Sunday, March 28, 2010

Miggie has landed

Everyone's favorite lefthander, Miggie de los Santos, has finally landed after a year's delay due to a kafkaesque visa paperwork nightmore, reports Jason Cole. He closed last year in the DSL after appearing to profile as a starter (coming back from TJ surgery) in 2008. Cole reports that his FB was in the mid-90s in that role and given the time he has missed stateside (1yr missed due to surgery, 1 year missed due to the visa) you would think that TX sticks him in a late inning bullpen role in Hickory for 09 to try to fast track him. The one warning sign that puts his prospect ceiling in doubt is that his command was abhorrent in his capacity as a closer last year, _worse_ than it was during his first year back from TJ.



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Roddy's 40

Holy Crap, Roddy Beaubois scored 40 points tonight for the Mavs in 29 minutes off the bench. I don't know if he'll ever be a starting point guard but his shot is a thing of beauty. Reminds me of Reggie Miller the way the ball comes out of his hand.


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Andres Blanco

As you may already know, TX acquired Andres Blanco today, for a ptbnl or cash (likely cash). He profiles as an AA defended at SS and 2B but has a BA bat. He will likely make the club as the UINF unless there is a bigger name acquisition in the coming days. This, thankfully, will spell the end of Arias' days with the TX as someone is sure to claim him if put on waivers (or he'll be traded for cash if nothing else).

Blanco has been injured in camp (right knee strain 3/6) playing in only 7 games (6-7, 9ab, .700) but must be healthy now. This kid had an outstanging winter league in VZ, finishing with an ave/ops of 291/785 hitting for 15xbh in 35g and going 14-16 in SB so he might show a little more with the bat this year than people expect. In the end he is the ideal guy for the open spot on the roster and he has about 140g of ML experience including the 53g he played in for the Cubs last year batting .252. The cubs has some nice things to say about him as well:

"He's an outstanding defender," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said of Blanco. "No doubt he'll help the Rangers in that capacity. He's out of options and the way we're setting up, [Fontenot] looks like he can handle the shortstop role in a pinch...I certainly didn't think he'd (Blanco) make it through waivers, so we made a deal," Hendry said. "It's good for the young man. The Rangers were looking for a utility guy. It's a good fit. As we all know, he's an outstanding kid and well above average defender. It's a positive for the Rangers."




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Projected System Rosters

I've updated the projected system-wide rosters TX-DSL2 as a best guess on what they might look like when the minor league/extended rosters are released next week. All the off-season transactions are also listed to date in a separate section. Take a gander in the sidebar. I should note as an aside that there are a mountain load of relieves that will be relegated to extended to begin the season. It wouldn't surprise me if there were many bullpen guys let go between now and 4/8, opening day in the minors. Anyways, I'll also be updating my rankings and 2010 profiles over the next couple of weeks based on spring training notes (mainly provided by Jason Cole at lonestardugout and Jason Parks at bbtia) but also using pitch f/x data from MLB gameday when available this spring. Any info that I glean from both Cole and Parks is always attributed where appropriate.

I think if you look at my offseason rankings (posted in September and revised in January), my projections stack up really well (for what it is worth) based upon what Cole and Parks are reporting from the minor league camp. Having taken a lot of slack for debunking the Profar hype in general but particularly with the eye to the claim the Sardinas was a better prospect, Sardinas has indeed proven that he is the better prospect (right now). He has wowed people with his defensive range, hands, arm, and sagacity in the field and has also proven to be a better hitter with more projectable power than people had given him credit for. Sardinas is an exciting prospect. Profar on the other hand, and continuing a theme from instructs, has not played as well in games as he has in drills, and in fact, has barely played in any games at all this month, receiving developmental training on the side instead to work on his weaknesses. Of course, this doesnt matter to some. Jamey Newberg (and others) still has Profar in the top 6 prospects in the system (this is Andrus territory!) while Sardinas is closer to 20.

In additon, I think my projections were the only ones to project both camp stars Michael Kirkman (ML camp) and Jacob Brigham (MiL camp) in the top 12 prospects. Both players have had stellar camps. Some other players who I had in my top 30 who have done very well in minor league game action this spring who most likely appeared on no other lists: Ruben Sierra, Edwin Garcia, Carlos Melo, Robbie Erlin, Nick McBride, Paul Strong and Tony Doyle. As for the DSL players doing well in camp, my #1 DSL prospect, Randol Rojas, has done nothing but impress, and proved that the admiration from the DSL coaches was not misguied when he won the DSL pitcher of the year award last year. Also, another guy I pegged as the best SS in the DSL ranks, Santiago Hill, has simply had a stellar camp. I had him ranked higher than David Herrera (likely a 2b in the end) a more heralded J2 sign (~150k) and this insight has proven correct. Other DSL players of note in my separate DSL rankings who have had excellent camps: Denny Peralta, Alison Perez, T-Mart, David Herrera, Franky Mendoza, Jonny Gomez.

With Sardinas, Profar, Hill, Rojas, T-Mart, Herrera, Alfaro, and unheralded Mexican 3b Christian Villanueva (and 4-5 others who will likely show up stateside this year, like Jose Mavare, and Leo Gil), the DSL crop coming over to the stats this year will quite simply be the best class in the last 5 years. Exciting stuff. That is not even including the top pitching signs this year, David Perez and Victor Payano, who, because of the lack of roster spots/playing time with the AZ club - the club will be stocked full of talent - will likely stick with the other 09j2 rookies on the DSL2 club for 2010.

Anyways, updates forthcoming. In the interim, you can find profiles on almost every player in the system in my 2010 rankings workbook in the sidebar so check them out. They are based on many, many secondary sources as well as a lot of radio play from minor league games. For an overview on my particular take on "ranking" prospects in any minor league system, check out the "Prospecing 101" post pinned to the sidebar. You can also search the blog by prospect name to see what I have written about them over the last 15 months.

OT: If you want game by game action (that is from someone who visits every team in the system at least 2 times a year to watch/scout games in person) and interviews with coaches and players alike throughout the year, Jason Cole's Lonestardugout.com is well worth the nominal subscription fee so check his site out. There is free material posted so that you can see the kinds of pieces he scripts to decide if you want to take the plunge.



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Friday, March 26, 2010

Transactions clarification

It has been reported that Michael Kirkman was optioned to AA which seemed really weird to me given his success last year and especially his stellar performance in Major League camp this year. This is incorrect. He has been optioned to OKC. Also, Omar Beltre, if his destination has not been previously reported, has been optioned to Frisco.

There is a chance that he could be stretched out for the rotation over the first month of the season but given his chronic shoulder problems dating from his VZ winter league assignment in 2008, through the regular DSL season in 2009, his winter league assignment in 2009 all the way through spring training 2010, this might be unwise. After all, there is a chance that he would not only hold up better this year if placed in the pen, it would also mean that he might be able to help the big league club in that capacity post-trade deadline.



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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jae Kuk Ryu update

JKR made his first appearance in minor league camp today per Jason Cole and looked good during his brief appearance: Sat 89-91, good CB, showed a CU. I'm not sure why his debut was delayed as I had expected him to compete for a bullpen role in the major league camp. Could be he as still rehabbing or getting into shape as he missed last year due to injury. Whatever the case, see my earlier post on Ryu for a profile of him as he is an interesting low risk medium reward sign if he is healthy and his stuff comes back. He will be in the OKC pen if it isn't too late for him to make an impression and has an outside shot at a rotation spot (if they want to stretch him out, and if there is an opening, say if Mendoza and BMac get moved).



