Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Camp notes

Omar Poveda down for the count
Per TRS, mid-rotation prospect Poveda had some elbow discomfort this spring and a recent MRI revealed a complete tear. See you next ST Omar. He had his Winter League season cut short it seemed to me. After pitching limited innings out of the bullpen, he seemed to have been moved into the rotation for 1 start and then never appeared in another game. I suspect that he injured the elbow around that time. Not sure if TX knew about it or not. As far as we know the following players have been injured in Winter League play over the last few years (that we know of): Arias, Cruz, Poveda, Beltre, Max...

Max Ramirez's health via TRS:
"Last year was the only bad year I've ever had," Ramirez said. "Last year was a disappointment...both wrists bothered me. Hopefully this year I won't feel any pain. Winter Ball, it felt good."

Forgotten man, Geoff Geary via TRS:
Geary was available because after going through some physical issues last season. He had off-season surgery to repair a torn groin muscle and then strained his shoulder during the season. He ended up with an 8.10 ERA in 16 relief appearances for the Astros.But the guy in the past has shown he can pitch. He also wants to play. He was one of the first players signed by the Rangers last off-season."I wasn't going to wait," Geary said. "I wanted to show teams I meant business."

Brandon McCarthy
Evan Grant just posted the same story this AM on BMac that I scripted yesterday. The difference, you don't need a pop-up/flash content blocker to read mine. BBTIA has one as well. It is the hottest story of the spring apparently, a back roto, sub-90 RHP. Hopefully it gets better...

Dustin Nippert likes being the swingman
"I like pitching as much as possible," Nippert said. "I like starting but I don't like waiting five days. I like relieving but you don't know when you're going to pitch so you can't get your work in. If I could start and pitch a couple time in relief between starts, that would be great."

Jorge Alfaro note (Arangure, last October):
"Recently, though, (agent) Soto has returned with two prospects who have been getting attention from scouts. Catcher Jorge Alfaro from Colombia, regarded for his solid bat and strong arm, may soon land a bonus in the six-figure range. Alfaro is a converted outfielder who has attracted attention from the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees. The Mariners appear to be the front-runners, according to one Dominican baseball source. Not everyone is sold on Alfaro, though. One prominent National League scout suggested that Soto would be better off turning Alfaro into a pitcher because he has such a strong arm."


UPDATE:
Matt Harrison - Matt confirmed today that he did in fact weigh 265 coming into camp last year. What is more amazing is that he says he had no idea. Amazing. Forget how young these guys sometimes but after making his major league debut he spends the off-season eating cookies and not following his workout regimen. After his debut, when he should have had a heightend awareness of what it was going to take to be a successful starter in the bigs, he promptly gained 25 pounds. There were some questions about his lack of intensity and competitiveness while he was a top 10 prospect in the Braves system (and he's never been thought to have a good body). Those concerns seem to be evidenced here between the 08-09 off-season. Let's hope that his injury issues and a stringent rehab regimen last year and this off-season have crystallized the necessity of hard work, professionalism, and diligence to reach his ceiling. Hope this kid now has a clue starting this year and it seems to be the case coming into camp at 235.




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J2 news and notes

per Ben Badler:

Victor Payano signed with TX for 75K (!!!!) after having his contract voided for 900k with Boston due to some issue with his throwing shoulder. That lowball contract makes me think that there might be something to the shoulder issue...

LAA sign CF Luis Jolly for 150K.

Cardinals sign RF Amauris Capellan for 450k.

Johendi Jiminian signs with Colorado for an undisclosed amount (prob i the 300-500 range).

Luis Sardinas was reported to have signed for 1.2m by Kiley McDaniel just after J2 while some days later Evan Grant reported that the bonus was actually 1.5m. The 2010 BAPH notes that he signed for 1.2m as well. Not sure what the correct figure is.



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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mateo, Depaula

There is an unconfirmed report from one Dominican-based source (alias, DBU) that Rafael DePaula has signed with Seattle and Wagner Mateo has signed with Atlanta.

As I said last week, all the Latin American prospect remainders will land this week - the Cubans are next.

