Archive for Offseason Notes

Offseason Notes for December 22nd


That’s just how Ricardo Nanita rolls.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels on Miami

Assorted Headlines
Cubs, Reds Trade Pending Physicals, Includes Minor Leaguers
Yesterday, Jim Breen provided crack analysis yesterday on developing trade talks between the Cubs and Reds that would see left-hander Sean Marshall go to Cincinnati in return for Travis Wood. Per Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, that deal is done now, pending physicals — and includes two minor leaguers moving with Wood.

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Offseason Notes for December 21st


Casey Blake is thrilled to have his name in this edition of Offseason Notes.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Boston
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Miami Television

Assorted Headlines
Colorado Signs Third Baseman Blake
The Colorado Rockies have signed 38-year-old third baseman Casey Blake to a one-year, $2 million contract, reports MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Provided he can stay healthy — and, really, even if he can’t — Blake is likely to be worth the money pretty quickly: he hasn’t been worth less than a win since 2002, in which season he tallied only 22 plate appearances. He compiled a 1.1 WAR in just 239 plate appearances last season with the Dodgers.

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Offseason Notes for December 20th


Sean Burroughs and Jose Lopez are two peas in a weird, giant pod.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Time-Wasting Quiz: Sean Burroughs vs. Jose Lopez

Assorted Headlines
Baltimore Signs Richardson
The Baltimore Orioles have signed outfielder Antoan Richardson (along with three others) to minor-league deals, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. I mention it because I remember that Richardson, 28, used to have incredibly favorable fielding projections per CHONE, when that was still public. In the last available iteration of CHONE, released in August of 2010, Richardson was projected for +17 defensive runs in just 111 games/336 plate appearances.

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Offseason Notes for December 19th


Tyler Greene is literally behind Rafael Furcal in St. Louis.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Projecting: ZiPS for St. Louis
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Detroit Television

Assorted Headlines
Baltimore Signs Outfielder Chavez
The Baltimore Orioles have signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a one-year, $1.5 million deal, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Chavez, who turns 34 in February, had a bounceback season in 2011, posting a 1.5 WAR in 274 plate appearances without the aid of a particularly inflated BABIP (.321) or UZR (2.1).

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Offseason Notes for December 16th


A shot, taken minutes ago, of Michael Cuddyer amidst his new surroundings.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Headline: Cuddyer Signs with Rockies
2. FAN Projection Targets: Cuddyer, Ramirez, Willingham
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Colorado Television

Headline: Michael Cuddyer Signs with Rockies
Outfielder Michael Cuddyer has signed a three-year, $31.5 million deal with the Rockies, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

FanGraphs readers projected Cuddyer’s contract at a considerably lower three years and $24 million.

Figuring ca. $5 million per win, 5% inflation, and a 0.5 WAR decline each season, the Rockies appear to view Cuddyer as about a 2.5-win player in 2012.

We’ll have more coverage on Cuddyer in a bit.

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Offseason Notes for December 15th


Sean Burroughs familiarizes himself with local culture.

Assorted Headlines
Twins Sign Burroughs, Rivera, Walters
The Minnesota Twins have signed third baseman Sean Burroughs and right-hander P.J. Walters — and re-signed catcher Rene Rivera — reports Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune. The 31-year-old Burroughs, once a top prospect in the Padre system, made a return to affiliated baseball in 2011 after a three-year absence, netting 115 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks, although the 66 wRC+ (.305 BABIP) he posted isn’t particularly promising.

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Offseason Notes for December 14th


An artist’s rendering of Luis Rodriguez, who re-signed with the Mariners.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for San Diego
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Cleveland Television

Assorted Headlines
Seattle Signs 11 Minor Leaguers
The Seattle Mariners have signed 11 players to minor league contracts with invites to spring training, the Associated Press reports. Among the players who might be worth something better than replacement-level are middle infielder Luis Rodriguez (currently atop the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League) and right-handed reliever Josh Kinney, who posted a 71 xFIP- (24.7% K, 8.6% BB, 59.6% GB) in 17.2 innings after pitching excellently at Triple-A Charlotte. Also on the list is outfielder Darren Ford. Ford’s offensive game is particularly refined, but he has crazy speed and likely offers a plus-glove in center field.

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Offseason Notes for December 13th


Jeff Keppinger considers the meaning of freedom from atop a rocky mount.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Non-Tenders: A Top-Five List
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Seattle

Non-Tenders: A Top-Five List
MLB Trade Rumors has complete lists of both the American and National League non-tenders. These are players with whom teams have decided not to enter aribitration, thus making said players free agents.

Here’s a list of the top-five players to become free agents (with their 2012 ages):

1. Jeff Keppinger, 2B, 32: Excellent contact skills, not-horrid glove. Is a league-average player if BABIP is above, like, .295 or .300.

