hitting .333 with one home run in five games for Mesa of the Arizona Fall League. Scouts continue to rave about Iglesias' glove skills.

Jason Grey (subscriber):
"Jose Iglesias, the 19-year-old Cuban defector the Boston Red Sox inked to an $8.25 million contract, already looks like a future Gold Glove candidate at short, with tremendous actions at the position. The ball just disappears into his glove. He's also had a couple of chances to show some range. However, the bat is still a work in progress. He squared three balls up on the barrel on Opening Day, but they didn't really go anywhere. First impressions are that he could get the bat knocked out of his hands right now against advanced pitching."

And, as an aside (to one blogger at least) you can't compare this year's Cuban class (all 19-21) to previous defectors who were older and possibly past their prime: these kids could prove to be a special group (Arguelles, Iglesias, Chapman) and Chapman may very well prove to be worth 60 million over 5 years. I think he gets that much if he projects as a TORP down the road - only the workouts he has with clubs over the next month will sort out which teams believe in the ceiling. It should also be noted that the Cuban FAs (and Tazawa last year) set into relief the advantages of being Boston and the Yankees: they are always able to sign (and willing to overpay for) talent that is closer to being ML ready while other teams are often relegated to signing high ceiling but much riskier (read younger) talent. I'd much rather have Iglesias than Sardinas, but Boston probably put in high bid/bonus, and if not, they got him solely on cachet.


Noel Arguelles:
Kiley McDaniel says that some saw him at 91-94 "recently" (before the DR showcase). Others claim he was consistently 92-94 last year (before defection) and imply that his workload in Cuba as an amateur and in international competitions has caught up to him. Remember that Kiley had him at 88-91, with 2 usable secondary pitches and good command.

Arangure, who wasn't at the showcase, has a largely negative assessment (of other peoples assessments, thus making JA a supermegametatweeter) of the kid's performance that largely overlooks the obvious: LHP, sits 90, 2 ususable secondary pitches, age 19, international and amateur experience, pitched 90-95 at some point during the last 2 years, out of shape. So unless there are some injury concerns here, the only thing that is preventing some team from signing him are his bonus demands.

UPDATE: Kiley McDaniel says 4 teams are showing renewed interest as of this week...


Rafael DePaula (by way of Felix Perez):
Last week Cuban CF Felix Perez was reinstated after having been suspended for lying about his age sometime during the spring. He was slated to sign with Boston for 7 figures, scouts touting the kid as a 5-tool player. This was the explanation from MLB (Arangure, subscriber): "This action was taken because it was concluded that circumstances existed that allowed the Commissioner's Office to exercise some discretion in the reduction of the suspension," wrote Lou Melendez, MLB's vice president of international operations, in an e-mail.

Following Moronta, Perez's reinstatement makes him the second kid in a month to be reinstated, when the newly hardened (in fall of 2008) penalty for lying about one's age and identity is a mandatory suspension. Couple this apparent weakening of the stricture in these 2 cases with the fact that the consulate effectively negated MLB's investigation of Sano's age, and you have an investigative regime whose reforms might be put into question. However, from a selfish standpoint - and as I indicated after Moronta was resinstated - maybe this gives Dominican pitcher Rafael DePaula new life.

He was also suspended in the spring for misrepresenting his age, and, as I have posted before, there has been talk all along that this suspension might lack merit (some claim his documents are legit, and some claim he was cleared by Dominican officials who work with the MLB investigative unit). At the very least, many feel there are extenuating circumstances around his case that merit reconsideration, the same vague justification for lifting the suspensions of Perez and Moronta. One has to wonder if agent malfeasance is the source of the mitigating circumstances for these two. While this may be true in part, the rumor circulating at this point is that these 2 kids admitted to lying about their age while DePaula insists that he is not lying.

So having said all of that, there is some evidence that MLB might be moving to reinstate DePaula or at least there are a # of teams out there who believe in his case enough to risk signing him while suspended in order to take his case to the consulate for their imprimatur. At least 1 source confirms that 4-6 teams have requested that DePaula throw for them in the next week, suggesting that he will throw at the Boston academy on Monday. Remember, that NYY were the front runners to sign the kid before his suspension, while TX spoke to his family during his suspension so likely remains an interested party.

