Outtakes

I will use this thread to post outtakes, guys getting cut for space reasons. These are all marginal guys.

I apologize for the rough formatting but this is all a quick cut-and-paste job. Note that real comments in the book have stats included.

Josh Blanco, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
Bats: L     Throws: L     HT: 6-2   WT: 190   DOB: November 16, 1989 

Blanco was drafted in the sixth round in 2008, out of high school in El Paso, Texas. His performance in the Arizona Rookie League the last two years has been solid, with very fine K/IP and H/IP ratios, on the strength of his 87-92 MPH fastball. He throws strikes, but his secondary pitches have needed refinement. He should move up to full-season ball in '10, giving us a better read on his ability, but there's enough potential here to start the tracking process now. Grade C.

Brian Dozier, SS, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R    Throws: R     HT:  5-11     WT: 185   DOB: May 5, 1987
Brian Dozier had a successful four-year career at the University of Southern Mississippi, earning a spot in the eighth round of the '09 draft. He played well in the Appalachian League, but we need to see what he can do against better competition. Scouts rate all of his tools as average or below average, but he's fundamentally sound, controls the strike zone well, and is "scrappy," a Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto type player. If he hits enough at higher levels, he's got a shot as a utilityman. Grade C.

 

Rhyne Hughes, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Bats: L    Throws: L     HT: 6-2      WT: 175   DOB: September 9, 1983

 The Orioles picked up Hughes from the Rays system last August to complete the Gregg Zaun trade. Scouts have always liked Hughes' glove at first base, but panned his relative lack of power for the position. He has been more aggressive the last two seasons, trying to hit for more power, and as a result he set a career-best mark last year with 25 homers, albeit at the cost of a much higher strikeout rate. As first base prospects go, he's pretty marginal, already 26 years old and just now getting established in Triple-A. It seems likely that he'll get stuck as a Triple-A/Quadruple-A first baseman, but the Orioles aren't exactly chock-full of first basemen right now and if he has a well-timed hot streak he could sneak his way into some playing time. I wouldn't bet on him long-term, but worse players have had careers. Grade C.

Junior Lake, SS, Chicago Cubs
I rated Lake as a sleeper entering 2009 because of his outstanding physical tools. Unfortunately for him, it was Starlin Castro who figured out how to use his tools last year, not Lake.  Lake's physical tools are, if anything, slightly better than Castro's. He has more power potential and an even stronger arm. However, his plate discipline is terrible, which helped result in a -8 percent OPS last year in the Midwest League. He's also very raw defensively, where he made 40 errors combined between shortstop and second base for Peoria. Lake is young enough to figure things out, but he has a lot of work to do. If Castro looks like another Edgar Renteria, Lake looks like a future Angel Berroa right now. Grade C.


Derrick Robinson, OF, Kansas CityRoyals
Bats: S    Throws: L     HT: 5-11    WT: 170    DOB: September 28, 1987

I’m keeping Derrick Robinson in the book another year because Royals fans remain curious about him, and because he’s still one of the fastest runners in professional baseball. Alas, he still can’t hit, and his second year in the Carolina League didn’t do anything to make me think that is going to change. His walk rate and on-base ability actually got worse. His power production and batting average were nearly the same, and he continues to get caught stealing more often than he should given his blazing speed. He’s still young at 22, but other than his birthday there aren’t a lot of positives here. Grade C.

 

Oneli Perez, RHP, Free Agent 

Scouts have never liked Oneli Perez much. His fastball isn't very fast at 86-89 MPH. He'll occasionally spike it as high as 92, but the lack of consistent velocity makes scouts skeptical about him. He does have a good slider, and will mix in a pretty solid changeup at times. His statistical track record at the lower levels in the White Sox system was excellent. Indeed, he pitched great at every level until reaching Triple-A in 2008, where he struggled in 30 innings. He ended up in independent baseball to start 2009, which shows you exactly how low his stock was with scouts despite his past track record. Perez was very effective with Newark, and the Cardinals signed him as a free agent when Memphis needed a pitcher at mid-summer. His second try in Triple-A was much better, and as I write this he is pitching very well in the Dominican Summer League: 2.11 ERA, 14/5 K/BB in 21 innings with 15 saves. Perez is 26 years old now. I know Perez will never get a lot of slack, but the numbers are solid, and he strikes me as the kind of pitcher who can be a surprise contributor at the major league level when no one expects it. Grade C.

