Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Analysis of the Blue Jays First Round

The first round went as expected for me personally. The big highlight for me was Courtny Hawkins doing a back flip after being selected by the White Sox. He then recieved a phone call from Kenny Williams who quickly put a stop to all backflips. 
Most teams picked who they were expected too, with the one major exception in the Houston Astros. Astros were widely expected to take RHP Mark Appel with the first overall pick. However they stunned many people taking SS Carlos Correa, who has drawn comparisons to A-Rod and Tulo. The Astros set the tone for the first round with that pick, as many up the middle players were picked. I was very curious to see to the Blue Jays were going to pick, hoping they were able to draft the players I wanted them to. I wanted the Blue Jays to select Lucas Giolito at 17 and Joey Gallo at 22. That didn’t happen, as the Nationals selected Giolito one spot a head of the Blue Jays, while Gallo was picked by the Rangers in the compensation round. Just because the Blue Jays didn’t get the players I thought they would, that doesn’t mean they didn’t get good players. Here’s a rundown of the two players the Blue Jays did select in the first round.

17th overall – D.J. Davis OF – Stone County HS

He was ranked as the 21st overall prospect by MLB but his stock has been rapidly rising. His best tool is his speed; he is widely considered the fastest player in this draft. That speed makes him a huge asset on the bases and in center field. He is a gap to gap hitter not a lot of power, profiles as lead off type of hitter. I like this pick by the Blue Jays they get another speedy outfielder who if he reaches his potential could form a great outfield with Anthony Gose for the Blue Jays. Davis has been compared to Juan Pierre. As a high school guy he will be a tougher sign but I fully expect the Blue Jays to sign him.

22nd overall – Marcus Stroman RHP – Duke

I love this pick by the Alex Anthopolous and his scouts. Stroman was ranked as the 10th best player entering this draft. To get him at 22 is a huge steal. The knock on Stroman is his size, listed at 5’9” 185lbs. I don’t think size is a huge issue, sure you would want that guy at 6’6” but Stroman can still dial his fastball up to the mid-90’s, with late movement. He has a big power curve. He has been compared to Tom Gordon and profiles as a reliever in the MLB. He is expected to be the first player from this draft class to reach the majors. Scouts have said he could reach the bigs this year and help the Jays out of the bullpen very soon. That would be a huge benefit for the Blue Jays if he could reach the bullpen this season. The bullpen needs some work and Stroman may allow the Blue Jays to look elsewhere at the trade deadline, rather than looking at relievers.  He will take some creativity to sign as he should ask for more money than slot 22 allows (1.8M).

Overall Alex Anthopolous did an excellent job with the players available to him. Davis and Stroman both project to be great player at the MLB level. I hope AA gets them signed so they can start their professional careers and hopefully reach that potential they have.

Comments are appreciated let me know how I’m doing and what I can improve on. You can follow me on twitter @PaulBerthelot Thanks.        

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BlueJays Draft Preview

The MLB draft is less than a week away so I decided to do a preview for my homer team the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays have two picks in the first round (not counting the supplemental round), pick 17 and 22. I don’t claim to be a draft expert. This is the first year I have been really interested in the MLB draft. Because of that I will only preview those two selections that they Jays have because honestly I don’t know a lot about the players past the top 30. These are not players the Jays are going to pick or have been rumored to be picking just my opion of who they may take. The Blue Jays farm system is loaded with pitching prospects, with 8 of their top 15 prospects being pitchers. The rest consist of outfielders (headlined by Anthony Gose) and catchers (headlined by Travis d’Arnaud). In their top 15 they have 1 infield prospect short stop Adeiny Hechavarria. Every teams draft strategy should be to take the best player available and I agree with that 100%. The goal with the draft in my opinion is to draft the best player available and hopefully he fits in with your organizational needs. The Blue Jays could get lucky in that respect with this draft.

                With the17th overall selection I feel the Jays should take RHP Lucas Giolito. Giolito was the best high school pitcher at the beginning of this season and had a chance to be the first HS pitcher ever taken first overall. But as you all know he suffered an elbow injury and was forced to miss the entire season. Giolito would be a gamble pick because teams have no idea about his health and if he will be the same pitcher again. Alex Anthopolous is known for taking risks in the draft. If Giolito can recover from the injury and get back to where he was pre injury the Jays will have an ace pitcher in the making, a steal at 17.

                With the 22nd overall pick I feel the Jays should select 3B Joey Gallo. I know what people are thinking the Blue Jays have a young third baseman already in Brett Lawrie. This is true but these players are so far away you can’t think like that and pick based on position. Gallo has the most power in this draft. He fills a need in the Jays minor league system a big time power bat. As he gets closer to the bigs he may need a positional change may be necessary to fit him on the MLB roster but again this is a few years down the road. He likely will be the best player available to the Jays at 22 and he fills the need of power in the Jays system there is no reason not to take him at 22.

                Both these players are high school guys which makes them perfect Anthopolous picks. He likes to take the riskier player with high upside over the safer pick with lower upside. Both these players are high risk high reward, but if they develop like scouts think they can the Blue Jays may just have their ace and cleanup hitter of the future.

