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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