Oh, I forgot to mention, DePaula was throwing 92-95 this spring with a good curveball and he will likely go to Japan if he cannot get a US work visa.



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Arizona Dispatches

DISPATCHES:

Kevin Goldstein (BP):
(subscriber) "Tanner Scheppers: As good of reviews as his 95-98 mph fastball obviously generate, his breaking ball is earning nearly equal raves. It's a true power curveball with heavy top-to-bottom action that he delivers at 80-84 mph, the kind of velocity some pitchers have on their slider. Few pitchers in the game need the ol' 'if he can stay healthy' mantra in front of any projection, but if he can stay healthy, he could be elite."

Jason Grey
Tweet: "Tanner Scheppers = Nasty McFilthy "

Tweet: Matt Harrison must be feeling healthy again - touching 94 in short AFL stint


AFL NOTES:
Ben Badler and a Project Prospect dude (who, he says, is renting a 4-br house for the occasion), will be in AZ around November 8th.

MLB Network will televise the "AFL Rising Stars" game on 11/7 - hopefully we get a chance to see DGut, Schepp and Moe - as wll as the AFL title game on 11/21. Hopefully, they might also televise some actual games after the WS...

Jason Grey tweets: League ERA is over six; League slugging close to .500 at the Arizona Fall League (a/o 10/22)

Project Prospect:
The AFL is more hitter-friendly than any full-season professional baseball league. From 2005-2008, the average AFL hitter had an .816 OPS. The average PCL hitter, for comparison, had a .796 OPS in 2008 -- the PCL is easily the most hitter-friendly full-season minor league.

AFL 2005-2008 average triple-slash line: .288/.363/.453
Pacific Coast League 2008 average line: .279/.349/.447



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Chapman Watch

Chapman Notes:

Arangure thinks bidding starts in earnest late November.
Chapman bio distributed by his agency.
Figure leaked out of meeting with Mets - beware the posturing: 60mil


Mets: being coy, some saying ixnay on a 40-60m deal, and in other quarters very interested; Mets have met. Now there is some talk that they are balking at a 60M payday - the figure leaked by the Mets to the media.

NYY: have a meeting
BoSox: Wednesday meet and greet
Cards: Monday meet and greet
ChiSox: still interested
Cubs: still interested
Balt: Afraid of being Communist apologists?; Baltimore, it is said, now plans to meet with him in 7-10 days
Oakland: grrrr...
Texas: Preller stuck in Japan...?
Detroit: interested
Toronto: was interested, then professed lack of qualifications necessary to be interested, as their scouting dept. is incompetent...

Chapman links:
2007 Video Compilation
ESPN MAG August
Arangure(insider)July:
"I think Strasburg could step right into someone's rotation and be effective," says an NL exec. "I'm not sure Chapman is ready to dominate at the major league level as a starter." The 6'3", 185-pounder led Cuba's Serie Nacional with 130 strikeouts in 118e innings this season, but his 5.68 ERA in the World Baseball Classic showed he's no finished product. "His release point fluctuates, and that can cause problems with his control," says another NL suit.

KLAW (insider)July:
Chapman, reportedly 21, has a huge fastball and has been clocked as high as 100 mph in international competition. But he will sit more consistently in the mid-90s in his best starts and in the low 90s in some of his lesser outings. The quality of his secondary stuff is a bigger question; he has thrown a slider that's sharp and approaches 90 mph, but pitches primarily off his fastball. He has the arm speed required to throw a plus slider, and has also shown a curve, a cutter and a changeup in past outings. Either way, the fastball/slider combination alone marks him as a potential front-line reliever. With his size and ability to hold his velocity deep into games, he offers the ceiling of a No. 1 starter.



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The Lefty has Landed

Kikuchi Opts for NPB as expected. OK Preller, on to Chapman, Arguelles...and DePaula? More on that later.



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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kikuchi to NPB?

Patrick Newmann over at NPBT says that the (self-serving) Japanese baseball press is whispering "Kikuchi to NPB." Stay tuned- press conference on Sunday.



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AFL fix: The Schepp

10/19: 1ip/2s; 14/10 (1-0)

No pitch FX, however, 2 sources report that his velo ranged 94-98, 95-98 respectively. Both of his swinging strikeouts looked to be on high FB (judging on location) while his groundout seemed to be on a changeup (judging by the count).

