Thursday, April 28, 2005

Internet Issues

Due to problems with my connection to the "internets", I won't have any updates on friday, and possibly saturday. I have an appointment with a technician tomorrow to look at the line coming into my house and possibly the wiring inside my house if needed.

Stay tuned though. I'm working on reports featuring Mitch Maier and Gustavo Chacin, that should be ready when I come back to work on sunday morning.

Todd Linden Report

Todd Linden, OF, San Francisco Giants
Drafted 41st Overall, 2001 Draft, LSU
Bats B/Throws R
24 YO, 6'3", 210 lbs

I'm a little miffed that Linden wasn't given more of a chance to be a backup for the Giants out of spring training. He's clearly a better prospect and player than Tony Torcato. He's more versatile because of his switch hitting. And he's showing slow growth in his game.

2004 Fresno: .260/.349/.466, 28 2B, 23 HR, 63 BB, 149 K, 8 SB, 6 CS, 489 AB
pre-2005 mL Career: .280/.373/.447, 80 2B, 8 3B, 49 HR, 184 BB, 390 K, 33 SB, 15 CS, 1452 AB

He's not a great player, but he's a decent backup outfielder and pinch hitter to have laying around on the bench. He can play on either corner and he'll knock the crap out of a hanging curve or a poorly placed fastball. He'll also draw some walks, but he won't hit for a particularly good average, and because of that, he'll have to draw even more walks to salvage a good OBP. One wonders what he'd be like if he shortens his stroke and cut back on those K's. It's conceivable that if he managed that, he could be an entry level left fielder. As it is, he's a good bench player.

Unfortunately for Linden, the Giants have some better players with similar skills coming up behind him, so he might get lost in the shuffle. To get a break, he has to have a well timed hot streak. Because of his hitting style, he'll probably run hot and cold at the plate.

ETA: Overdue
3 Stars

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ryan Doumit Report

Ryan Doumit, C, Pittsburgh Pirates
Drafted 59th Overall (2nd Rd), 1999 Draft, HS, Moses Lake, WA
Bats B/Throws R
24 YO, 6'0", 200 lbs

You may remember him from my recent game notes column. He's a catcher with a good bat. A friend of mine mentioned the name Victor Martinez when we were talking about Doumit. That's kind of a valid comparison. Like Martinez, he's a good hitter and an average defensive catcher. He's no stiff with the glove, but the difference between him and the elite defensive catchers I've seen (Kevin Cash comes to mind) was pretty clear. His footwork isn't as clean and his actions aren't as fast. He did have a good arm though, and he's a decent athlete. The radar readout on the scoreboard was picking up his throws to second base, and he was consistently in the mid 80's, usually right at 84 MPH. He blocked balls in the dirt fairly well when I saw him. He's not a liability behind the plate, but he's not an asset there either.

On offense, his swing from the left side looked a lot smoother than from the right side. He also swung at some bad pitches as a right handed hitter, which I didn't see him do from the left side. This is another way of saying that I think he'll have a fairly wide platoon split.

He's off to a hot start, but he's not nearly as good a hitter as Martinez, but chances are he's better than your average catcher on offense. His patience at the plate is average. He has some pop in his bat, and he makes enough contact to make one think that he can hit for a pretty good average.

2004 Altoona: .262/.343/.489, 20 2B, 10 HR, 21 BB, 49 K, 221 AB
pre-2005 mL Career: .287/.360/.434, 100 2B, 32 HR, 135 BB, 248 K, 1437 AB

Doumit's biggest question mark is his health. He's missed a massive amount of time with back, elbow, and knee problems. He has to stay healthy in order to get a real chance to be a starter in the majors. He's about to get squeezed in the organization, with Dave Ross, Benito Santiago, and Humberto Cota above him and Ronny Paulino and Neil Walker below him. If he's healthy, he's probably the best player of the lot. That's a big qualifier though.

ETA: Late 2005
3 1/2 Stars

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Josh Kroeger Report

Josh Kroeger, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drafted 129th Overall (4th Rd), 2000 Draft, HS, San Diego, CA
Bats L/Throws L
22 YO, 6'2", 200 lbs

The Diamondbacks have an interesting dilemma to sort out. They have too many good young corner outfielders, especially now that they've moved Scott Hairston. Kroeger is among that fleet. He's a kid with a lot of power potential and good numbers in the upper minors at a young age. Based solely on that, there's not much to argue with. However, he still needs to do quite a bit of work on his plate discipline and he's moving down the defensive spectrum as he fills out.

He was drafted as a quick, athletic center fielder with a good arm. He's a capable right fielder for the foreseeable future as he's lost quite a bit of that speed, but still is in possession of good range for a corner OF and a nice arm. It would have been nice if he could have stayed in center since his best long term competition would be Luis Terrero. In right, he's fighting with Jon Zeringue, Carlos Quentin, and Sean Green's albatross contract. In left, you have Luis Gonzalez, Hairston, and Conor Jackson.

