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.

Royals Sign Four
The Kansas City Royals have signed outfielder Greg Golson, right-handed pitcher Juan Gutierrez, catcher Max Ramirez, and left-handed pitcher Francisley Bueno to minor-league deals, reports’s Dick Kaegel. Ramirez is an interesting case for me: he’s been a Baseball America top-100 prospect, can catch, and has a .295/.389/.478 career minor-league line.

Dodgers Sign 15
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced their non-roster invitees as well on Tuesday, reports’s Ken Gurnick. The most recognizable names are left-handed reliever Wil Ledezma and catcher Josh Bard, although neither is likely to surpass replacement-level, at this point.

12-year-old Girl Bags Her First Two deer with Single Shot
As I’ve noted previously in these pages, the baseball RSS feed for Online Athens — the official website of the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald — contains a lot in the way of non-baseball reportage, as well. This article, for example, is about a 12-year-old girl killing two deer. Presented without comment, here’s her father on the experience: “I whispered for her to put the gun up, put the crosshairs behind the shoulder, take a deep breath, relax and squeeze the trigger, and she nailed it.”

Prospecting: John Sickels on San Diego
John Sickels has published his preliminary top-20 list for the San Diego Padres.

Here are some notes on same:

• I hadn’t heard of Rymer Liriano before this moment — and that’s kinda a big deal, on account of how both (a) naturally talented and also (b) well-informed I am. And yet, per John Sickels (i.e. an entirely respectable and respected talent evaluator), 20-year-old outfielder Rymer Liriano is the second-best prospect in the Padre system. Liriano appears to have had the tools ever since signing out of the Dominican in 2007, but 2011 saw him makes improvements in his approach at the plate, as well. Baseball America has also recently named him the second-overall prospect in the system, but suggests he might require a move to right field, meaning the bat will need to be pretty impressive.

• Sickels ranks left-handed Robbie Erlin and right-hander Joe Wieland fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Padre system — which, that’s significant, as both players were acquired in the trade-deadline deal that saw reliever Mike Adams go to Texas. Sickels describes Erlin’s numbers as “pornographic,” nor is Sickels effing around in this case. As a 20-year-old this season, Erlin posted a 26.8% strikeout rate and only 2.8% walk rate in 147.1 innings between High- and Double-A. The Padres will likely attempt a similar maneuver at next year’s trade deadline with Huston Street.

Keyvius Sampson will be only 21 next season and has struck out 209 of the first 690 batters (30.3%) he’s faced as a professional, all at age-appropriate levels. That’s pretty great. For that, and for Sampson’s velocity and athleticism, Sickels rates the right-hander sixth overall in the Padre system.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Cleveland Television
This offseason, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs. (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago (AL) / Chicago (NL) / Cincinnati.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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I don’t see enough Indians TV games, so can somebody out there tell me which of the announcers is the one with the obnoxious voice?