Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mystery pitcher hits 101 for Frisco!

So, when the full season rosters came out, I noticed some guy named Jose Diaz on the Frisco roster. Ok made sense, I just assumes it was one of the Jose/Joselo Diazes in the system last year. Then I checked out his profile to verify what I already knew. This Jose Diaz was a giant at 6-4 300 lbs. Wrong Jose. WTF?! I tried to cross-ref his stats with various databases but got conflicting info, including the profile on the cube that said he was a svuelt 175. So, I dropped it. The cube has been wrong before; I think they still have the wrong profile for Jose Felix.

So today, reports started coming in about this guy during a minor league gameday thread for that he was throwing 101! Oh my. The reports were that he was hitting 99 and hit 101 at least once in addition to a 90mph slider. Wow. So it turns out that this was a Dodgers prospect from 2001 named Jose "Jumbo" Diaz sidelined by TJ surgery in the fall of 2004. He was highly ranked as a closer back then but was out of the league in 07 and 08 after having a mediocre season in A+/AA in 06. Here are some career highlights that I got from

’01 (17) short season, 8wins, 28 games
’02 (18) (3 affiliates), BA #5 prospect GCL, 61ip, 16g, 2.82, .174baa
’03 (19) Low A, only 7 games (injured?)
’04 (20) Low A, BA Best FB/Best reliever SAL, missed final 6wks elbow strain
20saves, .172baa, 14.8so/9, 2.00 era. 47ip/74so, SAL all-star
’04-05 (21) TJ surgery
’05 (21) appeared in final 14g (16ip/12bb/16so) for the season, low A
’06 (22) A+/AA, 18g 4.40 era
’07 (23) out of league
’08 (24) out of league

Intriguing right? Well, that is all I know kids. Hopefully we will find out more in the coming weeks.


Zaneski to extended

Zach Zaneski was sent to AZL extended upon the activation of David Paisano from the bereavement list some days ago. Hickory's roster now stands at 25.

Vaughan reassigned to AAA; Diamond to start

Beau Vaughan was reassigned to the OKC bullpen from AA today only days after arriving in Frisco from OKC. For now, he fills the roster spot of Derek Holland who was promoted to the TX bullpen today. Thomas Diamond will start for Holland in tonight's game but there has been no word if Diamond will be moving back to the pen permanently. I hope not but then what do I know. I only know that I'm tired of Diamond's 4year journey to choose (and stick with ) and adequate breaking pitch. If he stays in the pen, and throws FB/Change then we can close the final chapter of the DVD trio.

Derek Holland recalled, Rupe DFA'd

Holland has been recalled to replace Josh Rupe in the bullpen. While this move seems surprising, it is in keeping with what appears to be the offseason master plan. Teh Rangers elected not to sign any pitchers for a lot of years or a lot of dollars and even seemed especially reluctant to sign any number of good bargain-priced vets still hanging around towards the start of spring training. Apparently, they planned to use the talent that they already had in their system when they were ready and not be too worried about filling it with relievers from the 30 set.

Do I agree with their plan to refuse to sign anyone to guaranteed money to improve a weakness on the team? absolutely not. However, I like the fact that they are sticking to their guns, and not calling up someone like Vaughan or Gordon, or bringing back someone like Donnelly, when they have near-ready talented arms in the system. It just required a little thinking out of the box. It may also require patience, patience to put up with Rupe-ugly #s at some points during their rookie debuts.

For Holland, this could be a nice move for counterintuitive reasons. His changeup is already his best off-speed pitch, but he may be forced to use his underdeveloped slider more in this role than as a starter. We'll see.

Finally, I think this move by the Rangers shows just how much progress they think he made during the off-season and in ST. He started off shaky and finished pretty strong, both he and Feliz staying in big league camp for the entire spring. So I think the Rangers feel pretty confident about this move, and may well have been eyeing it as a future option since camp opened.

Who will take his spot in the AAA rotation? I would say Gordon slides over to start, or a AA guy is promoted, and some relievers are moved around, maybe someone being activated from extended.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vaughan reassigned to AA

to make room for Mags. Vaughan has been one of the best relievers in the upper minors. This move might indicate that Gordon is more likely to be called up before Vaughan and that they intend to stick with Turnbow at least until his out date, 5/1.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Duran dl'd

German Duran placed on the DL, Kevin Richardson activated. Scott Lucas says that it is an illness of some sort, while Mags will be not be activated until Friday. Someone will have to be moved from the roster at that time. Couple of names that could be in play: Huffman, Thorman, Gordon, Frostad, Turnbow.

In Duran's absence, expect Benjamin and/or Esteban German to handle second and/or Frostad and Huffman to handle Third when necessary.

Hickory still seems to be over the roster limit. Zanesky could be sent to extended, back to the DL or released.

Roster Moves

Michael Schlact has been placed on the 7-day DL while AJ Murray has been reassigned to AA from AZL extended. No word on the severity of Schlact's injury. He came out of his start on Monday before starting the 4th. He seems to have had an elbow issue.

Jason Cole reports that AJ Murray had been working on a 3/4 delivery in extended. I suppose it might take pressure off of his shoulder but what do I know.

There have been no corresponding moves to reduce the rosters by one for each OKC and Hickory respectively after Madrigal and Paisano were optioned and activated.

It was announced today that Nippert has had a setback in his rehab and will likely not be ready for activation until May 1 at the earliest. Though his back is healthy he has now been shelved for about a week to recover from a strained ribcage.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open access now to Google Docs

I forgot to enable the "open access" feature on the roster/profile worksheets that I uploaded to GoogleDocs yesterday. The docs should be openly accessible now without restrictions. You should still be able to download the documents as well for your convenience which was the whole reason I uploaded them as Excel files to begin with. These online interfaces are way cooler though. I will be updating the rosters when needed while the player rankings and profiles will be updated throughout the season. The most recent date that the documents are amended can be found in the sidebar.

Let me know in the comments section (or via email if you prefer) if you have any problems accessing or downloading the files.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Cursory List of Breakout/Bust Candidates, Sleepers

I wanted to throw these preseason choices up as I forgot to do it before minor league season opened. Further explanation can be found in each player's profile:

Breakout Candidates:
Guillermo Moscoso (as a starter)- split-starter in AA for a few weeks
Evan Reed (as a reliever) - now closing for Blaze
Joe Wieland - Extended to A
Tim Murphy - Starter for Blaze
Kyle Ocampo - Extended
Brandon Garr - demoted to Blaze
Corey Young - no ER in spring training
Mike Bianucci - conservative assignment to Hickory
Christian Santana (as a catcher) - in EXT on DL; Move to OF seems permanent
Ryan Schlect - EXT to A+
Tanner Roark - A+ pen
Cody Eppley - EXT working on a sidearm delivery
Matt Lawson - A+
Carlos Melo - EXT to AZL
Juan Grullon - EXT to AZL
Anyenil Mendoza - EXT to AZL
Tomas Telis - EXT to AZL
Eddie Garcia - EXT to AZL

Michael Kirkman - Blaze; ist start one of the best of the week in the system
Joe Torres - EXT rehabbing back, to AA or AAA

Bust Candidates:
John Bannister - AA closer
Josh Lueke - EXT/DL AA
Andrew Laughter - AA pen
Justin Gutsie - EXT DL probably to Hickory
Justin Miller - EXT DL probably to Hickory

Feel free to throw up your own lists!