ATlanta's newest 7-figure LA sign Edo Salcedo (18.6yo a/o 4/1)is considered a 3B now (and not a SS) and Goldstein suggests he will debut in LowA (though via extended). Would've loved to have another 3B in the system especially at the LowA level...

I predict that TX is done with 6-figure j2 signs for 2009 (though a low-level cuban might sneak in there in the 100k area).


UPDATE: Goldstein says Mateo has not signed as concerns about his vision are unabated (last I heard he was supposed to go to Miami to see a specialist there).

UPDATE2: DBU updated his unconfirmed (and still unofficial)report of Mateo to Atlanta (for 1.5m).

Update3 (3/2): Braves beat writer Mark Bowman says they have no interest in Mateo.


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Camp News and Notes

* BMac
According to Evan Grant, McCarthy is switching to a sinker and a cutter, which left the impression that he is ditching his slow, straight 4-seam. McCarthy began working on a sinker during his AAA stint last year. So, I guess this really completes his transformation into a completely different pitcher than he was with the ChiSox, where he was a 4-seam, curveball, change guy, with his changeup being a really effective pitch while his CB wasn't far behind. And now? After his horrible injury history, he now has a revamped more traditional delivery, will work off a cutter/sinker, and features a slider, a less effective curveball and changeup. Wow.

*Arias
Let the confusion and misinformation about Juaquin Arias continue anew, as it had in 2008 and 2009. JD has said that Arias' shoulder strength is almost back to normal based on reports from winter ball. Here is JD on Arias via Durrett: 'Daniels said Arias' arm "has improved from where it had been the past couple of years." But Daniels added that Arias had a "7 arm on a 2-8 grade" and isn't sure it's at that point.' "He’s in a better position now to be considreed for this job than he’s been the last two years," Daniels said. He said that in 2008 and 2009 as well.

Evan Grant suggests that Arias' shoulder is 100% while he also had an "impressive" stint in winter ball. He did not, though did mostly play shortstop and as a "natural" shortstop, that is kinda damning you with faint praise I guess. Including the playoffs, in 51 games, he batted .259/.298/.320/.618. This followed his year in AAA (after an impressive offensive year in 2008) in which he put up this line: 266/295/335/630. I'm not expecting anything more this year than his 2009 #s suggest, and this, coupled with a gimpy shoulder, means I don't expect much from him. However, that might be just enough to make the team as a utility guy, who generally, neither play or produce much. Even if he makes the roster, I would expect a trade to be made rather than sticking with the gimp should Andrus miss a lot of time to injury.

Jeff Wilson suggests he is fully healthy after "reconstructive" surgery on his throwing shoulder in 2007. He did not. AFter injuring his shoulder playing CF during a 2006 winter ball stint, he had the shoulder scoped in 2007 but no structural damage was found, and, presumably, no repairs were made/necessary. I assume his shoulder is still a problem because he did not/has not diligently followed his strenth/rehab/maintenance routine as prescribed by the club. Just a guess there, but, I think this is the more parsimonious explanation for what has happened to him over the last 3 years.

Here is Arias on Arias via Durrett: It's my time." He said he's 100 percent and the shoulder feels great (he admitted he was about 75 percent last spring). We'll see how he performs in the coming weeks. Finally, TR Sullivan seems to navigate a middle ground: "Arias could be the right guy. The Rangers still need to see how strong his shoulder is after three years of physical issues. They know his arm is not as strong as it was before a 2007 Spring Training injury but they are hoping it could be adequate for their purposes."

I am ready for telenovela on Arias' life as a TX Ranger to end with the signing of utility guy who can play all of the infield spots. This would mean, hopefully, that forgotten man Brandon Boggs could make the roster as a SH LF/CF to hit for all of the LHH OF on the roster. I'm sure that Boggs used to be able to play CF through AA but I'm not sure TX believes in him there. I think that will ultimately be the deciding factor for him making the 25 this spring.

# Boggs
Should be cleared for all baseball activities by 3/5 - a/o today, he is only prohibited by the club to slide into bases.

