Write about minor league baseball, international free agency and the Texas Rangers. Twitter @chilangodos.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
AFL players announced
The Rangers are sending the following players to the Arizona Fall League
P Thomas Diamond, P Brennan Garr, P Evan Reed, C Doug Hogan, IF Marcus Lemon, OF Mitch Moreland
Plus a pitcher to be named later.
Here is a very handy link to the winter league stats for TX players in 2007 and 2008. Overall, the talent level in the AZL this year seems to be unparalleled when compared to the last few years. When looking at how to evaluate the league as a whole, think of it as being between AAA and AA but with more high ceiling players and fewer veterans (with major league exper) than either league taken in isolation. When looking at the Caribbean leagues, think of them as being between AAA and AA, with more veteran international players, fewer high ceiling US guys, while being "hitter friendly" as they say.
Interesting that Moe is supposed to be healthy enough to participate. If all goes well with him in winter ball and for AAA during the first half of 2010, he could see action in the second half next year or make a nice trade chip (during the winter meetings or in July). Smitty should be in this list for sure.
Also interesting to see that Diamond, Garr and Reed are this year's Bannister, Eyre, Nippert and Kometani. The attempt to fast-track or recuperate relievers generally indicates that their careers are at a crossroads. I think that for Garr and Diamond that is definitely the case with both being major disappointments this year. Garr was projected to start the year in AAA and profiled as a setup guy who might have helped the club in 2009. Instead, he flopped in spring training and was demoted to HighA.
Diamond, who was demoted to the bullpen and then to AA after a few bad AAA starts, has had below average command now for the last 1 1/2 years/seasons now and if I'm in charge I am covetously looking at his 40 spot come December. If he does poorly, he may lose his spot though it doesn't seem like there will be much of a 4o-man numbers conundrum at that time.
Evan Reed was a third-round bust as a starter and has had problems with his command as a closer so it isn't really clear what the future holds with him. I'm hoping that whatever scouting consensus there is/was about projecting college bullpen arms as ML starters has been been thoroughly vivesected via the poor showings made by Reed and Murphy in their second years. Both players had known mechanical issues and limited experience as starters. I will say that Murphy was a consensus second rounder and could still work out next year as a starter though it seems more likely that he will also become another late inning bullpen arm come 2010. That's not a bad thing, as the attritition rate for starting prospects is sky high, with many of the best relievers being former starters, but it is disappointing.
Hogan is an interesting choice though he seems to be an org guy but he did miss a month on the DL. He has made better contact than I eXpected this year though. Lemon has slumped badly in the second half both in ave and plate discipline so maybe they are trying to get him on track or maybe they are trying to figure out if he can handle AAA next year. I wouldnt' think so but there you go.
As for the P(itcher)TBNL? What about Kiker in an attempt to work on his command and consistency, possibly with the eye to take a look at him in a LH setup role? I seem to be one of the few who really like the idea of Kiker in that role, where his plus changeup and above average FB command (should he command it, which he hasn't done well this yr unlike in 2008, and with a tick more velo, say 90-92) will play nicely. Once you dig into his #s, he has been extremely inefficient as a starter this year. Given his innings totals this year, probably unlikely, but, any chance that i can talk about Kiker to the pen, I usually take it.
I wouldn't expect Strop to be that guy due to his elbow or Mags who has nothing left to prove except that he has the makeup to keep a late inning role in the bigs. It will assuredly be a reliever. Keep Justin Miller in mind, a setup guy, throwing 92-95 who has spent most of the season on the DL. Laughter could go, being on the DL for 1/2 the year, but I don't particularly care for him as a prospect. Or, fingers crossed, Scheppers...