Wednesday, September 30, 2009
In other news that I had covered before, NPBT now has a source that suggests Rafael DePaula might be headed to Japan, whereas before, NPBT had not really considered it feasible previously. In that piece, I had noted an anonymous source that said Japan was Depaula's likely destination. So NPBT now confirms what we already know.
Here's a brief note on the kid:
DePaula, who has presented himself as being born April 1, 1992, has seen his fastball go from the mid- to high-80s last July to the low-90s and touching 94-95 mph this year, making him one of the most coveted players available since the end of last year's signing period.
But, hold on. This same dominican-based source suggested way back in May/June that TX was interested in Depaula. Post-July2 this source also noted that TX officials had been in contact with the family expressing an interest in signing him despite his suspension. In fact there still was a lot of interest in the flamethrower from many clubs - particularly NYY - despite his suspension and the risk of being unable to secure a visa from the consulate after signing (the bonus would be contingent on the visa however so the risk is mitigated). This same source also noted that there was lots of scuttlebutt about Depaula receiving a shortened suspension or a waiver or some sort due to some unknown mitigating factors. To date there has been no new scuttlebutt to this effect however there was movement on another front that might be relevant to his case.
Eliado Moronta's suspension was lifted this week with no accompanying explanation of why and how this could be done given that, to my knowledge, it sets a precedent. His age has now been established as 20 (21, 12/16/09) and he was caught lying and was supposed to be suspended for one year. He was all set to sign with Boston for about 2 million as a 5-tool outfielder until he got busted. The kid is a plus plus athlete but can't really be regarded as much of a prospect, making his baseball debut at the age of 21. TX was reported to have been really interested in this kid as well. And now, I hear tell that TX is a likely destination for Moronta though you would have to imagine it would be in the 300k range:
Moronta, who is 6-foot-1, 183 pounds, is 20 years old and turns 21 on December 16. He is an athletic righthanded hitter with plus-plus speed, flashing a good arm and raw power potential.
So how are the two suspensions related? Back at the time of the suspensions of both Moronta and Depaula - both announced on may 11 2009 - each was said to have mitigating circumstances that might result in a mitigated suspension. We have now seen that play out with Moronta and it would not be much of a leap to expect the same for Depaula before Xmas. In fact, once source claims Depaula's passport is legit and that the Dominincan Cedula office attested to its veracity to MLB. If that is the case, and he proves to be in the 20-22 range, while still throwing 93-95, expect TX to pursue him as a reliever for a reduced bonus.
Matt Harrison, who had shoulder surgery this summer, is planning to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Surprise Rafters. The goal is for him to pitch as a starter and get him up to 40 innings. ...
TRS also reported that Borbon will play in one of the winter ball leagues while Teagarden will almost assuredly do so, but the league is TBD.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I remember last year there was a big stink created when Warsh stated his #1 wish at last years trading deadlin was a "traditional" CF in lieu of batting Kinsler leadoff. Ain't it funny that he did indeed get that wish one year later only to refuse to play the kid a single game in CF. I'm thinking that Warsh's player wish lists are regarding as merely one voice in the team's long-term plans, and that he will _always_ without exception insist on acquiring and/or playing veterans. Call it job security. Hopefully, JD has a well worn tin ear to this kind of thinking from the skipper...
