Factors such as altitude, humidity and wind affect how ballparks at all levels play for hitters and for pitchers. High altitude, low humidity and a steady jet stream are the perfect recipe for hits, homers and runs. No parks exemplify this quite like High Desert and Lancaster, the high Class A California League's two most hitter-friendly locales.
A park at or near sea level with still, humid air will almost always favor pitchers. Examples include Savannah of the low Class A South Atlantic League and Wilmington of the high Class A Carolina League. For league-by-league ballpark characteristics for the full-season minors, check out the recently published feature Minor League Parks Drive Performance. Go ahead and click—it's free.
A ballpark's features really come into focus, though, when a player in a hitter- or pitcher-friendly park ventures onto the road. Take High Desert as an example. In the three seasons from 2010 to ’12, Mavericks hitters and pitchers combined to score and allow 14.65 runs per game in High Desert, compared with 10.07 per game away from High Desert. That ratio works out 1.455, which implies that playing in Mavericks Stadium during the past three seasons increased the frequency of runs by about 45.5 percent in a typical game (compared to that same rate in road parks the Mavericks visited).
Given that home-road comparison for Mavericks games, we can arrive at a simple park factor to apply to individual High Desert players. To get there, we take the 1.455 ratio and reduce its impact by half—in this case, 1.228—to reflect the fact that a team's players spend only half their games at home.
Here are the highest and lowest three-year park factors for runs scored for the 10 full-season minor leagues:
|THREE-YEAR PARK FACTORS FOR RUNS SCORED|
|California||High Desert||SEA||1.228||Inland Empire||LAA||.894|
|Florida State||Bradenton||PIT||1.107||Brevard County||MIL||.908|
* Scranton/W-B had lowest PF for 2010-11 (.922) but had no home park in 2012
** Birmingham moves into Regions Field in 2013; next lowest was Mississippi (.937) [...] Continue Reading »
Official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period March 9-13.
Signed: RHP Dan Cortes (did not play in ’12)
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Chase Anderson, RHP Charles Brewer, LHP Eury de la Rosa, OF Alfredo Marte
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Eric Smith, RHP Zeke Spruill, OF Keon Broxton
This is the same Dan Cortes who was once a prospect for the White Sox, Royals and Mariners, and you can get a sense of how the industry viewed his potential because he was traded twice for big leaguers. Kansas City parted with Mike MacDougal to acquire Cortes in July ’06, and Seattle sent Yuniesky Betancourt to K.C. in July ’09 to add Cortes.
Non-tendered by the Mariners following the ’11 season, Cortes maintained a high strikeout rate to the end. As a reliever for Triple-A Tacoma, he struck out 59 in 52 innings, but also walked 33 and allowed 56 hits.
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cory Rasmus
Optioned to Double-A: RHP Juan Jaime, RHP Aaron Northcraft [...] Continue Reading »
The annual American League and National League media guides, the so-called Red (AL) and Green (NL) books, offer a wealth of contemporary and historical information on all 30 major league clubs: 2012 league leaders, comprehensive managerial registers dating back to the Deadball Era, and listings for all-time league category leaders and award winners, to name just a few.
Of the greatest interest to BA readers of the Red and Green books, however, is the inclusion of each organization's official list of rookies for 2013. This takes the guesswork out of service-time considerations, particularly for relievers, who can log weeks of big league time while making few appearances. The Red and Green books even include an official definition for rookie qualifications (which we have conveniently included at the bottom of this post).
So as an accompaniment to our Top 20 Rookies list, let's take a closer look at rookie candidates for every National League club (we'll do the American League tomorrow). We've broken each club's rookie candidates into one of four groups:
• Rookies: Players who have reached the major leagues but still have rookie eligibility.
• No MLB Experience: Players on the 40-man roster who have not reached the major leagues. A single asterisk (*) denotes a player added to the 40-man last offseason, while a double asterisk (**) signifies a Rule 5 draft pick.
• Who You Calling Rookie?: Players who appear in the 2013 Prospect Handbook yet are not eligible for the Rookie of the Year balloting because they have too much major league service time. Not every team has a player in this category.
