Showing posts with label Atlanta Braves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atlanta Braves. Show all posts

Sunday, November 16, 2014

More Hot Stove Junkie

The next Cuban Sensation: Shortstop Yoan Moncada
Yoan Moncada

Wow, did a lot happen this week or what? My favorite bit of news is on the next Cuban Sensation up for bid. He is 19-year old shortstop (and potential second baseman, third baseman or center fielder) Yoan Moncada. This kid is said to be the real deal and definitely worthy of a spot on your dynasty league roster or a minor-league pick in keeper leagues. He is said to have plus speed, plus power and skill with the bat to go with a rocket arm and soft hands in the field.

This Ben Badler quote from Baseball America cinches the deal for me:
How good is Moncada? He has more upside than Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who just reached a $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox. He’s better than Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas... If Moncada were eligible for the 2015 draft, he would be in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick. Gourriel and Despaigne would be safer bets, but there’s no player in Cuba with Moncada’s combination of youth, tools and hitting ability. The Yoan Moncada Showcase

Yoan Moncada may force MLB to move to an International Draft

Baseball America's Profile on Yoan Moncada

The Tampa Bay Rays Trade Jeremy Hellickson

Hellickson seemed to defy expectations his first few years in the majors with ERA totals that looked much better than the various ERA predictors such as FIP and xFIP  revealed. Then injuries and disappointment dominated the last two seasons - as many experts predicted. What do the Arizona Diamondbacks see in Hellickson? They seem to have a vast collection of talented starting pitchers that have disappointed in one way or another, even before adding Hellickson to their numbers. They also have a few highly thought of pitching prospects.

I am confident that Hellickson can be solid mid-rotation starter for the D'backs. I think injuries are mostly to blame for the poor performance the last two seasons. And even if he is not the pitcher he appears to be in his rookie and sophomore seasons, he was never really projected to be terrible. His strikeout rate  has been ticking upward and his Swinging Strike rate is indicating that improvement is real. The uptick in strikeouts has also led to an improving FIP. The move to the NL should only help his strikeout rate improve further and with a solid defense behind him I think he will be quite fantasy worthy for a low investment.

Diamondbacks fans are not thrilled by the trade

Rays fans seem quite a bit happier...

Rays fans examine Hellickson just before the deal took place

New York Newsday's Controversial Steroid Story

Anthony Bosch has accused agent Scott Boras of attempting to cover up the positive test by Manny Ramirez a few years ago. At this point in the on-going steroid/PED story I do not know what to believe. It would be easy to believe that everyone involved in any way is dirty and that no one undeserving has been smeared but I cannot force myself to believe it. I will be very happy when all facets of this story disappear forever.

The New York Newsday Story

Scott Boras statement on the accusations (added to the Newsday Story after the fact)

Mets GM Sandy Alderson has nothing good to say about Scott Boras

The 2014 MLB Season Awards

Despite having his worst full season in the majors Mike Trout finally won the American League MVP award. Though a .287/.377/.561 batting line with 36 homeruns and 16 stolen bases would be a career year for most players. For fantasy owners I'm sure the stolen base total was disappointing and perhaps a few owners were counting on a .300-plus batting average to pull up the rest of their team batting stats. Jeff Sullivan of looks at how Trout was pitched in the second half of the season when he had a 30 percent strikeout rate. Personally I believe he will make the necessary adjustments to how he is pitched and continue to be one of the better players in the American League for another decade or so.

If I had a vote I would have given it to Giancarlo Stanton (he lets me call him Mike) for the National League MVP. I do not have a problem with pitchers winning the MVP award but I think that should only happen when the pitcher has an historic season and there is not a worthy performance by a batter. I do not believe that was the case this season. Stanton was outstanding this season and when you consider the overall decline of offense in MLB it was even more outstanding. A season of 6.1 fWAR, a 159wRC+, and 37 homeruns is a more than worthy MVP. The Miami Marlins were even in contention until late in the season thanks largely to his performance.