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Offseason Notes for December 12th


Writing a headline for this former outfield prospect is a piece of, uh, cake.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. (Less Than) Assorted Headlines
2. Projecting: ZiPS for ZiPS for Los Angeles (NL)
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Cincinnati Reds Television

(Less Than) Assorted Headlines
Today’s headlines aren’t particularly assortable.

Cleveland Signs Pie
Outfielder Felix Pie Pie has agreed to terms on a minor-league deal and spring invite with the Cleveland Indians, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. Pie, 26, appeared on Baseball America’s top-100 prospect list for five consecutive years (2003-07) as a minor leaguer in the Cub system. His major-league career hasn’t been particularly impressive to date: 1051 PA, .249/.298/.374 (.301 BABIP), 75 wRC+, -0.1 WAR. Of course, it’s also very possible that he was mismanaged by Cubs. Pie could make $1 million in salary and performance bonuses in the majors, Connolly notes.

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Offseason Notes for December 9th


Alex Gonzalez attempts to approximate Yuni Betancourt’s range at shortstop.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. FAN Projection Targets: Pujols, Reyes, Wilson
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Chicago (NL) Television

Assorted Headlines
All the nerd that’s fit to print.

Brewers Sign Shortstop Gonzalez
This may or may not receive a longer write-up in these pages soon, but, as one who lives in Wisconsin, I’m very happy to announce that the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms Thursday with shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a one-year contract (MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reporting). The terms of the deal haven’t been released, but, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, Gonzalez made only $2.5 million last season with Atlanta. The deal reportedly includes a vesting option for 2013. Gonzalez is notable for not being Yuniesky Betancourt.

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Offseason Notes for December 8th

UPDATE: Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson have both been signed by the Angels. Our writers are currently crafting crack analysis of both transactions.


What do you call a pitcher for the Pirates? Erik Bed-arrrrr-d.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
3. Prospecting: BA Lists for Arizona, Colorado, and Los Angeles (NL)

Assorted Headlines
Pittsburgh Signs Bedard
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Erik Bedard to a one-year, $4.5 million deal on Wednesday, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. The left-hander, who turns 32 this winter, has had injury problems basically every year since 2008, but has been above average when he has played, posting a career xFIP- of 88. This now gives the Pirates a starting rotation along these lines (2011 xFIP- in parentheses): 1. Bedard (88) / 2. Charlie Morton (106) / 3. James McDonald (116) / 4. Jeff Karstens (104) / 5. Kevin Correia (114). Hrm.

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Offseason Notes for December 7th

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Graph: Vertical Fastball Movement Vs. Ground-Ball Percentage
2. Projecting: ZiPS for Minnesota
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Chicago (AL) Television

Graph: Vertical Fastball Movement Vs. Ground-Ball Percentage
Yesterday (Tuesday), site founder David Appelman added Pitch Fx leaderboards to the site. I’m not lying when I say I wanna make, like, a thousand graphs of that data and then take each one of those graphs out individually to a romantic dinner or Will Smith concert.

As mystic philosopher Lao Tzu once said, though, “A journey of a thousand graphs starts with one, uh, graph.” So we’re starting with this one graph right here.

For this one, I made a sweet custom report including the vertical movement (or, z-movement) for two-seamers (FT) and sinkers (SI) — along with the overall ground-ball percentages — for every starter from 2011 (with more than 10 innings). I was curious as to how well vertical movement on those pitches correlates with ground-ball percentages.

In fact, the correlation was much higher than I anticipated. There’s probably some confirmation bias here — that is, pitchers with betters sinkers or two-seamers probably throw those pitches more often — but, speaking anecdotally, there seemed to be a pretty reasonable spread in usage.

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Offseason Notes for December 6th


Dmitri Young + Japan = Not an Actual Math Problem

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Los Angeles (NL)

Assorted Headlines
Minnesota Claims Shortstop Florimon from Baltimore
The Twins claimed shortstop Pedro Florimon from the Orioles on Monday and placed him on the 40-man roster, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. Florimon, who turns 25 on December 10th, slashed .267/.344/.396 (.336 BABIP) in 520 plate appearances at Double-A Bowie this year. The internet indicates that he profiles as above-average defender at short, but also that he’s mistake-prone.

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Offseason Notes for December 5th


The Hilton Anatole, site of this year’s Winter Meetings, has gargoyles on the inside.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Australian Baseball League
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Boston Television

Assorted Headlines
Winter Meetings Begin in Dallas
If, for instance, you’d lost power, like, three weeks ago and have just now gotten it back and the first site to which you pointed your browser is FanGraphs, then allow me to inform you that (a) Jose Reyes signed with the Marlins and (b) the Winter Meetings begin today at Dallas’s Hilton Anatole.

