Julien's Faster than Light Blog
Some moves are slightly good. Some moves are slightly bad. I tell you about them.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
i get by . . .
my friend ameer youssef has a column idea:
aaron gleeman today writes about ben grieve's complete drop-off after being traded from oakland. he can't seem to figure out why it happened. maybe a wal con pow analysis would help?
maybe it would, ameer!
year aab w hr wal con pow
1997 93 14 3 .131 .731 .132
1998 584 94 18 .139 .789 .132
1999 487 71 28 .127 .778 .129
2000 599 76 27 .113 .783 .145
2001 544 95 11 .149 .708 .112
2002 484 77 19 .137 .750 .135
2003 167 38 4 .185 .754 .087
that's a surprise! ben's wal, con, and pow have been pretty steady. so his skills are the same. why are his traditional numbers down? it's our old friend luck. yeah yeah that's what we always say, but that's what wal con pow does; it separates the wheat (skills) from the chaff (luck). what is chaff, anyway?
according to m-w.com, it's the stuff that's left when you take out the wheat. that was illuminating.
so he hasn't declined. why hasn't he improved? isn't that what young players do? well, for one thing, he has old player's skills (high wal, pow; low con, speed). maybe that's why beane traded him.
and then there's this tidbit.
i don't know what to make of that. but for those of you looking for some science and still reading (i'm an optimist), check out his groundball-to-flyball ratios: 1.38 2.08 1.42 1.51 2.13 2.28 2.21. the low ones coincide exactly with the years in which he hit home runs. it makes sense, and it seems to fit the data for, eg, all other players in the history of baseball. i am not the first to point this out. matt olkin wrote an article about it in ron shandler's 2003 baseball forecaster. he discussed grieve, even: "so while grieve seemed to have it all when he first came up, it's fair to say that if we'd looked closer, we might have discovered that he was missing one critical ingredient: an uppercut."
let's see what aaron has to say. he points out the g/f thing. he says some other stuff.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
commentary is what i do best
hopefully one of these days i'll piss someone off.
Q: Eric from San Diego asks:
How dumb would the Dodgers be to give up Miller for Nomar?
A: Josh Boyd: Let's start here and try to get all the questions surrounding the Nomar rumors out of the way. The whole A-Rod thing has turned into such a circus, so it's become difficult to distinguish what is true and what is media hype, but I believe there is much more of the latter going on. The Dodgers have killed every deal to this point involved Jackson or Miller, and I believe that isn't going to stop here. I don't know how "dumb" it would be to move Miller for a proven all-star shortstop, but I don't think the Dodgers plan on moving him.
greg miller is 18 years old. in 26.2 AA innings, he struck out 40 and walked 7, allowing 1 home run. he is left-handed. in the florida state league, he struck out 111 in 115.2 innings. he comes from the planet krypton.
edwin jackson is 20. pitching for los angeles, of the national league, he struck out 19 in 22 innings, walking 11. in jacksonville (AA), he struck out 157 in 148.1 innings. he also hails from the planet krypton.
Q: Michael from Phoenix, AZ asks:
Andrew Brown looked like he would be the match of Jackson in spring training, before he got hurt. Is he healthy, or is the injury something to worry about going forward?
A: Josh Boyd: You are right on, Brown was poised for a breakthrough this spring--dealing against major leaguers during his short stint in big league camp, and dominating the minor league competition with 93-96 mph heat. So the fact that he's had one Tommy John surgery in his career already and then missed all of last year after having bone chips removed, i would say it is something to worry about. He was throwing abbreviated bullpen sessions in instructional league and the Dodgers hope to have him ready by spring.
andrew brown is not as good as edwin jackson.
Q: Dave from Maryland asks:
Where will Chad Billingsley start in 2004, proably A Vero Beach?
A: Josh Boyd: As you know, the Dodgers move their prospects swiftly, though a new farm director will be in place before next spring, so who knows if a new philosophy will be implemented. But for now, Billingsley will have an opportunity to start the year in Vero, skipping low Class A. Depending on how well he's throwing early, that timetable could always be altered.
chad billingsley is 19. he was the 24th pick of the 2003 draft. in 54 innings for ogden, of the pioneer league, he struck out 62 and walked 15. the next home run he allows will be his first, but then kids in the pioneer league don't really hit home runs.
click on that last link again. look at the strikeout list. in 101 innings, brandon mccarthy struck out 125 and walked 15! he was the 510th pick of the 2002 draft.
Q: Aaron from The Island asks:
Will Greg Miller be in the rotation in 05? Or can I expect a Sep. call-up?
A: Josh Boyd: The Dodgers may have been close to promoting Miller last September when Nomo was injured. Miller, Jackson and Hanrahan were all considered for the spot that Jackson eventually flourished in, but the fact Miller was a candidate just a year out of high school (and he was drafted as a 17 year old), tells me to expect him sooner than later as long as his shoulder doesn't give him any trouble.
greg miller is . . . oh yeah, i already did him.
joel hanrahan is 22. he struck out 130 and walked 53 in 133.1 innings for jacksonville of the southern league. "hanrahan" is the name of colin's elven thief. colin is a boston red sox fan. colin's name may be spelled "collin". i can't remember.
Q: Eric from San Diego asks:
In the print edition, you guys rated Xavier Paul's arm as the best in the organization's outfield.... even better than Abercrombie's?
A: Josh Boyd: It's a close call--Abercrombie's arm earns 65-70 grades, and Paul's is right around 70, some might even say 80, as he hit 94 mph in high school off the mound. It's basically splitting hairs and we went with Paul this year.
xavier paul is 18. he struck out 58 times in 264 at-bats, with 34 walks and 28 extra-base hits. he played for ogden, of the pioneer league. he was the 121st pick of the 2003 draft.
reggie abercrombie is 23. he struck out 164 times in 448 at-bats, with 16 walks and 47 extra-base hits. he played for jacksonville, of the southern league. in 2002, he struck out 158 times in 526 at-bats in the florida state league. in 2001, he struck out 154 times in 486 at-bats in the carolina league. in 2000, he struck out 66 times in 220 at-bats in rookie ball. his career walks total at all levels is 84.