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Saturday, March 13, 2010

32(00) (Contrapuntal) Things

AS a counterpoint to Newberg's perennial precamp giddiness, I'm reposting this November entry (changes italicized):


Monday, November 23, 2009
Just for fun -


#1 underrated player TX-DSL2= Matt Harrison

Most likely to make debut by 8/1: Schepp (pen), DGut(pen), Smoak, MaxRam (DH - I throw him in though his debut was in 2008), Poveda (starter, injury replacement- likely won't be needed in that role with the depth we have), Kiker (setup if his command returns, his velo projects to improve out of the pen and if his CB becomes more consistent vs LHB - in the end, likely spends the whole year in AAA as a starter as he has lots to work on); Alexi Ogando (pen); Michael Kirkman (pen)

Breakout players: Golson (my 2010 reach), Brigham; Alexi Ogando; Michael Kirkman, Pedro Strop, Justin Miller
Most underrated: (Timothy Smith), Sardinas, Mendonca, Doyle, Bleier, Easy Eddie Garcia, Carlos Melo, Kirkman, Trevor Hurley, Robbie Erlin, Poveda, Moscoso (as a starter), Ruben Sierra Jr., Strong, McBride,
Most overlooked: Alex Gonzalez, Trevor Hurley, Easy Eddie Garcia
Sleepers: Justin Miller, Carlos Oropesa, Robert Morillo, Carlos Ramirez, Santiago Chirino Hill, Zeke Rijo, Juan Grullon, TK Ahn, Kevin Arrendell, Jose Monegro, Chris Matlock, Keith Campbell, J. Gunter, A. Mendoza, R. Rojas, L.Gil, J. Mavare
Ceilings limited by character: Velazquez, DGut
Celings limited by chronic injury: Main, MaxRam, NeRa, DGut
Ceilings limited by possible makeup issues (defined broadly): (Madrigal), Font, Kiker, Castillo, Beau Jones, NeRa, MaxRam, Clark Murphy, Beltre
Players who don't follow "the plan": Beltre, Kiker, DGut
Slowest starter, Fastest finisher: Chad Tracy, Eric Hurley
Most likely to be a ML platoon player of some sort: MaxRam, Moe
Starter most likely to be moved to pen (eventually): Kennil Gomez(shoulder), Kasey Kiker(makeup/curveball), DGut(makeup/changeup), NeRa (makeup/changeup)
The better Grullon: Juan
Most likely to implode: Pedro Strop, Jumbo Diaz, 2009 Frisco bullpen
Most likely to explode: Pedro Strop
Shape most unlike a prospect: Round (Jumbo Diaz)
Highest proportion of breathless reportage: Moreland, Telis, Tullis, Alvarez, Escobar, Matt Thompson, Kiker, Mendonca (in the roundly negative), Joe Wieland, Zach Phillips
Most overrated: Beltre, Kiker (as starter), Lemon, GG (G. Grullon), Guillermo Pimentel, AJ Murray, Tatusko, Matt Thompson, Richard Alvarez, (Manny Pena) Laughter, (Lueke)
Most undeserved patience during the development process: J. Arias
Player who received the least patience: J. Vallejo, German Duran
Most likely to spend 2 years at every level (and still be considered prospects by many): Michael Schlact, Zach Phillips
Most likely to spend 3 years at one level: Mauro Gomez, Ian Gac
Minor league coaching future: Cody Podraza
Least pitchability: Geuris Grullon, Reiner Bermudez, Justin King, Justin Gutsie, Kevin Castner
Least hittability: Braxton Lane, Riley Cooper, Engel Beltre
Least likely to appear in full season ball: Riley Cooper (NFL), Miggie de Los Santos (Visa)
Most likely to play in Japan: Alexi Ogando, Omar Beltre
Least Likely to make it out of AA: Engel Beltre, Leury Garcia
Players I like to root for: Chad Tracy, Renny Osuna, Trevor Hurley, Justin Miller, Vinny DiFazio, Easy Eddie, Chris Gradoville, Kevin Richardson, Cody Eppley, Chris Matlock, Gentry, Nam, Roark, Lawson, Butler, Eddie Martinez, Morrison, Campbell, Hunter, Monegro, Miggie, William Connor, Taylor Vail, Jared Prince
Most intriguing back-end relievers: Justin Miller, Johnny Gunter, Fabio Castillo, Alexi Ogando, Omar Beltre
Most intriguing relievers we know next to nothing about: Kevin Arrendell, Jose Monegro, Francisco Mendoza
Most intriguing ceiling: Carlos Melo (#2 starter or closer)
Pitchers who might still have starting in their futures: johnny Gunter, Keith Campbell, Kyle Ocampo, NeRA
Most mysterious switch to the bullpen (2009): Kyle Ocampo
Biggest question mark: Clark Murphy, Tim Murphy
Dark horse superstar: Ruben Sierra Jr.
Talent evaluation gone awry (moves)? Jose Vallejo, German Duran
Talent evaluation gone awry (draft/Intl)? Evan Reed (3), Tim Murphy (3), Matt West (2), NeRa (1s), Esdras Abreu (550k), Blake Beavan (1)
Most overpaid: Richard Alvarez (per Cole: 800K), (Matt Thompson, 600K)
Most intriguing Prospect least likely to engender any discussion at all: Adalberto Flores
Player least likely to be his former self: Eric Hurley
DSL players most likely to make US debut in Spokane: Randol Rojas, Leonel Gil, Jose Mavare, Francisco Mendoza, Anyenil Mendoza, Denny Peralta, Kelvin de Leon
Players most likely to break into my top 10 by mid-season: DGut, Main, Velazquez, Mendonca, Kirkman, Brigham
Most likely sit plus with their fastball (at its best): Melo (reportedly, 92-95+97), Dgut(pen, 93-95+97), Brigham (93-95), Ross (93-95), Perez (93-95), Castillo(pen 92-95+97), Gunter(pen +95), Main (+96), Moscoso (93-94 at his best as a starter with plus movement/deception), Trevor Hurley (hard sinker, 90-93, GB and SM pitch) (Matt Harrison, 92-96+98)
those sitting plus-plus with theirs? Schepp, Feliz, Font, Strop, Bermudez, Jumbo, Ogando
Plus fastball least likely to matter: Castner (inj), King (inj), Gutsie (inj), Bermudez, Ovispo de los Santos, Laughter, Lueke, Jumbo
Players in the system who have hit 98: Feliz, Holland, Harrison, Font, Schepp, Strop, Bermudez, Jumbo - (Honorable mention to Luis Mendoza who has flashed 96-98 during the last 2 years), Ogando
Starting pitchers whose hype outstrips their realistic ceiling: Edwin Escobar (#4), Braden Tullis (#4), Matt Thompson (#5/pen), Joe Wieland (#4/pen), Boscan (#4/pen), Alvarez (#5 at best)
Most problematic MiL to ML transition least thought out by prospect geeks: rotation to bullpen - justification: "Oh, well, they're lefties of course". (think Harrison, Kirkman and for RHP, Eric Hurley)
The area most nebulous and under-analyzed by prospect geeks: hittability (or how a hitter hits as much as how a pitcher throws)
Player most likely to go retro-viral: Michael Main, who will demonstrate that the regression in his curveball, his inability to command FB to bottom of zone, and the retarded development of his changeup were/are unrelated to Mono.





