Friday, September 17, 2010

Belated Notes on Jorge Marban

Texas signed (8/13) undrafted JR RH reliever Jorge Marban (6.1/215) after putting up some impressive #s in the ABL this summer. He was assigned to the AZL. His collegiate #s the last 2 years have been horrible, with terrible command issues, but he has put up very nice #s over the last 2 years in summer league ball. Go figure. Perhaps he was dealing with some injury issues during the regular seasons of his So/Jr years? I would imagine that he has a good FB/BB combo and could be a guy who moves quickly through A-Ball but haven't found a scouting report on him yet.

UPDATE (9/20): Marban dominated during his stay in short-season ball as well as his first playoff outing on 9/13 (but had a bad second outing with poor FB command). Here is a blurb from my 9/13 game recap:
Marban dominated in relief of Henry, stranding 2 inherited runners and notching 4SO over 2.1. Marban was throwing 3 pitches on the night with a good FB, a "nice little slider" and a change.

FIU statistics 2008 - 2010

Summer League Statistics
2010, Peninsula Oilers, Alaska Baseball League
1.38/4-0/21g/6sv/26ip/13h/4er/8bb/32so/3xbh-0hr/1wp/3hb
2009, Valley League, Winchester Royals
3.48/1-1/14g/1sv/20.2ip/18h/8er/7bb/37so/4xbh-1hr/1wp/1hb



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Deadline Moves: Salty, McGuiness, Mendez, Roark, Tatusko

Due to some Blogspot bugginess, this draft failed to post. So here it is now. It is dated but contains relevant profiles and notes on incoming/outgoing prospects around the trade deadline. Enjoy.


BA Draft Note on McGuiness
13th/#408 Chris McGuiness 1B The Citadel S.C. $100,000
First baseman Chris McGuiness has a much more polished approach at the plate and better tools. He has decent bat speed and a fluid swing, and he knows the strike zone as well as any college hitter. His 65 walks led the nation entering super regional play, and he ranked 12th in the country in on-base percentage. McGuiness has arm strength (he pitched as a freshman) and is a solid defender at first base. He's a below-average runner who probably can't move to the outfield. Both Bulldogs could go in the seventh- to 10th-round range.

Interview with McGuiness (July 09).
Since arriving in Lowell, you’ve basically batted cleanup everyday while playing first base defensively. How are you adjusting to life up here as a professional, in terms of minimal off days and increased competition?

It’s tough, but I think the most important part is rest. Being from a military school, I was definitely never a big party guy. That whole mindset helped train me to the point I’m at now. After games, there are a lot of players who want to go out, but that’s not even a question for me.

I’m going back to my room, eating, taking a shower, and going straight to bed. Then in the morning, I’ll get up early to eat some breakfast and head right to the park. Sleep is definitely a huge part of being ready on game days. It’s the best way to recover from wear and tear.


Mayo on McGuiness and Mendez:
McGuiness was taken by the Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2009 Draft out of The Citadel. He came out with a reputation as being a polished college hitter with an advanced approach at the plate, and he's more or less lived up to that billing. The 22-year-old has spent the entire 2010 season with Class A Greenville in the South Atlantic League. Not surprisingly, he's third in the league in on-base percentage (.416) and fourth in slugging (.504), giving him the fourth-highest OPS (.920) in the SAL. None of his individual tools stand out, but he's a solid all-around player with on-base ability and some hitting talent.
Mendez, who turned 20 on Juy 25, has a ton of upside, having been clocked as high as 99 mph on the radar gun. Right now, he's got the chance to have two above-average to plus pitches with his fastball and slider. He started the year in the South Atlantic League but got moved down because of command issues and has been pitching in the short-season New York-Penn League. Some still project him to be a starter, while others think he'll be a reliever with an outstanding two-pitch power arsenal. Either way, he's a high-ceiling arm who might take a long time to move up the ladder.


Rizzo on Roark and Tatusko:
"They needed an infielder with Kinsler going down," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We have two good young Double-A prospects that will help our inventory -- two starting candidates. It's a trade -- veteran player for prospects."


