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  1. I buy what you’re saying. But aren’t MLB-proven, good-glove, no-hit SS around also? Jamey Carroll, Brendan Ryan, etc.? Surely it’s better to have Bauer and pay a couple million a year for a guy like this, when it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll be be the same player as Gregorious?

    Comment by Jon — December 12, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  2. Really great article. One other guy this argument probably applies to is Andrelton Simmons, who despite never being a really top-flight prospect was basically taken off the table by Atlanta in trade talks (or at least it seemed that way). Interesting to think in terms of how a fantasy manager’s top 100 might differ from an executive’s top 100.

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 12, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  3. The fact that quality SS are so rare, and Gregorius is only the 7th best prospect at the position, this suggests to me that he doesn’t have a whole lot of value. Yunel Escobar is a proven commodity with three more years of cheap control and Miami got nada in return for him. The only team that seems to be over-paying for SS is the D’Backs.

    Whereas Bauer was the cream of the crop at an extremely deep position. There are going to be dozens of current SP prospects that become regulars in the majors, and he’s one of the best amongst that group. To me that suggests that his value is quite high. Or else the entire prospect evaluation industry has been wrong all these years and a few select GMs know more than the rest of the industry.

    Comment by Skin Blues — December 12, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  4. It’s important to remember that an executive has to consider the whole player – a fantasy manager only has to consider one dimension of a player’s game.

    Comment by Stephen — December 12, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  5. I was getting ready to point out the same thing. The fact that the Braves wouldn’t trade Simmons for Upton (a player they have always coveted) shows how important they feel a young shortstop is too.

    Comment by JT — December 12, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  6. If it was only about talent the Marlins would have received a lot more for Yunel. It’s his continued attitude problems that caused his value to fall. If he couldn’t play for Bobby Cox, he couldn’t play for anyone.

    Comment by JT — December 12, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  7. Just another thought: each team carries 5 starters and only 1 starting SS so one would expect there to be more SP than SS around.

    Comment by Anon — December 12, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  8. Right, the common denominator between Yunel and Bauer may be personality issues. I haven’t really read anything specific about why they turned on Bauer, but I feel like when you see talented players getting moved for virtually nothing, there’s often some interpersonal backstory that we as fans don’t always have access to. Fortunately Bauer is young enough to get his reputation on the right track, but Yunel isn’t.

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 12, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  9. 5 SPs!?? Psshhhht

    Comment by Colorado Rockies — December 12, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  10. “From four-plus years scouting prospects in person, this may not be the case considering I see more quality starting pitching prospects in one season than I ever have shortstops.”

    Not sure I understand what you’re getting at. Of course you’re going to see more quality SP prospects, teams need to have 5 starting pitchers versus 1 starting shorstop. You could probably say the same thing about catchers, third basemen, centerfielders, etc., no?

    Comment by Derek Jeter — December 12, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  11. Brendan Ryan isn’t a free agent and is the best defensive shortstop in baseball right now.

    Comment by Average_Casey — December 12, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  12. This analysis conveniently leaves out the fact that Gregorius was pretty bad last year and has absolutely no power. It’s fine if you think he’s a useful player (which he probably will be), but that doesn’t mean he’s worth Bauer, and it certainly doesn’t mean this was smarter than just signing someone like Stephen Drew to a 1-year deal. Can’t we all just agree that Arizona got bent over on this deal?

    Comment by Mr. Skeptical — December 12, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  13. Last year in the big leagues there were 77 starting pitchers worth at least 2.0 WAR — about 2.5 per major league team (1/2 a starting rotation). There were 18 major league shortstops worth at least 2.0 WAR which means that 40% of major league teams did not have a shortstop who would qualify as being at least league average.

    While it may be as difficult to fill out an entire starting rotation comprised of quality major league pitchers as it is to find a league average shortstop, it can’t be said that it’s as easy to find a league average shortstop as it is a league average starting pitcher. I’m not saying that either Bauer or Gregorius projects as league average, I’m just responding to your point about how easy it is to find a decent guy to do the job.

    The point is that even decent shortstops are really tough to find but nearly everyone has 1 or 2 decent starting pitchers.