Q: Jamie Friel from Philadelphia ,PA asks:
Rumor going around that Edwin Jackson might go to the Reds and if so what does this do to his value and can he become the Dontelle Willis of 2004.
A: Josh Boyd: Jackson is more of a known commodity than Willis was at the time he was traded, but this trade will not happen.
there's a rumor going around that george bush is human and not an attractive monkey.
in 2002, at the age of 20, dontrelle willis struck out 101 in 127.2 innings for kane county (A) of the midwest league. he walked 21. kane county is in the a's organization but apparently it used to belong to the marlins. coincidentally, willis is from oakland. in 30 innings for jupiter (A) of the florida state league, he struck out 27 and walked 3. he is left-handed.
Q: Nate from New Haven, CT asks:
What class of pitchers is Greg Miller in? Is he in with the Hamels and Kazmir group?
A: Josh Boyd: If his shoulder is 100 percent, which I am led to believe it is, then I would take Miller ahead of both of them. He has the command to go with four above-average major league pitches. His velocity is nearly as good as Kazmir's, while his slider and curve are better and more consistent. Hamels gets him on the changeup, and Miller's is still at least average. Miller might have the best delivery of the group, throwing without effort, and he has the best pitcher's frame.
cole hamels is apparently 19. in 74.2 innings for the lakewood blueclaws (A) of the south atlantic league he struck out 115 and walked 25. he has yet to allow a home run.
scott kazmir is 19. in 76.1 innings for capital city (A) of the south atlantic league he struck out 105 and walked 28. he allowed 6 home runs and threw 12 wild pitches. he was the 15th pick of the 2002 draft. he is left-handed. cole hamels was the 17th pick of the 2002 draft, and is also left-handed.
Q: Torgy from Seattle asks:
The Dodger system looks as good as it ever has, but why no mention of Delwyn Young or Mike Megrew? Also, has Brennan King become a prospect again with the Blue with his late season power outburst and fine play in the AFL?
A: Josh Boyd: Young and Megrew weren't mentioned because they didn't make the Top 10, but if you wait for the Prospect Handbook, you'll get a full report on them and the rest of the Dodgers top 30. They are both legit prospects, whom we like a lot, just not quite top 10 guys in that system. King has re-established himself as a prospect, a borderline top 30 guy for the Dodgers.
delwyn young is a 21-year-old switch-hitting second-baseman. he struck out 87 times with 36 walks and 60 extra-base hits for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league.
michael megrew is 19. he struck out 99 and walked 24 for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he allowed 6 home runs and missed the catcher 9 times. he is left-handed.
Q: JM from Phoenix, AZ asks:
From reading the prospect reports for the NL West it looks like for the most part the teams are pretty stockpiled for the future. Who has the weakest farm of the bunch?
A: Josh Boyd: The Padres are clearly lagging behind the rest of the division at this point. And the Giants and Rockies aren't in the same group with the Dodgers and D'backs. To put it into perspective, the Dodgers will be among the top 5 in baseball, the Diamondbacks are likely to be in the top 10, with the Rockies ranking next in the middle echelon, followed by the Giants in the 20-25 group and the Padres near the bottom.
it'll be interesting to see what john sickels thinks about these teams.
Q: Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Josh, Wow! The Dodgers have really turned their minor league system around. Two years ago, Ricardo Rodriguez was their no. 1 prospect. They have at least three guys with a legitimate shot at 2004 minor league player of the year. What is Delwyn Young's ceiling? He's been absolutely raking since being drafted.
A: Josh Boyd: Mike, they have done a fine job turning things around. Logan White and his scouting staff have had two outstanding drafts in his first two years on the job. They ranked in the bottom 10 for talent the previous few seasons before White's arrival. Half of the players in the top 10 are from former scouting director Ed Creech's regime, so he did help get the ball rolling. As for Young, he's a pure offensive player with an explosive bat. He needs to take his defense more seriously, and he'll need to work hard to keep in shape. He should continue to rake at higher levels, though.
he'll continue to strike out at higher levels. for an example of minor-league raking, see marcus giles. closely examine 1998.
Q: Dave from GA asks:
Will Loney bulk up before he hits the majors, or is he more of a line-drive hitting for average type? I know he's got a good frame, how many HRs would he hit if played the entire 04 season in LA?
A: Josh Boyd: He is already bulking up and the doubles he's hitting right now at a young age against older competition are a good sign. He has been working out at one of the premium facilities in Arizona this offseason and is noticeably bigger than when he was drafted. I don't think power is much of a question in the long run, but I wouldn't expect more than 8-10 if he played in LA next season.
james loney is a 19-year-old left-handed first baseman. in 468 at-bats he struck out 80 times and walked 43 times with 41 extra-base hits. he was the 19th pick of the 2002 draft.
Q: from asks:
Where are Joel Guzman and Delwyn Young on the top 30? I though that they deserved serious consideration for the top ten.
A: Josh Boyd: And they got serious consideration for the top 10. The last two spots on the top 10, which went to Hill and Abercrombie, were wide open, with players like Guzman, Young, Chuck Tiffany, Jonathan Broxton, Willy Aybar and Steve Colyer receiving attention. We can only mention 10 in the issue though, but trust me there were a lot of discussions on who to get in there. Ultimately, Hill made it because of his position and closeness to the bigs, and Abercrombie's raw athleticism and upside kept him on ahead of some of the others who aren't as far along yet. Guzman is 11, and Young is around 20.
shit. one at a time:
joel guzman is an 18-year-old shortstop. in 217 at-bats for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league, he struck out 62 times and walked 9 times with 21 extra-base hits. in 240 at-bats for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he struck out 60 times and walked 11 times with 19 extra-base hits. the florida state league is a higher level than the sally league. that's why some people call it an A+ league. those people do the same with the california league, and the carolina league. those people will do anything.
koyie hill is a 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher. in 312 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he struck out 39 times and walked 15 times with 21 extra-base hits. that's a weird reversal of 2002, when he struck out 88 times and walked 76 times in 468 at-bats (37 xbh) for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league. it looks like he'll make it. having already demonstrated patience and contact, all he needs is some consolidation, along with natural power growth.
chuck tiffany is 18. he struck out 4 and walked 2 with 0 home runs allowed in 2 innings for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he was the 61st pick of the 2003 draft. he's left-handed.
jonathan broxton is 19. in 37.1 innings for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league, he struck out 30, walked 22, and allowed 1 home run. was he hurt? he was the 60th pick of the 2002 draft.
willy aybar is a 20-year-old switch-hitting third baseman. in 445 at-bats for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he struck out 70 times and walked 41 times with 43 extra-base hits. he was not drafted.
stephen colyer is 24. in 19.2 innings for los angeles (AAAA) of the national league, he struck out 16 and walked 9 with 0 home runs allowed. in 47.2 innings for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he struck out 50 and walked 22 with 1 home run allowed. he is left-handed.
abercrombie is the kind of guy baseball prospectus rates more accurately than baseball america. he will never be a major-league regular.
