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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.

Pirates, Royals Trade Some Players
More Pirates news, also from Wednesday, also from MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. The Pirates acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Royals in exchange for minor leaguers Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris. Kansas City received Navarro, 24, in exchange for Mike Aviles from Boston last season. He’s demonstrated a decent approach at the plate in the minors, although without much power. There’s also some question about his ability to handle shortstop. Pounders, 21, is a right-handed reliever who pitched in the Low-A Sally League this year, posting impressive K-BB numbers (25.4%, 5.0%) but with a decidedly fly-ball approach. Goris, also 21, is an infield-type who played this season in the Dominican Summer League.

Feral Hogs Another Option for Hunters
One of the RSS feeds to which I subscribe for baseball news belongs to OnlineAthens, the official website of the Athens (GA) Banner Herald; however, a number of their other stories get sent out in that same feed. This piece by Alvin Richardson, on the virtues of hunting feral hogs, is one such story.

SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
Batting Leaderboard
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Dominican Winter League (DWL). SCOUT represents an attempt to derive something meaningful from small samples and is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the DWL mean in three important (and regressed) stats: walk rate, strikeout rate, and home-run rate. (Click here for more on SCOUT. SCOUT leaderboards for the Arizona Fall League appear here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Leaderboards for the Venezuelan and Dominican Winter Leagues appear on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.)

Name Org PA xBB% xK% xHR% BBz Kz HRz SCOUT
Ricardo Nanita TOR 116 10.3% 10.8% 3.0% 0.33 1.25 0.86 0.81
Brian Bogusevic HOU 147 15.9% 19.0% 2.2% 1.86 -0.14 0.34 0.69
Jhonatan Solano WAS 94 10.3% 11.5% 1.4% 0.33 1.14 -0.11 0.46
Brandon Belt SF 116 11.8% 16.8% 2.0% 0.74 0.24 0.24 0.41
Anderson Hernandez HOU 171 8.8% 10.5% 1.4% -0.08 1.30 -0.16 0.35
Denis Phipps CIN 117 11.8% 17.3% 1.6% 0.73 0.15 0.02 0.30
Matt Hague PIT 150 11.3% 16.0% 1.5% 0.59 0.37 -0.09 0.29
Jose Constanza ATL 112 8.0% 9.3% 1.0% -0.30 1.51 -0.38 0.28
Alexi Casilla MIN 92 10.9% 15.0% 1.1% 0.49 0.54 -0.31 0.24
Erick Almonte MIL 167 15.0% 20.4% 0.7% 1.61 -0.36 -0.56 0.23

A number of the players on the present iteration of the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the DWL are there due to a high walk rate. While patience is clearly not a bad thing, it’s also the case that minor-league walk rates don’t translate directly to major-league walk rates (as Dan Szymborksi notes in this thread and probaly somewhere else, too) — at least not the same way that strikeout and home-run rates do. Likely, the same thing holds for winter-league to major-league walk rates. Proceed with caution regarding the players posting excellent walk rates, is the point.

Pitching Leaderboard
For pitchers, SCOUT is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the AFL mean in (regressed) strikeout and walk rate.

Name Org G GS IP BF xK% xBB% Kz BBz SCOUT
Jairo Asencio ATL 18 0 19.0 71 29.5% 7.2% 1.63 0.07 0.85
Everett Teaford KC 5 5 23.2 92 26.9% 6.7% 1.21 0.20 0.70
Raul Valdes PHI 7 7 38.0 153 22.9% 6.2% 0.57 0.34 0.45
Osiris Matos SF 18 0 19.2 75 23.7% 6.9% 0.70 0.14 0.42
Eddy Valdez MEX 13 4 24.0 110 23.8% 7.5% 0.72 -0.05 0.34
Fernando Abad HOU 4 4 16.0 61 22.1% 6.7% 0.45 0.19 0.32
Carlos Pimentel TEX 16 0 18.2 79 27.2% 9.6% 1.26 -0.66 0.30
Jordan Norberto OAK 13 3 17.2 78 23.3% 7.8% 0.64 -0.12 0.26
Jose Cabrera MEX 15 0 17.0 64 21.8% 7.1% 0.39 0.09 0.24
Chris Leroux PIT 5 5 23.2 90 21.8% 7.1% 0.39 0.09 0.24

Right-hander Eddy Valdez makes his SCOUT leaderboard debut today — which, I haven’t asked him personally, but he probably considers it a big honor. Valdez has pitched in Japan and Mexico the last couple of years — and, before that, was a member of the Colorado, Washington, and Cincinnati orgs, where he generally performed neither excellently nor poorly. Here’s the line from his last start, which was excellent: 5.0 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 0 HR.

Prospecting: BA on Arizona, Colorado, and Los Angeles (NL)
Baseball America has released its top-10 lists for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Here are some notes on same:

• Arizona had both the third and seventh picks in the draft this year, and the players on whom they used said picks — Trevor Bauer out of UCLA and Archie Bradley out of an Oklahoma high school — are ranked first and second, respectively, by BA in the Diamondbacks organization. Bauer promises to provide a lot in terms of entertainment value — not only because he’s really good (he struck out 36.1% of opposing batters in 25.2 innings between High- and Double-A), but also because his wind-up is active and because his curveball does the thing it does at around the 1:48 and 2:01 and 2:43 marks in this video:

• Colorado third-base prospect Nolan Arenado, 20, ranked second in the org by BA, finished fifth on the SCOUT leaderboard for the recently completed Arizonal Fall League, but he’s maybe my favorite guy (non-Robbie Grossman category) from that list, owing to his excellent contact rates and developing power. Given that Ian Stewart and Brandon Wood are his primary competition at third for the Rockies, Arenado could very well find himself in the majors this spring.

Like John Sickels, BA ranks right-hander Carl Webster second overall in the Dodger organizaion. They also, like Sickels, rank outfielder Joc Pederson ninth in the organizaion. Pederson is interesting: as a 19-year-old in 2011, he hit 11 homers and went 24-for-29 on stolen-base attempts in 370 plate appearances between Rookie-level Ogden and Class A Midwest League. He had the best K-BB differential (i.e. strikeout minus walk rate) of any teenager in the Pioneer League and was fourth in home runs on contact.