    Comment by chuckb — December 12, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  14. A top end starter is way more valuable than an average to below average MLB shortstop. (And if this is not the case the WAR formula on this site needs to be changed to adjust for it. There is credence to the notion that there are a lack of quality short stops. After all, we’ve only to look at the actual replacement players at ss against their theoretical replacement value. From the quick sniff test, they are way worse than almost any other position.)

    But if it’s not the case, that WAR has it correct, than the flaw in logic is to assume that Bauer is just any quality minor league starter. There just aren’t many starters with his potential for greatness. If Bauer and Gregorius both are equal players, then the Diamondbacks perhaps did okay. For every organization needs players to fill positions. But you win by having great players. And Gregorius does not appear to be that.

    The best argument you can make is that they are trading pitcher risk for position player certainty. But position players are still a risk. And without considering that, it still seems a losing move, since you win by having great players, not average ones at best that just fill positions.

    Shouldn’t they have held out to for Andrus or Profar in an Upton deal. For one, it’s not like Gregorius wasn’t still going to be available at a later point or a somewhat similar player.

    For two, the Rangers have an untenable situation right now with Andrus, Profar, Kinsler, Olt, Beltre, and Moreland. They have six players to occupy four positions. And all of them have lots of value. So it’s a good situation to be in, but there will be at least one move there before the middle of the season.

    The Diamondbacks painted themselves into a corner though when they made it apparent they didn’t want Bauer. That severely limits the player’s value, no matter what his potential.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 12, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  15. I understand fantasy managers and real executives value players differently. Still, looking at Gregorius’ minor league numbers doesn’t make him look extremely valuable, but we also can’t see anything about his fielding from those stats. Is he a defensive wizard or something?

    Comment by drewcorb — December 12, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  16. The author isn’t making the point that he’s worth Bauer. He’s making the point that, because he’s a shortstop, even a decent major league shortstop is worth more than one might think based upon his offensive numbers, including his lack of power.

    You seem to want to have an argument about some topic other than the one addressed in the article (and then to chide anyone who doesn’t agree with you, even if they haven’t said anything that disagrees with you).

    Comment by chuckb — December 12, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  17. “A top end starter is way more valuable than an average to below average MLB shortstop.”

    I think we all agree with that. That isn’t the point Mike was arguing in his article, however. Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that a top-end starter is more valuable than a replacement level anything.

    Comment by chuckb — December 12, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  18. Yes, he is pretty much a defensive wizard.

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  19. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply he’s a free agent. But I just mean guys like that. Besides, Ryan is reportedly on the verge of losing his job in Seattle, so I assume he wouldn’t be that hard to acquire – certainly not Trevor Bauer-hard.

    Comment by Jon — December 12, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  20. Not sure I get this argument. There are 150 rotation spots in baseball and half are filled with 2.0+ WAR pitchers. There are 30 SS spots in baseball and a little more than half are filled with 2.0+ WAR SSs. Looks like league average players are equally hard to find at each position to me.

    Comment by philosofool — December 12, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  21. Good points. I don’t have anything to back this up (though I can investigate later) but I would suspect that good-field no-hit shortstops are more plentiful than we’d think – I suspect there are a bunch languishing in the minors, for example.

    Comment by Jon — December 12, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

  22. “After all, we’ve only to look at the actual replacement players at ss against their theoretical replacement value. From the quick sniff test, they are way worse than almost any other position.”

    =sum(Brendan Ryan-Yuniesky Betancourt)

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  23. “Even a decent major league shortstop” is begging the question. Decent isn’t Gregorius’s floor, it’s his ceiling.

    Comment by byron — December 12, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  24. And this makes him so overwhelmingly valuable that he was traded for a fat ugly moron who I wouldn’t trust to feed baseballs into a pitching machine.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — December 12, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  25. It’s almost as if WAR is designed to account for position and scarcity!

    Comment by DavidCEisen — December 12, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  26. So anyway, I take it from the articles today that we’re done pretending Lars Anderson is a real prospect? I think Arizona had him thrown in for the benefit of any fans recently awoken from 3-4 year comas.

    Comment by Sparkles Peterson — December 12, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  27. 40 man roster space is just as likely.
    Cleveland received 4 players and had to free up 4 spots. Rather than non-tender, they shipped him to the Dbacks.
    He’s still only 24 so, who knows, maybe the horse will sing.

