"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Sunday, December 9, 2007

2008 St. Louis Cardinals Organizational Depth Report

1. chris perez, RHRP - 2008
2. adam ottavino, RHSP - late 2009
3. tyler herron, RHSP - 2010
4. p.j. walters, RHSP - mid 2009
5. jaime garcia, LHSP - mid 2009
6. clayton mortensen, RHSP - mid 2010
7. eddie degerman, RHRP - mid 2009
8. luke gregerson, RHRP - mid 2008
9. kyle mcclellan, RHRP - september 2008
10.jess todd, RHP - 2010

this system is quite pathetic. i don't think that's news to anyone, least of all cardinals management. they've clearly made it an imperative to stock the system with arms that are capable of moving through the system quickly as 7 of the 10 arms i've listed are college draftees taken in the last two years. in my opinion, that is as close to an admission of expected decline as an organization will ever get. they are in need of a rebuild, but they have no reinforcements immediately available.

i like chris perez alot. his walk rate will be high when he first gets called up, but i think it should settle in around 4 per 9 IP once he gets acclimated to the major leagues. his K rate should be outstanding, and the combination of the two should place him in the back end of st. louis' bullpen for many years to come.

i like p.j. walters, but as he advanced up the minor league ladder his GB rates were in a steady decline. if he can maintain a GB/FB rate of around 1.4, he projects as a league average starter, but if the decline in his rates continues in 2008, it'll be alot harder for him to stick.

spotlight: IOU

there is noone on this list that i have video and statistics of, so it'd be hard for me to give a the kind of indepth look that i try to provide in this article. when i do get aroubnd to it, i will likely be looking at 26 year old pitcher, adam wainwright.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

LOOK OUT FOR: rule 5 edition

randor bierd, RHRP, BAL (via DET)

bierd is the embodiment of a prototypical rule 5 draftee. he has a big, rugged frame, and a plus fastball, which combine to give him an adequate shot to withstand a season in the major leagues at a time in which he doesn't belong. what makes bierd a subject for this piece is that, in addition to his plus fastball, he's also exhibited good control in a half season at AA, which will be of great importance in the major leagues. of all the players selected in this phase of the rule 5 draft, bierd is the one i like most because of this combination, along with his being selected by baltimore, a team with no incentive to expose, rush, or hang out to dry this prospect.

lincoln holdzkom, RHRP, PHI (via BOS)

another big body, with a big fastball holdzkom is a lot less likely to have a successful career than bierd is. holdzkom has been held back by arm injuries in 2004 and 2005, and he has yet to regain any semblance of control, which is a major limiting factor when projecting his future. he's going to get a chance to win a spot with philadelphia, though, because of his ability to induce the most favorable outcome, and if he can keep his BB rate under 5 or 6 per 9 IP, he would still have some of value in the national league.

Jose Capellan, LHP, SF (via BOS)

capellan is a LH version of randor bierd, but 2 years younger, and with no full season experience. his solid 6'2" frame allows him to throw his sinking fastball with plus downward tilt, resulting in the most favorable outcome. he also has a raw changeup with plus characteristics, which helps to keep righthanded batters honest. i don't expect capellan to last very long at the major league level, and i think SF will go to great lengths to keep capellan on the disabled list.

2008 Milwaukee Brewers Orgnaizational Depth Report

1. yovani gallardo, RHSP
2. luis pena, RHRP, april 2008
3. manny parra, LHSP
4. zack jackson, LHSP
5. zack braddock, LHSP, mid 2009
6. mike mcclendon, RHSP, late 2009 *SLEEPER*
7. carlos villanueva, RHP
8. jeremy jeffress, RHSP, late 2009
9. dave johnson, RHRP, early 2009
10.chris cody, LHSP, 2009

the three pieces in this organization that really stick out to me are luis pena, mike mcclendon, and zack braddock. all three are big bodies, and all three have plus fastballs of different varieties. pena features a blazing 4 seam fastball that can reach the high 90s, mcclendon features a two seamer with solid downward tilt, which results in a high percentage of groundouts, while braddock features a prototypical power lefty repertoir of mid 90s fastball, and mid 70s curve.

dave johnson is in the same boat as mcclendon, in that he throw a hard 2 seam fastball on a downward plane that induces the most favorable outcome of a groundball. his breaking ball, though is not on the same level.

Spotlight: Carlos Villanueva

villanueva features a remarkably unspectacular fastball, which goes with his remarkably unspectacular curve, and his remarkably unspectacular changeup. he works quickly, and he has minimal deception in his windup. he shows typical splits as a RHP versus lefthanded and righthanded batters.

villanueva is lucky, though. there has never been a better time to be a pitcher with so little intrigue. the fact that there is nothing that makes villanueva stand out means that he has two advantages. 1) there is no reason to test him to see what his limits are as far as innings pitched, or games played is concerned. as a pitcher with hundreds of comparable predecessors with regards to both stuff and performance, his limits are well known. 2) he has value for all teams, regardless of whether they are in the midst of a championship run or in the beginning of a 4 year rebuilding process.

i don't know whether villanueva will stick in the rotation, or find himself in the bullpen in 2008, but i suspect that he can be successful in either role. i think milwaukee has a few brighter options to look at as starters before villanueva gets a chance, but if that's the case, that would be more of a result of looking for the higher upside talent, than taking the safe route of villanueva.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

2008 Chicago Cubs Organizational Depth Report

1. carlos marmol, RHRP
2. sean gallagher, RHSP
3. donald veal, LHSP - mid 2009
4. sean marshall, LHSP
5. jeff samardzija, RHSP - late 2008
6. mitch atkins, RHSP - 2009
7. carmen pignatiello, LHRP
8. rocky roquet, RHRP - mid 2008
9. mark holliman, RHSP - 2009
10.jacob renshaw, RHSP - 2011

after samardzija, the list peters out. atkins is okay if he's your team's 7th starting option going into the season. pignatiello is an alright reliever. roquet is an intriguing minor league reliever. i'm not optimistic about holliman's future. renshaw is young and projectable, which doesn't really belong on this list, but there is noone better to include.

marmol is someone that i had pegged to breakout in 2007. my having an accurate read on his situation is part of the reason why i started this site. i feel that the markers that i look for are a significantly more accurate predictor of future success than any of the projection systems or any of the traditional scouting methods. time will tell whether my confidence is warranted, but for now, i'm content to plug away.

i see sean gallagher as more of a 3/4 innings eater than a top of the rotation ace. i think his value to the cubs is mostly as a trade chip, but i'm not too close to the situation to know whether the cubs feel the same way.

Spotlight: Sean Marshall

marshall had most of his success in 2007 against aggressive lineups. this is because marshall pitches backwards. he throws his slightly above average curve ball and his deceptive changeup early in the count, and finishes hitters off with his fringe/average fastball. he's right at the line between junkballer and cunning lefty, with the difference being that he's 6'7" tall, which gives hitters a fraction of a second less time to recognize which offering is coming at them.

aggressive hitters will tend to jump on the first offering, and mostly make poor contact. patient hitters will wait him out, and take advantage of his still developing control. as it is, he's very susceptible to baserunners in this situation, but if he can hone his command a notch or two, he has a good future ahead of him, bouncing around the national league.

if he ever finds himself in the AL east, however, expect a round number to locate itself next to his name, in the ERA column.