Friday, February 24, 2017

Spring Training Game Wrap: Giants 6 Reds 4

Madison Bumgarner got his work in.  Clayton Blackburn got off to a sensational start to his spring.  Minor league free agent and former first round draft pick Chris Marrero hit a walk-off 3 run HR.  Giants win!  Key Lines:

Brandon Crawford SS- 0 for 2.  Denard Span will almost surely lead off when he plays, but what about when he doesn't?  I'm pretty sure Bochy did not pencil Crawford's name in the leadoff spot by accident.  Craw has always been a guy who battles and sees a lot of pitches.

Christian Arroyo SS- 1 for 1.  Arroyo entered the game late and singled ahead of Marrero's bomb in the 9'th.

Chris Marrero 1B- 2 for 3, HR.  The Giants targeted Marrero this offseason and called his agent within 5 minutes of him officially becoming a minor league FA, according to Alex P at CSN Bay Area.  I have to admit the Marreo signing slipped under my radar, but he's an interesting story.  Marrero was a first round draft pick, #15 overall, way back in 2006 by the Washington Nationals.  If you look at his stat lines in the minors they are not bad at all.  In fact, they are pretty good, but it was apparently never good enough for the Nationals to promote him as he languished in A+ ball for 3 seasons.  The problem was he was an average to below average fielder at first base and just didn't hit quite enough to overcome that.  The Giants scouts apparently feel he can play a passable 1B and LF and the Giants are giving him a hard look as a RH bat off the bench or maybe even a RH half of a platoon in LF.  His stat line from AAA last year in the BoSox organization:  .284/.344/494, 30 2B, 2 3B, 23 HR, 8.5 BB%, 15.6 K%, 544 PA.

Hunter Pence RF- 1 for 2, 2B.  Pence was Full Throttle and hit one off the wall his first AB.  Good news!

Jae-Gyun Hwang 3B- 0 for 2, 2 K, E.  Rough start for Hwang who came into the game after Gillaspie took 2 AB.  It's just one game and the first game of spring training, but first impressions can either help or haunt you.

Steven Duggar PR-LF- 1 for 2, 2B.  Nice first game for Duggar who I think is almost criminally underrated by most prospect analysts.

Nick Hundley C- 1 for 1, BB.  Speaking of first impressions, as reported by Alex P, Hundley asked for video of every pitcher on the 40 man roster when he signed including prospects on the 40 man.  Bumgarner has insisted that Buster Posey catch him, but expressed admiration for Hundley's backstopping skills including a nice block of a scud with a runner at 3B.  Even more impressively, he seemed to know how to bring out the best in Clayton Blackburn who lit up the park with a dominating 2-inning performance.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  A bit ragged, but Bummy has earned the right to ease himself into game shape and was undoubtedly just getting in his work here.

Clayton Blackburn RHP- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO- 3/0.  Terrific performance from Blackburn who had a disappointing season last year.  A few more outings like this and he could move back up the depth chart.

Steven Okert LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  Okert is probably competing with Josh Osich for the other lefty reliever roster spot behind Will Smith, unless Smith's injury turns out to be more serious than it seems right now.

Derek Law RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  Law probably has the inside track on a bullpen spot, but the competition will be fierce.


Matt Cain was supposed to follow Bumgarner today, but was moved to the starting gate for tomorrow's game against the Cubs in Scottsdale with Ty Blach getting bumped back to being the second pitcher in the game after Cain.

Scouting the Draft: Mackenzie Gore

Mackenzie Gore, LHP, HS.  6'2", 180 lbs.

Mackenzie Gore currently hits 89-94 with his FB which he is able to command on both sides of the plate.  His second best pitch is a changeup with good fade and sink.  The curveball is promising but needs work.  Gore has a wiry, athletic body which is highly projectable with plenty of room for another 20 lbs.  He works with a big leg kick reminiscent of Vida Blue.  Current comp would be Tyler Jay another LHP who I think is in the Twins organization.  He's ranked #28 by in their draft prospects list.


DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  JB Bakauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
5.  Brendan McKay, LHP, College(Louisville).
6.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
7.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
8.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
9.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
10. Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
11. Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
12. Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
13. Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
14.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
15.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
16.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
17.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
18.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
19.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
20.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
21.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
22.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
23.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
24.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).
26.  Nick Allen, SS, HS.
27.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
28.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
29.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
30.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
31.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).
32.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Amir Garrett

Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds.  DOB:  5/3/1992.  6'5", 210 lbs.  Drafted in 2011 Round 22 out of HS.

2016 AA:  5-3, 1.75, 77.0 IP, 3.27 BB/9, 9.12 K/9.
2016 AAA:  2-5, 3.46, 67.2 IP, 4.12 BB/9, 7.18 K/9.

Amir Garrett was a basketball player in HS who threw 96 MPH in a tryout setting.   He played college basketball for St John's but the Reds drafted him in 2011 and signed him to a contract which allowed him to continue to play college basketball.  He eventually migrated to exclusively playing pro baseball and is now on the cusp of graduating to the major leagues.   He still has a mid-90's FB but like most tall pitchers, struggles with repeatability and with his secondary stuff at times.  I've seen him pitch in the Futures Game a couple of times and love his size and athleticism on the mound.  The physical comp is David Price.  He'll probably start the season in AAA, but when you see that the Red's #3-5 SP's are Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo and Robert Stephenson, you've got to think Garrett will be pitching in the majors sooner than later, possibly as early as the first week of the season!

He'll be immediately rosterable in deeper leagues and has extra value in keeper leagues.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

College Corner: Week 1 Draft Prospect Performances

Here's some performances of some of the college players I have profiled so far in my Scouting the 2017 Draft series and how it may affect their draft stock:

Stock Up:

JB Bakauskas, RHP, North Carolina- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.
Seth Romero, LHP, Houston- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 12 K's.
Brendon McKay, LHP, Louisville- 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K's.(McKay is a 2-way player and also went 6 for 12 at the plate with 3 dingers.  He might be the top college hitter in the draft as well as a highly ranked pitcher).

Stock Stable:

Colton Hock, RHP, Stanford- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.
Corbin Martin, RHP, Texas A&M- 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 K's(2 appearances.  Gave up both ER in his first appearance over 1 inning).
Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt- .316/.409/.526, 2 3B, 1 SB, 19 AB.
Alex Lange, RHP, LSU- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.

Stock Down:

Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri- 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K's.
Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt- 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K's.
Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida- 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.
JJ Schwarz, C, Florida- .286/.389/.286, 14 AB.
Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford- DNP(Beck is dealing with some kind of injury.  He's a draft eligible sophomore.  The longer he is out, the more likely he will stay in school another year).

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Austin Meadows

First a few bits of news out of Giants spring training camp:

LHP Will Smith is on the shelf for at least 7 days due to a sore elbow.  MRI is reportedly negative for any structural damage.

Jae-Gyun Hwang reportedly hit a long HR of RHP Jose Dominguez during live batting practice on a minor league complex field.

Hunter Pence seems ready to go after an oblique scare.  He hit a dinger over the berm in LF off a coach.

Madison Bumgarner is set to pitch 1 inning of the first exhibition game on Friday.  Matt Cain will get his first spring look too.  The early rotation is Bumgarner, Blach, Moore, Samardzija with Johnny Cueto taking Blach's place as #2 when he's ready to go.


Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates.  DOB:  5/3/1995.  B-L, T-L.  6'2", 195 lbs.  Drafted 2013 Round 1, #9 overall.

2016 AA:  .311/.365/.611, 16 2B, 8 3B, 6 HR, 9 SB, 8.4 BB%, 16.8 K%, 190 PA.
2016 AAA:  .214/.297/.460, 7 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 8 SB, 10.3 BB%, 23.4 K%, 145 PA.