Docs now online

I just posted the roster and profile spreadsheets online via Google Docs so you don't have to download and open them with Excel.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Minor League Week in Review

I will be starting a MLWR segment starting next week. I will eschew writing game reviews and box score summaries. There are already plenty of those (MJH, Lucas, Hindman, Zwyica, Cole) and surely more (and more to come). I will likely frame the segment in terms of "development" -players, teams, futures - but I would like to ask the reader for your input. What elements/themes would you like to see in an MLWR that aren't _already_ out there, redundant, in the blogosphere?

I can't promise I will follow your advice (if any is given at all) but I will gladly consider it.



Escobar and Alvarez to AZL

Jason Cole's recent update to his roster for AZL Extended includes Ernesto(Vicente) Escobar. So the org must think pretty highly of this kid. The scouting reports on him were mixed, suggesting that he had little projection, and when looking at pics of him from ST by Scott Lucas (, I would have to agrees. Ben Badler over at BA suggested that he was a bargain however at 350K so we'll soon see what we have in this kid. He apparently has 3 decent pitches but not, apparently, as good as those of Richard Alvarez, who at 16, will make his AZL debut as well (it seems). He created some buzz during his first B game in ST both because of the stuff he was throwing and the poise he showed (in addition to the fact that he looked 14), but also because no official word of the signing had ever been made it seems.

So, it seems to me that what we have in these kids might be another Boscan/Pimentel hybrid or something, but their stuff doesn't really remind you of Perez at this point. Perez came into A- with two pitches that flashed plus and his FB was already in the 90-94 range. Escobar and Alvarez are reputed to touch 90 but I'm not sure they did in ST but don't read too much into that as the long layoff has its effects on everyone. Their ceiling might be the 88-92 range as their frames don't seem all that projectable, Alvarez weighing a buck fifty, and Escobar already being "filled out" so to speak.

So as of now, even before the frack'in draft, here are my projected starting rotations in A- and AZL. Keep in mind that the distinction between starters and relievers in short season ball is not a point of emphasis so I have them in the "rotation" just based on their ceiling as starters as they progress through the system.

Robbie Ross
Juan Grullon
Geuris Grullon
Matt Thompson
Kyle O'campo


(possibly these guys if they no space comes open in one of the A-level full-season squads or if they get demoted: Nevarez, Gutsie, Nelo, King, Miller, Hurley)

Carlos Melo
Zeke Rijo
Ahn Kyung
Richard Alvarez
Ernesto Escobar

Corey Ragsdale

I think that a few players currently on the Domincan roster will make their way to state-side rosters once the season begins. For Spokane, expect Ben Henry, Aaron Thompson, and Mark Stanford to join the bullpen staff. While for the AZL club, expect Tony Thompson, Miguel Munoz (DR), Johan Yan (DR), Ovispo de los Santos(DR), Denny Peralta (DR), Ernesto Rosendo(VZ), Kevin de Leon (DR) to be assigned to the roster sometime during the season, that is, if all clear customs.

Of course, the biggest omissions, if you can call them that, are the exclusion of Kyle O'campo from the Hickory roster and the puzzling exclusion of Dominican Anyenil Mendoza from the AZL roster. Mendoza received rave reviews from DSL coach Tingler in an interview with Jason Cole and he was also an intructs invite. I hope he is not caught up the Age-Gate-09 mess.

Juan Polanco, Miggie de los Santos, "Ace" Ventura, and Jairo Valdez, all Dominicans, are also mysteriously absent from a state-side roster this year. Dominicans Polanco, Ace Ventura, Wilson Ventura, and Hector Martinez (an 08 sign) are not on any roster at all! Venezuelans Santiago Chirino (an 08 sign) and Roan Salas also remain unassigned.


Friday, April 10, 2009

AZL and DSL Extended Rosters Announced

Jason Cole of has recently posted the Extended Spring Training rosters for the AZL and DSL facilities. You can access them without a subscription so please go over there and check them out, and while there, root around on the homepage and the archives for free articles and interviews, and subscribe even...

Ok, so I'm not breakin' any official news here, just analyzing the rosters, but I will break them down into certain categories, with country of origin (where known), and let you draw your own conlcusions. It is likely that the DSL roster is incomplete and that three 08 signs in particular might be assigned there before their season(s) commence. Ok with that caveat here we go.

AZL Roster composition: 43 active; 8 DL
AZL DL Squad:
Lueke, Joe Torres, Slusarz, KRich, NeRa, Gutsie, Miller, Santana

DSL Roster composition: 54 active (Probably 30 for DSL1, 24 for DSL2)

US and Australian Players on the DSL roster who will likely be moved to the Spokane or AZL rosters once their seasons begin:
Ben Henry(A-), P, US; A.Thompson(AZL), P, AUS; M.Stanford(A-), P, AUS

Latin American Players Who should be on the EXT/AZL or Hickory rosters rather than on the DSL roster:
Jairo Valdez (EXT), 1B/OF, DR; Miggie de los Santos (EXT or Hickory), P, DR

Latin American Players of note not currently on the DSL roster likely to debut in the AZL:
Juan Polanco, OF, DR; "Ace" Ventura, OF, DR

DSL Players who could be reassigned to the AZL roster before the end of the season:
A.Mendoza, SP, DR; M.Munoz, RP, DR; D.Peralta, RP, DR; E.Rosendo, RP, VZ; , K. de Leon, RP, DR; O de los Santos, RP, (??); Y.Yan, RP, DR

Latin American Players of note not currently on the DSL roster:
Santiago Chirino(08 sign-DSL), SS, (VZ); Hector Martinez(o8 sign), OF, (DR); Wilson Ventura (07 sign), 2b, (DR); Roan Salas, inf, (VZ)

OK, so, given all of this information, keeping in mind that the DSL roster is still in flux for a number of reasons, and also noting that there are almost 20 more Dominican players on the DSL squad not mentioned above (see my roster for a full list), which Dominican players do you think are the ones most likely enmeshed in "Age Gate '09"?

My guesses back when the issue first surfaced were as follows:
Juan Grullon, Miguel Munoz, Denny Peralta, Ezequiel Rijo, Ariel Ventura, Edwin Garcia, F.Mendoza

Grullon, Zeke, Yan and Eddie are in the clear. If there is anyone else that you know to be in the clear (via whatever source), feel free to note that in the comments section.


