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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 325

post #9721 of 73400
King Felix pimp.gif
post #9722 of 73400
What a shame. I love Felix and am glad he is getting paid....but I absolutely hate seeing players that are, or could be considered all time greats one day, waste their careers on terrible teams. This goes for any sport.
post #9723 of 73400


post #9724 of 73400
Thread Starter 
I don't think the M's are that far off to be competitive during that extension. They just desperately need the bats they have to come through.
post #9725 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (NL East). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Braves' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Julio Teheran, RHP (28)
2. J.R. Graham, RHP (94)
3. Lucas Sims, RHP
4. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP
5. Christian Bethancourt, C
6. Alex Wood, LHP
7. Sean Gilmartin, LHP
8. Luis Merejo, LHP
9. Jose Peraza, SS
10. Evan Gattis, LF/C

Atlanta Braves
Org rank: 20

Farm system overview

Atlanta didn't dip much into its farm system to acquire Justin Upton, but its system wasn't strong to begin with thanks to a very weak track record in the draft over the past several years. The Braves' 2009 draft produced Mike Minor but is unlikely to produce anything else. Their 2010 draft gave them Andrelton Simmons, but again, there's little of note left from that crop. Their 2011 draft might fare a little better, with J.R. Graham on my top 100 and Sean Gilmartin probably a fifth starter in the majors, although that's what you'd like your down years in the draft to look like, not your best years. They have traded well and been aggressive with some smaller moves that have helped bolster the system, but the main way you acquire young talent is through the draft, and Atlanta's track record there is weak.

2013 impact

Starter Julio Teheran has been on the radar for years and is likely to spend most of 2013 with the big club, even though his fastball command and breaking ball aren't yet where they need to be. Evan Gattis, 26, might get a break from beating up younger competition in the minors and earn some at-bats as a backup catcher/left fielder.


Just 18 years old in rookie-level Danville last year, Mauricio Cabrera worked at 92-99 as a starter, with an above-average changeup and a developing (but still fringy) hard curveball. He's the younger brother of Alberto Cabrera with the Cubs and should be in Rome's rotation in low Class A to start 2013.

Marlins' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Christian Yelich, CF (6)
2. Jose Fernandez, RHP (16)
3. Justin Nicolino, LHP (62)
4. Jake Marisnick, OF (82)
5. Andrew Heaney, LHP
6. Adam Conley, LHP
7. Marcell Ozuna, OF
8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
9. J.T. Realmuto, C
10. Derek Dietrich, IF

Miami Marlins
Org rank: 16

Farm system overview

In between laughing all the way to the bank, the Marlins' ownership hasn't paid much attention to the farm system over the past few years, spending little on the international market and lowballing its 2012 first-round pick, Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney. The result is a system that's fairly top heavy and was a bottom-10 organization before the big trade with Toronto that netted two of its fop four prospects.

2013 impact

We're probably a full year away from any of the Marlins' top guys seeing the majors, so any impact this year would be lower-tier guys like Adeiny Hechavarria, a very good defensive shortstop with a long swing and poor plate discipline, and Derek Dietrich, a future second or third baseman with some pop but not much on-base ability.


A ninth-rounder out of a North Carolina high school in 2010, Austin Brice turned down soccer scholarships to play pro ball, working in the low 90s with good life and a curveball that misses bats. He's a good athlete who walked a man every other inning last year and needs to not do that. Also keep an eye on Jose Urena, who also worked in the low Class A Greensboro rotation. He has a plus fastball and commands it but needs to develop some average off-speed offerings.

Mets' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Zack Wheeler, RHP (13)
2.Travis d'Arnaud, C (14)
3. N. Syndergaard, RHP (97)
4. Brandon Nimmo, OF
5. Gavin Cecchini, SS
6. Wilmer Flores, 3B
7. Rafael Montero, RHP
8. Domingo Tapia, RHP
9. Jacob deGrom, RHP
10. Hansel Robles, RHP

New York Mets
Org rank: 14

Farm system overview

It's a top-heavy system that was boosted substantially by the R.A. Dickey trade. It brought a return that accounts for two of the Mets' top three prospects while they wait for the 2011 and 2012 drafts to start to have more of an impact on the system.

2013 impact

Both of their top prospects, Travis d'Arnaud (acquired from Toronto) and Zack Wheeler (acquired from San Francisco), should spend at least half the year in the majors, d'Arnaud depending on his health and Wheeler on room in the Mets' rotation. Wheeler might be their Matt Harvey, coming up midyear and getting by first on raw stuff as he makes adjustments, while d'Arnaud will have to show he can work the count enough to get to that power.


Domingo Tapia, last year's sleeper, had a strong year in full-season ball, although I think he's been passed by Rafael Montero, who has better command and better secondary stuff than Tapia, who throws harder with more sink but is less of a complete pitcher. Jacob deGrom came back from Tommy John surgery in the middle of the season and was 92-96 with plus life, a good slider, feel for a change and good control. He has yet to throw a full season anywhere, though, as he didn't convert to pitching regularly until the spring of 2010.

Phillies' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Adam Morgan, LHP (92)
2. Jesse Biddle, LHP (95)
3. Roman Quinn, SS
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, C
6. Ethan Martin, RHP
7. Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
8. Cody Asche, 3B
9. Kenny Giles, RHP
10. Larry Greene, 1B

Philadelphia Phillies
Org rank: 27

Farm system overview

Years of trades, surrendered draft picks and refusal to go give signing bonuses that exceed MLB's recommendations have taken their toll on a system that doesn't look like it'll spit out an average every-day position player until at least 2015 barring a big step forward from someone like Cody Asche. There are arms and there are a lot of potentially high-upside position players in the lowest levels, but they've hit a dry spell at the worst possible time for the major league club.

2013 impact

Asche could end up earning some big league time at third base if Michael Young gets hurt or the team realizes he's not very good. Darin Ruf could do a little damage as a bench/platoon guy against left-handed bats, although I don't think he's a regular. Of their top prospects, Adam Morgan is the one who might help the big club in 2013. He may be in the rotation by July if there's an injury. If you really want to speculate, Kenny Giles finished 2012 in high Class A, but he's legitimately throwing 99-100 with at least an average slider, and his delivery is under control enough now that he's throwing strikes. He's the kind of reliever who could tear through three levels and end up in the majors soon.


Shortstop Roman Quinn is an 80-grade runner (on the 20-80 scouting scale) who looked great at short even though he was a center fielder in high school, a rare outfield-to-infield conversion that looks like it will result in more than just a fringy defender. He has a sound approach and will drive the ball the other way, although it's going to be more doubles/triples power than homers. Third baseman Maikel Franco showed huge improvement in the second half, with a much better two-strike approach and better overall commitment to his game, hitting .346/.395/.530 after an awful first half. I like a number of guys here as candidates for big jumps in 2013, even right-hander Shane Watson, a 2012 supplemental first-rounder who just missed the team's top 10 and who could push the system into the top 20 overall.

Nationals' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Anthony Rendon, 3B (17)
2. Brian Goodwin, CF (44)
3. Lucas Giolito, RHP (77)
4. A.J. Cole, RHP (89)
5. Nathan Karns, RHP (99)
6. Matt Skole, 1B
7. Christian Garcia, RHP
8. Carlos Rivero, 3B
9. Matt Purke, LHP
10. Michael Taylor, CF

Washington Nationals
Org rank: 21

Farm system overview

I love the Nationals' top five, but after that, there's something of a cliff, although it's at least the result of two productive strategies: the trades for Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span, both of which made the major league club better, and the decision to bet their whole 2012 draft (pretty much) on Lucas Giolito, a No. 1 overall candidate who fell to No. 16 due to well-founded injury concerns. The biggest wild card is lefty Matt Purke, who hasn't been healthy since 2010 and whose arm action was always a big red flag, but if the minor shoulder surgery he had cleaned him up enough, he could end up regaining his old prospect luster. (You might have sensed that I'm not holding my breath.)

2013 impact

Anthony Rendon's bat isn't too far away, although both he and Carlos Rivero are blocked at third base as long as Ryan Zimmerman is healthy. The Nats may eventually move Zimmerman to first, but I don't think that happens this year. Christian Garcia may be very effective as a middle reliever if he can stay healthy, which he hasn't been able to do.


Last year's sleeper, Michael Taylor, went backwards, down a hill and into a canyon in 2012, but the tools that made him my sleeper choice for the Nats going into 2012 are all still present. Sammy Solis missed the year after Tommy John surgery, and while it's not the cleanest arm action ever, he was touching 96 mph before he blew out and can turn over a changeup, making him a potential top-100 candidate for next year if he comes back all the way.
post #9726 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (NL Central). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Cubs' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Javier Baez, SS (31)
2. Albert Almora, CF (33)
3. Jorge Soler, RF (42)
4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP (64)
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
6. Duane Underwood, RHP
7. Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP
8. Pierce Johnson, RHP
9. Paul Blackburn, RHP
10. Arismendy Alcantara, SS

Chicago Cubs
Org rank: 5

Farm system overview

They've turned around substantially after trading Paul Maholm, spending lavishly on international free agents (when permitted) and drafting well in 2012, although most of what I like about this system is a good two years away, and they might need a fumigator to rid the organization of its Streptohackus plague. They're another good trade deadline and draft class away from the point where you can begin to see a turnaround in the majors. I should mention Dan Vogelbach here, since I'm so often asked about him: He has 80-grade raw power and he has a pretty good idea at the plate, but he's a brutal athlete with no position. So unless the Cubs follow the Astros to the American League, I don't see how or where they use him, assuming that pitchers don't take advantage of his lack of flexibility and limited coverage on the outer half.

2013 impact

Not much is likely to help the major league club this year. Arodys Vizcaino could surface after his rehab from Tommy John surgery, although I'm assuming his innings will be limited. Fringy guys such as Junior Lake might appear but are unlikely to be better than replacement level.


Aside from Jeimer Candelario, whom I discussed yesterday on the list of guys who just missed, I could see any of these guys jumping into the top 100: Juan Carlos Paniagua, who sits in the mid-90s with a plus slider but has very little pro experience after two years of suspensions; Duane Underwood, drafted at 17 and flashing velocity up to 96 with a very athletic body and quick arm; or Arismendy Alcantara, a plus runner and thrower who might end up at third but shows pop from both sides of the plate.