10/22: 2ip/2so; 21/14 (1-3)
FB: 93.9-98.2, CB: 79.7-80.7, SL: 83.6-84.3, CU: 89.5-89.8


This is the first night that we have had some pitch fx info for the Schepp so it hasn't been clear what pitches he was throwing as everyone hyped up the FB velo and the curveball, but then, everyone already knew about those, right, from last year's draft, remember? So in this outing he breaks out all 4 of his pitches, including the other 2 that are critical for him to reach the elusive "ace" status. He may have used one or both the change and the slider in his first 2 appearances already, but, no one has mentioned either.

In his first inning (7th), he sat 97.1 (96-98), dropping in a couple of sliders for a swinging strike (83.6) and a called strike out (84.3), and a few curveballs: 79.7 (B), 80 (CS), 80.7 (CSO). 9 strikes/2 balls (fb). His last out was a CSO and it was a rather sick sequence likely evincing a few long, pleading stares toward the mound: (RHH) - FB, CS, OC, 98.2; Slider, SS, OC, 83.6; Huge curveball, 80.7, a bit high in the zone and inside, freezing the hitter for a called strike three. Sick.

In his second inning (8th), he sat 95.7 (94-97), and broke out a couple of changeups registering at 89.5/89.8, one for a swinging strike, the other for a groundout. That seems a tic hard but both were effective evidently so no complaints here. He also dropped in another curve (80) for a ball. 5 strikes/5 balls.

As I reported in my post on Schepp's first appearance, the best news about him so far is _ not _ that he has a plus plus FB or that he has a plus curve (we knew that going into the 2008 draft) or that he is healthy (he has been pitching in games since March/April), but that the reports about his improved changeup, his improved delivery, and the addition of a serviceable slider seem to be about right. The other encouraging thing is that his command and pitch sequencing have been great.

Looking at his first three starts, it seems that he he works the zone very well, not throwing anything too meaty up there with any frequency. He is able to work both the inside and outside corners to both lefties and righties. He'll elevate his FB or bury it low and out of the zone _and_ hit his spots. He also seems to be able to tail/run his fastball away from some batters when called for. He gets swings and misses with all 4 of his pitches though the sample size is admittedly small for his second order ones. And just as an aside, and a dig towards some, if you think that DGut will eventually live up to the prospect hype as a future top rotation-caliber pitcher, ask yourself if you can imagine scripting a profile for him along the lines of what you have just read.

Anyways, count me impressed. He's a much better pitcher than he was during his JR year and you can chalk it all up to hard work. Of course, you might say, why so breathless after only 5 innings? And I say, yeah your probably right, but we'll have to wait until next year to see if he can do these things as a starter and do them deep into games and deep into a season. I'll cede you that point if you cede me the right to experience a specie of short-sample-sized giddiness for the next 2 months.

So, yeah, looking forward to more and more and more from him. You have to wonder whether he could end up making the bullpen out of spring training or if TX would want to let him build up some innings for 3 months before calling him up with an eye toward the Feliz plan - 1/2 season MiL starter, 1/2 season ML pen, 2 1/2 months of winter ball, then into the 2011 rotation.



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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Notes and Quotes

Arguelles video: Kiley McDaniel has some video up of Noel Arguelles and a top 2010 7-figure bonus baby, CF Vicmal de la Cruz.

Aroldis Chapman: Cards, ChiSox, Cubs, Mets, NYY, and Boston are the interested teams being reported as of now.

Evan Grant does the Kikuchi dance: Per Evan Grant, who can be forgiven for getting on the Kikuchi bus a little late, not being known for his prospecting prowess (after all he remains the lone member of The "I can't believe Feliz is being cast as a starter" for Men Club) Colburn and company got "creative" during the meet and greet:

It included a video presentation comparing Kikuchi to 18-year-old Japanese golfing sensation Ryo Ishikawa. It was, by all accounts, an inspired and creative presentation.

The only other club reported to have brought a prop was the Giants who brought over a Japanese trainer from one of their minor league clubs. Anything that works right?