SoxProspects profile on McGuiness (July 2010):
The View: An effortless worker and player who lives baseball, McGuiness puts a lot of time into his craft to hone his skills. Hitting with an open stance from the left side of the plate, he uncoils with more an upper cut swing, but has shown the ability to square the ball up consistently at the lower levels of the Red Sox organization. His main strength offensively is an extremely patient approach with a keen understanding of the strike zone. Starting last season with Lowell, McGuiness demonstrated that he was committed to selecting his pitch to drive during at-bats, and that has continued into his 2010 season with Greenville, as he often grinds out at-bats until he finds an offering that he can work on. Projecting for average-power, he could stand to create more lift with his swing and drive through balls better to create back spin. This would be an improvement over the top spin that he generates at times with his line drives, and would enhance his power potential as a corner infielder. Another area of need stems from his handling of off-speed pitches. A polished hitter coming out of college, McGuiness most likely won’t be challenged with secondary offerings until he reaches Double-A. While showing a knack for being able to lay off balls that break sharply into the dirt, he struggles some with squaring up balls of the bigger breaking variety. McGuiness keeps his hands and weight back very well, which bodes well for him making a quicker adjustment as he experiences better off-speed pitches. Solid around the bag at first base, he’s especially adept at picking throws out of the dirt, and shows good reactions to both sides. He has the makings of a more-than-adequate defender and works hard at getting better. It’s not surprising to see McGuiness hit well in A-ball, as his bat was more advanced coming into the system and he has a little more experience coming out of college last year, but he’s proven he can handle the competition and is getting close to being ready to move up the chain by finishing off another consistent stretch.


SoxProspects on Mendez(2010):
Scouting Report: Young Dominican righty signed during initial international signing period in 2007. Front-of-the-rotation starter or high-leverage reliever potential. Has been filling out his frame, with some room to add a little bit more. His fastball sits between 94-96 mph and tops out at 99 mph with late hop, but comes in relatively straight with minimal horizontal movement and not much deception. May need to develop a cutter or a 2-seam fastball as he rises up the ranks. Also has a tight-breaking 82-85 mph slider with plus potential. Can be a wipeout pitch. Needs to be more consistent with finishing slider out of his delivery. 88-91 changeup is currently below-average, but has been developing feel. Separation from his fastball can improve. Good command, but can overthrow on occasion. Mature, focused, and poised on the mound. Fluid and balanced delivery, but can short-arm the ball now and again. Throws from a high 3/4 arm slot.


SoxProspects on Mendez(2009):
Position: Starting Pitcher
2008 Team: Dominican Summer Red Sox
2009 Projected Team: Lowell Spinners

2009 Outlook: After spending his first season of professional baseball in the DSL, Mendez has a strong chance of bypassing the GCL and starting the 2009 season with the Lowell Spinners. This hard throwing right-handed starting pitcher sits 92-94 MPH and can dial it up to 96 MPH when he reaches back with his fastball. The pitch has shown good life and projects as an above-average pitch for him down the line. Mendez struck out close to a batter an inning in 2008 while also limiting hard contact. Standing at 6’2’’ and 180 pounds, he has some room on his frame to fill out and possibly add some more zip to his fastball. Because he is on the light side, he will need to put on weight to be able to hold up over the course of a full season’s workload. Look for Mendez to work on the command of his fastball in 2009. Like a lot of young pitchers, he’ll face the same adjustments moving up the ranks in regards to keeping the ball down and pitching to spots rather than trying to just throw balls by batters. Another main area to watch for is the development of his secondary offerings, which he didn’t feature all that much in 2008. Turning nineteen years old in July of this season, Mendez is a young and raw arm looking to begin his transition to the United States. He has a lot of upside, but also a lot of development in front of him. This season should prove to challenge him, and he will be working towards making a full-season roster in 2010.