Q: kevin from boston, ma asks:
What are your opinions of Joe Thurston? Is there a chance that he becomes a produtive major league player, or is the bloom off that rose?
A: Josh Boyd: There is still a chance he becomes a productive player, maybe in the Mark McLemore mold more than the all-star type role people may have been expecting a year ago. There are a lot of mixed opinions on Thurston in the scouting community. He has an unorthodox hitting approach that has always worked for him, but he was overmatched last spring because he dives into the plate and isn't very selective, adjustments he'll need to make.
joe thurston is a 24-year-old lefty-hitting second-baseman. in 528 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he walked 31 times and struck out 48 times. this is an improvement over 2002 (same place): 587-25-60. however, his power numbers slipped, from 64 extra-base hits to 40. the reason he was such a hot prospect was he got ridiculously hit lucky in 2002. course lefties with speed and contact are the guys that get hit lucky. he'll be a regular by 2005, for the long term.
Q: Andy from San Francisco asks:
Josh, with Greg Miller having that little injury scare late in the season is he going to put that slider on the shelf, as you eluded to in your analysis some LA staffers think it may of been the cause of that shoulder problem
A: Josh Boyd: Quite a few Miller questions today, which is understandable. What a great job of scouting by area scout Scott Groot, who also landed Chuck Tiffany. It doesn't seem like they plan on forcing Miller to scrap his slider, though it may have put additional stress on his arm last year as he worked a full season for the first time. But, two things, he has the best work ethic in the organization and as a Southern California kid, he's used to pitching year round.
plus he's got the heart of a champion.
Q: Andy from San Francisco asks:
Josh, the Dodgers farm system seems to be flourishing after some down time in the late '90's - How would you compare the LA system w some of the other better farm systems around - What in your opinion are the 5 best systems in the baseball today ? thanks
A: Josh Boyd: Not in order, the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers are the strongest.
typical of a scouting-based publication to leave out the a's.
Q: Jon from Toronto asks:
what is up with Jonathan Figueroa? He was awesome when he pitched last year and this year he really struggled. Where does he rank among dodger prospects?
A: Josh Boyd: He struggled with his weight and mechanics early on after ending the 2002 season with a sore shoulder in instuctional league. It took him most of the year to recover and he was making more progress this winter in his native Venezuela, though his velocity still hasn't returned to the 90-94 mph range. He's still young and has upside, I'm just concerned he might end up as more of a lefthanded specialist than a starter now.
jonathan figueroa is 20. he struck out 74, walked 42, and allowed 4 home runs in 78.1 innings for south georgia (A) of the south atlantic league.
Q: Nick from Woodland Hills, CA asks:
What sleepers do the Dodgers have in their system? And what's the deal with Zach Hammes? Do you think he could turn things around? Thanks!
A: Josh Boyd: Sleepers: James McDonald--poised for a breakout. Jordan Pratt, Jerome Milons and Russ Martin. Not just sleepers, they are guys who can break into the top 15 next season. Hammes might not have been ready for low Class A, because he was trying to fix his delivery while facing advanced competition, compared to Iowa, where he went to high school. They still have high hopes for him, and I'd look for a rebound.
james mcdonald doesn't have much to breakout from. all he has is one year in the gulf coast league. he struck out 47 and walked 15 in 48.2 innings with 3 home runs allowed. the baseball cube doesn't know how old he is or what hand he throws with.
jordan pratt struck out 31 and walked 18 with 4 home runs allowed in 45 innings for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he's 18. he had 15 wild pitches!
jerome milons is a 20-year-old outfielder. in 195 at-bats for ogden he walked 19 times and struck out 47 times with 13 extra-base hits. i don't think he'll break out. he was hit lucky.
russell martin is a 20-year-old third baseman. in 188 at-bats for ogden he walked 26 times and struck out 26 times with 19 extra-base hits. in 98 at-bats for south georgia he walked 9 times and struck out 11 times with 8 extra-base hits. much better numbers than milons.
zachary hammes is crap. he's not going to turn things around because he isn't going down. he isn't going down because he was never up. maybe he'll learn control. it happens sometimes. he's 19.
Q: Michael from Phoenix asks:
Is Mike Megrew ready to make the leap forward? Will the Dodgers jump him to Vero Beach this year? Where would he have fit in the rankings?
A: Josh Boyd: He is ready to make a jump, though the next stop might be South Ga. before Vero. He has projectable velocity and should be dealing in the low-90s more consistently this year, and his power changeup could allow him to dominate Sally League opponents. He ranks in the top 15ish.
low-velocity strikeout guys tend to be underrated by scouts.
Q: Mark L. Peel from NorthSideBaseball.com asks:
Hey JB! I attended the Daytona Cubs home opener last year and was fortunate enough to watch the Cubs-Mets game earlier that afternoon with 4 of the Vero Beach Dodgers: Greg Miller, Brian Pilkington, Edwin Bellorin, and Franquelis Osoria. Well, I know what you think of Miller now; did any of the other 3 rate on your Dodgers Top 30, and if so, what are their outlooks? P.S.: Liked your interview over on the Blue Jays fan site.
