Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yu Darvish

The next CJ Wilson.


Patrick Newman on Darvish:

This season he was a lot better. The most obvious difference was his fastball velocity, which was more consistently around 94 and touched 97 on his best days. His cutter seemed to take a step forward this year, giving him three pitches above 90 mph with movement (2-seamer, 4-seamer, cutter). I think the velocity gains are real, as he added 10 kg of strength to his frame last offseason. I didn’t really see the same mistakes with his slider this year, he actually looked like he was using all his stuff effectively. There would be times when decent hitters would start to catch up and foul off his harder stuff, and he’d come right back with a slow curve or softer slider, and the hitter would be helpless. So he looked better overall this year, and my concerns about his mistake pitches and velocity are mostly gone. He’ll certainly still make the odd mistake, as he’s not a robot, but I’m more optimistic about him than I have been of anyone in the past.

Most of these are eyeball-level observations, drawn from memory of the games I watched during the season. So grains of salt apply. Here’s some data for reference and additional context: http://npbtracker.com/data/player.php?p_id=242
This doesn’t mean that Darvish is without question marks. All the usual stuff applies — five-day rotation, different ball, different mound, facing batters that can actually hit home runs, being prepared mentally, coping with travel, etc. I have the impression that Nippon Ham has really let Darvish do his own thing — he tends to tweak his delivery a lot, more than any other pitcher I can think of offhand. Who knows if an MLB pitching coach is going to be cool with that? Also keep in mind that Darvish is going to have more pressure and attention than possibly any player that has preceded him. Ichiro was stalked relentlessly by the Japanese media when he joined the Mariners, but I don’t think the Americans necessarily expected much from him. American fans have been anticipating Darvish for years, so he’ll have the Japanese insanity and the American expectations to live up to. I think he will be successful though, and I hope he is.




########

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yu Darvish Countdown: minus 24 hours

So the bidding for Yu Darvish ends tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to say that the rumored cash flow issues are bogus and that Texas puts in the high bid at 50million and pays him 50million over 5 for a 100million$ deal.

If Texas scouts think Yu Darvish has the stuff an Ace and they like his makeup then I don't see that as an unreasonable deal. The going rate for an ace is 20per so all you have to do is commit the money. No trades. No development time. Cup 'O Ace - just add millions.

If Texas scouts are conflicted about his ceiling then I don't know what they do. He surely has the stuff of a #1 but is a #1 worth 20per? He'd have to be a 5-7WAR guy for 5 years. How confident is Texas that Yu can be that guy? I have no idea. But if they think he has a legit shot at turning into an ace then i hope they get 'em. It would be a huge coup for the org.





##########

Friday, December 9, 2011

Minor Notes

Texas signed 29yo utility man Alberto Gonzalez to a minor league deal today. He has a woeful 595 career OPS in the NL but still managed to get in on 300 games at the big league level over the last 3 years with about 200 starts. Hardly seems possible but there it is. For Texas, he would mark a downgrade from Andres Blanco in that role and is likely tabbed for AAA to provide depth to the club in case of an injury to the real utility infielder who will emerge by the end of ST. Or, if his D is good enough, he just might be the guy.



########

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Angels Payroll 2016

Pujols, age 36: 25m
Wilson, age 35: 20m
Weaver, age 33.5: 20m

65 million$$ for 3 players. Wow.

Vernon Wells is making 24m from 2012-2014; Santana and Haren make 11m and 13m respectively (both with a club option for 2013); and Tori Hunter is bringing down 18.5m. What a payroll clusterfuck!

So for these 7 players, they are on the hook for 92min 2012! Throw in Bobby Abreu and there you have it, an 8-man roster with a 101 million dollar payroll. Just wow!



##########

Rule 5

Texas neither took or lost anyone in the ML portion of the Rule 5 today. However they did complete the Teagarden trade (Randy Henry, ptbnl) by selecting 24.8yo SH 2b/SS Greg Miclat (SH) from the Orioles, from a list of rule 5 eligible players, so his selection couldn't come until after the Rule 5 draft. Per TRS, Miclat has beeen added to the Frisco roster but he can be expect to compete for a spot on the AAA club and offer depth as a possible utility infielder during the season in case of injuries (or he could just be depth). Baltimore didn't lose anyone in the ML phase so Miclat was likely their top choice from the list.

In the minor league phase Texas selected three players (ages as of 4/1/12): 23.6yo LHP Fabian Williamson (6.2/175); 22.1yo SH OF Efrain Nunez (6.3/190); 24.5 2b Alex Buchholz (6.0/182). Williamson has been unimpressive during his career, with fringy command, and was demoted from AA back to highA after a particularly brutal 2011. Texas might see him as a loogy based on his work in 2010. Efrain Nunez likely profiles as a salvage project, another OF turned pitcher, as he has never made it out of short season ball during his career with particularly unimpressive #s in 2009 and 2010 though he did have some success in the AAPY league in 2011. Alex Buchholz is likely depth for the HighA or AA squad at 2b.

So Texas goes out with a wimper at this year's Winter Meetings.

Final Note:
I have to say that Texas' reported interest in Garza is puzzling as he was a back end #3 in 08 and 09, was a back end #4 in 2010. His terrific 2011 has to be viewed with some suspicion as it occurred after switching to a new home park in the NL. Maybe Texas scouts believe that Garza finally has harnessed his inconsistent stuff to realize his potential as a top roto arm and that the improvement after the move to the NL was just a coincidence? Taking a quick look at his stats, his GB rate improved dramatically (as well as his HR rate but park factor is relevant here), which is a park-independent stat, so maybe he added a 2S or cutter to his repertoire that accounts for the improvement. Just trying to play devil's advocate here as Texas must view him as a top roto arm going forward for their reported interest to make sense as bringing in another inconsistent #3 doesn't improve the club at all.



########

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Minor Notes

Haven't been keeping tabs on the rule 5 but some guy over at Bucs Dugout has an amazingly thorough writeup so check it out if that crapshoot interests you. Mayo should be coming out with his list soon if he hasn't already.

Texas has a few relievers that might be of interest to some teams (Ortiz, Yan, Kelly, Tufts) while the only hitter that teams might have interest in is Joey Butler (with Chad Tracy a longshot). Nothing exciting to see here.

Daniels was quoted recently about something that we are all finally on board with: Scheppers is a bullpen arm. Right now, his below average command limits his ceiling to something other than a late inning arm. This is a critical year for the Schepp, though relievers often get it together later rather than sooner, as his command issues completely mitigate the quality of his FB and CB, which some rate as 70 pitches when they are on. If he can't put it together by mid-season one would think that a complete mechanical overhaul might be on the horizon. If his command projects no better than average at best, one has to wonder what his ceiling can be. Closer, no. Setup, big maybe. 7th inning arm, yes. Scheppers has been a real disappointment and is rated way to highly by some even after his chronic injury issues, below average command, and failure to develop a third pitch.


I've updated the ages for the 2012 roster in the sidebar and made a rough projection for each level.

UPDATE:
Ming over at Newberg came across a MiL signing on 12/2: ~26yo MiL FA, Loogy and sidearmer, Kyle Fernandes from the Boston system. STrictly a loogy, vs LHH: 22/18/0/5/26/.217. A depth signing with the potential to help the big club a few weeks in that role in case of injury.



######

Friday, December 2, 2011

Randy Henry Notes

A blurb from BA from the 2009 Draft, signed at 4th rd pick for 365K:

Hailing from Arnett, Okla., Henry was slated to attend Texas Tech after high school. But he blew out his elbow, missed his senior season after having Tommy John surgery and ended up at South Mountain CC. He's played second base for the Cougars this year, but his future is likely on the mound. At 6-foot-3, Henry has clean mechanics from a three-quarter arm slot. Just 18 months removed from surgery, head coach Todd Eastin gave Henry a very soft landing this year, allowing him to pitch out of the bullpen. Over nine games, Henry pitched just 11 innings this season. Because of his limited time on the mound this year, Henry has been tough to see, but those that have seen him walked away impressed. His fastball has shown good life, sitting at 90 mph every time out and even touching 94-96 late in the year. While Henry threw mostly fastballs and changeups this year, when he regained the confidence to throw a breaking ball, scouts said it was an above-average pitch with great tilt and snap.


Video from MLB.com draft profiles


Brief 2010 interview Orioles Nation


Orioles Nation Profile


BA updated profile:

Henry is an athletic righthander whose best offering is a plus slider that features sharp, late break and tops out at 87 mph. His fast arm produces 91-94 mph fastball velocity with good arm-side run, but he's still developing a below-average changeup. A 2009 draft pick, Henry spent the majority of the 2011 season in low Class A and injury concerns have been an issue in the past. He endured two separate disabled list stints in 2010 for right elbow inflammation. Though the Rangers will try out Henry as a starter, the combination of his aggressive approach and two above-average pitches profile well as a potential seventh- or eighth-inning reliever.


UPDATE:
Henry missed the first 6-7 weeks of the season so one has to assume that his elbow was still bothering him this spring. Given his health issues the last 2 years I'm not sure why the word from Texas is that they like him as a starter (I think that came from Daniels via TRS).

UPDATE DEUX:
Digging around a little I found out that Henry had surgery again on August 11 2010 after his two DL stints. It was supposed to be a second TJ surgery but the docs only found broken up scar tissue rather than any damage to the ligament replacement. So this likely explains why he missed the beginning of the year; he was still rehabbing from the surgery rather than dealing with a new setback, so that is good news, news Texas already knew of course, which gives credence to their willingness to look at him in the roto for 2012. I also found a note that he was working on a cut fastball in 2011.