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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lewis pitch f/x

I've been hearing about Lewis' great cutter in camp but i'm fairly certain that he has been throwing mostly 4-seamers in his first 3 innings, with the cutter something people are taking note of in camp proper. Just out of curiosity I went back to NPB's pitch fx to get a better pitch profile on him in 2009. Here is what I came up with:

2009 profile-
4-s: 90-95 sits 92-94
shuuto (cutter): 89-93, sits 90-92
Change: 85-86
Slider: 85-87
Curveball: 75-80; 81-82


In his last 3 innings he seems to have shown 4 offerings based on movement/velo per the MLB gameday pitch fx (which has its own problems):
88-92, seems like a 4s (maybe some cutters in the 88-90 range)
81-82, seems like a slider
78-80, seems like a curve
86, seems like a changeup (possible a cutter as well)


It could be that he basically throws the cutter at just a tic under his FB velo (like Hunter last year) so sometimes they are hard to identify but the movement of a cutter tends to be easy to differentiate from a 4s thrown on a steep plane. It also seems like the velo on his slider is way down from last year, but it doesn't pass the smell test that he lost 3-6mph on his slider even this early and given that his 4s velo is only a few tics below normal. In addition, it could be that the pitch f/x via NPB identified his cutter as a slider and his slider as a hard CB(81-82). His velo is probably a few tics down on everything at this stage of ST and he could be changing speeds on all his offerings to further the confusion. Anyways, its early, and I'll just see how things develop during his longer outings...



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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back Fields

Jason Parks is apparently posting notes on minor leaguers at the BBTIA Facebook page. Hopefully he'll do a few write-ups as well when all is said and done...



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Monday, March 8, 2010

International Notes

Carlos Matias update
The hottest pitching properties the last few weeks have both been pitchers who were suspended by MLB last year and whose suspensions have expired in 2010. Rafael DePaula is one of those of course, suspended for age falsification, the other is Carlos Matias, suspended for both age and identity fraud.

The NYY are said to be hot after the kid despite the possible problems that lie ahead for him to obtain a visa. Arizona is also said to be interested. Though small in stature (5.11) he is said to throw in the mid nineties. Jorge Arangure speculates that he could receive anywhere from 500k to 1m. Boston agreed to sign him for 160k last year before his contract was voided and is not believed to have anymore interest. Boston appears none too happy about the possibility that they no longer have his rights after the suspension (I guess because the contract became null so was never considered active): "MLB should allow the club to honor original deal after suspension," DiPuglia (BoSox official) wrote in an email."

Arangure goes on to note that Matias' agents have cancelled workouts in the last week as he is still trying to get his paperwork in order.



Rafael DePaula update
Jason Churchill's sources suggest that Seattle has offered DePaula 1.5m but he goes on to speculate that Boston or NYY might be willing to bid from 1.5-2.5m to try to nab him. I have read elsewhere that NY is "nervous" about his situation but I'm not sure why they should be any less nervous about him than Matias though I will say that DePaula has claimed all along that he has not falsified his age, a claim recently supported by Dominican agencies.


The formerly suspended/suspended list has quite a few big names: Rafael DePaula (age), Damian Arredondo (PED use and age), Duanel Jones (PED), Felix Perez (age), and Carlos Matias (age/identity). However, a couple of players no longer on the list had their suspensions shortened and subsequently signed for 2010.


Sandy Alderson to take over MLB operations in DR. Supposedly there will be an official statement/news conference later in the week. Last year, MLB assigned Alderson the task of assessing the problems with fraud and drug use there and recommending some reforms. I presume some of his recommendations will be adopted for next year.



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Game Notes, 3/8

What we have seen of the pitching so far this spring suggests the staff is diligently carrying out the Maddux plan: 1st pitch strikes, pitch to contact, keep ball low, get groundballs


A GAME

McCarthy: 7 batter 1st inning of work, 3 straight ground ball singles, 46 pitches (28 strikes)
Sinker (and 4s?)and cutter: 85-89 (flashed 90 1x); Curve 75-78; possibly a slurve/slider at 78-79 unless it was just a harder curve
After long 1st inning of work, CT was about 86 in his second inning while his sinker was 87-88.

Lewis: 20/26 pitches for strikes, really sharp in his second inning
4s, 89-92, taking a little off an 88mph offering; Slider 81-82, CSO, CS; Curve, 78, CSO, HR; Two 86mph offerings, with one probably a change, the other a cutter

Phillips, a long 8 batter inning. Cole says he couldn't command his FB or change.
Sinker, 87-89, sat 88 (single, double, homer); CB, 73-77, might have changed speeds on the offering; Change, 81-83, all balls (possibly a slider at 75, likely a CB; I'm wondering if he threw a couple of cutters at 87-88 as well)

Mendoza: seemed like he was throwing a cutter in the 86-88 range and I'm assuming that his sinker is his hardest offering (and not a 4s on occasion); didn't remember him throwing a slider but it was his out pitch in this outing (Cole says it is better, harder/sharper, than previous years)
Cutter, 86-87; Sinker, 88-92; Slider, 79-82 (2 SOS); Curve, 74-76; Change, 81-82

Holland: Rough outing, didn't get out of the inning, couldn't command the FB - Maddux said he was overthrowing
4s, 90-93; CB, 73 (single); Slider, 79-80 (SS); Change, 83-84

Geary
4s, 89-90(SOS, triple); Curve, 78-79; Change, 85 (SS)

Snyder: long inning
4s, sat 87-88, commanded it well; Curve, 74-76 (HR vs LHH; foul tip SO); change, 80 (and a 77 offering, either a curve or a change)


Defense by Evan Grant (though not in defense of Arias, his former fav for 24th man):
"Joaquin Arias threw a feed to second low for an error, then Arias and 2B Marcus Lemon collided on a ball up the middle that Arias fielded resulting in no outs. After Holland left with just one out in the inning, Lemon couldn't turn double play relay."

"SS Joaquin Arias made a low throw to second on a force play for an error. Later in the inning, Arias and 2B Marcus Lemon collided behind second base on a ball Arias fielded. The Rangers failed to get an out on the play."

" (Arias) rushed a feed to second base for an error on Monday, then ran into 2B Marcus Lemon on another grounder. It's the shortstop's responsibility to make clear which middle infielder should go inside and which one goes deeper on ground balls up the middle."

Roster roulette by Evan Grant:
Esteban German has now replaced JA on the roster for the utility infielder spot. Per Grant: "Don't be surprised if the Rangers take a look at him at shortstop in the next week or two." NOT. Be surprised, very surprised, neh, be frightened. CK out his UZR at short Evan, there is a rhyme to the reason.



B GAME (various reports)

Both Scheppers and Kirkman pitched 2 scoreless innings in the undercard. Scheppers was 94-96, getting a CSO and SOS swinging on his hard curve. Grant seems surprised at how good Schepps CB is (See 08 draft, 09 Independent League, 09 AFL). Kirkman was pitching 90-93, while Grant was surprised at what a good CB he throws (Assuredly a slider, his best BB, though he still has his CB).

Lemon made 2 errors at second.

