Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Interactive Discussion: Prospect Swap

I'd love to get some feedback and discussion here on my site and as I mulled how to do that, an idea popped into my mind. Prospects! Everyone loves prospects.  Then another idea popped into my head.  Trades! Everyone also loves trades.  So I decided to combine the two ideas.

In baseball, prospect swaps rarely happen. We just one, kinda, in the Montero-Pineda swap, although technically neither were prospects at the time. Another one, again kinda, was the Rizzo for Cashner swap. Even more rare are prospect swaps for low level minor leaguers.  Theories on why would be the relative 'safety' of doing nothing and the fact that teams have a much better gauge on their own players, so swaps involving low level minor league baseball prospects rarely happen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Gross(man) Lesson

.631 .728 .688 .869.  Now the outlier is pretty obvious; it's .869.  It's also Robbie Grossman's OPS last year, a vast improvement over his previous three years.  Generally outliers are just that, outliers.  They are indicative of a fluke or statistical anomaly, but here Grossman's OPS increase represents genuine improvement.

Friday, January 20, 2012

#9 Prospect - Jeff Locke

Another pitcher! Surprise, surprise.  This time it's Jeff Locke, my #9 Pirates Prospect.  Like Kingham was the second youngest player I had profiled up to that point, Locke is the second oldest player currently on my countdown.  Approximately one month younger than Rudy Owens, Locke was not a Pirates draftee.  Formerly part of the Atlanta Braves farm system, the left-handed pitcher was part of the swap that sent Nate McLouth (aka all-star, gold glove winner Nate McLouth) to the Braves in exchange for Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez and Locke.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Early MLB Draft Big Board

For more on the 2012 MLB Draft click here.

Earlier, I posted my early 2012 MLB mock draft.The thing about a mock draft is it doesn't accurately portray the author's ranking of draft-eligible talent.  My mock draft was no different, as I tried mto predict how the draft would actually pan out based on several factors, including organizational philosophies and consensus talent perception.  To explain that last bit, I offer an example involving ASU SS Deven Marrero.  MLB.com has him as their #3 draft prospect and for me he barely fits inside my top 10.  Speaking of top 10, that's what I'll be posting including brief reasoning of 'why' for each player.

#10 Prospect - Nick Kingham

My #10 prospect, Nick Kingham, is yet another pitcher.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, as a team can never have enough pitching prospects.  Kingham is another young kid.  In fact, Kingham, who the Pirates picked up in the 2010 draft, is the second youngest player I've profiled, only older than Clay Holmes.  Kingham was the Pirates 4th round pick in 2010 and he ended up receiving the third biggest bonus in the class, although it was only 485,000 dollars.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Early MLB Mock Draft

For more on the 2012 MLB Draft click here.

Update: Click here for my "Big Board" featuring my personal top 10 draft prospects.

The first edition of my MLB mock draft for 2012.  I will produce a few more editions over the next several months leading up to June so check back for more.  Also, check out this link for more on the MLB draft 2012. I tried to make this mock draft as realistic as possible.  To do so, I strove to avoid a mistake that I often see in mock draft and that frustrates me.  Most mock drafts focus on specific holes on the major league squad (which is better) and base the list off of that that.  I believe teams rarely, if ever, do that in actual drafts, and so instead I'll be trying to formulate my mock draft based upon organizational philosophy and the general shape of a farm system, with a major focus on best player available. I also did not put an emphasis on the effect the new CBA will have on college vs. high school players being drafted.  I think that effect will be minimal in the first round.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

MLB Draft 2012

Compilation of 2012 MLB Draft information. Click the links to go to that particular post.

06/05 - MLB Draft - Day 2 Preview
06/05 - MLB Draft - Day 1 Recap
03/18 - Draft Preview: The Youngin's Part 2
03/15 - Draft Preview: The Youngin's Part 1
02/21 - New CBA: This sucks but there is hope
01/17 - Early MLB Draft Big Board
01/15 - Early MLB Mock Draft
01/10 - More on the MLB Draft - Toronto Blue Jays Edition
01/08 - More on the MLB Draft 
12/27 - Early Draft Preview - Carlos Correa; Matt Smoral

Buried Treasure Top 20 Prospects

Here is my top 20 Pirates Prospects list for the 2012 season all in one place. So far I have prospects 11-20 finished.  I promise to have my entire top 20 ready for spring training, so check back frequently! Just click the link to go to that player's profile.