    Comment by fjtorres — December 12, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  28. Make that, “rather than DFA him”.

    Comment by fjtorres — December 12, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  29. A lot of people are going to be surprised by what Gregorius does in a few years. He isn’t a finished product at the plate, but people who keep saying he has no power are going to be in for a bit of a surprise.

    Can he be a slap hitter? Sure he can. When he chooses to be. When he chooses to be, he can also be a guy who can hit you 15 home runs in a season. He is a very smart player who has multiple swings for different situations. He has his singles swing, he has a two strikes swing and he has a power swing. As he matures more into the mental side of the game, his power is going to start playing more because he will be more comfortable using it more often.

    This past season, he split between AA and AAA. While in AA, he said his goal was to simply be a singles hitter. And he was. When he went to AAA, he said his goal was to hit for power. And he did. His average suffered some from it (that and a .260 BABIP), but he clearly demonstrated he had a little bit of pop in his bat in his go around in AAA.

    There is a chance he never fully develops as a hitter. But there is also a chance he turns into a .275/.330/.400 gold glove caliber shortstop, and that is a 4-5 win player. People are talking about him like he has Juan Pierre power and that isn’t close to being true. Guys like Juan Pierre wish they had power and a swing like this –

    Comment by Doug Gray — December 12, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  30. Arizona already had Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald on their roster. They had already traded their starting CF for Cliff Pennington.

    Because of the league-wide shortage of shortstops, it’s obvious Kevin Tower is trying to corner the market on them.

    I suspect that he’s offering Paul Goldschmidt to the Twins for Brian Dozier right now.

    Comment by dirtbag — December 12, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  31. It might not be the point that’s he’s making in the piece, but it still needs to be addressed when evaluating the deal from both sides.

    If Bauer ends up as a 3-4 WAR pitcher and Didi a 2 WAR SS with an 85-90 wRC+, are people still going to be saying, “consider it a win-win for both franchises”?

    Comment by Frank Campagnola — December 12, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  32. Andrelton Simmons is only a year older and posted the same wRC+ in the MLB as Gregorius did in AA.

    Oh, and he’s better defensively.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 12, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  33. The best defensive player in baseball is not reportedly on the verge of losing his job in Seattle, unless by “reportedly” you are referring to that stupid Scott Miller tweet about the Mariners “hitting the Dodgers hard on Dee Gordon.” Even if that was true, how do we know JZ wasn’t trying to acquire Gordon as a flip-chip, sort of like what the Indians just did with Gregorious?

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  34. Gregorius might never be Ozzie Smith, but what if he turns out to be Omar Vizquel? .276/.336/.352 career.
    Thing is: Vizquel is 5ft9in, Gregorious is 6ft1in so a career .400 slugging wouldn’t be a stretch.
    How many .700+ OPS gold glove shortstops are there out there today? More, how many were *available*?

    Comment by fjtorres — December 12, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  35. Gregorius’s numbers show a .700 ops very consistently through the minors, while being at league average age.

    His offense should replicate what Willie Bloomquist has done. He doens’t need to be great with the glove to be an improvement overall.

    Comment by tz — December 12, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

  36. The writer’s point is that the D-backs did not get “virtually nothing”, that there is a lot of value in a SS that looks good for the majors, making the deal look a lot more fairer to the D-backs.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 12, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  37. This article seems to approach the trade reactions as if everyone has been saying “AZ traded a pitcher for a SS!? What idiots!” Of course, no one is saying that.

    Yes, good hitting SS are rare, and trading a pitching prospect for one is totally reasonable. Problem here is, the actual pitcher and SS involved in the trade, which this article sidesteps entirely.

    Having seen Gregorious multiple times over the last few years, he is no one to be that excited about. His cieling is way lower than Bauer’s, and he doesn’t seem any more likely to get there.

    Comment by jac — December 12, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  38. Show me a projection that has Gregorious being a better hitter than Cliff Pennington in any of the next 3 seasons. They have Pennington under control thru 2015 on a reasonable contract.

    Does Didi project to be a better hitter than Cliff in 2013 ? 2014 ? When ?

