•Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports asked me an interesting question over the weekend. He noted that the Cardinals were No. 1 in our evaluation of minor league talent—those rankings are in our current issue and should go online this week—and wondered how many teams had occupied the top spot within two years of winning the World Series.
Baseball America has rated farm systems since 1984, and only three other organizations have pulled off that double. The Blue Jays ranked No. 1 in 1993 after winning a championship in 1992, the Marlins captured the 1997 World Series and the top spot in our ratings in 1998, and the Yankees had the best farm system in 2000 following titles in 1998 and 1999. The good news for St. Louis is all three of those organizations had subsequent World Series championships in their near future (Toronto in 1993, New York in 2000 and Florida in 2003).
•I had just about completed today's Ask BA when Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Brewers will sign Kyle Lohse, pending a physical. Lohse is the last remaining compensation free agent on the market, and assuming the deal gets completed, Milwaukee would give up the No. 17 overall pick in the draft (with a pick value of roughly $2.1 million) and the Cardinals (his former club) would get the No. 28 choice (worth roughly $1.8 million).
Lohse's signing would finalize the 2013 draft order, which would look like this:
7. Red Sox
9. Pirates (for failure to sign 2012 first-rounder Mark Appel)
10. Blue Jays
Brewers (forfeited No. 17 pick for free agent Kyle Lohse)
17. White Sox
Angels (forfeited No. 22 pick for free agent Josh Hamilton)
Braves (forfeited No. 28 pick for free agent B.J. Upton)
Nationals (forfeited No. 31 pick for free agent Rafael Soriano)
28. Cardinals (for Lohse)
29. Rays (for Upton)
30. Rangers (for Hamilton)
31. Braves (for free agent Michael Bourn)
32. Yankees (for free agent Nick Swisher)
33. Yankees (for Soriano)
Supplemental First Round (Competitive-Balance Lottery Picks)
35. Marlins (acquired from Pirates)
39. Tigers (acquired from Marlins)
Indians (forfeited fifth pick in round for Swisher)
Supplemental Second Round (Competitive-Balance Lottery Picks)
Indians (forfeited second pick in round for Bourn)
73. Marlins (acquired from Tigers)
76. Mets (for failure to sign 2012 second-rounder Teddy Stankewicz)
96. Phillies (for failure to sign 2012 second-rounder Alec Rash)
Supplemental Third Round
106. Athletics (for failure to sign 2012 third-rounder Kyle Twomey)
Twelve innings in big league camp don't really affect Wacha's stock. I was bullish on him to begin with and thought St. Louis got a steal last June. We ranked Wacha as the eighth-best prospect in the draft in the BA 500 and, given teams' never-quenched thirst for advanced college pitchers, it stunned me that he lasted 19 selections.
This spring, Wacha showed the same stuff he had at Texas A&M and in his brief pro debut last summer. He showed a hard sinker that topped out at 97 mph and a changeup that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called the best in his camp. He threw strikes and nothing fazed him. His slider still lags behind his other two pitches, and that's the lone knock on him.
Though St. Louis may assign Wacha to Triple-A Memphis to start his first full pro season, he may not get much big league time this year. Even with Chris Carpenter sidelined, the Cardinals still have a deep rotation with Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller. Joe Kelly appears to be next in line for a starting spot. Wacha could make his big league debut this year, but he probably won't claim a regular role in St. Louis until 2014.
As Douglas notes, Ramirez has a 93-97 mph fastball and also can get swings and misses with his changeup. At the same time, he lacks fastball command and a consistent breaking ball. He heads into his age-23 season without having pitched above high Class A or having dominated lower-level hitters.
Ramirez has one of the best arms in New York's system, but he still has a lot to prove. I could see him making our Yankees Top 10 after this season, but the Top 100 seems like a stretch. A lot of scouts believe he'll more useful as a reliever than a starter in the long run, though New York has no plans to move him to the bullpen yet. He'll open this season at Double-A Trenton.
John won 124 games before Dr. Frank Jobe performed the operation on his elbow in 1974, and 164 games afterward. That gives him the third-highest victory total ever after Tommy John surgery, behind David Wells (239) and Kenny Rogers (219), both of whom had their elbows reconstructed before reaching the big leagues. Three other pitchers have won 100 games after the operation: Tom Candiotti (151), A.J. Burnett (107) and Matt Morris (102).
Ten pitchers have saved 100 games following Tommy John surgery. Jason Isringhausen is way out in front with 300 saves, followed by Eric Gagne (187), Brian Wilson (171), Billy Koch (163), Joakim Soria (160), John Smoltz (154), Fernando Rodney (132), Rafael Soriano (130), Bob Wickman (111) and John Axford (106).