Cole tweets on B game:
Strop: 1st pitch hr, 2 SOS (splitter, slider) sat 93, broken bat on FB
Butler: error
Kirkman: 93 1st ip, 91-92 2nd ip, SO on a slider, 87mph sinker
Schepp: 93-95; 79-80; 2nd ip - leadoff sinlge, 3 consecutive groundouts; 1 SO backdoored a LHH; other SO buried Curve in dirt to RHH

Cole on Leury Garcia (from 3/6 I think):
"In the field, the game simply appeared to be moving too fast for Garcia on Saturday. The shortstop has plus range and a plus arm [bordering on plus-plus for both], but he is extremely raw defensively. In the eighth inning, he rushed a throw and fired high after fielding a ground ball from Royals prospect Irving Falu. When Falu stole second on the next pitch, Garcia bailed out as Falu slid into second, and the on-target throw sailed into centerfield."


Minor League camp
pitchers/catchers report, hitters in a few more days
Cole reports an Anyenil Mendoza sighting. Mendoza is a sleeper he might have been sidelined by injury last year as he did not pitch; he should have made his debut in the AZL in 09. He has a nice FB/BB combo and profiles as a starter. He also notes that Glenn Swanson is going the AJ Murray route, having changed to a sidearm delivery after years upon years of injuries dating back to his college days. Cole also notes that UDFA MIF signe Vicente Cafaro and Bakersfield OF Aja Barto have retired.

Along with Cole and the beat reporters, you will find Klaw and Jason Grey in AZ this week, and word is that Jason Parks will be on scene today. Can't wait for some reports to start coming in from the minor league camp.




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Sunday, March 7, 2010

International Notes

Guillermo Pimentel was said to turn down an offer from TX. Iglesias turned down 10 million from the Cubs.

The NYY apparently thought the market was inflated for Iglesias.

DePaula threw at the Seattle DR academy on Friday. Signing could come soon. Yankees are said to be "nervous" about the whole situation, the visa situation i presume.

Carlo Matias is getting some buzz as his suspension ended on 3/1 with NYY very interested. Seems to have a plus FB, not sure of his age or if he'll be able to get a VISA. He reportedly has a fastball that flashes upper 90s.

I think the high ceiling Pacific Rim HS seniors (turning 18 -taiwan, Korea) might start signing soon - between now and May - with the Cubs that is. TX never seems to be a player.


Cubans Galore

There are about 30 Cubans out there. Adeiny Hechevarria and Reinier Roibal just cleared the US blocking agency along with 2 others. Hecheverria is said to be comparable if not better than Jose Iglesias. Roibal seems to be highly regarded or at least people like his plus fastball. Ruiz switched agents to reset the market for him; his former agents big mouth and asking price scared many teams off. Ruiz received a 2m dollar offer from Tampa Bay in February but I guess he turned it down. Now he's probably having trouble getting 1m.

Per Terreno de Pelota, Minnesota signed 6.2 28yo Cuban rhp Yoslán Herrera who touched 94 during a private work out with them shortly before his signing. He signed a minor league deal and will begin in AAA. Having defected in 2005, he appeared in the Pirates AAA team in 2009. He pitched this winter for the Navegantes of Magallanes in Venezuela.

Cubs sign 22yo Cuban RH reliever Juan Yasser Serrano for 250k. He defected in April 09 and will begin the year in LowA. According to his agent Jaime Torres, hes' 87-92, with an AA CB, change and slider with AA command and good pitchability.

LH 1b/of Leslie Anderson reportedly dissapointed in his open workout in Mexico along side Ruiz. Ruiz impressed enough to convince some he could sign for 7-figures and help a ball club now.

A little more on the Cubans: Adeiny, Ruiz, Maya and Roibal are the top ranked players right now. The value pick is probably Maya as many teams believe he can be a successful back roto guy right now. He has a slider(ditched CB last year), change, an average FB (88-92) and good pitchability. Adeiny Hechevarria is regarded as a shortstop on par with Jose Iglesias, with a higher ceiling offensively and more physical projection, as well as an excellent defensive profile, though it would be hard to better Iglesias. Roibal pitched as both a starter and reliever and seems to have the body of a late inning bullpen arm (6.1/215) to go along with a 94-96FB (and slider, sinker) and he's still young. 22yo LF Padron (5.11/212) has gotten some buzz lately with some AA power in workouts.

Players worth a look who might need some development time: Adeiny, Roibal, Padron, Ibarra. Longshot: Casanova. Ready now: Ruiz, Maya. Some of the guys in their mid to late twenties (inf/of/bp) might profile as end of utility or platoon guys or may be nothing more than 4A/journeyman types. I wonder if Mujica could make a roster as the utility inf. I wouldn't mind TX taking a shot at Roibal and Ibarra, though Ibarra seems like a project at 22yo; it depends on just how advanced he is as a catcher. Adeiny would be a dream but will likely be out of TX price range (likely between 5-10m) esp. given the new-found system depth at that spot.

Cubanballplayers.com has the remaining Cuban FAs ranked accordingly and I've included some basic profile info culled from there and other sources:

1. Roibal (sp/rp, 20-21yo)
2. Ruiz (1b), 25-26, 6.2/200-230, AA power
3. Maya (SP, 28yo -5th starter), 88-92, slider, change
4. Anderson (1b/lf), 27yo, 6.1/200 (has not impressed)
5. Padron (22yo,lf?)5.11/202, good power?
6. Adeiny (ss), 20-21, plus defense, good bat, 6/160
7. Linares (25-26yo, cf?/lf), 5.9/176
above average power, pull hitter
8. Mujica (24-25yo, ss), 6.1/168
good range, plus arm, contact hitter
9. Marti (rp)(~30) middle reliever
10. Ibarra (C)- 22yo, athletic, projects as catcher, good power;
played C, 1b, 2b, 3b
11. Soto (RP) - throws hard (95-100), slider, poor command,
poor pitchability
12. Gil (rp)- throws hard, fringy command
13. Espinosa (loogy)- high 80s, best pitch BB, ave command
18. Suarez (rp), 26yo, 6.0/225, poor 08-09, ave command
said to have good repertoire, smooth delive, AA FB
21. Gomez (cf/lf)(~30), #2 hitter, good PD, arm
24. Casanova (rp), 21yo, 6/227, poor first three years,
nice 08-09 in 65 innings, fringy command at best, Low strikeout rate
for FB that flashed 94, slurvy slider (79-81), possible changeup



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Notes

Forgot to mention this in last post, but the mechanical adjustments that BMac/staff implemented last season were merely phase one. They were changes made to lower stress on his scapula and return quickly to pitch for TX before season's end.

Phase 2 was the offseason, where his arm slot was lowered some and he switched to a 2-seam repertoire:

"But the fixes were only temporary as McCarthy revamped his mechanics again, added muscle in his upper body and worked on developing a sinker and cutter. "Last year was a good primer," said McCarthy, who went 7-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 17 starts last season. "It was something I could come back and pitch with quickly and have some success with. Mechanically, it wasn't where I want to be, but I've gotten a lot closer now." The changes help McCarthy move downhill better and get on top of the ball" (Wilson)


Gentry's Prospects
EG had this note up about Ryan's interest in Gentry: "...Ryan wanted to get a better grasp on what kind of player Gentry is..." Not sure it really makes any difference what Nolan thinks of Gentry as the minor/major league staff already have a pretty firm grasp on the matter. Gentry is a 5th OF until he hits above AA who probably has some value to an NL club in that role but not really to TX (or most of the AL) unless they need a short term replacement at center due to injury down the line. Gentry has never been ahead of Boggs in the end.