A: Josh Boyd: Hey Mark, did you move from Arlington Heights to NortSideBaseball.com? Anyway, all three guys earned consideration for the top 30, and with their recent addition of Yhency Brazoban and Brandon Weeden we are trying to decide who stays on and who guys. Pilkington is a strike-throwing machine, perhaps too many strikes, actually. His secondary pitches are so good that he needs to try to get hitters to to chase early in the count because he command is so good he can pitch behind in the count. Bellorin is a fringy prospect with the bat, but a defensive standout and Osoria might show up as a middle reliever--setup guy because he generates so much sink and movement on his stuff from a low three-quarters angle.
brian pilkington is 21. getting behind in the count is never a good strategy, but i think what josh is trying to say is pilk needs more strikeouts, and he can afford to give up a few more walks to get them. in 32.1 innings for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league, he struck out 24 and walked 2, with 3 home runs. in 125.1 innings for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he struck out 74 and walked 16, with 9 home runs. strikeout increases are rare, so he's got his work cut out for him.
edwin bellorin is a 21-year-old catcher. in 233 at-bats for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he walked 10 times and struck out 32 times, with 12 extra-base hits. must improve patience and power. good thing he has defense.
franquelis osoria is 22. in 75 innings for vero beach (A) of the florida state league, he walked 19, struck out 54, and gave 4 dongs. he's not gonna make it. i take that back. his value lies in keeping the ball in the park. he has a shot.
yhency brazoban is 23. he sucks.
brandon weeden is 20. he is better than yhency brazoban.
Q: Todd from San Diego asks:
Josh, Did LA even come close to signing Cory Van Allen ?
A: Josh Boyd: Close? Not really, but once they spent $1 million to get Andy LaRoche, they pretty much threw in the towel on Van Allen.
corey van allen turns 19 december 24. he went to clement high school in sugar land, texas. he's left-handed.
andy laroche walked once and struck out 4 times with 1 extra-base hit in 19 at-bats for ogden (R) of the pioneer league. he was the 1,171st pick of the 2003 draft. he was the 625th pick of the 2002 draft. he's a shortstop. he's 20.
Q: Nick from Woodland Hills, CA asks:
Could you update us on some injury reports? What's the deal with Andrew Brown, Alfredo Gonzalez, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Orlando Rodriguez?
A: Josh Boyd: I mentioned Brown in detail earlier, but Gonzalez had serious shoulder problems, Kuo hasn't yet returned at full strength from his second TJ surgery and Rodriguez is pitching well in winter ball.
injured players do not have meaningful numbers.
Q: Spotted Owls from Eugene , Oregon asks:
Is there any middle infield help in Dodger farm system with some pop in there bats ? Also , will Wilkin Ruan be anything better than speedy defensive replacement ?
A: Josh Boyd: Andy LaRoche will likely move to second and have Jeff Kent type pop there; the additions of Juan Rivera, Travis Denker, Russ Mitchell provide a boost, and don't underestimate Ching Lung Hu's juice. I don't believe so on Ruan, but he'll be among the best defensive outfielders in baseball.
jeff kent doesn't have pop, he has world class power.
juan rivera isn't an infielder, but he can hit major-league pitching. he's a starter if he ever learns to walk. he's 25.
travis denker is an 18-year-old second baseman. he has 144 professional at-bats. that's a gross!
russ mitchell is an 18-year-old shortstop with 77 career professional at-bats. early returns are good.
chin lung hu is a shortstop.
wilkin ruan's middle name is chal. that's cool.
Q: Torgy from Seattle asks:
What is your opinion of Stephen Schmoll? I feel he could fly through the farm system and be quality reliever in LA by '05.
A: Josh Boyd: Your assessment is right on. He will move fast and become a big league reliever. He dropped down his arm angle and creates deception and movement.
in 36 innings for odgen (R) of the pioneer league, steve schmoll walked 15, struck out 53, and allowed 2 home runs. in 87.2 innings for the university of maryland he walked 25, struck out 124, and allowed 8 home runs.
Q: Josh from Irvine, CA asks:
Miller, EJax, & Hanrahan project to be what level of starters in the pros? Aces, 2's, 3-4's?
A: Josh Boyd: I am usually very conservative with starting pitcher projections, trying to be as realistic as possible given the attrition rate of pitchers and the fact that most scouts believe there are only 10-12 true aces in the majors in any given year. That said, Jackson and Miller both have frontline starter potential--they not only have the multiple plus pitches, they have the command, the poise and the deliveries for it. Because there are so few No. 1s in the game, it's hard to say they both will be, but if they stay healthy I am fairly certain they will be 1s or 2s. Hanrahan is a good No. 3, or possibly a quality 4--an inning eater, good stuff, but not overpowering and he needs to keep his delivery sharp to throw strikes consistently.
aces: prior, martinez, wood, schmidt, beckett, vazquez, mussina, schilling, halladay, oswalt, clemens. rj? we'll see.
hanrahan failed a climb roll and fell into an underground river, where he was almost killed by a giant fish. he surfaced in the lair of a dragon. luckily, it was asleep. despite his shivering, he snuck past successfully.
Q: Raymond from New York asks:
Do you consider Jonathan Broxton a legitimate major league pitching prospect if so, in what capcity ? thanks
A: Josh Boyd: Definitely. At his size, he has power pitcher's stuff, and needs to gain consistency and stay healthy all year. Some project him as a late-inning reliever, with the potential to close because he fastball reaches the upper-90s.
aha! he was hurt.
Q: Torgy from Seattle asks:
Regarding Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young, what position do you feel each will end up? I have heard that each could be considered as a catcher.
A: Josh Boyd: There has been some talk of that, though that is more likely the final destination for LaRoche than Young. Young will either have to move to third or left, while some think LaRoche is athletic enough to stay at short. He's probably going to go to second or third, maybe even first or catcher. Both have rocket arms.
kids with rocket arms should play third, short, or catcher.
the next few questions are about players we've already discussed.
Q: Ryan Maguire from Murrieta, CA asks:
Do you think it is smart the way the Dodgers rush some of their young players through the early stages of the minor leagues?
A: Josh Boyd: Not always, but they have been successful with it for the most part and if they hadn't have moved Jackson to Double-A he wouldn't have been in position to make that emergency start in the majors. I don't agree when it's a case like Joel Guzman, who has yet to have extended success at any level.
