Monthly Archives: December 2011

Carlos Rivero claimed on waivers by the Nats

Just as I say I might not have anything to post about again for a while, the Nats have claimed Carlos Rivero off waivers. I wrote extensively about Rivero back in May, and while I’m sad to see him go, I don’t think this is anything to get too worked up over. He showed good tools in 2011 in a rebound season, but he is still largely a flawed prospect. He is very rough defensively at 3B, and if he can’t stick there, the only other logical spot for him is an outfield corner, where his bat may not play quite as well. He’d have been a nice guy to take a look at for one more season, but he isn’t a big loss. That said, its odd that John Bowker wasn’t DFA’ed if they were looking to clear a 40 man roster spot….

General Discussion: The end of 2011

I wanted to quickly thank everyone for their continued support this year, including everyone who has helped provide original content here and those of you who read the site regularly and especially those of you who provide comments and feedback on a regular basis. I am planning a major post next week at some point, but I don’t want to promise it in case something else comes up and delays my timeline for releasing it here. This is something I have spent a considerable amount of time on, and I hope it is something that is well received. I will be off the grid quite a bit over the next 2 weeks, so I’ll create this discussion thread now, and it may be the last post for a little while. Of course if something major happens, like a trade, I will do my best to put something together.

So, discuss whatever it is you’d like here, trying to keep it related to the minor league system, and enjoy your holidays. I expect to have my major feature posted next week, so look for that. Thank you again for your continued support, and I am really looking forward to 2012, as I have a number of ideas and things I’d like to introduce here.

What to expect in 2012: Julio Rodriguez

Welcome to the 4th installment of the “What to expect in 2012” series. We’ve previously covered Trevor May, Jon Pettibone and Sebastian Valle. Today we’ll cover one of the more controversial prospects in the system, RHP Julio Rodriguez. J-Rod was an under the radar 8th round selection in 2008 out of Puerto Rico and since signing, he’s posted big strikeout numbers, low ERAs, and very divergent scouting reports. Some reports had his velocity in the 90-93 range, average for a RHP. Other reports had him at 86-89, far below average for a RHP. I wrote this about J-Rod way back in 2008 after he was drafted:

He’s got a great pitcher’s frame, and his motion has lots of arms and knees, which could probably create some deception. His fastball has decent life, and the Phillies are probably banking on him adding velo as he fills out his frame. The only thing I really noticed, from the side, is that it seems that he hangs over the rubber for a split second, which might be holding back some of his velocity.

he’s obviously a project, I’d bet he repeats the GCL next year unless he just lights up the world in Instructs and looks awesome in the spring. If he fills out his frame and adds 2-3 mph on his fastball and can tighten his curveball, we might have something. The Phillies seem to do a decent job with projectable RHP (Myers and Madson come to mind), so we’ll see what happens here. Its going to be a slow road for Rodriguez, but assuming he’s healthy next year, he should be a fun one to monitor over the summer.

He did repeat the GCL in 2009 and performed well, and he’s moved somewhat slowly, reaching A+ in his 4th pro season (3rd full season) He hasn’t added a ton of velocity, but again, that depends on the report you read. But the results speak for themselves…take a look:

(click to enlarge)

As I’ve said in every top 30 write-up since he was drafted, he’s going to have to prove himself at every level. The jump from A+ to AA is massive, especially in the Phillies system for pitchers, as they go from a pitcher friendly league to a hitter friendly league and a very hitter friendly home park. His GB% plummeted to just 30% in 2011, and that will cause problems next year if it persists. The most impressive stat for Rodriguez has been his opponent’s BA. In 2011 it was .184, and that follows sub .200 numbers in both 2010 and 2009. Hitters are definitely not seeing the ball out of his hand, and it leads to a lot of weak contact. What is the secret? Is it the long arms and legs? Can he continue to repeat it? 2012 is going to be a huge year for J-Rod, in whatever role the Phillies use him. What are your expectations?

BA ranked Roman Quinn 11th in the Phillies system

BA has a new article up today (subscription content) listing the #11 prospect for every NL team. They list Roman Quinn as #11 and point to the things we’ve already heard before: he has blazing speed (comparing him to Michael Bourn) and note his surprising power for someone his size. That’s about it. Nothing new, but I thought him being ranked #11 was notable. Feel free to discuss.

General Discussion: Week of 12 December 2011

The Rule 5 draft has passed. The long cold winter has begun. Things will be slow here over the next few weeks unless something major happens. I have some ideas for things I want to write about, but finding the time of late to sit down and do a thorough job has been tough. So maybe you’ll see a few shorter pieces that should spur on discussion, including a few “what to expect in 2012” editions. My plan is to start the Reader Top 30 at the beginning of January, which I believe is what we did last year. So, you can start thinking about your top 30 lists. As always, feel free to discuss whatever is on your mind here, and try to keep it somewhat prospect related if you can.

The Rule 5 draft is today, and the Phillies select…..

You know they will take someone. I’m not sure I’ll have time to do a detailed writeup today as the events unfold, but I will definitely update this space to reflect the player(s) we take and those we lose. So, check back later and use this spot to discuss the Rule 5 draft.