KLAW had some pithy,overstated comments on Harry and Hunter, given his brief look at them during their 2 inning appearances. He definitely didn't do his homework on Hunter, as my breakdown of his pitches and velos countermand his observations:

Harrison threw two innings on Saturday and averaged 93-95 mph with a hard cutter at 88-90 mph that he used heavily even in changeup counts -- even though he has an average changeup. Harrison's delivery is rather striking: He's incredibly quick for the first half, as though he has somewhere else to be, but he's a little more deliberate after he separates his hands. He comes from a pretty high slot, possibly too high for a slider, but a reliever with two above-average pitches and a usable third pitch doesn't need a true breaking ball to be effective.

• Texas' starter, Tommy Hunter, was 88-91 with a soft cutter at 83-87 mph and a very soft curveball at 74-78. His fastball command was fair, and I still don't see what he has to get big league hitters out consistently. Harrison could have the stuff to start if his shoulder permits and someone can calm him down, but Hunter looks like a reliever.



Klaw is the first person outside of camp to mention Harrison's mysterious "quick, violent" delivery. It was apparently the one he used/switched to during his dominating streak last year. I need to go back to some accounts of his starts in May to see if I can get further info on this issue. I just don't remember it. What I recall is that Harrison took off after a conversation with Teagarden about controlling his tempo better. More on this later...


Somewhat OT, but related to Harry's ceiling, and future improvement, I am reminded of a comment by Harrison last year when asked why he went to the cutter. He said that he was haveing trouble getting a feel for his changeup, which, coming into camp, was his best secondary offering. So Maddux suggested he work on the cutter until he got a feel for his change. In the end, Harry threw his change almost 10% less than during his rookie year which is a little unsettling given that it was an AA pitch throughout the minors. Throwing his change more this year would seem to be a key area to improve upon for him as it would make all of his pitches better.



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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Game Notes, 3/6

CL Game notes 3/6
Hunter: 4s 89-93 (3 swinging strikes, 3 called strikes); Cutter 87-89; Change 83; Curveball 75-76, 79-81 (1 swinging, 1 called strike).
Harry: 4s 92-95 (5 called strikes); Cutter 89-90 (1 called strike, 2 swinging strikes); Slider 84; Change 83-84
Oliver: 4s 87-89; CB 78 - 7pitch inning, 5 called strikes, 1 foul, 1go
Geary: 4s 88-90; Change 84
Eyre: 4s 89-92; Slider 81-82
Kiker: 4s 88-91; Slider 77; Change 78-80; Curveball 75-76
stolen base; trouble putting 1st hitter away after 9 pitch at bat; 90-91 first hitter; 88-89 last 2
FranFran: 4s 88-92; Slider 83

Ground balls galore, including 10 straight to start the game before first flyball out: 15/4, go/ao - Hunter 3-0; Harry 6-0

Leury Garcia - 2 errors (throw, missed catch) on consecutive hitters
Kiker: perhaps the only middle relief prospect in the minors who is a perennial and consensus top 10 ranked pitcher (mistaken as a starter)...
Geary: For some reason, I though he threw harder. For his career he sits 90-91, but was injured last year...
Willie Eyre: I seem to be the only one that likes him, especially as an emergency option in AAA, a guy with ML experience, throws 91-94 with an AA slider and a change that is a tic better than average.

Kiker redux: per various reports from Jason Cole during the offseason, if I remember correctly, Kiker changed grips on his curveball (or something)at some point prior to or during his minor league season in AA, so he was pretty inconsistent with it in 2009. In this outing, he threw 4 pretty nice curveballs - all for strikes - to both the lefties that he faced.

Harrison continues to be a ground ball machine these last 2 years. His fastball must be pretty heavy. Despite his velo range, he doesn't seem to get a lot of swing and misses on the pitch, but can throw is relentlessly for strikes. One thing to keep an eye on, going back to his first ~4 starts last year, is if he's being aggressive enough with his fB and attacking hitters. With that velo as a LH you'd think he could miss more bats with the pitch. I guess as long as his command of it is AA and it is in fact a heavy pitch it probably doesn't really matter - he will learn to miss more bats with it as he matures. His cutter seems to have improved as both of his swinging strikes came on the pitch; it seems quite a bit harder, as last year it was 86-88ish.

As for Hunter, his 4s was pretty effective, getting 3 swinging strikes on the pitch. Last year his CB was pretty much the only pitch he missed bats with. You hope this year that Hunter has a bit more velo separation between his 4s/CT, as both were pretty close last year. His velo was pretty good in this outing generally 90-93 which was a tic higher than last year when he generally sat 89-91 while his cutter was 87-89. As for his cutter, he didn't get any SM in this outing. I was a little surprised that he went with a cutter last year. His FB has natural cut (per some sources) and you can see that in his pitch fx data, looking like cutters on first glance at times (when he's 89-91 range). I thought that he might have gone to a sinker as it would have seemed to complement the movement of his 4s. He had a nice year so what do I know; the pair seems to work well together and I think that Hunter will use them even more effectively this year (as seen in this outing).

Evan Grant claims in his bloggy game chat that Hunter needs to throw more and better changeups to "stick in the long term" whatever that means. He's got it backwards really. Hunter worked on his changeup last year (during the 08-09 offseason and through AA and AAA stops) and it improved dramatically after he changed grips from 2008. That is really what _got_ him to the bigs last year - he's always had the AA CB and command - and you would only expect it to get better. The cutter is what _kept_ him in the bigs. I expect some regression from Hunter but I think he will have a solid year...

Grant seems to be obsessing on the fact that pitchers don't look in mid-season form (hardin -velo; Feliz - everything; Hunter - changeup), neither showing velo or command, or showing all of your pitches in your 1 or 2 innings of work. Come on Evan, this ain't your first rodeo. I think the blogging format gives rise to these kinds of pedantic observations turned articles. Spring training is what it is.


Misc notes

Hoping to see the bullpen MASH crew throw next week: Beltre, Ray, Mags. All three threw a bullpen yesterday apparently all of them could make an appearance early next week.

Three "H" Club
Holland has been working in the bullpen with a full windup whereas previously he had been working with hands held low (Cole); Harrison's mysterious "quick windup" that he ha "brought back" or whatever it is - broken out during his dominant stretch in May-June? - is supposed to be "violent", max effort; not sure what to make of this talk (source - can't remember). I do recall that TX tried to get him to pitch out of a full windup after the trade from Atlanta...; Hurley is reportedly working on a "different" changeup up, and by that, I guess that means different grip (source- can't remember). This it too bad really,as I guess it indicates that he can't get a feel for his old one. If you recall Hurley's long changeup journey,he finally settled on a grip that worked for him and allowed him to finally wield a ML average pitch during his rookie year. Now he'll have to find a new one yet again...

B-Mac's new delivery is a lower 3/4 arm slot so that he might end up looking a lot like Feldman in the long term (slot, sinker, cutter, groundballer).

How soon people forget how highly rated Matt Harrison was when acquired by TX. BA ranked him as the #3 prospect in a strong Atlanta system going into 2007. They had him ranked as the #12 TX prospect going into 2008. He would have probably been higher had he not gotten hurt in the second half (Toe/leg injury) and shut down early. During the first half of 2008, we heard the first whispers that Harrison was regularly touching the mid-90s. He then comes in and has a very nice rookie debut followed up with a terrible first month of 2009 (after coming into camp way overweight) but then turned it around enough to have one of the most dominant runs of any TX starter during the year throwing about 24 scoreless innings with 2 complete games, 1 shutout, touching 98, with a great GO rate. He then pitches hurt his next 4 starts and people are convinced he's a flash in the pan. OK. Give me 4 more left handed Harrisons for my rotation please. I'll take my chances.