UPDATE, 4/10, 6pm: Cole notes that Escobar _is_ in AZL Extended. Berkey has retired and remains as a scout in the org while he thinks that Cobb has been released (though I myself have not seen any "official" news release anywhere). Miguel Velasquez is still on the suspended list though I'm not sure why TX doesn't simply release him. The entry has been edited to reflect these changes.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Roster Revelry

OK, although it has been fun for me to geek on roster projections since December, the full season rosters are finally official, though some roles remain unclear. There were a number of oddities, exclamations, and elisions on each of the 4 full season rosters, as well as, of course, those assignments that we all expected. What follows is a brief, selective review of the rosters for each full season club, along with some ruminations about future promotions, demotions, and, err, commotions.

A few observations. The A-ball clubs are each carrying an extra pitcher to help manage the depth at these levels. Hickory will manage innings a bit differently this year with as many as 3 starters said to be on a "limited innings" schedule. This likely means that some version of a split-starter system will be used, blurring the distinction somewhat between starters/(long) relievers. A few of the placements at each level are undoubtedly "placeholders" until someone else is ready/healthy, so if a few of the assignments seem a bit incongruent, then you know why. A number of these "placeholders" will likely be released or sent (back) to extended sometime during the first half of the season. Finally, while there were a few notably aggressive assignments for position players, with a couple of head-scratchers thrown in, the assignments for relievers were notably conservative (if not altogether puzzling). Some of the ambiguity stems from the nature of "Extended Spring Training" itself -perhaps the last unregulated roster manipulation stratagem in professional sports - as we don't know why some players have been assigned there: some are injured in some way; some have "issues" mechanical or otherwise; some need more work or more innings; and some, well, we may never know. In fact, sometimes, over the course of the season, players disappear altogether, only to pop up again some months later. OK, on to the clubs.

There was nothing really unexpected for the position players on the roster. I'm surprised that Fox isn't there, given his late spring at bats during ST, but then, I only realized the day the roster came out that the PCL only carry 24-man rosters. Fox could make it onto the club if Metcalf doesn't clears waivers. Frostad likely gets sent to AA when Richardson is activated sometime in June. Gentry, Smurf, and Fox were not promoted because there is simply no room. They have to be disappointed. And in the "not surprising but disappointing" category, slugger Shanksy got claimed by the Brewers, and we were forced to claim Thorman for depth.

Expect Boggs and Ramirez to be the first position players promoted to TX. Duran, Arias, Borbon, Harrison and Golson could all see time as injury replacements.

As for the pitchers, there were a few surprises. For the starters, Diamond was sent to the pen and surprisingly replaced by "the Lizard" who is really not a prospect as a starter, and probably not as a middle reliever either (despite the last 2 sterling spring training outings he has had with TX). Expect him to be replaced by Hunter when he has built up enough innings in AA. With Gabbard and Ballard also committed to the pen, that left Mathis as the only viable fifth starter on the

To be honest, I would rather see the Rangers roll with Gabbard in the AA rotation. I like him. I think the only way he helps Texas in the next couple of years is as a starter. If not in TX then for someone else. Showcasing him as a (healthy) starter could net a very nice prospect. With all of the the relief arms that will be passing through the upper levels of the system, some all of the way to the majors, I just don't see Gabbard helping in the Rangers' bullpen, ever.

For the relievers, I was surprised that Torres didn't make it over AJ Murray who did not make it over Ballard as the situational lefty. Torres was sent to EXT to rehab his back and will likely appear in AA when ready. Murray was also sent to extended despite a good spring training where he was unscored upon as a specialist in 3 appearances. Not sure why, possibly to build up stamina.

The Rangers went with age when going with Vaughn and Gordon. Both impressed enough in spring training to get the nod over struggling prospects Garr, Kometani, Diaz and Laughter. The lizard could bump one of them off the roster or move to AA or EXT when Hunter moves into the rotation. In addition, AJ Murray could bump someone off as well when he gets activated, though he could start off in the AA pen.

I expect Eyre to be optioned to the AAA pen when he finishes his rehab (most likely in AAA). Also, expect Madrigal to be optioned to AAA when Nippert gets moved to the Rangers' active roster.

Finally, expect Holland, Feliz, Strop and Turnbow to be the first pitchers promoted to the majors from AAA. Turnbow can opt out on 5/1.

AJ Murray should be the first in line to be assigned to AAA when there is a vacancy but expect Hunter, Eyre and Madrigal to join the staff by the end of April and send some placeholders packing or to Extended. Richardson will likely be activated from the DL sometime in June.

Possible Cuts/Demotions by All Star Break?
Fukimori, Corey, Turnbow, Vaughn, Gordon, Lizard, Thorman, Huffman

Frisco Roughriders (AA)

For the position players, only one real surprise here. Sticking Osuna in A+ is a travesty. The kid is ready for AA and merits a starter's PT there by backing up all the infield positions and a little LF. I assume the only reason he is in A+ is that they plan to start him at a position other than 2b (ss or 3b) so that he can get a lot of reps there. However, I really hope that the Rangers don't screw him over like they did Moreland and Smith last year when they let those two rot in Clinton for the whole year.

Smoak to AA is no surprise. Vallejo to second is a bit surprising. I thought that Vallejo would start at SS, which does not preclude a platoon there. However, in a further revelation, coach Micucci revealed that there will in fact be _no_ 2b/ss platoon at all. Not sure this makes any sense for either player considering that they probably profile best as future utility infielders. Gentry, Smurf and Fox didn't get the call to AAA, as i said, because there was simply no room. Micucci also announced that Tracy would get most of his AB at DH with Majewski as the RF.

Now forgive me but, there is no need to be coaching AA as if you are in the midst of a world series run. Development is the order of the day, right? Majewski is an org guy. Tracy should be starting in LF and playing some 1b to spell Smoak. Vallejo and Lemon should be platooning at least, and the argument could be made that Vallejo should _start_ at SS to see how he rolls there. Osuna should be there over Fox and/or GRod. Puzzling to say the least.

Expect Smoak, Vallejo, Gentry, Smurf and Tracy to be the first position player promotions to AAA. Smoak could simply remain in AA all year but he will be the the starting 1B next year for the Rangers regardless (and a Sept. call-up for sure).

For the starters, Micucci revealed that Nipples and Moscoso would be split-starters until Nipples is activated from the DL, likely about 3 starts he says. This will also allow Moscoso to slowly get stretched out which is certainly not a bad thing for his shoulder. He went on to add that Hunter would start off in the pen to slowly get stretched out. When he is ready, I hope that he will be reassigned to the AAA rotation as having Lizard there in his stead makes little sense. Why they elected to send Hunter to AA, I have no idea. If the plan is to simply _leave_ Hunter in AA for the first half, well, that does not compute. Well, it only makes sense if Hunter has in fact been demoted for whatever reason(s). It seems more likely that Hunter is merely being stretched out, end of story, but we'll know more in short order.