Frank Piliere on Mendez:
Considering the limited trade value they figured Saltalamacchia had, the Rangers have to be thrilled with landing Mendez. I had the chance to scout and highly recommend Mendez in my time with Texas last season, and despite his struggles this season, the hard-throwing 20-year-old is a very worthy project. He's known to reach triple digits at times with the fastball, and I had him sitting 93-98 mph last season.

Aside from the good heater, he flashed what appeared to be a split-changeup at 82-86 mph with diving action. It's still an inconsistent pitch, but it showed signs of being a plus offering down the road. His 76-80 mph curveball was even more unreliable, but he mixed in a few that flashed above-average. If he can gain some consistency with his secondary pitches, Texas will have a pitcher with frontline starter or closer potential in Mendez.


SoxProspects McGuiness home page (interviews, features)
SoxProspects Mendez home page (interviews, features)


Daniels on Salty:
* Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said a change of scenery might be good for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "I don't know if it was the combination of the injuries, the expectations from the trade, he was pushed aggressively in Atlanta and then by us," Daniels said. "He's still very talented and works his butt off and I'm sure he'll have success for the Red Sox." More on Saltalamacchia in a post on this blog tomorrow morning.


WEII blog on Mendez:
He was sent to extended spring training and then reassigned to the Lowell Spinners, for whom he is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 19 walks in 33 innings.


Salty Quote from durrett


Daniels on Salty and Prospects



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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Evan Grant's Prospecting Wisdom

I always love it when Evan Grant goes into prospect prognostication mode as he gives out nuggets of wisdom like this:

Beltre has speed and power and an exceptional set of raw tools. In the long term, it's possible he, not Elvis Andrus or Neftali Feliz, may end up being the stud acquisition from the summer of 2007. It's all a matter of continued growth. He took huge steps in 2010. Those should only continue in the Arizona Fall League.


In the long term, it is also possible that I might be kidnapped from my Austin home by a right-wing Colombian paramilitary squad, black-bagged, stuffed on a flight to Cali, driven to a desolate rain forest and ransomed for 1 million$. I'm just sayin'.



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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Holland

Remember when Holland was coming up through the TX system with a devastating fastball/changeup combo. It might be a little hard to remember as either he or the big league coaches turned him into a FB/Slider/Changeup/Curveball guy.

After getting over some command issues in the first inning tonight, Holland had a very nice outing and his changeup was back. I'm hoping the he (and the staff?) has rediscovered the combination that allowed him to quickly fly through the minors and tantalize with dominant stuff in his rookie year.

Welcome back.



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0-3: MiLB Playoffs, 9/8

Redhawks
OKC 5, Memphis 7
Moscoso continued his year-long problems with his FB command. Davis Stoneburner is on the verge of taking the "brick-hands" award from the injured Jason Ogata, committing a fielding error at 2b in each of his first 3 games at OKC ('09, 43E/107g; '10, 30E, 117g). Scheppers came into the 7th and left 2 runners stranded but completely lost his FB command in the 8th. After Clark visited the mound, he just as quickly pounded the strike zone with curveballs and got out of the inning leaving a couple men on.

Velo Notes: Scheppers, 95, 82.

Notes:
Tomlin: Tatts and Tracheotomies

Pre-game Notes, 9/8


RoughRiders
Frisco 3, Midland 4
The MiLB link for the pxp appears to be wrong. Here is the updated link for the radio broadcast.

Richard Bleier had a decent start over 5.2 but Tyler Tufts struggled in the 10th loading the based with 1 out, with an assist on an error by Marcus Lemon, and allowing the final run. He had about a 20 minute inning and one long 14-pitch at bat. Lemon went 4-4 with 2 doubles to continue his hot streak over the last 2-3 weeks of the season. Jason Bulter has a good arm; Beau Jones has a good p/o move.

Velo Notes: Beau Jones, 89.
Player Notes: The Frisco pxp guy congratulated Hamburger for leading the system in saves this year at 16. Hamburger's surprised reply: "Are you serious, dude?" His nick name is "Cheese", bestowed upon him his first year in the system.

