40-man Finalized, Six Additions
One of the big nights for minor league baseball here, and this one certainly didn't disappoint. Per MLB.com press release
, the Mariners have added OF T.J. Bohn, RHPs Renee Cortez and Emiliano Fruto, LHPs Cesar Jimenez and Bobby Livingston, and SS Oswaldo Navarro. There was a little bit of freaking out earlier as to whether we were leaving Asdrubal Cabrera unprotected, but it turns out that he signed in 2003, not 2002 as was the original suspicion. It's hard to tell with a lot of the VSL/DSL guys exactly what year they came into the organization, because most of them don't play in the same year they sign.
Bohn's a guy I've always been high on, not because he's been a spectacular player or anything, but because of certain little things he does. When he's not swinging the bat well, he'll still manage to draw walks and get on base, and he has a good amount of speed, capable of playing all three OF positions with a classic right fielder arm. There are about three flaws in his game, though. For one, he's old, or at least older than most of the guys he's playing with. He also strikes out pretty frequently. But the biggest trouble with him has been getting consistent power production. He'll hit three in the space of a week and then have a dry spell lasting a month or two. Still, he's not a bad guy to keep around as a 4th outfielder (which I'd like to see him as next year), and he's probably the best option we have there, since Strong's speed isn't quite what it used to be.
The surprise pick was Cortez, or at least it wasn't something that a lot of people saw coming. The Missions broadcasters have to be pleased though, they've been talking him up for the past two years as a guy who's going to be good a few years down the road, but is a bit inexperienced at this point. His first tour with the Missions last year was pretty bad, but it's worth noting that he also became a father for the first time early in the season and wasn't exactly getting much sleep for a while there. Might we see a Renee / Rene battery in the big leagues? Good stuff for a righty, mostly a reliever, pretty durable, but...
Fruto's probably the guy with the better stuff, and overall, the Missions broadcasters do like him a bit better. He's been bounced around in a couple of roles before they finally slotted him in relief until further notice. Could move back though. He'd been an enigma until this year, but you know how we prospect watchers talk about a guy "putting it together?" Well, he did, showed up to spring training in shape, took on a leadership (in an Eddie Guardado sense) position in the clubhouse, and was kicking tail coming out of the 'pen. Have I mentioned he throws in the mid-to-high 90s, and is pretty young? Well, that's the meat of it, and he also has some decent secondary pitches as well. Still a bit immature though, so he's going to have that working against him just as Cortez does.
Jimenez is one of many left-handers with a change-up in the system, except he comes from Venezuela. He also didn't really have a breaking pitch up until recently, and putting that into context considering his minor league numbers, you can tell he knows how to change speeds pretty well. His fastball is about average though, in terms of pure velocity, so it seems like he'd be more interesting as a starter than a growly, huff, puff, and blow your house down setup guy. Could transition back, could also add some mph to his fastball, may do both.
Cesar's stuff is not much to write home about, but Livingston actually has a few MPH less than him. Guess which pitch is his best? It's probably the best in the org too, what with Blackley shelved lately, but he's big on guile and pitchability, so the margin of error is minimal. The M's have sworn for years that they can get him up to 90 mph, but it just hasn't happened yet and it's hard to tell if it will, and particularly if he'll be able to maintain the same amount of control then. Has a curve too, and probably a few other pitches in his arsenal.
Ozzie is one of the least mentioned of the middle infield prospect, probably because it goes about Betancourt > Asdrubal > Ozzie in terms of defense, and he hasn't really made his bat stand out yet, save for a run last year with the T-Rats. Premium defender, really, and seems to have a body type where you're not too concerned about him having to move off short, but as far as the bat goes, he hasn't yet had a sustained breakout, so Drubie lapped him earlier in the season. It's not that he's bad, it's just that the M's have a lot of MIFs and most of them are better. May be trade bait sooner or later, and a change of teams might do him good.
Dave at USSM pointed out a few of the omissions
in his post on the topic, and I'll make mention of his guys (Jeff Heaverlo, Sean Green, Luis Valbuena, Edgar Guaramato, and Nathanal Mateo) and raise him, I don't know, Rich Dorman, Thom Oldham, Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Craig James. Heaverlo and Green are both groundballers that could be useful to someone, Guaramato and Dorman are both converted position players with power stuff who could fit on a roster with someone who had patience, Mateo's a power pitcher with some experience in Japan, Oldham and RRS are your standard M's system lefties who struggled in double-A as change-up guys do, Valbuena's a decent second bagger 'spect with some offensive potential, and James is a power reliever, but a slight injury risk (surgery in the past). I like all of 'em, but overall, losing them wouldn't make me quite as upset as losing any of the selected six. I'll still get frustrated and start kicking things around the room if Guaramato or James go, though.
40-man Deadline Approaching
The deadline for adding minor leaguers to the 40-man roster and protecting them from the rule 5 draft is coming up on Friday, so the next few days could see a bit more activity as far as switching around the roster. The current 40-man at MLB.com
is listing 35 players, after the free agent filings and whatnot. If you're looking for a handy reference as to who's available, check out the checklist posted here earlier
and republished later at ITP
as free content (what's that you say? I can be a smart ass and still get published? Jackpot!). It's not a complete list, you still have your Mike Bumsteads and Mike Wilsons and Nibaldo Acostas floating around, but it has the majority of the names available.