As for Schlact and Hyatt, neither one has starting in their ML future so, having both of these guys in the rotation should scare no one. What one should keep in mind though is that they are both placeholders for whoever rockets to AA from A+ in the first couple of months. Both will be sent to the AA or AAA pen when that happens. Having "the Lizard", Mathis, Mendoza, Schlact and Hyatt in the AAA and AA rotations should also remind one how superior Oakland's upper level starting rotations are compared to our own. For now. That will reverse itself at mid-season, I'm just sayin'. Don't let all of the #1 system talk go to your head.

Three pitchers who can expect to be sent to extended or released when Lueke, Torres, Murray and/or Swanson get added to the roster from extended: Hamilton, Kometani, and Diaz. Kometani is pitching for his job while the other 2 are roster fillers.

Finally, I think that Poveda and Moscoso will be the first ones promoted to the AAA rotation. Jones, Hyatt, and Schlact could be the first relievers promoted to AAA. I am not a great believer in either Bannister or Laughter (or Lueke).

Swanson, Torres, Lueke and Berkey should be the first in line to be assigned to AA when there is a vacancy. Slusarz will likely be released when healthy.

Possible Cuts/Demotions by All Star Break?
Komeatani, Jose Diaz, Hamilton, GRody, Majewski, Swanson, Lueke, Fox, Berkey, Torres

Bakersfield Blaze (A+)

The most puzzling roster decisions of all the full season clubs were made here. For the position players, Osuna merits a AA assignment as I detailed above, period. Bianucci was inexplicably assigned to Hickory. Mauro Gomez and Ian Gac made the team as DH/1b while Greene will apparently be a backup DH/RF/3B. In Gac's 118 games at A+ for his career, he had 30 walks and 193 strikeouts. No that is not a misprint. This trio would make up Texas' All Non-Contact Team. I see no reason why Gac and Gomez should still be in the system unless there are injuries and even then probably not. They should be in EXT and or released. And while the butchery at 3B finally ends with Greene's move to the outfield, his OF play will surely scare some folks, and not in a good way. Greene is a DH prospect (as was GAC) no matter where else you try to stick him; Cobb and any number of others merit the 4th OF role over him. To make room for the strikeout trio, a backup MIF was sacrificed but that probably won't last for long. Starting Stoner can only mean that Osuna is playing 3B and/or that Morrison is hurt. Stoner is an org guy. Morrison might start at 3B when he gets assigned but was below average defensively there so unless they see a lot of upside he may come off the bench again or make the permanent move to the OF.

Promotions. Smith, Moreland, Osuna, and Lawson should be the first to get the call from AA for position players.

The pitching assignments are also replete with oddities. The starting staff is what most thought it would be. The bullpen is a different story with four quality arms left off the roster: Eppley, Schlect, Tufts and Brader. Demoting Garr to A+ seems a bit odd. If he has been having problems this spring, then why not send him to extended? Reed will go back to his natural setup/closer role that he occupied in college. I am surprised that the "Reed as SP" ended after only his first year. As a reliever, Reed definitely qualifies as a reach as a third rounder. (Hopefully, Hunter won't be the next reach who ends up in the pen.) I though that Falcon, and his junkball assortment, would start of in EXT, possibly being released. I'm a little surprised to see Phillips repeating A+ now that he is going to the bullpen.

The first starters likely to be promoted to AA are Kirkman, TMurph and/or Gomez to replace Hyatt and Schlact. Main or Beavan could leap that trio but unless they show a Feliz/Hollandesque developmental explosion, there is really no hurry. I would say a post ASB promotion is most likely, say late June, early July. As for the relievers, I think everyone except Flores and Falcon are candidates; whoever is hottest for the longest will be first. Garr is the real mystery here; not sure what is going on with him but he was projected to be ready to contribute to the big league bullpen by mid-season out of AAA. One hopes that he is not having a recurrence of the shoulder problems that sent him to the DL a couple of times.

Morrison, Domingo, Cobb, Eppley, Brader, and Schlect should be the first in line to be assigned to A+ when there is a vacancy. Sattler will likely be released once his comes off the DL.

Possible Cuts/Demotions by All Star Break?
Stoner, Gomez, Gac, Falcon, Sattler

Hickory Crawdads (A)

I really like the aggressive placements at this level. Macumba, CMurph, and Martinez all could have started the season in Spokane but all three must have made a great deal of progress in fall instructs and during spring training to merit these promotions. I am really excited to see them in action.

As I noted before, placing Bianucci here seems a bit of a waste. I expected Kaase to be in A+ and Tim Rody to be cut. The most surprising absences are Alfonso, Santana, James and Koncel, particularly the first two. The promotion of Macumba seems to all but confirm that Santana has been officially moved off of catcher. Alfonso was slated to repeat and I'm not sure what TRody offers to merit a spot on the roster in lieu of him. I'm not sure if Ogata is starting at 2B or not but look for him to be moved to LF by season's end; he has hands as soft as a boot heel.

Look for Kaase, Bianucci and Bolden to be the first of the position players to be promoted to A+.

As for the rotation - WOW! - what a candy store. The word is that Boscan, Brigham, Perez, and possibly Font as well, will pitch "limited innings", whatever that means. It seems that only Pimentel and Bleier are free from inning limits for the season. In addition, it seems that Wieland and Ramirez will be assigned to Hickory from extended sometime before June. No word on Miggie and Ocampo. Both merit assignments here from extended as well, Miggie to the pen, and Ocampo to the rotation. Starting off Font and Perez in the rotation is a bit of a surprise as it would seem easier to manage their innings by starting them off in extended. Ocampo's exclusion counts as the biggest elision in my estimation. There is also a strange rumor that Hamburger might get a few starts initially to work on his slider. Yeah right, Hamburger opening for Font? Weirdness. I am very surprised to see Bleier in Hickory given his excellent control and good secondary stuff; I thought for sure he's end up in A+.

To help manage everyone's innings - Hickory may come to resemble Spokane/AZL more and more in this regard - you may see a split- or tandem-start system become prevalent. Castillo pitched within that framework last year and likely will again as he is currently listed in the bullpen. I doubt that the decision has been made to permanently move him to the bullpen at this stage as he is still only 20(!) but it could come before the end of the season if he has not made sufficient progress. Nevarez could also get innings in a tandem start arrangement but the bullpen might be his future right now; wherever he ends up, the ball will be out of the zone. Font surely won't pitch more than 65 innings this year while Perez and Brigham surely will not go more than 95 you would think, with Brigham coming off an injury. It will be very interesting to see how the innings are managed this year as the depth at the lower levels will necessitate some changes.

UPDATE: Per coach Micucci (via the Morganton News), Springston(LH) will be the fifth starter, while Brigham and Perez will be split starters with one another and Font will start the season in the pen. Font out of the pen makes sense. He can be brought along slowly, then stretched out, and possible start after the ASB. Springston over Ocampo, Castillo, and Miggie, well, what can one say? As a reliever, Springston put up some very ugly numbers his first 2 years at Baylor and last year in Spokane. However he put up decent #s as a starter after transferring to the Univ. Ark last year. Whatever the case, again, all i can say is, really?