# Endy Chavez
Should be ready for minor league play around mid-May and has an opt out of 7/1. I've been reading reports that he only has a torn ACL but I also read a previous report that said he also tore the MCL along with the requisite cartilage damage for ligament tears. This would go a long way to explain his long 12-months of rehab when a typical ACL tear has a shorter recovery time of 6-9 months.

# Tanner Scheppers
Jason Grey first reported during the AFL that Tanners supposedly had a cutter. This week that report was confirmed; he began working on it in the fall league. What we didn't know was that he is also working on a 2-seamer. There was also a report that he had seen a lot of improvement on his changeup but I think that this improvement began prior to the draft. Schepp reported that he worked very hard to improve his changeup between the 08 and 09 drafts and had made significant progress on it through his stint in the Independent league.

# Justin Smoak
Coming into preseason, I felt that Smoak would have a breakout camp, though, with Davis and Vlad on the 40, he likely wouldn't make the 25 man. It seemed that his dominant WBC performance (9hr, 23 rbi, 12 games, 12bb/9so)finally marked a point where he found the balance between his patience and power. In addition, in a recent interview, he said he made a lot of progress batting RH as many of the starters he faced were Lefties. So, if he can parlay that power/patience comfort zone along with more consistency as a RHH, he just might have a huge spring.

# Salty - Tea
Evan Grant suggested that the Ranger's opened up the catching competition because they were disatisfied with Salty's makeup. Sounds like the typical ST muckracking that one should ignore. What seems clear though at this stage in his career, if he struggles the first couple of months, then I hope TX goes with a strict platoon in order to get what might become above-average production from the duo. Salty vs RHP and Tea vs LHP might get you an OPS of about .800 and I would take that in a second. In fact I would take that arrangement to start the season. So, yeah, while it is not too late to give up on Salty as a FT SH catcher his inconsistency has no place on a playoff caliber team this year, when placing his development over wins could cost the team in the end. So, I say, just go with a strict platoon, and be done with it.

# Omar Beltre
Tx officials say that Beltre will be stretched out this spring. It would be an interesting decision to keep Beltre as a starter in the minors, even though he has started the last 10 years of his career. He will be 28.6 as of opening day, has some injury concerns, and has never pitched more than 96 innings (2006) in any season. In fact, he has only averaged about 60ip/year in all of his other seasons (excluding 2009 when he only pitched 11 innings due to injuries). I would simply groom him as a bullpen arm in hopes that he might take to it and be available to help the bullpen if necessary post-trade deadline.

# Innings
Moscoso pitched a career high # of innings this year (AAA, AA, ML, VZ/CS), 157. Mendoza was simply abused this off-season, pitching 90 innings in the Mexican league, and accumulating an amazing 203 innings in 2009. I wonder how much he will have left in the tank this spring, not that it will matter, as he will likely be traded when the 40 man roster is set. Poveda pitched 163 innings (MiL, VZ). Mike Ballard pitched 186 innings in 2009 after 34 in the PWL.


# Minors Rotations
The # of starting pitcher prospects in the TX system borders on the ridiculous. Beginning in AAA and looking far afield to rookie ball, there are at least 7 or more legitimate mid-rotation prospects at each level. In Low A and the 2 short season clubs there are as many as 10 on each club. Quite a few of these will be in extended to begin the season, and others will have to start out in the bullpen. I thought the depth that TX had last year was absurd and would be difficult for the club to manage but this year will be even more of a challenge. Ck out my projected roster for the kind of maneuvering that will be required and just how many bodies might end up in extended. With the increase in talent throughout the system, there might end up being quite a few decent org guys/fringy prospects released in March as another way to manage the #s.

# Tuesday Night Update
Jeff Wilson had this weird quote about Harrison this PM, weird on a couple levels: "He's back using his quick wind-up, which produced his best results of 2009, and he hit the glove repeatedly during 10 minutes of live batting practice. "



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Friday, February 19, 2010

Omar Beltre injury update

So I just posted this update on Beltre and Ogando last week with an interest toward assessing Beltre's injury problems over the last 15 months:

UPDATE 4: In an interview Jason Cole did (~2/16) with the TX MiL catching coord/instructor, he said that both Beltre and Ogando had kept their bodies in good condition. So one question has been answered about them before they report: they didn't get fat and out of shape during their Dominican exile. Also, there was no mention of health issues with Beltre's elbow (they had been throwing at the Domincan academy before they left for the states this week ~2/15). So hopefully, another question answered. So the only questions that seem to remain about these two: 1. can they compete in a ML bullpen right now?; 2: if not what level do they start off in in the minors?


