Tag Archive | "Amateur Draft"

A Look at this Year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot – Meet Fred McGriff

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A Look at this Year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot – Meet Fred McGriff

Posted on 28 December 2012 by Trish Vignola

Fred McGriff played 19 major league seasons with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers. He is one of 37 players on the 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) ballot for the Class of 2013 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He returns to the ballot for the fourth time after receiving 23.9 percent of the vote in 2012.

FredMcGriff

BBWAA members who have at least ten years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election. The results will be announced Jan. 9. Any candidate who receives votes on at least 75 percent of all BBWAA ballots cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2013. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 28 in Cooperstown.

Born on Oct. 31, 1963 in Tampa, Florida, McGriff was drafted in the ninth round of the 1981 amateur draft by the New York Yankees. Nicknamed the “Crime Dog” in honor of his surname’s similarity to the children’s character “McGruff”, the following year he was traded to the Blue Jays. By 1987, he was playing full-time at the major league level.

In his second full season, he hit 34 homers. That was the first of seven consecutive seasons with 30 or more, a feat he accomplished 10 times. The following season he finished sixth in MVP voting and took home his first of three Silver Slugger Awards at first base. His 36 home runs led the league.

“When he comes up, we hold our breath,” said then-Rangers manager Bobby Valentine reports Samantha Carr of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1990, McGriff finished 10th in MVP voting. He was then traded to the San Diego Padres with Tony Fernandez in exchange for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. McGriff was not ready to be brushed to the footnotes of baseball history yet.

In his two full seasons with the Padres, he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice. He earned another Silver Slugger Award and made his first All-Star Game appearance. In 1992, he led the league in homers with 35, making him the first player since the dead-ball era to lead both leagues in home runs.

“He has outstanding bat speed,” said former Padres manager Greg Riddoch to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “When that ball jumps off his bat to left-center field, it’s like a shot out of a cannon.”

In 1993, McGriff was traded to the Braves. He went on an offensive tear over the second half of the season to rally the Braves to the division title. He finished fourth in MVP voting that season and won his third Silver Slugger Award.

In 1994, McGriff was named MVP of the All-Star Game and finished second in the Home Run Derby to Ken Griffey Jr. He was hitting .318 with 34 home runs before the strike ended the season. The next year, McGriff has another quality season – 27 home runs, 93 RBI – hitting cleanup for the Braves and hit two home runs to help Atlanta win the World Series title.

A quiet leader in the clubhouse, McGriff was known for his positive attitude and love of the game. “McGriff’s smile lights up a room,” said Riddoch.

In 1998, McGriff was picked up by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he stayed productive for four seasons before ending his career with stops with the Cubs, Dodgers and eventually back with the Devil Rays.

McGriff finished his career just seven homers short of the 500 home run club, tied with Lou Gehrig for 26th all-time. He had a career .284 batting average, 2,490 hits, 441 doubles and 1,550 RBI. He and Gary Sheffield are the only players to hit 30 home runs for five different major league teams. In 10 postseason series, he batted .303 with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 100 total bases. He was named to five All-Star Games, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six times and ranks 42nd all-time in RBI.

“He had a marvelous career,” said former Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella. “He’s a classy person. He’s been a dominant player at his position for years. He played on a world championship team. If I had a [Hall of Fame] vote, I’d vote for him.”

With a ballot frought with controversy, a candidate like McGriff is refreshing. He gives legitimacy to baseball’s recent past and is more than deserving of enshrinment.

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Organizational Outlook: Cleveland Indians

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Organizational Outlook: Cleveland Indians

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Bryan Geary

This is part four of thirty in the Organizational Outlook series. For those of you interested in minor league baseball, and I know you are out there, keeping up with all the top players can be a tall task. This series will take you through each team in baseball and get you up to date on their top prospects.

Only two years ago, the Cleveland Indians farm system was ranked 3rd in all of baseball, loaded with potential impact talents throughout its top 10. But several promotions and one big trade later, the Indians are now the second worst system in the bigs according to Baseball America. The good news is that the last two drafts have replenished some of the top end talent that went missing. In fact, according to Keith Law (subscription), their top 10 prospects for the coming year will be, “full of 2012 draft picks”.