The bullpen has a few surprises. I thought for sure that Nevarez would be cut as he has never regained his control after his surgery (and it wasn't that great before anyways). I figured Tufts for A+ and Nam for extended. While Tufts _might_ merit an assignment to A+, Eppley, Brader, and Schlect surely do. The latter three merit an assignment somewhere in A ball over the likes of Springston, Nam and Nevarez (and Falcon). Not seeing Bermudez is a bit of a surprise; if he doesn't merit an assignment to Hickory at his age, he may not be much of a prospect.

I would say that Brigham and Bleir will be the first starters promoted with Bleier likely seeing the bullpen. Castillo, Tufts, Nam and Ortiz will probably be the first relievers to see A+.

Alfonso, Santana, James, Koncel, Hollander, Wieland, Ramirez, Miggie, and Bermudez will be in competition to be the first ones assigned to A+ when there is a vacancy. Gutsie will be assigned here when he comes off the DL. Some are bullish on Gutsie; I am not. He has the dreaded "no feel for pitching" tag. Selen and Ortiz could see Hickory in the second half.

Possible Cuts/Demotions by All Star Break?
Zaneski, Koncel, Hollander, Nevarez, Springston, TRody, King, Miller, Hurley, Ragsdale, Quintero, Nelo, Barto, Dove, Podraza, Valdez, Torres, Puello

Rookie Ball: Spokane and AZL

Currently there are about 14 players who seem destined for Spokane once their season opens in June: 7 positions players and 7 pitchers. There are are least 12 players who seem ticketed for the AZL club at present: 8 position players and 4 pitchers. Both clubs have 30-man rosters, so that leaves about 26 spots open (15 position players, 11 pitchers) between both clubs before the draft when about 35 players will be signed. At the very least, there will be about 10 players cut once these draftees begin to sign 1-2 weeks after he draft.

Spokane - Most notable players: The Grullon brothers, Ross, Ocampo, Miggie, Ortiz, Selen.
AZL - Most notable players: The Garcia brothers, Telis, Pimentel, Polanco, Kyung, AMendoza, Thompson, Zeke, Melo, Alvarez, DPeralta, ERosendo, "Ace" Ventura.

DSL Clubs

It appears that the combined rosters of both DSL clubs have about 55-60 players. Given the 14 Latin American free agents that the Rangers signed during the off-season, expect there to be about 10 players cut before they open their seasons at the end of May/early June.

DSL - Most notable players: Esdras Abreu (of), Oduber Herrera (SS), Escobar (SP), Parra (SP), Hector Martinez (OF), Teo Martinez (CF)

I'll close with a surprising bit of scuttlebutt. Jason Cole ( speculates that Henry, Wilkins and Stanford will be sent to the DSL1 squad to get more innings and personal attention in the face of an overcrowded Arizona facility. Not sure how that will work, maybe they go there now, play the first 3 weeks of the DSL season, then come over to spokane when their season begins? Who knows. What _is_ apparent is that there isn't even enough space in the entire continental US of A to contain our frackin' system. Word.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Victorious Hyperbole and a Prose Pro

Two nice post-game finds over at DMag:

This: Mike Hindman has some great post-game quotes up over at DMag:

Reliever C.J. Wilson continued: “[Millwood] was an ace today. He was tenacious. He just went after guys, worked inside, utilized the deer-like foot speed of Elvis and challenged hitters."

Said Millwood: I’ve played with some really great shortstops in my day — [Rafael] Furcal, [Jimmy] Rollins and Mike [Young]. What this kid can already do is up there with anybody and it’s pretty exciting to be around.”

CJ's is funny, really, even if true, as it is a bit of a mixed metaphor...or something. And Millwood's is hyperbolic, even if true, but when have you heard anything remotely appraching that kind of praise for the defensive prowess of any of our middle-infielders in the last 5 years or so? I'll take it.

And This, a nicely scripted piece about Elvis' first day by Jeff Miller.


Both C-Murph _and_ Macumba to Hickory!

The Hickory Crawdad roster has been posted and,in a somewhat surprising move, both Leonel de los Santos and Clark Murphy have been assigned there at the tender age of 19. I speculated some days ago that the release of (1b) Guinn presaged Murphy's assignment there, a move that also allows the athletic Bolden to remain in LF.

So, I have to say that their advanced assignments must be a testament to the hard work they put in over the off-season that obviously quickened their development. So now we can tack on some young _position_ players on the rise jockeying for a little spotlight heretofore monopolized by the pitchers. I am excited to see these guys. I should also note that (2b) Edward Martinez got the nod as well, as I projected, not only because he's a talented middle infielder but also because the MIF crop there is nothing special.

Funny, I saw one of Scott Lucas' pics up at the site. I guess he is still the press agent and website manager for the A club no matter where it resides!! Keep up the good work Scott!

OT: Where the hell is Christian Santana? Surely he didn't get promoted? I guess he has been sent to extended to start the season? Hmmm...

I'll append the roster here so you don't have to open the excel worksheet:

Bleier, Richard
Boscan, Wilfredo
Brigham, Jacob
Castillo, Fabio
Font, Wilmer
Hamburger, Mark
Nam, Yoon-Hee
Nevarez, Matt
Ortiz, Joseph
Perez, Martin
Pimentel, Carlos
Tufts, Tyler
Springston, Cliff

De Los Santos, Leonel
Hogan, Doug
Zaneski, Zach (DL)

Kaase, Jacob (Jake)
Martinez, Edward
Murphy, Clark
Ogata, Jason
West, Matthew (Matt)

Bianucci, Michael
Bolden, Jared
Fry, Eric
Paisano, David
Rodriguez, Timmy


Full Season Roster Musings: They once were starters and some still are (but not for long)

Although, only OKC has officially posted their rosters at this time, I think my roster projections will be close enough to make a few observations about the full level squads in general and some players in particular. The main changes you might see is some variability in assignments at 1b, of and backup catcher in A-ball, and some relief pitchers exchanging places from the active roster to EXT or DL. Other than that, its all good, man.

So, the first thing to note in general is that it appears as if some decisions have been made to convert some starters into relievers. While I would say this is a rather definitive for the likes of Ballard, Phillips and Tatusko, it isn't necessarily a permanent move for Hunter, Diamond or Castillo.

Diamond's assignment could be with the intent to work on his slider, some mechanical issues and/or to stretch him out. However, the Rangers did not seem very intent on stretching him out this spring so maybe that foretold their interest in moving him to the pen very early on. And, well, he also sucked royally in ST. I hope that the intent is merely to stretch him out and reinsert him into the rotation. However, if they think he can pull things together in the pen then I'm all for it. As for Castillo, well, he could work within the same ersatz split-starter system in which he operated last year - always pitching extended innings in tandem with another starter. This really blurs the distinction from starting/relieving in his case so a decision regarding his role may not emerge until mid-season.

