Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

The reports of the demise have been greatly exaggerated

Tom Haudricourt had this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday.

Brewers say farm system not depleted by trades

After the Milwaukee Brewers traded away several highly rated prospects to acquire starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke this off-season, some analysts suggested they had “gutted” their minor-league system.

Those who oversee the drafting and developing of players for the Brewers consider that assessment a bit harsh.

“I’m very tired of hearing that,” said scouting director Bruce Seid. “We have work to do, but our fans can feel good about what the future holds for the Brewers’ system down the road.  “A lot of them are down lower in the system at present, but we have more athletic, big arms in the system than at any other time I can remember.”

The Brewers acknowledge that they surrendered some of their best prospects to get Marcum from Toronto and Greinke from Kansas City in trades two weeks apart in December. Second baseman Brett Lawrie, a first-round draft pick in 2008 who was an advanced offensive player at age 20, returned to his native Canada in a one-for-one swap for Marcum.

Lawrie was slated to be ranked as the No.?1 prospect in the Brewers’ system for 2011 by Baseball America. When Lawrie was traded, right-hander Jake Odorizzi – a supplemental first-round pick in ’08 – was in line to move up from the No.?2 spot.

But Odorizzi didn’t last long as the heir apparent. The weekend before Christmas, he was included in the six-player deal with the Royals that netted Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, the Brewers’ No. 1 prospect entering 2010, also went to Kansas City along with centerfielder Lorenzo Cain, No.?8 on the 2010 list, and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, a 2006 first-round pick slated to be the No. 3 prospect for 2011.

There’s no denying that the Brewers cut a wide swath through the top of their prospect list, but there were solid reasons they were willing to do so, not the least of which was improving a starting rotation that ranked near the bottom of the National League for two years.

The key takeaway quote from this article is this one from Gord Ash:

“We do have to be a development and scouting organization because we can’t go into the (free-agent) marketplace and sign whomever we want,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash.

“But that doesn’t mean you stockpile them. You use them to make your big-league team better, as (general manager) Doug (Melvin) has done. You can’t operate your farm system separate from your major-league club. There has to be a cooperative path between the two.

“If your team is positioned to win now, which ours is, you have to take advantage of that.”

Here are some names you may see on the back of Timber Rattlers jerseys in the near future.

Seid also thinks folks should keep an eye on four pitchers taken in the 2010 draft – Jimmy Nelson, Matt Miller, Austin Ross and third-rounder Tyler Thornburg, whose slight build and high-90s fastball has drawn comparisons to a younger Tim Lincecum.

“This past year, I’ve had several unsolicited compliments from player development directors, scouts and coaches who have seen these players we have infused into the system,” said Seid. “I respect those comments above anyone else who hasn’t seen these kids.

“These kids need time to develop, so patience is needed there. But some of these arms have front-line potential. There’s no way to predict what their roles will be in three to five years.  Time and development will reveal that, but I don’t remember us having this many power arms at one time.”

Time will tell.

A Brewers Top 20 Prospect List

John Sickels from MinorLeagueBall.com posted his Top 20 Brewers Prospect List on Thursday.  Click over to read his grades and a quick capsule on each player…and to see the entire list.

Eleven of the 20 players on his list are former Timber Rattlers.  Six of the 11 former Rattlers played for Wisconsin in 2010.  For each of the 2010 Rattlers, I have included the information the John provided.

The ex-Rattlers on his list are:

2.) Cody Scarpetta

3.) Kentrail Davis: Grade B-: Good tools, hits for average, I think he’ll get on base. But what about power?

5.) Kyle Heckathorn: Grade B-: Huge ground ball specialist, another future fourth starter?

6.) Wily Peralta

7.) Scooter Gennett: A very good hitter, needs to polish defense but could make a lot of noise in ’11. Keep close track of him.

10.) Erik Komatsu

12.) Hunter Morris: Grade C: Plenty of power potential, but something makes me wonder if
he’ll fully live up to expectations. I might be underrating him.

13.) D’Vontrey Richardson: Grade C: Outstanding tools, extremely raw. Can he refine them?