Of course Cleveland fans cannot be too upset about the system’s poor ratings, as they are right in the thick of the AL Central race . Much of this season’s success can be attributed to Jason Kipnis, the team’s number 2 prospect back in 2011. He and Asdrubal Cabrera lead almost every offensive category. Righty Ubaldo Jimenez has not been the rotation savior fans envisioned when Cleveland sent top pitching prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White to Colorado at last year’s deadline, but neither of those two seem ready to contribute yet. With the Central very much up for grabs, having Jimenez still gives them a better chance to win now.

(All prospect rankings according to Baseball America.)

For Indians fans, everything starts with Francisco Lindor. A true shortstop prospect out of Montverde (FL) Academy, Lindor was the 8th overall selection in last year’s amateur draft. He is easily the team’s best prospect and their only representative in BA’s Top 100 list. Aside from his excellent physical tools, Lindor is lauded for his instincts on the field and has shown leadership ability in the past, captaining the U.S. 16-and-under team that won gold in 2009. Incredibly, Lindor has been switch hitting since he was 13 and scouts love his swing from both sides of the plate. Even more incredible is that the young shortstop is still just 18 years old and playing well in his first full season of professional ball. As the second-youngest player in the low-A Midwest League, Lindor is putting up a .285/.369/.410 line with 4 HR, 23 RBI, and 14 SB. To say that this is impressive at his age would be an understatement. He is truly one of the game’s elite prospects. Look for Lindor in this year’s Futures Game during All-Star weekend.

The Rest of the Top 10

Dillon Howard — RHP — 6’4″/210

One of the top prep arms in last year’s draft, a lackluster senior season and signability questions pushed Howard back to the 2nd round, where Cleveland gave him an over-slot deal. Howard apparently had a, “tired arm” in spring, leading Cleveland to hold him back in extended spring training. Armed with an excellent two-seam fastball that sits in the low 90′s, Howard is a potential top of the rotation starter who should see time at low-A Lake County at some point this year.

2012 (ExST): 3 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 K, 2 BB

Nick Hagadone — LHP — 6’5″/230

Hagadone was drafted back in 2007 by the Red Sox and came over in the Victor Martinez deal. Currently in the major league bullpen, he is thought to have late-inning reliever potential, largely because of a fastball that has reportedly touched 98 at times. Walks had been a problem, but he has made big strides in that area.

2012: 23 G, 4.91 ERA, 22 IP, 18 H, 23 K, 11 BB

Chen Lee — RHP — 5’11/175

The Indians signed Lee out of Taiwan in 2008 and he has been solid ever since. Scouts love the movement he gets on the fastball which tops out a 95. His low arm slot translates into lots of groundballs. A potential set-up man, Lee may get a chance in the big leagues at some point this year, but for now he is a AAA Columbus.

2012: 5 G, 2.57 ERA, 7 IP, 5 H, 8 K, 1 BB

Luigi Rodriguez — OF — B-T:S-R — 5’11″/160

An international free agent signing in 2009, Rodriguez is a speedy outfielder from the Dominican Republic. He was actually signed as a second-basemen, but his reported lack of defensive instincts made for a quick change to the outfield. Rodriguez is a switch-hitter with more doubles than home run power. He is at low-A Lake County this year.

2012: .285/.338/.415, 297 PA, 5 HR, 13 SB, 23 BB, 72 K

Zach McAllister — RHP — 6’6″/240

McAllister was once a highly regarded prospect for the Yankees before coming to Cleveland as a Player To Be Named Later in the Kerry Wood deal. His lack of a true out pitch is what really holds him back, as his secondary stuff is nothing special. He does, however, throw strikes with a sinking fastball that can touch 94. McAllister has made four starts in Cleveland this year, but is currently at AAA Columbus.

2012 (MLB): 1-1, 3.96 ERA, 25 IP, 25 H, 22 K, 6 BB

Tony Wolters — SS — B-T:L-R — 5’10″/165

Drafted as a shortstop, the 2010 3rd round pick has split his time between short and second base this season at high-A Carolina. Wolters lack of range may send him to second base full time in the future, especially as Lindor moves up. At the plate he is a contact first hitter who has decent gap power, but he has struggled so far this year.

2012: .226/.293/.329, 279 PA, 1 HR, 4 SB, 22 BB, 59 K

Austin Adams – RHP — 5’11″/185

Adams became one of the team’s top pitching prospects after signing as a 5th round pick in 2009 and even challenged for a big league roster spot this spring. Though he was ticketed for AAA, he went down with a shoulder injury in May and surgery will sideline him for the entire year. When healthy, he shows a big fastball that can touch 100 MPH but not much secondary stuff. Though he has pitched out of the rotation, some believe his future is as a reliever.