    Maybe he is going to be a better fielder than Pennington, who is more or less league average if compared to other starting shortstops. And maybe he will be a better hitter than Pennington…maybe….if you squint really hard through scouts eyes. But under the cold hard glare of objective analysis there is no way to reach a conlcusion that he will even be a better hitter than Pennington.

    So whats the point here ? Dump Chris Young for Pennington who is under control for 3 more years and then Dump Bauer for a guy that does not project to be any better than Pennington anytime soon ?

    It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Comment by shoewizard — December 12, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

  39. I was going to post separately, but I think my comment goes along with Doug’s:

    None of the articles I’ve seen discussed this, but Didi has a great contact rate even in the upper minors despite being one of the youngest players playing. The Reds were aggressive in promoting him, so you have to take his low batting line with some salt because he’s playing against much older competition. For example, in AA, he played against players on average 2 years older than he is, even greater in AAA.

    That suggests that he can keep up a relatively high batting average in the majors, with further development, which with decent walk rate would give him league average OBP (NL SS .313 OBP). He has added 52 points for OBP from his batting average, so if he can maintain a good contact rate in the majors, he should be able to keep his OBP around average.

    Even his power is not that off, in NL 128 ISOp, for his minor league career, 105 ISOp, per Doug’s comment, 184 ISOp in AAA. He’s only 22 YO, so his power should increase as his body further matures and solidify.

    That should place his offensive WAR around 1.5-2.0, at minimum. Pair that up with 1-2 WAR defense – supposedly he is pretty good, and you got 2.5-4.0 WAR range for him.

    That might not match Bauer’s ceiling if he does turn out to be an ace, but I think Didi appears likely to reach a 2-4 WAR production and that’s no chopped liver, especially if they can delay bringing him up until June, that would give them 6.6 seasons worth of production at SS.

    I would also note the research on THT where it was found that generally teams that trade away a top prospect seems to know more about what is under the hood than the receiving team. Their analysis (in 2012 Annual) showed that the average WAR for traded top prospects were much lower than those for the prospects kept. Being traded should indicate that the trading team might know something we don’t know about the player.

    It could also mean that the old team just didn’t know how to bring out the player’s value and the new team might. But instead of jumping all over the D-backs for the trade, maybe look at it from both perspectives and ask the “what if” question: what if the D-backs know more?

    I think no matter how you slice it, the D-backs gave up more. The question seems to be the degree, many label Didi as a all-glove, no offense SS. But his good contact rate plus youth vs. competition suggests that his low offense in the minors is more a function of his age against competition than lack of talent, which is what many of these arguments are hanging on, that he’s not much talent, period, making Bauer a steal.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 12, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  40. Sounds like Furcal.

    Comment by Matt — December 12, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  41. .699 minor league OPS, and has only slugged .400 in two very short stretches. Obviously some guys develop into players their minor league stats showed no hints of, but I’m skeptical that the Diamondbacks know anything special about a player that has never been in their system.

    Comment by cpebbles — December 12, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  42. I think it is pretty clear that Didi is not going to be the starter in 2013, at age 23. So Pennington has to be viewed as the seat-warmer for him until he is ready, probably in the 2014-15 time frame. He is a nice transition piece.

    Looking at the team, clearly AZ is trying to capitalize on their pitching surplus with this move. They already have a nice rotation in Kennedy, Cahill, Miley, Corbin. Plus, they still have Skaggs.

    Bauer might eventually become the ace everyone thinks he is, but his 2012 debut left a lot to be desired – recall another can’t miss top pitching prospect Homer Bailey and how long he has taken to reach his potential. I doubt that he’ll be ready to dominate in 2013, so 2014 looks more likely for when he might make a significant impact in the majors.

    Shaw and Albers are not crucial bullpen pieces. Sipp, however, could be the Loogy they needed last season, so he is also a valuable piece added, if they can get him to replicate his 2011. I think he’s closer to 2011 than his 2012, where his K/BB was still pretty good.

