Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Predicting the future part 3 (picks 22-31)

Walter:

Fielder is a decent pickup here because of his power potential. I would like him better if he didn't strike out so much but I if he develops properly that should become less of a factor (as you said, walks often follow power). I like the McCann pick less. Its true that he is raking right now, but if you look at his minor league numbers it appears to be kind of a fluke. He never hit higher than .290 in the minors (and that was in single A), and struck out nearly twice as often as he walked. He does have some nice power potential as a catcher, as evidenced by his 15 HR season in high A ball, but to me he projects more as a Jason LaRue type (.250 average but some pop to hit 20 HR). We'll see though, overally he was the safest catching pick left (this analysis emphasizes the reasons for picking Mauer so early).

#22) - Stephen Drew
Age: 23
Position: SS

Despite the hype surrounding this kid, I absolutely love him college numbers. At Florida State, Drew absolutely destroyed the ACC (the best league in college baseball top to bottom) for two seasons posting OBP's of .457 and .458 while displaying some pretty solid power potential (33 HR in 2 seasons). The D-Backs have had nothing but praise for him as he has skyrocketed through their entire system in under a year. To me, Drew projects as a Michael Young type. He is going to hit for a high average (above .300) and provide some limited pop (maybe 20-25 HR) while playing adequate SS (he'll make the plays he gets to). The way my team is composed, I would not be shocked if Drew ended up as the leadoff hitter.

#23) - Yusmeiro Petit
Age: 21
Position: SP

I was almost scared away from this pick by his disastrous start to a AAA career (0-3, 9.20 ERA). But Petit is only 21 (even though it seems like he has been around forever) and has put up outstanding numbers at his other minor league stops. He had a similar run in AA where he struggled a bit during his fist few starts but settled down to put up numbers worthy of one of the top pitching prospects in the game. In his final 21 starts at the AA level Petit went 9-2 with an other worldly 130:18 K:BB ratio in 117 innings. Those numbers alone were enough to get me to take a chance on this kid.
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Donny:

I would jump on you because of the Petit pick, because I know you are feeling a little insecure about it right now, but to be honest, I almost took him in that round and I think it is a good decent pick. You just have to hope the scouts are wrong and he did not top out in AA.

Drew is a good pick, I would have taken him a lot earlier if I didn't already draft two shortstops. It may be rose coloured glasses but their certaintly seem to be a ton of great infield prospets on the left side of the infield. It will be very interesting to see how they pan out, especially since this is the first generation of prospects I feel I have a good grasp on.

#24) - Ervin Santana
Age: 23
Position: Starting Pitcher

#25) - Matt Kemp
Age: 21
Position: OF (LF)

Both have question marks, both putting up good seasons. Kemp was detroying AA, moved up to AAA and hit a bit, along with a cup of coffee. Used to be rated below Pence, but is younger and producing at a higher level, if striking out a bit more.

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Walter:

Two solid picks by you. Santana has been on my radar for a while because he has proved himself on the major league level. However, my hesitation with him was that what he had proved was that he was a solid middle of the rotation starter and not really an ace. Overall another solid/safe pick for your pitching staff (along with Liriano and Bonderman). I think the ironic thing is that you are making the safer selections and I am opting for younger guys like Hughes and Petit. Kemp is a similar pick. He was also on my radar but I just wasn't overwhelmed by his overall minor league numbers. He is not a patient hitter and strikes me as very streaky. I am trying to build my lineup to be tough outs top to bottom to really wear on a pitcher. Kemp definitely has the talent and is a great value for you at this spot in the draft, he just didn't really fit into what I am trying to do.

#26) - Dustin Pedroia
Age: 22
Position: 2B

As a converted SS at 2B, Pedroia gives me a third excellent defensive player up the middle (the weak link being Drew). While there are a ton of good middle infielders available (Weekes, Barfield, Cano, Kendrick), Pedroia is clearly the guy who my philosphy favors. Whereas the others strike me as free swinging singles hitters for the most part (especially Kendrick, who I think is the most overrated prospect in MLB), Pedroia is an on base machine (career .398 minor league OBP) who walks more than he strikes out. Pedroia has even shown some power at the AA level, blasting 8 HR and 19 doubles in only 256 AB's. He is never going to content for a batting crown, but he should perrenially be a leader in OBP for second baseman. I just love his approach at the plate (and I know Donny does as well).

