Saturday, September 25, 2004

Daily Prospect Report 9/25

Marshall McDougall, IF, Texas Rangers
Drafted 270th Overall (9th Round), 2000 Draft, Florida State
Bats R/Throws R
25 YO, 6'1", 200lbs

McDougall was a star shortstop in college, hitting for power and average at Florida State, including a 6 home run game in 1999. He wasn't highly regarded because of his athletic skills (or lack thereof), so Oakland selected him in the 9th round. Since then, he's made his way through the minor league systems of the A's, Indians, and Rangers. This year, he spent most of his time in Oklahoma City.

He's not a premium prospect, but he does hit (.282/.349/.508 in AAA this season, .315/.383/.493 in AA) fairly well, and plays SS, 2B, and 3B. His defensive limitations at second and short mean that he's best suited for a utility infielder role, as he doesn't hit well enough to be a plausible starting third baseman. He could be very useful in that role, as most utility infielders hit like Juan Castro or Hector Luna.

His plate discipline is decent, but not spectacular. His power is more than adequate for a middle infielder, but lacking for third baseman.

He's about as ready now as he'll ever be. He gets 2 stars.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Random Johan Santana Info

Month by month
Apr 28.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 8 BB, 24 K
May 32.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 11 BB, 30 K
June 37.2 IP, 2.39 ERA, 6 BB, 46 K
July 46.0 IP, 1.17 ERA, 15 BB, 61 K
Aug 43.1 IP, 2.08 ERA, 7 BB, 52 K
Sept 29.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 BB, 41 K

Yes, the last time he allowed an earned run was on the 28th of August. The last time he posted a game score under 50 was May 29th. He's been absolutely unstoppable since the start of June. In that time, he has an ERA of 1.50 with 200 K and 30 BB in 156IP.

And with that, I'm off to Ohio.

Daily Prospect Report 9/24

Brian McFall, OF, Kansas City Royals
Drafted 72nd Overall (third round), 2003 Draft, Chandler-Gilbert CC (AZ)
Bats R/Throws R
Age 19, 6'3", 205 lbs

McFall was a real surprise selection in the third round. I honestly didn't know who he was. He wasn't on my board at all. McFall was a JuCo first baseman with a big swing. The Royals scout Arizona junior colleges pretty heavily though, and they thought that McFall would sign quickly and had great tools.

Cut to this season, McFall started the year on the Burlington Bees roster. They moved him to the outfield. He struggled a lot in the Midwest League, posting a .172/.270/.219 line in 53 games. He did show some good plate discipline, drawing 15 walks in 151 AB. But by and large, he couldn't figure out Lo-A pitching. So when the short season leagues started up their season, teh Royals demoted McFall, and he took off in the thin air of Idaho Falls. His line was pretty impressive. In 262 at bats, he hit .359/.432/.611 with 30 walks and 37 extra base hits. He also stole 23 bases while only getting caught twice. He was named a Pioneer League all star

He's a long way from the major leagues, but he looks good right now. It requires a lot of projection to see what kind of player he could be like. He needs to make the jump to full season fall next year, and he needs to maintain those secondary skills as he climbs through the Royals system.

ETA is 2008/2009. 2 1/2 stars solely because of how far away he is.

Daily Prospect Report 9/23

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Texas Rangers
Drafted 1st Overall, 2000 Draft, HS, Chula Vista, CA.
Bats L/Throws L
22 YO, 6'2", 220 lbs

This is a young man who has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He was the first overall pick, but the selection was ridiculed because signability played a factor. Then he hit like Edgar Martinez, and soared up to AA as a teenager. He was on the fast track. Then he struggled in AA, suffered from injury, and dropped off most people's prospect radar screens. After being traded to the Rangers in the Urbina deal, he's back. He was rated as the Rangers top prospect by Baseball America in the offseason, and hit .304/.364/.457 in 457 PCV at bats. Now he'll never be a power hitter. Offensively, his best comparable is probably Sean Casey. His walk rate has been sub-optimal this season. Defensively, he's a possible gold glove candidate. His range is great, his hands are steady, and he has a better arm than most first basemen.

Right now, he'd be role player at best. If he worked on the walk rate, he could become a poor man's John Olerud.

ETA is mid-2005. I'll give him 3 stars.

Daily Prospect Report 9/22

Terry Tiffee, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Drafted 779th Overall (26th Round), Pratt Community College
Bats B/Throws R
25 YO, 6'3", 210 lbs

I saw Tiffee play a few months ago. He didn't make too much of an impression that day. But very few of the Rochester hitters made much of an impression that day, as they were kept off balance by Jeff Farnsworth. He looked like he had a smooth, line drive swing from the left hand side. His stats bear that out. In 82 game at Rochester, he hit .307/.357/.522. As always, my main complaint is that he could draw some more walks. He drew 23 in 316 AB. Still, he makes good contact, striking out only 26 times in that sample. The slugging percentage is bolstered by 26 doubles, 3 triples, and 12 home runs. These are good numbers, and as the International League is just about as neutral as you'll find, it isn't like his numbers are inflated.