    Here’s cold and objective: Pennington’s contact rate in the majors is only 80%, not very good. In the minors, only 83%. And he did that while being old for his league at every level until he reached AAA. Gregorious has maintained a 86% contact rate in the minors, which is good period, and did that while 2+ years younger than the guys he was competing against. He also showed power in his short stint in AAA, despite being 5-6 years younger than the pitchers there. Pennington never showed that much power anywhere, despite being older much of the time. I think it is clear that Didi will be a much better hitter than Pennington when he is ready for the majors.

    Defensively, Pennington has been roughly average at SS for the A’s according to BB-ref’s stats. His UZR is similarly average (actually slightly below for both UZR and DRS). Though to be fair, he has been much better the last two seasons at SS. Pennington has a great dWAR in 2012, but much of it was due to his play at 2B, not SS. Didi is considered a very good glove, “plus glove” according to BA in 2012 handbook. So Didi is most equivalent to Pennington defensively, probably immediately.

    Pennington at best is an average SS, and probably actually a little below average when you look at everything. Gregorius looks like he should be above average at SS once he develops, given his good contact rate, OK BB/K ratio, age relative to league, and defensive prowess.

    So I would say that it was not a dump, per se, unless there is something the D-backs know to be wrong with Bauer that they don’t like, but more like an overpay to get a piece that apparently Towers felt he must cover, as he has been searching about for a SS for the future all through the off-season.

    Again, Didi is not chopped liver, he is a good to great SS prospect, as people are not acknowledging his bat at all. He most probably is not as good as Bauer but I don’t think he is the huge nothing that others think he is.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — December 12, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  43. Thats ‘s the line KT is pushing, but having seen DG a few times this fall, I just don’t buy it. He got plus range and a plus arm but that is pretty much it, He does not have fluid actions, lacks instincts, loses mental focus and has been something of a error machine the last two seasons. He’s young and has upside but if you’re expecting Andrelton Simmons, he is not that. If I am one of GB pitchers the Dbacks have so much of, Pennington is my man. At least for 2013.

    Comment by BigGeorge — December 12, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

  44. Lasr Anderson is the Red Sox, umm Indians, umm DBacks first baseman of the future.

    Comment by Peter Gammons — December 12, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  45. The plus range and plus arm is a good start, and he lowered his E-rate by a good margin in 2012 on better manicured infields. That being said, I have no firsthand knowledge of Didi’s game. I am curious to know who you might comp his defense to?

    Comment by Choo — December 12, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  46. “Good to Great” is a stretch and a half, man. Hak-Ju Lee, who is a year younger and produced similarly in the same league with 34 more steals while playing superior defense, is a good to great SS prospect. There’s no impact to be found with Didi Gregorius.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 12, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  47. Sipp has had negative fWAR the last 3 years and has a career FIP of 4.7…. against lefties his career FIP is ~4.6. This is a valuable piece added? If he’s the LOOGY the DBacks are looking for, they might want to get an eye exam

    Shaw/Albers aren’t anything special but you are talking these guys down and Sipp up?

    I do think people are underestimating Didi a bit, but I don’t think he is the rare commodity/prospect that you would give up on Bauer for (though I also think Bauer is a bit over-rated)

    Comment by Tom — December 12, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  48. Right, and the Braves wouldn’t even consider moving him for Upton, so how do you think they would have responded to a Bauer for Simmons offer?

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 12, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  49. More fairer, ya think?

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 12, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  50. Somehow a blog post ended up in the comments.

    Comment by hernandez17 — December 12, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  51. Great analysis and probably in line with what the Dbacks were thinking.

    Comment by Jaker — December 12, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  52. Considering the D-backs have a number of other pitching prospects who profile as potential 3-4 WAR pitchers, e.g. Skaggs, Corbin, Bradley, etc. and next to nothing in the SS department (Chris Owings is a serious *maybe*), then yes – the circumstances you describe could well allow both teams to be better overall, which would be the very definition of a win-win.

    Comment by Jim McLennan — December 12, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  53. Respectfully disagree, Jim. Just because they have depth doesn’t mean they should use that depth to trade for a lesser player.

    I’m all for using Minor League depth to improve the Major League roster, but I think they could have gotten a better prospect than Didi in return for Bauer.

    Comment by Frank Campagnola — December 12, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  54. > while being at league average age.