01 - Jameson Taillon
02 - Gerrit Cole
03 - Starling Marte
04 - Luis Heredia
05 - Josh Bell
06 - Robbie Grossman
07 - Tony Sanchez
08 - Jarek Cunningham
09 - Jeff Locke
10 - Nick Kingham
11 - Kyle McPherson
12 - Stetson Allie
13 - Alex Dickerson
14 - Colton Cain
15 - Matt Curry
16 - Zack Dodson
17 - Gorkys Hernandez
18 - Rudy Owens
19 - Zack Von Rosenberg
20 - Clay Holmes

Friday, January 13, 2012

#11 Prospect - Kyle McPherson

My #11 Pirates prospect, Kyle McPherson shares certain similarities to my #12 prospect Stetson Allie. Both are right handed pitchers in the Pittsburgh farm system.  From there, they also have their differences.  The buzzword for Allie is ceiling, while the catch-phrase for McPherson is floor. 

McPherson was drafted in the 14th round (428th overall) by the Pirates in 2007 out of the University of Mobile.  At the time, McPherson was intriguing - possessing a solid fastball that sat in the low 90's, passable command, and decent secondaries - but intriguing was the limit.  In his first two full seasons, 2008 and 2009, McPherson did little to change that.  He posted solid ERA's, but McPherson's peripherals were weak.  In 2008, McPherson posted a mediocre 6.6 K/9 although his 0.8 BB/9 demonstrated excellent control as a 20 year old pitching at State College.  McPherson saw his already iffy K/9 dip a bit in 2009, pitching at both State College and West Virginia as a 21 year old, posting a 6.3 K/9, although his 1.2 BB/9 was again impressive.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More on the MLB Draft - Toronto Blue Jays Edition

For more on the 2012 MLB Draft click here.

Here, I went through an exercise in which I "drafted" for the Pirates in 2012.  I estimated their draft budget based off a few factors, used players from 2011, and "drafted" them using 2012 picks.  Each player was still available at their draft slot and I made sure I stayed under the draft limit I imposed of 9 million dollars.

For the Pirates, I drafted the following players.

8 - Francisco Lindor - Carlos Correa (16) - HS SS
43 - Andrew Chaffin - Kyle Zimmer (32) - College RHP
53- Jason Esposito - Stephen Piscotty (37) - College 3B
72* - Andrew Susac - Josh Elander (48) - College C
* Projected position

Sunday, January 8, 2012

More on the MLB Draft

For more on the 2012 MLB Draft click here.

The Pirates draft position is not yet set, but all indications are that the Pirates will add a second compensatory pick due to losing Derrek Lee in free agency.  So far, the Pirates have the 8th overall pick along with 43rd overall pick in the compensatory round.  If Derrek Lee signs with a team other than the Pirates, they will receive currently the 52nd pick.  If Carlos Pena signs with a team other than the Cubs - which looks likely as the Cubs just acquired 1B Anthony Rizzo and are allegedly still in the market for Prince Fielder - then the Cubs will get the 52nd overall pick and the Pirates will be bumped down to the 53rd pick.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Follow the Figure 8: The D'Arnaud Connection

Imagine a figure 8.  The path it forms is indicative of the D'Arnaud brother's paths in baseball.  At the bottom is the beginning of the figure 8, and it symbolizes the two brothers growing up together in the same household and playing baseball. Then the figure 8 diverges as Travis D'Arnaud did not follow his brother Chase to Pepperdine but instead chose to sign with the Phillies organization out of high school.  Chase was later drafted by Pittsburgh and the two paths begin to bend back in towards each other.  They converged at the center of the 8 as the two brothers had the opportunity to play on the same team as South Atlantic League Northern Division All-Stars. After that, the paths of the brothers diverged again as Travis was traded to the Toronto organization. From there, the figure 8 continued to form as Chase made the major leagues with the Pirates last year, starting the curve back towards the finished top of the figure 8.  Soon, Travis will join his brother in the major leagues and the figure 8 will be complete.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

#12 Prospect - Stetson Allie

Potential, ceiling, flamethrower, "Holy crap he has no idea where his fastball is going."  All are words or phrases almost certainly muttered at one time or another regarding my #12 Pirates prospect, Stetson Allie. The 6'2 or 6'4 (depends on the source), 220 lbs right handed pitcher was the Pirates second round pick in 2010.  Allie was actually Baseball America's #8 draft prospect but fell due to signability concerns.  The Pirates ignored those concerns and took Allie and then paid him 2.25 million dollars to forgo his college commitment to UNC.  

Allie, even at the time of the draft, had incredible pure stuff.  Baseball America said about Allie, "His pure stuff rivals Jameson Taillon's as the best in this draft." Allie's bread and butter is his fastball, that sat in the mid to high 90's as a high school senior and regularly touched triple digits.  He complemented that with a filthy slider that reached the low 90's and has plenty of movement.  Allie rarely used his third pitch - a changeup - in high school, so the Pirates would and will need to develop it for him to be a starter.  Allie also has no stamina problems, as he has a strong, workhorse frame and during high school his stuff held deep into games.  What will hold Allie back, particularly as a starter, is his control and command.  Due to his rawness, Allie was certainly a project coming out of high school, but it's hard to find any pitcher at any level of baseball with the pure stuff possessed by Stetson Allie.