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.
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?
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?
Ep. 6 of the ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast features Joel Henard and I discussing the Royals World Series run, MLB playoffs, the top-50 fantasy baseball prospects scouted and Boston Red Sox prospects with David Laurila of FanGraphs. It’s a fast paced hour filled packed with the best in fantasy baseball fueled by baseball scouting.
Was Orioles prospect Chance Sisco the best pure hitter in the South Atlantic League in 2014? After batting a lowly .249 in 13 April games, the left-handed hitter never hit below .321 in a subsequent month, peaking at .404 in June. Overall, his .344 batting average paired beautifully with a .406 on base percentage and .448 slugging percentage. At 19, this level of offensive production is unheard of from a catching prospect. In fact, the top high school catcher in Sisco’s draft class, Reese McGuire, managed a .262/.307/.334 line in the same division. Does the 2013 second round pick’s outstanding offensive performance match his present set of skills?
Vance Worley was a solid, but unspectacular starting pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies. Injuries derailed his career, but the right-handed hurler righted the ship with the Pirates in 2014. Just 27, fantasy baseball owners want to know if he has staying power. Can Pittsburgh’s reclamation project be counted on as rotation depth in dynasty and keeper leagues?
The St Louis Cardinals have continued to win while successfully bringing rookies into the fold to fill key roles. 2013 1st round pick Marco Gonzales picked up two of the three Wild Card series wins. Matt Adams shocked with a three run home run off of Clayton Kershaw and Randal Grichuk (ROTOscouting Report) and Kolten Wong left the park during the four game series too. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ season ended in a one run loss while its young, impact player (Yasiel Puig) pinch ran. A little faith and patience can go a long way in winning now, while building for a successful future. Maybe the Yankees, Red Sox and other major market teams should take note.
In over 1,000 plate appearances, Indians centerfielder Michael Bourn has a .675 OPS and 33 stolen bases — disappointing considering his 12 million per year price tag. And with two years left on the deal (three if the vesting option kicks in), Cleveland is stockpiling centerfielders in the hope of promoting from within. In 2012, Tyler Naquin was drafted 15th overall. Clint Frazier went 5th in 2013. Bradley Zimmer fell to the 21st pick before being scooped last June. With a glut of top outfield prospects in the minor leagues, can Zimmer push to the front of the line and establish himself as the Indians centerfielder of the future?
Ep. 5 of the ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast is live hosted by an under the weather Joel Henard and I. This week, we talk playoffs and Braves, but Tory Hernandez (former baseball operations employee with the Rangers, Dodgers, Angels and Boras Corp.) stole the show with an extended interview with insight into drafting Mike Trout, the inner working of the Boras Corporation and an introduction to Reality Fantasy Baseball, his fantasy baseball product.
The top-50 fantasy baseball prospects scouted in 2014 is on the books and Blake Swihart’s inclusion in the top-10 stunned this author. Having first scouted the switch hitting catcher as a member of the Greenville Drive in 2012, it was an opportunity to follow up and continue growing the profile. After scouting the consensus top-100 prospect, the tools remained stable while Swihart’s baseball skills have grown steadily. And while the sum of the parts isn’t sexy, my appreciation for prospects with an all-around skill set has grown substantially in two years.
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
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