From MLBTradeRumors:
Trout’s 420 points were the most possible, and rounding out the top 10 in the AL were Victor Martinez (229), Michael Brantley (185), Jose Abreu (145), Jose Bautista (128), Robinson Cano (124), Nelson Cruz (102), Josh Donaldson (96), Miguel Cabrera (82) and Felix Hernandez (48). The full ballot is available in this Google doc from the BBWAA.
Kershaw edged out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, finishing with 355 points to 298. Behind Kershaw and Stanton in the top 10 were Andrew McCutchen (271), Jonathan Lucroy (167), Anthony Rendon (155), Buster Posey (152), Adrian Gonzalez (57), Adam Wainwright (53), Josh Harrison (52) and Anthony Rizzo (37). The full ballot is available in this Google Doc from the BBWAA.
 Jose Abreu finished fourth in the MVP race and was the first ROY for the Chicago White Sox since Ozzie Guillen in 1985. After a huge debut season it is tough to imagine him doing much better, but if you look at his season splits it might change your mind. hit .292/.342/.630 with an absurd 29 homeruns in 351 PA. The second half he batted .350/.435/.513 with seven homers in 271 PA. The obvious takeaway might be the decline in homerun rate. But Abreu played through a hamstring injury for most of the second half and hit .350 while major league pitchers were doing everything in their power to either get him out or keep him from clearing the bases with one swing. I think there is another MVP worthy season coming from Jose Abreu.

I was a little surprised that Jake deGrom was such an over whelming winner over Billy Hamilton. However he is more than worthy of the award. The first New York Met ROY since the great Dwight  Gooden in 1984. deGrom is essentially the product of a good arm on an intelligent and hard-working player receiving great coaching and rubbing shoulders with talented veterans.

Eno Sarris Breaks down deGrom's experience and development in the Minor Leagues (a must read)

Hamilton's stats certainly were not as good for fantasy purposes in the second half but there were signs that he was improving as a baseball player which can only be good for his current and future owners. His defense was outstanding and he showed guts continuing to go out there and battle. Hamilton has shown the ability to adjust in the minors and I think he will adjust again to the barrage of inside fastballs he saw in the second half. Unless you paid an absurd amount for him he should be worth keeping around just for the stolen bases as he continues to improve as a player.

From MLBTrade Rumors:
The Angels’ Matt Shoemaker (40 points), the Yankees’ Dellin Betances (27), the Astros’ Collin McHugh (21) the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (16) rounded out the top five in the AL voting.  Billy Hamilton finished second in the NL balloting with 92 points, well ahead of the Cardinals’ Kolten Wong (14), the Phillies’ Ken Giles (8) and the Diamondbacks’ Ender Inciarte (4).
Ken Giles made an impression this season

From MLBTradeRumors:
Kershaw was a unanimous winner, with Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright finishing second and third, respectively. Madison Bumgarner finished in fourth place (obligatory caveat: votes were due before the postseason commenced), while Jordan Zimmermann, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Doug Fister, Jake Arrieta, Craig Kimbrel, Stephen Strasburg and Henderson Alvarez rounded out the ballot. The award marks Kershaw’s third Cy Young in four seasons.

Kluber, a breakout star with the Indians, edged out Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who finished second. Kluber received a total of 169 points in the voting, while Hernandez received 159. Rounding out the ballot were Chris Sale, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, David Price, Phil Hughes, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Kluber posted an 18-9 record with a 2.44 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 48 percent ground-ball rate in 235 2/3 innings.
The Re-Building Braves

The Dodgers were not the only team to revamp their front office this fall. They brought Roy Clark back to the organization and hired Gordon Blakeley as Special Assistants to the General Manager. Brian Bridges was promoted to scouting director. Not to mention being John Hart on as the General Manager. The Braves have entered if not quite a re-building period - it is at least a period of re-structuring that extends from the front office to the playing field.

Baseball America outlines the front office and scouting department changes the Braves have made.

John Hart denied that the Braves were shopping Evan Gattis despite the abundance of rumors to the contrary. The inexperienced Christian Bethancourt will be the primary starting catcher. If the Braves are not marketing Gattis they will need to find a place for him to play, which is likely what has gotten the media and other GMs speculating.
“We are coming in with the idea that we don’t have to trade anybody,” Hart said. “We have not made a call (to see if a team is interested in any player). We have received calls on people; we haven’t had any conversations yet. That (Gattis rumor) is absolutely inaccurate. And quite frankly, I think anybody that says that – if you look, I’ve got two corner outfielders who’ve got one year left (before free agency), and I’ve got one potential corner outfielder (Gattis) that’s got four years left (under contractual control).”
Despite this statement it seems almost certain that the Braves will deal one of their corner outfielders before the season. I am sure they would prefer to trade B.J. Upton, but that is extremely unlikely to happen. That means either Jason Heyward or Justin Upton, if not both, will be traded for some combination of prospects and pitchers they can control for several years.the Braves should be able to get whatever they need. There are so few quality and experienced bats available in trade, they should have multiple options.

