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November 15, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Daily Draft Video: Christian Jones

Daily exclusive video series designed to familiarize you with the names you need to know leading up to the 2013 amateur draft.

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BP Daily Podcast

Effectively Wild Episode 83: Astros vs. Marlins in 2013/The Next Farewell Tour/Yasmani Grandal's Suspension/Mark Trumbo, Center Fielder

Ben and Sam answer listener emails about whether the Marlins or Astros will win more games in 2013, who'll be the next retiring player to get the Chipper Jones treatment, when Yasmani Grandal will play for the Padres, and how the Angels should align their outfielders.

Ben and Sam answer listener emails about whether the Marlins or Astros will win more games in 2013, who'll be the next retiring player to get the Chipper Jones treatment, when Yasmani Grandal will play for the Padres, and how the Angels should align their outfielders.

Episode 83: "Astros vs. Marlins in 2013/The Next Farewell Tour/Yasmani Grandal's Suspension/Mark Trumbo, Center Fielder"

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Minor League Update

Games of November 14

Notes from around the AFL and Caribbean Winter Leagues.

There was a full slate of action in the Dominican Winter League, although not one player did anything interesting enough to make my list. Not that there wasn't anything interesting going on. For instance, thirty-seven year-old Vladimir Guerrero, a career .318 hitter with 449 HR in 16 big league seasons, went 2-for-4 for the Tigres del Licey. And then there was Manny being Manny, playing for Aguilas Cibaenas. The 40 year-old, who is stuck at 555 career HR, homered in his DWL debut off the first pitch he saw from former big leaguer Daniel Cabrera, who ended up pitching seven strong innings and only allowing a pair of solo homers to Ramirez and former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, who was celebrating after I recently moved him into my Marlins' projected lineup after a certain blockbuster trade. See, I told you there were some good times being had in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

  • Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees (Scottsdale): 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K. His ERA is inflated, thanks to a disastrous outing last week (0.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H) but the Yankees have to be encouraged by Betances' control in the AFL. In 12 IP over eight relief appearances, the 24 year-old has 4 BB and 15 K. Entering 2012 as one of the organization's top pitching prospects, Betances walked 99 in 131.1 IP between Double-A and Triple-A. Small sample or not, this seems like progress.
  • Wilfredo Boscan, RHP, Rangers (Zulia-VWL): 5.1 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K. The 23 year-old Venezuelan lowered his ERA to 0.65 after tossing 5.1 scoreless innings on Wednesday. He's only allowed a run in one of six starts and has limited opponents to a .235 batting average.. Expect him to have an outside chance to win a bullpen spot in Texas out of Spring Training.
  • Christian Colon, SS/2B, Royals (Ponce-PRBL): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB (2). The 4th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Colon had his best year as a pro in 2012, posting a .756 OPS with 12 SB in 73 Double-A games and finishing the season in Triple-A, where he was 7-for-17 in five games. He played 58 games at SS, where he made 17 errors, and 18 games at 2B, where he didn't commit a single error. Considering he's blocked at SS by Alcides Escobar and the Royals are not exactly enamored with Johnny Giavotella at 2B, it would seem that a permanent switch could be in the works in 2013. But that's just me thinking out loud. The 23 year-old has played 4 games at SS and 2 games at 2B for Ponce, thus far.
  • Corey Dickerson, OF, Rockies (Salt River): 4-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI, SB (8). Chosen as one of three 'Factors on the Farm' (prospects likely to contribute at the ML level in 2013) in BP's recently-released Top Prospects rankings for the Rockies, Dickerson continues to show that he's very good at hitting a baseball. His batting average is up to .387 after he extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a four-hit performance on Wednesday. 
  • Slade Heathcott, OF, Yankees (Scottsdale): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI. Heathcott has probably had enough mentions during the AFL season. He's a talented prospect. Blah blah blah. You get the point. But just thought I should point out that he's 19 for his last 32 with 1 HR, 6 2B, 3 3B, and 12 RBI and is now hitting .388 in 18 games.
  • Tommy Joseph, C, Phillies (Peoria): 2-for-4, RBI, SB (1). Joseph has struggled in the AFL, managing just five singles and a double in his first 40 at-bats. Consecutive multi-hit games has him poised to finish the season on a positive note, though. The 21 year-old, acquired from the Giants in the Hunter Pence deal in July, won't be rushed to the big leagues. In fact, he could repeat Double-A with prospect Sebastian Valle likely returning to Triple-A. They'll both try to position themselves to become the Phillies' next starting catcher, possibly as soon as 2014 if Carlos Ruiz bolts as a free agent.
  • Daniel Ortiz, OF, Twins (Mayaguez-PRBL): 4-for-4, HR (1), 2 RBI. Ortiz looks like a fringe prospect at this point but he's only 22 and has flashed some power at times since being taken in the 4th Round in 2008. The left-handed hitter gets the mention, though, after collecting four hits on Wednesday, including two singles against a very tough big league lefty, Hector Santiago, who pitched five scoreless innings.  
  • Ronny Rodriguez, SS, Indians (Scottsdale): 2-for-5, 3B, RBI, SB (6). I often mention the Rangers as the organization with the most talented and deepest group of middle infielders in baseball. That doesn't mean I'm right. It's arguable. The Indians could be neck-and-neck with them in that area. The biggest difference, however, is that Rangers have more depth in the upper minors, including a major league ready potential superstar in Jurickson Profar. None of the top middle infield prospects for Cleveland reached Double-A in 2012. Rodriguez, who had a .752 OPS in Hi-A last season, could be there as early as Opening Day 2013. And he won't turn 21 until mid-April.

