The first big story of the Winter Meetings happened before the meetings actually began. MLB.com is reporting the Royals have signed Cuban free-agent lefthander Noel Arguelles, reportedly for a major league contract worth $7 million. We’ll have more on the signing as we can touch base with sources here in Indianapolis.
Arguelles pitched for the Cuban junior national team (not the World Baseball Classic or Olympic bunch, but the top group of 18-and-under players) and defected while at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada, in July 2008. One scouting report this fall of an Arguelles workout, however, had him heavier and with diminished velocity, topping out at 89 mph in one session.
However, at his best, Arguelles evoked the good version of Francisco Liriano, as we wrote here (with apologies for having his name spelled in different ways.)
Major League Baseball, in an announcement Friday evening, saddled four minor league players with 50-game suspensions for failed drug tests.
• Free agent catcher Matt Tupman, who finished the season with the Diamondbacks’ Double-A Mobile affiliate, tested positive for the second time for a drug of abuse. The suspension will take effect when he signs with a new organization. Tupman, 30, batted .254/.305/.325 in 126 at-bats with the Bay Bears.
• Diamondbacks minor league righthander Daniel Vasquez tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. The 23-year-old Dominican struck out 55 batters in 69 innings, while walking 19, for low Class A South Bend. He finished 4-1, 4.57 over 28 relief appearances (plus one start).
It’s a collaborative effort, and staff members don’t always agree on what constitutes a strong system. Is depth what matters, or is it better to have a small group of players who become big league regulars and perhaps one or two stars?
For the personal ranking presented here as a sneak preview of what you get in the 2010 Prospect Handbook (available for pre-order at the Baseball America online store), the emphasis is on star power. That’s why the Texas Rangers, who were No. 1 in BA’s rankings last year, remain on top even after graduating such talents as Elvis Andrus, Taylor Teagarden, Julio Borbon, Derek Holland and Tommy Hunter to the major leagues. [...] Continue Reading »
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