    In Double-A, where Gregorius started his age 22 season, the average age is 24. He definitely was not league average age this year.

    Comment by Jim McLennan — December 12, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  55. I believe what he meant was that he sees more quality SP prospects in one season than he has seen quality SS prospects over all his time scouting combined.

    Comment by gorillakilla34 — December 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  56. They’ve been shopping Bauer for awhile now. It’s not like they didn’t get a chance to evaluate plenty of offers. They thought this one best addressed their needs.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 12, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

  57. In 2012 Bauer consistently sat 91-93 and occasionally hit 95-96, but could not get the higher velocity pitch across for strikes.

    Comment by Websoulsurfer — December 12, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  58. Right, but he’s been scouting for 4 years, so it still sounds kind of unremarkable to say that he’s seen more good SPs this year than he’s seen good SSs in his career. You would expect to see 4-5 times more interesting SP prospects than SS prospects in any given year, since baseball teams employ 5 starting pitchers and 1 shortstop.

    Comment by maguro — December 12, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  59. League average ages in the upper minors is skewed by the large number of career minor leaguers. Going through AA at 22 is certainly age-appropriate for a prospect, but it’s not like he’s been burning through the minors.

    Comment by maguro — December 12, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  60. They must have laughed their asses off. Hell, if Simmons hits like this next year I’d take him over Andrus.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 12, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  61. If this was the best offer they got for Bauer alone, they should have packaged him with Upton to get Profar and Olt.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 12, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  62. If Gregorius is this valuable – Omar Vizquel! – and only the 7th best SS prospect, does that mean the top 5 are all legit HOF possibilities? Even if he’s Brendan Ryan on defense, if he can’t hit he’s still no more than a 2-3 WAR player. I can’t imagine that Bauer’s ceiling is 2-3 WAR, and if it is, he should have been traded to some team that would buy him as a Top 10 prospect in all of minor league baseball — like Gerrit Cole or someone like that. Something doesn’t add up.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — December 13, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  63. He, might not be arguably the best defensive SS in baseball history, but what if hes like arguably the second or third?! Is the Gregorious koolaid full of THC or something? There are far more glove first shortstops than bat first, and the combinations are even more rare. Bauer and Gregorious are going to be under team control for similar amounts of time, though obviously theres more to this deal than just those two.

    I just don’t see the justification for playing the what if game with Gregorious when even the most positive comparisons are extremely limited in multiple offensive dimensions. His CS numbers are awful in the minors, killing his contribution on the bases. Bauer just seems far more likely to pan out well, and has a much more reasonably discussed upside. Gregorious doesn’t seem particularly patient at the plate, so if all we have to hope for with him is a glove, it means he’s going to have to be an absolutely amazing defender. Making trades based on the assumption someone will become Ozzie Smith, or any other hall of famer just sounds far too hopeful in my book.

    Comment by larrybernandez — December 13, 2012 @ 1:33 am

  64. Glove first players benefit immensely from min/maxing their game, good examples of this are Brett Gardner and Brendan Ryan. Both draw a ton of walks, which is especially important for Ryan who only hits .200 in the new pitcher-friendly ML’s apparently. Both flash good baserunning skills, not so much in their speed (though it obviously is important), but in the intelligence with which they make decisions. Thus this type of player can overcome flaws in the classic areas of hitting, contact and power, while still being pretty valuable. Gregorious thus far has shown few of these peripheral skills, and if he is ever going to live up to the value associated with him as a top glove-first prospect, he’ll have to.

    Comment by larrybernandez — December 13, 2012 @ 1:39 am

  65. Don’t equate Brett Gardner with Brendan Ryan. They are not remotely similar offensively:


    Gardner hits for more average, walks significantly more and hits for a fair bit more power as well.

    Brett Gardner level offense is the best year of Didi Gregorius’ career. Elvis Andrus hasn’t yet had a year like Gardner’s career line, and he is a significantly better offensive player than Gregorius.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 13, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  66. Gregorius is not expected to be a “no hit” option. His bat is still in the development phase. Don’t mistake that for a guy who will never hit just because he’s a better defender.

    Comment by Mike Newman — December 13, 2012 @ 7:37 am

  67. I’ve never had an industry contact say Ryan is the best. The ones I speak with consider Andrus the standard bearer. And yes, I do know the metrics point to Ryan being the best.

