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Offseason Notes for February 22nd


Just consider it.

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

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Prospecting: Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects
3. Video: Nolan Arenado Swinging a Lot

Assorted Headlines
Cleveland Trades De La Cruz to Texas
The Cleveland Indians have traded left-handed pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz to Texas for cash, reports ESPN.com’s Richard Durrett. De La Cruz was recently designated for assignment after Cleveland’s signing of Casey Kotchman. According to Indians Prospect Insider, De La Cruz, 23, has both good velocity (91-93 mph) on his fastball and excellent break and depth on his curve. The problem — and the minor-league walk rates definitely support this notion — is fastball command. In just under 180 Double-A innings, De La Cruz has walked 15% of opposing batters.

Rockies’ Nicasio Throws First ST Bullpen
Juan Nicasio, who’s recovering from a fractured vertebra he sustained last August via a “batted ball” to the “head,” threw his first spring-training bullpen yesterday. Nicasio was maybe better in 2011 than you’re remembering, posting this line in 71.2 innings: 19.4% K, 6.0% BB, 45.9% GB, 3.43 xFIP, 89 xFIP-, 1.4 WAR. His fastball averaged 94.0 mph over that span.

It’s About Time to Consider Crappie
At no other time have the words of the Banner-Herald‘s Alvin Richardson been truer than today.

Prospecting: Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects
Baseball America has released its preseason top-100 prospsect list for 2012. Below are some notes on same. (Note: comments are for recreational use only, by a curious reader who respects the efforts of Baseball Americans and other prospect analysts.)

• Unsurprisingly, Bryce Harper, Matt Moore, and Mike Trout occupy the top three spots on Baseball America’s list.

• Anecotally speaking, the first surprise of any sort on the list — relative to others I’ve seen, I mean — is probably Arizona left-hander Tyler Skaggs at No. 13. Skaggs is ranked 25th on Keith Law’s list and 21st on Jonathan Mayo’s at MLB.com.

• More significant is BA’s optimism regarding new-ish-ly acquired Oakland right-hander Brad Peacock. BA has him at 36. Mayo has him 75th; Law doesn’t rank him at all.

• If Skaggs’ ranking is surprisingly high, Nolan Arenado‘s is maybe surprisingly low — again, relative to those other lists I mentioned. BA has him 42nd overall. Law ranks him 26th; Mayo, 22nd. Were I asked — and I haven’t been — but were I asked to compile a top-100 prospect list, Arenado would probably place higher on it than on any of the three aforementioned efforts. His combination of age and contact ability and power is pretty rare, it seems. If he’s a league-average third baseman defensively, his chances of being above-average are considerable, I’d think.

Didi Gregorius. He’s not among BA’s top-100 prospects, but he is on the list of minor leaguers who possess a certain “I don’t know what.”

Video: Nolan Arenado Swinging a Lot
Here are a pair of excellent videos of Nolan Arenado, courtesy Mike Newman and Scouting the Sally. It’s surprising, I think, given Arenado’s pretty significant stride, that he’s been able to maintain such low strikeout rates.

Image courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools.