After winning the Texas League batting title, excitement surrounds second baseman Odubel Herrera as he heads into a Rule-5 eligible off-season. However, the top-20 Rangers prospect resides in a system filled with upper-level middle infielders including big-league starters Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor and defensive specialists Luis Sardinas and Hanser Alberto. A successful return from a recurring shoulder injury by Jurickson Profar would further clog Herrera’s path to the big leagues. Will the Frisco RoughRider be able to separate himself from the pack or will he need to find his way to another organization for an everyday job?
Episode seven of the ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast is live and features Joel Henard and I talking World Series including next steps for both the Giants and Royals. Can San Francisco afford to let Pablo Sandoval walk? Do the Royals have the talent to make a repeat run without tweaking the formula? Later in the episode, former Los Angeles Angels executive Tory Hernandez joins us to discuss the Reality Fantasy Baseball World Series and next steps for the fantasy baseball start up before turning our attention to Major League Baseball. In this segment, Tory touches on the Oscar Taveras tragedy through his personal relationship with former prospect Nick Adenhart who was killed in a car accident after celebrating his first MLB win. It’s an informative baseball podcast in which ROTOscouting listeners are given a glimpse behind the thought process of a MLB franchise.
While considered the best defensive left fielder in baseball, overshadowed has been Alex Gordon’s string of strong offensive seasons. The left-handed hitter has hit at least 14 home runs in each of his six full seasons and has managed a career batting average near .270. And while the numbers fail to “wow”, he has been a core piece in a lineup where consistency has been tough to find. Gordon has been good for a double-double each season since solidifying himself as an MLB regular. However, 2015 will be his Age-31 season and accurately predicting the start of the decline phase will be key to gauging future value in dynasty leagues. Can he remain a healthy fantasy baseball contributor for years to come.
When Logan White left the Dodgers front office to join A.J. Preller and the Padres, it resulted in an “ah-ha” moment. In seven years at the ballpark, many looks at the Hickory Crawdads (Single-A Rangers) and Chattanooga Lookouts (Double-A Dodgers) provided insight into similarities between organizations run by Preller and White. And from what’s known about the player development preferences of Andrew Friedman, the new President of Baseball Operations for Los Angeles, ceiling and tools took a back seat to players with high floors. And from seeing many a Double-A Dodgers team, this doesn’t fit White’s style.
After declining Alex Rios’ option for 2015, does waiting on Double-A Frisco RoughRider Nick Williams to develop make sense? The Texas Rangers have a hole to fill in the outfield and the best MLB options are a struggling Michael Choice, or former minor league free agents Jake Smolinksi and Jim Adduci. This leaves Texas to choose between signing or acquiring 2015’s starting right fielder, or flipping a coin from within. As the club works to identify a replacement, does the organization need to take a wait and see approach with Williams and Nomar Mazara (ROTOscouting Report) on the horizon?
In Year one A.M. (After Mo) the Yankees’ bullpen did not miss a beat. In Year two, 2014 draftee, Jacob Lindgren, needs to chip in and keep the ship afloat. The 2013 season saw failed starting pitching prospect, Dellin Betances, author one of the greatest relief seasons of all time. In doing so, he stakes a claim as closer of the future. Adam Warren, former back of the rotation starting pitching prospect, improved on a solid 2013 major league debut as a reliever. And David Robertson, after years of serving as the setup man for Mariano Rivera, was excellent in his first year as the team’s closer. Unfortunately for the Yankees, as quickly as Robertson established himself as closer, free agency may find him in another uniform next season. As the Yankees consider what to do with Robertson, Lindgren looms large.
Pablo Sandoval finds ways to contribute in the postseason. He did it against Justin Verlander and the Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Two years later, he drove in the Giants first run against James Shields in Game 1 of the 2014 World Series. The “Kung-Fu Panda” is a proven offensive threat in the postseason whose been between 11% and 19% better than league average offensively the past three seasons. Does he have the ability to return to 2009 and 2011 form where he produced at 46-49% above league average with the bat?
Ray Black is a relative unknown in prospect circles. Who wouldn’t be after missing two seasons with Labrum surgery and its lingering effects? Entering 2014, the right-handed pitcher was finally healthy and able to pitch his first innings as a professional. The results? 35.1 innings and a 71/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And with just 16 hits allowed, his WHIP was a miniscule 0.93. Now 24, is Black a fast riser capable of replacing a key piece in the veteran laden Giants bullpen?
Tragically, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras (ROTOscouting Report) was killed in a car accident on Sunday. The news is devastating for his family and friends, and the baseball community at large has lost an individual who, from all accounts, was a joy to be around. Beyond his immeasurable talent, Taveras was a 22-year old young man taken from this world before his time.
Keury Mella entered 2014 as a prospect with helium, but a June injury put the breaks on a successful season with the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League. Behind a big fastball, the San Francisco Giants prospect posted a 2.79 FIP in full season baseball with strong strikeout (8.55/9) and walk (1.76/9) rates. Upon returning from injury, the organization had the right-handed pitcher rehab and finish out the season with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes where he dominated. Entering 2015, will Mella’s stuff translate to a successful California League stint and cement him as a top prospect in the Giants system?
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