Pre-Game Notes 9/8


Crawdads
Hickory 0, Lakewood 7

May Dominant

BlueClaws Smack 'Dads

Neil Ramirez struck out the side to open the game but worked up in the zone too much in this outing (3hr, 2-5 go/ao) to get the victory. Early on, he had a good CB working and is velo was mid-nineties. He wasn't helped by the defense which essentially gave up 2 runs in the third on a dropped fly ball by Pimentel (2 errors on the night) and a mix up between West and Zaneski, which allowed a infield pop up to fall for a single.

The story of the game was Lakewood's Trevor May who dominated the the 'Dads by racking up 13 k's over 6.2. Hickory would finish the game whiffing 16 times.



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Spokane Notebook

The Spokane Indians advanced to the 3-game NWL championship series against the Everett Aquasox by taking the first 2 games from the Yakima Bears.

Monday Box: Indians 5, Bears 1
Ben Henry started the opener and struggled with command over 3.2 innings, throwing about 75 pitches. After the tenuous start the bullpen pitched a shutout the rest of the way, with Marban, Rodebaugh, Osborne, and Killian getting 8SO over 5.1 innings.

Ben Henry had a a sharp, late-breaking CB on the night but struggled to command his FB and changeup (the last of which got hammered on a couple of occasions, one falling in for a double off the wall, narrowly missing a HR). The Bears pxp said it was the best CB that they had seen from him compared to previous outings when it was flat. Marban dominated in relief of Henry, stranding 2 inherited runners and notching 4SO over 2.1. Marban was throwing 3 pitches on the night with a good FB, a "nice little slider" and a change. Osborne's sidearm delivery generates a lot of tail on his FB and he had a nice BB on the evening, getting a SOS on one nasty backdoor slider.

The announcer talked a little bit about Hoying's swing (who was uncharacteristically patient with 3 walks). He said that he has good bat speed and was able to barrell up some balls out of the strike zone despite his weird setup and follow through, which almost touches his back. Kellin Deglan, starting due to his catching chops, had a bit of a shaky outing behind the plate while Strausborger and Richmond led the team with 2 hits each. He also looked a bit awkward at the plate. The Bears pxp guy had difficulty characterizing Deglin's first awkward, flailing, stabbing attempt at a sac bunt, so he just laughed. Deglin's 2nd attempt was almost as ugly, prompting the announcer to utter this classic line: "I'm not sure how much bunting they do in Canada." !!


Tuesday Box: Indians 6, Bears 1

MilB Summary

Everett Advances

Randol Rojas had a nice efficient start in this game, giving up only 1ER over 6IP (6/6/1/1/4/0) while the bullpen closed it out once again with 3 shutout innings. Rojas only had about 66 pitches over 5.1, got ahead of hitters and had a really good changeup on the night. The Bears announcer said that he was around 87-88 with a change that came in at around 71 and a breaking ball at 75. Not sure if that was really a CU at 71, more likely a CB, but whatever. In one sequence Rojas threw a wicked change that the hitter took a vicious swing at that was so early "he had time to go around twice." I like the Bears announcer.

It does not appear that Rojas has added any velo on the year, but given his slight frame, he might be able to add some strength over the next couple of years as he gets acclimated to full-season ball and add a few tics.

Killian sat 90-92; Reyes was 90-91, with a nice slider; Steggall flashed 92 but had some command issues.

Profar("the slick-fielding shortstop"), Chirino and Olt ("soft hands") made nice plays in each game. Strausborger threw a runner out at 2nd with a cannon from the RF fence that left the Bears announcer talking to himself.

One final note of interest. According to the Bear's announcer, the Bear's players were none to pleased with Profar's exaggerated on-field celebration (throwing his glove high into the air on the infield or some such) after the final out of game one, as if he had just won the LL World Series again. That story was relayed just after Profar got a little "chin music" in one at bat.