• On The Horizon: Players who were on a Top 10 Prospects list but are not yet on a 40-man roster, yet have sufficient experience (200 plate appearances or 200 batters faced at Double-A or higher) to forecast at least a cup of coffee in 2013. This group includes elite prospects such as the Cardinals' Oscar Taveras and the Pirates' Gerrit Cole.
We also identify each team's top rookie—right out of the Prospect Handbook—and the rookie with most potential for fantasy impact in 2013. Bear in mind that with few exceptions, such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper last year, rookies are poor percentage plays in fantasy sports. That's why we recommend most rookies only in keeper or deep single-league formats.
LHP Tyler Skaggs, SS Didi Gregorius, OF Adam Eaton, OF A.J. Pollock
No MLB Experience (8)
RHP Chase Anderson*, RHP Charles Brewer*, LHP Eury de la Rosa*, RHP Starling Peralta**, RHP Eric Smith*, RHP Zeke Spruill*, OF Keon Broxton*, OF Alfredo Marte*
On The Horizon
LHP David Holmberg, 3B Matt Davidson, SS Chris Owings
Top Rookie: Tyler Skaggs made three strong starts for Arizona before tiring in September and has a good chance to win a rotation job in spring training.
Fantasy Impact: A blend of speed and patience in the minors makes Adam Eaton a safe bet to accumulate runs and double-digit stolen bases for the Diamondbacks, and batting average risk is mitigated by a high contact rate. Just don't expect any contributions in home runs or RBIs. (Leagues: deep mixed) [...] Continue Reading »
Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar signed for $1.55 million out of Curacao on July 2, 2009. After starting his career in the short-season Northwest League as a 17-year-old in 2010, Profar had a breakout season in 2011, made his major league debut in 2012 and is now the best prospect in baseball.
Usually it doesn't all come together so quickly. For most Latin American prospects, the first stop is either the Dominican Summer League or the Venezuelan Summer League. While players like Profar, Braves righthander Julio Teheran or Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez occasionally are so advanced that they skip the DSL, the majority of the game's best Latin American prospects made their pro debut outside of the United States. Twelve international prospects in the Top 100—Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Miguel Sano, Carlos Martinez, Oswaldo Arcia, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Avisail Garcia, Marcell Ozuna, Yordano Ventura, Daniel Corcino and Bruce Rondon—all played in either the DSL or the VSL. Bogaerts and Martinez were on BA's inaugural DSL/VSL Top 20 list in 2010 ($).
A player performing well in one of the Latin American summer leagues isn't necessarily an indicator of future success, but players can elevate their prospect stock with a strong on-field performance, while a position player who struggles to hit in the DSL raises questions about whether he'll ever be able to hit more advanced pitching. Performance matters less for pitchers at this level, since they are still growing into their bodies and can see their stuff jump up significantly when they do, but all players are ranked on this list based on their long-term major league potential. This year's list of players from the 2012 DSL and VSL includes high-profile international signings from recent years as well as five players who signed for less than $100,000.
The 2013 Top 100 Prospects list, as determined by Baseball America's editors. [...] Continue Reading »
The Dodgers have signed Ariel Sandoval, a 17-year-old center fielder from the Dominican Republic, for $150,000.
Sandoval is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and impressed the Dodgers with his potential to hit for both average and power from the right side of the plate. He's an above-average runner who should begin his career in center field, though he has the arm strength to play right field if he outgrows the position.
Sandoval, who became eligible to sign on July 2, trained in Haina with Jaime Ozuna. Sandoval is the first six-figure international amateur signing for the Dodgers since vice president of international scouting Bob Engle and Latin American coordinator Patrick Guerrero arrived from Seattle after the 2012 season.
Here we present official minor league transactions, conveyed to us by Major League Baseball, for the period Nov. 20-26.
We saw a smattering of 40-man roster additions last time, but here we complete the picture of players shielded from the Rule 5 draft.
Signed: RHP Robert Coe (St. Paul (American Association)), RHP Chris Cox (Quebec (Can-Am)), 1B Mark Teahen, 3B Ryan Stovall (Fargo-Moorhead (American Association))
Signed: RHP Reinier Roll
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Mike Belfiore, 2B Jonathan Schoop
Removed from 40-man: RHP Oliver Drake (outrighted to Triple-A) [...] Continue Reading »
The Angels have hired Carlos Gomez to run their international scouting, Baseball America has learned.