 

Matt Young, OF, Atlanta Braves

Young was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico back in 2005. He is too old to be a classic prospect and has spent all or part of four years in Double-A, but worse players have had major league careers and at some point he'll probably get some at-bats. He does two things well: draw walks and steal bases. He lacks distance power, and scouts have always been skeptical about him since he's undersized, but there's always the chance he could go on a hot streak at the right time, and end up with some playing time. I could see something like this going down: the Braves have injuries in the outfield that they can't cover, Young gets called up, hits .320 (based on an unsustainable BABIP) with some walks and  steals in 75 games, then spends the next four years as a reserve outfielder with a .230/.310/.350 line while everyone waits for him to repeat his first 75 games. Grade C.

 

 

Darin Mastroianni, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Mastroianni was a 16th round pick in 2007, out of Southern Indiana. He's quite fast, and he uses this speed on the bases very effectively, stealing at an 82% success rate throughout his career. He'll take a walk, and he managed to maintain his on-base skills after being promoted to Double-A last year. Unfortunately, he lacks power, and lacks it enough that he could get the bat knocked out of his hands in Triple-A or the majors. Nevertheless, his speed could be a useful bench asset, and it helps that he is willing to work the count. I just don't think he'll have enough pop to get beyond a bench role. Grade C.

 

 

Jake Rife, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Bats: L    Throws: L     HT: 5-11    WT: 205    DOB: June 7, 1987
 Rife was a 48th round pick last year out of the University of Washington. He finished the season in the California League, his rapid promotion due to injuries to other players as well as his own fast start at lower levels. Angels fans are already looking at him as a sleeper prospect, but be careful. Scouts have never been wild about his tools, though they respect his hard-nosed attitude and aggressive style of play. In pro ball, he showed good use of his speed on the bases and some pop to the gaps, but his strike zone judgment fell apart against High-A pitching, granted that's a big jump from the NCAA. Rife turns 23 in June and will have to move quickly. If he makes it, it will be as a reserve outfielder. I'm skeptical at this point, but we'll see. Grade C.


Gerardo Rodriguez, 1B, Atlanta Braves
Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-1     WT: 195    DOB: October 25, 1987
Once you get past Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, the Braves system is short of hitting talent. One marginal exception is Gerardo Rodriguez, who has very good power. Unfortunately, that's about all he has. He swings from the heels, strikes out a lot, doesn't draw walks, and is a poor defensive player. I don't think he's much of a prospect, frankly, but he can hit home runs, and if he makes some adjustments with the strike zone, he might surprise us as higher levels. That's a very substantial "if." Grade C.

 

Tobias Streich, C, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R    Throws: R     HT: 6-0     WT: 210    DOB: April 5, 1988
Streich was drafted in the fifth round last June, out of West Virginia. He has a strong throwing arm and nailed 43% of runners trying to steal on him in the Appalachian League. He's also got power potential, but had problems hitting for average against rookie ball pitching. His strikeouts weren't bad, and perhaps he just had bad luck on balls in play. We'll see if he can add other skills to his power and defense at higher levels. Grade C.

Shane Robinson, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Shane Robinson is this little short guy who was a really good player at Florida State, but who drew skepticism from scouts due to being a little short guy. He's been excellent at times as a pro, especially in the Texas League in 2008, but there were always big doubts about whether his bat would hold up against good pitching. Alas, we now have 142 games of Triple-A data showing that his bat will, in fact, not hold up against good pitching. Nevertheless, Robinson is still on the Cardinals 40 man roster. He's got very good speed, hustles like crazy, and is an effective defensive outfielder. There's still a chance he can parlay those qualities into a career as a fifth outfielder, and it is fun to watch him play. Grade C.

Greg Veloz, 2B, Washington Nationals

The Nationals acquired Veloz from the Mets last summer in exchange for infielder Anderson Hernandez. A Dominican signed by the Mets in 2006, Veloz is still young, has some speed, and is a decent defensive player at second base. He lacks power, and was totally overmatched by advanced A-ball pitching last year. I thought he had sleeper potential entering '09, which is why he got a Grade C+, but his campaign was very disappointing. At this stage, he is still an athlete who may or may not develop into a baseball player. Veloz has no fantasy value right now, but Nationals fans might want to keep his name in mind in case his hitting develops unexpectedly. Grade C.

 

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