Henry's timeline is something like this:
TJ before Senior Year (fall o7 or Spring 08); missed SR year 08; pitched 11ip out of the pen for a JC in 2009 but mostly played 2nd base; drafted by baltimore in the 4th round in 2009, but didn't pitch in the minors; pitched 23 innings out of the pen for Delmarva, Low A, in 2010, punctuated by two stays on the DL, and an exploratory surgery on his TJ elbow on August 11; Rehabbed from surgery the first 6-7 weeks of 2011 season; Pitched 53 innings (LowA June/July; HighA August) out of the pen in 2011 after being activated without a DL stay and finished the year healthy.





###########

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Instructs

Instructs action starts tomorrow and the rosters and schedules (for both the Intro and Advanced leagues) should come out soon.

I am hoping that many of the j2 signs make an appearance and we get some analysis of these kids straight away. The most intriguing questions for me:

1. Is Nomar Mazara a once in a decade prospect? Boom/Bust and incredibly raw or a guy who starts in Spokane in 2012?
2. Is Ronald Guzman as bad an athlete as he appears to be in the 3-4 videos that are out there? Can we already pencil him in as a 1B? Not such a bad thing, if true, though I'd rather have the true COF, but he'll have to bash to earn that 3.5m.
3. What is the story with Yohan Mendez, 85-88 or 88-92 with more in the tank? The next Martin Perez?
4. Someone finally tell us what Pedro Julio Payano throws? Is there some serious heat in those narrow shoulders?


UPDATE:
The DPL has moved up the start date for the first half of the their season a full 2 months, from November to September, and got under way 9/7. That puts their season from Sept -June in addition to the Parallel league in July and August, should that arrangement continue next year, for a full calendar year of baseball for that league.

UPDATE:
Jason Cole has the instructs roster/schedule up. The top j2 signs are there, all but the mysterious, Pedro Julio Payano, who, it seems, will continue to be an enigma. Also note, as I indicated above, that Ronald Guzman is already being listed as a 1B, so there's that. JC tells me that both he and Jason Parks will be there for part of the the time, so subscribe to one or both of their sites (links in the sidebar) for what will be the first evaluation of some of the DSL/j2 kids with closer examinations of some of the US youngsters. The games don't actually start until the 19th. With some 62 players (!), JC also added this note:

Like the last two years, the Rangers will play a regular instructs and advanced instructs team. Because they have so many players there, they'll also field a younger group that plays local JUCOs and scout teams here and there.



############

Sunday, September 11, 2011

J2 Notes

Just in case you missed it, Texas signed two more j2 kids, both from the DR: RHP Jeily (Gialy) Arias, 6.1/178, 7.20.95 (8/5); SS Crisford Adames, 6.1/160, 1.26.95 (7/12). Arias was listed on Badler's top 40 notable prospects list (by bonus) so he is likely a nice prospect. He is very young, only turning 16 at the end of July, with a nice frame and present velo. His bonus is surely 6 figures but it could range anywhere from from 200-500k, so I'll guess 375k. Here is what Badler (sub.) had to say:

Raul Valera (known has Banana) has two of the top 16-year-old righthanders in the Dominican Republic this year with Miguel Gonzalez and Arias, who also works out at La Academia. While Gonzalez is an advanced strike-thrower, Arias has a bigger frame, more present velocity and projection. Arias is thin, has big hands and a lively fastball that touches 92 mph. His breaking ball and changeup aren't as advanced. He's athletic, but his delivery has some effort to it, so he'll need to iron out his mechanics to help him throw more strikes and remain a starter.

Don't have any info on Adames, but I'm going to say he signed in the 100-150k range. Both kids were signed about 2 weeks after they were eligible so Texas was on them and they are kids one should keep an eye on. Still a number of nice j2 kids out there. Just as an aside, j2 signings, unless they are of the 7 figure variety, are often not official until all of the paperwork is done, so sometimes they come across the transaction feed (if at all) 4-6 weeks later. Last year, Texas signed all of their kids after the playoffs (mid Nov-end Dec) but they didn't appear on the wire until February.

One Cuban of note, 22yo LHP Onelkis Garcia, will likely not be eligible to sign with clubs until the end of the year or early spring, as long as all of his paperwork clears. He was the kid that appeared to be added to the draft pool the week of the draft then removed, and then, no one really knew. Turns out the he was not draft eligible. Here is what Badler had to say:

Lefthander Onelkis Garcia, who turned 22 last month, "doesn't have an official status right now" because MLB is still investigating his case, Ng said. The lefty is a prospect in higher demand than Adonis Garcia, as he has shown a low-90s fastball that hits the mid-90s while flashing an above-average breaking ball, though his control still needs work.


UPDATE:
Didn't find much on Adames (Crisford Adames Mejía) save that he played for the Santo Domingo MLB RBI squad last year (age 14-15) that won that tourney in Orlando. He was also in the 13-14yo bracket in 2009. He also is the third player that Texas has signed represented by Ivan Noboa coupled with Payano and Mazara. Noboa, whose seedy rep seems not to have bothered Los Vigilantes, seems to have taken the same tact with Adames (not sure about Payano) that he took with Mazara: take him out of league action (no DPL, IBL) and keep to the workout circuit (unlike Guzman's agent who allowed him to play in the DPL).


#############

Friday, August 12, 2011

Robbie Ross

Here a MILB article on Robbie Ross, which notes that he is working on a CB in AA, and includes an old picture of him from Hickory where you can see why some questioned his body in 2010.



############

Draft Notes

TNR's Ming has come across an article confirming that HS C Max Pentecost has signed with the team and will be in AZ on Monday, but likely won't get into game action until instructs, as he is still recovering from (non-TJ) elbow surgery. This year's draft haul (and last year's while we're on it) has been disappointing so far, even more so now with Fisher and Woodruff (who BA sources didn't like that much anyways) going to school, so this pick is a key signing. Keith Law suggested he had a 2nd-3rd round projection before his injury plagued senior year - he had a broken knuckle as well as a stress fracture/reaction in his forearm/elbow area, requiring surgery. . Now, keep your fingers crossed for Costen and Fish. Here is a brief BA blurb on him:

Pentecost got plenty of early exposure with his solid athleticism and intriguing bat. An elbow injury in April turned out to require Tommy John surgery, but a similar injury didn't keep fellow Georgia prep catcher Luke Bailey from getting picked two years ago. Pentecost doesn't have Bailey's track record, though. He's committed to Kennesaw State.


And some quotes from the article:
The Bulldoggs' standout catcher, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Draft by Texas, signed with the Rangers this week after coming to terms with the team over the weekend. He left for Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday to complete a physical. After returning home for the weekend, he'll leave again on Monday for the rookie league in Arizona...

...He struggled with injuries in his senior year, suffering a broken knuckle early in the season and a stress fracture in his right arm late in the year. "The scout that followed Max originally saw him in the summer of his ninth-grade year," Winder-Barrow coach Brian Smith said after the draft. "He has been on Max the whole time. That shows that he really saw a lot in Max." Pentecost had surgery in May on his right arm and won't resume throwing until next week. He spent the summer working in a vineyard in Cleveland.


UPDATE:
Pentecost does not sign (possibly renewed health concerns?) nor does anyone else of note. It's official: the Texas draft sucked and was preceded by a another mediocre showing last year in the top 5 rounds. Don't buy the rhetoric that Texas spent all of there 10m$ in draft money on 16yo j2 kids. There is ZERO excuse for failing to elect and sign premium talent in the draft's early rounds. Period. J2 is should be budgeted separately and if it is not, they are fools. Count me woefully unimpressed with the Preller era on the Draft side of things; the 2010 shakeup of the staff and organizational approach seems like a systematic failure - the top rounds- where hitting on top picks does not seem to be much of a priority. the new mantra for the new regime: WWOM (Welke's Whales Over Minnows). But then again, maybe a shakeup was necessary as Texas has had major busts on rounds 2-3 during most of the JD era, but, clearly, this isn't much of an improvement, if not a retrogression.


########

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leury Garcia News

In other news, Jamie Newberg thinks that Leury Garcia has, yet again, been the subject of trade rumors. Need I say more?


#######

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CJ Wilson

I find CJ Wilson to be an irritating human being for the same reasons that most people do. So does Steve Busby (h/t Cole, Matches).



######

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mendonca

Just when some folks were about to change their tune on Mendonca, the prospect, he went into a tailspin. Don't jump off the bandwagon just yet, however. His slump began right around the time of a personal tragedy for which he took a temporary leave from June 28 to July 3, and hasn't been the same since (until his 3HR game last night of course):


The third baseman, selected 62nd overall in the 2009 Draft, raised his average to .305 and has 20 homers and 71 RBIs in 84 Texas League games. He'd been in a 7-for-51 (.137) slump over 12 contests since the Texas League All-Star Game.

"Not a lot of people know this, but I had two buddies die in a tragic car accident the day before the All-Star Game," said Mendonca, who missed four games and attended two funerals in six days. "There were a lot of personal things on my mind because they were close, dear friends of mine.

"I couldn't care less if I went 0-for-4 or 0-for-5 or 0-for-6 or if I had 300 strikeouts. I would give all this up to have them back. It put it all into perspective."




#####

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 j2 Bonuses Updated (2/10/12)

UPDATED 2/10/12

At this point, there are a record 16 deals done or on the table for 7 figures with Robert Osuna also expected to receive a 2M+ deal down the line (and possibly, though less likely, OF Franmil Reyes). In addition, by the time the numbers are all in, there may also be that many in the 500K+ range. We are talking some truly historic outlays here with up to 30 prosects getting 500K+ or more, !Increible! If the class were that good, and I doubt that is is, that would be one thing, but I have to think that some uncertainty about the future j2 market (CPB, caps, slots, draft) may have played a role in the gargantuan (how rarely one gets to use that word) amount of money being thrown around here.