2011 (AA): 11-10, 3.77, 136 IP, 147 H, 131 K, 63 BB

Scott Barnes — LHP — 6’4″/185

Drafted back in 2008 as an 8th rounder, Barnes came to Cleveland from San Francisco a deal for Ryan Garko. He missed time last year with a torn ACL, but seems to be healthy as he works this year at AAA Columbus. The lefty flashes a fastball that can touch 96 as well as a decent starter. While some see a future reliever, others believe he can be a solid back end starter.

2012: 0-2, 3.73 ERA, 31.1 IP, 21 H, 35 K, 15 BB

*Zach Putnam was number 10 on Baseball America’s list, but he was traded to the Rockies in January.

Draft Recap

As I noted earlier, this year’s draft was about replenishing the system and their Top 10 list will now be stocked with 2012 draftees. Though some, including Keith Law, had top pick Tyler Naquin as somewhat of a reach, the speedy outfielder is still likely their second best prospect behind Lindor. Their next three picks drew much higher reviews from scouts, as they took high school right-handers Mitch Brown and Kieran Lovegrove in addition to high school outfielder D’Vone McClure. Of the four, only McClure is yet to sign. If you are looking for late round gambles, some picks that caught my eye were Justin Garza and Cory Raley. Garza is a right-handed pitcher out of high school who can run the fastball up to 94. BA had him ranked 130 in their Top 500 but Cleveland took him at 803. Raley is a prep shortstop who is reportedly a great athlete. BA had him 158 in their pre-draft rankings and the Indians took him at 1013. Both Garza (Cal State Fullerton) and Raley (Texas A&M) figure to be tough signs. You can check out all of Cleveland’s draft picks right here.

 

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Organizational Outlook – Chicago White Sox

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Organizational Outlook – Chicago White Sox

Posted on 14 June 2012 by Bryan Geary

Courtney Hawkins

This is part three of thirty in the Organizational Outlook series. For those of you interested in minor league baseball, and I know you are out there, keeping up with all the top players can be a tall task. This series will take you through each team in baseball and get you up to date on their top prospects.

If you are a prospect loving South Sider, there has not been much to cheer about lately. Going into the 2012 season, the White Sox farm system ranked dead last on lists done by Baseball America and Keith Law (subscription for both). Kenny Williams and his draft team have become notorious for being among the most frugal spenders in the amateur draft, meaning the system has been lacking the high upside talent fans and scouts love so much.

The good news for White Sox fans heading into year was that Addison Reed, ranked as the team’s number one prospect by BA and Law, was ready to contribute in the major leagues as a bullpen arm right away. Though new manager Robin Ventura tabbed lefty Hector Santiago as the team’s closer in the early going — and then Chris Sale for an odd one week period — Reed now has the role locked down. A perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities this year, Reed seems to be the closer for the foreseeable future in Chicago. He has been a big part of the success for the AL Central’s surprise leader thus far, but let us take a look at what else the system holds now that Reed is no longer of prospect status.

(All prospect rankings according to Baseball America.)

Chicago was not heavily represented in this year’s BA Top 100 prospects, with Reed as their only representative. However they did add an arm that has some people excited when they dealt previous closer Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays over the winter. Nestor Molina gained some prospect shine in 2011 when he struck out 148 batters in 130.1 innings split between A+ and AA. Originally signed as a third basemen by Toronto out of Venezuela in 2006, Molina transitioned well to a starting role because of his excellent command, as he paired those 148 strikeouts with only 16 walks in 2011. While he may lack one pitch with the “wow” factor, BA spoke of four solid offerings, including a fastball that tops out around 93. Molina was promoted to AAA Charlotte on May 7th after starting 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA at AA Birmingham. However, he only made one start at AAA and is now back in AA where his record sits a 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA and only 54 strikeouts in 75.1 innings.

Another reason fans in Chicago should be excited is their first round draft pick, Courtney Hawkins. A high school outfielder from Texas, Hawkins represents the first time the White Sox have taken a prep player in the first round since 2001. He also represents a shift from some of the conservative, low upside picks we have seen from Chicago in the past. At 6’3″/210, Hawkins is a great athlete who profiles to be a big time power hitter in right field someday, where he will flash a huge arm (he has touched 95 MPH as a pitcher). Keith Law wrote last week that Hawkins is already the Sox new number one prospect, with more upside than anyone else in the system. Given that description, White Sox fans probably held their breath when Hawkins did a backflip on live TV after being drafted. You can watch that right here.