Update –> The Phillies did not make a selection in the major league phase, and Jiwan James was not selected. Both items are a surprise.

Glad Jiwan is sticking around, and hopefully his bat takes a big step forward in 2012.

The Cubs selected RHP Lendy Castillo, who it feels has been in the Phillies org forever. He’s never really been on the radar in terms of guys who could make an impact, and the Cubs will likely try to stash him as the long man in their pen.

Update 2 –> The Phillies didn’t make a selection in the minor league phase, but did lose Travis Mattair, Andy Loomis, and Francisco Diaz. Best of luck to them in their new orgs.

Previewing the upcoming Rule 5 draft

We’ve already been over who the Phillies have protected and left unprotected here. Jiwan James is the big name the Phillies are hoping to sneak through. The Phillies have been very active in recent years, always selecting at least one guy, and in the last two seasons, they’ve kept their guy (Mini Mart, Herndon) the full season and retained them moving forward, so you can assume they will take someone again this year. If they do, here are my suggestions for guys they should look at.

Bryce Stowell, RHP (CLE) – Stowell has a big arm, as he used to consistently sit in the high 90s, but has had some injury trouble recently and is now down in the 92-95 range consistently. Still, if he’s past his injury issues, he has a special arm and could fit in well in the middle of the bullpen. Like we saw with Herndon, stashing a reliever as your 25 man is pretty easy. The Phillies will have competition in the bullpen, and Stowell could fit in there. Over the last 2 seasons between A+/AA/AAA he’s put up this line: 106 IP – 63 H – 57 BB – 159 K. Still a little raw, but plenty of upside. Video here

Ryan Flaherty, INF (CHC) – Flaherty is the victim of a numbers game, as the Cubs have a bunch of high ceiling/bonus baby infielders they need to protect and he doesn’t really have a set position. In 2011 he played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, RF and LF. That’s versatility. He hit .305/.384/.523 at AA before struggling a bit in AAA. He has lefthanded power and can play all over the field, so if the Phillies were looking for another bench bat, he’d be a good guy to look at. I suspect that he’ll get taken before the Phillies pick. Grainy video here.

Nick Barnese, RHP (TAM) – Barnese was a high ranked prospect as recently as 2 years ago, but like most Rays pitchers, he’s moved very slowly through the system and now must be protected. He doesn’t turn 23 until January, and has moved one level at a time since being drafted. He spent 2011 in AA and saw his walk rate jump a bit while his K rate dipped slightly. His groundball rate has dropped each year since turning pro, but was still a respectable 47% in 2011. He may have just gotten a bit stale in Tampa, or his stuff might have dropped overall. There’s only one way to find out…

Philippe Valiquette, LHP (CIN) – He can’t seem to stay healthy, but when he’s on the mound he throws 97-99 from the left side. Sometimes he knows where its going, other times he doesn’t. But that kind of arm strength is worth a $50,000 flier, and if he’s injured/sucks, you get half of that back when you offer him back to Cincinnati. If he can stay healthy and harness his stuff, he has impact reliever possibility…kind of like Antonio Bastardo at this time last year. Plus, collecting guys named Philippe (and all their alternate spellings) should be an organizational priority.

Pat Venditte, P (NYY) – He’s a switch pitcher. Enough said. Video.

Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP (CHC) – Had Tommy John Surgery, but bounced back nicely in 2011 and posted this line in A+: 127.2 IP (career high) – 131 H – 43 BB – 117 K. Both his BB and K rates were improved from 2010 when he was recovering from surgery and he allowed only 10 HR last year with a 49% groundball rate. Would certainly be an interesting guy to look at as a reliever, though he’s been a career starter. He has four pitches, and his fastball sits in the 91-94 range as a starter, which could tick up in relief, and his change and curve are both solid average pitches.

Of course the Phillies don’t ask me for advice, and at this time last year I wasn’t writing up a piece on how they should take Micahel Martinez. So, we’ll see what happens.

Phils sign Brian Sanches, Scott Elarton

The Phillies announced yesterday that they signed RP Brian Sanches, along with SP Scott Elarton.  Sanches, 33, was part of the Phillies organization from 2004-2007, progressing from AA to the majors, seeing some time for the Phils.  Originally a 2nd round draft choice by the Royals in the 1999 draft, Sanches went on to throw for the Nationals and Marlins having a good modicum of major league success in FLorida over the passed three years. In 2011, Sanches was 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA in 39 games, throwing 61.2 innings for the Marlins.

The reclamation project of the 2012 Spring Training will be Scott Elarton, 35, who last pitched in the White Sox organization in 2010.  Elarton, a 1st round pick by the Astros in the 1995 draft was both highly touted and successful in his early career winning 17 games for the Astros in 2007, Elarton, a 6’7 RHP, last threw in the majors for the Indians in 2008.

The Phils also announced that they have invited 8 players on minor league deals to Major League Spring Training. Thse names include Kevin Frandsen, Pete Orr, Tuffy Gosewisch, Raul Valdes, Brian Sanches, Scott Elarton, Scott Podsenik and Pat Misch.