Reds' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Billy Hamilton, CF (30)
2. R. Stephenson, RHP (48)
3. Daniel Corcino, RHP (72)
4. Tony Cingrani, LHP (98)
5. Jesse Winker, RF
6. Nick Travieso, RHP
7. Jonathan Reynoso, CF
8. Ismael Guillon, LHP
9. Tanner Rahier, 3B
10. Daniel Langfield, RHP

Cincinnati Reds
Org rank: 12

Farm system overview

Billy Hamilton's conversion to center field after he broke the minor league single-season stolen-base record was their big story of 2012, putting him on track to potentially reach the majors this year, especially since the team has no real center fielder on the roster. They also had a strong draft in 2012, with several guys putting up impressive performances in short-season ball, and have three pitchers on the top 100, including Tony Cingrani, who reached the majors in September and might peak as a mid-rotation starter.

2013 impact

Cingrani is ready and Hamilton isn't far off, needing work on his reads in center, which will come with repetitions.


Ismael Guillon was my sleeper for the Reds going into 2011, but he finally turned the corner (or at least the first corner) this past year, sitting 92-95 much of the summer with better feel for the curve and change. St. John's guard/forward Amir Garrett looked strong with the Reds' Arizona League team, up to 94 with good rotation on his curveball, although he probably profiles best as a reliever because his delivery is so arm-heavy.

Brewers' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Wily Peralta, RHP (73)
2. John Hellweg, RHP
3. Jimmy Nelson, RHP
4. Taylor Jungmann, rhp
5. Tyler Thornburg, RHP
6. Tyrone Taylor, OF
7. Clint Coulter, C
8.Mitch Haniger, OF
9. Orlando Arcia, SS
10. Hunter Morris, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers
Org rank: 29

Farm system overview

It's a system without a ton of upside that's also light on guys who might be above-average regulars at any position on the diamond, the result of some mediocre draft classes and the trades they made to stay in contention over the past few years, including the Zack Greinke deal. Their 2012 draft was one of my least favorites because they stuck to MLB's bonus recommendations with most picks instead of moving their money around to roll the dice on a higher-priced player who brought more upside.

2013 impact

Wily Peralta should be on the big league club most or all of the year, as should Mark Rogers (until his shoulder falls off) and perhaps Tyler Thornburg (as a reliever only, please).


Their second-round pick from Torrance, Calif., outfielder Tyrone Taylor was also a football standout as a free safety and running back in high school, but made substantial adjustments to his swing during his senior season and was the Brewers' best prospect in short-season ball last year. He can run and throw enough to be an above-average defender in an outfield corner with the potential to hit for average and doubles power.

Pirates' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP (glasses.gif
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP (20)
3. Alen Hanson, SS (34)
4. Gregory Polanco, CF (55)
5. Luis Heredia, RHP (84)
6. Josh Bell, RF
7. Barrett Barnes, OF
8. Nick Kingham, rhp
9. Wyatt Mathisen, C
10. Clayton Holmes, RHP

Pittsburgh Pirates
Org rank: 7

Farm system overview

The Pirates' system has improved through high draft picks and some tremendous work in Latin America, although those of you who've seen "Pelotero" might find that last part a little hard to swallow. They've got two premium, high-end arms on the way, and their low-Class A West Virginia club was one of the strongest rosters in the minors for prospects last year, even after outfielder Josh Bell hurt his knee and had to have surgery that ended his season. They would have probably sneaked into the top five had they not drafted Mark Appel without signing him, as the second guy on their board, David Dahl, had one of the best pro debuts of any kid in the class for Colorado.

2013 impact

Gerrit Cole probably makes his major league debut this year, although I expect the Pirates to send him to Triple-A with some specific developmental goals he'll have to meet before he's promoted.


Nick Kingham was inconsistent all year long but finished the year at 90-95 with two solid-average secondary pitches in the curveball and changeup. He has the size and feel to be a potential No. 3 starter.

Cardinals' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Oscar Taveras, OF (2)
2. Shelby Miller, RHP (21)
3. Carlos Martinez, RHP (39)
4. Trevor Rosenthal, RHP (57)
5. Kolten Wong, 2b (96)
6. Tyrell Jenkins, RHP
7. Michael Wacha, RHP
8. Matt Adams, 1B
9. Carson Kelly, 3B
10. Anthony Garcia, OF

St. Louis Cardinals
Org rank: 1

Farm system overview

The Cardinals have the top farm system in baseball heading into 2013, featuring impact prospects up top, plenty of depth in position players and pitching and enough help close to the majors to push them ahead of the Twins, who have as much depth but most of it further away. That's even without giving them much of a boost for their 2012 draft, which was a little college-/probability-heavy for me, and it's a credit to their development staff, which has taken several guys who looked like future organization players and molded them into major league assets.

2013 impact

Shelby Miller is ready for a rotation or bullpen spot right now, while Trevor Rosenthal is at least ready to help in the 'pen. Oscar Taveras, the top pure hitting prospect in the minors, is ready or nearly so but doesn't have a clear opportunity in the majors with Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday holding on to corner outfield jobs. Kolten Wong could be the team's second baseman by May, if not sooner, given how weak his competition is.


I thought the Cardinals did well to grab Stephen Piscotty, a Stanford product whose raw power was hurt by Stanford's emphasis on hitting to the opposite-field -- so severe that the coaching staff would reportedly bench players who pulled the ball in batting practice. My favorite pick from them this year was the athletic two-way prospect Carson Kelly, who struggled to hit for average when the Cards started him out in the Appalachian League but did show above-average power and was able to make plenty of contact.
post #9727 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (NL West). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Diamondbacks' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Tyler Skaggs, LHP (12)
2. Archie Bradley, RHP (29)
3. Matt Davidson, 3B (75)
4. Adam Eaton, CF (91)
5. Stryker Trahan, C
6. David Holmberg, LHP
7. Chris Owings, SS
8. Didi Gregorius, SS
9. Andrew Chafin, LHP
10. Anthony Meo, RHP

Arizona Diamondbacks
Org rank: 15

Farm system overview

Dealing Trevor Bauer for 50 cents on the dollar didn't help, nor did failing to get any of Atlanta's top six prospects in the Justin Upton trade, but the Diamondbacks are still very deep in arms and now oddly deep in shortstops who can field but don't get on base. Two solid draft classes have helped, as well as strong work on the development side in taking guys such as Matt Davidson, Adam Eaton and David Holmberg, and helping them exceed the limits of their raw tools.

2013 impact

Eaton and Tyler Skaggs are big league ready, Davidson is close but is now blocked, and they have two starter prospects in Andrew Chafin and Anthony Meo who might be better off in relief roles, where they'd also be close to contributing in the majors.


Stryker Trahan, their 2012 first-rounder, isn't under the radar but has the best chance of any of their non-top-100 guys to make a big move onto the list next year, a potential impact bat from the left side who has the quickness and arm to catch but needs a lot of work on receiving and especially blocking balls. Two smaller sleepers from this past draft: infielder Andrew Velazquez and right-hander Ben Eckels, their 7th- and 11th-round picks, respectively, who both looked very strong in rookie ball and might jump into the team's top 10 next winter.

Rockies' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. David Dahl, OF (37)
2. Trevor Story, SS (85)
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Eddie Butler, RHP
5. Kyle Parker, 1B
6. Edwar Cabrera, RHP
7. Chad Bettis, RHP
8. Tyler Anderson, LHP
9. Tim Wheeler, CF
10. Tyler Matzek, LHP

Colorado Rockies
Org rank: 23

Farm system overview

It was a rough year on the farm for the Rockies, with Chad Bettis and Tim Wheeler missing all or most of the year due to injuries while Tyler Anderson's year started late due to a groin problem. Nolan Arenado took a huge step back with a poor performance (although he was young for his league) and plenty of reports from scouts that he was playing with little energy. There were some positives, though, such as the huge pro debut from first-round pick David Dahl, a strong -- if abbreviated -- year from former first-rounder Kyle Parker and signs of life from 2009 first-rounder Tyler Matzek, whose stuff was mostly back and who started throwing strikes again at the end of the year.

2013 impact

A healthy Wheeler could be a fourth outfielder for the Rockies this year, and left-hander Edwar Cabrera could bring his plus-plus changeup back to the majors if he can keep the fastball down in the zone more often.


I like both Tylers (Anderson and Matzek) to have strong 2013 seasons, but for a more under-the-radar candidate, Ryan Warner was a high school quarterback and two-way prospect who can really run, projects to have at least a 55-grade fastball and gets good rotation on his breaking ball, with a strong pitcher's build at 6-foot-7.

Dodgers' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Corey Seager, SS/3B (46)
2. Zach Lee, RHP (67)
3. Yasiel Puig, OF
4. Matt Magill, RHP
5. Joc Pederson, OF
6. Onelki Garcia, LHP
7. Chris Reed, LHP
8. Ross Stripling, RHP
9. Chris Withrow, RHP
10. Zach Bird, RHP

Los Angeles Dodgers
Org rank: 18

Farm system overview

The Dodgers put just two guys in the top 100, but had I gone another 40 to 50 names, you would have seen more blue on the list, led by Cuban bonus baby Yasiel Puig, who got only a little playing time this summer before a staph infection that required surgery and knocked him out of the Arizona Fall League. He's very strong and a physically well-developed 21-year-old, running well for his size but not enough to be a center fielder. Last year's top 10 included nine pitchers and one position player, but the additions of Puig and first-rounder Corey Seager restored a little more balance, although the strength of the system is still arms, many raw but with long-term upside.

2013 impact

Unless the Dodgers push Puig to fill an outfield hole they don't currently have, we're probably looking at just relievers for 2013 impact here -- lefties Paco Rodriguez and Chris Reed (still scheduled to work as a starter this year), maybe right-hander Chris Withrow if he ever throws enough strikes.


I caught right-hander Zach Bird in the Arizona Rookie League this summer, and the ninth-rounder out of a Mississippi high school looked like a steal for that round, the type of athletic pitcher with arm strength who would have gone in the top three rounds had he played in California or Florida. He has an average fastball/slider combination already along with a slow curveball in the low 70s. He didn't turn 18 until after he was drafted and has a very projectable 6-foot-3 frame, with room for another 20 to 25 pounds, and the chance for two above-average or better pitches in time.

Padres' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Austin Hedges, C (36)
2. Max Fried, LHP (51)
3.Rymer Liriano, RF (54)
4. Casey Kelly, RHP (60)
5. Jedd Gyorko, 3B (70)
6. Joe Ross, RHP (88)
7. Robbie Erlin, LHP
8. Walker Weickel, RHP
9. Zach Eflin, RHP
10. Matt Wisler, RHP

San Diego Padres
Org rank: 6

Farm system overview

The top-ranked organization from last year graduated Yasmani Grandal and Yonder Alonso to the majors while top prospects Joe Ross and Casey Kelly missed large chunks of the year due to injuries, although neither ended up with surgery. The Padres supplemented the system with a strong draft of top high school arms, led by lefty Max Fried, while top catching prospect Austin Hedges had a strong full-season debut, continuing to impress with his bat even though his calling card has always been his defense.