16.) Khris Davis: Good power production in the Midwest League, but a bit old for the
level. Grade will rise if he hits in Double-A. . .might be able to pull a
Jerry Sands.

18.) Dan Merklinger

19.) Mike Fiers

If you are interested in another prospect list, Baseball America’s Top 10 Brewers prospect list is coming out on Monday.

Lawrie is #5

Baseball America released their Top 20 Prospects for the Southern League on Thursday.  Ex-Rattlers second baseman Brett Lawrie was #5.

Two other Ex-Rattlers made the list.  Michael Pineda (’08) of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx was #3.  Pineda’s West Tennessee teammate Alex Liddi (’06, ’07, ’08) made the list at #16.

A bit from behind the subscriber wall:

Aside from [#1 prospect Mike] Stanton, no SL prospect excited scouts and managers alike as
much as Pineda. He throws in the upper 90s from his first pitch and
maintains his velocity throughout a game.

Yet, some scouts seem him as more of a closer than a starting pitcher.

Like [Dan] Uggla, Lawrie is a strong, aggressive hitter with a big swing. He
has a quick bat that stays in the hitting zone for a long time, and
balls carry well off his bat. While he’s prone to chasing pitches out of
the zone, he also has shown the ability to make adjustments during
at-bats and series.

Some scouts see him as a corner outfielder at the upper levels.

Liddi’s numbers were bound to take a hit after he played at hospitable
High Desert in the hitter-friendly California League last year. A career
.244/.311/.372 hitter entering 2009, he led the minors in hitting while
batting .345/.411/.594. He legitimized himself as a prospect with a
solid 2010 season at West Tenn, leading the league with 92 RBIs.

Possible move to first base at the next level? BA and scouts don’t like it.

Mehring Monday: Heckathorn and the list

Welcome to the first edition of Mehring Monday in a long time.  Back at it again for the rest of 2010.

I know that it’s just a list, and that with 16 teams in the MWL it is tough to make a Top 20 prospects list without leaving deserving candidates off the list.

HOWEVER,

The reasoning behind the decision to leave Rattlers pitcher Kyle Heckathorn off the MWL list leaves me…oh…underwhelmed…That seems to be a word that is pretty popular.

IMG_2270_Brewer Outfit_PSB FOTO.jpg
Photo Credit: Patrick S. Blood/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Battlekow and colbyjack over at BrewersFan.net have done some of the heavy lifting on this.

#1

Jim (South Bend): Was Kyle Heckathorn considered in this list?
Jim
Callis: Scouts were underwhelmed by him. Some velo but also some
effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches. He wasn’t as much of a
disaster as Eric Arnett was, but scouts weren’t in love with Heckathorn
at all.

Ha. Okay, we get it: Heckathorn isn’t as good as his numbers might lead
you to believe, but “wasn’t as much of a disaster as Eric Arnett” is
silly hyperbole. Come on now, Jim.

#2

That’s a very curious assessment by Callis, since Baseball America also
had Heckathorn’s changeup ranked as the league’s best according to their
poll of the league managers. There is an obvious inconsistency there,
and you have to wonder if Callis is speaking of “scouts” or the 1 scout
that he polled that saw Heckathorn on his worst day.

#3

Some velo but also some effort, not much in the way of secondary pitches.

BA’s midseason tools reports:

Best Changeup: Kyle Heckathorn, Wisconsin

There is some serious inconsistency here that makes me question the validity of either report.

#4

I asked Callis, and he said: “Scouts didn’t like it nearly as much as mgrs did.”

You get the idea. Plus, you get a gratuitous shot at Eric Arnett, too.  Really, Jim?

Just out of curiosity, I went back to take a look at the 2010 Baseball America Prospect Handbook entry for Heckathorn, who was rated as the #10 Prospect in the Brewers organization.

His raw stuff is outstanding and rivaled anyone’s in the 2009 draft.  His fastball sits at 91-94 mph and peaks at 98.  His slider also can be devastating, registering in the high 80’s. Even with his live are and big frame, Heckathorn doesn’t have any problems throwing strikes.  Heckathorn is learning how to use his stuff. He doesn’t know how to set up batters and actually throws too many hittable strikes at times. He must come up with a reliable changeup so hitters can’t sit on his hard stuff, and he’ll have to locate his pitches better in the strike zone…The Brewers will keep Heckathorn in a starting role for now, though some scouts project him as an overpowering closer.

