Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 25th update

Just wanted to follow up on a couple of things:

1. Nick Punto to St. Louis - First, GREAT news for us.  Second, as expected,St. Louis  fans and media scratching their heads.  You had Brendan Ryan, you gave him away, and you signed Nick Punto.  Huh?  Interestingly enough, reading their blogs and forums, they have the same die hard contingent of fans and bloggers that we do that give the FO every break in the world, rationalizing every head scratching decision.

2. Jorge Cantu to San Diego.  Not to say I am THAT disappointed.  However, if they were going to give 450 plate appearances to a veteran at third base I would rather have given them to Cantu than to Jayson Nix or Jason Donald.  To me, you stck Goedert there and close your eyes when the Indians take the field.  Even if Goedert is a bad thirdbaseman, it's like the difference between 94 losses and 101 losses.  No big deal.  BTW, as Joe Inglett hits left-handed maybe he doesn't make as much sense as I thought.  It was just an emotional knee jerk on my part.

3. did their top 50 prospects rankings.  If you give 50 points to the #1 prospect, 49 to their #2 prospect and so on, here is what you have:

    a. The Indians ranked 24th in baseball with 15 points (from Lonnie Chisenhall ranking #36 overall).  There were 4 teams who didn't have a player ranked and the the Red Sox (9 points) and the Cubs (5 points) had a single player ranked lower than Chisenhall.

    b. In our division EVERY team had more points than us.  The Royals had 5 prospects rated higher than Chisenhall with the 6th rated right below Chisenhall and led the rankings with 6 total prospects.  Both the Tigers and White Sox, like the Indians, had one player ranked but it was a significantly higher-ranked prospect.   The Twins had two prospects ranked below (but not that much below) Chisenhall.

     c. In perusing the top 10 prospects at every position only Jason Kipnis (#4 among second basemen) could be added to Chisenhall (who also finished #2 among third base prospects).  Some of this, e.g., in the pitchers, is due to just a lot of prospects at those positions, but no Alex White or Drew Pomeranz?  disappointing.

Here is a link if you want to read more about the rankings:

In summary, just another bit of evidence that the farm system doesn't look really strong right now.  I haven't received my BA Prospect Handbook yet but it will be interesting to see if we are ranked higher than 24th.  We probably will be but that will be based on depth, not star-quality prospects.  We need to fix that and, yes, the Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia trades did not help that. 

4. In response to a comment I wanted to talk a little about my top 100 prospect rankings.  Here are some of the criteria I used:

     a. If a player is similar to another player in ability and potential, the one closer to the majors is ranked higher, assuming similar production.

     b. Using the Brad Snyder theorem (i.e., if a guy has some huge watchout in his stats in rookie ball, it probably is a huge red flag) some guys (e.g., Lavisky, Wolters) are ranked lower than might be expected.  I know they say Wolters will hit.  I will have to be convinced of that, hopefully starting this year.

     c. Some people may wonder why I rank Kipnis ahead of Chisenhall.  First, I look at the AL where offense dominates.  I think Kipnis and Chisenhall project to be the same defensively (I am not as high on Chisenhall at 3B as some are) and Kipnis is above average for his position offensively while Chisenhall projects, to me, to be Casey Blake, or league average/a little above.  So, that's why the ranking. 

     d. Why did I rank the somewhat wild Pomeranz ahead of White?  I just think he projects to be the more effective ML pitcher IF he reaches that projection.  I think White will be solid league average but Pomeranz has a ceiling of Cliff Lee.

     e. Kyle Blair over Joe Gardner.  Like it or not Gardner has the kind of stuff, almost gimick stuff, that plays up at lower levels.  Hey, all these kids have seen a good fastball but good sinkers, changeups, etc. are more effective at lower levels of the minors, in my opinion.  Blair has the kind of stuff that I think plays better at the ML level than Gardner.

     f. Why Haley, Mills, Hodges, Cid, Head at the bottom?  Last year I got burned in ranking guys higher who I thought had some upside left (e.g., Stephen Head and some of the relief pitchers) only to have those guys cut in spring training or shortly after that.  I think it is possible (moreso for Mills, Hodges and Head than Haley or Cid) that some or all of these guys are released at the end of spring training.  The guys ranked ahead of them on the list have, in my opinion, a better chance of making an opening day roster, even if just as organizational soldiers who have to play themselves into prospects (as Tyler Sturdevant did last year).

     g. Some guys made this list (Carlos Moncrief the hitter, Hunter Jones, Striz, Mark Brown, Francisco Jimenez) because I see just enough potential in them that, if given the chance, might end up giving us some bit part minutes in Cleveland down the road.  Most of these guys go the way of the Rucker kid from a couple of years ago but, at the time, are intriguing enough for the organization to give them more than the average number of years before cutting ties with them.

    h. Looking at the list, the guys most likely to be surprise releases at the end of spring training could be Connor Graham, Joey Mahalic

    i.  Some guys were tough calls.  Jordan Henry over Tyler Holt?  Statistically and projection I think this makes no sense.  Henry's upside is much smaller.  Still, Holt has this hothead thing that may be true or just youthful zeal.  THAT is why Holt is ranked slightly lower.  Bigger upside, red flag possibly preventing him from getting there.

     j. For guys like Matt Packer, TJ McFarland and Chen Lee, they will have to prove it to me over and over again.  I am not sold on any of them due to their lack of true stuff.  I like Chris Jones more because he is left-handed and would like to see if Joey Mahalic could flourish as a closer.

    k. As always, there will be some headscratchers when the minor league teams are populated.  As I have said already, I think Jess Todd goes the way of Neil Wagner and Brendan Ryan.  I think the organization doesn't like him and he has no chance here.  Just my opinion.

That's it for right now.

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