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

AFL, DGut, Churchill

Jason Churchill over at Prospect Insider is in Arizona covering the Mariners' AFL contingent while also commenting on many of the leagues top prospects. His AFL coverage is free (right now - it is a mixed free-pay site like Cole's) if you want to go check it out. I asked him what he thought of Danny Gutierrez during his tete-a-tete on Wednesday against Mike Leake:

Me: Jason, what was your impression of Danny Gutierrez today, opposite of Leake? Unless he was working solely on his FB command today in lieu of anything else, he seems to be pitching like a reliever with 49FB, 8CB, and zero changeups. That is now 2 changeups over 2 starts and 7 innings.

JC: ... better stuff than Leake, for sure, he pounded fastballs all day and touched 95. Good life, too. He pitches like a reliever because that's probably what he is. His control and command both aren't good enough, or at least haven't been to this point in his career, to close or start right now. The velo is there, the delivery is more conducive to relief work -- wasn't repeating well, but he wasn't a mess. Some effort there, though, but Leake has that issue, too.



More on this and other AFL action sometime tomorrow but I'll leave you with a question: How do you like the trade now reconfigured to be: a hard-throwing middle reliever who might pitch in a set up role twice a month (who might be ready say, August of 2010) for a backup catcher (2 years out) and a starting left fielder (who could be ready in August as well)? We'll definitely revisit this in August 2010, that is, unless I have a decent-paying job that takes up all of my time and passion and forestalls future posts (both me and my detractors are crossing our fingers)...



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Notes and Quotes

One of my favorite websites - EastWindupChronicle -on all things Pacific Rim from the pov of scouts abroad is apparently in semi-permanent hiatus to my disappointment.

Still no word on the kind of money being thrown Kikuchi's way, but a decision should be made between the 24th and 26th according to his manager. Jeff Wilson has some Holland tweets about the meet and greet. And while I know it is the off-season, and some writers are taking it easy, but I found it quite odd that TR Sullivan's only source for the Holland trip is - gulp - Jamey Newberg. He merely poached a newberg blog entry as the core of his story when there are so many other interesting sources on the kid.

The phrase "Chapman is in New York" makes me cringe. He has flown over to interview and workout with clubs. Boston and New York are the destinations most likely for him at this point - Cubans and NY go together like Nescafe and Latin America - given that both clubs (or someone) will overpay, that is, pay him the going rate for a very good, established mid-rotation MLB starter, which is to say, too much. If TX bids at all I wouldn't expect them to go over 5/10, and that is an awful lot of money for a guy who could spend his first year in the minors. I just have this feeling that TX won't bid at all once the money starts getting out of hand. Focus on Kikuchi and even Arguelles AJ!

On Wednesday, prized Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman will arrive in New York to begin a series of meetings with several general managers, Chapman's agent Edwin Mejia confirmed to La Esquina.The 21-year-old will visit several cities, Mejia said, but the agent would not confirm a specific itinerary. It's expected he will visit with officials from the Yankees and the Red Sox, among others. "Aroldis is very excited to be coming to the States and plans to spend some time in the cities of the teams interested in him, exploring the sights and meeting the fans in addition to the team representatives," Mejia wrote in an email. Sources close to the situation indicate that other teams thought to have interest in Chapman -- including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels -- have yet to seriously inquire about the pitcher. A front office executive from one MLB club indicated the Dodgers aren't likely to be serious suitors for Chapman. Other teams that have yet to show formal interest in Chapman -- such as the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants -- are now beginning to pay varying degrees of attention to the free agent.


Melissa Segura over at SI - another good writer on international baseball - notes that Sano was cleared for a work visa by the DR consulate. The consulate has higher standards for proving identity/age than MLB. I wonder what this does to the credibility of the MLB vetting process given they labeled Sano's age as indeterminate and most likely 17? She also notes that San Pedro de Macoris - Sano's hometown - seems to have been the epicenter of age/identity fraud. This is where the Rangers have their academy BTW.


Kiley McDaniel has some pics up from the DR showcase - still waiting for the writeup - and he is editing his video.

Arangure tweets that the Giants are the team to beat to sign Wagner Mateo. The were a close second place to the Cardinals but were not willing to beat their 3.1 million asking price - the agent was asking for 3.5. St.Louis may get a real bargain here or an eventual flame out due to his vision problems. They were offering 2.5 million but now are likely to have to go no higher than 1 million. His eyesight is said to be 20/300 or some crazy figure and in 5 years, it is certainly possible that he'll be working in a ballpark, just, well, not as a player, not with _those_ crazy coke-bottle lenses. But, hey, as Keith Law might now say in the Scheppers case, "I ain't no doctor".