It looked like he would get a regular gig with the parent club, but he separated his shoulder and is likely done for the regular season, and is unlikely to make the playoff roster. He has 38 at bats in the majors, and has hit .289/.357/.526 with 5 extra base hits in as much time.

He projects out as a poor man's version of the player he's likely to replace, Corey Koskie. You'll see plenty of doubles, a few home runs, some good defense, and some good value. He's ready to contribute, but won't be a star.

ETA: Early 2005. Grade 3 stars.

Daily Prospect Report 9/21

I'll be out of town for a couple of days, so I'm posting the next few days worth of Daily Prospect Reports tonight.

Dallas McPherson, 3B, Anaheim Angels
Drafted 57th Overall (second round), The Citadel
Bats L/Throws R
24YO, 6'4", 230 lbs

He went from being one of the 20 best prospects in baseball to being one of the 2 or 3 best prospects in baseball by hitting the snot out the ball. What can you really say about a guy who in AA and AAA, smashed 36 2B, 14 3B, and 40 HR to go with 66 walks in 521 at bats? His batting line at Arkansas was .321/.404/.660, and at Salt Lake City, he hit .313/.370/.680. Do I really need to convince anybody that somebody who hits like that is likely to be a pretty damned good major leaguer? Didn't think so.

What else can I say about him? His defense has always been questionable. But scouts reported that it was greatly improved this season, putting rumors of McPherson moving to an outfield corner to the back burner. He'll never be a candidate for a gold glove, but at this point, it looks like his defense is good enough that it won't mitigate the value of his offensive contributions.

He's currently in the middle of a september callup, though as I'm writing this, he only has 2 at bats. He seems to be a lock to be a regular in 2005, probably at third base. But the Angels do have a lot of options, and a crowded field of corner outfielders and corner infielders. If they happen to re-sign Troy Glaus, then McPherson will have to earn at bats in spring training. McPherson is great leverage for the Angels though, as now they don't feel like they have to overpay Glaus.

ETA is obviously now. Dallas gets a perfect 5 stars and is my early favorite for 2005 AL Rookie of the Year.

Daily Prospect Report 9/20

Jon Zeringue, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drafted 56th Overall, 2004 Draft, Louisiana State
Bats R/Throws R
21 YO, 6'2", 210 lbs

Zeringue's name is hard to spell without looking it up. That's about the worst thing I have to say about him. Right after being signed by the Snakes, he was sent to Lancaster of the California League. He was very impressive there. In 230 at bats, he put up a .335/.374/.552 line with 27 extra base hits and 15 walks to 53 strikeouts. Sure, I'd like to see more walks and fewer strikeouts, but the California League is Hi-A. Most draftees make their debut in the Pioneer League or the New York-Penn. Not only did Zeringue play in an advanced A league strait out of college, he hit very well. In addition, he's a pure right fielder with good range and a cannon arm. As a junior at LSU, he just missed out on hitting .400 on the season.

My lone caveat for him is that LSU has an extreme hitter's park and the Cal League is more of the same. His numbers are a little inflated, and I wouldn't be surprised if they come down quite a bit when he goes to whatever AA outpost the Diamondbacks end up with next season. With Zeringue, Conor Jackson, and Carlos Quentin, the Snakes have the best collection of outfield prospects in baseball, and it isn't particularly close.

ETA: 2006, 3 1/2 Stars, but that rating could go to 4 1/2 if he repeats that success in AA next season.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Daily Prospect Report 9/19

Ben Hendrickson, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Drafted 304th overall (10th Round), 1999 Draft, Jefferson HS, Bloomington, Mn.
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'4", 190 lbs

Slowly, but steadily, Hendrickson has climbed through the minor leagues. With a low 90's heater and a great curveball, he entered this season with a career minor league ERA of 3.27, with 357 K's and 205 BB's in 413 IP. This was his banner year though as he humbled International League hitters. He rode a 2.02 ERA with 93 K's and 26 walks in 125 innings to the International League Pitcher of the Year award. He's struggled in his callups to Milwaukee though to the tune of 26 earned runs in 33.2 IP. I can't explain exactly why he hasn't pitched well in the major leagues. I can just tell you that all of his peripherals collapsed in his brief tastes of major league action. This isn't terribly unique though. The struggles of Dennis Tankersley are well documented. It also is fairly routine for even the best prospects to struggle upon their first exposure to the bright lights. I'm not worried about it. He looks like a very good prospect to me, one that is likely to slot behind Ben Sheets as a very good 1-2 punch for the Brew Crew. This might the kind of situation where it is best to take Earl Weaver's advice and use him out of the bullpen for at least a few months before letting him start full time. It might allow him to get acclimated before throwing him to the wolves.

Sadly I didn't get to watch Hendrickson in person this season even though he spent most of the year here in Indy. ETA is right now. He's with the Brewers for the rest of the season, and will likely audition for a rotation spot next spring. I bet he'll probably get it. He gets a sparkling 4 1/2 stars. He's a sleeper for next season.

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