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).



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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."




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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.





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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.



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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.



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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”.




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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...


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