Saturday, February 26, 2005

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Report

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Atlanta Braves
Drafted 36th Overall, 2003 Draft, HS, West Palm Beach, FL
Bats R/Throws R
19 YO, 5'11", 190 lbs

Saltalamacchia is a pretty good hitter for a catcher. That's a heck of a disclaimer. If he put up the numbers he's put up as an outfielder, most people would barely notice. He also happens to be a broadcaster's worst nightmare. Close your eyes for a second and just picture Harry Carry butchering that last name.

2004 Rome: .272/.348/.437, 19 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 34 BB, 83 K, 323 AB
Career: .261/.334/.408, 23 SB, 2 3B, 10 HR, 38 BB, 89 K, 387 AB

Most of the questions he faces is whether or not he can stay behind the plate. His defense is a work in progress. He still has plenty of time to work on it, and also to fill out into a power hitter.

The overall package equals a pretty good prospect with the chance of becoming an elite prospect. Like Brian McCann before him, he has the potential of developing into a good hitting catcher who is reliable with the glove. Players with that skill set are extremely valuable at the major league level.

ETA: 2008
3 1/2 Stars

Friday, February 25, 2005

Chris Duncan Report

Chris Duncan, 1B/OF, St Louis Cardinals
Drafted 46th Overall, 1999 Draft, HS, Tucson, AZ
Bats L/Throws R
23 YO, 6'5", 210 lbs

Dave's boy had a pretty good 2004, vaulting himself back into the prospect ranks. He doesn't have huge power, but he hits pitches into the gaps.

2004 Tennessee: .289/.393/.473, 23 2B, 16 HR, 64 BB, 94 K, 387 AB
Career: .261/.333/.404, 140 2B, 7 3B, 65 HR, 259 BB, 608 K, 2440 AB

Duncan retooled his swing this season and it paid dividends. Provided he maintains his walk rate and keeps hitting liners like he did this year, he has a future. He's more of a 1B than an outfielder, but if he has a future in this organization, it will be as insurance for Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker, both of whom have a tendency to get nicked up a few times every season. The Cards have an infuriating habit of stocking their bench with all leather, no lumber hacks like Kerry Robinson and So Taguchi. Duncan is a chance to change that.

ETA: Late 2005
3 1/2 Stars

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chien-ming Wang Report

Chien-ming Wang, RHP, New York Yankees
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 2000, Taiwan
Bats R/Throws R
24 YO, 6'3", 185 lbs

Wang is an interesting pitcher who doesn't seem like a good bet to stay with the Yankees for a long period of time. He has a nice low 90's fastball that will touch 95 on the gun a couple times per game. He also has a couple of decent secondary offerings in his splitter and his slider. But the Yankees don't really put up with young pitchers anymore. They don't have the patience for watching young kids make the adjustments needed to make the jump from AAA.

2004 Trenton: 4.05 ERA, 90 K, 26 BB, 112 H, 6 HR, 109 IP
2004 Columbus: 2.01 ERA, 35 K, 8 BB, 31 H, 3 HR, 40 IP
Career: 3.28 ERA, 350 K, 101 BB, 428 H, 20 HR, 440 IP

Despite good stuff and good numbers, something in his numbers leaves me a bit cold. He's never had exceptional strikeout totals in the minors. He doesn't allow a lot of hits, and doesn't walk batters, but just doesn't dominate. Add in the shoulder problems he had back in '01, and he looks like a back of the rotation starter. His ceiling to me looks like Jon Garland with a little better control. In the bullpen, his numbers might improve a bit, but he'd be less valuable.

ETA: 2005
3 1/2 stars

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Joe Borchard Report

Joe Borchard, OF, Chicago White Sox
Drafted 12th Overall, 2000 Draft, Stanford
Bats B/Throws R
26 YO, 6'5", 220 lbs

Borchard isn't technically a prospect anymore, but he hasn't established himself as a major leaguer yet. He no longer has rookie eligibility. So where does he stand? He's fighting for at bats on the outfield corners, at DH, and as a backup for Scott Podsednik.

2004 Charlotte: .266/.333/.495, 21 2B, 16 HR, 30 BB, 68 K, 301 AB
2004 Chicago: .174/.249/.338, 4 2B, 9 HR, 9 BB, 57 K, 201 AB
Minor League Career: .275/.348/.473, 110 2B, 6 3B, 78 HR, 192 BB, 489 K, 1795 AB
Major League Career: .182/.248/.332, 5 2B, 12 HR, 25 BB, 89 K, 286 AB

I don't buy the idea of Borchard as a full time center fielder, as the White Sox were trying to do for several years. However, on a part time basis, it might help make him a major leaguer. I think he can stake out a Mark Whiten type career for himself. He has similar strengths and weaknesses. He has amazing power, a usable walk rate, big strikeout totals, and the erratic batting averages that come with high strikeout and walk rates. At this point I'm really sold on the comparison.