The Rest of the Top 10

Simon Castro — RHP — 6’5″/210

Twice a BA Top 100 prospect with San Diego, Castro came over this winter in the Carlos Quentin trade. A lat injury derailed his 2011 season which saw him make it to AAA. Though his star has dimmed a bit, he still has upside as a mid-rotation starter, according to BA, thanks to a fastball that can touch 96 and a hard biting slider. He is at AA Birmingham this season.

2012: 5-3, 3.65 ERA, 79 IP, 76 H, 65 K, 15 BB

Trayce Thompson — OF — B-T:R-R — 6’3″/195

Thompson, a 2009 draftee, is the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson and brother of current Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Power is his calling card, as he launched 24 bombs at low-A Kannapolis last season. Though he was repeating that level, scouts believe his ceiling is considerable if he can cut down on the strikeouts. He will get a chance to work on that this year at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012: .223/.313/.445, 269 PA, 8 HR, 10 SB, 29 BB, 82 K

Jake Petricka – RHP — 6’5″/170

The White Sox took Petricka in the second round of the 2010 draft after also drafting him out of high school. Though he had Tommy John surgery in college, Petricka has been known to light up the radar guns, hitting 100 MPH at times. He was having a great 2011 before going on the shelf with a back injury. Though he has been up to AA this year, he is currently at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012 (A+/AA): 4-5, 5.30 ERA, 54.1 IP, 60 H, 53 K, 28 BB

Keenyn Walker — OF — B-T:S-R — 6’3″/195

A 2011 draft pick out of junior college, Walker is a center-fielder with big time wheels. The White Sox see a potential leadoff hitter here, though he did struggle from both sides of the plate in his first taste of full season ball last year. He did play with wood bats in college, however, and he is back at low-A Kannapolis to work on his swing this year.

2012: .260/.377/.347, 237 PA, 1 HR, 35 SB, 38 BB, 69 K

Jhan Marinez – RHP — 6’1″/165

Though he was signed all the way in 2006, Marinez is still only 23 years old. He came to the White Sox as part of the compensation for manager Ozzie Guillen going to the Marlins. Marinez is a fastball/slider guy who can run it up to 96 MPH. He has been almost exclusively a reliever in the minors and that is where he fits with the White Sox. Marinez is at AAA Charlotte this year.

2012: 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 28 IP, 17 H, 31 K, 19 BB

Tyler Saladino — SS — B-T:R-R — 5’11″/180

Saladino had a huge season at Oral Roberts prior to being drafted by Chicago in the 7th round of the 2010 draft. BA describes him as a “steady all-around player” but fans should be excited by the power he has showed so far. After smashing 17 home runs his last year of college, he had 16 in 2011 at high-A Winston-Salem. Saladino’s future may be in a utility role, but for now he continues to play shortstop for AA Birmingham.

2012: .235/.380/.332, 273 PA, 2 HR, 23 SB, 46 BB, 52 K

Juan Silverio — 3B — B-T:R-R — 6’1″/175

Silverio was part of a bizarre scandal in the White Sox organization that saw international scouts oversell free agents to make more money. Thus, he is not the 5-tool shortstop that the team thought they were getting. Still just 21 years old, Silverio now plays third base and is a bit error prone. He is off to a solid start this year at high-A Winston-Salem.

2012: .302/.308/.477, 92 PA, 1 HR, 1 SB, 1 BB, 17 K

Ozzie Martinez – SS — B-T:R-R — 5’10″/190

The other part of the Ozzie Guillen deal with the Marlins, Martinez has seen major league time in 2010 and 2011. He is currently at AAA Charlotte for the White Sox, where he is having an awful season with the bat. Martinez is definitely a defense first player and his future is likely as a utility infielder.

2012: .176/.220/.459, 171 PA, 10 2B, 1 SB, 8 BB, 23 K

Bonus Prospect

Keith Law mentioned in an article last week that Jared Mitchell, a 1st round pick by the White Sox in 2009, was having a nice bounce back year. Mitchell was great for low-A Kannapolis in his pro debut, but struggled mightily in 2011 after missing all of 2010 due to ankle surgery.  But as Law said, he is making up for lost time this year at AA Birmingham. A 6’0″/205 outfielder, Mitchell is hitting .279/.408/.470 with 4 home runs and 14 steals so far. Keep an eye on him, as he continues to prove the ankle is back at 100%.