Comments are appreciated let me know how I’m doing and what I can improve on. You can follow me on twitter @PaulBerthelot. Thanks                  

Friday, December 09, 2011

Taking Advantage of the Rule 5 Draft

Are you a struggling team who doesn’t seem to have an all-star on the roster, are you a potential contender looking to add that last bullpen piece or role player but don’t want to spend big money on the 25th man on you roster? If that sounds like your team then try the Rule 5 Draft.
The Rule 5 Draft is one of my favourite times in the baseball offseason. It’s a chance for teams to select players to play for their MLB teams in the upcoming season.
 It gives teams the opportunity to select a player for their MLB team. Most rule 5 guys are role players, usually pinch runners or back up defenders. Pitchers tend to be hard throwers who usually end up being the last man in the pen or a lefty specialist. These players may not be stars but it is a great opportunity for the player and the team. As a player he gets the chance to play in the big leagues. Now yes most may never see the majors but at least they are given the opportunity to attend big league spring training and have the opportunity to make the team something they may not have without the rule 5 draft. The team has the potential and yes it’s a small chance but they have the chance to get a star player. Yes it’s highly unlikely that all stars are acquired via the rule 5 draft but for rebuilding teams like the Astros or Cubs it’s a worthwhile gamble. There have been 26 players who have made the all-star team who were once rule 5 pick, most notably Roberto Clemente, George Bell, Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, and Joakim Soria.   
It only cost $50,000 to select a player. For teams trying to rebuild provided that the rule 5 player won’t take another players spot is a worthwhile risk. The worst that can happen is that you’re out $25,000. Its like the lottery you’re not likely to win but it’s worth a shot.
I believe that the Rule 5 draft is underrated in today’s game and could be a tool if used effectively by GMs. Most teams don’t even select a player in the major league portion of the draft. Only 12 teams made a selection this year. I think that if teams did more scouting in preparation for this draft there would be many more diamonds in the rough found. If scouts focused on this draft as intently as they did the first year player draft I believe that many great players would come out of the Rule 5 draft. There have to be players in the minors who if given the opportunity would have success in the majors. Players with mechanical flaws in their batting stance, flaws in their pitching mechanics, that could be fixed with the help of MLB coaches. Scouts in my opinion need to be looking for players like this. If you could find a Roberto Clemente for $50,000, why not do everything you can to make that happen, especially for teams with little money. If you could get an all-star for $50,000 that would be huge for the team.
 If I was a GM I would defiantly put resources into the Rule 5 draft and try to use it my advantage. You just never know if a player will figure it out when in Spring Training and you end up with that elite player you were looking for. If not hopefully you were able to get that bullpen arm or bench player you were looking for.       
Commets are appreciated, let me know how I’m doing and what I can improve on. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulBerthelot  and you can like Ol Ball Game on facebook as well. Thanks  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Improving the Indians

The Indians have done what I would love to do if given the opportunity to be a general manager. They have themselves a starting pitching staff of ground ballers. Their projected starting pitchers are as follows (in no particular order)

Ground Ball % (2011)
Josh Tomlin
Justin Masterson
Fausto Carmona
Ubaldo Jimenez
Derek Lowe

In order for these pitchers to have success (with the exception of Tomlin) is to have the defence turn those groundballs into outs. The Indians as they currently stand are not in a good position to field groundballs.

Player (Position)
UZR (2011)
Matt LaPorta (1B)
Jason Kipnis (2B)
Asdrubal Cabrera
Jack Hannahan

Only Hannahan is a good defender. I am going to give Kipnis the benefit of the doubt as he is a converted outfielder who should improve defensively as he plays more 2B. Signing Casey Kotchman (1.6 UZR in 2011, and widely considered an elite defender) would solve the first base issue. That just leaves short stop as the main hole in the Indians infield. I propose a blockbuster trade that would shake up the AL Central.
Why the Indians would do this.
Ramirez had an 11.9 UZR in 2011, which lead all shortstops. He has been an elite defender for the last few seasons. Ramirez would provide the Indians the short stop they need. The offence that they would lose with Ramirez will be made up for with his glove.  
Why the White Sox would do this.
Ramirez hit just .269/.328/.399 last season and is a career .279/.323/.421. Cabrera hit .273/.332/.460 last season and is a career .281/.343/.414. The benefit for the White Sox in this trade is the additional offence they gain with Cabrera over Ramirez. Cabrera had more HR, RBI, runs, SB, doubles, and the same amount of walks in 2011. Put Cabrera in US Cellular field and he will be even better than he was with the Indians. The defence that the White Sox would lose with Cabrera would be made up for with his bat.
This blockbuster trade along with the signing of Casey Kotchman would give the Indians a much better chance to overtake the Tigers in AL Central.
Comments are appreciated let me know how I’m doing and what I can improve on. You can follow me on twitter @PaulBerthleot and like Ol Ball Game on Facebook. Thanks

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trade and Free Agent Targets for the Padres

Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres is one of the toughest places to hit in all of the MLB. Pitchers love pitching there because of all the space. The Padres have two very good defensive outfielders in CF Cameron Maybin (9.5 UZR in 2011) and RF Will Venable (4.4 UZR in 2011). In order to make the following pitchers even more of a success in San Diego, the Padres need to get a left fielder that can also play excellent defence. This is fairly easy to do they just need to reunite with Tony Gwinn Jr (8.2 UZR in 2011). He along with Maybin and Venable will form one of the top if not the top defensive outfield in the MLB. This scenario would be heaven for fly ball pitchers. With that here are some starting pitching targets for the Padres. (Stats from 2011)
Free Agent Targets

Fly Ball %
Bruce Chen
Javier Vazquez

Trade Targets

Colby Lewis (TEX)
Scott Baker (MIN)
Guillermo Moscoso (OAK)


Scott Kazmir (2010)
Rich Harden

These starters would all have great success in Petco Park. Each of them gives up fly balls more than 40% of the time. Chen and Vazquez both already are successful pitchers and adding them to San Diego would make them even more effective.
 For a guy like Lewis his ERA is high due to him pitching in the bandbox in Texas. If San Diego was able to acquire him his ERA would lower, his HR/9 would drop he would have much more success with the Padres. Baker and Moscoso both play in pitchers parks in Minnesota and Oakland, but the added effect of the defence San Diego could provide would make their number even smaller.
The gambles on Kazmir and Harden would be very high risk, very high reward. If Kazmir was able to return to the ace he was in Tampa, the Padres would love that. The risk is that he flops and costs the Padres games early in the year. He is a good gamble to take in my opinion. Harden has the stuff to be an ace. The issue with him throughout his career is injuries. If he can stay healthy for at least half a season, then the Padres could trade him at the deadline for a prospect.   
Overall these fly ball pitchers would all have great success in San Diego. The only risk would be the money required to sign the players and the players given up in trades. In my opinion if I was a GM I would take a look at these guys and see if I could bring them into the organization. If they have success great, the Padres could be contenting with them. If they’re not contending, but success is happing for the pitchers, than deal them at the deadline for some younger talent. The opportunity cost of getting these players would be worth it for the Padres. The Padres don’t plan on contending this season so why not gamble on some players and see if you can?
Comments are appreciated let me know how I’m doing and what I can improve on thanks. You can follow me on twitter @PaulBerthelot  and you can "like" Ol Ball Game on Facebook too.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Does CJ Wilson Deserve $82.5M???

What do those two men above have in common, other than being struggling right handed pitchers in the AL East, is that they each signed contracts for 5 years $82.5milllion. I have been hearing rumours that another pitcher CJ Wilson is looking to join them in the $82.5 million club. This post here will analyze how Wilson stacks up to these pitchers, comparing careers before the contract and the walk year of the contract.
We will begin by looking at the players career before signing their big deal and see how Wilson stacks up.
Career before big deal was signed (Standard Stats)
Pitcher (Years, Seasons)
Won-Loss Record
Wilson(2005-2011, 7)
Lackey (2002-2009, 8)
Burnett (1999-2008, 10)

Obviously Wilson has fewer counting stats (Games, Starts, IP) because he has only been a starter for the last two seasons.  That should help Wilson as his arm will be less taxed than the other two. Wilson will be the same age as Lackey was when he signed his deal (30, Burnett was 31), so age has no impact. I feel that since Wilson has pitched less that, which will help him to get $82.5M.
To put them on a more level playing field so we can make a better analysis of the numbers. Let’s look at the last two seasons before each pitcher signed their deals.
Wilson (2010-2011)
Lackey  (2008-2009)
Burnett (2007-2008)

Looking at those numbers it’s easy to see that Wilson is the best of those three pitchers. He had more starts, best ERA, best WHIP, and best ERA+. His strikeouts/per 9 are just a tad better than Lackey and his walks/per 9 are high but the same as Burnett’s.  Looking at those numbers Wilson most definitely deserves $82.5M if not more.
There is one more set of numbers I want to look at, and that is each pitchers walk years. I want to look at walk years because of a personality trait called recency effect. Recency effect causes people to value others based off their most recent occurrence. So GM’s may have valued Burnett, Lackey and maybe Wilson based off their most recent season prior to free agency. 
Wilson (2011)
Lackey  (2009)
Burnett (2008)

Clearly by those numbers Wilson is head and shoulders above Lackey and Burnett. The best ERA of the 3 by about a full run, the lowest WHIP, tied with Burnett for most starts (they both lead the lead in their respective seasons). His ERA+ destroys Lackey’s and Burnett’s. Looking at those numbers its fairly easy to see that Wilson definitely deserves at least $82.5M if not more.
Overall looking at the numbers, Wilson is far better than Lackey or Burnett. He has pitched the least amount because of his seasons as a reliever, but that definitely has helped to keep his arm fresh which should hopefully keep him off of the DL. To conclude, I feel that CJ Wilson when compared to AJ Burnett and John Lackey deserves at least the $82.5M that they got. I believe that Wilson should get even more than that. My prediction is that Wilson will get a 5 year $95million contract with an option for $20M.
Comments are appreciated let me what you think and how I can improve. You can follow me on twitter @PaulBerthelot and you can "like" Ol Ball Game on Facebook just click on the link. Thanks