Other things of note that are possibly on the horizon... the minor league coaching staffs have yet to be finalized. The expectation is Dave Brundage to Tacoma, but the rest is pretty much up in that air. Also, the M's have yet to name their minor league team MVPs for the 2005 season. These are both things that could happen any time now.Edit: 10:52 am
As long as you're here, check out the new site designs for the Tacoma Rainiers and the Inland Empire Sixty-Sixers. Pretty cool.
Winter League Stats Update (11/13/05)
Arizona Fall League:
RHP Chris Buglovsky: 1-1, 11.12 ERA in 17.2 IP, 24 runs (22 ER), 36 hits (3 HR), 7/5 K/BB
C Jeff Clement: .267/.347/.478 in 67 at-bats, 5 2B, 3 HR, 12 runs, 11 RBI, 8/17 BB/K
RHP Mike Flannery: 0-0, 7.64 ERA in 17.2 IP, 19 runs (15 ER), 28 hits, 17/8 K/BB
OF Gary Harris: .240/.256/.347 in 75 at-bats, 6 2B, 3B, 12 runs, 8 RBI, 1/13 BB/K
OF Adam Jones: .238/.292/.450 in 80 at-bats, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 12 runs, 8 RBI, 5/16 BB/K
RHP Clint Nageotte: 1-2, 2.33 ERA in 27.0 IP, 7 runs (7 ER), 21 hits (2 HR), 24/4 K/BB
Last update, as the season has finished up. Nags was named to the AFL Postseason All-Star Team
, which is pretty cool, but he had to leave the team early and his final start wasn't nearly as good as his previous ones (though his grandmother is dying and he probably had a bit on his mind). The wheels fell off Flannery's wagon towards the end, but Buglovsky just went skidding into a ravine. Nice to se Jones rebound at the end, and while Clement's offense did drop off, he was throwing out more runners so at least there was progress there. Harris was up and down most of the season, not much to say there.
Venezuelan Winter League:
RHP Nibaldo Acosta: 0-1, 9.82 ERA in 3.2 IP, 4 runs (4 ER), 4 hits, 0/3 K/BB
RHP Yorman Bazardo: 0-0, 1.59 ERA in 11.1 IP, 2 runs, 8 hits, 10/6 K/BB
OF T.J. Bohn: .284/.382/.389 in 95 at-bats, 7 2B, HR, 11 runs, 19 RBI, 14/23 BB/K
SS Asdrubal Cabrera: .182/.250/.182 in 11 at-bats, RBI, 1/3 BB/K
RHP Renee Cortez: 0-1, 5.73 ERA in 11.0 IP, 7 runs (7 ER), 12 hits (HR), 8/4 K/BB
RHP Rich Dorman: 2-0, 3.22 ERA in 22.1 IP, 9 runs (8 ER), 22 hits (HR), 32/17 K/BB
LHP Jose Escalona: 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1.1 IP, 1 hit
RHP Emiliano Fruto: 2-1, 2.03 ERA in 13.1 IP, 6 saves, 4 runs (3 ER), 11 hits (HR), 12/6 K/BB
IF Jesus Guzman: .327/.377/.436 in 55 at-bats, 3 2B, HR, 9 runs, 10 RBI, 4/11 BB/K
RHP Jeff Heaverlo: 0-2, 8.25 ERA in 12.0 IP, 12 runs (11 ER), 16 hits (3 HR), 11/8 K/BB
LHP Cesar Jimenez: 1-1, 1.98 ERA in 27.1 IP, 6 runs (6 ER), 19 hits, 21/9 K/BB
LHP Chris Key: 0-0, 6.48 ERA in 8.1 IP, 7 runs (6 ER), 12 hits (2 HR), 5/3 K/BB
IF Jose Lopez: .319/.429/.383 in 47 at-bats, 3 2B, 4 runs, 3 RBI, 8/7 BB/K
IF Oswaldo Navarro: .310/.310/.448 in 29 at-bats, 4 2B, 7 runs, 1 RBI, 0/3 BB/K
C Luis Oliveros: .000 in 4 at-bats, 0/1 BB/K
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith: 0-0, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 runs (3 ER), 7 hits, 2/3 K/BB
C Yorvit Torrealba: .273/.385/.273 in 5 at-bats, 2 runs, 3/4 BB/K
The Blanco information was off, for one reason or another. Shrug, and move on. Escalona made his debut, though, and Acosta got another third of an inning in, but chances are he would've rather stayed in the minors, given the results. Cesar went six innings and gave up a run on two hits and four walks while striking out eight this week. Just about every player improve their lines this week, except Guzman, who regressed a bit. Jose Lopez' string of crazy plate discipline continues.
Dominican Winter League:
RHP Julio Mateo: 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1.0 IP
IF Ramon Sanitago: .167/.375/.167 in 6 at-bats, 3 runs, 1/1 BB/K
RHP Rafael Soriano: 0-0, 6.00 ERA in 6.0 IP, 8 runs (4 ER), 14 hits, 4/1 K/BB
Yawn. Soriano went another two innings, gave up two more hits, but that's all there is to say about him. Julio Mateo got a debut inning in. Nothing really happened there either.
The Puerto Rican Winter League started up recently, but most teams only have on game in the books right now. This is somethign that I'd like to get indo on, but I'm nore sure how feasible it will be. Of the five teams in the league, three of them have active websites and only one of them has been updated since the end of last season. Of course, that team doesn't have any players with connections to the M's system. We'll just have to see which sites are active next Sunday. One of them seems to have a setup similar to the Licey Tigres in the DWL where you can access all the team states from there, but that's one of the ones that hasn't been updated since last season. Cross your fingers on that one.