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Offseason Notes for December 2nd


Who’s the rat, you guys?

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. A Brief Note re: the Tardiness of Offseason Notes
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
3. Projecting: ZiPS for San Francisco

A Brief Note re: the Tardiness of Offseason Notes
Offseason Notes is available each morning at approximately 10am ET — which is why it’s entirely understandable if (that?) the reader has spent much of the day wringing his hands anxiously, curious about the whereabouts of said Notes.

Let it be known, first of all, that the author is in good health. Let it be known, secondly, that he (i.e. the author) has recently made an actual friend in his new-ish hometown of Madison, WI, and stayed up later than usual Thursday night watching a Blue-ray edition of The Departed — that is, a film I had never previously seen on a format I had never previously utilized.

In conclusion, a question: who and/or what is the rat?

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Offseason Notes for December 1st


How switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, eligible for December’s Rule 5 draft, appears to opposing batters.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Toronto

Assorted Headlines
All the nerd that’s fit to print.

Some Rule 5 Eligible Players
Baseball America’s John Manuel has provided analysis of the most eligible of the Rule 5-eligible players. The piece is subscriber-only, but includes two names that ought to be familiar to FanGraphs readers: outfielder Andrew Lambo (acquired by Pittsburgh in the Octavio Dotel trade) and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (who has produced exclusively excellent numbers in the minors). Also available in the draft, which occurs December 8th, is outfielder Jiwan James, whom BA actually just named the ninth-overall prospect in the Philadelphia organization.

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Offseason Notes for November 30th


Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte: kinda, sorta baseball’s top prospect.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Projecting: Some Notable OLIVER Projections
2. Projecting: ZiPS for Seattle
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Baltimore Television

Projecting: Some Notable OLIVER Projections
Brian Cartwright’s OLIVER projections are now available at The Hardball Times. Some minor technical issues might remain with the functionality, although I personally have had no problems.

As I did last year, I’ve assembled below what can most accurately be described as a “Kinda, Sorta” Prospect List — in that it’s simply a list of the top-10 rookie-eligible batters sorted purely by OLIVER’s projected 2012 WAR. (Projections assume a full MLB season.)

Note that Jesus Montero, Mike Moustakas, Jason Kipnis, Todd Frazier, and Ryan Lavarnway — i.e. all players who both (a) made their major-league debuts in 2011 and (b) played decently while doing so — were all on this same list last season.

A Kinda, Sorta Prospect List

1. Starling Marte, OF, PIT
2. Jedd Gyorko, 3B, SDN
3. Derek Norris, C, WAS
4. Andrelton Simmons, SS, ATL
5. Adam Eaton, OF, ARI
6. Anthony Rendon, 3B, WAS
7. Matt Carpenter, 3B, STL
8. Jaff Decker, LF, SDN
9. Brian Dozier, SS, MIN
10. Joe Panik, SS, SFN

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Offseason Notes for November 29th


The Baltimore Orioles wanna Schoop.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Baltimore
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Atlanta Television

Assorted Headlines
Twins Signs Seven
Matt Eddy’s most recent Minor League Transaction report for Baseball America reveals that Minnesota has been quite active of late in signing minor leaguers. Almost all the signings have purpose and upside: outfielder Wilkin Ramirez has had contact issues but has both power and speed, is only 26, and can likely play an average center field; former Cincinnati prospect, right-hander Daryl Thompson, is also just 26 and has a history of success; former Rocky Sam Deduno has had problems with control, but has also posted ground-ball rates in the high-50s throughout his minor-league career.

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Offseason Notes for November 23rd


The Braves signed a number of players on Tuesday.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Houston

Assorted Headlines
Mets Sign Pitcher-Turned-Outfielder Loewen
The New York Mets have signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor-league deal, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America. After pitching in parts of three major-league seasons with Baltimore, Loewen converted to hitting in 2009 and made his second major-league debut this season for Toronto, slashing .188/.297/.313 (.278 BABIP), 73 wRC+ in 37 plate appearances. Loewen, 27, made most of his minor-league appearances in right, but split time pretty evenly between right and center in his brief major-league stint.

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Offseason Notes for November 22nd


This grainy image reveals the secret to Peter Bourjos’ defensive range.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Projecting: ZiPS for Los Angeles (AL)

Assorted Headlines
Baltimore Nearing Deal with Korean Reliever Chong
The Orioles are closing in on signing right-handed reliever Chong Tae-Hyon out of South Korea, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reports. Chong, 33, has pitched in the Korea Baseball Organization since 2001 and has made appearances with the South Korean National Team. Chong posted a 39:28 K:BB in 52.2 innings in 2011, but likely generates a number of ground balls by virtue of a submarine delivery. Below is some footage of Chong against China (starting at about the 4:08 mark). Warning: dope beats included.

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