Managers think that Heck developed the best changeup in the Midwest League this season.  Scouts didn’t. Baseball America used the managers vote for their Best Tools issue.  But, that had no impact on the thinking for the prospect list. Sounds like a template has been set for Heckathorn and he will be made to fit in that template no matter what.

After seeing all of his appearances this season, it appeared to me that Heckathorn became more comfortable once he was placed in the starting rotation and was no longer used in the tandem.

Starting on May 16, Heckathorn made eight straight quality starts.  I know what you are probably thinking, “Ho-hum, quality starts. Big deal.  Three earned runs in six innings.  You know that is an ERA of 4.50, right?”

Well, how about if I told you that in those eight quality starts he allowed one earned run three times, zero earned runs three times, and three earned runs twice.  Also, in those eight starts starts, he went seven innings in four straight games. He also walked six batters and struck out 36 batters over the 52 innings of those starts.

Plus, there was a stretch of 24-2/3 innings in there where he did not walk an opposing batter.

Since this was a Midwest League list, I doubt that consideration was given to Heck’s performance once he was promoted to the Florida State League.  Also, I have no first hand reports on his performance with the Manatees, so I will just have to go off his statistics.

Eight starts with four quality starts in the FSL. 39IP, 40 hits, 15 runs, 13 earned runs, 10 walks, 23 strikeouts.  I know that the latest fad is to not mention records because wins aren’t the best way to measure the performance of a pitcher. *cough*4-0withBrevardCounty*cough*

For a pitcher in his first full season who throws too many hittable strikes at times and needs to work on his changeup, Heckathorn gave up a total of 122 hits in 124 innings pitched between Wisconsin and Brevard County.  Add in 33 walks over those 124 innings and you have that new wave WHIP stat of a 1.25.  I’m pretty sure that number is pretty good.

At the end of the day, the list has served its purpose. It has fans who follow minor league baseball talking about baseball, looking at the stats, and drawing their own conclusions.  And that is a good start to the offseason.

Odorizzi is #8 on BA List

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Photo Credit: Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Baseball America released their list of the Top 20 prospects in the Midwest League for 2010. Jake Odorizzi is the only Timber Rattler on the list. He checks in at #8.

The other pitchers on the list ahead of Odorizzi are: #2 Shelby MIller (QC); #4 Jacob Turner (WMI); & #7 Trey McNutt (PEO).

To no one’s surprise, Mike Trout (CR) was the #1 prospect in the MWL this season.

There is a bit behind the subscriber wall on Odorizzi. But, well, you know…it’s Baseball America.

There is a chat for Baseball America subscribers at 1pm CDT today. Head over to their website and check it out. If there is anything Timber Rattlers-related mentioned in the chat, I’ll share it either later today or some time tomorrow.

As a preview;

Q: How close was XXXXXX to making the Top 20?

A. XXXXXX was in the conversation.  But, we had to leave some worthy candidates off the list.  It is only a Top 20 list.

Q. Had XXXXXX been eligible where would XXXXXX have been in the Top 20?

A. We heard from some scouts that, while they loved the way that XXXXXX approached the game and worked, they only see XXXXXX as a fringe player and there would have been no serious consideration to put XXXXXX on this Top 20 list.

Q. XXXXXX had an outstanding season and STILL didn’t make this Top 20 list? What does he have to do to get any respect?

A. You are obviously related to XXXXXX.  Please never chat with us again.

Q. The stats show that XXXXXX struggled this year. What does this do to his stock?

A. Stats don’t tell the whole story.  XXXXXX’s stuff has been outstanding.  Scouts we talked to really like his makeup and believe that the results will come with time.

Q. I saw XXXXXX several times this season.  He looked very good, but the results weren’t there. Will he come around?

A. His BB/K ratio needs to come way down and some scouts are concerned about his mechanics. Only time will tell, but the consensus is that it will take a long time for the light bulb to go off for XXXXXX.

I could go on, but why spoil the chat for everyone.

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