Gomez had been the international scouting director for the Diamondbacks the last two years after joining the organization as a pro scout following the 2007 season. Gomez had worked with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto with the Diamondbacks when Dipoto was Arizona's vice president of scouting and player development. Gomez is Dipoto's first major hire on the international side since he took over as the Angels' general manager after the 2011 season. Marc Russo, the team's previous international scouting director, was not retained.
The Diamondbacks ranked 28th in Baseball America's international spending estimates in 2011, but they still landed a host of promising pitchers, including Venezuelan righthander Jesus Castillo for $250,000. Righthanders Jose Fermin, Erick Leal, Carlos Hernandez and lefthander Anfernee Bernitez all had impressive debuts this year in the Dominican Summer League.
Arizona was more aggressive with its spending since July 2 this summer, landing Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara (the No. 18 prospect available for July 2), as well as Dominican outfielder Ismael Pena, Colombian catcher Oswaldo Garcia, Dominican shortstop Fernery Ozuna and Venezuela outfielder Jose Ordaz.
Because postseason minor league all-star teams are selected by league managers, coaches, broadcasters and media they typically contain a good mix of top performers and top prospects. On this page we'll collect all the all-star teams in one place as they're announced.
Most of the abbreviations are self-explanatory, but a few are unique. Pitch is short for pitcher of the year (if the league awards one), Rook is rookie of the year (if applicable), Mgr is manager of the year, and Pros is prospect of the year (as awarded in the low Class A leagues). Many leagues select a righthanded and lefthanded all-star selection, and some also select a relief pitcher (or two). We've simply listed an asterisk (*) following the name of any lefthanded pitcher.
|INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE (AAA)
||PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE (AAA)
|PLAYER||TEAM (ORG)||POS||PLAYER||TEAM (ORG)|
|Ryan Lavarnway||Pawtucket (BOS)||C||Tim Federowicz||Albuquerque (LAD)|
|Ernesto Mejia||Gwinnett (ATL)||1B||Matt McBride||Colo. Springs (COL)|
|Cord Phelps||Columbus (CLE)||2B||Jake Elmore||Reno (ARI)|
|Carlos Rivero||Syracuse (WAS)||3B||Ryan Wheeler||Reno (ARI)|
|Jose Iglesias||Pawtucket (BOS)||SS||Adeiny Hechavarria||Las Vegas (TOR)|
|Leslie Anderson||Durham (TB)||OF||Andrew Brown||Colo. Springs (COL)|
|Corey Brown||Syracuse (WAS)||OF||Adam Eaton||Reno (ARI)|
|Starling Marte||Indianapolis (PIT)||OF||Wil Myers||Omaha (KC)|
|Mauro Gomez||Pawtucket (BOS)||DH||Jerry Sands||Albuquerque (LAD)|
|Dan Johnson||Charlotte (CWS)||UT||—|
|Tyler Cloyd||Lehigh Valley (PHI)||SP||John Ely||Albuquerque (LAD)|
|—||SP||Ryan Verdugo*||Omaha (KC)|
|Tim Wood||Indianapolis (PIT)||RP||Josh Wall||Albuquerque (LAD)|
|Mauro Gomez||Pawtucket (BOS)||MVP||Adam Eaton||Reno (ARI)|
|Tyler Cloyd||Lehigh Valley (PHI)||Pitch||John Ely||Albuquerque (LAD)|
|Ernesto Mejia||Gwinnett (ATL)||Rook||Adam Eaton||Reno (ARI)|
|Dave Miley||Scranton/WB (NYY)||Mgr||Lorenzo Bundy||Albuquerque (LAD)|
• According to a league press release, a host of prospects received votes for the PCL rookie of the year award, including Wil Myers (Omaha), Adeiny Hechavarria (Las Vegas), Jedd Gyorko (Tucson), Kole Calhoun (Salt Lake), Jake Elmore (Reno) and Grant Green (Sacramento). Adam Eaton's win gives Reno back-to-back PCL ROY award winners after Collin Cowgill won it last year.