But then there is this:
“Everybody mentions the two outfielders (as trade targets), but there’s other pieces on this club that we might consider (trading),” John Hart said. “There’s some bullpen pieces below Kimbrel. We’ve got some pieces that people like, it’s just a matter of trying to the right guys back where you’re going to say, this will allow us to win, or at least allow us to compete. That’s where we are this early in the winter. And I think it’d be a shame on us if we didn’t go out and explore that avenue first. Go out and see if we can make a deal to get pieces that we like.That will, even though we’ve got to subtract something, will still give the club a chance to compete.”
GM John Hart on the Gattis Rumors

The Braves GM of the Future

The Yankees are Making Moves

Pending a physical, the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $2.5MM deal with free agent outfielder Chris Young. It sounds like the yanks will also attempt to re-sign their closer, David Robertson. but Cashman's recent comments also make it sound as if negotiations will either progress quickly or the Yankees will move on and accept the draft pick as compensation.

Brian Cashman on the 2015 Closer

Cashman on the Justin Wilson Acquisition

Chris Young Re-Signed

The Yankees Outfield

More A-Rod Crap

Other Links of Potential Interest to Fantasy Owners

The Royals are interested in acquiring 1B Ryan Howard

More on the Dodgers new methodology.

Pablo Sandoval is a hot commodity

The Angels have targeted Max Scherzer

The Cardinals have money to spend

Baseball America on Cuban Shortstop Roberto Baldoquin

Rays Montreal Rumors

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Atlanta Braves Hitters and the Mendoza Line

By Ben Hargrove

The Atlanta Braves have the biggest lead of any division leader and they’ve done it with three of their main hitters unable to cross the Mendoza Line for much of the season. On June 10, B.J. Upton was hitting .158, Dan Uggla was hitting .193 and Jason Heyward was at .200 exactly, the first time since April 3 he had gotten his batting average out of the .100s. As of press time, Upton was hitting .178, Uggla .203, and Heyward .227, not exactly great numbers for those who play weekly fantasy baseball.

The Braves success this season stems from their 3.20 staff ERA, an earned run average that is currently second in the majors. But they are also 13th in runs despite being 22th in batting average, thanks to their 99 homers, which is fourth in the majors. 

Even if the Braves were not having so much success despite their low batting averages, contract considerations would likely keep Uggla and Upton in the lineup. They are the two highest-paid Braves, with Upton making $75 million for five years and Uggla getting $62 million for five years.  (B.J. Upton’s brother Justin has a six-year, $50 million deal.)  

Uggla is still a slugger
Uggla at least is hitting homers. He has 13, second-best among second basemen behind the Yankees’ Robinson Cano. Uggla, hit 30 homers for five straight seasons from 2007 to 2011 before hitting 19 last year.
But Uggla has also hit for a poor average since coming to Atlanta -.233 in 2011 and .220 in 2012. In his five seasons with the Marlins, Uggla hit below .250 twice. 

Upton showing some signs of life
B.J. Upton has not hit above .250 since 2008 and he has at least 150 strikeouts in five of the last six seasons.  But Upton also has five straight seasons of 30 or more steals and has averaged 23 homers per year over the last three seasons.  This season, Upton has just six steals along with four caught stealing. He has eight homers. 

Upton has shown signs of life in June, hitting .244 with four homers and 11 RBI in the month.  He has 15 walks along with 21 strikeouts after fanning 63 times with 16 walks in April and May.

Heyward’s power numbers are still poor
Heyward has also looked better in June, hitting .308 for the month after entering the month at .146. Heyward was hitting just .121 in April when he underwent an appendectomy and was out almost a month. After he returned in mid-May, Heyward hit .178 for the rest of May.  Heyward’s career April batting average is.231 and his May mark is .225, but his marks for the next three months are all .270 or above. But after hitting 27 homers with 21 steals in 2012, Heyward has just six homers and one steal this season.    