Q: Bob from Oklahoma asks:
Why did X. Paul go so late in the draft?
A: Josh Boyd: A good question, one I asked several people in the organization. A few things factored into that: one, he's probably not as tall as the 6-0 he's listed at, and two, many scouts thought he was locked into his Tulane commitment. He may have suffered from overexposure, to some extent, being in the spotlight since his sophomore season. Regardless, the Dodgers did a tremendous job identifying him as signable and they feel they've added an impact-potential bat to their system.
Q: Floyd Thursby from Ashland, Ore. asks:
Do the Dodgers only scout evil players lacking a mortal soul, or do they scout normal players and then make them evil? Giants Country wants to know...
A: Josh Boyd: Wow... Let the rivalry begin. (they actually sign players with outstanding makeup.)
Q: Paul Gage from San Antonio asks:
Everything I read about Xazier Paul is very positive. Yet in you list of outfield prospects he was not listed (from over 70 players from "top prospects"-"sleepers". Was this an oversight or isn't he really that highly regarded?
A: Josh Boyd: Even though Delmon Young and a couple others sneaked onto the list, but that list wasn't supposed to include 2003 draftees. My bad.
Q: Jeremy from San Diego asks:
Who is a possible sleeper that could burst onto the scene next year?
A: Josh Boyd: See above (my one choice would be James McDonald), but to name one more: Travis Denker.
Q: David from Tampa asks:
Do you see Yhency Brazoban being a bonafide closer in the big leagues?
A: Josh Boyd: He has the stuff to do so, but I am not sure he has the makeup to do that. He's only 23, but he needs to mature. He tends to let things get to him when things aren't going right, and that's not a good quality for a closer. If he can get it together, I could see the upside of a G. Mota type setup man.
Q: Matt from San Diego asks:
What kind of stuff does Chuck Tiffany have and does he project as a frontline starter?
A: Josh Boyd: He's been up to 94 mph, pitches at 90-92 with a good breaking ball, but I se ehim as more of a quality middle of the rotation guy or possibly even a Mike Stanton type closer--setup man.
Q: MPK from college asks:
is franklin gutierez going to be more than a raul mondesi type player?
A: Josh Boyd: Based on body type and athleticism, I think there is a difference between the two. The results Mondesi put up early in his career might not be far off, though I think Franklin has more upside (again because of his athleticism and frame, and makeup). At quick glance, Gutierrez has better strike zone judgment and more power at the same level.
franklin gutierrez is a 20-year-old outfielder. in 425 at-bats for vero beach (A+) of the florida state league, he walked 39 times and struck out 111 times, with 53 extra-base hits. he does not have as much money as raul mondesi.
Q: Craig Maczkowicz from Fargo, ND asks:
Josh, how do the outlooks for Jackson and Miller this year compare to that of Foppert's last year? Are there significant differences in what the perceived ceilings may have been?
A: Josh Boyd: No significant differences, other than when Foppert got to the big leagues he never showed the same velocity he did in the minors. So if Jackson and-or Miller went to LA and started throwing 88-90 instead of their regular mid-90s, that would be a bad sign, as it was for FOPPERT!
jesse foppert is 23. in 111 innings for san fransisco, of the national league, he walked 69, struck out 101, and allowed 16 home runs.
Q: LeeLacyLacedLiners from SoCal asks:
Your gave great info on our top 10, what time frame and who would you compare Guzman to? Thanks for good info, great to see the Dodgers on the rise and with Fox out of the picture I can go to the games again.
A: Josh Boyd: Thanks. Guzman's development is going to require patience, at least one full year at each level, and one of these years I think it is critical for him to have an extended period of success to build confidence.
otherwise, success isn't important.
Q: MPK from college asks:
what? no love for the braves having a top 5 system?
A: Josh Boyd: They should've been in there. My fault.
Q: Fernando from Chapel Hill, NC asks:
Is there any chance of the Dodgers trading the once top prospect Chin Feng Chen to an AL club where he can use his illustrious defense to DH, or has every team lost interest?
A: Josh Boyd: I think there is hope for that, and that might the best chance for Chen to enjoy any kind of major league career.
chin feng chen is a 25-year-old outfielder. in 474 at-bats for las vegas (AAA) of the pacific coast league, he walked 59 times and struck out 106 times with 61 extra-base hits.
Q: minhaz from from toronto asks:
do the dodgers have any decent rp prospect reafy to take over for quantrill or are they just focusing on developing sp?
A: Josh Boyd: More likely they'll look to free agency to fill that void, and hope Steve Colyer will step in as Tom Martin's counterpart as a power lefty. Jason Frasor is the next closest righthander, since Alfredo Gonzalez went down with an injury, but I don't think either are an immediate answer.
jay frasor is 26. in 36.2 innings for jacksonville (AA) of the southern league, he walked 14, struck out 50, and allowed 2 home runs. in 24.1 innings for vero beach, he walked 4 and struck out 36. no dongs.
Q: BIG STYB #39 from Irvine, CA asks:
I want to hear from you!!! How clueless is Dan Evans? He seems to be losing out on everyone he supposedly covets!
A: Josh Boyd: #39, sounds like they are pretty rough on Danny out there on sports talk radio. I just think they are very hesitant to give up Jackson or Miller, and he is strapped with some tough contracts. I would like to see him be more aggressive, especially in light of the money saved from the Brown deal (if I were a Dodgers fan, that is).
Q: Jesus from Phoenix, Az asks:
Has the pipeline from Mexico dried up? It seems that the D-Backs seemed to have inherited the pipeline. Is there any talent from Mexico in the Dodgers system?
A: Josh Boyd: It seems like they have done a poor job in that area, where they should be strong and have an advantage with their track record there and the Mexican fanbase in LA. And they've been beat out by a team in their own division.
Q: Randall Edens from Camano Island, WA asks:
Koyie Hill--catcher of the future for LA, or a quality major league back up?
A: Josh Boyd: Quality major league backup with a chance to evolve into a starter down the road, but I don't think he's the answer right away.
Q: Randall Edens from Camano Island, WA asks:
Will Joel Guzman turn into, as I read somewhere, the next A-Rod?