• Ernesto Mejia became the third consecutive Gwinnett player to win the IL rookie of the year, following Julio Teheran last year and Freddie Freeman in 2010. [...] Continue Reading »
The Diamondbacks have signed Jose Ordaz, a lefthanded outfielder from Venezuela.
Ordaz, who turned 16 on Saturday, has an athletic 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame and a broad skill set, including a solid hitting approach for his age and a good swing plane that helps him hit to all fields with gap power. He doesn't have one major carrying tool, but he has a chance to stay in center field with a possible solid-average or better arm once he gains strength.
Ordaz trained at the academy of former big leaguer Carlos Guillen, whose other players this year have included righthander Jose Mujica and catcher David Rodriguez (both signed with the Rays) and outfielder Alexander Palma, who signed with the Yankees.
The Diamondbacks have been busier than usual since the 2012-13 international signing period opened on July 2. Arizona also signed Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara (the No. 18 international prospect for July 2), Dominican outfielder Ismael Pena, Colombian catcher Osvaldo Garcia and Dominican shortstop Fernery Ozuna.
The Diamondbacks have signed Ismael Pena, a corner outfielder from the Dominican Republic.
Pena, 16, was born in Canada but moved to the Dominican Republic within the last few years. He's a 6-foot-3, 175-pound lefty with a sound swing, a good approach and a hit-first, power-second profile. He's an average runner with a 45 to 50 arm on the 20-80 scale.
Arizona has shown an increased presence internationally during the 2012-13 international signing period, which began on July 2. The Diamondbacks also signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara (the No. 18 international prospect), Colombian catcher Osvaldo Garcia and Dominican shortstop Fernery Ozuna.
The Diamondbacks have signed catcher Oswaldo Garcia, a player some scouts considered the top prospect this year from Colombia.
Garcia, 16, has a large frame (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and offers intriguing power from the right side. Garcia is a former pitcher with a strong arm, though as a bigger catcher he will have to continue working on his lateral agility behind the plate.
"The tools are there," said one scout. "He's going to be a guy who, in the next two years, you might have a a really good guy behind the plate with a chance to hit for power. It's a good swing and he hits in games. He's pretty good."
Arizona also signed Fernery Ozuna, a 16-year-old Dominican shortstop. At 5-foot-8, 165 pounds, Ozuna is undersized but he's a switch-hitter who is better from the left side and shows sneaky power. He's not a burner but he's a high-energy player with good instincts who flashes an above-average arm.
• See Also: Florida State League All-Star Game Box Score
The Florida State League Southern Division all-stars ousted their Northern Division counterparts by scoring three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to win 6-3 at Charlotte Sports Park, home of the Rays' high Class A affiliate based in Port Charlotte, Fla.
St. Lucie third baseman Wilmer Flores (Mets) went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and three RBIs to win MVP honors for the game. He drove in one run on a single up the middle in the seventh, and then knocked home two on an opposite-field single in the eighth versus Lakeland righthander Bruce Rondon (Tigers). "I've faced him a few times this season and I knew he was going to come with another fastball," Flores told Minor League Baseball. "It was all about squaring it up and putting into play."
Just three batters collected extra-base hits in a game in which 19 of the 51 outs were recorded via strikeout. Dunedin first baseman Jon Talley (Blue Jays) connected for a pair of solo home runs for the Northern Division, pulling both to right field and providing his club with a 2-0 advantage through four innings. Daytona left fielder Nelson Perez (Cubs) doubled for the North, while right fielder Cory Vaughn (Mets) did the same for the South.