Ben Hargrove writes on a variety of season-long, daily and weekly fantasy baseball topics for DraftStreet.          

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Martin Prado: Best Hitter in the National League?

I found something odd inside last week's Baseball America. On page 15 they printed the results of their survey of major league managers of the best tools in baseball. Most of it was fairly predictable. The best National League baserunners were Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen. The most exciting players in the American League were Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki. And the best hitters in the National League were Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Martin Prado. Say what, now? Martin Prado?

It's true that Martin Prado has been extremely good over the last couple of years. First as a utility player and finally as the full-time second baseman. Dave Cameron of had good things to say about him during his Trade Value series of articles in which Prado ranked at number 47.
The ultimate performance over tools guy in the big leagues right now, Prado’s success is a testament to how pedigree doesn’t mean everything. This is a guy who hit 15 home runs in 2,119 minor league plate appearances, and was simply not considered much of a prospect when he got to the big leagues. However, for the last three years, he’s been one of the best second baseman in baseball, adding some power to his already good contact rates and turning himself into a legitimate All-Star this season. He’s headed for his prime years as an already good player, and the Braves have him under control for three more seasons. He might be the most unexpected guy on this list, but he’s earned his spot here.
By wOBA, Prado comes in an impressive seventh among second basemen this season with an extremely solid .368 score. He ranks 22nd in wOBA in the National League, which is impressive for a player that was not expected to become an offensive force.

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At the time of this posting, Prado held a slash of .317/.360/.488 with 15 homeruns, 89 runs scored, and 58 RBI in 498 at-bats. Although his walk rate is unimpressive at just 6.4 percent, he has shown incredible patience at the plate. He swings at far fewer pitchers than most major league hitters both in and out of the strike zone. He also makes far greater contact. He is definitely a skilled hitter. The key to his transformation seems to be his steadily increasing power. The last three seasons have seen his ISO go from .140 to .158 to .171 this season.

Although most leagues do not bother with defense, I thought it would be interesting to see how he has been with the glove. The answer is pretty good overall. He's been excellent at third base just passing at second base but showing some improvement. I think this helps us call him a pretty good third baseman and a very good second baseman.

Unfortunately, the major league managers seem to have elevated him a bit past his true skills as a hitter. He is definitely a player worth watching for fantasy purposes. At 27-years old with experience we may see him take another step up and into the true tier of best hitters in the National League. But for now I would still place players like Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Matt Holliday, Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez in a class above him.

How has Martin Prado helped in your quests for gold. Are you ready to label him one of the best hitters in the National League? Let's hear about it in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hot Prospects: Mike Minor and Aroldis Chapman

NBC Sports is reporting that the Braves are promoting left-hander Mike Minor to Triple-A Gwinnett after dominating Double-A batters with 109 strikeouts in just 87 innings. Minor is a candidate for a second half call-up if the Braves need the arm. However, they could try to restrict his inning count in just his second professional season.

From Jason Grey
"The No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft is a relatively polished four-pitch southpaw (despite his first-inning blowup in the Rising Stars game). He sits at 90-92 mph but showed he could dial it up to 94 when needed. He had good fade on his change, and his curveball was inconsistent but good at times. He needs to improve his fringy slider, but he's another pitcher who could move very quickly but doesn't have a huge ceiling."
They also have a report on Aroldis Chapman's progress in his transition (at least temporarily) into a reliever.
"Excellent," GM Walt Jocketty said when asked how Chapman was doing as a reliever. "His last time out [on Saturday], he pitched one inning and faced two left-handed hitters and struck them out. He got the right-hander out. In that one performance, he was dominating."

Chapman has allowed one run over three innings in two relief appearances with Triple-A Louisville, striking out five and walking one. The Cuban fireballer was scheduled to work two innings behind the rehabbing Edinson Volquez on Tuesday night.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Around Baseball: News, Links, and Observations