Draft Recap

Though Law was a huge fan of the Hawkins pick, he was not so high on their compensation round pick, Keon Barnum (picked at #48 but ranked 155 in the BA draft 500). It is possible that Barnum was a signability pick for Chicago after they went big with their first overall pick, but he apparently had issues making contact in his senior year of high school. Law tabbed their 2nd round pick Chris Beck as a reliever who could move quick, similar to Addison Reed. Prep catcher Sammy Ayala was a three sport athlete in high school and was regarded by some teams as a 2nd or 3rd round talent. Chicago took a chance on him in the 17th round and will try to sign him away from UC Santa Barbara. Finally, I would be mistaken if I did not mention one of the top names in this year’s draft, Storm Throne. Yes you read that right. Throne, Chicago’s 25th round pick, is a 6’7″/245 RHP who was rumored to have touched 97 MPH. You can see all of Chicago’s picks here.

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What’s happening in my league?

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What’s happening in my league?

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Jared Thatcher

I participate in a dynasty fantasy baseball league hosted by Proboards. We have all 30 teams accounted for and the league is in its second year of existence. People always say the hardest thing about a large dynasty league is retaining owners. So far, this has proved to be true in our league, but we have a great commissioner who fills the teams quickly with quality General Managers.

I joined the league in the middle of the 2011 season by taking over the Atlanta Braves. I know what some of you are thinking… great, young, talented team to take over. You couldn’t be farther from the truth. The GM before me had completely wiped out the minor league system (we can keep up to 75 minor leaguers), and he had already traded away Freddie Freeman, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, Dan Uggla, and Jason Heyward. Basically I was left with Derek Lowe and Chipper Jones. He had traded most of the guys to Rockies and Astros for a bunch of their aging stars like Todd Helton and Carlos Lee. My team had been destroyed, raped, and pillaged by the other teams during the prior GMs reign. But I was OK with that. I took over the team as a challenge. I wanted to rebuild and make a competitive team out of scraps.

So far I have managed to trade away some of the more expensive and aging players for draft picks (we do a 6 round amateur draft and 6 round minor league draft) and prospects (I have almost all of the Diamondbacks pitching prospects in my system now). My system is becoming better and better by the day but I am still a long way from winning.

Anyway, in this post I will list the transactions that happened in my league this week. Hopefully, they will help you determine the value of certain players or at least get an idea of where to start if you are trying to trade in your dynasty league.

Braves trade to the Rockies:Carlos Lee

Rockies trade to the Braves

Chad Bettis $0.4
Jose Iglesias $0.4
Juan Rivera
2012 #29 overall pick

Lee is a very valuable player on a fantasy team. He qualifies at OF and 1B and ESPN has him ranked pretty high as a first baseman. He hit for .300 last year and drove in a ton of runs on a terrible team. Bettis is one of the better Rockies pitching prospects (and he hasn’t been arrested yet). Iglesias should spend a lot of time at SS this year for the Red Sox if he can figure out how to hit. Rivera fills a hole in the outfield and will be a nice asset off the bench. The #29 overall pick will help the Braves system get even deeper.
Braves trade to the Dbacks:

Dbacks trade to the Braves

Charles Brewer
Patrick Corbin
Adam Eaton
Wade Miley
2012 2nd round draft pick (#37 overall)

Robinson and Norris are young and have a lot of years under team control so the package coming back to the Braves had to be large. Brewer and Corbin are good pitching prospects in the Dbacks system and Eaton, although small, is a good OF prospect. Miley broke into the Majors last year for a couple starts but isn’t anything too special as of now. The #37 draft pick could be very useful in this years draft for the Braves.

Astros trade to the Twins:
Twins trade to the Astros:
This trade was mostly a salary dump for the Astros because they had 3 starting shortstops.
A’s trade to the Dbacks:

D-backs trade to the A’s:

1st round draft pick

The draft pick was the #6 overall pick in the 2012 draft. The #6 pick could really be worth a lot which is why the A’s had to give up promising prospects Green and Sands. I like this trade and I think it will benefit both owners as long as the A’s make a wise choice in the draft.

A’s trade to the Twins:

Rafael Furcal

Twins trade to the A’s:

Twins 2nd rd pick (pick 5)

The Twins needed a starting shortstop and Furcal is a good, middle of the pack guy. The A’s continue to acquire draft picks and should get a huge haul in the 2012 draft.
Well, that’s what’s happening in my league. What’s happening in yours? Please comment about the trades posted and the trades that have happened in your league! You can follow me on Twitter @Jared_Thatcher

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