Saturday, September 26, 2009
41 Leury Garcia Short
42 Leonel de los Santos Catcher
43 Ruben Sierra Center
44 Neil Ramirez bp2
45 Tm Murphy bp3
46 Mike Bianucci Right
47 Juan Grullon 5
48 Zike Rijo 5
49 Richard Alvarez 5
50 Matt Thompson 4
51 Nick McBride 3_5
52 Paul Strong 3_5
53 Shawn Blackwell 3_5
54 Vincent DiFazio Catcher
55 Alex Gonzalez Second
56 Fabio Castillo bp2/3
57 Corey Young bp2/3
58 Beau Jones bp2/3
59 Joseph Ortiz bp2/3
60 Jose Monegro bp2/3
61 Adalberto Flores bp2/3
62 Justin Miller bp2/3
63 Kyle Ocampo bp2/3
64 Miguel de los Santos bp2/3
65 Justin Jamison 3_5
66 Keith Campbell 3_5
67 Johnny Gunter 3_5
68 Riley Cooper Right
69 Clark Murphy First
70 Johnny Whittleman Third
71 Guillermo Pimentel Left
72 Braxton Lane Center
73 Tae Ahn Kyung 3_5
1 Randol Rojas SP (DSL co-pitcher of the year)
2 Denny Peralta SP (instructs invite)
3 David Perez SP (instructs invite)
4 Leonel Gil SP
5 Jose Mavare SP
6 Teo "TMart" Martinez CF (instructs)
7 Oduber "David" Herrera (DH) 2B (instructs)
8 Santiago Chirino Hill 2B (instructs)
9 Alfredo Chalas INF
10 Carlos Ramirez SP
11 Luis Mendez SS
12 Luis Cedeno Reyes C
13 Francisco Mendoza RP (instructs)
14 Hector "HMart" Martinez RF
15 Yefrey Castillo (C,Inf,LF) (instructs)
16 Carlos Oropesa C
17 Robert Morillo 3B
18 Chris Garcia CF (instructs)
19 Francisco Lugo OF
20 Esdras Abreu LF
21 Luis Parra SP
22 Jose Mateo OF/1B
HM Ayenil Mendoza SP
Friday, September 25, 2009
1 Neftali Feliz 1
2 Justin Smoak First
3 Martin Perez 1_2
4 Julio Borbon Center
5 Tanner Scheppers 2_3
6 Omar Poveda 3
7 Guillermo Moscoso 3
8 Pedro Strop bp1
9 Wilmer Font 2_3
10 Robbie Ross 2_3
11 Kennil Gomez 3
12 Michael Kirkman 3
13 Blake Beavan 3
14 Michael Main 2_3
15 Tony Mendonca Third
16 Luis Sardinas Short
17 Jurickson Profar Short
18 Tony Doyle 3
19 Richard Bleier 3
20 Tim Moreland DH/1B
21 Max Ramirez DH/Catcher
22 Miguel Velazquez Right
23 Jacob Brigham 3
24 Greg Golson Center
25 Wilfredo Boscan 3
26 Joe Wieland 3
27 Edwin Garcia Short
28 Tomas Telis Catcher
29 Carlos Melo 2_3 (or closer)
30 Robbie Erlin 3
31 Kasey Kiker bp2
32 Chad Tracy First
33 D-Gut (Gutierrez) 3
34 Trevor Hurley 3_5
35 Carlos Pimentel 3_5
36 Braden Tullis 3_5
37 Chadwick Bell 3_5
38 Engel Beltre Center
39 E. Escobar 5
40 Marcus Lemon Second
Key: Starters (1-5); Closer, Setup (1,2)
Notes: Main - Moves into top 10 after he remains healthy and pitches well for a full season or at least 100ip.
D-Gut- Moves into 15-20 range after a full season without being arrested/suspended.
Kiker - profiles as a lefty setup guy not a starter. With his wicked changeup, he could succeed in that role, particularly if he adds a bit of velo coming out of the pen.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
PROFAR PROBLEMS The Rangers' signing of SS Jurickson Profar may turn out to be the biggest risk of all the July 2 signings. Profar had already threatened to quit baseball if teams did not sign him as a shortstop. Profar is considered by most scouts to be a much better pitcher, but Profar hates to pitch because he says it causes too much pain in his arm, according to sources close to the situation. Profar also comes from a very poor family whose fortunes will surely change after receiving a reported $1.55 million bonus. Several scouts wonder whether Profar's motivation will dwindle after receiving such a large deal. Most scouts believed Profar would get a bonus of around $750,000. Instead, the Rangers more than doubled the amount despite the fact that the Orioles were the only other team seriously interested in Profar as a shortstop.
2. This snippet on the signing of CF Andres Fria for 75k (a fairly large bonus), the son of Adolfo Fria, the agent for Guillermo Pimentel. He seems to have missed most of June as he probably didnt sign until the day after the draft and played in only 30g and showed zero power. In his first 13 games he hit .295, in his last 17 he hit .138 and then missed the last 2 1/2 weeks. He doesn't seem like much of a prospect, as he played at age 19 for the DSL1 club:
Several months ago, Fria confirmed that the Rangers signed his 18-year-old son Andres, an undrafted centerfielder who attended high school in New Jersey, for a generous $75,000 bonus. That type of bonus is typically given to a player drafted in Rounds 8-10 of the amateur draft.
3. A couple of VZ FA who remain unsigned who worked out for TX before July2:
•Two Venezuelan prospects to keep an eye on are SS Gioskar Amaya and catcherErnesto Leon, who is a switch hitter. Amaya is considered a projectable hitter with good hands. Both worked out this week for the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies,Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets. They are scheduled to work out next week for the Yankees, Cubs, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Royals.
4. Another Profar piece from May 29:
The Jurickson Profar Saga
Friday, May 29, 2009 | Print Entry
Posted by Jorge Arangure Jr.