As for Hunter, I can't say this move makes all that much sense on the face of it unless it might be considered a straight demotion. However, I think they are probably intent on stretching him out during the first month after missing the last 3 weeks of ST with a groin injury. When he is stretched out I would imagine that he replaces Lizard in the OKC rotation - anyone but Lizard please. Why they chose to stretch Hunter out in in AA, who knows?

It appears that Mathis was going to be groomed for the 5th starter role once it became apparent that Gabbard and Diamond would likely be working in the pen (and some inklings of a the three-headed monster that has become Benson-Feldman-Jennings), both of whom would not have been stretched in time to start in any case. Mathis was working weekly to up his pitch count on the back fields when not in an A games and pitched in a camp game on 4/5 in order to put him on the same schedule as our fifth starter. So, it was in the cards for awhile it seems. I don't think Mathis has much of a future as a starter, so at some point, in OKC or in TX, I hope that he slides into the MR role in which I think he can have some success.

Additionally, there are the cases of Hyatt, Schlact, and Moscoso. Moscoso it the only one that I would intently leave as a starter until the end of the year to see if he can indeed compete for a rotation spot next year. I think, err hope, that the decisions to start Hyatt and Schlact in AA has everything to do with a fleeting lack of depth, and well, nothing else. Hopefully, Hyatt and Schlact will find success in the pen this year, as that is where they will eventually end up when mid-season promotions come around, and that is likely where they have the best chance to get a shot at the majors.

As for Moscoso, I think the emergence of Strop as one of the best relievers in ST, and his eventual promotion to AAA, allayed some anxieties about not having an additional late inning arm in the pipe like Moscoso's who might help the team by midseason (anxieties further heightened by the demotion of Garr from AAA to A+). Diamond's move to the pen, if permanent, along with Turnbow's presence (at least until 5/1), might have been all the bullpen balm necessary to convince them that GM was worth a look-see as a AA staff Ace. Of course, as I have argued interminably, the only thing you really need to look at is his stuff and his ceiling, compared to everyone else not named Holland/"perez" in AA/AAA, and then the decision becomes a no-brainer. Hey, if the Lucas-Hindman-Newberg triumvirate can have the Phillips-Schlact-Whittleamn trio, Moscoso can be _my_ pet prospect.

Finally, Retaining Reed in A+ as a reliever is a bit surprising to me. He basically worked as a starter last year for the first time after closing his last 2 years in college. His slider was not as advertised for whatever reason, and I imagine his change was not all that great either and he simply got hammered in A+. However, I thought that if TX drafted him in the third round, they saw him as a starter. Otherwise, he was a reach. Well, it appears that he was a reach. Despite the simpler role of being a 2 pitch setup guy, he apparently has so much to work on that they asked him to repeat.


The OKC roster is up

The roster is here,
OKC Roster, while the official team preview is here:
OKC Team Preview.

The only deviation from my roster projection is that Ballard is in and AJ Murray is not. Scott Thorman, who batted .300 in ST for the Brewers, has been added as a 1b. There is one spot open that they will likely keep open for Metcalf, whose fate will be decided no later than 4/14.

Thorman is a former 1st rounder of Atlanta and was the 7th ranked prospect in their system going into the 2007 season. He was promoted from AAA at mid-season that year but has failed to make the necessary adjustments to stick. His peripherals in the majors over 175 games are: .222/.260/.407/.667. Likely no more than a 4A guy at this point, who could be called upon in an emergency as he does have experience. He played 13g at 3b last year for what it is worth. Too bad we lost out on 'Shansky.

One final thing: OKC only has 24 roster spots. Who knew?

Edit/Update: Thorman apparently had a nice spring for Milwaukee but his wretched OBP remained; he was the only player in camp with 20 or more at bats with zero walks. I think he played around 17g with 30AB.


Rangers' review at Lookout Landing

Jeff Sullivan has scripted a reasonably level-headed review of the Rangers over at LookoutLanding,

I have appended my response to the piece and his reply, well, just because. As a side note, CJ Wilson's tRA was 3.98 and his tRA+ was 105 in 2006, the year in which he was a FT setup guy, his role this year, and the year Jeff seems to overlook in his critique. In addition, well, his pessimitic arguments about the projected defensive improvements in the infield just don't add up, even if you downgrade Dewin's optimistic assesment, while his opinion regarding Young seems specious. Young was unable to make plays out of his zone, to his left, at SS while making the routine plays. This weakness will not play up at 3B while his discipline and arm will make him an AA defensive third baseman. Seems simple enough, eh?

Nice review Jeff The back end of the bullpen should be a definite strength of the club. You really underestimate Wilson (who really was hurt last year), whose best year was as a setup guy and he has been the best reliever in camp this spring according to Maddux. In addition, Andrus has made the routine plays in camp in addition to some electric ones that defy description. He has shown steady improvement on defense and at the plate, showing more plate discipline than many expected.

Finally, no matter what you think of Young and Davis defensively, and I believe that that they are better than average, the combined improvement that those two represent over last years scrubs borders on stratospheric. When combined with Andrus, the total runs saved at those three positions compared to last year will be dramatic. Dewan estimates that the move of Andrus and Young alone will result in 40 (!) saved runs compared to last year. That’s simply gargantuan – how rarely one gets to use that word in a sentence.

Lastly, I will say that many seem to (mis)underestimate Harrison, who, having added a cutter this year, should improve upon his meager SO/9 ratio and become a league average starter. For some rotations that might not be much to talk about, but for TX, it will be more than enough.

Keep up the good work.

Minor Moosings

by Goyogringo on Apr 5, 2009 2:55 AM PDT reply actions 0 recs

40 runs doesn't make sense Either Young is a really bad defender or he isn’t. If he isn’t, then Andrus won’t be much of an upgrade. If he is, then he won’t be much of an upgrade at third. I could buy something like 20 or 30, but 40 strikes me as excessive.

As far as Wilson is concerned, his 2007 tRA was below average, and his strike rate was among the worst in the league for relievers. Even when he was good, he was mediocre. I just don’t see him as being part of a strength.

by Jeff on Apr 5, 2009 6:06 PM PDT up reply actions 0 recs


Roster miscellany via Jason Cole, full season clubs

Couple of updates on players, courtesy of Jason Cole over at Please check out his (pay)site; it is gold during spring training.

1. Neil Ramirez's troubles to his throwing arm are reputed to be a result of a non-throwing incident. No more details were available but you can bet they will come soon. This guy is another potential ace in the Rangers' menagerie; I currently have him in my top 10 prospects and most have him no lower than 13 or so. He will be assigned to extended, later reporting to Hickory.

2. During ST, Jason had some interviews with a few pitchers who were injured last year that led one to believe they would start in their respective full-season rosters right off the bat. Kennil Gomez was reported to be close to 100% as ST began (via Jayce Tingler, DSL coach). His shoulder problems were confirmed to be weakness in his throwing shoulder that was successfully rehabbed during the off-season. Jacob Brigham was actually throwing some in Fall instructs I believe but was certainly 100% when spring training began. And, as it turns out, both have been announced as starters in their respective rotations.

