Saturday, January 22, 2005

Adam Peterson Report

Adam Peterson, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drafted 116th Overall (4th Rd), 2002 Draft, Wichita St
Bats R/Throws R
25 YO, 6'3", 220 lbs

Peterson was what the Snakes got for Shae Hillenbrand. He's a righty reliever who was expected to be in the mix for the Blue Jays bullpen this season, but will instead be fighting for a place in the Snakes pen. He has a blazing fastball, but his mechanics are a mess, which makes him inconsistant and an injury risk. He started the season blowing away Eastern League hitters to the tune of a 2.54 ERA with 38 K's and 10 BB's in 28 IP. Then he got creamed in Toronto and Syracuse. For his career, he has a pedestrian 4.18 ERA, but with pretty good supporting stats (132 K, 55 BB, 142 IP). He has a 1 in 4 chance of turning into a kind of Kyle Farnsworth. That's a reasonable return on Shae Hillenbrand.

ETA: Mid 2005
2 Stars

Danny Muegge Report

Danny Muegge, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafetd 576th Overall (19th Rd), 2003 Draft, Texas
Bats L/Throws R
23 YO, 6'5", 175 lbs

Muegge was another cog in the big Sean Green/Randy Johnson deal. He's a command and control righty who needs to develop an out pitch. He spent 2004 in South Bend, sporting a 3.12 ERA with 104 K's, and 42 walks in 153 innings. He doesn't strike out enough hitters, even though he shows great control. He gave up just under a hit per inning, and just over a home run every 9 innings. He's hittable, even for Midwest League hitters, who are likely 2 years younger than he is. It doesn't bode well for his long term prognosis. If he can develop an out pitch, say a killer change or a 12-6 curve, he might end up clawing his way into the majors. As it stands, he's a fairly typical low ceiling, polished college arm who will gradually be less effective at each minor league rung of the ladder unless he develops quickly.

ETA: 2007
2 1/2 Stars

Friday, January 21, 2005

Jose Capellan Report

Jose Capellan, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 1998, Dominican Republic
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'3", 170 lbs

This is why it pays for teams that are still in the rebuilding mode to take fliers on making some players regulars. Instead of going out and wasting their time with someone of Roberto Hernandez's ilk as their closer, the Brewers gave the job to Danny Kolb, who went out and put up 2 seasons of great work. Then they parlayed that into Capellan and Alec Zumwalt instead of paying Kolb a high 7 figure yearly salary.

Capellan has an electric arm with a high 90's fastball, that is sure to be one of the best in the major leagues. He's a Tommy John survivor, having the proceedure in late 2001. He needs to work on his secondary pitches, but his fastball is deadly and I think he'd be alright even if he doesn't develop much of anything to go with it.

Jose started 2004 in the Carlina League and ended it in Turner Field. Along the way, here's what he did.

In the Carlina League, he posted a 2.50 ERA, 53K, 11 BB, 27 H, 0 HR, 46 IP

Southern League: 2.50 ERA, 53 K, 19 BB, 53 H, 50 IP

International League: 2.51 ERA, 37 K, 15 BB, 33 H, 43 IP

Atlanta: 11.25 ERA, 4 K, 5 BB, 14 H, 8 IP

I'm throwing out his Atlanta numbers. Most pitchers get blasted in their first exposure to the big leagues. He was absolutely a showstopper everywhere else. I think he's ready for primetime or close to it. This was a great deal for the Brewers, who are doing all they can to shore up their weakness on the mound. With Ben Hendrickson and Capellan, I think they will have a good compliment to Ben Sheets shortly, provided they manage to keep Sheets in town.

There's talk of moving Capellan to the bullpen because of his makeup and his stuff. Unless he shows significant durability problems, it would be a waste of his talent.

ETA: Early 2005
4 1/2 Stars

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Travis Hinton Report

Travis Hinton, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Drafted 388th Overall (13th Rd), 2001 Draft, Chandler-Gilbert CC
Bats L/Throws L
24 YO, 6'1", 210 lbs

Hinton was recently announced as the player to be named in the Carlos Lee/Scott Podsednik. He isn't enough to make it a good deal for the crew from the South Side.

Hinton broke out this year in the California League, posting a .302/.362/.507 line with 36 doubles, 22 home runs, 48 walks, and 99K's in 536 at bats. The numbers are nice, but they carry two big caveats. First, he was 23 years old at the time and is old for the league. The other caveat is the fact that High Desert is a great hitters park in a great hitters league. I would recommend taking a wait and see approach on him. I'm not particularly optimistic, but he did do enough this season to suspend disbelief for a season to see if he reverts back to his pre-2004 self.

ETA: Early 2007
2 Stars

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

David Pauley Report

David Pauley, RHP, Boston Red Sox
Drafted 240th Overall (8th Rd), 2001 Draft, HS, Longmont, CO
Bats R/Throws R
21 YO, 6'2", 170 lbs

Pauley is a two-pitch pitcher who was in the deal that sent Dave Roberts to San Diego to take over in center field. Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez, and Pauley were the three that were sent the other way.

