Santiago, D.R.–So I arrived in the Dominican Republic for the first time ever on Thursday, and I have the following observations to log in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Series. (known everywhere else on the planet except the U.S. as ‘Serie del Caribe.")
And "Serie del Caribe" just sounds cooler, doesn’t it? [...] Continue Reading »
We’ll start with the lefthanders, since starting pitchers tend to be more interesting and have higher ceilings than minor league relievers. Looking at the list of hardest-throwing prospects from the 2008 Handbook shows just four lefthanders among the 23 pitchers (17 percent). According to Baseball-Reference.com, among the 666 pitchers who appeared in a major league game last year, 185 were southpaws, or 28 percent. That difference doesn’t seem particularly out of line given that even casual fans know that righthanded starters usually throw a few ticks harder than their lefty counterparts.
This point is hammered home by Baseball Info Solutions, which noted that from 2005 to 2006 just 29 percent of lefthanders in the major leagues threw their fastballs, on average, at 90 mph or above, whereas 63 percent of righthanders averaged at least 90 mph with their fastballs.
Lefthanders are more scarce in the general population, yet they are vital in roster construction for a manager to take advantage of match-ups against lefthanded-hitting batters. With demand exceeding supply, talent evaluators and general managers can’t afford to hold a lefty’s fastball to the same standard as a righthander’s. That’s why you will read some scouting reports in the Handbook that say a pitcher has "plus velocity from the left side" or "enough velocity for a lefty."
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With a full no-trade clause and the right to walk away as a free agent after the 2008 season, Johan Santana was able to exert more control over his destiny than most players ever could dream of. After trade rumors swirled around him throughout the offseason, he wanted his situation resolved this week. The Twins risked getting nothing but two draft picks for the best pitcher of baseball if they stood pat for now and he decided to exercise his no-trade rights in the future.
The Yankees apparently took Phil Hughes off the table in their trade talks with Minnesota, and perhaps the Red Sox were happier to let Santana go to the National League rather than part with a considerable package of young talent to get him. That’s the best explanation as to why the Twins agreed on Tuesday to send Santana to the Mets for four young players: outfielder Carlos Gomez and righthanders Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey.
That deal hinges on New York’s ability to sign Santana to a long-term contract before a 5 p.m. ET deadline on Friday. Santana’s asking price is reportedly as high as $150 million over six years.
Minnesota might be better off if those talks collapse, giving new Twins GM Bill Smith a chance to find a better return for Santana. While he’s going to command possibly the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, Santana is the best pitcher in the game. And Smith didn’t get enough for him. [...] Continue Reading »
This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 23 and Jan. 25.
Last week’s transactions available here.
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Jacob Miller
Signed: RHP Chris Young, 2B Marcus Giles
This is Chris Matthew Young, who was released by the Marlins in August. Giles’ reclamation in San Diego did not come to pass. He batted .229/.304/.317, and the Padres quickly declined his option. Now the Padres are looking to Tadahito Iguchi—or longshots Callix Crabbe, Oscar Robles, Luis Rodriguez or Craig Stansberry—to fill the second-base hole if Matt Antonelli is not ready. [...] Continue Reading »
Pitchers with premium velocity have an advantage because their heat gives themselves a bit more margin for error. A quicker fastball has a better chance of missing bats, keeping the ball out of play and leading to more strikeouts. The faster the pitch, the less time the hitter has to react, and being off by a fraction of a second can be the difference between a hit and weak contact or a strikeout.
Of course, velocity isn’t everything for a pitcher. A pitcher’s breaking ball, other offspeed pitches, delivery, arm action, control, athleticism, pitchability and health are among the myriad factors that affect his future. In fact, velocity isn’t even everything when it comes to the fastball alone. Movement, such as whether the pitch tails, bores or sinks, is important, and the ability to command the fastball has separated plenty of successful major leaguers from pitching prospect flameouts.
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This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 12 and Jan. 22. Last week’s transactions available here.
With these two trades, the Braves tied the Tigers for most offseason trades. In all, Atlanta has netted two center field candidates (Kotsay, Josh Anderson), two lefty reliever candidates (Ridgway, Will Ohman), a possible utility infielder (Omar Infante), a potential righthanded starter (Jair Jurrjens) and a blue-chip outfield prospect (Gorkys Hernandez). [...] Continue Reading »
When spring training arrives next month, every member of last year’s Independent Leagues Top 10 Prospects list will be hoping to make an affiliated club.
Three of the top 10, San Angelo righthander Stephen Artz (Yankees), righthander Dane de la Rosa (Brewers) and outfielder Scott Houin had already latched on with teams by the time the list came out. The other seven have signed deals with affiliated clubs during the offseason. [...] Continue Reading »
The Prospect Handbook is here. We excitedly thumbed through our copies Friday when they arrived in Durham. To get your own, visit the BA store or give us a call at 800-845-2726.
The sources of talent charts for each organization return in 2008 after a two-year absence. Because we feel bad about excluding them, we’re presenting here in one place breakdowns for all 30 organizations as they appear in the book. So you can easily find out which teams most stress college talent in the draft, or which clubs favor high schoolers, or which most aggressively (and successfully) target international players.
This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Jan. 5 and Jan. 11. Last week’s transactions available here.
Reinstated from inactive list: OF David Krynzel
Released: RHP Jang Cho, C Cesar Reyes, C Jerry Verastegui, OF Eliazar Carmona
Boston Red Sox
Signed: RHP Ben Howard
Released: RHP Emilis Guerrero, RHP Argenis Paulino
Howard, who turns 29 tomorrow, used to touch 99 mph in his prospect prime but now resides in the low 90s with a slider. The Padres used a second-round pick to select Howard from a Tennessee high school in 1997, then traded him to the Marlins in the Blaine Neal blockbuster of 2004. Howard struck out 68 batters for Triple-A Iowa (Cubs) last season, while walking just 24, but he also surrendered 13 bombs in 82 innings, which pushed his ERA to 4.28. [...] Continue Reading »
Major League Baseball handed down a 50-game suspension to righthander Jacob Rodriguez, who signed with the Royals for $100,000 as a 22nd-round pick in 2007, for failing to take a drug test.
Rodriguez becomes the second minor leaguer in the Royals system in the past year to be suspended for failing to take a drug test after shortstop Tyrone Wilson received the same penalty last April.
The Royals selected Rodriguez, a Whittier, Calif. native, out of East Los Angeles Junior College. He has not yet appeared in a minor league game.
This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Dec. 15, 2007, and Jan. 4, 2008. Last week’s transactions are available here.
Minor league free agent signing season is in full swing, and some notable names from prospectdom past found homes for 2008, including Tim Raines Jr., Luis Terrero, Brad Eldred, Scott Strickland, Billy Traber, Franklyn German and Bubba Nelson.
Signed: SS Jesus Merchan, OF Tim Raines Jr.
Signed: RHP Jorge Campillo, RHP Matt DeSalvo, C Jean Boscan, C Ray Serrano, SS Javier Guzman
Signed: RHP Cory Doyne, RHP Gerard Oakes, 3B Ryan McCarthy, OF Luis Montanez, OF Luis Terrero [...] Continue Reading »
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