Couple of stories from the Spokesman (with player quotes):
8/2: Mendez Debut
8/20: Submariner Rowen
8/20: Strausborger
8/22: Game Notes
8/23: Game Notes
8/28: Game Notes
8/29: Game Notes
8/30: Game Notes
9/6: Indians vs Bears
9/7: Teenage Indians

Couple of Indians Notes:
*It seems that Josh Richmond has played with a broken thumb since 8/16, when he injured it sliding into home. He missed the next 9 games but returned on 8/27. Hopefully that explains why the promising RF hasn't hit for more power in his short season debut.
*Clark Murphy has not appeared in a game since 8/25 and his status has not been clarified. Reading between the lines here (of some Spokesman notes), he may have been suspended.
UPDATE: Jason Cole pooh-poohs my speculation about Clark Murphy, confirming that he has in fact been shut down for the season (~8/25) due to injury (possibly an oblique). JC says they wanted him to be healthy enough for Instructs.



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Monday, September 6, 2010

MiL Playoffs Deux

Redhawks
Alex Cora designated in order to make room for Esteban German.

OKC will face Memphis in a 5-game set starting on Wednesday. Moscoso will start the opener followed by McCarthy, Mathis, and Ballard with the starter for the 5th game TBD (if necessary). There is no other starter on the roster so they likely pitch a starter on short rest for a game 5. I am alone in my Moscoso fandom but given his 2009 dominance and career high innings-pitched coupled with the first bad year that he has had in his entire career in 2010, you should really reevaluate your stance.

Terry Clark has some end of season comments regarding the pitching staff.

Bobby Jones talks playoffs and Ryan Aber has some post game notes.

Game Notes 9/6

Playoff Notes
More Playoff Notes


Frisco
Jason Cole notes that reliever Andrew Laughter (org guy) had TJ surgery in early July.

Richard Bleier opens their 5-game set vs Midland on Wednesday. He leads the Texas League in innings pitched if not also in ground ball outs. Martin Perez goes in game 2 on Thursday while my absolute favorite Texas prospect takes the mound in game 3 on Friday, Danny "meat head" Gutierrez. The selection of possible game 4 starters isnt pretty (Chick, Hamilton, Schlact, Jones) and any game 5 starter will likely be going on short rest.

Tim Murphy has been Dl'd with an elbow injury and Corey Young has been promoted from Bak to fill his spot.

I hadn't checked it out until tonight, but Frisco has a game blog set up, which might be of interest during the playoffs.

Game Notes 9/6


Hickory

Not sure what their rotation will look like going into their three-game set vs Omaha, but I would imagine Neil Ramirez would open the series on Wednesday with Robbie Erlin following him on Friday. Due to the off days, any one of the other remaining starters could go in the Saturday game if needed (Tullis, MDLS, Bell, Thompson, or Brigham).

Brad Holman had some interesting things to say about MDLS after the team clinched a playoff spot in addition to some playoff talk.

Brigham went 6 innings to close out the regular season for the Crawdads. He and battery mate Zach Zaneski allowed 4SB on the night.

UPDATE: Brigham will go in game 3 if necessary.


Spokane
Spokane lists Ben Henry as the starter for their playoff opener vs Lakewood tonight and I would expect Randol Rojas to go in game 2 (likely followed by McBride, Melo, and Sanford for subsequent games). Coach Tim Hulett says that Kellin Deglan will start all playoff games, with the emphasis of controlling Yakima's potent running attack. Deglan has caught 15-42(36%) runners with 5pb and 2 errors in 24 starts at catcher this year.

Hoying has been out with a hammy for the last week or so but appears set to return, while Clark Murphy, Kevin Rodland and T-Mart have been sidelined with injuries since the end of August. If you read between the lines of the text in S-R's writeup, does it sound like Clark Murphy has been injured or suspended? You tell me. Juan Grullon appears to have been shut down with continued injury issues a/o 8/26. His health issues will likely limit him to a middle relief ceiling, loogy floor, when it appeared that he might have the ceiling of a #5 starter, fringy yes, but starter nonetheless. And, as I've always said: "Juan, the better Grullon."


AZL Rangers
Jason Cole notes that Denny Peralta had TJ surgery in early August. Too bad. I liked this kid despite his fringy fb as he had excellent command and pitchability with good secs. His ceiling was likely a middle reliever in the end if he added a couple tics of velo in the next few years but he is the kind of underdog that you like to root for.




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Minor League Playoffs

Bakersfield is the only club that did not make it into the playoffs this year. That is a pretty impressive feat for the TX system. And I will say that Bak still had a chance, as it could still have finished ahead of Stockton had it swept their season-ending series. However, it appeared that "management" chose to mail it in after calling on Zike Rijo (AZL) for a spot start to open the series in the 9-8 loss, and allowing Kennil Gomez enough rope to hang himself in his last ugly outing of the year giving up 11ER in 3 innings (3/12/11/3/0/3) in the subsequent 14-10 loss. So tell me, if you haven't called it a season, why would you choose to open this series with AZ's Rijo (+ 5 relievers) and Gomez (plus 2 AZL callups, and Kaase in the pen) when you could have tweaked your roto a week earlier to make Ross, Wieland, Doyle, or Boscan available earlier? Or Tx could have kept DGut there instead of promoting him to Frisco or promoted Brigham from Hickory. Anyways, it just seems weird, that's all.

Ok so the regular season is officially over for all full season clubs after Monday's games. Both OKC and Frisco begin 5-game sets starting on Wednesday (no days off) versus Iowa or Memphis and Midland respectively. Hickory plays a 3-game set vs Lakewood on 9/8, 9/10-11. Spokane's season ended on Sunday and they begin a 3-game set on Monday vs Yakima, 9/6-9/8. The final 3-set would be played 9/9, 9/11-9/12.

The AZ club was eliminated in a 1-game affair to the Brewers in a heart breaker, giving up 3 runs and a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 8th after a dominating performance (recovering from a shaky 1st) by Carlos Melo (6ip/13so - 2nd most SO in the system for 2010). The bullpen allowed 3 of 6 inherited runners to score.

The DSL club was eliminated after losing the first 2 of a 3-game set vs the Reds. In game one, David Perez had an impressive outing putting up zeros for 6 innings (6/2/0/2/7) while the bullpen allowed 2 runs in the top of the ninth for a 2-0 loss. Santo Perez fell apart in the 5th inning of game 2 with the bullpen allowing all three inherited runners to score in a 5-3 loss.




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Minor Notes

TX/AAA
Esteban German has been called up to the big club per Ryan Aber of the Oklahoman. No word on the corresponding move necessary to add him to the 40. That move could involve: Cora, Cantu, Gentry or Mathis.

Texas seems like it has become enamored with Ben Snyder (and Beau Jones) as a starter while this seems like a bad idea in general given that he is 25, in his 3rd year in AA, and throws a fringy high 80s FB. Hopefully it is just a end-of-season manpower shortage that has seen him get starter innings of late. With 2 outs in the ninth after a pretty solid 4 innings of work, he got hammered: Db, Db, Sb, Bb, single, Hr, single, lifted...

I will say that TX will be forced to leave some of their lefty bullpen prospects off the 40 this offseason as their are a bunch: Snyder, Rapada, Jones, Phillips, Kiker, Nam, MDLS, GGrullon, Mighty Joe Ortiz. I'm not a fan of loogies so for those loogies nestled in the list, I'm not too concerned about losing any of them. The preference to protect higher ceiling relievers (Castillo, Hamburger, DGut, KGomez, ODLS, Miggie) and newly eligible starters (Boscan, Brigham, Font, Pimentel) means many of those guys will be exposed to the Rule5 and loogies are a (if not the) staple choice among those chosen and the most likely to remain with the selecting club. So, yeah, protect the higher ceiling more versatile guys first, and you'll never regret it.


HighA
Robbie Ross got hit hard his first 2 innings then pitched a shutout the next 3. Why is this impressive? The biggest problem some of the young pitchers have had in Bak is preventing or recovering from a monster inning. Ross didn't get knocked out of the game and pitched well enough to go 5 innings when it appeared he was on the ropes. Just ask Kennil Gomez how hard it is to put a cap on a bad inning and finish a game out with some dignity in the rarefied air and sun-baked infield of Bak.

And speaking of Gomez, the kid is one of the disappointing stories of 2010. He has had an abysmal year and it remains a great mystery why the club continues to run him out there as a starter when that does not appear to be his fate. I gave him a mulligan for his abysmal second half last year as he was coming back from (another) injury (that is a substantial DL stay in each of the last 3 years kids) because he had a respectable first half in a place that is by all accounts not easy to play in. After his continued ugliness to begin the season, he should have been quickly shuttled to the pen rather than patiently shoveled more innings.


Hickory
Knowing that he would only go 3 innings in preparation for his playoff start, Robbie Erlin appeared to have a little extra juice on his FB. He sat 93 although the stadium gun might have been a little fast, and completely dominated hitters with his FB. He struck out the side in the 2nd, getting swinging strikes on the pitch in almost every instance.


Spokane
Strikeout #s over the last 10 games:
Strausborger, 15
Hoying, 15
Olt, 13
Selen, 12
Skole, 10
Nichols, 10
Profar, 9
Deglan, 9




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Sunday, September 5, 2010

FWST Interview with JD

the FWST's Jeff Wilson has some unexpected questions about domestic/international scouting and player development for JD in one of his all-too-brief blog segments. Check it out.

Also, NPBT has a note up about TX checking out Darvish's latest start. This is not uncommon for TX's small Pacific Rim staff. What is interesting is simply the fact that Darvish is unlikely to get posted this off-season. So unless there is more than meets the eye here, TX is just doing its due diligence with him as they do each year, preparing for a time when he might be posted, and if he'll be worth the high price tag (the posting fee plus a long-term contract).

I haven't kept track of any possible college or HS players who might opt out of the October 31 NPB draft but they will likely make their declarations public by early October. The last 2 years there were only 2 players who contemplated opting out so there is usually not much news on that front: Tunichi Tazawa opted out of the draft in 2008, an amateur player in their Industrial League (like the independent leagues stateside); HS pitcher Yusei Kikuchi opted into the 2009 draft.

If TX is serious about about improving it's Pacific Rim scouting operations, then it must develop a greater scouting presence in Korea and to a much lesser extent Taiwan. Jim Colborn and his staff have made zero significant signings since he has been on board (Winter 2007). TK Ahn has been a complete bust, pitching less than 10 innings since he signed for 275k in September 2008. He has mainly been on the DL and walking people, apparently developing a case of the yipps. I would be surprised to see him in the system next year unless accompanied by a personal physician and psychologist. The only other Korean in the system is YH Nam and he is a loogy at best and signed during the first half of 2007 before Colborn came on board.

The Cubs are king in Korea so it would seem to take a very substantial commitment to compete with them in that market. As Japan's amateur market it essentially closed, Korea is the only reliable feeder for Pacific Rim talent and TX has yet to show any interest in it. The consensus about the amateur talent in Taiwan seems to be that it is not very good and I have only read of one instance where TX was said to have made an offer in this market and it was to a reliever out of college who chose not to sign. Just based on my own ad hoc observations, the best players in that market are the occasional, very athletic up-the-middle players (CF, 2b, SS) and an elite pitcher here and there (say every 4-5 years). So it is a market that might not payoff on any institutional investment even in the long term compared to the 3 largest intl. amateur markets at present: Dominican, Venezuelan, Korean.


The prospect of the start of an international draft in 2012 (one that I would imagine Japan would not participate in) makes the greater elaboration of any additional scouting presence in the PR amateur market a bit unlikely however for most clubs including TX.



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Friday, September 3, 2010

TX signs Mark Prior

Texas signed Mark Prior to a minor league deal and assigned him to OKC. He will pitch out of the pen and becomes a FA at season's end. This appears to be a bit of a look-see for TX to see if they want to re-sign and work with him over the off-season:

Prior's comeback

Official release

Oklahoman on Prior

BA on Prior



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