2013 impact

Kelly should be in the major league rotation this year, although fastball command woes bedeviled him in his major league time in September. Jedd Gyorko is ready for a big league job at third base but is blocked at the moment by Chase Headley, and I don't think Gyorko's glove is ready for a move to second (assuming his feet will ever be ready for it). Robbie Erlin could surface as a back-end starter; he is an undersized lefty with command and control but is extremely fly ball-prone with a fringe-average fastball.


The Padres took two high-upside prep right-handers from Florida in the 2012 draft who slid in the draft after poor springs. Zach Eflin was up to 95 mph with a plus changeup but missed several weeks with bicep tendinitis before the draft, then missed the end of the summer after contracting mono. Walker Weickel struggled with velocity and command after getting his arm slot too high and losing angle on his curveball, but he's healthy and still very loose and projectable.

Giants' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Kyle Crick, RHP (76)
2. C. Blackburn, RHP (80)
3.Chris Stratton, RHP
4. Gary Brown, CF
5. Heath Hembree, RHP
6. Mac Williamson, OF
7. Joe Panik, SS
8. Mike Kickham, LHP
9. Martin Agosta, RHP
10. Andrew Susac, C

San Francisco Giants
Org rank: 26

Farm system overview

Several good starting pitching prospects highlight a system that's very light on bats right now and, after closer Heath Hembree, doesn't have much that's likely to help the major league team in 2013. I could see some of the Giants' second-tier arms becoming useful trade chips for them to add a piece in July, though, so they're not without assets, just without many potential stars.

2013 impact

Hembree is ready for the majors and could be Sergio Romo's long-term replacement, but beyond him, there's no one likely to contribute this year except in backup roles.


First-rounder Chris Stratton, a four-pitch guy who racked up huge strikeout totals in the SEC with a plus slider, and third-rounder Matt Williamson, a rare beast as a right-handed hitter with power who can run and throw enough to play a good right field, are both candidates to move into the top 100 next year. The Giants also moved right-hander Adalberto Mejia from the Dominican Summer League in 2011 straight to the full-season Sally League in 2012, where his three-pitch mix, including an average fastball and above-average curveball, produced solid results.
post #9728 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (AL East). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Orioles' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Dylan Bundy, RHP (3)
2. Kevin Gausman, RHP (26)
3. J. Schoop, 3B/2B (50)
4. E. Rodriguez, LHP (100)
5. Adrian Marin, SS
6. Nick Delmonico, 3B
7. Brendan Kline, RHP
8. L.J. ****, OF
9. Josh Hader, LHP
10. Brady Wager, RHP

Baltimore Orioles
Org rank: 13

Farm system overview

The Orioles' system had dropped after a wave of promotions, including Matt Wieters and a passel of starting pitching prospects who have taken a few years to boost the big-league rotation. The 2012 season saw a big uptick in the value of what they had left in the minors --- Dylan Bundy emerged as the minors' best pitching prospect in 2012, while their first pick from last year's draft, Kevin Gausman, was one of the hottest names in Florida instructional league in September.

Several lower-round picks from 2012 also impressed in their pro debuts. They'd rank higher had Manny Machado not lost his rookie eligibility in September, although it's a testament to how good he is that he could hold his own in the majors while learning a new position. Look for him to break out offensively in the next two seasons.

2013 impact

Bundy could help the team in long relief or in the rotation, depending on their long-term plan for him, which I hope involves letting him throw his wipeout cutter. LJ **** could surface in a bench role as a pinch hitter and reserve corner outfielder.


Nineteenth-rounder Josh Hader, a prep lefty out of a Maryland high school, added about 5 mph after signing, sitting 91-92 and touching 94 in two-inning stints in short-season ball, with a clean delivery from a low three-quarters slot and the ability to get to the breaking ball and changeup. Ninth-rounder Brady Wager, drafted out of Grand Canyon University, has a power sinker at 92-94 with a plus slider at 85-87 and could move very quickly as a reliever.

Red Sox's Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Xander Bogaerts, SS (5)
2. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (40)
3. Allen Webster, RHP (63)
4. Matt Barnes, RHP (79)
5. Henry Owens, LHP
6. Deven Marrero, SS
7. Blake Swihart, C
8. Garin Cecchini, 3B
9. Drake Britton, LHP
10. Brian Johnson, LHP

Boston Red Sox
Org rank: 17

Farm system overview

A lot went right on the farm for Boston this year, with top prospect Xander Bogaerts making major strides on defense at shortstop, Jackie Bradley Jr., lighting everyone up with his plate discipline, and Matt Barnes and Henry Owens posting very strong full-season debuts. The system's real shortage is in big-league ready talent, with right-hander Allen Webster probably the closest, followed by Bradley, with anyone else who might debut this year a potential reserve or reliever at best.

Two of their biggest bonus signs from the last two drafts, Blake Swihart and Garin Cecchini, both bounced back after slow starts; I'd bet on at least one of the two making "the leap" in 2013, with Swihart the more likely of the two. Their system also has some intriguing second-tier prospects outside their top 10, like power-hitting first baseman Travis Shaw and the undersized defensive whiz Jose Vinicio, who makes hard line-drive contact now but will be challenged by better velocity unless he gets stronger.

2013 impact

Webster could help the team in the 'pen right now or as a mid-year rotation option if he can throw more strikes. Bradley is probably Jacoby Ellsbury's long-term replacement in center and could get a call-up this year, especially if Ellsbury is dealt. Lefty Drake Britton is the dark horse here, working at 94-97 at year-end with a four-pitch arsenal, and he could also break in as a reliever while he works on fastball command.


For future top-100 potential, pitcher Cody Kukuk and center fielder Manuel Margot are the best sleepers in the system. Kukuk missed much of the year after he was charged with driving under the influence, which was eventually dropped on a technicality; he's a big, physical lefty who sits in the low 90s with a possible out-pitch curveball. Margot can run and should be a plus defender in center, showing an unusually good approach for a prospect his age without any U.S. experience. Their 2012 fifth-round pick, Mike Augliera, works at 90-93 with plus sink and even better control, touching 95 in shorter outings but losing sink at the same time; he's most likely a reliever (and thus not a future top-100 guy) but could move quickly in that role.

Yankees' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Gary Sanchez, C (18)
2. Mason Williams, CF (35)
3. Tyler Austin, RF (52)
4. Slade Heathcott, CF (56)
5. Jose Ramirez, RHP
6. Ty Hensley, RHP
7. Manny Banuelos, LHP
8. Jose Campos, RHP
9. Mark Montgomery, RHP
10. Angelo Gumbs, 2B

New York Yankees
Org rank: 10

Farm system overview

The Yankees' system is top-heavy, with several elite prospects but not a ton of depth, led by the group of position players who started in low Class Charleston last year that could produce as many as three above-average or better regulars plus several other guys who'll have big-league value. The loss of Jose Campos for most of 2012 and for Manny Banuelos until 2014 hurts their pitching depth significantly, although the oft-injured Jose Ramirez was extremely effective when healthy this year.

2013 impact

None of that elite group is likely to see the majors this year, so any impact would have to come from relievers like Mark Montgomery, whose 55-grade slider plays up to a 65-70 because hitters don't see it, and the fallen prospect Dellin Betances, who showed some signs of life as a one-inning reliever in the Arizona Fall League, airing it out and working around the zone a lot more than he can as a starter.


Their first-rounder in 2012, Ty Hensley, had a chance to go in the top 10, but was a casualty of the Pirates' last-minute decision to take Mark Appel; Hensley's physical revealed an abnormality in his shoulder that has never prevented him from reaching 98 mph, and if he can just show that kind of stuff and last for a 120-140 inning season in 2013, he's a likely top-100 guy. Yankees folks still love outfielder Ben Gamel's chance to hit and to show more power this year after adding some weight in his offseason conditioning program.

Rays' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Wil Myers, RF (4)
2. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP (47)
3. Chris Archer, RHP (53)
4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP (68)
5. Hak-Ju Lee, SS (78)
6. Alex Colome, RHP (81)
7. Richie Shaffer, 3B
8. Drew Vettleson, RF
9. Enny Romero, LHP
10. Mikey Mahtook, CF

Tampa Bay Rays
Org rank: 3

Farm system overview

They're good, because they have to be. Some setbacks among high-profile prospects this year, like Hak-Ju Lee's mechanical issues at the plate and a few players getting suspended for using weed or speed, were balanced out by the James Shields trade, which netted two top-100 prospects and a former one, and strong full-season debuts by a few members of their 2011 draft class.

2013 impact

Wil Myers, acquired from Kansas City for Shields and Wade Davis, has to get the majority of the playing time this year in right field, even if he starts the year in Triple-A to push back his free agency. Chris Archer will likely throw for the Rays in some role this year, with stuff that might be explosive in 1-2 inning stints, while Jake Odorizzi, also acquired from the Royals, is ready to pitch in the back of someone's rotation right now. The Rays aren't afraid to hand real playing time to their own prospects, but their pitching staff is pretty strong right now, so Archer, Odorizzi, Alex Colome, and their other arms may be waiting for opportunities.


Jake Hager just missed the Rays' top 10, but would have made most clubs' lists as a possible everyday shortstop who can handle it on defense while adding value with his bat. He struggled with plate discipline early in his first full pro year, but hit .295/.373/.443 in the second half, improving in every aspect of his game. He's got great feel for hitting and should grow into 15-homer power in time.

Blue Jays' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Aaron Sanchez, RHP (19)
2. Robert Osuna, RHP (87)
3. Marcus Stroman, RHP
4. Matt Smoral, LHP
5. Sean Nolin, LHP
6. Anthony Alford, OF
7. D.J. Davis, OF
8. Adonys Cardona, RHP
9. Chase DeJong, RHP
10. Santiago Nessy, C

Toronto Blue Jays
Org rank: 24

Farm system overview

There's almost no one left after the R.A. Dickey trade and the Marlins' fire-sale deal, although the Jays wouldn't deal top prospect Aaron Sanchez, who has the raw stuff and delivery to develop into an ace if he can develop average or better control. Their system's brightest lights after that are very young Latin American pitching prospects and the fruits of a value-packed 2012 draft.

2013 impact

If they want Marcus Stroman to pitch in their bullpen this year, he's ready, with a 92-95 mph fasttball and a knockout breaking ball (two, actually, that run together in velocity and break) and a solid change. John Stilson, who has a SLAP lesion in his shoulder and a violent delivery that won't hold up in a starting role, could also be pushed quickly to the majors, with now stuff that falls just below Stroman's. Lefty Sean Nolin could be their emergency starter this year, and Kevin Pillar could be the team's call-up if it needs an extra outfielder.