Pauley has climbed the ladder rung by rung since signing after high school. He has a good curve and an upper 80's fastball. His velocity is down about 2 or 3 MPH from where it was a couple seasons ago. He's built on the curve though, making it a pretty good pitch, but one that he needs to compliment better with other offerings so that hitters can't sit around waiting for it. Getting another out pitch would help him a lot.

Pauley spent all year in Lake Elsinore, of the Cal League, which as we've talked about, is the toughest league in the US for pitchers to make their living. He posted a 4.17 ERA with 128 K's, 60 walks, and 155 hits allowed in 153 innings. That's not bad, but not great by any means. It's above league average, but not enough to get you into many prospect lists. For his career, he has a 3.96 ERA with 7.71 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, 3.0 walks and 9.28 hits allowed per 9. Obviously, he has nice control, but allows too many hits, and doesn't strike out a whole lot of batters.

I'd say that Boston wins this deal out of the box because Payton and Vazquez are immediately useful and Pauley is a decent flier who might benefit from a change of scenery. Finding a couple more ticks on his fastball might make it the second out pitch he needs to keep hitters off balance and earn his way into back of a major league rotation or possibly into a role as a swingman.

ETA: Late 2006
2 1/2 Stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sean Green Report

Sean Green, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Drafted 347th Overall (12th Rd), 2000 Draft, Louisville
Bats R/Throws R
26 YO, 6'6", 230 lbs

The OTHER Sean Green was traded for Aaron "Big Country" Taylor back just before X-mas. In essence, he was really traded because he wouldn't take up a spot on the 40 man roster.

Green is a live arm, but not really a good pitcher. This season was his first above A-ball, and he has a 4.72 career minor league ERA in 311 innings. This season, his ERA was a bit better at 3.03, but his strikeouts were still low (5.8 per 9 IP) and his walk rate is still average at best (3.4 per 9).

Green works out of the bullpen and if he has a future, it is there. The Mariners minor league system has thinned out significantly over the last half decade, with most of their significant pitching prospects either moving up to the major leagues, getting injured, or both. If he gets lucky, Green could end up seeing some Major League service time. He'll probably spend most of 2005 in Tacoma. He's unlikely to have a long major league career. And he's probably just a season or two away from his future as a minor league vagabond, as he's close to being eligible for minor league free agency.

ETA: Late 2005/Early 2006
2 Stars

Monday, January 17, 2005

Monday Morning Ramblings

I'm back from my weekend trip to Georgia and I can report that I had a great time. Me and the wife like to travel, but we don't really get on the road all that much. Georgia was nice, with highs in the low 50's. And almost everybody was extremely friendly.

Continuing off topic, while watching the Colts get rolled by the Patriots, I had a couple of random thoughts.

First off, there are certain cliches that are pulled out way too often by both coaches and broadcasters. Everybody was talking about how the Patriots won because they were more "physical" than the Colts, but I'm not sure how true that really was. The Patriots crafted a great defensive strategy that conspired with the elements to shut down the Colts quick strike passing attack. The wind and the frozen field kept the Colts from using anything downfield.

The Patriots don't have a rugged, bruising defense. They have a bunch of quick players who are disciplined within the scheme, and who can tackle and cover receivers. They also didn't play a particularly rough game. There wasn't a surplus of hard hits. They dropped a lot of linebackers and defensive backs into zones, didn't bite on the play fakes, and swarmed to the ball whether it was a pass or a run. Bully for them. But this isn't the '85 Bears defense.

Changing subjects again, often when I can't avoid a commercial break I see an ad for Yellow Book, where people from the local phone company are doing product testing, and always losing. It makes me want to ask whether there's a phone book war going on that puts Pepsi vs Coke, Miller Lite vs Bud Lite, and Yankees vs Red Sox to shame. I would be disturbed if something like that were happening and I wasn't aware of it.

Seriously, it's a freaking phone book. When it shows up on the doorstep, I put it in the closet in my office. I've never in my life met someone who was militant about their choice in phone books and if I ever meet someone who is, I have a feeling that the best strategy would be to slowly walk away, and try not to draw attention to myself. Then call I the authorities and report to them that there's a lunatic running around, and he/she is probably a danger to himself and those around him/her.

William Juarez Report

William Juarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 2000, Nicaragua
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'2", 180 lbs

Juarez was one of the prospects LA got for Sean Green and his albatross of a contract. If he makes it to the Major Leagues, he'll be the 9th player born in Nicaragua to make it to the big leagues.

Juarez has velocity, and has excellent numbers, but late this season was the first time he wasn't older than his competition. Predictably, when promoted from the Low-A Midwest League, where he posted a 1.55 ERA, 47 K's, and 7 walks in 46 innings, to the Texas League. El Paso is one of the most extreme hitters parks in baseball, which didn't help matters. In 13 starts, he had a 5.00 ERA, 68 K's, and 22 walks in 76 innings. He isn't as good as his numbers with South Bend, but he isn't as bad as his numbers with El Paso.

As pitching prospects go, Juarez is in the middle of the pack. He has potential, and he has good results, but he also needs to get moving. One thing that will certainly help his numbers is moving from El Paso to the relatively friendly confines of Jacksonville. If I had to guess, I'd say that his best shot of making the majors is coming out of the bullpen, where his meager secondary pitches won't kill him as much as he can come in and blow smoke for an inning or two.

ETA: 2006
3 Stars

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