Thursday, July 21, 2011

Musings from July 21st

Glass Man Grady

Wow, whooda thunk it?  Grady Sizemore becoming the villain in “Unbreakable”.    The latest is that he gets hit in the knee and then has hernia surgery.  While the two aren’t likely to be connected, who knows with The Glass Man.  

I have had rice paper that is more durable than this guy has become.  And the timing can’t be worse for the Indians, both this season and this winter.  Sizemore has just made himself untradeable and it makes it very questionable whether the Indians pick up his option.  Still, with him and Carmona you almost have to pick up the option and gamble that you get production or a good deadline deal next year for each of them.  Letting them walk is a waste of resources as that $14 million most likely won't be dumped into player development and prospect procurement, where it belongs.

Here Comes Kipnis

Well, it was only a matter of time.  Give the fans what they want.  Give them youth (hey, I’ll take a double helping of that, please).  Good on ya, mate! 

Time to see if the kids can play.

Now, to make room for Judy and Putnam and, later on, Chen and Hagadone.

If You Were At the Captains’ Game Today….

I am jealous as heck.  What a game.  Score looked more like a 3rd grade T-ball game.

Time to trade some veterans!

What if we traded Tony Sipp or Rafael Perez?  Could we get something back in return with the anticipation of Nick Hagadone coming up?  Yes, most definitely.  Throw in a B prospect and I think you can get an A prospect back. 

Should we trade Joe Smith?  YES.  He will NEVER be more valuable than he is now, in a pennant race, with his stats.  Mark my words.  Given what I am reading, he could get us a solid ‘B’ prospect, if not a ‘B+’ guy if we go for a low minors guy. 

Should we trade Orlando Cabrera? YES.  While he IS the designated MLB playoff good luck charm, he is worth more on another team than on this one.  With Kipnis and Donald knocking DOWN the door, it’s time to make this move.  Plus, his value is inflated much more by his history than his performance, which will only deteriorate as he wears down in the stretch.

Kearns, Durbin and Duncan – The Indians, in their own shrewd way, are showcasing these guys.  It seems to be having some success with Kearns but Durbin and Duncan are not helping their cause.  Nonetheless, Duncan should probably be the most valuable of the three just because of his pinch hitting prowess.   Trade them all.  See how many more Zach McAllister returns you can get.

People are clamoring for bench and relief help and we have the guys to trade.  Let’s trade them, get something back and move on to our younger guys.

Oh, BTW, the trade market for RH OFers is so crazy I hope the Indians are not stupid enough to play in it.  ‘Let them eat contracts’ should be ‘Marie’ Antonetti’s comment to other GMs trying to commit prospect robbery from contenders at the deadline.

2010 Draft Recap and Thoughts

“Potentially the best draft in Cleveland Indians’ history”

“From early returns, the Indians had the best draft in baseball in 2010.”

Assessments like this were flying around the internet after the August 15th deadline in 2010.

When the dust settled, from my analysis, the only guy the Indians didn’t sign from their most aggressive draft in ANYONE’S memory was Burch Smith, who wound up as a 15th round pick for San Diego this year after a decent but not great year at the University of Oklahoma this year.

What I believed at the time was that the Indians were aggressive and picked a bunch of great players, including guys who dropped due to signability issues….and signed almost all of them.

Now that we are over one year from this draft, let’s take a look back at lessons learned.

First, it is to early to hail or criticize any of these draft picks.  Still, the early returns are telling.

Drew Pomeranz – Given that he started his pro career at high A, dominated, and is now in AA, he is a success

LeVon Washington – Some would say that this pick is not looking too good right now but I disagree.  I think Washington is going to be fine and was a high upside guy

Ton Wolters – Another guy who dropped, people wondered if he could hit.  Well, so far, he has hit.  I still like this pick a lot.

Kyle Blair – The first negative story (but not the last) so far.  I was shocked when they started him at low A but, in looking at the 2010 college pitchers we drafted who were Baseball America top 200 prospect guys last year who were on the Lake County roster, I immediately anointed the Captains as repeat Midwest League champions.  Wow, was I wrong.  So what has happened to Mr. Blair?  I don’t have a clue.  Seeing him in person it was obvious to me that he is leaving his pitches up.  Given his stats, it appears that that slice of his season I viewed was pretty typical.    A highly drafted and ranked college pitcher like him should dominate low A.  The fact that he isn’t is a big red flag on his performance.

Cole Cook – Red flag #2 at Lake County.  He is pitching only slightly better than Blair.  While my expectations for Cook were a lefty version of Jensen Lewis, his current performance says he may be only be a slightly better version of Cody Bunkelman.  This is puzzling.  Don’t know what’s going on but even a mediocre college pitcher should do better at low A in his first full season than Cook is doing.

Nick Bartolone – The first clunker in this draft, at least on draft day, he is living up to his own mediocrity.  Not that he doesn’t have tools, just not enough to be considered a 6th round talent.

Robbie Aviles – The miracles here are that he signed and that he had TJ surgery and one year later is already back pitching.  The results stink so far but, if he is pain free, with his pedigree, this could end up as the second best pick from this draft.

Alex Lavisky – He can catch and the power is there.  I don’t know why he is struggling at Mahonning Valley.  He should be dominating after he held his own at Lake County.  I am still sure his second half at Mahoning Valley will be stellar as he can do this!

Jordan Cooper – College pitcher crash and burn part 3, he appears to be just another mediocre college arm at low A ball.

Tyler Holt – He is hitting around .260 at high A.  No power, not much speed, not great defense.  He is, to me, a poor man’s Ezequiel Carrera who, in turn, is a poor man’s major league outfielder.  You get the picture.  Without something unusual (like  he develops 20 HR power overnight) he is 3rd in line for the slap-hitting 4th outfielder spot behind Jordan Henry and Carrera.  Not what we should get for the size of his bonus.

That is it for the first rounds.  We also got Anthony Dischler out of this draft who was thought to be a 5th round talent.  So far he is a mess, struggling at both low A and short-season A ball.

Summary: This draft is not looking as good right now as it did on paper.  Time will tell if the Indians drafted the right guys or just guys in the right quality group.  You always want the latter because it gives you a fighting chance.  However, the successful teams do the former.  This IS a long-term draft, however. Aviles, Washington, Wolters and Lavisky will take a long time to develop.  However, while waiting for those guys we thought we would get a quick shot in the arm from Blair, Cook, Dischler, Holt and Cooper and none of those guys look like major leaguers at all, let alone guys who will get to the majors quickly.  This draft, on paper, was great.  We just need to find a way to get the college guys going to make it both a short term and long term success.

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