Want a job working for a Major League Baseball team? Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus shares an attempt by a major League team to tap into the knowledge of baseball fans. You can win your chance by sending your answer to the following question (send it by November 9th, 2009) to just don't expect an answer unless you are in the running.
If you had access to all of the information available to a major league team - both public and proprietary data, such as scouting reports, training reports, video, etc - what question(s) would you attempt to answer with that data? How would you go about that process? What potential problems do you foresee?
David O'Brien runs the excellent Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Braves Blog. This is one of the better sources for information on the Braves and the thinking of their management team. In the post linked above, O'Brien discusses the Braves' priorities for the 2010 season. They have placed a right-handed power hitter at the top of their list of needs. Closely followed by re-signing Adam LaRoche (or another power-hitting first baseman). Interestingly, O'Brien seems to think the Braves could pry outfielder (and right-handed power hitter) Nelson Cruz away from the Texas Rangers and I think he may be right.
But anyway, Cruz is right-handed and hit .260 with 33 homers, 20 stolen bases and an .856 OPS in 128 games, and while his .931 OPS at hitter-friendly Arlington was a lot higher than his .778 on the road, he hit almot as many homers (15) on the road than at home (18) in virtually the same number of at-bats.
Nelson Cruz had a fantastic season in 2009 but found himself on the bench frequently in the second half. This is partly due to minor injuries and a few slumps but manager Ron Washington seemed to like his other options much better. The Rangers are very deep in the outfield. They have rookie Julio Borbon (who looked a lot like a junior version of Carl Crawford) projected as the 2010 center fielder. Josh Hamilton is moving to right field (he's still a stud in case you were wondering). That leaves left field open for one of Nelson Cruz; Marlon Byrd, who hit 20 home runs and who the Rangers want to re-sign; 0r lesser possibilities like David Murphy, Brandon Boggs, and Greg Golson.

The Nationals Farm Authority is repeating a rumor first tweeted by ESPN’s Jose Arangure which suggests that Jeff Zona, currently a Nats Cross Checker could be promoted to Director of International Scouting. Zona was a scout for the Boston Red Sox in 2004 when they finally broke The Curse. I have a good feeling about the direction of the Nationals. Since Mike Rizzo took over they've almost exactly what I would have wanted them to do. The Nats have a powerful lineup that should be even better in 2010. Their bullpen is beginning to look like a potential strength with Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Garrett Mock and Mike MacDougal forming the heart of it. They are quickly building a formidable farm system featuring players with true star potential such as Stephen Strasburg, Derek Norris, and Michael Burgess. I suggest that Fantasy Owners look very deeply at Mike Rizzo's moves this off-season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks completed the Jon Garland trade when the D'Backs accepted infielder Tony Abreu as the player to be named later. There has been some controversy over Abreu's service time but apparently not enough to force the Dodgers to change the compensation. Abreu is a strong contact hitter who does not draw many walks. He has good pop for a middle infielder and decent speed, but does not steal many bases. I think of Abreu as a Howie Kendrick-lite who could have some value in NL-only leagues in 2010, if he wins the starting job at second base. He will definitely be in the mix.

If you have ever found yourself bitching about the price of tickets to the best sporting events you needs to read Seats of Gold. Hell, even if you haven't the insanity that is the Legends Suite at the New Yankee Stadium is worth reading about. I'm pretty certain I won't ever be going to Yankee Stadium ever again. I want to, but I don't think I'll ever be able to do it.

In the downstairs half of the suite, there are all the same food stations -- plus dessert. Ice cream served in little blue Yankees helmets. Or maybe an entire pint for your seat. Pan-sautéed whoopie pies. I get three or four of those and take them to the bar, where I order a $60 glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label (food's free, booze isn't). A house ad airs on the television in front of me. Apparently, I can buy Kobe beef to take home from the stadium. Yes, there's a butcher here. And an art gallery. I can get sushi and lobster rolls and Scottish salmon in another nearby lounge, along with duck pasta. On the first- and third-base side of the room, hidden from common view behind home plate, sit gigantic tables covered with every snack imaginable. There's Cracker Jack and peanuts, Twizzlers and Twix, Skittles and Starburst, plus five or six other kinds of sugar-coated goodness.

I watch a kid, maybe 8 years old, stand in front of the spread. He's paralyzed. His dad is trying not to laugh, and the boy can't figure out what to take. He's never seen anything like this.

The dad finally laughs. "It's all included," he tells his son. "It's like Willy Wonka."