A: Josh Boyd: No chance, though several baseball people compared them before he signed with t he Dodgers.
Q: grem from nycity asks:
who would you rather have victor diaz who the dodgers traded to the mets or delwyn young how high is each players upside? thankS@
A: Josh Boyd: Similar upside as offensive minded middle infielders--I'd take Young because of better makeup.
i hear he uses chanel.
victor diaz is 22. in 491 at-bats for binghamton (AA) of the eastern league and jacksonville (AA) of the southern league he struck out 92 times and walked 35 times with 49 extra-base hits. he uses cover girl lipstick and eye pencils.
Q: Brandon from Both Coasts asks:
With all this talk about the stud lefties; miller, hamels, kaz...do you see Loewen jumping into this mix after he picks up some more innings?
A: Josh Boyd: No question about it. Also Scott Olsen isn't far behind.
adam loewen was the 4th pick of the 2002 draft. he went to fraser valley christian school in surrey, british columbia.
scott olson is 19. in 128.1 innings for greensboro (A) of the south atlantic league, he walked 59 and struck out 129 with 4 home runs.
damn that took a long time.
Monday, December 22, 2003
rangers sign jason tyner
rotoworld thinks he's their fifth outfielder, but showalter likes speedy guys that make contact. plus, it's not like he's blocked. their best outfielder is kevin mench. mench is a decent player, but if he's your best outfielder, you got problems. plus tyner can play center. i suppose rotoworld thinks laynce nix is the starting centerfielder, but nix can't hit a medicine ball that's sitting on the plate. then there's rusty greer, who's 35 and hasn't played a full season since 1999. he missed all of 2003 with "various injuries". there's apparently someone named jason jones, but he also has the medicine ball problem.
tyner has his drawbacks. for example, he has never hit a home run at any level of professional baseball. but he makes contact like it's goin outa style, and he flies to first, uh, on his feet. at 26, he'll probably never develop power, but he'll be a useful player for a long time.
shouldn't "like it's goin outa style" mean he's less likely to make contact? who comes up with these sayings, anyway?
my family was asking (grilling) me why are you so mean? and i said fuck you. ha ha no i said i want to make a public record of my thought. but there's something else. i'm trying to write what i would want to read. because right now there's nothing. there is good insight, if you're willing to look for it, but most days, i sit at the keyboard, hoping my fingers will find something, and there's nothing. nothing to read.
i know that link is empty. i was gonna put something in it, but i couldn't find anything. kind of underscores my point.
ok if you're starved here are some links. people get philosophical in the offseason. also i enjoyed seeing the words mechanical precision used so familiarly.
the art of contact
the pitcher is the waiter (stay with me here.) the batter makes his selection. it's feast or famine, or something in between: a meal that builds up over time, over many trips to the plate. then we get to see how big a tipper he his. the tip is the strikeout. 15% is tight, but acceptable. anything over 20% is generous. adam dunn is downright philanthropic. then there are those miserly souls who seem to hate their server, who spare but a pittance, barely enough to feed one's family, and that grudgingly.
kenny lofton, btw, was traded in 1991 for ed taubensee.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
avkash from http://theraindrops.weblogs.us writes in:
Nice work on prospects. All the Mets bloggers are huge Marco fans, and I wish to point out that Norfolk is the best pitchers park in the International League, as measured by Clay Davenport's five year park factors. Its makes the numbers look even better.
Yes, the Mets would rather move Reyes to second and pay MediocreMatsui 7 million, instead of giving Marco the job. Excellent pick up by the A's. And yeh, his defense sucks, but that doesn't stop about 3/4ths of the current major league second basemen from going out there everyday.
thanks, avkash. as you can see, there are many names left on the list. i'll be adding coments over the next few days, or weeks, or whenever.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
a couple weeks ago, i started a project to identify prospects. i was gonna do a "top prospects" article. three weeks later, i am no where close to done, so i'm just gonna write whatever.
what we have here is position players from the international league. i loaded everyone into a spreadsheet and calculated their wal con pow, using (2b+3b+hr)/(ab-k) for pow. equal weighting of extra-base hits mitigates park effects, which i don't know.
step 2 was to rank the players by predicted on-base percentage (pob). for that calculation, i used (wal)+(1-wal)*(con)*(.272+(pow)/2). here we go:
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Scutaro, Marcos 244 33 34 9 .136 .863 .140 .391 norfolk tides
hit .311/.401/.520. in 2002, he hit .319/.375/.475, also for norfolk. he hit .295/.382/.432 for indianapolis in 2001. before that he was in buffalo. he's been raking for years, spending his prime in the minors. maybe there are defense concerns. he played 2b and 3b this year. there is definite value here. and he's batting .387 in 7 g in venezuela. he's 28.
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
LaForest, Pete 201 36 56 14 .158 .724 .204 .386 durham bulls
25-year-old lefty-hitting catcher in the devil rays' system. doesn't hit it often, but hits it far. this is the peak of his career. now is the time to use him.
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Roberts, Brian 178 27 12 0 .130 .933 .083 .385 ottawa lynx
26-year-old switch hitting 2b. in case you weren't looking, he made the show. makes good contact. should develop power as he approaches his physical prime. speed and contact ensure a long career.
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Crisp Coco 225 26 24 1 .120 .894 .128 .385 buffalo bisons
on top of these obvious skills, he's a switch-hitter. and he's fast. he's 24, and he plays center field.
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Cust Jack 333 80 94 9 .193 .719 .116 .384 ottawa lynx
he just doesn't make enough contact to make it, despite his impressive walk totals. high walks + high strikeouts means rotoworld overvalues him.
ab bb k hr wal con pow pob
Ryan Rob 181 21 24 6 .116 .869 .145 .380 syracuse sky chiefs
30-year-old lefty outfielder who's past his prime. he tore up tucson. minor league journeyman: oakland traded him to boston. boston cut him. toronto picked him hp. toronto cut him. the giants picked him up.