3. A few pitchers who will start off in extended (with the intention of reporting to a full-season club before June): Lueke (AA), Sattler (AA)(blood clot in shoulder), Slusarz (AA)(TJ rehab), Gutsie (groin), Ragsdale. Both Sattler and Slusarz will be candidates for release once they are healthy. Jason is very high on Gutsie, going so far a calling him a sleeper; I am not. The scouting reports on him were very negative (see my profile on him) casting an aspersion that no player wants to hear: he has no feel for the game.

4. Some miscellaneous placements. Cole reports that Font was assigned to the starting rotation in Hickory. TR Sullivan's summary does not reflect this at the moment. It seems reasonable to expect Font to begin in extended in order to manage his innings, reporting to Hickory before June. Weiland will also be assigned to extended and subsequently report to Hickory. Ortiz and Eppley will reportedly be assigned to Hickory. Joseph Torres will be assigned to AA though he may be placed on the DL or report to EXT while he rehabs his back, which has beset him all spring; he has been out of action for the last 3 weeks or so. The lowly Clayton Hamilton will be assigned to the Frisco pen for some reason.

5. Cole reports that the Bakersfield bullpen will look like this:
Garr, Flores, Young, Falcon, Roark, Phillips, Tatusko, Reed. One of them might end up in EXT or on the DL. Garr is a likely DL candidate while Falcon is a candidate for EXT. Cole reports that Garr has had a terrible ST (on the back fields), so bad in fact, that he is apparently being demoted. Not sure if his shoulder is still giving him problems but I will get an update on him as soon as I come across one. Bad news, a he was one of the few late inning bullpen candidates that could have helped the Rangers pen before the ASB.

6. I have speculated previously about the possibility that TX would enact some new roster management strategies - such as having a defacto split-start system where the 5th starter is paired with another so that both get innings, but not too many, if innings management is the goal- in order to manage the incredible depth in A Ball. Cole revealed at least one way they are going to handle the surplus, at least at the short season level. Henry, Wilkins, and Stanford will be reported to the DSL facility to get more innings and individual coaching.

Check out my updated rosters if it all seems a bit too much. I will update them once again when the official full season rosters are released sometime between Today and Thursday.

OT: With Metcalf DFA'd yesterday, the Rangers have until the afternoon of 4/14 to trade, release or option him to AAA. I like him as depth, and hope he makes it through waivers but not at the expense of a 40 spot.


Poor Mariners

Here is a sad post from one besotted Mariners fan over at Lookoutlanding:

"I feel crushed right now It seems like it’ll be a long time before we reach the post season again. With the Angels being an attractive place for FA’s, A’s ability to contend with so little resources, and the Rangers army of top prospects…It just seems like we’re fighting an uphill battle to not finish last the next 5 years. Ichiro will soon be leaving, Felix too, Bedard and Beltre already have one foot out the door and our better young players are being mismanaged in a way that they don’t make the impact we had hoped they would. Please someone throw me a line, I’m drowning."

by Scrupio on Apr 5, 2009 10:45 PM PDT reply actions 0 recs

Just think that used to be us!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rotations Posted for Full Season Clubs

Some questions remain about short-term and long-term roles and whatnot but here are the rotations as posted by TR Sullivan at his blog:

The Rangers have set their Minor League rotations for the most part:

"Triple A Oklahoma City: Doug Mathis, Neftali Feliz, Elizardo Ramirez, Derek Holland and Luis Mendoza. Thomas Diamond will be in the bullpen to start the season.

Double A Frisco: Omar Poveda, Kasey Kiker, Guillermo Moscoso, Jared Hyatt, Michael Schlact.

Class A Bakersfield: Tim Murphy, Michael Main, Michael Kirkman, Blake Beavan, Kennil Gomez.

Class A Hickory: Among the pitchers here will be Wilfredo Boscon, Jacob Brigham and Martin Perez but their innings will be limited to begin the season. Carlos Pimentel, Richard Bleier and Cliff Springston will also pitch here.

Neil Ramirez is being held back by an elbow issue."

Minor League Transaction Summary, 2009

Here is a summary of the minor league players who have been released since December 26th, 2008:

Daigle, Batista, A. Gonzalez

Mehl, Herren, JB Diaz, Giles, Gerrard

K. Murphy, J. Santana, C. Dennis

Turner, Higgins, J. Peralta, McGraw, Guinn


Wagner, Evans, Hill, B. Harrigan


Marinez, Borjas

Members of the 2008 draft class:
Guinn (17), Evans (23), Higgins (31), McGraw (40), Hill (47)

On the Verge: Roster Predictions

The Minor League Rosters are going to be set tomorrow so I thought that I would go ahead and throw out my roster projections for the full season clubs. From what I understand, these rosters won't be publicly announced until Monday but I'm sure someone might leak them early right? Feel free to make your own guesses in the comments section...


SP: Diamond, Holland, Feliz, Mendoza, Mathis, (Rehab: Nipples)
RP: Strop, Turnbow, Gordon, AJ Murray, Vaughn, Lizard, Gabbard, (Rehab: Eyre)
Pos: Huffman, Duran, Metcalf, Arias, Ramirez, Borbon, Golson, Boggs
Bench: Frostad, Benjamin, Fox, Harrison, (5th OF TBD)
Extended: Garr
DL: Richardson
Players on the bubble: Joselo Diaz, Fukimori, Corey, Kometani

SP: Kiker, Moscoso, Poveda, Reed, Hunter
RP: Bannister, Lueke, BJ, Laughter, Hyatt, Ballard, Schlact
Pos: Smoak, Lemon, Whitty, Vallejo (SS), Pina, Gentry, SMurph, Tracy
Bench: C-Grade, Osuna, GRody, Berkery, Majewski
Extended: Swanson
Players on the Bubble: Sattler, Slusarz, Hamilton


SP: Main, Beavan, Kirkman, TMurph, Bleier
RP: Flores, Schlect, Eppley, Young, Roark, Phillips, Tatusko
Pos: Moreland (1B), Lawson, Morrison (3B), Kaase, Felix, Beltre, Bianucci, Smitty
Bench: Hogan, Stoner, Greene, Butler, Cobb
Extended: K. Gomez, Gac, MGomez, Sarmiento, TRody, Falcon

SP: Boscan, Pimentel, Ocampo, Brigham, Font/Castillo
RP: Hamburger, Bermudez, Brader, Ortiz, Miller, Tufts
Pos: Bolden (1B), Martinez, West, James, Santana(C), Paisano, Fry, Alfonso
Bench: Domingo, Hollander, Koncel, Ogata, Dove
Extended: Podraza, Valdez, Barto, Springston, Gutsie, King, Nam, Ragsdale, Perez, Ramirez, Miggie
Players on the Bubble: Quintero, Nelo, Hurley

Dennis Guinn released; C-Murph to Hickory?