2004 El Paso: .331/.393/.588, 28 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 21 BB, 48 K, 245 AB
2004 Tucson: .332/.376/.587, 23 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 15 BB, 47 K, 208 AB
2004 Arizona: .167/.182/.222, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 21 K, 54 AB
pre-2005 mL Career: .290/.343/.444, 134 2B, 23 3B, 41 HR, 143 BB, 433 K, 1977 AB

His patience at the plate is noticeable. It was still bad enough to be easily exploited by Major League pitchers in his brief late season trial.

I know I've complained about this before, but you're about to get it again. It is almost impossible to get a really good read on Diamondbacks hitting prospects. El Paso, Lancaster, and Tucson are all great hitters parks, among the best in baseball. That improves this year, as El Paso is replaced by Tennessee. That doesn't help us with Kroeger much though.

Kroeger is a good prospect with the possibility of growing into a very good player. Everything hinges on that walk rate though. He makes good, hard contact with everything in the zone, can play a good right field. And he looks like the power could keep coming as his body matures. Stay tuned.

ETA: Early 2006
4 Stars

Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday Linkage

Rob and Rany talk about TYBITF favorite Calvin Pickering's astonishing demotion, Matt Diaz's callup and the amazing idea of making Ambriorix Burgos the temporary closer in KC.

Adam Morris took a scouting trip to Corpus Christi.

Lastly, you may have noticed that I have a new link on the blogroll. Welcome MaverickBall to the blogosphere.

Steve Andrade Report

Steve Andrade. RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Drafted 959th Overall (32nd Rd), 2001 Draft, Cal State Stanislaus
Bats R/Throws R
27 YO, 6'1", 200 lbs

Andrade is a reliever with a 90 MPH fastball, a brutal slider, and a herky-jerky delivery that adds some deception. He's a fringe prospect from a small school, but has put up some pretty impressive numbers in the past. He was originally Angels property, but was claimed off waivers by Toronto this winter.

2004 Arkansas: 2.44 ERA, 59 K, 12 BB, 37 H, 4 HR, 48 IP
2004 Salt Lake City: 4.61 ERA, 17 K, 8 BB, 15 H, 1 HR, 13 IP
pre-2005 mL Career: 2.82 ERA, 286 K, 66 BB, 144 H, 8 HR, 201 IP

He struggled in AAA, but I'm not going to hold that against him because of the sample size and Salt Lake City's park effects. The bigger knock against him is his age. He was drafted and made his pro debut at 23.

The Blue Jays sent him to the Eastern League to start the year. If he continues to get outs, he'll get a shot. He's a sleeper prospect as he could find himself in middle relief for the Jays by midseason. On the other hand, he could end continue to be an anonymous minor league reliever for the rest of his career.

ETA: Late 2005?
3 Stars

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Matt Craig Report

Matt Craig, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Drafted 96th Overall (3rd Rd), 2002 Draft, Richmond
Bats B/Throws R
24 YO, 6'2", 200 lbs

Craig had a nice 2004 for West Tenn, posting a nice power spike and a slight bump in his walk rate. He struck out a bit more than he had in the past, but it probably is just a result of the increased power and patience, getting deep into counts. He's not a particularly good defensive third baseman, isn't likely to be a very good outfielder either, so with Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee signed to long term deals, he's blocked at his two possible positions.

2004 West Tennessee: .275/.363/.509, 20 2B, 20 HR, 49 BB, 101 K, 375 AB
pre-2005 mL Career: .268/.344/.442, 47 2B, 36 HR, 107 BB, 216 K, 957 AB

He's got some pop in his bat, but that doesn't look like the career record of an everyday corner infielder. That leaves a backup role as his only potential major league role. A switch hitter in that position would be pretty useful, especially when he has a touch of power and the ability to draw a walk. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he grows into a better version of Justin Leone. For now he returns to West Tenn to start 2005. With how terrible the Cubs bench is at this point, he could be real useful in Wrigley real quick.

ETA: Late 2005/Early 2006
2 1/2 Stars

Tony Torcato Report

Tony Torcato, OF, San Francisco Giants
Drafted 19th Overall, 1998 Draft, HS, Woodland, CA
Bats L/Throws R
25 YO, 6'1", 220 lbs

It just isn't going happen for Torcato. I know the Giants keep putting on a brave face for their former first round pick, but there's just not much to warrant giving him a roster spot or at bats. He hits for a decent average, but that's all he's got in his bag of tricks. No pitcher is going to be nervous facing a guy who has a 1 in 4 chance of hitting a single. He doesn't hot for much power, doesn't walk, and isn't a threat to disrupt things on the basepaths on the off chance that he actually does get on base in the first place. He's a middle of the road AAA outfielder given leeway because the organization likes him.

2004 Fresno: .289/.314/.367, 22 2B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 35 K, 395 AB
mL Career: .303/.339/.409, 178 2B, 13 3B, 38 HR, 159 BB, 376 K, 46 SB, 19 CS, 3003 AB

There isn't much call for a corner outfielder who can't put up a 700 OPS in Fresno. He's slready looking up a Jason Ellison and Lance Niekro among his age group, and he's about to be passed by Todd Linden, Fred Lewis, Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Nate Schierholtz, and Dan Ortmeir. In other words, once the Giants get up the nerve to DFA him, you probably won't hear much from him again.

ETA: Opening Day
1 1/2 Stars

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