"Sanchez,",Freddy,211,31,36,5,.135,.829,.126,.375,pawtucket red sox
"*Gross,",Gabe,182,31,56,5,.157,.692,.183,.369,syracuse sky chiefs
"*Abad,",Andy,504,55,67,13,.104,.869,.115,.360,pawtucket red sox
"X*Utley,",Chase,431,41,75,18,.106,.829,.127,.355,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Zuniga,",Tony,261,27,47,12,.097,.821,.149,.353,syracuse sky chiefs
"Sequea,",Jorge,271,30,45,3,.117,.835,.097,.353,syracuse sky chiefs
"Colangelo,",Mike,310,37,74,5,.133,.763,.118,.352,syracuse sky chiefs
"*Clark,",Howie,252,21,20,4,.085,.922,.080,.348,syracuse sky chiefs
"Dominique,",Andy,289,22,45,13,.090,.846,.126,.348,pawtucket red sox
"Sefcik,",Kevin,492,40,47,10,.078,.906,.102,.347,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Chapman,",Travis,478,44,97,12,.109,.800,.124,.347,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"#Lamb,",David,405,49,60,2,.122,.854,.054,.346,rochester red wings
"#Rodriguez,",Luis,518,46,46,1,.086,.912,.080,.346,rochester red wings
"Ford,",Lew,211,10,28,3,.078,.868,.125,.346,rochester red wings
"*Morneau,",Justin,265,28,56,16,.107,.790,.133,.346,rochester red wings
"Bocachica,",Hiram,322,24,57,12,.095,.824,.127,.345,toledo mud hens
"*Minor,",Damon,328,27,60,16,.098,.819,.125,.345,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"*Valent,",Eric,450,60,102,12,.118,.776,.116,.344,scranton/wilkes-barre red barons
"Cuddyer,",Michael,186,25,49,3,.119,.745,.140,.344,rochester red wings
"1#Santos,",Angel,214,32,50,5,.133,.767,.079,.340,pawtucket red sox
"*Burnham,",Gary,349,25,54,9,.083,.847,.117,.340,syracuse sky chiefs
"X*Morris,",Warren,206,16,26,2,.076,.874,.105,.338,toledo mud hens
"Ross,",Cody,470,32,86,20,.072,.820,.155,.338,toledo mud hens
"Moriarty,",Mike,176,21,30,3,.111,.831,.061,.334,syracuse sky chiefs
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
rumors rumors rumors. the rumors abound this time of year. but we don't get into that here at julien's baseball blog; we wait for the facts. then sometimes we analyze. although i gotta say we (i) get less and less excited about these winter meeting moves etc because the teams are businesses now. right, they've always been businesses but there used to be a kind of innocence, a kind of it's-not-necessarily-about-the-money. now it's definitely about the money. players are signed to contracts not to win games, but to generate profit. don't get me wrong, winning generates profit, but there are only a few teams that are confident enough in their ability to win that it's their only strategy. and if it's not your only strategy, it ain't gonna happen. with any regularity.
so the tigers signed fernando vina. the cardinals signed reggie sanders. statheads are steaming. but these teams don't think they're gonna win. they're not trying to win. they're trying to appear to be trying to win. they're placating the fans. that's why i don't have anything to say about the mets, or the orioles, or the royals, or the whoever else. they're businesses. i don't read the wall street journal; i don't care about the profits of news corp.
what do i care about? the players. i like to watch them. i like to rate them. i like to evaluate their talents. they're artists, and i appreciate their art. so that's what we'll be doing here. we'll leave the rest to the stockholders.
god i can't wait till april.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
the new york matsuis
i've dogged rob neyer in the past, but he's put out a number of good columns in the past few weeks. one in particular that i agree with is his take on kaz matsui. the mets are in for a mild disappointment.
braves get jd drew
john schuerholz is smart. i've said that before. other smart gm's: billy beane, theo epstein (so far), jp ricciardi. . . . that's all i can think of. dave littlefield seems to be doing well in pittsburgh. that cleveland guy, maybe. shapiro. dave dombrowski. i think he's a president not a gm but he built the marlins and he should be able to build the tigers. it's the al central after all. trade analysis is easy when a smart gm is involved. you know the trade was good for his team. one day i'll be able to say "her team." or i could say it now, as an indefinite third-person pronoun.
the other myth i wanna bust is the idea that a trade is a contest between general managers. people have the idea that there is one side that "wins" the trade. like there's a set amount of value, ergo one side must get more than half. this is not the case. most trades help both teams. that's why they happen. sorry to make things less exciting.
adam wainwright is overrated. there's this thing that's happening now where baseball prospectus will anoint someone a "prospect" and then statheads everywhere think he's god. rotoworld is a prime example. everything they write is some watered-down bp opinion.
write me letters!
this one's about my free agent commentary:
"call it half luck half muscles. where did he get the muscles? idunno; must be some magic strength potion or something"
Actually I heard Javy Lopez lost a lot of weight / trimmed down between the 2002 and 2003 season. Maybe he increased his bat speed?
"Mark Grudzielanek, ... probably the luckiest player in the majors this year. he'll be overpaid in 2004. it'll be hilarious if it's the cubs."
I go to and watch lots of Cub games. Not scientific, but when I watched all of his hits were ground balls that went through. Every time he came up I wondered aloud why the outfield played so deep when he almost never hits deep fly balls. Has to be the weakest swing I've seen in a while. he's totally off-balance after contact, but it worked in '03. I hope they don't resign him as a starter! He's a fine utility infielder, but the cheap guys aren't that much worse.
Just stumbled onto your blog, love the commentary so far.