High Class A Jupiter outfielder Marcell Ozuna enhanced his OPS by more than 200 points in May (.892) compared with his April output (.651). The needle continues trending up for the 21-year-old Marlins slugger so far in June. Ozuna went 3-for-4 Sunday versus Bradenton and connected for three home runs, a rare occurrence in Florida State League play.
|THREE-HOMER GAMES IN THE MINORS THIS SEASON
|A.J. Kirby Jones||OAK||Stockton||California||HiA||4/18|
|Steve Proscia||SEA||High Desert||California||HiA||4/19|
|Chris Carter||OAK||Sacramento||Pacific Coast||AAA||4/22|
|Ross Wilson||CWS||Kannapolis||South Atlantic||LoA||4/27|
|Moises Sierra||TOR||Las Vegas||Pacific Coast||AAA||6/1|
|Mike Hessman||HOU||Okla. City||Pacific Coast||AAA||6/3|
|Marcell Ozuna||FLA||Jupiter||Florida State||HiA||6/10|
Ozuna hit all three home runs to left field, smashing a three-run shot in the first inning against Marauders righthander Tyler Waldron, then victimizing Waldron for a solo shot in the third, then taking righty Hunter Strickland deep for a two-run shot in the seventh. Ozuna drove in six runs, and in his other two plate appearances he struck out and got hit by a pitch.
Ozuna's outburst thrust him into the FSL lead with 13 home runs. He won a home run title previously in the 2010 short-season New York-Penn League.
Of the 11 three-homer games in the minors this season, three occurred in the California League and three more happened in the Pacific Coast League. The International League has two entries and the Eastern and South Atlantic leagues make one appearance each.
Gerrit Cole has joined the party. We’ve already been treated to plenty of standout performances from the 2011 draft class, but Cole, its No. 1 pick, had yet to come up with a signature performance of his own. Cole was just 0-1, 4.76 through his first four starts for high Class A Bradenton, but he made everyone forget about that on Monday.
The righthander threw six one-hit shutout innings against Jupiter, a lineup with no shortage of prospects of its own, most notably Marlins top prospect Christian Yelich. Cole struck out six and faced just one hitter over the minimum. He allowed a first inning single to Marcell Ozuna but promptly induced a groundball double play from Yelich, and the only other baserunner he allowed was on a two-out walk in the fifth after he’d retired 12 straight hitters.
Cole earned his first professional win and dropped his ERA to 3.52 in 23 innings, to go with a 29-7 strikeout-walk ratio.
The Marlins system is one of the thinnest in baseball, but the team’s high Class A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads, should be interesting to watch. When outfielder Christian Yelich joins the team (more on that below), the club will feature six of the the organization’s Top 10 prospects. Joining Yelich will be outfielder Marcell Ozuna, catcher J.T. Realmuto, lefthanders Chad James and Rob Rasmussen, as well as second baseman Noah Perio.
Leap Of Faith
Righthander Jose Fernanez, who was the team’s first-round pick last year, will start the season with low Class A Greensboro. Fernandez only pitched four innings after signing last year, so a full-season assignment is one of the most aggressive placements for an organization that was mostly conservative with its promotions.
[...] Continue Reading »
With all of Baseball America's League Top 20s now posted, let's tally up the results. The League Top 20 lists can be a good indicator of the strength of teams' systems. It isn't a perfect indicator because it includes some players who have since graduated as prospects and does not include this year's top draft picks that signed late.
The leagues aren't all equal, either. A player that narrowly missed the Eastern League list, for example, could very well be more valuable than a player that ranked in the second half of the Pioneer League Top 20. There are also rare instances when key players don't have enough innings or at-bats to qualify for a minor league Top 20 list.
Also note that, for this study, players are only listed once (even if they made two lists) and are listed with their current organizations. With all that said, let's look at the results. First, the raw totals. . .
|5:||White Sox, Brewers, Twins|
|7:||Orioles, Marlins, Nationals|
|8:||Astros, Cubs, Cardinals|
|9:||Diamondbacks, Indians, Angels, Phillies, Pirates|
|11:||Braves, Red Sox, Dodgers|
|16:||Rangers, Blue Jays|
But the raw tallies only tell part of the story. While they would look even based on this list, a team would much rather have a group of prospects in Triple-A and Double-A than a group of prospects at the Rookie-level. Here is how the teams stack up when only given credit for prospects in full-season leagues, not including players that graduated from Prospect Handbook eligibility this year (surpassed 130 at-bats as a hitter or 50 innings/30 appearances for a pitcher). . .
It takes years to build a quality international program.