    Comment by Mike Newman — December 13, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  68. In this piece, I’m not writing about WAR leaderboards. I’m writing about being at the park and scouting prospects. The idea of “every team has five starters” simply does not apply at the minor league level considering the number of non-prospects who fill said rotations.

    Comment by Mike Newman — December 13, 2012 @ 7:53 am

  69. RE: Simmons for Upton – Not only do players weigh into negotiations, but motivation as well. The Braves have absolutely 0 motivation to deal Simmons considering Ahmed is the next best SS in the organization. He’s OK, but not a premium prospect by any stretch of the imagination.

    Comment by Mike Newman — December 13, 2012 @ 7:55 am

  70. Skin Blues,

    As for wrong vs. right, it’s more about the motivation of the piece. If I’m writing up Gregorius from a ROTO standpoint, it’s not going to be a good report since defensive stats don’t apply. As a SS for the DBacks, that write up would paint a much kinder picture.

    Comment by Mike Newman — December 13, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  71. How does he compare to Jose Iglesias?

    Comment by NS — December 13, 2012 @ 8:50 am

  72. Average age of prospects vs. average age of filler.

    Comment by NS — December 13, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  73. Iglesias is a stump in the batters box. Gregorious is no stump!

    Comment by SKob — December 13, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  74. Just a point of clarification to be made:

    Gregorious ranked as the 7th best SS prospect that the writer WATCHED PLAY.I’m not a walking BA Handbook, but Profar and Lindor are not on the list. That leads me to wonder how many other guys slot in there ahead of Gregorious.Another guy (Andrleton Simmons) that is mentioned here is not on the list.

    I do not think this has been done intentionally by Mr. Newman, but I think a lot of people are missing this point.

    Comment by craigtfletcher — December 13, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  75. How do we know they didn’t try to do just that and get turned down? I honestly think Profar is all but untradeable from the Rangers perspective. I don’t think they do that deal.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 13, 2012 @ 10:10 am

  76. Gregorius’ ceiling isn’t a 2-3 WAR player either because his ceiling isn’t “can’t hit.” If he’s league average offensively (an actual reasonable ceiling), he’s probably at least a 4 WAR player if the reports on his defense are accurate.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 13, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  77. Vizquel in his prime was a 2-3 WAR guy, even if he did peak at 5.6.
    Defensively he was very good (and flashy) and his offensive package nothing to be ashamed of, but his HOF case is marginal at best.
    Equating Gregorious potential to Vizquel is simply saying he could be a valuable player on a contender.

    Comment by fjtorres — December 13, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  78. Didi Gregorius reminds me of Carlos Triunfel: Signed as an international teen with great promise, but had sloppy defense and ultimately never showed all that much power once he filled out plus had poor plate discipline… a guy whose tools never translated to actual performance.

    Comment by Gomez — December 13, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  79. the tony sipp part is comical: we gave up a solid loogy (breslow) to get albers and then move albers + shaw to get sipp… in what universe does that make any sense?!

    Comment by njs — December 13, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  80. Then why didnt he? I think minor league shortstops who put up a .717 OPS while being old for their leagues arent showing much of a complete game, and execs who fixate on fillling a need instead of getting fair value in trades arent considering all their options.

    Comment by ValueArb — December 14, 2012 @ 3:37 am

  81. Value, I partly agree with you. For a GM simply to fixate on “holes” and try to fill them in trades and FA signings while being blind to everything else is foolish.
    For example, if a GM were to trade for a 2 WAR shortstop while giving up a 3 WAR starting pitcher is foolish on the surface. The goal should be to maximize value, no matter where the value is maximized.
    However, context must be considered. How much is a player worth to a particular team? If that same GM only had replacement options for SS without the trade but had a 2 WAR SP on the bench (say, in long relief) or in the minors, he would stand to gain by making the trade, as he would be gaining a win as opposed to losing a win.

    Comment by Baltar — December 14, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  82. Its not true that you have to have great players to win. A team with a fair number of very good players and mostly average players after that will win, also. Such a team is less risk averse, too.

    Comment by Baltar — December 14, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

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