Thanks, Rob Rolek
every now and then i get a letter from someone who just discovered my blog and red something they liked. then they read more and realize i'm crazy.
yankees spend more money
steinbrenner just can't help himself. one of these days he's gonna explode. gonna?
so now brian cashman isn't allowed at the winter meetings, and they send yhency brazoban and brandon weeden (+ throw-ins) for the privelege of paying kevin brown's contract.
it's not that they're future stars; it's that they're all the yanks have. brazoban's actually kind of interesting. he's apparently a converted outfielder, so his arm probly still works, and he looks like he brings heat. don't be surprised if his k's surpass his innings in 2004.
they should run him out (the boss) now, instead of waiting for him to completely rid the team of all useful players like they did 15 years ago. you'd think they'd learn.
coming in 2005: "steinbrenner sucks, part 2".
sorry, tigers fans
overpaying fernando vina isn't going to accomplish anything. neither is overpaying rondell white.
mets, ditto (kaz matsui, mike cameron).
i may not have a cool bushy mustache, but i can infringe on trademarks with the best of em.
left-handed hitters. they're so mysterious. why are they so good? what is it that makes them so good? i mean, they have the platoon advantage over most pitchers, but that doesn't account for it, completely. so what is it? what is this magic mojo? tell me! the suspense is killing me!
it's that they're closer to first base. that's it. nothing mysterious.
i don't know why any of you read this
in college i was in the film club. we had expensive facilities and thought we were special, but that's a tangent. one day the film club took a trip to comiskey park (now we're on topic.) two of the people i rode with were a couple, both from baltimore, both orioles fans.
this was a few years ago, when the o's were still spending tons of money and eating their shirts.
me: "what's wrong with the orioles?"
them: "i don't know."
that's the story. sorry if you thought would be better. ok i'm not sorry. but the weird thing is that they both spoke at the same time. no, the weird thing is fans think that when the owner spends money, he's a good owner, and when he saves money, he's bad. that's the level we're dealing with. teams have finally wised up, and stopped trying to win (except for a few). they know that losing a popular player will have direct negative impact at the gates. and they're a business. they're interested in profit. in baseball, it's easy to make a profit. so they're doing it.
you're not fans, you're cattle.
Saturday, December 13, 2003
arbitration day (sung to the tune of celebration day)
who knew the offseason could be this exciting? my knee-jerk reactions:
1. the orioles are stupid. but we already knew that.
2. the red sox are still better than the yankees. although i do not think they should lose nomar. i'd rather have nomar and his contract than arod and his contract.
3. the dodgers have successfully dumped kevin brown's contract (and picked up $3 million of weaver's!). they'll probably waste the money anyway.
4. the astros paid too much for andy pettitte. they won't sniff the cubs. the cubs, btw, could easily win 100 games with all the crap they get to play against. i predict 95.
5. if clemens is a stro, things get a little more interesting. oswalt-clemens-pettitte is a quality top 3, with good 4 & 5 options (robertson, saarloos, redding, hernandez), a strong bullpen, and a solid lineup (despite the black hole at catcher). oh yeah wade miller is pretty good too.
6. the braves win the nl east. i don't know how, but just you wait and see. the biggest reason for the braves success in the last six years, by the way, is andruw jones. in addition to his solid offensive contributions, he is the best defensive center fielder of all time, by far.
7. the a's didn't tender jose guillen, the braves didn't tender gary sheffield, and the expos didn't tender vladimir guerrero. something stinks. that's all i'm gonna say. it makes you think i know something.
8. 8. i forgot what 8 was for.
9. blogger sucks. i've got to find a new site. or give up (probly the better option).
Friday, December 05, 2003
we aim to please
jason from chicago:
blog subject request: please explain what you told me that one day about larry bigbie being the luckiest hitter of the year.
also if you wanted to write a paeon to the honorable douglas waechter, i wouldn't complain.
how much did billy wagner sign for?
taking them one at a time . . .
when you're lookig for luck, you look at batting average. after the ball comes off the bat, it bounces around and does crazy things. the ball is the source of randomness for most sports. that's why fox always shows closeups of it flying through the air. i can throw a ball in the air. i wanna see people. golf is the prime example: "look at that ball! whoa, that ball is crazy!"
so here's the theory: batting average depends on 3 skills: making contact, hitting the ball hard, and running fast.
larry bigbie had 287 at-bats, 29 walks, 25 extra-base hits, and 60 strikeouts in 2003. that means he had a walk rate of 29/316=.092, a contact rate of 227/287=.791, and a power rate of 25/227=.110. major league average average for those numbers is .100 .816 .110, so he's slightly below.
but larry pulled in with a batting average of .303, well above the major league norm of .260. we would have expected him to hit (.791)*(.272+(.110)/2)=.259, based on his contact and power, so he gained 43 points from speed and luck.
maybe he's ichiro suzuki's long-lost twin brother. let's see . . . he is left-handed, but he only stole 7 bases and hit 1 triple. so it's safe to say he won't break any land-speed records. his speed is probably worth about 20 points.
that leaves 20 points to luck, and 3 to the gods. so he's a .280 hitter.
his expected obp is (.092)+(287/316)*(.280)=.346, not .365. he'll have a nice, productive peak over the next few years and then quietly fade away.
eating my words
apparently, the a's offered $6 mil a year to keith foulke. so maybe they'll keep him. also, they don't have mark johnson anymore.
wild claims . . . keepin readers on their toes!
Monday, December 01, 2003
the only team that knows what they're doing
Athletics acquired outfielder Mark Kotsay from the Padres for catcher Ramon Hernandez and outfielder Terrence Long. Since a trade kicker increases his salary by $1 million per season, Kotsay will make $19.5 million over the next three years ($5.5 million in 2004, $7 million in 2005 and 2006). In addition to being the regular center fielder, he could take over as Oakland's leadoff hitter, making him worth $15-$16 in AL-only leagues next season. It's remains unclear how the A's are going to replace Hernandez at catcher. Adam Melhuse figures to stick around, but he's only going to be the backup. Trades for Chad Moeller, Yorvit Torrealba, Josh Bard, Eli Marrero and Ramon Castro (if Ivan Rodriguez re-signs with Florida) have all been brought up as possibilities. A Jason Kendall deal would only seem to be an option if the A's fail to re-sign Keith Foulke.
rotoworld doesn't get it. the a's didn't re-sign giambi, they didn't re-sign damon, they're not re-signing tejada, and they're not re-signing keith foulke. they don't re-sign.
also, billy beane does not run his organization like a fantasy team, so he's not looking to "replace" his catcher. he has catchers. they are good baseball players. he may improve his stock at the position, but he may improve his stock at any position. mark johnson is a definite possibility for significant playing time. he was a river cat last year, came over in the rape of the white sox.
rant rant rant. that's all i ever do.