If you are wondering why the Pirates seemed so anxious to trade Andrew McCutchen over the winter, look no further than this guy who looks like he's almost ready to go.  He'll probably start the season in AAA where judging from his AAA stats, he could use a bit more salt.  He should definitely be ready by midseason.  The challenge for the Pirates is finding a place for him to play as they already have an OF of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco with Josh Bell set to take over 1B.  The main rap on Meadows is a history of nagging injuries.  He's not a lock to stay healthy for a full season.

Meadows should already be rostered in deep keeper leagues.  He'll be worth adding when he's called up in 12 team leagues or larger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Scouting the 2017 Draft: Nick Allen

No news out of the Giants camp except endless speculation about when Johnny Cueto is going to arrive.  That's a good thing.  Back to scouting the draft……


Nick Allen, SS, HS.  B-R, T-R.  5'9", 155 lbs.

If you have not seen video of Nick Allen making some amazing plays at SS in showcase competition, please go look them up now.  This kid is ready to play SS in the majors right now!  Let's get to the PT stats:  6.73 60 yd dash which is a bit above average.  91 MPH on IF throws which is quite good. .140 Time to Impact which is….well, a bit slow.   The other concern is is size which is diminutive by current MLB standards.  But the kid can stick at SS, no doubt about it.  Comp would be a more athletic and stronger armed version of David Eckstein.  Committed to USC.  We'll see if there is a team out there who believes in him enough to buy out his commitment.


DrB's Updated 2017 Draft Board:

1.  Jordan Adell, OF, HS.
2.  Mark Vientos, SS, HS.
3.  Hunter Greene, RHP, HS.
4.  Tanner Houck, RHP, College(Missouri).
5.  JB Backauskas, RHP, College(North Carolina).
6.  Jeren Kendall, OF, College(Vanderbilt).
7.  JJ Schwarz, C, College(Florida).
8.  Alex Faedo, RHP, College(Florida).
9.  Kyle Wright, RHP, College(Vanderbilt).
10.  Alex Lange, RHP, College(LSU).
11.  Brady McConnell, SS, HS.
12.  Royce Lewis, SS/OF, HS.
13.  Trevor Rogers, LHP, HS.
14.  Brendan McKay, LHP, College(Louisville).
15.  Seth Romero, LHP, College(Houston).
16.  Alex Scherff, RHP, HS.
17.  Hans Crouse, RHP, HS.
18.  DL Hall, LHP, HS.
19.  Jacob Heatherly, LHP, HS.
20.  Michael Gigliotti, OF, College(Lipscomb).
21.  Calvin Mitchell, OF, HS.
22.  Conor Uselton, OF, HS.
23.  Pavin Smith, 1B, College(Virginia).
24.  Cole Brannen, OF, HS.
26.  Blayne Enlow, RHP, HS.
27.  Hagen Danner, RHP, HS.
28.  Alejandro Toral, 1B, HS.
29.  Tristan Beck, RHP, College(Stanford).
30.  Colton Hock, RHP, College(Stanford).
31.  Corbin Martin, RHP, College(Texas A&M).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Josh Bell

Josh Bell, 1B/OF, Pirates.  DOB:  8/14/1992.  B-S, T-R.  6'2", 240 lbs.  Drafted 2011 Round 2.

2016 AAA:  .295/.382/.468, 23 2B, 4 3B, 14 HR, 11.8 BB%, 15.3 K%, 484 PA.
2016 MLB:  .273/.368/.406, 8 2B, 3 HR, 13.8 BB%, 12.5 K%, 152 PA.

I did some video scouting of Josh Bell before the 2011 draft and was very impressed.  He's taken his time moving up the Pirates organizational ladder, but it looks like they have a very solid player to show for it.  Bell is #1 on the Pirates 1B depth chart for 2017.  As a switch-hitter, he should not have to platoon with anybody.  His calling card is extraordinary plate discipline for a big hitter which makes him more valuable in real life than in fantasy baseball.  He'll be more valuable in OBP leagues and as a CI/UT player in leagues that carry those extra roster spots.  Definitely someone to be aware of as a fantasy draft progresses, but dingers reign supreme in standard fantasy baseball settings and he probably comes up a bit short in that category for a starting 1B.