Archive for the ‘Movin’ On Up’ Category

San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are a terrible. And awful. Soon, everyone in their front office will be unemployed – and rightfully so.

Turns out developing talent is hard and banking on linear growth from prospects is foolish. The Mariners are not alone in squandering what looked to be a rich pipeline of talent and wasting the peak of one of baseball’s great players.

Dustin Ackley hasn’t exactly worked out as planned. So the Mariners are going back to the lab with another highly-touted middle infielder: promoting well-regarded Nick Franklin, perhaps at the expense of Ackely himself.

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Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles

It should have been you, Dylan Bundy. After captivating the nerdy end of the baseball world last season with his effortlessly dispatching of the low minor leagues, Dylan Bundy eventually made his way to the big leagues at just 19-years old. It was Bundy’s world, he of the exorbitant contract demands as a high school pitcher from Oklahoma.

But an elbow injury slowed Dylan Bundy’s ascent to Major League stardom. In his place steps Kevin Gausman – the new hope for the next wave of Orioles starters. Unlike Bundy, who was brought up as a reliever, Gausman gets to jump right in and do the real thing: start against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday.

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Courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Cardinals organization has the greatest collection of talent in the league. There, I said it. Not to suggest they are the perfect team and sure-fire bet to win the World Series, but the talent on their big league roster is enviable and their minor league pipeline is stuff.

If the 2013 Cardinals have a weakness, it is the performance of their bullpen through the first month of the season. Just like last season (in which they lost in the National League Championship Series) and the season before (in which they won the World Series.) Before the Cardinals make their requisite sneaky trade to bolster their relief corps, they first must call up one of their ridiculous arms from the minor leagues.

Today is that day, as the Cardinals announced former fill-in closer Mitchell Boggs was demoted to AAA and 21 year-old pitching prospect Carlos Martinez will take his place, making the jump from double-A to the show.

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> on February 19, 2013 in Lakeland, Florida.

Bruce Rondon was supposed to be the Tigers closer to start the season. After Spring Training in which he walked, well, everybody (nine walks in 12.1 spring innings); the regular season began with Bruce Rondon cooling his heels at Triple-A Toledo.

Bruce Rondon might have some control troubles to work out but make no mistake: he will strike you out. In those aforementioned 12.1 Grapefruit League innings, the flame-throwing righty (who Baseball Prospectus ranked as the third best Tigers prospect) racked up 19 strikeouts. That’s good, spring training or otherwise.

The Tigers have a need in their bullpen as veteran Octavio Dotel was placed on the DL with right elbow inflamation today and Rondon got the call from AAA, where he pitched 7.2 shutout innings, striking out nine against just two walks. The big leagues aren’t Triple-A but it remains unlikely the Tigers will slot the big (ahem) righty into the closer’s role right away. The man who lights up triple digits on the radar gun will earn his keep before given the job so crucial, they handed it to Phil damn Coke during the playoffs.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros

It’s hard out there for a prospect. first, you need to keep your body in one piece long enough to make it to the big paydays of the Major Leagues. Then you need to prove that all your blue chip hype and bluster isn’t in vain, as you struggle to make the required adjustments to stay up in the world of lofty paychecks and expensive hotels.

Travis d’Arnaud and Brett Wallace are like two sides of the same coin, in a way. Well-regarded prospects who also happened to get traded more than once during their ascent to the big leagues. Wallace was drafted by the Cardinals, traded to the A’s as part of the Matt Holliday trade then moved to the Blue Jays in the aftermath of the Roy Halladay deal.

With the Jays he did what he did at every minor league stop: he raked. He hit the ball and posted appealing minor league batting averages, though his power numbers worried some in the supercharged offensive atmosphere of Las Vegas. The Jays eventually shipped Wallace to Houston in exchange for Anthony Gose, one of their original targets in the lead-up to the Halladay deal.

Brett Wallace seems to have found a home with the Astros, though his role is uncertain. Just as many feared as his body developed and his number of minor league at bats grew, Brett Wallace hasn’t really shown a great deal of power at the big league level. He has shown a stupendous ability to strikeout, however.

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Here is today’s reminder that the Miami Marlins are playing a different game than everybody else. Saddled with unexpected injuries in their starting rotation, the Marlins opted to promote from within to fill their five-man unit to start the year.

Rather than pulling one of the warm bodies from their triple-A affiliate, the Marlins moved their top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez all the way from single-A to the Opening Day roster. The 20-year old will make his big league debut on Sunday in New York against the Mets. Service time be damned, it seems.

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2012 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

The more we read about prospects, the more often little provisos about defense pop up. While approximately 109% of professional baseball players played some combination of shortstop/starting pitcher in their Little League/high school days, very few players have the skills to stick at short as the game speeds up.

The defensive spectrum is a wondrous thing to watch in action. It almost never fails – once a player begins his tumble down towards DH ignominy, it is nearly impossible to reverse course.

Nick Castellanos is the Tigers top prospect, a fine offensive player who the Tigers took with their first pick in the 2010 draft. Detroit moved Castellanos aggresively through their system, rushing the 21-year old to Double-A in 2012.

Though he struggled at this advanced level, there is a lot of belief in Castellanos bat. Baseball America voted him the best hitter for average in the Tigers system, as well as giving him the nod for best strike zone discipline in Detroit’s (admittedly bereft) system.

The Baseball Prospectus scouting staff called him a very, very good offensive prospect with a quick bat with power lurking inside. Keith Law called him the best pure hitter in the minor leagues (pure being scout code for “in spite of his better judgement”, as evidenced by the above swing).

None of these evaluators make much mention of Castellanos’ defensive impact because, well, it looks like he won’t have any. Though still listed as a third baseman (BA thinks he will play third for the 2016 Tigers), Castellanos is well on his way to the outfield.

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