Those who missed the cut

I figured if anyone actually read this, they’d ask why I omitted player “x” or “y”, etc etc. I’m sure the two that will come up first are Michael Bourn and Carlos Ruiz. So, I’ll tackle them one at a time.

Michael Bourn, OF. To me, Bourn didn’t deserve to be on this list, and here’s why. He has very limited upside. I’m sure people will question this, but here’s my line of thinking. He is now 24, and 2006 was his age 23 season. He posted a .715 OPS in 318 AB at Reading, and upon being promoted to Scranton, posted a .796 OPS in 152 AB before he was brought to Philadelphia to ride the pine. Bourn played 3 years of college ball at Houston, and over that span, his single best season was an .827 OPS in 244 AB, which was his sophomore year. He followed that with an .818 OPS in 182 AB his junior year, and was then drafted by the Phillies in the 4th round. Bourn had only 23 extra base hits in 644 career college AB’s. In college, he posted on base percentages of .431, .446, and .411, and obviously drew a ton of walks, which set up his speed (90 SB/119 attempts) well. Upon his entrance to pro ball, his plate discipline remained at both Batavia and Lakewood, posting an OB% of .404 and .433 respectively. However, the last two seasons Bourn has seen his OB% dive to .348 at Reading in 2005, and then .350 and .368 at Reading and Scranton in 2006. If you take that by itself, a .368 OB% is solid, but when you factor in that he has almost zero power (60 extra base hits in 1,014 AB’s in 2005 and 2006), he’s reduced to being a one tool (speed) player. You don’t see many teams carry a guy that can’t hit or get on base, but can steal bases. Bourn is an impressive 163/191 in stolen bases in the minors, but his future (it would seem) is as a 5th outfielder, where he will be a defensive replacement/pinch runner for guys like Pat Burrell, and to me, that doesn’t warrant his placement in this prospect list. He could surprise me, or he could turn into a guy that bounces from AAA to the bigs his entire career.

Carlos Ruiz, C. Simply put, he’s too old for these lists. He’ll be 27 on opening day, and in only the rarest cases do I consider guys over the age of 25 “prospects”. That said, I think Ruiz can be a decent regular if given the chance. His defense is what people raved about, but I don’t know that we know enough about his game calling ability based on his limited exposure last season. We’ll see.

6 thoughts on “Those who missed the cut

  1. While I understand your point of view regarding Ruiz’s age, it
    doesn’t seem that age is a major factor in BA’s rankings–given
    the fact that they ranked Chris Booker last year at age 29. In
    the meantime, they have ranked Ruiz as a prospect for the last two years, both of which he’s had outstanding seasons. Rather
    more impressive than some of our other “prospects.”

  2. ogd, I hear ya, but I’m not really trying to think in line in terms of what Baseball America uses in their criteria for prospects. They include Ruiz because of a lack of ML plate appearances, and that’s fine, but for me, he’s just too old for “true prospect status”, if that makes sense. In the writeup, I stated I think he could be a fine catcher, but he’s kind of running out of time, thanks to poor handling by the Phillies. For the purposes of my list I made, I was really only looking at guys who are 25 and under, and that’s probably a standard I’ll use for future considerations. Warden isn’t really a true prospect either, and Booker (in my view) wasn’t last year. These guys can still be contributors, they could really take off, but they’re past the age where I consider them to be true prospects. Maybe that’s just my personal view on the issue.

  3. I say “amen” to your comment about Ruiz’s mishandling by the
    Phillies. Very puzzling the way they deal with him–unless
    there’s some deep, dark secret that they haven’t shared with us.
    If the latter is the case, then why didn’t they just get rid of
    him?

    As for those pitchers–Warden, Simon and now Garcia–I do not
    regard them as true prospects either. They are examples of
    Gillick’s propensity for dumpster-diving, but they deserve good
    looks in the spring.

  4. I think what separates Warden from Simon/Garcia is his dominance against RH batters. The other two don’t have drastic splits like Warden does. Garcia does have dominant groundball tendencies.

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