However, it appears that Beltre is not 100% healthy so his chances of making the big league team would appear to be dim. It seems that Belte suffered some sort of injury during the fall 2008 winter ball season which shut him down for much of the the 2009 season. I did not come across any info on the nature of the injury, specifically, whether it was his throwing arm.

When healthy in 2009, Beltre only pitched very limited innings at the end of the 2009 DSL season and then went to winter ball and only pitched a few innings in early November before being shut down with problems with his throwing arm. Now I came across one source (Rojas at Deportes) who said it was his elbow, but now, TX sources indicate is was his shoulder. So while he could have had both elbow and shoulder issues it appears that the club examined him recently for shoulder soreness in his throwing arm, was cleared of any structural issues, and is now being brought along slowly at the beginning of camp.

Anyways, Beltre's injury issues over the last 15 months or so, are definitely something to keep an eye on.



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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Notes on Jae-Kuk Ryu

A few notes I gathered on Ryu:

* Korean who signed with the Cubs out of high school for 1.6m, 2001
* Has been a starter for his minor league career. Now 6.3/225.
* 2003: pilloried/demoted for killing a bird.
* missed most of 2004 due to elbow tenderness (12ip)after he was moved to the bullpen, messing up his mechanics (5g/7ip); missed part of AFL due to back soreness (19ip)- so 31ip in 2004. Not sure why he was move to bullpen.
* rebounded in 2005 (21.8yo) with 170 AA innings, following that up with 140 AAA innings in 2006 (22.8yo) while pitching 15innings over the course of his ML debut out of the pen. Touching 94 regularly 01-03, but lost a few tics after 2004, now sitting 90-92 but with better command.
* acquired by TB for the 2007 season and pitched 14g/72ip in AAA and 23 ML innings out of the pen (April, May, last week of July, no Sept callup apparently). Didn't pitch horribly out of the pen for a young 2nd year guy who earned the job out of ST. In April and May: 5.05era/21g/21.1ip/25h/1hr/9bb/11so. As a sinkerballer, his 1:1 gb/ao rate suggests that he struggled keeping the ball down (moreso in May) or that his sinker lost some effectiveness or both. It should also be noted that he wasn't getting regular work which can be a detriment to sinker guys (just ask Mendoza).
* Still with TB for 2008 but shut down in May with elbow soreness and had a minor scope in june or July. Out for the rest of the year having made 5gs/25ip in AAA with 1 big league bullpen inning. 26ip for 2008.
* Weirdness in 2009. Claimed off of waivers during ST from TB by SD but had that claim denied by MLB. Returned to TB, put on waivers or released again by TB after a terrible ST (10.61era/11er/9ip/8g), and claimed/signed by Cleveland. However he failed his physical and was out of the league in 2009. Not sure if he played in another international league during that time or not.

Scouting report:
*a/o 2006: sinking FB sits 90-92, rarely flashes 94; AA straight changeup and splitter; ave slurve/curveball
* plus action on his sinker and splitter, with top spin that gives them sharp sink
*solid command, good groundball rate
*Out of the ML bullpen, it isn't clear that he is still throwing his splitter (and with elbow issues, probably not) and his velo range appears to have dipped even farther sitting, 88-90.


Given that he was out in 2009, rehabbing I guess, I imagine that TX signed off on his elbow and may have seen shades of the Ryu of old in some private/public workouts/tryouts, perhaps with a tic better velo now that he is healthy. Maybe he has even brought back his splitter. The big question is: can Ryu be effective out of the pen or is he now just a 4A starter? It is probably a long shot that he has something to contribute to a ML bullpen, but TX may have seen something they liked that made them think it feasible so he is one to keep an eye on in ST. Or, another possibility, it could be that TX actually sees him as a possible ML 5th starter type that would be good to have in AAA in case we trade away some of our SP depth in the upper minors. As a final note, the Pacific Rim scouting staff might have had a hand in scouting evaluating him/his elbow and coming through with a signing if Ryu was in fact in Korea during 2009.

