Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pitching Moves and Other Notes

Ranger Moves
I like these 2 forward-thinking moves. Rangers sign Manny Corpas to a minor league deal and claimed Ramon Aguero off waivers from the Pirates. Corpas was with the Rockies last year and has experience as a closer an set up man but had TJ surgery in September and likely won't pitch again until winter ball. He reportedly has an excellent sinker in the low 90's area code and a decent slider. We'll find out about his value during winter ball and ST 2012. However, his #s don't seem to indicate that he's a closer or setup type guy anymore while his velo has declined each of the last 4 years and he'll be 29 for the 2012 season. But if you can sign a 7th_8th inning type for cheap, who not only has experience but also under team control for awhile, then it could be a nice bargain.

Aguero seems to have had a bit of an injury history in full season ball. He pitched half a season in 2008 as a starter, a full season in 2009 as a reliever and about half a season in 2010 in the pen. He reportedly has plus fastball velo but inconsistent secs. His FB command will be critical for his future success given his lack of a plus secondary pitch and I'm not sure about how that grades out, but the #s suggest it is only average. He is also a former VISA fraud kid, having lied about his age and ending up being about 5 years older! So, given his very late start in baseball (early 20s!), it wouldn't surprise me at all if he fails to put it all together and ends up being an Ovispo de los Santos or Hector Nelo type guy.

Anyways, Levine had this to say about each guy:
"It's (Corpas) a big arm and a guy who has had success in a Major League bullpen and success in the back end of the bullpen," Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "It's a low-risk potential way to add to our stable of arms as we look to build on a championship bullpen in 2012."

"When our scouts have seen him (Aguero), he has been 92-96 [miles per hour] with a good slider," Levine said. "He has had some health issues, and that is why he was available. But he has a good arm, and our pro scouts recommended him."

"It's a good arm (Aguero) that we've liked and our pro scouts recommended," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "We're going to take a chance on him."

Jason Parks had this to say about Aguero:

* Plus-plus FB; flashes plus slider; command issues. Late-inning reliever type with overpowering FB in bursts. Good pickup.
* Also flashes passable-to-better than passable CU both secondary offerings are hot and cold.
* Slider. It currently grades around 40/45 but could end up as a 50 pitch. It “flashes” plus at times, but the scouts I’ve spoken to don’t seem to think it’s consistent enough to hold a higher grade. CU had some 55 grades on it before the injury issues. FB with lots of 70s. Perfect low-risk arm to bring into the fold. If one of the secs takes a step forward, you could have a late-inning arm in short-order. It’s a smart move.

Webb Diary
I'm so sick of hearing about Brandon Webb's opinions about his bullpen and batting practice sessions. He sounds _exactly_ like he did last year during his rehab and throwing sessions. Please raise your hand if you were one of the fans or beat writers who thought the Webb signing was such a great move, penciled him into the rotation because he was "healthy", and touted the greatest Rangers pitching depth in 10 years. He is now throwing 4-seamers and no one has dared to put a gun on him in any of his outings this year.

Minor Notes
The minor league rotos look like this:
AAA: Kirkman, Hurley, Jackson, Tomko, Hankins
AA: Boscan, Perez, Brigham, MDLS, Pimentel
A+: Ramirez, Erlin/Kiker, Loux, Ross, Wieland
A: Mendez, Rojas, Thompson, Grimm, Melo

* Bobby Jones
* Kirkman meltdown
* Game Notes: 4/7

* RR Insider
* Xtra Bases Game Blog: 4/8
* Perez's 2-seamer
* Bianucci Interview: 4/8

Jose Julio Ruiz
Here is a profile that i dug up on him from 2009. It seems to show that despite his "raw power" he never really projected to hit a lot of HR in the bigs, 15-20 tops. He also had problems vs LHP as well. His speed was supposed to be AA allowing him to play in the OF some. However, he is now ~230 so I'm not sure he has it in him anymore to play the OF full time or steal a few bases. We'll see how he does on those fronts. We already know that he is a good contact hitter and has good patience (at least vs RHP) but his strikeout #s last year including his winter ball stint were higher than you would have expected. Anyways, here is the profile in full:

José Julio Ruiz is my third best prospect among the recent exiled Cuban players. Certainly, Leslie Anderson has been a better hitter in Cuba than José Julio, but José is younger and Anderson may be declared a free agent after the 2010 season already started.

José Julio is 25 years old. José has been listed as 6'2 and 194 pounds.

Santiago de Cuba’s José Julio Ruiz Barzán bats during the first game of the Cuban baseball finals against Pinar del Rio in Santiago de Cuba April 16, 2008 on this (Photo: Reuters).

During this last season (48), Ruíz was hitting .305/.408/.467 after 52 games. Then, he vanished from Cuba until he appeared in Miami. Cuban season consists of 90 games only. José Julio needs to improve his average against lefties which was 214 during this last season. He did very well against righties (338). He connected 48 times to LF, 47 times to CF and 83 times to RF.

In the 47 Cuban season, José Julio Ruíz finished 23rd in average with 341. He hit 21 doubles and 11 HR driving 69 runs. He also walked 44 times and struck out 49. He finished first in AB with 429, 3rd in Runs with 83, first in hits with 126, 8th in total bases with 182. Despite being a first baseman, José Julio finished first in stolen bases with 32 and second in caught stealing with 9. José Julio also finished 10th in RBI with 69.

* 'Dads Preview
* Mendez Debut

* Bullpen Preview
* Infield Preview
* Outfield Preview
* Neil Ramirez Debut
* Players like the new digs
* McGuiness and Olt
* Starting Staff


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