I think that his ceiling is a 2_3 - a fringy #2 or an excellent #3. What will he have to do to reach that ceiling? Miss more bats with his 4s while maintaining his great GO rate; turning his CU into a consistently AA offering- he throws it in any count right now (but didn't throw it enough in 09 (10%) his second best pitch, unless the cutter proves better in the end); continuing to improve his slider; pairing his cutter/4s into an effective combination - if he doesn't miss more bats with his 4s maybe the cutter can be that pitch, but then, i think that would make him more of a #3 at that point. His FB command is already AA, to fringy plus (when he is in a zone) and he commands it to all quadrants. His feel for pitching is AA. The one thing that gives me pause is his lack of aggressiveness on the mound when he is going wrong, particularly his unwillingness to attack hitters and pitch off of his fastball, as well as has lack of intensity/commitment on and off the field. He's still young - 24 1/2, debuting at 22 1/2 - has more starts under his belt than either Holland or Hunter, so, yeah, there is plenty of time...

B League
I'm hoping that Jason Cole spends a lot of time covering the B games during the next three weeks. Scheppers and Kirkman start tomorrow.

Ryu the day
No JK Ryu sighting to date. He was an intriguing sign but I wonder if he reneged on his contract or failed a physical or something. He didn't even receive an NRI to my knowledge.

The consensus among bloggy Rangers beat writers now is that the Rangers don't like Arias anymore. We've now come more than full circle, actually twice over, since last season's proclamations by JD that Arias' arm is healthy (repeated this year, again - at least Arias didn't skip winter ball again):

1. end of season/off season - "Arias' arm is fine, better than last year, close to 100% and is having a fine winter ball."
2. "The utility infielder spot is up for grabs and will assuredly be filled by someone in camp though there are rumblings about Arias' makeup (yet again)."
3. "Arias' arm is meh and he is not a winner - here's a list of possible MIF trade options..."


JA, please go away.


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Friday, March 5, 2010

Game Notes 3/5

Feldy: Sinker, 87-90; Cutter, 85-88; Change, 83
CJ: 4s, 90-94; Cutter, 89-90; 82, Change; Slider, 79; CB, 76
Nipples: 4s, 87-91; Change, 81-82; CB, 73-74
Feliz: 4s, 93-98; Slurve, 76-79; Change, 84-86
Three changeups and 4 Slurves - that's for you Evan!


Feliz had trouble with his fastball command. His secondary stuff seemed effective. Groundouts galore again: 13/5. I am very eager to see/hear Harrison pitch on Saturday - the forgotten man during the off-season, and most underrated in the whole system IMO. To imagine Feliz, Holland and Harrison in the rotation, each touching 98 on occasion....Wow. Harrison did touch 98 last year on 5/18 during his 4 game streak of badassness (24 scoreless innings, 2 complete games, 1sho). For good measure, he touched 96 in the AFL sitting 93.5. Looking forward to seeing what Moscoso looks like competing for a rotation spot over the next few weeks. I also think Poveda would have opened some eyes if the team believed him ready for a taste.

Sorta OT. MLB gameday doesn't convert the ST pitching data into pitch types until the night after a game (during the game it just says, unknown). Kinda cool as you take your best shot at ambiguous pitches and then compare them both the next day. MLBG still doesn't like sinkers and cutters and it really doesn't like Hardin's assortments of changeups one bit, classifying them variously as splits, sliders, changes and an odd 2-seamer here and there.

Way OT, and I meant to do this in yesterday's game notes but, imagine me now pouring out my Lonestar tallboy on the side of the road to commemorate the demise of another Evan Grant Meme (EGM), some 6 months old at least, with Scheppers first appearance in a big league (albeit ST) game:
"•Young Tanner Scheppers, who has not played an official game for a major league organization..."


Misc Notes, various sources
Holland, Mags, Beltre, Hall, and Boggs might all be 100% next week. Holland will pitch Monday.
Hurley will not pitch in any CL games this spring. He is not even throwing breaking balls yet, and, I'm not even sure he is throwing his FB off the mound full bore either. Hope you dominate when we see you next... September?...ST 2011?



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3/4 Game Notes

Harden: CU, 78-81; 4s, 86-90; sinker (?), 84-88; 4-0 go/ao
OT: watch the newest Evan Grant Meme (EGM) emerge as he hyperventilates over ST velo
Lewis: 4s, 90-92; CB, 78-80; 2-1 go/ao
Pitch to watch, Changeup - hardly threw it in japan. Curveball - threw the slider in Japan, formerly a CB guy. Normally a guy makes the reverse switch to lower stress on shoulder
Mathis: 4s, a few at 90-91; sinker, 87-90; Slider, 86-88; changeup, 82-83; Curveball, 78; 3-1 go/ao
It is possible that a few of his 86-88 pitches that gameday classified as sliders were cutters as that velo range is a bit hard for a Mathis slider (~84.8).
Schepp: 4s, 95-98; sinker, 86-87; 3-0, go/ao
Gameday has the 86-87 offering classified as a changeup which is probably right. Per AFL pitchfx his sinker is 89-90.
Snyder: 4s, 86-88; CU, 81; Curveball, 73-75; Slider, 75-77
Ogando: 4s, 95-97; slider, 83; sinker or cutter (?), 88-89
Gameday has the 88-89 pitch as a change but I'm not sure he has one (but he could be working on one)
Strop: 4s, 91-94; Split, 81-82; Slider, 84
Ave velo down a tic on each pitch type from 09

Overall, 15-5 GO/AO ratio. Harden working on his sinker, brought back last year. Harden's velo was down but should climb to his normal range (92-94, 84-85) by opening day. I will say that his velo was down in the second half of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 after dealing with some sort of minor tear in his throwing shoulder. However in the second half of 2009 he was dominant, touching upper 90's once again.

Despite at least one report, Harden does not throw a splitter (anymore). Rather he throws three variations of his circle change (circle, split, slider) and also a sinker which he resurrected in the second half of 2009. Also, I am not sure that Ogando has a change, so his 88-89 offering might be a sinker. Everyone seems to be working on sinkers and cutters this spring with Scheppers (and Kirkman per Cole) working on both.

Very exciting to see that velo on Ogando's arm, Strop's improved mechanics, and Scheppers continued run dating to the AFL. Wish Lewis pitched longer, but his velo is legit as is his command and more compact delivery. Want to see how he re-integrates a change into his repertoire. Want to see someone talk about his Shuuto - is it a traditional (US) cutter or more like the Japanese verison that acts like a cutter/slider/sinker...?



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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Instrasquad game dos and camp notes

Intrasquad Box
You definitely know its ST when: Smoak and Vlad both steal a base in the same game...

Intrasquad per TRS:
Kirkman and Phillips:
Pitchers of the Day: Michael Kirkman and Zach Phillips both pitched well in their one inning work, setting down the side in order. Kirkman struck out two, Phillips struck out one. "Impressive," Washington said. "They seem to have a repertoire of pitches and use their fastball on both sides of the plate."

Nice small ball quote from Face:
"I might have wanted to take that pitch, work the count to 3-and-1 and then look for something to drive," Young said. "But at this point of the spring, we're trying to make sure we are fundamental sound. Julio had stolen second and I wanted to get him over."