Here are some old scouting reports:
Cubs Hub January 2006
Cubs Hub March 2006



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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News and Notes

There have been a number of reports about teams working out the various Cuban defectors over the last month in the Dominican and elsewhere. TX officials have worked out a number of them during that time. I would expect a lot of these guys to sign in the next 7-10 days.

The Dominican academy is at the tail end of its "pre-camp" camp, which lasts bout 6 weeks followed by about 6 weeks of ST. I think that there is even a post-season "camp" for working out and stuff over the winter as well. Those kids in the Dominican academy are doing supervised baseball activities year-round it seems.

There are still a number of high-ceiling LA prospects with a few warts or age-related questions/suspicions. Wagner Mateo. Daniel Sanchez. Rafael DePaula. Leo Perdomo. I would expect those who can to sign in the next 7-10 days as well. I suspect that TX has signed about 25-30 prospects over and above the 9 that have been officially announced/leaked/verified. Last year they signed a total of about 35-40 (see 2008 J2 worksheet). The total # of players at the academy is about 70-80 between the two clubs.

Most of these players are DSL org guys but many are legit. Some notable under the radar signings last year: Randol Rojas (DSL co-pitcher of the year- quite an honor with 33 teams and bout 600+ pitching prospects in the league!), Jose Mavare, Leo Gil, Carlos Ramirez, Carlos Oropesa, Robert Morillo, Luis Cedeno Reyes. In 2008 there were Easy Eddie Garcia, Fredo Chalas, Alex Gonzalez, Jose Monegro. The complete list of 2009 FA signs for 2010 won't be known until the DSL extended roster is released around 4/1. You'll see more than a few DSL guys in the AZL (and maybe a couple in spokane) this year- see my roster projection to see who I think will make the cut.

Jorge Arangure reports that SS Edo Salcedo might have his suspension lifted soon. Not sure why they would lift it unless there are new documents proving his age as legit or he has finally admitted lying. He was suspended for age-related chicanery in 2007 and must be 18 going on 19 for 2010 if his age is verfied. He was a 7-figure prospect before his suspension. Hopefully, this spells good news for Rafael DePaula who had his documents/age verified in Dominican legal proceedings over the last few months whereby the NYY requested another age investigation for the kid.

Spring training is almost upon us, and so are the endless stories about Hamilton's faith. Ugh. We are are secular humanists here right? Bring on the Deadspin tumult. Oh, wait, this is TX (austin is a TX deformation) so that probably plays up really well, the faith, not the drinking. But then, the repentant drunken sinner asking forgiveness after a night of jelly shots off of nearby navels also plays up well in the south. So, yeah, faith, sin, drinking, sex, forgiveness - I guess that all plays up really well in TX. So, yeah, nevermind, I'm used to it round these parts...

Evan Grant doesn't really do prospects that well but since only true baseball geeks do know prospects he does it well enough to keep the DMN/DMN forum crazies entertained. His "top 25" series is, as he says, easily ignored and derivative in a "I just got my BA Prospect handbook" kinda way. Having said that he did a knock-down piece profiling TX hitters for 2010 last week and their apparent and new-found recognition that they sucked last year. Hurdle is apparently getting through to my surprise, given the post-season comments by Kinsler et al denying that TX hitters had a lamentable year. That is now and will remain the best ST story we'll get this year.




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Friday, February 12, 2010

Danny Gutierrez suspended

Once a boil on the ass of the KC org and now a boil on the ass of the TX org, DGut is a prospect moron by any measure and TX should be criticized for his acquisition. All he had to do over the last 4 years is act like a "fringe-average" human being to become a millionaire but that is just too much to task the young man with. This will mark the 4th consecutive year that he will have failed to pitch a full season and must surely convince any doubters that ignoring makeup when considering a prospects ceiling is stupid (I'm talking to all of those folks- you? - who put him in their top 10).