Catcher Santiago Nessy can really throw and has power, with a chance to be an above-average defensive catcher overall. He'll head to low Class A Lansing this year at age 20, with plate discipline the main thing he needs to work on right now. Lefty Daniel Norris' season was a disappointment overall, with his stuff still so inconsistent from start to start, but on the right day you'll see 94 mph with two above-average off-speed pitches.
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Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (AL Central). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


White Sox's Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Courtney Hawkins, OF (74)
2. Carlos Sanchez, IF
3. Andre Rienzo, RHP
4. Trayce Thompson, CF
5. Erik Johnson, RHP
6. Scott Snodgress, LHP
7. Keenyn Walker, CF
8. Joey DiMichele, 2B
9. Jared Mitchell, OF
10. Chris Beck, RHP

Chicago White Sox
Org rank: 28

Farm system overview

The team's selection of two prep players to start its 2012 draft was a great sign the White Sox might not be so reliant on lower-upside/higher-probability college guys under the new draft bonus system, which should help raise their rankings and make the system more productive in the future. First-rounder Courtney Hawkins is the most exciting position player prospect they've had in ages, and two pitchers from their 2011 class, Erik Johnson and Scott Snodgress, had impressive full-season debuts and look like at least back-end starters.

2013 impact

Johnson is more likely than Snodgress to help the team this year, as he has more experience as a starter dating back to college. I also could see Brazilian right-hander Andre Rienzo contributing in at least a relief role, with an above-average fastball and plus cutter that could miss bats once through the order right away.


Snodgress can run it up to 96 mph with an above-average curveball and developing change, but as a reliever at Stanford, he didn't get the reps or develop the fastball command to be a fast-mover in pro ball. Chicago's top pick in 2011, outfielder Keenyn Walker, played hurt for much of his first pro season with knee and shoulder injuries but showed surprising patience and might have potential as a leadoff prospect.

Indians' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Francisco Lindor, SS (7)
2. Trevor Bauer, RHP (25)
3. Dorssys Paulino, SS (58)
4. Danny Salazar, RHP
5. Jose Ramirez, 2B/SS
6. Tyler Naquin, CF
7. Mitch Brown, RHP
8. Kieran Lovegrove, RHP
9. Ronny Rodriguez, SS
10. Tony Wolters, 2B/SS

Cleveland Indians
Org rank: 19

Farm system overview

The Indians have shortstops galore -- three or four of whom might end up as big league regulars in an optimistic scenario -- and a lot of young pitching that's three or four years away, but short-term help is really limited and they're very light on corner bats who'll have big offensive impact. Trading Shin-Soo Choo, who had a year left until free agency, for prospects was a good move, but they'll need to make a few more such conversions to jump-start the system.

2013 impact

Trevor Bauer, the main return for Choo, should go directly into their rotation. He needs to throw more strikes, especially when behind in the count, as big league hitters don't chase a lot of stuff out of the strike zone in fastball counts. Working with a more open coaching staff will help Bauer as well, as he was a poor fit with Kirk Gibson's desire for a team of clones.


Right-hander Danny Salazar came back from Tommy John, and gradually built up his velocity to where he was touching 99 mph and sitting 94-96 by year-end, with two average secondary pitches. He is not huge and needs to show he can pitch with that kind of raw stuff for a full season before I'd rank him as a top-100 guy.

Tigers' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. N. Castellanos, RF/3B (38)
2. Avisail Garcia, RF
3. Bruce Rondon, RHP
4. Tyler Collins, OF
5. Danry Vasquez, OF
6. Eugenio Suarez, SS
7. Austin Schotts, CF
8. Jake Thompson, RHP
9. Casey Crosby, LHP
10. Montreal Robertson, RHP

Detroit Tigers
Org rank: 25

Farm system overview

Their system has been hit hard by trades and the loss of first-round picks by virtue of signing free agents -- their last top-40 pick was in 2009, and their highest pick in the past two drafts was 76th overall in 2011. They've swapped more than 20 minor leaguers the past few years in deals for major league players, which is a great use of a farm system but often hurts the club on snapshot rankings like mine. Right now, it's one premium bat, two risky guys who are big league ready and a lot of lottery-ticket types in the lower minors, some of whom are really intriguing but very far away.

2013 impact

Bruce Rondon throws 102 mph, which is pretty uncommon, but he doesn't command the ball thanks to a delivery with both effort and violence to it; he also has never thrown more than 55 innings in a season due to injuries. The Tigers seem determined to give him a chance in their major league 'pen this year, and he should at least miss some bats. Avisail Garcia might be an extra outfielder for them, but I'd like to see him play every day in the minors to see whether he can improve his plate discipline, allowing him to eventually get to some power.


Drafted in the 29th round in 2011 out of Coahoma Community College in Mississippi, right-hander Montreal Robertson has a great body at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and an athletic delivery, and he'll show you 94-98 mph with some feel for his off-speed stuff. He lacks experience, especially against good competition, and the command isn't there yet, but his upside is tantalizing.

Royals' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Kyle Zimmer, RHP (27)
2. Bubba Starling, CF (45)
3. Yordano Ventura, RHP
4. Jorge Bonifacio, OF
5. Adalberto Mondesi, SS
6. John Lamb, LHP
7. Jason Adam, RHP
8. Orlando Calixte, SS
9. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
10. Miguel Almonte, RHP

Kansas City Royals
Org rank: 11

Farm system overview

Despite trading two of their top prospects, the Royals still just missed the top 10, a testament to how well they've drafted and developed the last few years, even if several of those players haven't yet made that key final adjustment to the majors. They're loaded with sleeper/breakout candidates, lots of guys you love when you see them even though you know, objectively, they're fairly low probability. Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert fell off the top 100 this year after an abysmal 2012 season, in part the product of jumping out too often to try to go get the ball; I still love his swing and think his approach is good enough for him to eventually become an above-average regular.

2013 impact

If John Lamb is healthy -- he came back from 2011 Tommy John surgery this past August -- he could end up in the Royals' rotation in the second half of this year. Two minor league starters who could help the team in the bullpen this year: Yordano Ventura, who might sit near 100 mph in relief but doesn't have a consistent second pitch, and lefty Sam Selman, who had an awful spring at Vanderbilt in 2011 but gets it up to 97 with an arm action that looks more suited to relief.


Jorge Bonifacio is the biggest-upside hitter left in the system now that Wil Myers is gone. He's a high-contact guy who can murder a fastball and uses the whole field well when pitchers go off-speed. The Royals hope Adalberto Mondesi (Raul's son) is their Jurickson Profar, a shortstop with crazy instincts who makes in-game adjustments most players never learn how to make and who shows surprising power from wrist/forearm strength despite a modest frame.

Miguel Almonte works at 91-94 with a quick arm, flashing a plus change and curve, although I think he needs to use his lower half more. Kenny Diekroeger turned down first-round money out of high school from Tampa Bay, and if the Royals can undo the robotic mechanics he learned at Stanford, they might have a steal from their fourth-rounder. I could go on. It's a fun system.

Twins' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Miguel Sano, 3B (11)
2. Byron Buxton, CF (22)
3. Kyle Gibson, RHP (41)
4. Aaron Hicks, CF (49)
5. Oswaldo Arcia, OF (59)
6. Alex Meyer, RHP (61)
7. Eddie Rosario, CF/2B (65)
8. Jose Berrios, RHP
9. Max Kepler, OF
10. Trevor May, RHP

Minnesota Twins
Org rank: 2

Farm system overview

They're stacked, with center fielders, athletes, power bats and, in a new development for the Twins, a few power arms sprinkled in there as well -- this ain't your father's Twins system, packed with college command-and-control pitchers with 45-grade fastballs. They fared well in the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere, and they went for upside in the 2012 MLB draft more than they'd done in the previous few seasons.

2013 impact

Aaron Hicks might be their everyday center fielder. I worry about his history of slow starts at new levels and what will happen if he makes a two-level jump to the majors, but his glove is ready and he will work the count. Kyle Gibson is ready to start in the majors now with an above-average fastball, a plus slider and plus command, although he might not have 180 innings in him so soon after Tommy John surgery.


Jose Berrios is 92-94 with a hard downer curveball and feel for a change, although he doesn't get plane on the fastball and I don't love the arm action for a future starter. His pro debut was outstanding, as his stuff is probably ready for high Class A right now. German-born Max Kepler, long a favorite of mine, seemed to turn the corner this year with his approach and looks like he'll develop into a power-hitting corner outfielder who's above-average on defense.
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Thread Starter 
Top 10 prospects (AL West). Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


Astros' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Carlos Correa, SS (24)
2. J. Singleton, 1B (32)
3. George Springer, OF (43)
4. D. DeShields Jr., 2B (83)
5. Jarred Cosart, RHP (86)
6. Mike Foltyniewicz, RHP
7. Robbie Grossman, LF
8. Lance McCullers Jr., RHP
9. Jonathan Villar, SS
10. Domingo Santana, OF

Houston Astros
Org rank: 4

Farm system overview

It's a big turnaround for Houston, a team that was last in these rankings just a few years ago and that saw virtually no return from the draft from 2005 through 2009, some of which look laughable in hindsight. Their 2010 draft class started to break through this year, their trade of Hunter Pence looks even better a year later, and they managed their bonus pool in the 2012 draft as well as any team. The big league club may be "Plan 9 from Outer Space" bad this year, but at least respectability is on the horizon.

2013 impact

Had Jonathan Singleton not been suspended for a second positive marijuana test, he would likely have spent four months or so as Houston's first baseman this year. Now he probably won't see the majors until late summer. Jarred Cosart, acquired in the Pence trade with Singleton and emerging prospect Domingo Santana, is always a candidate for a move to the bullpen, where his health and command issues won't be such a concern and where he could pitch in the majors immediately.


Aside from Santana, keep an eye on Teoscar Hernandez, a Dominican-born rightfielder with a great right-handed swing, a good body, and above-average or better run and throw tools.

Angels' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Kaleb Cowart, 3B (23)
2. Taylor Lindsey, 2B
3. C.J. Cron, 1B
4. Nick Maronde, LHP
5. Alex Yarbrough, 2B
6. Randal Grichuk, OF
7. Kole Calhoun, OF
8. Michael Clevinger, RHP
9. Cam Bedrosian, RHP
10. Jose Rondon, SS

Los Angeles Angels
Org rank: 30

Farm system overview

The cupboard is nearly bare after years of trades, promotions, and lost draft picks, with the Angels the only team that didn't have a pick on the first day of the 2012 draft. Mike Trout and Jered Weaver, both first-rounders, are in the majors; Tyler Skaggs, a comp pick, and second-rounder Pat Corbin were traded for Dan Haren and are in the majors for Arizona. Their drafts have been fine but they've obtained almost nothing on the international front, with their top nine prospects right now all obtained through the draft.