Intrasquad per Cole:
One of the many ZPhillips advocates out there (shout out to Mike Hindman, and perhaps, The Newberg) Jason Cole makes the middie/loogie prospect with the fringy fastball sound like the second coming in this tweet from IS game 2:
Zach Phillips strikes out Chris Davis on all fastballs. Took it 3-2. Blew two fastballs by him belt high then K looking on outside crnr FB.

Kirkman extremely impressive in his inning. Throwing strikes with all his pitches. 1-2-3. K'd Moreland and German.

Johnny Whittleman is a monster. He is about twice the size he was last year. Heard he'd worked hard this offseason, but wow.


Inrasquad per EG:
Liked Phillips' curveball a lot. Kirkman had a nice breaking ball, too...
(Mendoza's) sinker had outstanding movement...
Also Justin Smoak had trouble fielding and throwing to first on a bunt and later couldn't get his foot back on the bag...

Recall that, only days ago, during the career defining spring fielding drills, Smoak was reported to look have looked great at first (by someone)...


Evan Grant's newsletter:
Grant continues (from last year and the off season - let's call it an EGM - "Evan Grant Meme") with his "Feliz is destined to the bullpen because his secondary pitches aren't good enough" in his latest newsletter (my fav, but a close second is the "Tea is suspect at blocking balls and framing pitches" EGM- there are others I'm forgetting at the moment. Way OT, but one of my fav EG moments last year was when he was with DMAG and hyperventilated non-stop about the imminent trade of Derek Holland Toronto at the deadline):

Feliz showed an improved curve and changeup when he got to the majors last year, but that faded over the last month of the season and indications are he still doesn't have the deception back with those two pitches. If he doesn't get them this spring, his immediate future will be as a late-inning reliever. You can get by for one inning at a time with an incredible fastball. You can't get by for six with that one pitch.

Also, he continues to assert, as do many, that there is a wide-open competition for the last 2 rotation spots while claiming that Hunter has the 4th spot all locked up. This - and awarding Lewis the 3rd spot as a contingency of signing with TX - goes a long way to suggest that competition has little to do with anything really. This is actually what happened last year. The Staff erred gravely in putting together a pitching staff not based on competion but on future in-season strategems and paid the price: Feldy to the pen; Benson to the rotation over Feldy; Jennings to the pen (rather than AAA); Holland to AAA (rather than the pen); Donnelly released; Mags making the team, etc.

However, I don't think that Hunter has a spot locked up as there are three guys ahead of him who have higher ceilings than he does - Feliz, Holland and Harrison. I like the idea of the highest upside guy sticking in the rotation, all things being equal, that is, if the staff has faith that each can compete well. Hunter and BMac to the minors is a real possibility, even if Feliz sticks in the pen.


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Bullpen Shuffle

TRS has a nice piece up about a few critical bullpen arms.

On Ray's "injury":
Assistant general manager Thad Levine said there was some soreness in the muscle directly behind the right shoulder. Ray may throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.
"We're just being precautionary," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He told us he was feeling some stiffness so we decided to shut him down for a couple of days. It's nothing we're concerned with."

On Ray's Injury history:
But he is a power pitcher when healthy and the Rangers have been optimistic to this point. "I like what I'm seeing," Maddux said. "There is a lot to like, a lot of delivery. When he's healthy, he's a proven asset to the bullpen, a 30-plus save guy who has pitched crucial innings before."

On O'Day's pitching IQ:
"We can use him wherever we want," Maddux said. "He is a very valuable commodity. He pitches with a lot of guts and is a great competitor.
"Even though he has a trick arm angle, he still pitches, moving the ball around and changing speeds. He pitches above his credit line. People don't think he pitches, that he tricks them. But he's got an idea."


On Strop's refined mechanics:
Strop pitched on Monday and looked sharp, retiring the side in order. With mechanics that have been reworked by bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, Strop has been much more effective not only with his fastball but splitter and curveball.
"His delivery is cleaner than we saw from him last year," Maddux said. "Hawk spent a lot of time with him last year. His body is moving in a better direction, he's a lot smoother and he's getting maximum arm strength. He was all arm, now he's got body and arm."



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Intl. News and Notes

Noel Arguelles reportedly turned down a better offer to sign with KC. Seems like it might have been a big market team as he said he didn't really want to sign with one, preferring a smaller market team for the sake of his developement and chances to land a job in the next 1 1/2. He should start out in highA. I think he signed for 4year/7million (not sure what the bonus was).

This is kinda cool. The Golden Baseball (independent) league, fielding teams in the West, NW, SW US and Canada, has entered into an affiliation agreement with the Venezuelan Baseball Federation to send Venezuelan players to the league beginning this year. So unsigned former ML, VZ professional, AAA, AA and lower level prospects will have a chance to show their wares. Not sure if there will be any names scooped up from those unsigned players that come over, but there is bound to be a handful.

Tim Brown has this long article discussing some of the estimated 30 Cuban free agents still on the market. Maybe 5-10 will be signed and the rest will labor away in independent ball, Mexico or perhaps in the Pacific Rim until if or when someone notices. TX might opt to sign the next Reineir Bermudez. Newberg would like to put Israel Soto on one of his weekly "top20" lists once those start rolling out (throws 100, catch pitch, NAP).

News coming out of the Reds and BoSox camps are simply effusive with praise about LHP Aroldis Chapman (5yrs/30m ~ over about 15 years that is with only about a 2m bonus) and SS Jose Iglesias (4/8.2m ~ 6m bonus!), the best defensive shortstop FA sign last year. If you believe Aaron Fitt (as much as he believes and/or overestimates the Rangers prospect hype machine), Jurickson Profar is better than both of Boston's 2009 FA shortstop signs: Iglesias and Jose Vinicio (the consensus best 2009 j2 shortstop, 2m bonus). JPro ranked 5th (!) in our 2nd ranked system per Fitt while Iglesias and Vinicio ranked 9th and 29th respectively in Boston's 6th ranked system. Luis Sardinas ranked 13th. So can we add a second TX homer to the ranks of Internet Prospecting gurus, first Goldstein and now Fitts?

Still waiting on first impressions about Noel Arguelles coming out of the KC camp...


UPDATE 3/5: Came across a couple of sources that suggested Boston SS Jose Iglesias turned down 10 million from Cubbies for 8.2 from Red Sox. Que Cajones! Also remember that Iglesias is only ranked 9th in a weaker Boston system while Fitt ranks Profar 5th in the best one. I'm not going to let up...


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Camp News and Notes, Deux

One of the funniest questions to grace the Rangers' camp interwebs to date (durrett talking to Borbon):
How was winter ball and did you see a bunch of fly balls there?

Borbon had this response to Durrett about playing CF, some form of which should have been rattling around in people's heads last year every time Warsh insinuated directly or indirectly that Borbon might be a LF:
I’ve been playing center field just about my whole life, so it’s really not that much of an adjustment.

# Luis Mendoza (via Durrett):
Q: Was there something in particular you worked on this offseason?
A: I used my curveball more. I was using mainly fastballs and stick with sinkers. The curveball was good. Sometimes the hitters didn’t expect a curve and I struck out people. I worked on command, too. I threw first-pitch strikes.

Would've been nice to see him mention the changeup in there too...

# Guillermo Moscoso
The most overlooked pitcher in camp in my opinion as he has mid-rotation potential but is rarely mentioned as a candidate for the 5th starter position even when names like Nippert, Mendoza and Mathis are tossed around. I'm ok being the only guy. But then, If I remember correctly, I think Sickels or Goldstein or some other Internet Prospector likes him too at least in the 10-12 range of the system, same with Poveda. I seem to be on a lonely island when it comes to the claim that both Poveda and Moscoso have ceilings as mid-roto guys (and #4s at worst). Again, I'm ok with that...