Welcome to the new America, kid. Too bad you can't save a bag of Skittles in your wallet for 50 years. Luckily, you'll never know what you're missing.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tommy Hanson, Gordon Beckham, and Andrew McCutchen Arrive

Wednesday was a big day for top prospects. Tommy Hanson, the Atlanta Braves stud pitching prospect was called up and will start for the Braves on Saturday. Gordon Beckham, the stud shortstop prospect of the Chicago White Sox was recalled and will start nearly everyday at a variety of positions. Andrew McCutchen, the stud center field prospect for the Pittsburgh Pirates will now roam the major league outfield.

Tommy Hanson and the Atlanta Braves

Tommy Hanson was called up by the Braves as part of series of moves. They traded for the Pirates' center fielder, Nate McClouth. Then they released 305-game winner, and future Hall-of-Famer, Tom Glavine. It seems this was mostly a cost-cutting measure as Glavine was due a significant bonus when activated. This move looks pretty classless to me. I understand that business is business, but Tom Glavine deserved better from the Braves. These are not the Braves they used to be. Kris Medlen was scheduled to start on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, but has been moved to the bullpen in favor of Hanson.

Hanson has been dominating at Triple-A Gwinnett. He was clearly ready to take the next step in his development as a potential major league ace. Despite his potential, Hanson is still more likely than not to suffer through the ups and downs that all young starters experience. That said, you would be a fool not to pick him up, especially if you have the ability to stash him on your bench. Milwaukee is an awful tough team to face in your first start. He induces a lot of infield fly balls. He is fairly neutral as to whether he is a ground ball or a fly ball pitcher but take out the infield fly balls and he leans more towards being a worm killer. He does a very good job of keeping the ball in the park.

Season Team K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 AVG WHIP BABIP
2006 Braves (R) 9.75 1.57 6.22 0.35 0.224 0.99 0.308 75.20% 2.12
2007 Braves (A) 11.10 3.21 3.46 0.74 0.199 1.05 0.28 73.70% 3.12
2007 Braves (A+) 9.60 4.80 2.00 1.50 0.239 1.42 0.29 74.70% 5.03
2008 Braves (A+) 11.03 2.48 4.45 0.00 0.117 0.65 0.19 80.70% 1.95
2008 Braves (AA) 10.47 3.77 2.78 0.83 0.202 1.13 0.273 75.40% 3.6
2009 Braves (AAA) 12.21 2.31 5.29 0.68 0.176 0.86 0.265 83.30% 2.42

Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates filled the gaping hole left in their lineup and in center field with top prospect, Andrew McCutchen. He was probably ready to get a shot at the major leagues but he is more of a leadoff hitter than a middle of the order player. He's been compared to Ricky Henderson a lot, but that is tremendously overstating things. He should get on base at a decent clip and steal bases, but he won't be the kind of roto-guy that can get you 12 points in steals all by himself. This leaves the Pirates lineup seriously lacking in power hitters.

I understand why the Pirates would want to trade McClouth. They can't really expect him to be a part of their next contending team which is probably still three or four years off. But McClouth was signed to a very reasonable deal. They should have shopped him around rather than trade him so quickly. To trade him for second tier prospects cheats the franchise and the fans. One top prospect would have been a much better deal for them than multiple prospects. Especially when they already have a roster (at more than one level) full of similar players. If the Indians can get Matt LaPorta for a couple of months of CC Sabathia, doesn't a cheap and signed McClouth have a similar value?

2006 Pirates (A) 8.50% 20.10% 0.356 0.446 0.155 6.5 0.339 0.369
2006 Pirates (AA) 8.50% 26.70% 0.373 0.467 0.16 2.7 0.385 0.378
2007 Pirates (AA) 8.80% 18.30% 0.327 0.386 0.126 6.5 0.298 0.332
2007 Pirates (AAA) 5.60% 16.40% 0.347 0.418 0.104 3.6 0.364 0.337
2008 Pirates (AAA) 11.70% 17.00% 0.372 0.398 0.115 5.4 0.327 0.347
2009 Pirates (AAA) 7.80% 11.90% 0.361 0.493 0.189 8.1 0.329 0.383

Gordon Beckham and the Chicago White Sox

Let me tell you how much I loath Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox manager. A lot. He's a complete idiot. The first thing he does when the White Sox announce that Gordon Beckham is coming up (a move Guillen has been very much against) is try to crash the kid's confidence (I don't think it will work, but that is not the point) by telling everyone that he questions Beckham's ability to play at multiple positions. He also refuses to just give the kid a spot and let him stay there. Instead he'll rotate around the infield so that Chris Getz of all players can stay in the lineup. The White Sox will be much better when they get off their butts and fire Guillen. No manager has ever deserved it more.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Beckham the Sox have designated Wilson Betemit for assignment. Tough to believe they won't find a trading partner to take on Betemit. He could find himself back with the New York Yankees. Beckham is a very disciplined hitter for such a young player. He does not strike out much. He doesn't draw many walks but when you're hitting .458 at Triple-A, why bother? He should hit for decent power (in the 10-15 range) and steal more bases (that's Guillen's thing, stealing bases) than he did in the minors.