2013 impact

Outfielder Kole Calhoun would be a great bench guy and extra outfielder, although the outfield in Anaheim is already fairly crowded. Lefty Nick Maronde will probably go to the minors to work as a starter, but he'd be an asset out of the 'pen if the need arises, as would their top selection in 2012, Florida Atlantic alum R.J. Alvarez, who has big stuff but a clear reliever's delivery.


I saw quite a bit of shortstop Jose Rondon in the Arizona Rookie League, one of the few age-appropriate players on a fairly old AZL Angels team; he's a shortstop with a wide stance but good hand-eye coordination, producing line drives and lots of contact. I should also make my annual mention of Taylor Lindsey, a fringy defensive second baseman who doesn't walk enough but has one of the sweetest swings in the minors.

Athletics' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Addison Russell, SS (10)
2. Sonny Gray, RHP
3. Michael Choice, OF
4. Dan Straily, RHP
5. Daniel Robertson, SS/3B
6. Miles Head, 3B/1B
7. Nolan Sanburn, RHP
8. Grant Green, 2B
9. Matt Olson, 1B
10. Renato Nunez, 3B

Oakland Athletics
Org rank: 22

Farm system overview

The A's used a lot of rookies in 2012, led by Jarrod Parker and Yoenis Cespedes, leaving the system a little thin after all of the graduations. They did restock with a strong draft, led by Addison Russell, a prep shortstop who raked in two short-season leagues and finished his first pro summer in full-season ball, something almost unheard of for a player taken out of high school. Their rookie-league club was loaded with a mixture of high-upside guys and lower-ceiling, high-probability guys, although most are too far away for serious top-100 consideration.

2013 impact

Dan Straily is ready to be someone's No. 5 starter now, with the hope that he might end up a league-average guy in a year or so; he led the minors in strikeouts last year without a real plus pitch, changing speeds well and throwing strikes. Grant Green could win the second base job after Jemile Weeks' abysmal 2012 season put his hold on the spot in jeopardy.


Nolan Sanburn had a first-round arm but slid to the second after a minor shoulder issue and because he's a sub-six-foot right-hander; he's got above-average velocity and an out-pitch curveball, earning comps to Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt as someone who can succeed despite a lack of height because he can spin the ball and throw a lot of strikes.

Mariners' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Taijuan Walker, RHP (9)
2. Mike Zunino, C (15)
3. Danny Hultzen, LHP (66)
4. Nick Franklin, SS/2B (69)
5. Brandon Maurer, RHP
6. James Paxton, LHP
7. Victor Sanchez, RHP
8. Brad Miller, SS
9. Tyler Pike, LHP
10. Carter Capps, RHP

Seattle Mariners
Org rank: 8

Farm system overview

The Mariners still have starting pitching on the way, maybe not quite as potent a group as it appeared to have a year ago, but still enough that they're looking at a rotation surplus in the near term. Their first pick in 2012, catcher Mike Zunino, tore the cover off the ball in his pro debut, finishing in Double-A, and even if we discard those as small samples, on draft day he looked like someone who could move quickly to become a big-league regular.

2013 impact

Danny Hultzen had a horrid finish to his 2012 season, but he's healthy, and that puts him first in line for a big-league rotation job when one opens up, ahead of Brandon Maurer and James Paxton. Zunino should get there at some point this year, as should Nick Franklin if the team wants to swap out some defense for some offense at short. The bullpen could get a big jolt from Carter Capps, who doesn't get the press of Tigers relief prospect Bruce Rondon but is more ready to help a major league bullpen.


Victor Sanchez doesn't have the ideal body, listed at 6 feet and a big-boned 255 pounds, but he just turned 18 on Jan. 30 and already has a solid summer in the short-season Class A Northwest League under his belt. His arm works great and the stuff is already present, but the fastball command isn't quite where you want it to be yet. If you want a sleeper for the 2015 list, Brazilian lefty Luiz Gohara sits in the upper 80s with the shape and rotation for a plus curveball after a year or two in pro ball; he's got the size at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, but will start the season at age 16 and has just begun getting real professional instruction.

Rangers' Top 10

Player, POS (Top 100 rank)
1. Jurickson Profar, SS (1)
2. Mike Olt, 3B (71)
3. Cody Buckel, RHP (90)
4. Martin Perez, LHP (93)
5. Lewis Brinson, OF
6. Nomar Mazara, OF
7. Joey Gallo, 3B
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Luis Sardinas, SS
10. Luke Jackson, RHP

Texas Rangers
Org rank: 9

Farm system overview

They've got a few valuable, near-in guys in Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, and the enigmatic Martin Perez, with righty Cody Buckel not too far behind. After that group, you have something of a gap until you get to the lower levels, where they had the Arizona Rookie League's strongest team of prospects, with a lineup full of possible impact bats. Their main international signing from 2012, Jairo Beras, hasn't even been able to play yet due to a one-year suspension that expires in July, although he'll be in extended spring training. They're probably thinner in pitching than they've been at any point in the last three or four offseasons, though.

2013 impact

Profar is ready to play everyday, but right now, he's blocked by Elvis Andrus at short and Ian Kinsler at second. Kinsler could move to first for Profar to play second, which would make the team better right away. Olt is just as blocked, and moving him to first from third eats up a lot of his value, since he's a great defender. Perez has the stuff and might be worked in slowly this year if he starts off well in Triple-A. Wilmer Font may log some more big league time in a relief role, with a plus-plus fastball and a decent change.


The Rangers have a slew of candidates here, more than any team except maybe the Royals, but I was blown away by the changes Lewis Brinson made to his swing over the summer, setting up his hands a little lower and further back while shortening his stride, significantly improving his bat speed through the zone without any loss of power. His pitch recognition needs work, but he's got easy power from his hand strength, and as a plus runner who covers a lot of territory in center, he has star potential if he can show some mastery over the strike zone.
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Thread Starter 
Optimizing the Angels' lineup. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Even before the Los Angeles Angels finished their deal with slugger Josh Hamilton, the discussion between manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto about where to hit Hamilton in their lineup began.

They talked about possibly batting him second, between leadoff hitter Mike Trout and No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols, and they examined the data regarding how many more plate appearances Hamilton might expect to get closer to the top of the batting order. Last year, the Angels' No. 2 hitters had 32 more plate appearances than the No. 4 hitters, which means that about once every five games, the No. 2 hitter will get an extra at-bat.

They talked about how the Angels' No. 2 hitter, whoever he may be, might see more fastballs, because of the constant stolen-base threat that Trout presents when he's on base. Torii Hunter moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup early in 2012 and had a great season -- and keep in mind that last year, no hitter saw a lower percentage of fastballs than Hamilton.

But it's much more likely that the Angels will open the season with Hamilton hitting cleanup, to compel opposing pitchers to work to Pujols -- and perhaps (this is my speculation) because, as a No. 2 hitter, Hamilton's aggressiveness might provide Trout with fewer opportunities to run. Nobody in baseball swung at the first pitch in his at-bats at a higher rate than Hamilton last season.

As the season progresses, it's possible that Peter Bourjos will work into that role, if he rebounds from a tough 2012. Bourjos was drafted in 2005 and, as Dipoto noted, he had always been a productive player at every level, in every season, before his 2012 flameout. He had a .354 on-base percentage in Double-A in 2009, nudged that up to .364 in Triple-A in 2010, and in 2011, he hit .271 with 49 extra-base hits and 22 stolen bases for the Angels in the big leagues.

But the Angels got off to a terrible start last season, with Bourjos among those who struggled, and he never really recovered, finishing the year with a .291 on-base percentage and a .606 OPS, which ranked 343rd among 376 players with at least 175 plate appearances.

With Kendrys Morales having been dealt to Seattle, however, the Angels are planning on using Bourjos in the outfield, most likely in center field, between Trout in left and Hamilton in right.

"We're taking three center fielders and trying to create the best defensive alignment we can," said Dipoto. "We believe in Peter Bourjos, and we believe the qualities he brings make us a better team. His offensive potential is always intact. He's got speed, and he does have power. There's some electricity to his game."

Dipoto mentioned that given the construction of the Angels' lineup, there is very little pressure on Bourjos offensively; if Bourjos simply continues to be an impact defensive player -- and he is one of the best outfielders in the sport -- and helps on offense, he can be an effective player for Scioscia. He would seem to be a natural, at the outset of the season, to hit ninth in the Angels' lineup, in front of Trout.

But as with every team, there will be changes in the batting order according to performance. "Baseball Tonight" researcher Justin Havens of dug out some interesting numbers related to the Angels' lineup:

1. Hunter against saw fewer fastballs in the No. 2 spot than in other parts of the lineup -- 53.6 percent of all pitches in the No. 2 hole were fastballs, as compared with 57 percent when he was in other spots. But that doesn't account for the quality of fastballs he saw.

2. If you're thinking that Mark Trumbo might be a candidate to hit second, keep in mind that he was slightly above average against fastballs (relative to all of MLB): .280 BA, .843 OPS, which ranked in the 57th and 64th percentile, respectively, last season. Trumbo increasingly struggled as the season progressed, which coincides with the decreased percentage of fastballs he saw month to month:

April: 52.7 percent
May: 51.9 percent
June: 50.4 percent
July: 49.0 percent
Aug: 45.3 percent
Sept: 43.5 percent

3. As Trout emerged in the leadoff spot for the Angels, their No. 9 hitters saw slightly more fastballs. The No. 9 hitters through April 27, the last day the Angels played without Trout: 139 fastballs of 266 total pitches seen (52.2 percent). The No. 9 hitters from April 28 through the end of the season: 1,095 fastballs of 1,994 total pitches seen (54.9 percent).

4. Bourjos struggled against fastballs last year, hitting .195 with a .518 OPS. That batting average ranked 344th out of 349 batters who saw at least 400 fastballs last season (Bourjos saw 425 fastballs). However, this could be a small sample size issue, because he hit .327 with an .875 OPS in 2011 against 1,007 fastballs.

While the Angels hope to see Bourjos grow into a more prominent role in the lineup, they could open the season with Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo or Howie Kendrick in the No. 2 spot. This will depend on what they see in spring training. But no matter who hits there, the presence of Trout, Pujols and Hamilton means that, day after day, this lineup should be capable of putting on a show.

Josh Hamilton is the definition of a streaky hitter, writes Mike DiGiovanna.

More PED fallout

The latest Ryan Braun link has come under a microscope, writes Tom Hardicourt.