I came across one source who said he saw a Cuban kid throwing 99 at the NYY's Domincan complex on Monday- could that have been Chapman making a stopover there before getting wined and dined by Mark Newman in the big Apple- "Hello Newman...!!!!," says the jealous Rangers fan...




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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Koshein Tournament Grind

So there is a lot of stuff written about the abuse of HS pitchers in the US. However, it seems to pale in comparison to the year-end Koshien tournament which pits regional HS powers against one another (and here). Pitchers can start games as much as 6 times in 15 days. Take Kikuchi's workload. He made 4 starts over 10 days (8/12, 8/17, 8/20, 8/21, and skipping his 8/23 start due to an injured back with the possibility of a 6th start for the championship game)and pitched 3 complete games, with his fourth shortened by injury.In those three complete games his pitch counts were at 124, 118, 125.

Here is some rudimentary play by play for each game from http://goroshigeno.blogspot.com:

August 12 CG
August 17 CG (9ip/5h/1er/1bb/8so)
August 20 CG

So first three games: 27ip/22so, and about 360 pitches, was sitting 88.9-92.6 his first 2 starts (but 92-95 in his next two starts).

August 21 injury shortened (back)
Note the blogger's pregame commentary on Kikuchi:
Turn to Hanamaki Higashi, we have the start of the tournament - Kikuchi Yuusei. But the comments about him have been far from dominating. He almost lost his first round game against Nagasaki Nichidai - and perhaps should have if not for the questionable decision by the Nagasaki Nichidai kantoku. He then kept his team in the games against his kantoku's old team - Yokohama Hayato, before pulling ahead late. And in the bracket final, he finally started turning it on against Miyagi's Tohoku squad.
Still, people have commented that he's not the fireballer we'd thought we'd see. In fact his K rates are rather lower than expected (22 K in 27 IP). Plus, he didn't hit the 150's until his last game versus Tohoku.So what gives?Perhaps he knew from Senbatsu that he lost a lot of speed by the time he reached the final and is pacing himself through the first rounds...Perhaps in a way to prepare for the NPB or MLB, or wherever he goes, he's been learning to throw his secondary pitches (slider, curve) for strikes so that he's not regarded as just a fastball pitcher...But whatever the reason, this is where the road will get tougher, and I don't have any doubt that he'll start pitching 100% if he hasn't already.


August 23 skipped,injured (back)


Here are some vids, a few of them from the tournament:

One
TWO
Three
Four
Five


Edit: the video of him hitting 154 and 152km/h (95.7, 94.5) in the 9th is from a game he closed (rather than starting) on 9/29 in another tournament, fyi.

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Kikuchi plus Dutch = Rangers?

Kikuchi has completed his meetings with some 20 teams, and was apparently taken with Der Holland:

-you met a major leaguer

“He had an aura of playing in the best place in the world.”



No news on offers yet but the kid is said to be 50/50, the same as before the meetings by some accounts...


UPDATE: Just came across a TRS quote stating the Preller made the trip to Japan, which isn't surprising but no one had mentioned it to date...


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Lefties are in: Kikuchi, Chapman, Arguelles

Just looking at a bunch video on Kikuchi and one compilation for Chapman.

Kikuchi was sitting at 89-91 throwing between 88.9-92.6. He seemed to be able to dial it up to 93.8 when he needed a strikeout or was throwing a FB up in the zone fishing for a swing. In one game, he was throwing 93.8-95.7, and it did appear to be a start though the velo readings were from the 5th and 9th innings. In one outing as a closer he was 93.8-95. So I think it is safe to say that, Kikuchi already has a major league average FB at 89-91, and has the arm strength to dial it up to 94 when he needs to.

His breaking ball is slurvy, looks like a slider but has the velo of a curveball, and he changes speeds on it, sitting 70-73 and 74-76 respectively. There were a few offerings that I wasn't sure about: a couple in the 85-86 range (sliders, 2-S, CU?) and one at 78 (CB that got away?). It seemed that the videographers mostly were interested in documenting velo and strikeouts, so you get a lot of fastballs and breaking balls, but not a lot of context to determine if that is primarily what he throws.

