Archive for the ‘Prospectin’’ Category

2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

The Futures game is a tidy little treat snuck into the beginning of the All Star break. Buried on Sunday afternoon when there is still real baseball to talk about, this year’s edition of the Futures Game featured many of the top prospects in the game. Like the actual All Star game, the Futures game is a revolving door of mid-game replacements and starting pitchers airing it out in one inning stints.

The big names are known to baseball wonks and prospect watchers but rarely to many fans get to see these players ply their trade. Outside the odd Spring Training cameo, it rare to catch of glimpse of most minor leaguers, let alone so much of the top baseball talent in the world in the same place at the same time.

When all the minor league talent came together last week, it was Xander Bogaerts who stole the show. The Red Sox shortstop prospect built on his great first half by putting his many skills on display for a national audience. It is becoming very apparent to those who follow other teams in the American League: Xander Bogaerts is about to become a major thorn in your side.

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Yesterday marked the beginning of the signing period for international free agents – those players no currently subject to baseball’s amateur draft. Teenagers from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and beyond inked their first professional contracts, quickening the pulse of prospect watchers and interested bystanders alike.

These signings are important – very important. Major League Baseball would be nothing without the very large contingent of international players, the vast majority of which entered the big league pipeline via this exact process. But this remains a process of finding diamonds in the rough – not picking premium clear, conflict-free diamonds out of a fistful of other, less valuable diamonds.

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Everybody loves a good bit of Prospect Pr0n and so, without further ado, the good men and women at Baseball Prospectus unveiled their midseason top 50 prospects list. It’s a great read and well worth a BP subscription. Even if you don’t shell out the pennies for a subscription, you can see the top name on the list: Byron Buxton.

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bal-mark-appel-20120531

Well that didn’t take too long. The Houston Astros officially confirm the signing first overall draft pick Mark Appel. The Astros did not publicize the terms of the but Jim Callis of Baseball America believes the terms are in place and — dundundunnnnnn — below slot.

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SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

It’s Gerrit Cole day in Pittsburgh. For those Bucs fans and prospect porn addicts who had hoped this would be some sort of grandiose affair, sorry to disappoint you. The 2011 first overall pick’s Major League debut has a rather ordinary feeling about it as the hour draws nearer.

Cole’s arrival in Pittsburgh is a timely one, though. With Wandy Rodriguez‘s health status currently up in the air, and Cole having already been held down long enough to ensure he’s under team control for an extra year, it’s an opportune moment to run out the franchise’s top prospect. As far as Super Two status is concerned, the 22-year old would accrue a tick over two years of service at the completion of the 2015 season if he were to remain with the club moving forward. At this point, though, it won’t matter much if he can step in and help the 37-26 Pirates.

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Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

The 2013 MLB amateur draft concluded over the weekend, with more than 1200 players selected over 40 rounds. Many of these players are ready to begin their professional careers, so we imporbably gathered them all together in one place* where former first round selection and current Blue Jays reliever Dustin McGowan could address the lot* about the perils and pitfalls awaiting them.

* – Obviously, neither of these things actually happened

Hello, gentleman. Congratulations on realizing your lifelong dream and becoming professional baseball players. All those nights of sacrifice, the time spent travelling from this showcase to that regional tournament, the hours spent in the cage or on the practice field while your friends developed tastes and interests, it is all worth it right now.

Unfortunately, this is where the real work begins. Many of you are so talented, you couldn’t help but get to this point. A lot of natural athletic ability, some hard work and some good luck and here you are: prepared to draw a paycheck for playing baseball. A children’s game is now your job! Living the dream, really and truly.

It seems like a dream, I know. I was taken in the first round of the 2000 MLB draft, 33rd overall. Like many of you, I went right from the high school field to the professional ranks, working my way towards the big leagues.

Unlike the vast, vast, vast majority of you – I realized my dream and became a big league pitcher. But this is where my congratulations end and my warnings begin.

The road is hard and long and loaded with unexpected twists, turns, and bumps along the way. As you begin this journey, I want you to remember me and my career. For I represent the true dichotomy of draft day. I am the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. all wrapped into one.

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Baltimore Orioles Vs. Boston Red Sox At Fenway Park

Jackie Bradley Jr. was a terrific story for the Red Sox out of Spring Training. He forced his way onto the club, taking advantage of injury-based need to earn himself a trip north for his first taste of Major League action. Bradley gives the Red Sox something few of their existing outfielders do: speed on the base paths and superb range in the outfield. (Sorry, Shanf. Sad but true.)

Bradley hit during the Grapefruit League but hitting at the big league level is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. It is incredibly difficult, especially for players with little exposure above double-A, to succeed during their first go-round at the big league level.

As we should expect, Bradley is struggling during his first trip around the league with just three hits and six walks in 33 plate appearances. The adjustments required of Major League hitters are not easily made, especially given the grinding nature of a season in the show.

The Red Sox, having committed to starting Bradley’s clock by placing him on the Opening Day roster, now must decide what they want to do with one of their top prospects. Just like the choice to put him on the team in the first place, this is a delicate choice indeed.

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