Dennis Guinn was released yesterday. He was a SR 1b drafted in the 17th round last year. I had him pegged for Hickory. The Rangers, apparently, did not. What does this move presage? one of two things. The least interesting would be that Bolden moves from the OF to 1B, thus freeing up a starting spot in LF to Alfonso. The more interesting repercussion would be that they are freeing up the the 1B spot for Clark Murphy. I had him pegged for Spokane despite the very positive reviews he received in Fall instructs. TX reworked his swing and approach last year, a move that allowed him to hit to all fields, but with a noticeable decline in his HR/rate. Not a big deal, as he has plenty of time to grow into the new approach. However, I thought that they might want to allow him to grow into his swing in Spokane. They still might do just that, I'm just sayin'.

Daily Query: Who would you trade for Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann?

Who would you be willing to trade among the following pitchers in order to acquire Jason Hammel or Jeff Niemann and why/why not? - Kiker, Poveda, Moscoso, K. Gomez, Hunter.

Colorado (20th ranked system, BA) is offering their 16th ranked prospect (BA), 21yo Dominican, Aneury Rodriguez for Hammel. He is promising SP who will make his AA debut this year with a 91-92 sinking FB, CB that has the potential as an out pitch, average change, and AA -plus command.

I would say the guy that Rody resembles the most is Kennil Gomez. I would give them anyone of those that they preferred for Niemann but I am not really interested in giving up any of those guys for Hammel. For Hammel, I would be willing to give them a guy in the next tier in the upper levels: Mendoza, Gabbard, Diamond, Reed, Schlact, Phillips, Bleier, or Mathis. Of course if I was them, I wouldn't do that deal.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Just because:

Peter Gammons Blog entry (April):
"Years ago, managers just snubbed their noses at sabermetrics. Now, it's mostly media members and former players who reject such studies. Not managers.

Washington's Manny Acta will lay an occasional "VORP" on you, and Brewers manager Ken Macha was so intrigued by "The Fielding Bible," compiled by John Dewan and Bill James, that he copied sections and gave them to players. He wanted the players to understand the relationship of bases and outs to runs, and how outfielders cutting balls off and hitting relay men and how baserunners' aggression and hustle add up at the end of the year. So add the Brew Crew to the list of teams using sabermetrics."

What is the over and under on how many years it will take before JD does the same for Wash (and Nolan) who in turn leave a few pages in Rudy Jaramillo's lunch pail? For individual production, Jaramillo's approach to hitting has to be the best in the biz while it surely ranks as the worst as a measure of team-wide run production. How much longer will Jaramillo last when the team emerges as a creature of pitching and defense?

Peter Gammons blog (April) - 4 questions posed to 60 "baseball people" about young players in sping training:

on brink of breakout season: Chris davis, 6th of 15
best arm: Holland, 3rd of 5 pitchers
most impressive: Holland/Feliz, runners up, min 2 votes, 21-30 range

Most impressive absence? Justin Smoak did not make the top 20 or receive HM while Oakland's Sean Doolittle placed 19th. We'll have to remind the "baseball people" not to go out for burgers and beers during Smoak's plate appearances. From everything we have heard out of ST, Smoak could hit for average and power in the majors _rightnow_!

Ben Badler's top 26 DSL (class of 2008) prospects to watch in '09:

Tomas Telis, Anyenil Mendoza, Carlos Melo

Of course you already knew that if you've been checking out my DSL profiles/rankings! Here are profiles for my top 5 international players who have yet to make their state-side debuts:

1. Tomas Telis C SH 17.8 130K AZL VZ 5'8 205
.300 hitter at 17, >BB than SO, premium position; attended 2nd Instructs this yr; DSL all-star; impressive FI (converted to catcher during his first instructs in 07); very short, but sturdy frame (added 20 pounds his first 1 1/2 yrs); decent arm, quick feet/hands (converted SS, moved to catcher after putting on weight). I consider him a -BREAKOUT CANDIDATE- despite the demands of being a 2nd-yr catcher making his state-side debut as he reportedly has plus makeup. DSL Coach Jason Tingler (via Jason Cole at says repeatedly that he has "tremendous hands" and that his defense has progressed very well. Also, he " has never seen a 17yo who can put the bat on the ball" so well; and, has "tremendous gap power" at present. IMO he starts off in AZL due to his inexper. at the position but could probably hit in Spokane right now. Might see him in Hickory in 2010.

2. Richard Alvarez SP 16.6 350<>750K DSL1 VZ 5'11 160
Fall Sign. As far as I can tell, no one knew about the sign, and he magically appeared when minor league camp began their games this week (though Jason Parks over at said he knew of the sign). The only scouting stuff that I could find on him was a report (cubs?) that he was one of the two best pitchers left in the FA market at year's end and that there was a "bidding war" to get him. Until we know more about him that isn't really saying much, as all the best pitchers signed 4-6 months earlier. Not sure why it took him long to sign as he could have signed as early as his 16th birthday end of August. The other thing I found was that he pitched and hit for VZ in the Little League World Championships in 2005 when he was about 12! The reports from his one inning (TNR, Klaw, Lucas, Cole) are that he has below average velo, sitting at 84-86, with an impressive changeup and a "show me" curve. His delivery is fluid with clean mechanics and good command. The Rangers say that his velo is normally 87-89+90. So add another arm to the their freakishly talented menagerie. And for a minor league geek like me, I must say, it is kinda cool to wake up one morning and discover that another elite intl. FA sign has magically appeared in camp!

3. Carlos Melo SP 18.1 170K AZL DR 6'3 205
93-96fb, good feel for curveball, belo-ave CU; nice peripherals, high so/9, good control; .324 BAA LH (small sample size), flyball guy . Reportedly has "electric" arm and has added about 20 pounds in the last 2 years (cole) - States that he actually flashes 97, can throw his curve for strikes, and only broke out a change during Fall instructs (Cole); so basically he sounds just like a high-ceiling HS SR - BREAKOUT CANDIDATE

4. Juan Grullon SP LH 18.9 A- DR 6 185
improved on good dsl1 debut 07; did not get invite to instructs - I suspect visa issues keeping in DSL 2yrs (guessing) because his first yr #s were plenty good to start 08 in AZL; a bit short. Scott Lucas had this tidbit: last 7 appearances: 19ip/6bb/32so/.155baa/.47era! I have not read anything about his velo or what BB he favors (Cole suggests he throws a Slider), which is a little odd, ie, not hearing any scuttlebut about a guy with such dominant #s. - BREAKOUT CANDIDATE -

5. A. Mendoza SP 19.3 AZL DR 6'2 185
instruct invitee; 2-yr DSL1 guy with nice peripherals both yrs; slight improvement 2nd yr with a decr in IP 44 to 38 (poss injury) ; Tingler (via Cole) says he flashes 95, is explosive and has a "very good" curveball, with a below ave change; "he's coming along nicely and could be our most talented pitcher" !!!! Could see a surprise assignment to Spokane. - BREAKOUT CANDIDATE

Check out the rankings pinned to the sidebar for my complete top 20.