#27) - Carlos Quentin
Age: 23 (just barely)
Position: OF

Ironic that my fourth OF may yet be the most polished hitter (even more so than Major Leaguers Sizemore and Hermida). Quentin can flat out rake, though he cannot play defense the way my three starters can. Still, at this point in the draft I can't pass up on a solid all around hitter like Quentin. His career minor league numbers say it all: .316 avg., .428 OBP, .534 SLG. That he blasted 21 HR in 136 games at AAA demonstrates that he has the power to drive the ball to all fields. Quentin doesn't possess the upside of guys like Delmon Young and Jeremy Hermida, but he should be a regular all-star for many years to come.
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Donny:

Pedroia and Quentin are both safe OBP guys. Your team is definitely going to have a tremendous ability to get on base. Whereas I picked a bunch of free swingers with power. I guess the difference here is that I know power translates from the minors, and doesn't go away, whereas some guys who get on base tons in the minors just can't do it against major
league pitching and *poof*, all of a sudden they are putting up 260/320/400 lines, which is not what you want. The downside of my guys may be that 320 OBP but they got the 500 slugging to go with it. On the other hand, I think at this point you have a bit more upside, because if enough of those guys do translate into the bigs, and a couple find power, which is certainly possible (although I am beginning to think it is less likely for those two).

If you take a look at the Arizona AAA team, something will stick out at you pertaining to Quintin, he is like 6th(!) on his team in HRs. He's got a 427 OBP to go with it, and 30 doubles, but his IsoPow is only 200 in a tremendous hitting environment. I really don't think the homer power is coming any time soon.

Not to be too negative, because I like both of them a lot, but notice to temper expectations.

Onto my picks:

#28) - Andy Marte
Age: 22
Position: 3B

I have no idea how many third basemen I have drafted so far, but you know what, it doesn't matter, they can all swing the bat. I have said it a million times, but I really think the Sox are going to regret the Coco trade. You just don't trade away guys who are one season away from being top 5 prospect material.
In fact it is a little shocking he has fallen this much.

#29) - Hanley Ramirez
Age: 22
Position: SS

Really, there is just a tremendous depth of talent at this position right now. The guy is young and producing at the major league level. Also had a power spike (9 HR!) which came out of nowhere. Guess the standard story, that he needed to be pushed, was right.

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Walter:

Some really good points by you about the draft so far. I think it is very intersting that we have both taken contrasting approaches to drafting our teams. I agree with what you are saying about guys losing the ability to get on base in the bigs, but I think most of the guys I have drafted don't fit into that category. I mean if a guy puts up .450 OBP's in college, then in low A, high A, AA, etc. you have to have faith that their approach is good enough to do it in the majors.

Two good picks by you, especially Marte. I cannot believe he fell this far and he might be the steal of the entire draft. The only thing I worry about with him is that we have been hearing how great he is for almost 5 seasons now. Why hasn't he gotten an opportunity to play in the majors? Is there something about him that we don't know? Plus he has been traded twice! Its just not the prototypical treatment a "can't miss" prospect gets. Hanley is a solid pick and will be a pretty good player (he fits right into your free swinging team) but I think you made an error by addressing backup infielders before addressing quality relief pitching.

#30) - Jonothan Broxton
Age: 22
Position: RP

A converted starter, Broxton has been lights out for the Dodgers this season as a setup man, so much that they believe he might be their opening day closer next season. Broxton is a huge man (6'4'' 280 lbs.) and has the stuff to match his size. He is a prototype reliever who has a dominating fastball-slider combination. Two other reasons he is a future dominant closer: (1) his control is better than you think - his career minor league ration was 3:1, and (2) he does not give up HR - he gave up only 12 in almost 300 minor league innings. Though he does not have Huston Street's poise and moxie, Broxton slides in nicely behind him.

#31) - Mike Pelfrey
Age: 22
Position: SP

Another young gun for my staff which I am falling in love with. It's not really possible to dominate more than Pelfrey did in the NCAA posting a 33-7 record over three seasons at Wichita State. There isn't much not to love about this kid. He has dominating stuff, strikes out about 5 times as many batters as he walks, and has looked pretty darn good in his two starts for the Mets this season. Plus he has the size to be a durable pitcher for a long time, and the length (6'7'') to not lose much on his fastball as he ages.

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