It's a process that involves hiring the right people—both to evaluate players and to make sure those players are being handled and developed the right way—and being consistent in the market year after year, almost always with the support of ownership committed to international players.
This year we gave BA subscribers access to scouting reports on nearly 200 of the top international signings from 2010, but it will be years until we're able to sort out how each team fared abroad last year. Some teams stepped up their international spending in 2010, but it takes more than a one-year splash to create a pipeline of international talent for the major league club.
So which teams' international operations have had the greatest impact on their farm system in recent years? We're going to repeat the process we used last year to try to gauge that influence.
All offseason, fans (and us BA writers) have wondered if the Royals would set the record for most prospects on the Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list. With nine among the Top 100 they have, but that may not fully explain how stacked this Royals list is.
Not every Top 100 Prospect is the same. A prospect in the top 10 is obviously much more likely to become a star than one sitting at No. 99. So to get a better sense of the best Top 100 classes of all-time, we derived a pretty simple formula–The No. 1 prospect received 100 points, the No. 2 prospect received 99 points and so on all the way down to the No. 100 prospect who received one point. At that point, we tabulated the highest point totals by team.
What we found is the 2011 Royals are the highest-ranked team of the Top 100 era, and it's not particularly close. The gap between the Royals and the third-place organization on our list is 102 points, which is more than the points awarded for having the No. 1 prospect on the list.
You could argue that the formula is a little too simplistic–prospects at the top of the list are significantly more valuable than prospects at the bottom of the list. No team would trade top prospect Bryce Harper for the No. 50 and 51 prospects on the list, but it is a nice and simple measure of the top prospect classes of all time, and tweaking the formula to add more weight to the top of the list would only add to the Royals point total, as they are the first team in Top 100 history with five prospects in the Top 20.
Here's a look at the Top 10 Top 100 classes of the past 22 years, with a look at which players panned out, playoff success and a summary of each team's class. [...] Continue Reading »
This time: June 14-21
Signed: RHP Robbie Andrews (NDFA—Virginia Commonwealth), RHP Trey Watt (NDFA—Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)), C Richie Rowland (NDFA—Campbellsville (Ky.))
Draft picks signed: RHP Victor Lara (34), 2B Michael Weber (28), SS Zach Walters (9)
Released: RHP Abe Woody
Traded: OF Conor Jackson to Athletics for RHP Sam Demel
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Sam Demel
Recalled: OF Cole Gillespie
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Cesar Valdez, 2B Ryan Roberts
Option transferred: RHP Daniel Stange (Triple-A to Double-A)
Placed on 7-day DL: 2B Victor Estevez, OF Byron Wiley
The Rowland brothers will reunite as teammates this summer for the first time since their days at Cloverdale (Calif.) High three years ago. Arizona drafted (and signed) Robby in the third round this year, taking the righthander out of high school. Now, Richie, a catcher, joins the fold after signing as a nondrafted college senior from Campbellsville (Ky.) University. The D-backs assigned both members of the Rowlands battery to Rookie-level Missoula.
Signed: OF Josh Anderson
Draft picks signed: RHP Dan Jurik (25), RHP Kyle Mertins (28), LHP Matt Fouch (34), C Cory Brownsten (15), 1B William Beckwith (21), 2B Jarred Frierson (36), 2B Phil Gosselin (5), 3B Joey Terdoslavich (6)
Placed on restricted list: SS Luis Ramirez
Recalled: RHP Jesse Chavez
Added to 40-man roster: RHP Chris Resop
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Jesse Chavez
Placed on 7-day DL: C Orlando Mercado
Placed on 60-day DL: RHP Wei Huang, RHP Daniel Lopez
Reinstated from DL: LHP Chris Masters
The Braves opted to reward Chris Resop with a 40-man roster spot rather than lose him to an opt-out clause, which he could have exercised on June 15. For full details on Resop’s development, both here and abroad, please see our recent Prospect Bulletin. With Triple-A Gwinnett, he went 5-2, 1.84 in 13 starts, while recording 81 whiffs and 27 walks in 73 innings. The 27-year-old Resop had made just six career starts entering the season. [...] Continue Reading »
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