I saw one report that he threw a 2-seam fastball but haven't seen much on some variation of a changeup. He seems to have good command, and a good approach. He pitches down in the zone very effectively, dials it up and elevates when he needs to, and seems to get a good amount of strikeouts/swings-misses on his breaking ball Anyways, well, what more needs to be said, make this kid a very large offer, right?

UPDATE: One report suggests that the 2-seamer is a cutter. So he throws a slider (2nd pitch), cutter, and curveball. Not much mention of a splitter, change, or forkball so it might indeed take him a couple of years to develop one into an average pitch.
UPDATE 2: Just came across an old post (via NPBT) that claims the kid throws a screwball so maybe he does have a change of pace pitch after all.



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In the Chapman compilation that I saw he was 91-94 sitting 93-94, with what seemed to be a changeup at about 87-88 (only 2 that I counted), and a curveball that was 70-73/76-78. There were a couple of low 80s offerings that couldve been sliders I suppose. I would guess that he 93-95 area code would be where he would sit as a starter, while throwing 95-100 as a reliever, though I saw none of that in the compilation (from WBC 2007).

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I guess if I'm the GM I want to sign both guys, but Kikuchi is the much better value at 4 years/ 10 million vs 5 years 50 million. An even better bargain might be the other Cuban LHP, 19yo Noel Arguelles, who, in the DR showcase this weekend, was 88-91, by some accounts, with 2 decent secondary pitches, though many remain unimpressed with his makeup (err, eating habits). What better way to usher in the new Preller era than with the signing of the 3 best LH pitchers on the market!!



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Holland goes East

Kikuchi started up his MLB meetings today (thought they started tomorrow) and met with TX. TX brought Holland along with Colborn apparently to try to finally convince someone that TX can develop young pitchers - remember that both Tazawa and Ynoa praised the player development systems/histories of Boston and Oakland respectively, a backhanded swipe at TX given they were or would have been high bidders in both cases:

Rangers: sent Jim Colborn and lefty Derek Holland; espoused the team’s development system and let Kikuchi ask questions.


The USS Mariner has a breakdown of one of his prep starts to which you might compare NPBT's profile.



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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Japanese porn (star)

Very nice article on Kikuchi and the NPB from Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. Some good quotes suggesting that Kikuchi has the ceiling of a #1 starter who should progress quickly through the minors while also giving some history on the first 3 players to skip the NPB draft, including one chastened porn star...


If MLB teams share the high opinions from these scouts on Kikuchi's ceiling, then he will get a lot more than Tazawa's 3yr/5.1m deal (3.3m bonus) with TX offering him 4/~7m. I'm thinking 4yr/9million. We'll know soon...



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Miscellany

Per Carlos Lugo at BP (subscribers only I think):
The GM for the Toros del Este (DR) has said that TX has offered Salty to the team so I would expect to see him on the roster when he is healthy. He also stated that he expects Feliz to be in the starting rotation. Nelson Cruz is not expected to make his debut for the Aguilas Cibaenas until after Turkey day at the earliest.


Also, for those who missed my update within the summary of Scheppers' debut outing: both Jason Grey and Bill Mitchell say that he hit 99 during his 2 inning outing.



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Scant showcase news

Not much from KM (or anyone else) on the DR showcase as he has been without internet but here is the latest - if he posts updates over at BP I will repost them here:

Agency La Academia hosted well over 100 scouts in arguably the biggest amateur Latin event ever at a new complex better many team academies
about 1 hour ago from txt
Wagner Mateo is still good (oppo HR in game), Salcedo was impressive but still can't get in US, Vicmal DeLaCruz atop some 2010 July 2 lists.
about 2 hours ago from txt
Cuban lefty Noel Arguelles was 88-91 w/above avg change, solid curve & command & much improved physique. Too early to gauge contract future.
about 2 hours ago from txt



It seems safe to say that Arguelles will not be able to regain his velo anytime soon (if reports were true that he had been clocked 92-95) and may wait to sign until the end of the year or in the spring when he is in better condition. What a moron, that might be end up being about a million$$ eating disorder... Whatever the case, a 19yo lhp sitting 89ish with 2 usuable off-speed pitches and some amateur experience might get him enough dough from someone if he wants to sign right away.


UPDATE: KM gave an average speed for his gun and of those scouts around him to get at that 89-91 figure, whereas, some scouts behind him (behind the cage) clocked him at lower velos...


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