2008 White Sox (A) 7.90% 12.10% 0.365 0.500 0.190 2.7 0.313 0.379
2009 White Sox (AA) 8.70% 16.30% 0.366 0.497 0.197 2.7 0.336 0.391
2009 White Sox (AAA) 0.00% 8.30% 0.440 0.625 0.167 4.1 0.500 0.469

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Pirates Trade Nate McClouth for Prospects!

In an unexpected move for the Pirates, they traded their All-Star center fielder, Nate McClouth to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects. Even more unexpected is that the Braves did not have to part with Tommy Hanson or Jason Heyward who are their top prospects. This is not the typical dump deal. The Pirates had McClouth signed to a very reasonable contract.

From Cot's Baseball Contracts:

09:$2M, 10:$4.5M, 11:$6.5M, 12:$10.65M club option ($1.25M buyout)

So the Pirates gave up an inexpensive player who is also considered one of their best players. The prospects are being reported as the following by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette with quotes from Pittsburgh General Manager Neal Huntington:


On trading McLouth:
"This may be the toughest decision we have made in my time with the organization. Nate is a quality player and person but, as we have said several times, tough decisions will need to be made as we build and sustain a championship-caliber organization. Nate has worked as hard as any player to become a starting major league Player, proving wrong anyone who may have doubted him. When we signed Nate to a long-term contract, we did so with the intent on having him remain part of our core of homegrown talent. But the quality and quantity of talent we are receiving in this trade moves us closer to our goal of building that sustainable championship-caliber club and compelled us to move a very good player and an outstanding young man."

On Locke: "An intriguing young left-handed starter with the frame, athleticism and stuff to become a quality major-league starting pitcher."

On Morton: "A power right-handed starting pitcher who is excelling at Class AAA. He is close to being ready for the big leagues and has the upside to become a quality major league starting pitcher."

On Hernandez: "A dynamic player who has the potential to become an above-average major league outfielder. He is a quality athlete with plus speed and plays above-average defense. He has bat speed and the upside to develop into a productive table setter."

The Pirates have called up their number one prospect, Andrew McCutchen. He will start in center field. This may be one of the underlying reasons that the Pirates made this trade. Perhaps they believed that McClouth would have a problem with moving out of center field.

I'll have a more complete report on all the prospects involved a bit later.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Braves Deal Center Fielder to Tigers

The Atlanta Braves sent outfielder Josh Anderson to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Rudy Darrow. This is pretty clear evidence that top prospect Jordan Schafer has won Atlanta's center field job.
Anderson was in competition for the center-field job with the Braves, but immediately hit the trading block when he apparently lost out to Jordan Schafer. He'll be an extra outfielder in Detroit, where the starting trio of Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez is set. The 26-year-old Anderson played 40 games with the Braves last year, batting .294 with seven doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. His Minor League numbers give a better glimpse of his speed, he swiped 42 bases in 49 attempts over 121 games at Triple-A Richmond last year and boasts 280 stolen bases in his six-year Minor League career.
Jordan Schafer should add speed and power to the Braves lineup. I see him becoming an eventual 20/20 type on an annual basis. I hardily recommend him in all NL-only leagues and he should contribute in deeper mixed leagues as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Shortstops Ranked By wOBA

What are the Atlanta Brave going to do with Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson and now a returning Rafael Furcal? Could the Braves be re-entering the Jake Peavy sweepstakes?

From the New York Times:
Shortstop Rafael Furcal is close to accepting a three-year, $30 million offer to return to the Atlanta Braves.

The 31-year-old Furcal began his major league career with Atlanta, playing for the Braves from 2000 to 2005. He spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“He liked the idea of coming back to Atlanta, but there hasn’t been any formal agreement,” Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, said.