Mendoza: lowered his armslot before winter ball, presumably allows for more consistent sinker
Murphy: will play CF and 1b in spring to see if he can fill those roles this season. Despite the fact that TX scouted him playing all OF positions before the trade, then actually played him in CF so you would think they grasp his abgility to play there or not. But In addition, he is LH so this does nothing to solve platoon issues at CF/LF (with Borbon, murphy and ham)

Schlact (a bullpen arm in the grand scheme of things) tweets he threw from 120ft on flat ground on 3/1 with next step throwing off of mound. He might be in extended until about 6/1. Also summarizes his surgery:
"i had a few tears on the back of the rotator, and one small one on the labrum....and they removed my bursa..."

CJ Wilson was told that he must be one of the top 2 starters in camp in order to make the rotation.

Arias, uno: Washington, reportedly commenting when asked about the early infield practice that lemon and Olmedo have been taking with Arias notably absent (he came out a few days later though): “We’re not babysitting these guys.”

Arias, dos: Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Arias and it confirms my notion that Arias' failure to recover from his arm issues is his failure to follow his rehab/strengthening/throwing routine (via TRS):
"I really thought the way he was throwing the ball the other day was sufficient," Washington said. "He's just got to maintain his arm strength and continue to improve. He's healthy. I don't think his arm is a problem. It is what it is. I've seen him throw from all the angles. We'll play it out and see where it goes,"

Arias, tres: Now TRS has a piece up talking about the ongoing search for utility infield candidates outside the team. This after JD says the candidates will come from the current roster, 100% certain.

Let the Arias mystification continue apace...


Hype Alert
Moreland: People are buzzing about Moe's bat speed (in BP). More to come on this.
MaxRam: Looked good at first according to Warsh (during 1-1 instruction). Now grant has Max at the 25th saying he should be good enough at 1b, and that TX loves the idea of a third catcher as it allows them complete roster flexibility. Gobbleygook. How? 2 RH catchers on the bench? BA catcher and 1B off the bench? OK.

BMac: Threw some nice cutters in the game; now their inconsistent. Threw some sinkers and cutters will a lot of movement (in BP).
Teagarden: Looks intense and ready to start.
Lemon: Committed (to lots of groundballs); hyping his AFL #s. He hit about .150 with 12 strikeouts his first 6 games and .450 his next 12 games.
Do you really want to hang your hat on either of those short sample sized portions in the AFL...?

Arias: not committed ( to lots of groundballs)
Harrison: hitting mitt(?), hitting it hard and seems healthy (though he already proved that in the AFL where he flashed 96)...


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Camp News and Notes

via local sources (where not noted):

Holland will throw a bullpen Wednesday and Friday and pitch Monday.
Clay Rapada is a (lefty) sidearmer, in case I haven't mentioned it before.

Per Jeff Wilson, there will be a 6 man rotation beginning March 9th comprising 13 pitchers. So at the very least we know which fringy guys will be getting a long look (Nippert, Moscoso, Mathis, Mendoza):

The Rangers will use a six-man rotation after the first five games this spring, and everyone has a partner: Rich Harden and Doug Mathis (Thursday); Scott Feldman and Dustin Nippert, and C.J. Wilson and Neftali Feliz (Friday); Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison (Saturday); Brandon McCarthy, Luis Mendoza and Guillermo Moscoso (Sunday); and Colby Lewis and Holland (Monday). Harden, Lewis and Mathis pitch Thursday in the spring opener, and Feldman, Nippert, Wilson and Feliz all will throw Friday. The six-man rotation starts March 9, when Harden and Mathis go again. Wilson and Feliz will pitch again March 10. Feldman and Nippert on March 11.

Hamilton will not play until Friday at the earliest. His shoulder hurts more when throwing so I guess he could start off at the DH spot for his first few games.

Durrett on O'Day (esp the bit about pitching from either side of the rubber, a move that Maddux recommended):
O'Day had a 1.94 ERA in 55 2/3 innings with the Rangers, including 20 holds and two saves. He had 54 strikeouts to 17 walks. O'Day's sidearm (submarine-like) delivery fooled batters and was made even more effective once Maddux had him move to either side of the rubber depending on what side the hitter was on.

Chris Ray scratched from today's intrasquad do to "general body soreness" (WTF!?). And his mechanics are weird and freak Evan Grant out.
Madrigal threw long toss today with no problems but his return is TBD.

Jeff Wilson on Cruz and his gimpy ankle (hurt mid-season and then again in winter ball, but now 100% it seems):
Now, Cruz is moving without difficulty at the Surprise Recreation Campus at a lean 240 pounds, and moving toward his goal of staying healthy and being more consistent at the plate.His average hovered around .300 as he entered June, but he finished at .260. Part of the problem was an inability to hit left-handed pitching. The right-handed hitter batted only .235 against lefties, which he said can be traced to poor pitch selection."I've got to be more patient and wait for my pitch," Cruz said. "I had a bunch of lefties behind me. They were pitching around me. I've just got to take my base."



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Monday, March 1, 2010

Intrasquad summary

IS game summary (3/1) via Evan Grant:

CJ Wilson: 26p inning, 2 consecutive 5-pitch walks vs LHH (DMurph, Smoak); issues with BB command
Moreland: go ahead RBI double off LH Snyder for win
Borbon: Triple (feliz), bunt single, 2SB (one on pitch out)
McCarthy: inconsistent cutter (but he only threw 13 pitches); Borbon stole 2b/3b off of him
Kiker: 3-0 1st batter, Brown HR; gives up 2B(beltre)after long AB, which just missed being another HR
Strop: 9p inning, zero balls
Feldman: 10p inning
Heart of lineup: swinging on 1st or second pitch (vs feldman)
Cruz: 2k single by cruz (feldy)
Salty: There was this strange note from Evan Grant - "C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who had trouble throwing the ball back to the mound last year, did flip a couple back to LHP C.J. Wilson in the first inning. One even bounced away. But after farm director Scott Servias jumped all over Saltalamacchia between innings, he had no trouble."
Brown: Played some 3b
Frostad and Max: saw time at 3b and C respectively
Bunts: 6-8 in getting bunts down overall with Andrus popping up his first attempt

More Notes:
Jarrod Saltalamacchia reported no problems with his arm. The key for him now, he said, is getting used to catching again after not playing the past six months. He had one throw on a steal attempt, a strong, accurate throw that was just a tick late to get David Murphy. Saltalamacchia also bounced a throw back to the mound because, according to manager Ron Washington, he was just flipping the ball back to the pitcher. Scott Servais, though, told Saltalamacchia to make harder throws, and that took care of any wild ones. (wilson)

"He just doesn't have the touch for flipping," Washington said. "His last two innings of catching, I saw him throw the ball back and it was as firm as he needs to throw it." (durrett)

The only two 1-2-3 innings were recorded by right-handers Pedro Strop and Tanner Scheppers. (Wilson)

Durrett on Scheppers:
"Incoming!" Pitching coach Mike Maddux, after a fastball from Tanner Scheppers soared over home plate and bounced off a screen near the backstop that was protecting Maddux, bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and special instructor Jeff Russell.



TRS has a better narrative of the days events...

And Durrett has a link to a proper box score


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