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November 14, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Baseball's Best Active Streak

The Blue Jays acquire the owner of baseball's most impressive active streak.

It makes some sense that after a season in which they were burned by an injury stack to their starters, the Blue Jays would trade for a pitcher whose most serious injury through 12-plus seasons is a minor flesh wound inflicted by a mayonnaise jar. Meet Mark Buehrle's injury history (click to expand):

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BP Unfiltered

Daily Draft Video: Brian Ragira

Daily exclusive video series designed to familiarize you with the names you need to know leading up to the 2013 amateur draft.

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BP Daily Podcast

Effectively Wild Episode 82: The Marlins-Blue Jays Blockbuster

Ben and Sam break down the Marlins-Blue Jays trade from every angle, or at least all the angles that occurred to them at the time.

Ben and Sam break down the Marlins-Blue Jays trade from every angle, or at least all the angles that occurred to them at the time.

Episode 82: "The Marlins-Blue Jays Blockbuster"

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Minor League Update

Games of November 13

Notes from around the Arizona Fall League and Caribbean Winter Leagues.

It was just another ordinary Tuesday until the Blue Jays and Marlins decided to make things a little more interesting with a 12-player blockbuster trade that totally revamped each team's roster (see Blue Jays offseason page HERE and Marlins offseason page HERE). Amongst all the excitement was a bevy of baseball games featuring some very interesting prospects ...

  • Jose De Paula, LHP, Padres (Cibao-DWL): 4 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K. After missing the 2012 season due to visa issues, De Paula is back on the mound in the Dominican Winter League. The 22 year-old, who was added to the Padres' 40-man roster last offseason, tossed four shutout innings in his first start with Cibao after six relief appearances.
  • Freddy Galvis, IF, Phillies (Zulia-VWL): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI. Playing at his natural position of shortstop, Galvis had three hits to push his batting average to .330 in 26 games. Barring an injury to Jimmy Rollins, the 23 year-old switch-hitter won't see much time at shortstop with the Phillies, although there's a chance he's in the mix for the third base job next spring if they fail to land an upgrade over Galvis and Kevin Frandsen
  • Bobby LaFromboise, LHP, Mariners (Peoria): IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 2 K. The Mariners already have three pretty good lefty relievers on their roster (Charlie FurbushLucas LuetgeOliver Perez) and LaFromboise could very well be on his way to becoming one himself. The 26 year-old had a few rough outings early on but he hasn't allowed a hit or run in his last 5.1 IP. Overall, he's faced 19 left-handed hitters and has allowed just one hit, no walks, and struck out 11. Can you say LOOGY
  • Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers (Licey-DWL): 2-for-4, HR (3), RBI, BB, K, 2 CS (3). Currently penciled into the starting center field spot in Texas, there's no guarantee that will be the case by the time Opening Day rolls around. The 24 year-old, who signed a five-year major league contract in May 2011 after defecting from Cuba, put up huge numbers in Triple-A last season (1.033 OPS in 55 games) but went just 8-for-46 in the majors. He has his batting average up to .293 with 3 HR in 21 DWL games.
  • Cesar Puello, OF, Mets (Surprise): 2-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB (10). Despite putting up solid numbers in 2011, the 21 year-old Puello repeated Hi-A ball in 2012. It may have been for good reason. Even though his OPS jumped from .710 to .751, his ugly BB/K ratio of 7/58 reminds us that he has a terrible approach at the plate and likely would've been eaten up by Double-A pitchers. He's managed a .400 OBP in 21 AFL games but it's the 25 K with only two extra-base hits that stand out more than anything.
  • Travis Witherspoon, OF, Angels (Scottsdale): 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI. The Halos have little talent in the upper minors unless you include Witherspoon, who played 54 games in Double-A in 2012. He didn't exactly light the Texas League on fire, which explains why he wasn't a prospect we were discussing much in the 2nd half of the season. The 23 year-old has also struggled in the AFL, although his three-hit game on Tuesday pushed him over the Mendoza Line. 
  • Steven Wright, RHP, Red Sox (Escogido-DWL): 6 IP, ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K. At 28 years of age, it's been years since Wright could be called a prospect. Now consider that he's been throwing a knuckleball for the past two seasons and making terrific progress with the pitch. All of a sudden, he's a young prospect all over again with the potential to pitch for the next 15 years if he can continue to get hitters out. In 25 starts during the 2012 regular season, Wright had a 2.54 ERA between Triple-A and Double-A while limiting hitters to a .213 batting average. His two starts in the DWL have also been impressive (12 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, BB, 12 K). The Red Sox, who acquired Wright from the Indians for Lars Anderson in July, are very familiar with knuckleballers, having employed Tim Wakefield for 17 years.
  • Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (Peoria): 3-for-5, RBI, K. The 3rd pick in the 2012 draft, Zunino is not expected to spend much time in the minors. He reached Double-A late in the season and has more than held his own in the AFL. The 21 year-old has a six-game hitting streak after his three-hit game on Tuesday. John Jaso will be the starting catcher in Seattle until Zunino is ready to take over, possibly by mid-season.  

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November 13, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Daily Draft Video: Dominic Smith

The first installment of a daily exclusive video series designed to familiarize you with the names you need to know leading up to the 2013 amateur draft.

1B/OF/LHP Dominic Smith (Serra HS, Los Angeles, CA) is one of the top bats in the 2013 amateur draft class and seven months out projects as a potential first rounder. A University of Southern California commit, Smith has impressed evaluators with a smooth lefty swing, solid approach, and emerging power. Today’s video was taken during the WWBA World Championship, hosted by Perfect Game USA. Smith was a member of the Yak Baseball West-GBG squad.

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