It would be difficult to construct a more impenetrable defense than Braun has now. Unless Tony Bosch hands over a whole lot more details on Braun -- and unless the Feds get involved, it's unclear why he would do that -- then MLB investigators now have to deal with the fact that Braun's lawyer has placed himself between the player and Bosch, and they can't really dissect that, because of lawyer-client privilege.

Braun said in his statement the other day that he's prepared to cooperate with Major League Baseball's investigation, but it'll be interesting to see if that includes waiving his lawyer-client privilege.

Alex Rodriguez's assertion that the records aren't legit took a major hit, reports the Daily News.

Melky Cabrera is still troubled by his PED past.

Jhonny Peralta's name has come up in this stuff.

Jesus Montero is surprised his name popped up in the Bosch documents.

• The Miami New Times is trying to decide whether to turn over the drug documents to Major League Baseball. From Chuck Strouse's piece:

Here's the truth: We haven't yet decided what [to] do with the records from Tony Bosch's clinic. We've shared many of them already, posting them online last week after carefully redacting names of people we didn't think were well enough confirmed or sufficiently newsworthy.

The question of whether to release the records is thorny, and there are few precedents. They were given to us by a source who requested anonymity. We will not divulge that person's name. We take this responsibility very seriously.

Moreover, reporters are not law enforcement. Nor do we discipline anybody for anything. Our job is to transparently lay out the facts and let the public -- and responsible parties -- decide whether action is needed.

Of course, we do want justice. And as a parent of three kids who play sports, I want badly to discourage use of these drugs that endanger peoples' health.

The New Times deserves a ton of credit for breaking this story. But it's really surprising they would even consider turning over any information to Major League Baseball. They aren't an investigative service for private companies; they work for their readers. Can you imagine if David Halberstam, one of the great legends in journalism, got a call from Gen. William Westmoreland after one of Halberstam's Vietnam stories and the general asked, "David, can I see the notes and examine the documents you used?" Halberstam would've slammed down the phone before the end of that sentence, because there's no way that sort of transaction would be appropriate.

I hope the New Times offers one of three rhetorical responses:

1. "No, and don't bother asking again."

2. "Sure -- if you let us examine all of your records on baseball's drug-testing past, including the results of the 2003 survey testing." (Which Major League Baseball would never provide.)

3. "Sure -- if you let us examine all of your financial records." (Which Major League Baseball would never allow, as a private company.)

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Jonathan Sanchez will be among the candidates for the No. 5 spot in the Pittsburgh rotation.

2. The Yankees' catching situation has gotten more cloudy in the aftermath of the latest PED stuff.

3. The Twins' Anthony Swarzak broke two ribs.

4. Mike Leake settled his arbitration case.

5. Elvis Andrus may wait before he considers an extension.

6. The Mets signed some guys.

7. Jair Jurrjens still hasn't finalized his agreement with the Orioles.

8. The Rays re-signed Luke Scott, for a lot less money.

9. The Giants worked out a two-year deal with Sergio Romo.

10. The Mets are in a game of chicken with Michael Bourn, writes Joel Sherman. This could be a tough situation for Bourn, who is just about out of leverage.
post #9732 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Padres should trade Chase Headley now. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
In early December 2011, the San Diego Padres traded right-hander Mat Latos, their No. 1 starter, to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a prospect package that included two former first-round picks and major league right-hander Edinson Volquez.

While the Padres don’t stand to get the same return on third baseman Chase Headley, they should seriously think about trading Headley sometime during spring training. Although Headley and the Padres avoided arbitration last week by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.75 million, he told the media shortly after the deal was announced that he and the Padres had only one discussion about a multiyear contract and that the two sides were so far apart it wasn’t even worth having another discussion. So they concentrated on the one-year deal.

Right now, the free agent and arbitration markets are at an all-time high. With third basemen such as David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria already signed to long-term deals, Headley’s trade value is the best among the third baseman who could be available.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the small-market Padres might not be able to afford a long-term extension, and if they can't sign him they should trade him now.

Why trade Headley?

The Padres play in one of the game’s most difficult markets given their geography while competing with sunshine and high-profile Los Angeles teams. They’ve done a fabulous job given their market challenges, but they also realize they will always be financially challenged.

Certainly, the Padres’ first choice would be to play well and be able to retain Headley. However, since they play in the same division with the San Francisco Giants (who have won two of the last three World Series) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (who now boast the game’s largest payroll), that will be a difficult task. The Padres want to wait for all their good young prospects and players to develop, which is realistically two years away.

Headley is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, so with just two years of control remaining, the Padres’ highest trade return is now, and it will probably start to decrease after this year’s July 31 trade deadline.

After a slow start, the 28-year-old Headley enjoyed a career year in 2012, hitting .286 AVG/.376 OBP/.498 SLG with 31 doubles, 31 home runs and a league-leading 115 RBIs. He beat out Wright and Zimmerman for the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards while finishing fifth in the league in the MVP voting.

Andy Hayt/Getty Images
Headley would strengthen any team's defense after winning a Gold Glove Award last year.
However, it’s important to remember that before 2012, Headley had never hit more than 12 home runs in a single season and had never driven in 65 runs. This is not to say that he can’t repeat his 2012 season, but there remains a good chance of regression or even injury, which could lessen his trade value during the season.

If the Padres decide to trade Headley they should approach it as a best-value scenario and not focus on prospects or certain positions. With Jedd Gyorko ready to take over third base, they don’t need to get a third baseman back in the deal.

So who would be interested in Headley? Here is a quick look at some of the teams that could be interested in Headley between now and the trade deadline.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are built to win now, and adding a switch-hitting, 30-HR third baseman to the lineup would give them one of the most balanced and lethal offenses in the league. The Padres would definitely take a package of center fielder Billy Hamilton and third baseman Todd Frazier from the Reds in return for Headley. However, this is unlikely since Hamilton is viewed as the Reds’ long-term answer for leadoff and center field, and Frazier is very capable of being a productive every-day third baseman.
Chances: LOW

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners had agreed in principle to trade a prospect package centered around Taijuan Walker (or Danny Hultzen or James Paxton) and Nick Franklin to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. If Seattle was willing to make that deal, perhaps some variation could work for Headley. Even with Kyle Seager at third base, Headley could move to left field or Seager could move to another position or perhaps even be involved in the deal.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates’ front office is under pressure to win now, as its ownership is tired of two decades of losing. The Bucs would love to add a bat like Headley’s who could hit between Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, especially if they can do it without giving up prospects Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Starling Marte, which is definitely possible. A package of outfielder Gregory Polanco and shortstop Alen Henson could be enough for Headley.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are set at third base with Brett Lawrie, but he could move back to second base if the Jays acquired Headley. That would leave Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio to deepen their bench as utility players. Adding another impact bat to the Blue Jays could assure them the AL East. Their farm system is loaded enough that an offer that was centered around right-handed pitcher Aaron Sanchez and outfielder Anthony Gose could get it done.
Chances: LOW

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels' long-term plan is for switch-hitting, third-base top prospect Kaleb Cowart to take over the position full time by the end of 2013. He has power from both sides of the plate, a strong arm and projects to be a solid defender. However, if the Angels could add Headley to one of the league’s most potent offenses, it could be the difference in getting them to the World Series in 2013. Including Cowart in a potential Headley trade, along with right-handed pitcher Garrett Richards, probably gets the deal done today.
Chances: LOW

New York Yankees

The Yankees are obsessed with staying under the $189 million tax threshold in 2014. However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be open to dealing for Headley. The switch-hitter would be a difference-maker in the Yankees’ lineup and owns a swing that would benefit from the short right porch in Yankee Stadium. It would cost the Yankees two of their best prospects, such as Mason Williams and Dante Bichette Jr., something GM Brian Cashman is trying to avoid. But as with his trade for Curtis Granderson, if Cashman can get a two-way player in his prime at age 28, he’ll pull the trigger.
Chances: LOW

Detroit Tigers

Here is a solid fit: Nick Castellanos for Chase Headley straight up. This would allow the Tigers to move Miguel Cabrera to left field and put Headley, a Gold Glove defender, on the left side of the infield. It would vastly improve the Tigers' infield range and lengthen their lineup even more and improve their chances of winning a World Series in the next two years, which is what this team is built for. Castellanos would give the Padres either their future left fielder or third baseman and the major league minimum. Tigers owner Mike Ilitch wants to win now, and I doubt he would turn down an opportunity like this. The Padres also might be able to get a second prospect back if they make this deal prior to Opening Day.
Chances: LOW
post #9733 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Seven potential breakout players in 2013. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There’s an old scouting adage: “He’ll tell us when he’s ready.”

While that mainly pertains to gauging minor league players and their major league readiness, it also applies to young major leaguers trying to live up to their potential and looking for that “breakout” season.

It’s that season when all the tools, talent and abilities come together to fulfill the many high expectations on all the scouting reports. It offers the talent evaluators confirmation that they got it right while proving the critics wrong.

Take a look at the breakout seasons Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gonzalez enjoyed over the past several years. Long regarded as five-tool players with elite physical talent, their teams and fans waited and waited for the corresponding elite production to come. It happened for a 24-year-old Kemp in 2009, when he hit 26 homers with 101 RBIs and won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards after slowly increasing his production since his major league debut in 2006. Likewise, the same explosion happened for Gonzalez in 2010 at age 24, and then for McCutchen in 2012 at age 25.

The 2013 season should be no different. Here are seven individuals, all just about the same age as our aforementioned trio, who have barely scratched the surface of their massive potential and are primed to be among baseball’s breakout players in 2013.

1. Justin Upton | OF | Age: 25

With six years of experience, Upton is primed to finally reach his potential. He’s different than Kemp, McCutchen and Gonzalez because he’s already had a successful start to his career that includes two All-Star appearances, a Silver Slugger Award and a top-five showing in 2011 NL MVP voting. He has the potential to produce 35 homers and 100 RBIs annually, but he has yet to put together a consistent year from start to finish that would really signify his arrival. Being traded to the Atlanta Braves might just be the trigger. Playing beside his brother B.J. and surrounded in the lineup with other elite young players such as Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman could spur him to bring his game to another level. The Diamondbacks didn’t believe in him and he will be motivated to show them that they were wrong to trade him.
2. Eric Hosmer | 1B | Age: 23

Hosmer burst on the scene with an impressive rookie season in 2011. Then like so many young major league hitters, he struggled in his second season as the league found some holes and exposed him. It was a learning experience for him, and now that he knows how pitchers are going to approach him, he’ll adjust thanks to great hand-eye coordination, explosive hip torque and perhaps the game’s strongest wrists and forearms. I expect Hosmer to hit something in the neighborhood of 25 home runs and have a considerable impact in the Royals' quest for their first winning season since 2003.

3. Brett Lawrie | 3B | Age: 22

Most of the attention on the Toronto Blue Jays this season will probably be focused on their new leadoff hitter, shortstop Jose Reyes, as well as some of their other big-name acquisitions. The Blue Jays are finally relevant again, and Lawrie’s breakout season could come outside the limelight. With Edwin Encarnacion having his breakout season last year and the addition of Melky Cabrera, Lawrie undoubtedly will get pitches to hit and do some damage. A .300 season with 18-20 home runs is a realistic projection for this passionate, high-energy player.

4. Chris Tillman | RHP | Age: 24

I will never forget the day the Baltimore Orioles acquired Tillman along with outfielder Adam Jones in a package for left-hander Erik Bedard. I distinctly remember my scouting department singing Jones’ praises as they projected the type of All-Star center fielder he has become over the past two years.

However, the scouts also marveled over Tillman. They maintained if Tillman found command of his pitches, he will develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter. Indeed, it’s been a long time trying to get there. In his first three years in the major leagues (2009-2011) his ERA was north of 5.40 while going 7-15 with a WHIP of 1.55. Certainly, the stats and trends were not consistent with the scouting reports. In 2012, he started to show maturity and understanding of the strike zone as he reduced his WHIP to 1.05, allowing just 66 hits in 86 innings while going 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA -- finally stats that started to mirror his projections. This season he should become a 12- to 15-game winner and finally reach the 150-180 innings pitched range.

5. Salvador Perez | C | Age: 23

The National League has three of the game’s best catchers in Buster Posey, Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz. The American League has Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters. It won’t be long before Perez joins that duo to form a trio.

He has all the attributes to be a future All-Star catcher capable of winning multiple Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. He is already one of the best defensive catchers, possessing impressive game-calling, framing and blocking skills. He can shut down a running game, catching 42 percent of baserunners attempting to steal, which would have led the AL had he qualified. He shows maturity beyond his years and has the potential of producing 20 home runs with a high batting average. The key for him will be health, as he missed much of last year after tearing a meniscus.

6. Trevor Rosenthal | RHP | Age: 22 (turns 23 on May 29)

Rosenthal showed off his dominant stuff in the 2012 postseason, when he allowed just one hit in 6 2/3 innings pitched. His 98-101 mph fastball and sharp, late-breaking downer curveball were flat-out nasty. He was so impressive that he clearly gave the impression that he could become one of the league’s best closers at the level of Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman. The Cardinals, however, will allow him to compete with Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly for a rotation spot in place of the injured Chris Carpenter.

Many say Rosenthal might be best suited for the back end of the bullpen, and the Cardinals don’t necessarily have a need there with closer Jason Motte and eighth-inning reliever Mitchell Boggs. But with his type of velocity and breaking ball, if Rosenthal can carry that through a second or third time through the lineup, he could break out as one of the league’s great starting pitchers this year.

7. Desmond Jennings | OF | Age: 26

B.J. Upton left for the Atlanta Braves via free agency, which finally turned center field over to Jennings. He has always had the potential of being an 18- to 20-homer center fielder with 40-plus stolen bases, and this could be the year he accomplishes it. Jennings will have to prove to manager Joe Maddon he can handle the leadoff spot by being more patient and seeing more pitches per at-bat. He needs to wait for a pitch he can handle while increasing his walk rate and on-base percentage. He also is a good fielder and possesses great speed and range. The only question for Jennings: Will it be this year or next? To better their pennant chances, the Rays better hope it’s this year.
post #9734 of 73400

Clayton Kershaw is going to break the banksick.giflaugh.gif

post #9735 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Is there hope for Delmon Young? Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
While Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Delmon Young has yet to live up to his prospect hype, he is still just 27 years old. Theoretically, he should be headed into the prime of his career. But baseball has seen a number of other players struggle early in their careers, only to develop into productive players at a later age. Raul Ibanez didn't have his first productive season until age 29. Ben Zobrist turned into an effective player at age 27, seemingly out of nowhere. Garrett Jones came on the scene at 28, the same age Nelson Cruz was when he finally started hitting big league pitching. In each case, previously unproductive players turned into far more than they looked like earlier in their careers, and they should stand as a reason for optimism regarding Young's future.

However, in each of those cases, the players hadn't really failed at the major league level in any kind of extended trial. They were minor-league lifers, tagged with the 4A label, and they spent their early twenties just trying to earn a shot at the majors. Rather than comparing Young to guys who simply didn't get a chance to show what they could do earlier in their careers, I wanted to see if I could find some examples players who had accumulated significant major league careers, and after struggling at the highest level, eventually bloomed into good players as they got into their peak seasons.

So I started off by looking for players with similar track records to Young. Through his 2012 season, when he was 26 years old, Young had racked up 3,575 plate appearances and totaled just 0.8 WAR. I set the playing time limit to 3,500 plate appearances and capped career WAR through age 26 at less than 6. These filters would give us players who had racked up approximately six years of playing time, and had averaged fewer than 1 WAR per season during that time.

The problem? It's a really small list. In the last 100 years, there have been four players who have managed to get that much playing time early in their career without being particularly effective. Those four, in order of least production:

• Delmon Young: 3,575 PA, 0.8 WAR
• Charlie Grimm (1916, 1918-1936): 3,847 PA, 4.9 WAR
• Cristian Guzman: 3,538 PA, 5.3 WAR
• Ed Kranepool (1962-1979): 3,684 PA, 5.4 WAR

Brad Mangin/Getty Images
Cristian Guzman developed into a decent player over the course of his career.

Grimm, Guzman and Kranepool weren't very effective players in their early twenties, but they were all better than Young by a pretty decent margin. No player in the last 100 years has played as much at as ineffective of a level as Young through this same point in his career. However, the three other guys on the list do offer some hope for Young's future.

Through age 26, Grimm was a first baseman without much power, as he hit .285/.331/.392, good for just a 90 wRC+. He'd shown flashes of potential, including an excellent season at age 24, but hadn't sustained that early promise. At age 27, his season didn't include any kind of miraculous breakout (100 wRC+, 0.7 WAR), but it began a steady ascent towards being a relatively decent player. From age 27 to 37, Grimm hit .294/.349/.401, good for a 98 wRC+, and he racked up 14.6 WAR in 4,898 plate appearances. On a per-season basis, that puts him around 1.8 WAR per full year, which is roughly the performance of an average player.

Kranepool had a similar improvement, going from a 90 wRC+ and 0.9 WAR per 600 plate appearances through age 26 to a 102 wRC+ and 1.6 WAR per 600 plate appearances from age 27 to 34. He didn't have the same staying power as Grimm, but he put together a nice three-year run from 1974 to 1976 as a well- above-average hitter, despite showing little of that offensive potential early in his career.

Guzman is the player least similar to Young, as he got to the majors early based on his speed and defense at a young age. But even he performed better from 27 to 32 than he had earlier in his career. Through age 26, Guzman had a 74 wRC+ and 0.9 WAR per 600 plate appearances. From 27 on, he put up an 83 wRC+ and averaged 1.3 WAR per 600 trips to the plate. It's not a huge gain, but Guzman did have one big season at age 30, putting his skills together to give the Nationals a real boost in 2008.

In each case, previously unproductive players turned into useful role players later in their careers, even after struggling for years in the big leagues with a promotion they probably weren't ready for. However, we can't ignore the fact that each player was significantly better than Young during their formative years, and so they were starting from a higher baseline than Young is. And, of course, none of the three even turned into above-average players, and it's probably safe to write off the idea of Young becoming any kind of star.

But, for all the ridicule the Phillies got for bringing Young on board, there is some precedent of bad young players becoming useful middle-aged players. It might not be quite as rosy of an outlook as comparing him to guys like Ibanez, Cruz, or Jones, but Young isn't worthy completely giving up on yet. There's still a chance he has a few decent seasons in him yet.
post #9736 of 73400
Originally Posted by dland24 View Post

What a shame. I love Felix and am glad he is getting paid....but I absolutely hate seeing players that are, or could be considered all time greats one day, waste their careers on terrible teams. This goes for any sport.

I don't think that's fair. Teams aren't always terrible. I'm happy for Seattle and Felix for agreeing to see out their future together.
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

post #9737 of 73400
Originally Posted by Th3RealF0lkBlu3s View Post

Originally Posted by dland24 View Post

What a shame. I love Felix and am glad he is getting paid....but I absolutely hate seeing players that are, or could be considered all time greats one day, waste their careers on terrible teams. This goes for any sport.

I don't think that's fair. Teams aren't always terrible. I'm happy for Seattle and Felix for agreeing to see out their future together.

I mean, I hear what you are saying. Teams can get better. I just dont see Seattle being contenders in that division for a good while. Im talking at least 3+ years. And thats assuming everything goes right with that team. The A's are a great young team that is only going to get better, and the other two teams blow through money like its nothing. Its going to be hard for Seattle to compete with that IMO.
post #9738 of 73400
Originally Posted by Bigmike23 View Post

Clayton Kershaw is going to break the banksick.giflaugh.gif

First thing that crossed my mind laugh.gif

post #9739 of 73400
Justin Verlander is going to break the bank.

Matt Cain's contract getting better and better. laugh.gif
Edited by RaWEx5 - 2/7/13 at 1:05pm
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #9740 of 73400
Can't believe they gave Felix that much money
post #9741 of 73400
Thread Starter 
Why though? He's earned it and deserved it. Kid is only 26, not even in the prime years yet sick.gif
post #9742 of 73400
Originally Posted by Ballerific703 View Post

Can't believe they gave Felix that much money

You have to remember though...Seattle has a thick history of letting superstar players leave. Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez. These are dudes that at one point in time were the best in the game and Seattle had them all, but kept none. The Mariners almost needed this or else there'd be no hope. laugh.gif

Besides...He'll only be 33 when this deal expires, so in my opinion, it's money well spent.
post #9743 of 73400
If you're going to spend your money in a big way, you could do worse than spending it on an ace pitcher.
A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

A T H L E T I C S | U C L A | L A K E R S | R A I D E R S

post #9744 of 73400
But if he performs..........Who in the hell will be able to afford him on his NEXT contract? and on the BACK end of his career at that...........
post #9745 of 73400
Originally Posted by Proshares View Post

Why though? He's earned it and deserved it. Kid is only 26, not even in the prime years yet sick.gif

What are prime years for pitchers?


Felix broke out early in his career, there are a lot of miles on that arm, elbow and shoulder. He's in his prime years.
Instagram: backyardlobo
Instagram: backyardlobo
post #9746 of 73400
Thread Starter 
I feel like you disagree with me for the sake of disagreement laugh.gif I see what you're saying though. Maybe this will explain the entire contract/situation better:
The Mariners are apparently set to sign Felix Hernandez to the largest contract ever given to a Major League pitcher. The total commitment is $175 million over seven years. It’s a staggering amount for a guy who wasn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season, and in many ways, this contract is the continuation of the trend that we saw begin last year with Joey Votto‘s deal with the Reds. Here’s what I wrote a year ago when that deal was announced:

So, at this point, we have a couple of options – we can continue to be shocked and amazed at the growing rate of contracts that guarantee big money to players from 2018 and beyond, or we can adjust our expectations for what premium players are going to be able to command going forward. With the promise of new money flowing into many organizations over the next three to five years, I’d imagine we’ll see more and more teams being aggressive in trying to lock up their young stars before they get to free agency and have to bid against whichever franchise just happened to renegotiate their television contract a few months prior.

For the Reds, the equation was pretty simple – keep Votto and contend during the run-up to the expiration of their television deal, or trade him away, rebuild, and come to the table asking for more money after a couple of years of going young and probably taking their lumps. Given those options, giving Votto a couple of extra years at the back end to increase their bargaining position doesn’t look quite so crazy.

This deal is going to have lasting repercussions on the sport. Not only does it suggest that the Reds are going to remain competitive in the NL Central going forward, but it also resets the price expectations for every pre-free agent player in the sport. Congratulations, players, all of your expected prices just went up. Way up.

Felix’s deal with the Mariners is the pitcher’s version of Votto’s deal with the Reds. It’s a free agent price for a pitcher who wasn’t a free agent, and in that sense, there’s a pretty good argument to be made that it’s too much money. The Mariners are taking on significant additional risk by guaranteeing him his 2015-2019 salaries now, and like with Votto, that risk wasn’t offset by getting a below market price on the deal. Given the history of pitcher attrition, there’s a significant chance that this deal will go south for the Mariners, and they’ll end up with an expensive and overpaid former ace. Most good young pitchers don’t turn into good old pitchers, and the Mariners have just made a huge bet on Felix being the exception rather than the rule.

So, there’s reasons to believe that this contract might end up looking like a mistake. For instance, Ken Rosenthal used the news of the extension to once again dust off his “the Mariners should have traded Felix” argument:

The commitment by both the player and team is admirable, as is the passion of the fans. But get back to me in a few years, and tell me if everyone still holds the same romantic view.

I’m sorry, the risk of trading Felix — even when factoring in the possibility that the return might have been disappointing — was less than the risk of signing him for $175 million.

Rosenthal has been beating this drum for a few years now, repeatedly arguing that the Mariners should trade Felix for a haul of young prospects, since they didn’t have the supporting cast around him to put a contender on the field. And, models that we use, measuring a player’s total surplus value — the difference between his actual performance and what you’d expect to get by spending that money on other players – support the notion that the team could have done better by trading Felix than by signing him to a market-value extension. After all, if the Mariners had $175 million to spend, couldn’t they have turned Felix into an amazing group of young talent and then simply reallocated that $175 million to other Major League free agents in order to replace his lost value?

On some level, yes, they could have. But, when looking at what their $175 million might have bought them and when it might have brought real returns, we need to account for the frictional costs of making that kind of series of moves, and recognize that those costs can be so high that a team ends up worse off than they’d have been otherwise.

A frictional cost is the extra price that has to be made to complete a series of transactions. Sales tax is the easiest example of a frictional cost, as the government takes between 7-10% of the total sales price of an item whenever you go to the store to buy something. We generally just factor sales tax into the price of an item, and go about our days, since that tax can’t easily be avoided. But, there are other times where frictional costs play a large role in the decision to buy or sell; the housing market is actually a great example.

If you’ve ever sold bought or sold a house, you know that there are substantial costs associated with the transaction. Real estate agents generally earn 6% of the sale price in commission, so on a $500,000 home, the seller would lose $30,000 simply by hiring a realtor to help them list the property. Meanwhile, the buyer is responsible for closing costs, as fees associated with securing a mortgage — appraisal, title insurance, loan origination, etc… — average around $4,000 per transaction. Add in the costs of repairs to the home you’re selling before you close along with moving expenses, and even if you’re making a lateral move between one $500,000 house and another $500,000 house, the external costs will likely be over $40,000 by the time you’ve relocated.

Frictional costs might not be quite so obvious in Major League Baseball, since no one is applying a set tax on each transaction. However, I do think we can look through history and see that there is evidence of additional costs associated with constant roster turnover, especially the kind of turnover that involves continually shipping out your best players for low cost minor leaguers.

Dan Farnsworth did a great piece in the Community Blog a month ago about the revenue ramifications of entering into a long term rebuilding project. You should read the whole thing, but pay specific attention to the table that lists the total change in revenues for losing teams that either cut payroll or increased payroll at that point. His calculations returned a $15 million revenue loss for a .500ish team that cut payroll, versus a $20 million revenue gain for a .500ish team that increased payroll. It’s just one study, and I wouldn’t quote those numbers as gospel, but there is evidence that teams that regularly cut payroll by trading away their best players when they get expensive can enter into a never-ending cycle of payroll slashing and revenue degradation.

For instance, let’s take the Cleveland Indians as an example. From 1995-2001, they made the playoffs in six of seven seasons, ranking 1st or 2nd in the AL in attendance every season except 2001, when they ranked 3rd. Their payroll was consistently in the top five in Major League Baseball, topping out at $92 million in 2001. However, as their winning core got older and had to be broken up, the Indians decided to go into a full-scale rebuild, shipping out most of their recognizable stars and starting from scratch with new young talent.

After spending $92 million in 2001, they spent $78 million on a losing team in 2002, then really went with a house cleaning in 2003, spending just $48 million on their Major League team. Within two years, they went from having the fifth highest payroll to having the fifth lowest payroll in baseball.

Here’s where the Indians have rated among the 14 AL teams in attendance since that 2003 season: 12th, 12th, 12th, 11th, 9th (team wins 96 games and makes ALCS), 9th, 13th, 14th, 9th, 13th. Not coincidentally, the Indians have had some of the lowest payrolls in baseball ever since, never getting higher again than 16th in total team salary (following their 2007 division title), and more regularly sitting in the bottom 5-10 teams in overall spending. Even when the Indians won, they topped out at 2.3 million fans, a 25% decrease over their total attendance in 2001. There’s no question that the new park bonus related to Jacobs Field’s opening in 1994 — combined with the team’s run of success immediately afterwards — pushed attendance and revenues to their maximum potential, and some regression was inevitable simply based on the market size and any franchise’s inability to contend every single season.

But, the Indians have essentially lost half of the fan base that they had at their peak, and even developing new stars like CC Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, and Cliff Lee didn’t bring those fans back. From 2005 to 2007, the Indians averaged 89 wins per season, using their restocked farm system to build another good young core. Attendance barely moved at all. Revenues didn’t grow fast enough, and so the team traded away the new stars they’d developed, beginning the cycle all over again. Last year, the Indians drew 1.6 million fans.

We simply can’t ignore the costs of rebuilding, and assume that constantly shipping out franchise players has no impact on an organization’s ability to generate revenue. We probably can’t determine the exact revenue implications of retaining Felix Hernandez — after all, the Mariners have had him since 2006, and their attendance has been in a downward spiral the entire time — but we can say with some certainty that perpetual rebuilding cycles have a significant negative impact on a franchise. It doesn’t take too much digging to see the handful of teams that have been rebuilding for the past couple of decades, and have essentially turned themselves into feeder systems for higher revenue franchises in the process.

Major League Baseball’s overall profitability and the sport’s investment in revenue sharing have given teams a way out of this cycle. The lowest overall team payroll in 2012 belonged to the Padres, checking in at $55 million, a 52% increase over the lowest payroll of 2011. While there will always be a separation between franchises in their ability to spend, baseball has done a pretty terrific job of funneling money to lower revenue clubs, and those clubs are taking that money and giving it to their best players. Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado. Ryan Braun in Milwaukee. Joey Votto in Cincinnati. And now Felix Hernandez in Seattle.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these teams are now more willing to make large, long term commitments to keep their superstars around. The costs of these contracts are extremely high, but the actual outcomes for teams that have perpetually traded away their best players shows that the frictional costs of such a transaction are higher than has been recognized. It is not as simple as taking the $175 million that the Mariners gave to Felix and giving it to someone else in free agency. Players of this caliber rarely make it to free agency anymore, and when they do, they’re not signing with mid-market clubs that have spent years rebuilding their rosters from the ground up.

Over the last decade, we’ve gotten pretty good at counting the costs of bad contracts. There’s no getting around the fact that Felix’s extension may very well turn into a bad contract. In fact, the history of pitchers breaking down suggests it may even be the most likely outcome. But, if we want to evaluate the sign-or-trade decision, we have to evaluate the costs of both options, and for too long, we’ve overlooked the costs associated with perpetual rebuilding. Those costs exist, and they have to be factored into the discussion.

If a fair extension for Felix this far out from free agency was something closer to 7/150 as I guessed a few weeks ago, then the extension he’s getting might be termed a $25 million overpay. But, if the frictional costs of shipping Felix out are as high as Farnsworth’s estimates suggest that they are, then it may very well be in the Mariners best interests to overpay Felix in salary rather than try to make due with depressed revenues in the future. Paying a pitcher this much money is risky, but so is perpetually rebuilding. We can’t focus solely on the costs of one without recognizing the costs of the other.

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Originally Posted by Bigmike23 View Post

Clayton Kershaw is going to break the bank:x laugh.gif
200 mil
post #9748 of 73400
I feel like you disagree with me for the sake of disagreement I see what you're saying though. Maybe this will explain the entire contract/situation better:


I really try not to, I only disagree with you about the prime year statement. I feel he's in his prime. I'm on the same page with you about it being a good deal for Felix, there's more risk on the Mariners side. Pitchers are a highly combustible commodity. Prime years for position players is 27-32 (IMO), but I don't think the same can be said about pitchers. I'm a high believer that every pitcher has an ultimate pitch count then the arm just dies out or they go the Greg Maddux route and learn how to pitch with finesse as opposed to power. A good lifespan for a pitcher is 8-9 years, and that odometer starts when they pitch their first 150 inning season.

It's a good deal for the Mariners (despite the risk/gamble) and a good deal for Felix.
Instagram: backyardlobo
Instagram: backyardlobo
post #9749 of 73400
Felix has already been through a good stretch where he had a dip in velocity. In fact, his average velocity is still down from where he was in his early 20's. I think Felix is special because he knows how to pitch, even if his velocity isn't there. He can still get it up there, but when his velocity goes down in a few years or so, I'm confident he'll be prepared to handle it and still be successful.
post #9750 of 73400


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