Prized Curaçaoan prospect Jurickson Profar is turning his courtship into quite an adventure. Though most teams see him as a pitching prospect, Profar is insisting he wants to sign as a shortstop, which has complicated the bidding process.
"He would rather not play than have to pitch," said one source close to the situation.
The source said Profar dislikes pitching so much because it puts too much stress on his arm.
So far, only the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles have shown interest in Profar, who starred in the 2004 Little League World Series as a shortstop. Profar has been closely linked to the Rangers, since they have shown the most interest in him at shortstop. It was only recently that the Orioles have also relented to allowing Profar to begin his career in the infield.
Profar has become so disenchanted with the process, according to a source, that he has stopped working out altogether. Most teams haven't seen him work out as a pitcher in several months. At that time, the 5-foot-10 Profar threw in the 90-92 mph range. Such an attitude has severely lessened his value.
What has also driven many teams away is that Profar is asking for a seven-figure bonus, though he is considered just an average shortstop. Texas is believed to have offered Profar an $850,000 bonus.
Of course a team could sign Profar as a shortstop and then convince him to pitch. One scout speculated that is exactly what any team who is willing to sign him as a shortstop will try to do.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Weaknesses: After the elbow scare, Gutierrez needs to show he can stay healthy and sustain his improved velocity over a full season. When he operates in the low 90s, his other pitches play up. If he can improve his changeup, the sky is the limit.
The Future: There's some talk that Gutierrez could handle a jump to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, though the Royals usually aren't that aggressive. He'll probably open 2009 in high Class A Wilmington.
No word on the return, likely an low-A type prospect (think Hamburger)...
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The Scouting Report
What makes Gutierrez very intriguing is his fantastic fastball/curveball mix. While he doesn't have the best fastball in terms of pure velocity within the organization, he might have the best combination of velocity and command of the pitch. It's the curveball though that really makes Gutierrez stand out -- it's a legitimate plus pitch already with a chance to be even better. Those two pitches alone should allow him to be a reliever in the future even without too much improvement.
The part that bothers me a little is the changeup, or lack thereof. It's not that he's not working on the pitch (which young pitcher isn't?), but I've heard it's just not there yet. Gutierrez wasn't even using it in games during times last year, due to the fact it was behind and the fact he didn't really need it. Left-handed batters hit about .30 points higher than right-handed hitters did, which stands out when looking at his splits in 2008.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Mendonca approached the Rangers player development staff and the Spokane coaching staff about making adjustments to his offensive game, and club officials were impressed by his desire to learn.
"For the first 75-100 at-bats we leave the player alone unless he comes to us for (help)," Rangers farm director Scott Servais said. "Tommy did that. He came to us. About 50 to 60 at-bats in (at Spokane) he said, 'I'm open. What do I need to do to get better?' He bought into our program. Ultimately, they have to want to learn before they key in."
The Rangers started working on Mendonca's swing. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound third baseman's calling card has always been his plus power, but the fundamentals of his swing concerned scouts before the draft.
"He's made good adjustments. He was very open to try new things," Servais said. "We have addressed the swing path issues. We have gotten him to keep the path of his bat to stay in the zone longer . . . It's really started paying off recently."
Mendonca's improvement has been as sudden as his early struggles. His batting average skyrocketed 108 points and he swatted six more home runs, including three in an early-August game at Salem-Keizer.
"I would do a lot of bad things (with my swing) before I made adjustments. I had the concept right but with a bad swing," said Mendonca, who was hitting .304/.351/.528 in 161 at-bats. "If I do it right it works now. I realize right from wrong now. I wasn't afraid to admit that I needed help when I needed it. It's a good thing to use your resources."
"Playing defense hasn't been that hard of a transition," Mendonca said. "Defense is one of my strong points. Defense comes easy to me. I feel comfortable with my defense. In my mind, defense is still defense."
The Rangers and Mendonca agree that there are still adjustments to be made. Strikeouts are still an area of concern. He has continued to strike out at a healthy clip since his average began to rise and had 60 strikeouts.
"It's definitely something we are going to address," Servais said. "There are definitely more things we want to adjust to help his swing path. We've got to cut down the (strikeout) rate. There's no doubt about that."
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A 14th-round pick out of Walters State (Tenn.) CC, Bell made himself some money with his Cape performance. He threw a no-hitter against Chatham on July 12, limited opponents to a .173 average and commanded multiple pitches as well as anyone in the league. The Rangers signed him at the deadline for $450,000.
Bell relied on his curveball too much at Walters State but used his fastball more with Cotuit, boosting its velocity from 86-88 mph to 89-91. He also had one of the best changeups on the Cape, and his curve is a solid pitch.