Though I had already discounted the likelihood meathead develops as a Starter after I learned about his backgound, age, lack of a changeup, and lack of innings above HighA, I think everyone else should jump on the bandwagon that views him as a 2-3 combo guy out of the pen. That is his realistic ceiling - say it out loud now and with no hint of shame. For disbelieving onlookers, you can tell them that this is the best (only?) way to get the arrogant $#%^ to the bigs(where he surely thinks he already belongs) before his next arrest.

I have already written a lot about this meathead in opposition to the trade and the decision by TX to add a low-character guy to the org so I won't waste any more ink on him. Just search the site for "Gutierrez" and "Dgut" to pull all of that stuff up including more detailed analysis of his suspensions, injuries and arrest record that people (still) so readily dismiss. Just in case you missed it, the disposition of his last assault case was rendered in the AZ courts in October where he was sentenced (in a plea deal) to actual or nominal jail time, alcohol and anger counseling and 1 year of probation (hope this isn't a violation) and likely a hefty fine. I'm sure the Lawyer rued his initial decision to go to a jury as DGut is not a very sympathetic witness and went for the plea deal. All this while he was finishing his community service sentence from his last assault charge in AZ last Spring (08?). And of course, TX officials were aware of this expansive legal landscape before his acquisition.

I will say that there seems to be some confusion. If you read JD's comments carefully - and, as you know, I am a stickler for rigorous reading - he doesn't confirm that meathead tested positive for an active component of an ADD drug only that this is what Dgut claims the positive test is from. There may be no way to know where the amphetamine component derives from so Dgut's claims might be unverifiable. So if you believe he got a raw deal, think twice, as it might not be possible for MLB to tell where the PED came from therefore making it necessary to suspend all who test positive for the drug (without a prior declaration from the player's DR). To MLB, pulling out a script post-facto is irrelevant. Just guessing here.

I'm busy these days so probably won't be posting too much until minor league camp starts....



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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jorge Julio Ruiz

Arangure recently mentioned that Texas is one of the teams interested in Cuban 1b Ruiz. He is 6.3/(200-230lbs) 25 (not sure when he turns 26), LH, good to AA speed, good gap power (think DMurph) and some teams view him as a LF as well (and if he has the arm, possibly a RF). He has good patience at the plate but didn't hit lefties well his last season in Cuba (that would have been maybe 08-09, 52 games during the winter, so probably October through December or November through JAnuary for him - so he hasn't played in about a year).

Given the need for a couple of RH bats for 1b and LF/CF, I can't say i get their interest though he could prove to be a nice sign but will require a ML contract and big signing bonus, on the order of Tazawa's Boston deal or KC's Arguelles deal say 3 years at 5 million, 1.5-2 million bonus - just a guess. I get the interest but the kid's skill set just seems a bit redundant for TX.



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Monday, February 1, 2010

Rafael Depaula update

According to one source, the NYY have requested another MLB investigation into DePaula's age. Seems a little weird as they requested the first one so not sure if this report is correct. Basically, all a team has to do is sign the kid then apply directly for a Visa from the consulate. If the consulate grants a visa then MLB can't do anything about it even if they believe any irregularities are real. So, yeah, not sure why the Yankees need to do this again as many believe his documents are legit.

Anyways, the same source indicates that the Phillies are out, Milwaukee is a player as are Boston and the Yanks obviously. TX NYY and Boston have been interested from the beginning each working him out again and visting with his agent and family during his suspension. However TX has yet to be mentioned directly in any current scuttlebutt so I'm not sure if they have maintained their interest. The source also states that Depaula's representation is currently unknown and that the price will be below 7-figures so that some small market teams could still be players if NYY/Bos don't care to overbid.



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Moscoso starts Game 1

Guillermo Moscoso will start game one of the Caribbean championship series this Tuesday 2/2 at 730 pm. The game will be broadcast on MLB network so check it out. If I find a stream or two I will post the links...