Any team that employs Borchard as a stating right fielder is going to be disappointed. However, if a team was looking for a 4th outfielder, he could be an interesting possibility, especially if you were able to spot him against mostly fastball pitchers, who he does real damage against.

3 Stars

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Kyle Edens Report

Kyle Edens, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Drafted 75th Overall (3rd Rd), 2002 Draft, Baylor
Bats R/Throws R
25 YO, 5'10", 190 lbs

Edens is a short righty whose stuff has been in freefall since being drafted. In college, he had a high 90's fastball that the Reds really wanted to see in their bullpen. His velocity has dropped down to where he's topping out in the low 90's and he isn't fooling enough batters.

2004 Dayton: 2.36 ERA, 30 K, 11 BB, 34 H, 4 HR, 42 IP
2004 Potomac: 5.51 ERA, 26 K, 15 BB, 56 H, 6 HR, 47 IP
Career: 4.20 ERA, 104 K, 45 BB, 172 H, 13 HR, 154 IP

This was the second year in a row where he handled Midwest League batters handily, but had a lot of problem with the Carolina League. He has good command, but when you don't make hitters miss, it's hard to keep your numbers reasonable. He's running out of time to turn it around.

ETA: ?
1 Star

Monday, February 21, 2005

Donald Kelly Report

Donald Kelly, IF, Detroit Tigers
Drafted 237th Overall (8th Rd), 2001 Draft, Park Point College
Bats L/Throws R
25 YO, 6'4", 190 lbs

Kelly is a utility infielder type. He can play shortstop or third base reasonably well, and he's a decent contact hitter. 2004 was almost totally lost due to a shoulder injury that lingered.

2004 Erie: .228/.331/.327, 6 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 15 BB, 13 K, 3 SB, 1 CS, 101 AB
Career: .288/.368/.367, 57 2B, 15 3B, 3 HR, 159 BB, 105 K, 36 SB, 9 CS, 1214 AB

Because of his almost complete lack of power and his age, Kelly's ceiling is pretty low. But he puts the ball in play and has good on-base skills. He'd make an interesting Rule 5 pick for a team in need of a bench player. He even has some speed. I'd much rather have Kelly when healthy than Joe McEwing or Willie Bloomquist. However, if the shoulder is a problem, it may be a real problem since he doesn't hit enough to be a first baseman.

ETA: Late 2005/Early 2006
2 Stars

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Josh Muecke Report

Josh Muecke, LHP, Houston Astros
Drafted 149th Overall (5th Rd), 2003 Draft, Loyola Marymount
Bats L/Throws L
22 YO, 6'3", 195 lbs

Muecke is a live arm. That's really the best way to put it. Mechanically he's rough, His off-speed stuff is erratic at best. But he has a great fastball, reaching into the mid 90's with movement and deception.

2004 Lexington: 3.97 ERA, 91 K, 48 BB, 81 H, 8 HR, 104 IP, 37 G, 8 GS
Career: 4.03 ERA, 134 K, 73 BB, 139 H, 10 HR, 159 IP, 51 G, 19 GS

He's hard to hit, but he gives up too many walks. Where have we heard this before? It's a function of those mechanics. If he can turn into his delivery into something that is smoother, he might be able to clear up these problems and become a top notch power reliever. If he can't, he'll be a poor man's Kyle Farnsworth. He obviously has some upside, but there's significant risk involved.

ETA: 2007
2 Stars

Ryan Goleski Report

Ryan Goleski, OF, Cleveland Indians
Drafted 708th Overall (24th Rd), 2003 Draft, Eastern Michigan
Bats R/Throws R
22 YO, 6'3", 225 lbs

This is the 200th prospect review here at TYBITF. So I figured I would profile one of my favorite prospects. Goleski is a power hitter through and through. He was a power hitter in college, and he's been a power hitter as a pro.

2004 Lake County: .295/.370/.525, 22 2B, 5 3B, 28 HR, 55 BB, 100 K, 11 HBP, 505 AB
Career: .295/.366/.508, 37 2B, 7 3B, 36 HR, 76 BB, 166 K, 14 HBP, 748 AB

He's a little older than his competition, but sometimes college kids from minor conferences have a learning curve in the pro ranks. It might be best that the Indians started him out slowly. I can see them moving him along more quickly this season.

His plate discipline is good, but as a power hitter, he strikes out quite a bit, though not at an alarming rate.

Defense is not a big concern. He has average range for a right fielder and a strong arm. On the bases, he has good speed, though he's been caught stealing more often than he's been successful. That's a sign to stop trying, or at least to pick your spots more carefully.

ETA: Late 2006
3 1/2 Stars

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