As for Texas, one would have to imagine that they are done signing guys over 500K (at least until November), but it has been a historic haul for Texas as one expected so they might not be done. Don Welke wasn't kidding when he said Texas had targeted 3 of the top j2 names in one of the spring banquets; It looks like they got all three, and currently have issued three of the top 5 highest bonus amounts overall. I'm hoping the fact that Texas wasn't in on any of the top catchers in this market is less an indication of their disinterest than a measure of the likelihood that it signs one or both of the promising HS catchers in their draft haul, Fish and/or Pentecost. Or maybe they were just out of money! Per various sources, the top bonuses this year:

1. Nomar Mazara, TX, COF, DR, 4.95M
2. Ronald Guzman, TX, LF/1B, DR, 3.45M

3. Elier Hernandez, KC, OF, DR, 3.05M
4. Victor Sanchez, SEA, RHP, VZ, 2.5M
5. Adalberto Mondesi, KC, SS, DR, 2M
6. Jose Leal, SEA, OF, VZ, 1.5-1.9M
7. Roberto Osuna, Tor, RHP, 1.5, 9/1
8. Yohander Mendez, TX, LHP, VZ, 1.5M
9. Marck Malave, Cubs, C, VZ, 1.5M
10. Wilmer Becerra, Tor, OF, VZ, 1.3M
11. Dawel Lugo, Tor, SS, DR, 1.3M
12. Enrique Acosta, Cubs, SS, DR, 1.1M
13. Dorssys Paulino, Cleve, SS, DR, 1.1M
14. Jose Ruiz, SD, C, VZ, 1.1-1.2M
15. Harold Ramirez, Pitt, OF, CO, 1.05M
16. Jesus Gonzalez, Tor, OF, VZ, 1-1.3M
17. Raimel Flores, Bos, SS, DR, 900K
18. Jonathan Perez, Reds, RHP, VZ, 825K
19. Manuel Marcos, Bos, OF, DR, 800K
20. Jose Garcia, Mets, C, VZ, ~800k
21. Carloss Tocci, OF, VZ: rumored here, Phil, 759K, 8/24
22. Miguel Andujar, NYY, 3B, DR, 750K
23. Adelin Santa, Det, 3B, DR, 750K
24. Andres Serrano, Cards, RHP, DR, 750K (Oct/Feb-pending)
25. Luis Reynoso, Hous, SS, DR, 700K
26. Pedro Payano, TX, RHP, DR, 650K
27. Franmil Reyes, SD, DR, 700K
28. Miguel Gonzo, MN, RHP, DR, 650K
29. Wander Franco, CO, LHP, VZ, 600K
30. Edgar Pineda, Cleve, LHP, VZ, ~500-700K
31. Dioscar Romero, Bos, RHP, DR, 600K
32. Elvis Escobar, Pir, OF, VZ, 570K
33. Seong Min Kim, Oak, C, KO, 510K

OTHERS:
Yairo Munoz, Oak, SS, DR, 280K
Mauricio Silva, MN, RHP, VZ, 370K
Luiz Martinez, ChiSox, RHP, VZ, 250K
Sanber Pimentel, Oak, RF/1B, DR
Jesus Tinoco, Tor, RHP, VZ
Soid Marquez, Cin, RHP, VZ
Eduar Pinto, TX, CF, VZ, ~300
Cris Adames Mejia, TX, SS, DR
Dewin Perez, Stl, LHP, CO, 450k


CUBANS:
Frank del Valle, Cubs, LHP, CU, 800k
Yasiel Balaguert (19yo), Cubs, LF, CU, 400K
Carlos Martinez (20yo), Cubs, RHP, CU, 250K
Alex Carreras, (22yo), AZ, LHP, CU, 400k



Other signs:
Soid Marquez, RHP, Reds, VZ (Ciro Barrios), TBA
My notes on the kid who I thought was worth the coin and #38 on Badler's speculative "top bonus" list: 38. Soid Marquez, RHP VZ: late buzz similar profile and frame as Mendez, with the CB being his 2nd pitch, and its a good one; seems too low on Bad's list.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, Jays, VZ (Ciro Barrios), TBA

Notables still free:
28. Mauricio Silva: late buzz; if his body is good and offers a little more projection, I'd spend their money like that (6.1/190); too low on Bad's list. 28. Mauricio Silva, RHP, VZ: eligible 7/24; +93, good CB, feel for change. Cross your fingers on this guy; ranked too low.
11. Helsin Martinez, RF, DO: Appears to be negotiated with Seattle, a possible 7 cifra deal. Martinez is an intriguing RF but has very bad hitting mechanics to go with plus power and bat speed; seems like boom/bust type. Given that Seattle seems to be on him for more than 1.5m, I don't think hes' in the budget, and Mazarro might (is?) already be that high risk guy.





########

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dominican Parallel League

Guzman and Mazara will compete in this league beginning today. The league commissioner is Rangers' International Ops guy Fred Kruger.

I'm assuming the DPL Elite team (2011/2012 prospects) will compete against reserve players (and 2011 j2 signs) from the participating teams' DSL rosters.



######

Friday, July 8, 2011

j2 Breather

Venezuelan Rumors:
According to one source, CF Edwuar Pinto signed for ~200k. Fits the profile to a tee for a low 6-figure sign for Texas (at least circa 2008): Now skills, low ceiling. Will debut stateside. According to various (unconfirmed) sources, Texas has been tied to a # of other players (measureables from early spring to early April from gringo sources): RHP Kevin Sosa, 6.0 (86-87, Raw: mechs, control; BA has better spin on him: fixable mechanics, loose quick arm, 85-89, high 3/4, good plane, feel for both secs); C Marck Malave (Cubs, 1.5m); 3B Arturo Michelina (plus arm, Hous, 220k); an unnamed LF from the Blasini academy (not on Badler's top 40 that I can tell).

The Best of the Rest:
Based on Ben Badler's top 40 list (ranked by Bonus):
4. Roberto Osuna, RHP, MX: Toronto has submitted a tentative offer, with more clubs anticipated to bid over the next 2 wks
11. Helsin Martinez, RF, DO: Appears to be negotiated with Seattle, a possible 7 cifra deal.
12. Adalberto Mondesi, SS, DO: eligible 7/27, KC in at a rumored 1.15m (KC, 2M, 7/27)
17. Raimel Flores, SS, DO, DPL (Signed: Bos, 900K)
18. Franmil Reyes, LF, DO: TX rumored to be in on him but not anymore
25. Carlos Tocci, CF, VZ: eligible August, a lot of late buzz on showcase circuit; Sardinas-like build. Philly the FR at 750k
27. Antonio Senzatela, RHP, VZ: +92-93, very BA secs; Rockies FR at 400k; visited Cleveland acad in DO for 1wk in early May (Signed: CO, ~400K)
28. Mauricio Silva, RHP, VZ: eligible 7/24; +93, good CB, feel for change. Cross your fingers on this guy; ranked too low.
30-40: 7 of the last 11 are still unsigned.

When you already have the world, why not ask for more? I want a hard-throwing righty, a shortstop, a catcher, and a third baseman. Really though who are the guys left from Badler's lists and articles that I like:

4.. Roberto Osuna: if the scouts love him so do I; if they don't, its the body stupid
28. Mauricio Silva: late buzz; if his body is good and offers a little more projection, I'd spend their money like that (6.1/190); too low on Bad's list.
38. Soid Marquez, RHP VZ: late buzz similar profile and frame as Mendez, with the CB being his 2nd pitch, and its a good one; seems too low on Bad's list.
17. Raimel Flores, SS, DO, 5.9/155: A slightly bigger Leury Garcia starter kit who might profile as a better hitter and have a ceiling higher than a utility inf (or just a higher ceiling, period, what with LG on his way to his 3rd straight 50 error-paced season). Signs with Boston for 900k!
UR. Gustavo Perinan, IF/LF, CO: Sounds like a Drew Robinson starter kit; have i told you how much i like the D-Rob? If this kid can play 3b, the man-crushing can begin. He also fits the profile of Texas' low 6-figure LA hitters over the last few years (the only ones that they have had success with): good feel for baseball, hitting, defense, fundamentals, low ceiling, high floors - Chirino, Villanueva, Herrera, Alberto, Telis, T-Mart.
UR. Ronniel Demorizzi, SS, DO, Under-Armour kid, good actions, strong arm, good feel for D, SH; bat behind D. Not enough info to speculate about the present/future grade of the bat...

Martinez is an intriguing RF but has very bad hitting mechanics to go with plus power and bat speed; seems like boom/bust type. Given that Seattle seems to be on him for more than 1.5m, I don't think hes' in the budget, and Mazarro might (is?) already be that high risk guy. Reyes is another big kid, big power, bad athlete type, who hits in games better than Martinez, is a LF/1B kinda guy like Guzman, but if he can be had for under 7-figures, you might do it. If you can sign a bat with plus raw power who slips a couple of dollar tiers, sign'em if you can. Mondesi's ceiling just doesn't sound that high, though he's a solid SS prospect, just no stand-out tools, so, just say no at 7 figures and sign a more sexy, raw, toolsy SS for less instead. Tocci is interesting but at 6.2/150 he will hit for BA power, may not gain any weight, and doesn't seem to have great bat speed; he does have plus plus speed however and a nice swing and makes nice contact. He's raw, and very young (some guys turned 16 last October while he won't until August), and might not have a great deal of high level competitive game experience. I'd sign him if the price was right gut the Phil's seem to love him (price war starts at 750k) and we already have about 5 other CF burners who might or might not be good at baseball.

Raw and Toolsy types:
31. Manny Gonzo, RHP DO: big frame, 6.4/205, nice FB, feel for secs, lost helium by deadline but unsure why- maybe he's not projected to add much velo even with frame?
37. Yario Munoz, SS, DO: plus speed, arm, SH, agility, good range; raw on defense and not as good a feel for hitting compared to others on the list; project
39. Jonathan Perez, RHP, VZ: projectable righty, 85-89+90, Raw secs, good feel, smooth mechanics, athletic; seems like a guy you sign if the money makes cent$. (Update: 825K, Reds.)

Intrigues:
Erick Hurtado, LHP, DO, 6.4/200, high 80's, IPL, feel for CB, RAW
Carlos Rody, LHP, VZ, 86-89, limited projection, strike thrower, good feel, CU 2nd pitch, CB grade varies from fringy to promising, head jerk, throws across body a bit.
JR. Flores, RHP, VZ, 6.1, lanky, 86-89, good CB, mech. inconsistencies
Mitchell Martez, big 3b from Aruba, project; Uh_Roo_buh. All your 3B projects should be from a three-syllable island.
Jhoan Urena, SH, 3B, 6.1/185, DO: Line Drive swing, good arm, COPABE, tournies
Victory Rey, 6.2/175, 3B, DO: line drive swing, gap power, tournies, hits for average in game action
Catchers: They're all gone. Texas has a VZ catcher pipeline though, so I'm positive they will sign a low 6-figure kid, an Oropeza type.



######

Monday, July 4, 2011

Texas j2 step: BAM!

If you have been under a rock, Texas has likely signed the following players per multiple sources:

Nomar Mazara (DO), COF, 4.95m
Reportedly flies out Tuesday with family for Wed PC.
Ronald Guzman (DO), LF/1B, 3.45m
DPL PC Monday. In Texas for PC on Thursday.
Yohander Mendez (VZ), LHP, 1.5m
Pedro Payano (DO) RHP, 650k
Signing confirmed; Bonus confirmed.
Eduar Pinto (VZ) CF, 300k

Texas also has reported interest in IF/OF Gustavo Perinan (CO) and RHP Roberto Osuna (MX) that we know of.
I have a few notes on these confirmed and purported signings on this historical j2 day for Texas in the "Draft/j2" workbook in the sidebar. I'll post some the main parts about Mazara and Guzman here. Any notes about tools comes from secondary sources like BA's Badler unless otherwise noted. I will add to his section (or pin it) and revise it as I gather more information, until I lose interest...

First, I should note that I came across an article on Mexican RHP Roberto Osuna, that noted he touched 95 (91-95) at his last showcase/workout on 6/24 with 2 Texas scouts ( John Booher y Gil Kim) attendance. Now, while his body is not dreamy - a Vicente Padilla meets Warner Madrigal via Vicente "Edwin" Escobar type - he offers now stuff, as long as his secs are as advanced as they appear to be. Texas usually doesn't go for this type of dude but I thought I'd throw that info out there.

Nomar Mazara (DO) LH, LF/RF, 6.4/195
School: Jesus in Action, Ivan Noboa (~2009)

Teams: MLB RBI (DO)
Shows elite power in BP, an elite leg kick and elite whiffs. Average arm - enough arm for RF? Has anyone seen him play over the last few years in varied and truly competitive settings? Has he played in national, regional or international tournies, youth leagues, travel teams, etc? Does he have a good feel for the game? He has indeed played in youth leagues at least since 13 as well as in the RBI program alongside Guzman last yr but has not played in any of the DO leagues during his age 15 year and appears to have only been showcased, with limited exposure to live pitching (maybe as far back as September). Texas might have given him a general promise in February that took him off the circuit a bit but it still doesn't xplain why he skipped the first half of any league, Nov-Jan. Texas must know him very well and better than most (though it isn't clear why); it's a signing that makes or breaks careers.

Various sources: well educated religious (military-political) family; played in La Liga Javilla (Little League I guess, possibly private given his family's station) in Santo Domingo) from young age through the age 13_14 division then switched to Noboa at age 14. Noboa's academy is called "Jesus in Action", so, Mazara should fit in with very well with all of the other little Ranger evangelists. Has played on travel teams and regional and intl tournies, showcases, etc. though the timeline is unclear. Source: Dad a former admiral who seems to have some ties to PRD's 2012 candidate. Was 6.1/140 at 13, 6.1/180 at 14, now 6.3-6.5/185-200. My guess is that Texas has followed him right around the time he turned 13, when he sprouted to 6.1 and started hitting HR to 365 in his little league park, so, say 2-3 years. I don't think there is any doubt that TX has done their homework on this kid, and that the competition with other big market teams was very real, as were the money rumors, and Texas won out. This is no Esdras Abreu (and who knows if TX even has the same scouts there that they had in 2007- I bet they do not.)

Quotes:
Hoy, por Soldevila
ESPN Deportes, Rojas
ListinDiario, por Briceno
Noboa Interview (w/cult-figure pic), por B4ses
Rangers' Presser
BP at the Ballpark
ESPN Dallas Quotes
Jon Daniels interveiw
Daniels Interview II

UPDATE:
According to at least one local report, Texas did not start following him until he was around 14 and 6.1/180, about the time he switched to Noboa, so that is not more than 2 years and maybe less than 1 year of truly competitive ball; is not uncommon for teams to follow a player for 3 or more years. The last time he played competitively seems to have been in the PG showcase last August before being limited to the workout/tryout/BP/academy scene for the 10 months prior to j2 2011. I find this a little unnerving, not playing in any of the multiple leagues during his age 15_16 year, but he could've stayed with any one academy for up to 30 consecutive days during that time so it is likely that he did a little of this for those few (~10-12) teams willing to drop 7 figures on LA kids. Clearly, as a signing stratagem, it didn't hurt him a bit, but as a fan, it doesn't give you as much to hang your hat on as, say, Guzman, for example.


Ronald Guzman (DO) LH, LF/1B, 6.5/205(!!!!)
Agency: La Academia, Eddy Robles (~2006)
Teams: DPL, MLB RBI (DO), Under Amour

Very advanced hitter; doesn't even seem to be an average athlete - looks a little goofy/gangly (long arms, legs, loping long-strider) but good def. instincts apparently, LF arm. Hopefully the same scouts who questioned his bat speed aren't the same ones who also noted the same thing about another Texas power hitter turned bust, Esdras Abreu. Given the prominent stage he has been on, I would suspect that such criticism is unlikely to be true. HS grad, an uncommon merit for any DO teen along this "career" trajectory. As (if) he fills out (more), will a move to 1B be in order? Given the athleticism and plus bat speed carried by Elio Hernandez, and Texas' general inclination to toolsy OF, TX must really believe in his bat (and his future power?). Was listed at 6.4/170 at age 15, now variously reported in the 6.4-6.5/ 185-200 range. I don't know, if he puts on another 25 pounds, he'll probably end up at 1B. With Robles/LA since age 11.

DPL Profile
Presser
DPL Elite (PG)
DPL Elite (DPL)
Brief Interview (ENG)


Yohander Méndez, LHP, VZ, ~6.2-6.5/170-175
I've heard two figures on him: 1.2m and 1.5m. I'm thinking like Texas on this kid: he is the most projectable lefty on Badler's list so I don't mind missing on a Sanchez or Osuna if we got him. A few snippets about this kid, some months old, indicated that he really impressed during his April showcases/workouts with his command in addition to the late velo jump reported by Ben badler (high 80's +90). However, there was another report that he didn't look all that great at the MLB showcase held in San Jaoquin on 4/9 but may have looked good in a showcase in Valencia earlier in that week. As in the previous reports, the changeup appears to be his second best pitch and he can spin a curve. One report from gringo scouts said that he sat 86 early in the spring but was RAW (contrary to Badler's profile). He is from Luis Blasini's Academy in Valencia.

Here is a note from El Nacional, 4/9/11:
“Entre los pitchers zurdos, Méndez es el mejor”, sentenció un scout de la Liga Nacional. “Mide 1,90 (metros de estatura) y la recta puede tirarla, consistentemente, entre 85 y 88 millas por hora, pero la han medido en 89. Puede soltar la pelota en varios ángulos y la curva tiene un gran radio, mientras que posee una buena opción con el cambio. Cuando lo entrene un pitching coach de un equipo profesional, mejorará su mecánica y por consiguiente el comando-control. Cuando proyectas sus habilidades a cinco o seis años, te encuentras con un muy buen lanzador”.




###########

Friday, July 1, 2011

Texas j2 step

Here is Ben Badler's take (sub.) on which j2 kids that Texas might be in on. Based on his previous writeups, I don't see any Sanchez, Sano, Mateo type talents, which is a bit disappointing, given that Texas has the cash to go 3m on that type of guy if there was one. Nor does it seem like there are a lot of high-ceiling Cuban guys in the wings waiting for visas (or disguises). I'm sure they will drop some coin, but for whom and how they choose to do so is the question, especially given their weird draft strategy. If there is no one that has a higher likely ceiling than Leonys Martin, maybe they won't sign a 3 million dollar man, and instead pursue the three million dollar men strategy from 2009 (including Alfaro with that class).

"Texas Rangers: Though they dealt with an ownership situation in flux for most of 2010, the Rangers remained active internationally. Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro, a January 2010 signing, is already in the short-season Northwest League, as is Venezuelan shortstop Rougned Odor (technically a January 2011 sign). The Rangers didn't have a first-round pick this year, though they got a first-round talent in Cuban center fielder Leonys Martin already. On the July 2 market, their priority appears to be Dominican outfielder Ronald Guzman, who should command one of the top bonuses in Latin America. Several international sources also expect Venezuelan lefthander Yohander Mendez to sign with the Rangers. Beyond those two, the Rangers could also be involved with Dominican outfielder Franmil Reyes, Colombian shortstop Gustavo Perinan and Venezuelan outfielder Eduar Pinto, among a host of other players they'll likely add for low six-figure amounts."

Note: sub. link added...


########

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Minor Notes, Deux

Eric Hurley
Hurley made his first rehab start since getting his skull cracked by a line drive back in his first AAA start. Bad luck follows this kid. Anyways, he looked pretty good and pitched 4 innings, longer than I thought he would go. His FB command vs RHH was very good while he couldn't locate well vs LHH. He got a few SS on his slider and one on a nasty change vs a LHH but not many on his FB. His velo sat in the high 80's much like it did in ST, 87-91, sitting around 88-90. His slider was in the 81-83 range and that nasty change was at 82.

Hopefully over the next 30 days of his rehab we'll see his velo range increase, though I wouldn't expect too much as his previous pattern was to throw sit 88-90 the first few innings, while pitching 90-93 as the game progresses. He may or may not find his old velo due to his shoulder surgery, so this is not a given. One thing he did show in spring training is that he has progressed as a pitcher, showing much improved command of his arsenal in ST, and wielding the best changeup in his career which seems like it could already be a solid average pitch.

Maybe his ceiling is a #5 now, whereas before I though it was a #4 when he still had a fringy changeup and gave up a lot of HR and his velo was only average. If he proves to be more of a pitchability guy, with an average FB, a solid average change, and a solid average, possible above average slider, all three of which he can command better than average, that should be considered a success story given his injuries. We can also dream that his velo will flash 92-95 in brief stints, like it did during his AFL stint last year.

Spokane Notes
Richard Alvarez had a rough 2011 debut but did show his advanced secondary stuff. The strikeouts that I was able to note were as follows: Nasty CU SOS; CB CSO; High FB SOS; High CB SOS. The only velo note was 89 in the first. A fringy FB with inconsistent command will be what RA has to work on for now; his secs seem just fine.

Jose Monegro was very impressive in relief. It he may have busted out 4 pitches during his 3.2IP. He was 90-93 with strikeouts on the following pitches: CB CSO; CB CSO; CU SOS. One pitch was called as a slider. He's a little old for this level and should end up in Hickory by season's end.

After a disastrous debut, Chris Hanna pitched a scoreless inning with his lone strikeout coming on a nasty CU. Just a couple of other notes: Ruben Sierra still takes violent hacks; Guillermo Pimentel still needs to work on his routes in CF but has one of the best arms in the system. He's an org guy in my book.

Frisco: Velo Notes
Adalberto Flores: 89, 91 SOS; 77 Slurve; 82 CU



#######

Major Notes

APRIL
16-11/.593/140r/114ra/+26
First 10: 9-1/.900/55r/26ra/+29
Next 17: 7-10/.418/85r/88ra/-3

MAY
13-15/.464/116r/112ra/+4

JUNE
10-9/.526/88r/92ra/-4
Projected Junes Totals
14-13/.526/125/131/-6

Totals: April 12- June 20
30-34/.469/289r/292ra/-3



########

Minor Notes

Webb Notes:
Evan Grant once again puts too much stock in Webb, as he has since his signing. He still hasn't learned to ignore what Webb says about himself. I watched Webb's terrible outing in its entirety and he was indeed terrible. It was Webb himself who said that he felt great and that he think he hit, "oh, I don't, know, 87, or 85..", on the gun. He didn't sniff 87 and sat 83 with no command of any of his pitches. Anyways here is Grant drinking some of the Webb cool aid:

Though right-hander Brandon Webb didn’t last a full inning for Frisco in his start Sunday, reports suggest his outing wasn’t nearly as ugly as his line. He was charged with six hits and four runs in a 36-pitch inning, two-out start, but club officials said reports suggested he had solid movement on his pitches and touched 87 mph on the radar gun. The majority of his fastballs were in the 82- to 86-mph range, but they did have more life than in previous outings. Nonetheless, Webb’s return to the majors remains an uncertainty.

Spokane:
Spokane starter Victor Payano battled out of jams in the first and second innings and settled down for an effective outing.
“He got behind a few hitters and lost it for a little bit, but then he found it again,” Hulett said. Closer Matt West was impressive in the ninth, getting the Volcanoes (1-1) in order. Of his 11 pitches, 10 were 93 mph or faster. He reached 97 on his second pitch. “I think he was a little stiff tonight,” Hulett said, grinning. “Wait until he gets warm.”

“It seems like when there’s nobody on base our offensive game plan gets a little fuzzy,” said Hulett of the whiffs. “As a team we’re very young,” said Nicholas. “So it’s going to take some getting used to the crowd. A lot of these guys haven’t played in a stadium (before).”

Express:
"It's all behind me," he said. "You can't help but think about it (the injury). When something like that happens, I don't care what anybody says, you're going to think about it when you get out there. That's the last thing you want to happen again is get in the head."

Frisco:
The RoughRiders have a nice game notes blog that I have pinned in the sidebar but just in case you haven't checked it out, it is here: Chatter from the Pressbox

Pelicans:
"It was a tough road trip but we have to put it behind us," Myrtle Beach center fielder Ryan Strausborger, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, said before the game. "We can't wait around for help. We have to take care of business ourselves."

In their first half-season as the Texas Rangers Advanced-A minor league affiliate, the Pelicans are postseason bound.

Dads:
“I’ve never seen a group of guys over the last two-and-a-half or three weeks with bigger drive and a will to win,” said Crawdads’ manager Bill Richardson to his assembled team gathered outside the clubhouse after the Grasshoppers’ loss. “You’ve earned it! This is your night! Enjoy!”

The first couple of innings everything was working,” said Buckel, who turns 19 on Saturday. “Everything I was throwing I was throwing for a strike and I was getting ahead early and putting guys away when I needed to.

I was pretty pumped about that,” said Jackson in appreciation of his coaches. “I was struggling and they stuck with me and I was able to get out of it with the help of my defense.”

“It’s a lot of card playing.” said Roof. “And during those card playing there’s a lot of stories about all of the family members having all kinds of stories to tell us about when they were growing up and playing and the stories of who the guys they were playing with and all that.”

We know we are young, but this is a talent contest,” said Skole. “It doesn’t matter if there’s a 23-year-old on the mound… He’s not going to do anything different to you because you are 18.”



######

Monday, June 20, 2011

AZL Roster

Jason Cole has gotten hold of a copy of the roster for the AZL club. I have updated the M&M roster. There are only a few things of note:

1. Justin Jamison is back. The 6ft 8inch super raw HS draftee from 2009, who signed for around 100k was suspended for some reason for the 2010 season. Missing a year of development probably limits his ceiling but he was a longshot anyways.
2. Sardinas and Robinson are on the roster. Not sure if they are really on the roster or are still DL'd. Robinson is way to advanced for the league and I would say the same thing about Sardinas, so we'll see if they play. If they are healthy they won't be there for long.
3. Luis Mendez. Diminutive Dominican SS sign (75k) from 2009 makes his stateside debut.
4. Blackwell, Rijo and Mavare repeat, which is a bit of a surprise. They all did well there last year so I would not expect them to stick around long. Could be the victims of a fecund system, waiting for space to open up on a more advanced club.
5. Kevin Johnson demoted due to his struggles in Hickory.
6. Faulkner, Matthews, Devore still not listed on the roster though all have signed.



#########

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Minor Notes

Velo Notes
Hunter: 92, 93
Pimentel: 93
Lamb: 92, struck out side, threw all 3 pitches (tex2044)
Santo Perez: 93, lots of ground balls (shroom)
Wieland: "mostly" 88-90+91, 74-78, 82 SL (Lucas)
Jackson: 92-95 (93), 78-81, 84 (one) (Lucas)
David Perez: 92-96 early, 89-92 late (tex2044)
Bell: 91-93 (Lucas)
Gomez: 88-93 (Lucas)

Webb
Looked terrible. Left meatballs high in the zone and got whacked. Failed to get out of the first. Was supposed to go 4 or 65 pitches, but got only 2 outs on about 35. Couldn't throw a strike with any of his pitches. Sat 83, touched 84 and 85 once each.

Scheppers
CB Looked great. FB command was great in 1st inning, everything low in zone, missing high more in 2nd inning of work. 94-96, mostly 95-96.

IST INNING
1. (vs LH)
FB SS 96, FB SS 95, CB B OSC 83, FB SOS 95
2. (RH)
CB SS 84, FB LOW, FB SS UP & IN 96, CB F, CB GO SHORT
3. (LH)
FB CS 96, CB BOUNCES 80, FB F, FB F, CB SOS FT
2ND INNING
1. (LH)
CB CS, BB (SLIDER OR FLAT CB) LOW, FB F, CB F, CB CSO
2. (LH)
FB SS 95, FB HIGH OS, FB SS, FB WAY HIGH, CB FT (BARELY), FB AO SHALLOW LF
3.
FB HIGH 95, FB HIGH, FB CS 94, FB F, CB CSO


Joe Wieland
"His fastball is his predominant pitch and his curveball is a putaway option. But now he has a slider he can throw for strikes whenever he wants. The sllider is above the changeup now. He can throw it for strikes and create action on it with tilt and depth. It tends to find the bottom of the bat. His changeup, it's a useable pitch, but it isn't consistent." (Brad Holman)

Julio Borbon
Missed cut off man...



##########

Friday, June 17, 2011

Draft Notes

Kevin Matthews and Zach Cone officially signed for slot, 936k and 873k respectively.



#####

Clark Murphy

I wondered what happened to Clark Murphy. Apparently he was in extended when his brother was involved in a near-fatal car crash on April 23. Texas put him on a plane and he was back home within 5 hours of the accident. They told him he could take the year off if necessary. His brother is now out of a coma, but has severe head trauma and other injuries that will last a lifetime.

Here are a couple of stories that I dug up:

April 23
May 31



######

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Draft notes

BA has noted the signing bonuses for the following 3 players:

8th round, Kyle Hendricks, 125k
9th round, Rashard Harlin, 100k
10 round, Joe Maloney, 90k

Various sources note that 2nd rounder Will Lamb has signed for slot, 430,200.

UPDATE:
14th round HS LHP Andrew Faulkner has signed per TR Sullivan. Given his ceiling, I would bet that he signed for late second to early third round money, let's say 325k.

UPDATE:
It will be Santo Perez and not Carlos Melo filling out the Spokane rotation, per the Spokesman. This is actually really good news as it indicates that Texas believes in SP as an SP. In 2008, according to multiples sources, his FB sat in the 88-91 area, touching 92. Jason Cole noted recently that he is now 90-93, bumping 94 and 95 (in spring training I believe). The reports on his secondary stuff in 2008 were not unanimous, but his curveball was his second pitch. So, well see in 5 days or less how the guy looks.



##########

Monday, June 13, 2011

AZL/Spokane

Victor Payano and Santo Perez (85k, 2010) assigned to the AZL club.

Scott Lucas got an advanced copy of the Spokane roster and both Payano and Perez are on it. I guess the transfer of both of the guys to the AZL club was just a paperwork issue...

Whatever the case, the M&M roster has been updated.

There are a few mild surprises. Hanser Alberto, Rougned Odor and Victor Payano might have been expected to debut in AZ but given their impressive performances in extended (per Jason Cole) it seems the Texas staff felt that they could handle the challenging assignment. Victor Payano's velo increased from the 87-89 range to touching the low 90's. Given Payano's skinny frame, this was a bit of a surprise, as one would think that an increase might not come along until he put on some weight in a year or two, but, well, there it is. Both Alberto and Odor continue to impress with their hit tools. Hiro Onaka also hit well in extended per Cole.

The starting roto will be: David Perez, Richard Alvarez, John Kukuruda, Carlos Melo, Victor Payano. I'm not a big fan of Alvarez, a high 80's smallish righthander with good secs- seems like a #5 type - but Jason Parks loves the guy, so we'll see how he does. The biggest challenge he'll face will be higher up in the minors with that fringy FB, but you would expect him to put up some good #s in the low minors given his secs, as long as his FB command is above average. He had some injury problems in 2010 so he didn't get a good look.

The biggest thing about the pitching staff to take note of here is that there could be as many as 5 other guys guys there who project as starters, and 2 more who might be on the reserve squad (waiting for a promotion to lowA, or who could be injured): Juan Grullon, Chris Hanna, Lobo, Hendricks, Santo Perez (and Zike Rijo, Shawn Blackwell). Now most of these likely have back roto ceilings but a #5 is a #5, even though fans vastly underestimate the value of back roto arms; there were only about 130 decent starters in the bigs last year so there is great value there. David Perez, Victor Payano, and Carlos Melo are the high ceiling guys here. Melo is still young but he does need to show some consistency if not put up some dominant #s in his second year in Spokane. His ceiling might have taken a bit of a knock, as his velo dropped a tick last year (90-93) but it will be a couple of years before we can say where he will sit, with the progression of his secs being the most important factor one would think. Remember that Texas pushes their youngest high ceiling guys hard, including their Latin kids, so repeating a level does not carry the same warning signs for them as it might for a US kid. Furthermore, Texas will stick with their kids as starters until they prove incapable of starting, so Melo will stick in the roto for a few more years at least.

I would think that Will Lamb would be added to the roster when he signs, and, one would hope that he has a starter's ceiling, though they could be thinking of him as a lefty closer. He really has only pitched during his Jr year (23ip) so he'll have his innings carefully managed at whatever level he makes his debut. Both Cone, Lamb and Matthews are rumored to have already signed so expect Cone to be added to the roster as soon as opening day.

The biggest omissions were Luis Sardinas, Drew Robinson, and Jordan Akins. Luis Sardinas is still rehabbing from off-season surgery (~Oct) for a shoulder separation while Drew Robinson is recovering from a broken finger. Cole has noted that Robinson was hitting really well in extended at the time of his injury and that he likely has been moved to 3b for now. It is a little surprising that Sardinas is not healthy by now; maybe we;ll see him debut as a DH shortly after the season starts. And I love Drew Robinson as a hitter; he is the opposite of the typical Rangers' draft pick, more like a Robbie Erlin, or a Codie Buckel than a Jordan Akins - advanced hitting tools, limited ceiling, high floor. Akins appears to need more seasoning, which isn't good news, but not unexpected. He's a great athlete, but it isn't yet clear that he's good at baseball.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a few guys left off of the roster to be promoted to A-ball when the AZL schedule begins, with other promotions coming throughout the system as a result.

Wildcard of note: Santo Angel Perez. Formerly known as 16yo Santo Franco in 2008, who signed with the Cards for 570k before being suspended for age/identity fraud for the 2009 season. Now known as 22yo Santo Angel Perez, who signed with TX in May of 2010 for 85k as a 21yo. He made 11 starts in the DSL last year and pitched pretty well:
12g/11gs -2.59/ 59/47/ 0/9/ 41/2.27g_a/.210baa

Given his age, he might only be a bullpen arm at this point. Here are some reports from 2008, where he was originally listed at 6.7/190 and now at 6.5/200, so he's a big kid but that is as big as he'll likely get given his age. He would've been ~19.4yo at the time these reports were written:
Franco has potential to be a top of the rotation starter someday in the big leagues and very few pitchers have his combination of size, stuff, and pitchability at such a young age," said Juan Mercado, Scouting Supervisor for Latin America.


Franco pitched two innings in the game at our complex in the DR. The first pitch out of his hand was 90 but he was mostly 88 to 89. Our local scouts have seen him many times and have recorded him up to 92. He is an impressive guy physically. Tall, loose and lean - a great profile for a Dominican pitcher. He wasn't trying to strike everybody out... he wanted to make his pitches and get outs. Our DSL players mostly put the ball in play but didn't hit anything hard, and there were a few swing and miss pitches - one on a change up and one on a breaking ball. He let a few go well outside the zone, but that happens with these young pitchers that are still working on grips and trying different pitches. With proper instruction, he has the potential to have three plus pitches and be durable. He does profile as a starter.”

Franco's velocity has grown from 88-89 mph to 90-91 mph, touching 92 with good sink and armside run. His present velocity and long, lanky frame scream projection on his fastball, which should be a plus pitch in the future if not even plus-plus.
However, Franco is almost completely projection right now, as the rest of his game is still raw. He has flashed a solid-average breaking ball, but mostly the pitch is inconsistent and his changeup is non-existent. One scout said that Franco might be asking for $1 million, but that it would take an overzealous team to match that price. "We liked him," said another international scouting director. "He had a good arm, but he doesn't have a breaking ball. It's not really a good pitch—he's more suited for a slider with his arm action because he's long in the back. He's the prototypical projection guy with a big arm."

Franco has a great build for a pitcher (6-5, 175). His fastball (88-90 mph) has yet to reach its potential, but he has shown good command of his changeup and curve. He has looked better in real games than in exhibitions.


DRAFT NOTE:
BA notes that 12th round bullpen arm Greg Williams signed for 125k. Slot after the 5th round is flexible, but defined by MLB as not more than 140k as the slot for the last pick of the 5th round is about 145k.



#####

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Updates

I've got projected rosters up for the short season clubs, including likely (and desired) signs. I would expect 4-5 UDFA signs to help stock the AZL rosters as they will be a bit thin, given the lack of Seniors taken in the draft, and given that the other players who are especially intriguing likely won't sign (if at all) until the deadline: Pentecost, Fisher, Costen, Fish. I also have a new summary worksheet up for this year's draft in the "Draft/J2" workbook in the sidebar.

Just a note on the anticipated stateside debuts coming from our DSL pipeline:
Franky Lugo, AZL
Rougned Odor, AZL
Hanser Alberto (likely AZL, possibly Spokane)
Jorge Alfaro, A-
Carlos Oropeza, AZL
Luis Parra, AZL
Abel de los Santos, AZL
David Perez, (possible A-)
Victor Payano (possibly A-)
Santo Angel Perez (possibly A-)

Other US debuts:
Leonys Martin (in progress, AA)
Guy Edmonds, AZL
Nick Urbanus, AZL
Hiro Onaka, A- (and on to A if he rakes)


One Draft Note:

Count 7th round draft pick catcher Max Pentecost as a critical sign for TX, and really, all of their most intriguing, but difficult to sign HS hitters, given the lack of high ceiling position players in Texas' 2011 draft. He's recovering from TJ surgery but was ranked by Keith Law as a possible 2nd round pick before his injury in mid-April (Keith Fagg was at that very game in fact). They should give him 2nd round money if that's what it will take to sign him; the catcher depth in the system is not great, especially given the problems that Deglan and Felx are having hitting so far this year.

######

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Robbie Ross

As no one seems to care about Robbie Ross' outing last night, he also had a no-hit bid, taking it through 5.2 innings before some loser got a bunt single off of him. He is also the first Rangers' prospect to take 3 starts into the 8th inning this year, which he has done consecutively, over his last 3 starts, thank you very much. Robbie Ross is a better prospect than Matt Thompson jut in case there was any confusion.


Heard a report from someone over at LSB who was at the game that Erlin was high 80's (scout's guns) much of the game, but did touch the low 90's after the 5th, I heard "90" from the away feed during that time. I'm really interested to see how that FB plays in the upper minors. Does he have the ceiling of a 2_3, a 3, a 3_4, a 4...? Should be an interesting ride.


""""""""""

Friday, June 10, 2011

Signings

06/10/11
Texas Rangers signed SS Ryan Rua.
Texas Rangers signed RHP Taylor Dennis.
Texas Rangers signed OF Christopher Grayson.
Texas Rangers signed RHP Phil Klein.
Texas Rangers signed OF Saquan Johnson.
Texas Rangers signed OF Trever Adams.
Texas Rangers signed LHP Gregory Williams.
Texas Rangers signed OF Jeremy Williams.
Texas Rangers signed OF Rashad Harlin.
Texas Rangers signed C Joseph Maloney.
Texas Rangers signed 1B Matt Leeds.
Texas Rangers signed RHP Chance Sossamon.
Texas Rangers signed RHP Kyle Hendricks.
Texas Rangers signed RHP Kenneth Wiser.

6/10/11
OF Rashad Harlin assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Jeremy Williams assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Gregory Williams assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Matt Leeds assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Kenneth Wiser assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Saquan Johnson assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
RHP Kyle Hendricks assigned to Spokane Indians from Texas Rangers.
Trever Adams assigned to Spokane Indians from Texas Rangers.
Chance Sossamon assigned to Spokane Indians from Texas Rangers.
Christopher Grayson assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Ryan Rua assigned to Spokane Indians from Texas Rangers.
Phil Klein assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Taylor Dennis assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.
Joseph Maloney assigned to AZL Rangers from Texas Rangers.



#####

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2nd, 3rd day picks

The picks are coming fast and furious for Texas now, too fast to keep up with. Over the next few days I'll be posting all of the information that I can find on each pick. Folks over at LSB are busy rooting up links, and I'm sure that Ming over at TNR is systematically digging up articles in obscure local papers. I'll be collating all of their finds as well as my own into summary profiles for each pick, so if you want all of your info in a readily accessible format, this will be the place to get it, but will be a few days in the offing. The Mavs game comes first though...GO MAVS!

Oh, and if you don't currently subscribe to Jason Cole's site, now is the perfect time to do so. He will have interviews with all of the high profile picks. If you don't want the yearly script, you can just go the monthly route. It is well worth it if your are a draftnik or if you are obsessive-compulsive about the minors.

Oh, one other thing: I LOVE TREVOR BAUER. Serious mancrush. If there wasn't a pitcher more suited to be a Texas Ranger then one will never exist.



######

Law on Texas

The picks: Kevin Matthews (33), Zach Cone (37),

"Summary: Zach Cone has big tools, but they just don't play, exacerbated by a bad leak out front at the plate, and he was wildly overmatched in the Team USA trials last summer and on the Cape the year before (his only real experience hitting with wood). Kevin Matthews is a tough-sign high school lefty who projects as a reliever because of his frame. That seems the opposite of what you'd expect from a nascent, big-market club such as the Rangers, especially since they were linked to several big-ticket, high-ceiling high school kids."



#######

Monday, June 6, 2011

#37. Zach Cone, JR, CF, Georgia

#37. Zach Cone, JR, CF, Georgia 6.2/205

Baseball America:
86. Zach Cone, of Georgia

"Cone looks like a big leaguer but hasn't played like one this season. After hitting .363 as a sophomore, he was batting .283/.343/.382 as a junior, and scouts were saying more than just the new bats were at play. He appears to lack trust in his hitting ability, swinging early in counts and getting out on his front foot too often. Scouts question his pitch recognition, and he has drawn just 33 walks in three seasons. Cone's other tools range from good to outstanding. He's a plus runner with above-average range in center field. He has understandably played with less abandon after an early-season collision in the outfield that left teammate Jonathan Taylor in the hospital and partially paralyzed with a neck injury. He gets good enough jumps and reads in center field to profile as an above-average defender there. His arm has gone backward, playing fringe-average this spring after it was plus in the fall. Cone has solid raw power and strength, and ranks as one of the college ranks' best athletes, with physical ability comparable to fellow college outfielders such as Mikie Mahtook and George Springer. Even area scouts who see all his flaws expect Cone, who was a third-round pick out of high school in 2008, to improve on that by a round or so in 2011."

Perfect Game capsule:
97. ZACH CONE, of, University of Georgia (Jr.)
Superior athlete with 5-tool potential; 6.45 in 60, excellent OF, + raw bat speed, but very undisciplined hitter.

ESPN:
"Cone looks as good in the uniform as any college position player in this year's draft but the tools have never translated into on-field performance. He has bat speed and upper-body strength, but doesn't keep his head steady and has long had trouble recognizing off-speed stuff. He's an above-average runner who should be fine in left or right field in pro ball but needs to work on his reads. His spring was also affected after he collided with another Georgia outfielder, Jonathan Taylor, who was left partially paralyzed by the accident."

@keithlaw: I was on the phone with a scout when Cone was picked. And he started laughing.

TR Sullivan:
"Athletic outfielder Cone falls into Rangers' lap"

Taylor/Cone Collision (h/t Jason Cole)
ESPN, Schlabach

ESPN, Durrett
"This year was a little bit down for him and that's why he got down to where we picked him," Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said. "I think if this guy had gone out and had a big year we probably wouldn't even be talking about him. We believe in our developmental staff here and we think this guy makes a couple of tweaks and it's off to the races with him."



######

#33. Kevin Matthews, LHP, HS GA

Kevin Mathews, LHP, HS, GA

PG HT/WT 2011: 5.11/175
MLB HT/WT 2011: 5.11/180
PG HT/WT 2010: 5.10/165


Perfect Game (from 2010 National Showcase, 6/10)
"# 142. Kevin Matthews is a 2011 LHP/OF with a 5-10 165 lb. frame from Richmond Hill, GA who attends Richmond Hill. Smaller frame with some present strength. Well paced delivery with clean easy arm circle, accelerates well to the plate, quick arm through release, bit cross bodied, 3/4's release point, repeats mechanics very well. Steady 88-90 mph fastball gets on hitters quickly, big sweeping mid 70's curveball with very good size/depth, nice sink on change up. Good feel for all his pitches and how to locate. Should dominate LHH'ers at the next level and be immediately successful. Good student, verbal commitment to Virginia."

FB: 88-89+90
CB: 76
CU: 81


Velo from PG WWBA World Championship (10/10):
FB: 89-91+92
SL (?): 83
CU: 84


Baseball America
" 105. Kevin Matthews, lhpRichmond Hill (Ga.) HS
In a down year for Georgia, high school pitching was particularly weak. Matthews jumped out, and not just because his athleticism allows him to dunk a basketball despite his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. He's a slight but quick-armed pitcher whose fastball has touched 94-95 mph, though he's usually in the 87-90 range. He has not shown the ability to sustain above-average velocity with any consistency. His tight curveball gives him a solid-average secondary pitch. He hasn't shown much of a changeup. Matthews' handle on Twitter is "UVAbound11," which gives a hint at the strength his Virginia commitment. While some scouts compare him to such recent draft picks as Kasey Kiker and Robbie Ross (both now in the Rangers system), others liken him more to lefthanded relievers such as Billy Wagner (obviously with less velocity). The consensus is that he's a future reliever due to the effort in his delivery."


ESPN:
"Matthews is a very slight, unphysical left-hander with a strong commitment to Virginia who profiles best as a reliever in pro ball. He'll touch 94 but sits with an average fastball and lacks projection in his frame. The breaking ball comes and goes but will flash plus. He's a good athlete but an optimistic projection only gets him to an average fastball and he doesn't look like he'll be durable when going every fifth day."

TR Sullivan:
"Size doesn't matter, it's the motion"

Frankie Piliere
Now read this blurb carefully and tell me if you think a. Frankie is a Rangers' homer; b. Frankie may or may not have seen the kid last year, but certainly not this year; c. The "scouts in the area" he is talking about are the same "sources" we happen to be reading as well; d., the last sentence is awkwardly constructed and a classic example of the use of the "passive voice"; or e., all of the above:

"Sleeper: Most in the industry were surprised when Texas called Kevin Matthews’ name at 33rd overall. But, most of the initial reaction was very positive to the selection. Matthews has a smallish 5-foot-11 frame and is not overpowering, as he sat 88-90 mph with his fastball last summer, but it’s the advanced feel for pitching and his secondary pitches that leaves scouts impressed. Reports from scouts in the area have said that Matthews has shown more velocity this spring, and with that velocity coming around he has a chance to be a unique high school lefty with a combination of stuff and feel."

Fagg on Matthews:
"There are always exceptions to a rule and I think this kid is," said Kip Fagg, Rangers' director of amateur scouting. "This kid pitches with a chip and I like that...He's very athletic and a kid whose makeup is special," Fagg said. "We see big upside with him in a small frame. He's got athleticism, three-pitch mix, strikes, competitiveness. There are a lot of things you can say are special with this kid."



########

Guys that I like at 33 and 37

Bell, HS OF (prob. LF)
Norris, HS LHP (if top roto upside)
Hedges, HS C (if you believe in his hit tool)
Chafin, LHP (if his CU grades out as ave right now)
Story, HS SS
Dickerson, HS 1b
Goodwin CF JC (if you buy his cf instincts, and that he'll hit for ave, and like his power)


Possible wild cards:
Fulmer, HS RHP, possibly close to 2 plus pitches (Projection? Soft?)
Crick, HS RHP, RAW, Big, Arm strength, poss 2 plus pitches later, (proj at 6.3/225?)
Smith, HS OF (possibly arm for RF), smooth bat, might have better than aver power



########

Saturday, June 4, 2011

DSL Roster Set

The DSL roster has been released and there are not really any changes from my projected roster. The sidebar roster has been updated so take a gander.

There will be a few players added in the coming weeks or over the course of the season as they may not have arrived due to paperwork/visa issues, may be injured, or may have been released/restricted.



######

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brandon Webb

Looks like he sat about 82-84 today but didn't command his sinker very well, and it didn't have much sink. He only got 2 swinging strikes that were noted in the PxP, both on CB. He seemed to be able to throw his secondary offerings for strikes at least.


Velo readings
1st-
FB: 84, 85, 86
CB: 66
CU: 75
2nd-
FB: 81, 82
CB: 67, 67, 69
CU: 75
3rd-
FB: 83
4th-
FB: 84




#####

Friday, May 27, 2011

DSL Roster

Just a reminder that I've a projected DSL roster up for the San Pedro Rangers, which includes their 2010 j2-eligible signs.



#######

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yu Darvish

Pitch f/x from his latest start per NPBT. While the stadium guns are juiced and the pitch classifications are somewhat unreliable, pretty impressive. Most of his starts are streamed if you care to take a look. Prepare yourself for the slight cultural shock that will be caused by the ridiculous pitch counts.



#####

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nick Calathes

Has a team option for next year with a 500k buyout. If the Mavs want him, he will be here next year. If not he will be added to the roster for the 12-13 season. He's added about 10-12 pounds, now at 195, and stands 6.5 in shoes. I think he would be a great combo guard off the bench. Not sure he is athletic enough to start but we'll see. Also, the really structured offense that he has been forced to run, will only make him a better player, as his real strength is the more wide-open US style.

Highlights from the Euro Final Four

Interview before the series.



########

WOW!

Mavs win! Mavs win!

Also, I love Darius Morris, a player worth moving up into the draft to get, and a perfect complement to Rody "BoBo" Beaubois, who, as we all know is _not_ a point guard. Don't believe the mocks that have him hanging around the Mav's spot, he's lottery-type talent and even better in a system like this one and paired with the likes of BoBo. If he is around in the late teens the Mavs should do what it takes to get him.

Mavs win...

This is more exciting in more ways than one. Depending on what Junior (Donnie Nelson) does in the off-season, I might stop my "Fire Junior" campaign and finally lift my moratorium on writing about the mavs, who are, actually, my favorite sports team. While Junior's terrible track record with regard to player acquisitions and horrible contracts started to look more postive with the acquisition/signing of Butler, Stevenson, Chandler, Stojak, Brewer, Mahinmi, Haywood, and Marion (with the caveat that the last two signed for embarrassingly large contracts). The problem was, as I've written about before, his track record has been abysmal since Finley's last year with the team.

Anyways, GO MAVS!



#######

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BA picks Swihart

BA projects TX to pick (sub) HS C Blake Swihart with the 33rd pick. Here are the 4 picks preceding that spot as well.

33. RANGERS: Texas focused on athletes in 2010 and figures to do so again this year, with more resources now that its ownership situation has settled. Swihart has the athletic ability and bat potential to be an asset even if he can't stay behind the plate.

Projected Pick: Blake Swihart.

32. Matt Purke
31. Kolten Wong
30. Tyler Anderson
29. Robert Stephenson


########

Minor League Splits

I mentioned this in a post some 4-5 months ago (noting a fanpost over at LSB) but many still haven't seemed to pick up on it: Minor League Splits has been reborn, sort of. The rebirth is in skeleton form, not nearly as revolutionarily useful as the original, but as the only thing out there like it, as with its predecessor (who was sued or threatened with legal action by MLB or MiLB for use of proprietary data, as weird as that seems), it is still the only thing out there, and that makes it simply GREAT.

The reborn, slightly deformed twin can be found here (and linked in the Stats and Stuff section in the sidebar):

ML Splits



######

Monday, May 2, 2011

Andrew Doyle Suspended

Andrew Doyle was suspended for 50 games for a second drug violation. At least now we know why he was suspended (internally it seems) last year, and why his career has gone in reverse. Doyle had the ceiling of a 3_4 starter so that is too bad. He'll have to figure things out or flame out...

There were a couple of other (internal) suspensions last year if I remember correctly. I wonder if there are a few other kids walking that narrow line. Ocampo was one;
he has released in ST.



#####

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Minor Notes

Guys who could be activated in the next week or so:
Richard Bleier (AA), Inj
Omar Quintanilla (AAA), PEDs
Renny Osuna, (AA), Inj
Shane Zegarac (AA), Inj
ODLS (A+), inj (?)


Guys in extended whose status remains uncertain:
Clark Murphy (A)
Mitch Hilligoss (AA)
A. Selen (A)
Brett Nicholas (A)
Guillermo Pimentel (A)
Luis Sardinas (Spokane)

Pitchers in extended who could be activated at any time, if they are healthy:
Hickory: Zeke Rijo, Nick McBride, Juan Grullon, Brett Weibley, Jose Mavare, Jose Monegro, Ben Rowen, Ben Henry, Tony Haase
Hickory or HighA: Jimmey Reyes, Frankie Mendoza

Extended dudes seemingly destined for Short Season ball:
Tony Haase, Mike Thomas, Matt West, LDLS, Salvador Sanchez

Guys about whom I care not, currently inactive: Tim Stanford (no ceiling), Geuris Grullon (no pitchability), Miguel Velazquez (thug)

~ETA for DL guys to be activated:
Feldman, eligible 5/22, likely 6/1
Hunter, eligible now, ~ETA 5/18
Tobin, eligible 6/19, TBD
Hurley, eligible 6/19, likely 6/19
Feliz, eligible 5/6, TBD
Hambone, eligible 6/12, likely 6/12
Omar Beltre, eligible 5/22, TBD
Scheppers, out 2-3 weeks, ~ETA 5/10
Darren O'Day, 2-4 months
Font, eligible now, ~ETA Aug-Nov: Likely pitches in minors, instructs, AFL, and/or winter ball at some point this year



#######

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Webb's shoulder

Oh, and just to clarify any confusion that might exist about Webb's first appearance in game action in a Texas uniform (including his first appearance _ever_ in front of a gun): Webb "flashed" 84; He likely sat 82, and this after 2 years of rehab and arm-strengthening (his arm strength is not the issue, and hasn't been for almost a year now, despite what some writers might say). I say the chances of Webb making it to the roto this year are slim but at least it seems like he will be pitching on a full season league before the Trading Deadline so that is something, I guess...

The final blessing that we all received from his much belated "first pitch in a real game" (in extended no less) is that we can finally stop hearing all of the BS from beat writers, TX officials and coaches but particularly from Webb himself, about what a decisive turn of event (or setback) was his latest flat-ground throwing cession, each and every week. Thank the frackin' Gods.

UPDATE: WOW!!!
According to Jason Grey, who charted Webb's outing yesterday, things are even worse than they appeared at first glance. Webb actually on sat at 80 with his FB!, ranging between 78-81, "flashing" 82 and 84 once. WOW!! That is really terrible after 2 years of rehab work. And that is exactly where he sat during his simulated games and AFL work last August and September as well if not a tick slower. He was also throwing up some truly glacial secondary offerings as well, with a 71mph Change and a Curveball at 65 and 69. I don't know what to say...

the lone positive, well, I guess...although it stunk it sunk.



######

BA's on the board

to make the Rangers' first pick and they go with Miami-Dade JC CF Brian Goodwin (if he projects to stay in CF).

BA's selection committee is convinced that TX will go with the most athletic position player on the board. This does indeed sound very Rangers-like, but an Org orientation that I hate. I think I'd really enjoy being a Minnesota fan - but only for draft day of course - as they draft zero-risk college guys in the top 3 rounds who have already attained a solid average major league ceiling and who will compete for a spot on the 25 out of their first spring training. Texas' gambles on high ceiling, high risk players has been a complete bust over JD's tenure. As I have written previously on this topic, I hope that Texas' strategy changes some this year on a # of fronts, with money to spend allowing TX to finally draft the BPA no matter the cost for the first time...ever. The biggest impediments against snagging a high ceiling, low risk super star, falling because of super star bonus demands can be counted on two fingers: the Nats and the BoSox's 2 picks (with the Cards, the Reds, the Blue Jays and possibly the Giants as less-likely competitors).

Anyways, I pay zero attention to college baseball in general, and only "play" draft once the BA top 200 profiles (and PG top 250) come out 2 weeks prior to the draft, so I know nothing about these kids at present. Whatever the case, here is an excerpt of their discussion of players at 33 and the 3 picks ahead of them just to contextualize who else might still be on the board depending on how things go:


33. RANGERS (Jim): Expect Texas to grab the best remaining athlete on the board at this point. Even with Fisher and Nimmo gone, that leaves Miami-Dade JC outfielder Brian Goodwin, Farragut HS (Knoxville, Tenn.) catcher/third baseman Nicky Delmonico, New Trier HS (Winnetka, Ill.) outfielder Charlie Tilson and Central Catholic HS (Modesto, Calif.) outfielder Billy Flamion. Assuming the Rangers believe he can remain in center field, their pick is Goodwin, who wouldn't have been eligible for the 2011 draft had he not transferred from North Carolina.


32. RAYS (Conor): Speaking of not ignoring the hit tool, I really like East HS (Cheyenne, Wyo.) Brandon Nimmo for Tampa Bay's second straight pick. Nimmo's high school doesn't have a team, yet he's a sure thing to be the highest-drafted player ever out of Wyoming (current record holder William Ewing was an Angels fourth-rounder in 1976). Nimmo is one of the best pure hitters in this year's high school class. He's also an above-average athlete who won a state title in the 400-meter dash this year and runs a 6.54-second 60-yard dash.

31. RAYS (John): Tampa Bay's plethora of picks is well-publicized, as is its preference for athleticism. But they're not blind to the hit tool, either, and with so many picks, they can use a portfolio approach. That's why I'm taking C.J. Cron here. He's one of the best college bats in the draft, and he'll move quickly in an organization that needs to get some big bats to the big leagues pronto.

30. TWINS (Jim): Minnesota hasn't used a first-round pick on a college position player since Travis Lee in 1996, but Utah first baseman C.J. Cron might make a lot sense. Few players in this draft make as much consistent hard contact as he can. But I'll have the Twins take John Stilson—whom they failed to sign as a 19th-rounder our of Texarkana (Texas) JC two years ago—and let them figure out if he's going to be a starter or reliever. He has better pure stuff than most of the members of their big league rotation, and he also could develop into their closer of the future.



########