UPDATE: GM got roughed up in his 3.2 innings of work (79 pitches) coupled with ugly infield D. He was unable to command his fastball, with erratic velo (88-92), leaving it up high, and was inconsistent enough around the zone, that the ump was squeezing him on low strikes. Anyways, commanding the FB is GM's strength so no worries (he was also on a 70-pitch limit per one VZ blogger). It is also interesting to note that GM has been pitching for 12 straight months with no break and now reports directly to spring training so he clearly has nothing left in the tank. Guys who pitch a full winter ball season including the playoffs and Caribbean Series are bad asses. There can no longer be any questions about the health of GM's shoulder. None. In my book, guys like Moscoso and Poveda are most valuable as trade pieces - in a system with so much depth - to other clubs who view them as solid mid-rotation guys.




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Alexi Ogando and Omar Beltre update

Let the caged birds fly: Beltre and Ogando to be freed from immigration shackles. After primarily facing inferior DSL competition for the last 5 years, I'm not sure how much both players have improved or are ready to compete in AA or AAA this year, but Jon Daniels still seems enthused about them and that is about all we know about their present skills, strengths and weaknesses.

Beltre (28.6 a/o 4/1) has good command, a fastball that sits 92-95 (as a starter or a reliever, I'm not sure), a good slider, and a split-changeup. However, he hasn't pitched many innings over the last 3 years and might now be relegated to the bullpen (coupled with the current rotation depth at all levels). Per at least one report (Cole?), Beltre's DSL debut was delayed this year due to an injury suffered during his Winter League assignment in 2008. Durrett reports that he has had elbow problems this year so that was probably the issue and might not bode well (this will be his 13th year as a pitcher!).

Ogando (26.5 a/o 4/1), a converted OF who has been pitching for only 4 years despite his age, has a FB that sits mid to upper 90s (95-98) and good command but, according to one source, no changeup to speak of (though I think this needs to be verified given he has had 4 years to work on one). Not sure of his breaking ball. He hasn't pitched many innings the last 4 years and all of them have been out of the bullpen. Though he has pitched about 30 innings each year (18 DSL/12 winter ball this year - he may have been injured a bit during the regular season) save for 2008.

I'll try to dig up their Winter Ball stats shortly. At this point, I think one might look at them like older FA international signs from Cuba or Japan, who might have some role to play in the pen, but whose future success is no sure thing (esp. given the inferior caliber of their competition while in the DSL). Links:


Richard Durrett 2010
Evan Grant 2008
Evan Grant 2010
TR Sullivan 2010
Omar Beltre MiLB stats
Alexi Ogando MilB stats


UPDATE: It looks like Ogando has only pitched winter ball this year and has acquited himself well in about 15 innings. Remember that this league is better than AAA so this is really encouraging given he has never pitched outside of the DSL before. I would think that he would be capable of handling AA hitters right now and could move quickly to AAA if he does well. However they might choose to ease him into his first stateside action in HighA and simply move him up quickly based on how he adjusts in all respects.

As for Beltre, He has essentially missed the last 2 years so this all but certainly puts him in the pen for 2010. Having missed most of this year due to health issues (I presume it is his elbow) could bode ill but I presume he his healthy if he is coming over to ST in 2 weeks. He missed 2008 along with Ogando presumably to handle legal issues and lay the groundwork to pitch overseas (on by one account in Mexico). So we'll see how rusty (and healthy) he is soon. I only found one year (pre-o6 I didn't feel like digging for) that he pitched a full winter ball season and that was in 2006 where he pitched about 30 innings (just turned 25). So he pitched about 97 innings in 2006 overall. But since that time Beltre has only pitched 43 innings in the last 3 years. It could be due to injuries, legal issues, dejection, finances but he has a lot to prove at this point based on his limited work load of late.

UPDATE 2: Beltre actually pitched winter ball in 2007 and 2008 per Jason Cole. In 2007 he pitched 30 innings in the DSL and 44 innings in winter ball (44ip/29h/2.03era) for a total of 74 innings. He didnt pitch in the DSL in 2008 but threw 50 winter ball innings (10 of 11 GS)with 36SO and a 4.35era. So his innings totals 2006-2009 respectively: 96; 74; 50; 11. Let's hope the decreasing workload merely appears more ominous on the injury front than it really is.

UPDATE 3: Keith Law says that both guys throw sliders.






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