The deal would contain an option for 2012 that could become guaranteed.

Furcal hit .357 last season with 5 home runs and 16 runs batted in but had back surgery July 3 and was limited to 36 games and 143 at-bats.

Rafael Furcal 0.439 0.573 0.38 0.44
Hanley Ramirez 0.4 0.54 0.332 0.405
Ramon Santiago 0.411 0.46 0.301 0.389
Jerry Hairston 0.384 0.487 0.361 0.387
Jose Reyes 0.358 0.475 0.319 0.366
Ben Zobrist 0.339 0.505 0.255 0.364
Mike Aviles 0.354 0.48 0.359 0.36
Jimmy Rollins 0.349 0.437 0.292 0.357
J.J. Hardy 0.343 0.478 0.306 0.355
Stephen Drew 0.333 0.502 0.326 0.353
Jhonny Peralta 0.331 0.473 0.316 0.347
Clint Barmes 0.322 0.468 0.329 0.344
Derek Jeter 0.363 0.408 0.336 0.343
Cristian Guzman 0.345 0.44 0.339 0.341
Ryan Theriot 0.387 0.359 0.34 0.338
Nomar Garciaparra 0.326 0.466 0.243 0.337
Yunel Escobar 0.366 0.401 0.312 0.337
Michael Young 0.339 0.402 0.326 0.331
Alberto Callaspo 0.361 0.371 0.327 0.328
Alex Cora 0.371 0.349 0.295 0.327
Jed Lowrie 0.339 0.4 0.342 0.326
Nick Punto 0.344 0.382 0.337 0.324
Matt Tolbert 0.322 0.389 0.34 0.322
Brendan Harris 0.327 0.394 0.328 0.318
Julio Lugo 0.355 0.33 0.33 0.317
Emmanuel Burriss 0.357 0.329 0.312 0.316
Marco Scutaro 0.341 0.356 0.294 0.316
Orlando Cabrera 0.334 0.371 0.306 0.316
Maicer Izturis 0.329 0.362 0.288 0.314
Miguel Tejada 0.314 0.415 0.303 0.313
David Eckstein 0.343 0.349 0.29 0.313
Troy Tulowitzki 0.332 0.401 0.291 0.313
Jolbert Cabrera 0.31 0.4 0.313 0.313
Jason Bartlett 0.329 0.361 0.336 0.311
Erick Aybar 0.314 0.384 0.312 0.31
Craig Counsell 0.355 0.302 0.268 0.309
Edgar Renteria 0.317 0.382 0.294 0.308
Ronny Cedeno 0.328 0.352 0.324 0.304
Alberto Gonzalez 0.318 0.366 0.291 0.301
Luis Rodriguez 0.326 0.351 0.307 0.3
Yuniesky Betancourt 0.3 0.392 0.292 0.299
Clifton Pennington 0.339 0.293 0.296 0.299
Alex Cintron 0.321 0.361 0.316 0.297
Jack Wilson 0.312 0.348 0.296 0.293
Cesar Izturis 0.319 0.309 0.279 0.292
Jeff Keppinger 0.31 0.346 0.275 0.291
Bobby Crosby 0.296 0.349 0.276 0.288
Brendan Ryan 0.307 0.289 0.289 0.277
Omar Quintanilla 0.288 0.348 0.296 0.276
Angel Berroa 0.304 0.31 0.277 0.273
Eric Bruntlett 0.297 0.297 0.251 0.272
Khalil Greene 0.26 0.339 0.262 0.264
Adam Everett 0.278 0.323 0.227 0.264
Donnie Murphy 0.274 0.301 0.258 0.262
Brandon Fahey 0.252 0.349 0.296 0.261
Luis Rivas 0.267 0.311 0.239 0.257
Brandon Wood 0.224 0.327 0.245 0.246
John McDonald 0.255 0.269 0.238 0.238
Omar Vizquel 0.283 0.267 0.249 0.235
Juan Castro 0.246 0.267 0.218 0.232
Ivan Ochoa 0.244 0.267 0.261 0.224
Chin-Lung Hu 0.252 0.233 0.226 0.214
Brian Bixler 0.229 0.194 0.236 0.195
Freddie Bynum 0.22 0.223 0.247 0.194
Tony Pena 0.189 0.209 0.211 0.174

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