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Offseason Notes for January 18th

Cub prospect Dan Vogelbach uses physics to his advantage.

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

1. Assorted Headlines
2. Prospecting: Catching Up with John Sickels, Part II
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: New York (AL) Television

Assorted Headlines
Darvish Deadline Today
The deadline for the Texas Rangers to sign NPB pitcher Yu Darvish, for whom they won the posting rights last month, is today at 5pm ET, per the internet.

Houston Signs Cust
The Houston Astros signed Jack Cust on Wednesday to a deal that includes a club option for 2013, reports Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. Michael Barr looks at the deal from a fantasy perspective today at RotoGraphs. Here’s another perspective: I once saw Cust, playing in a Sacramento River Cats game, see 17 pitches over three plate appearances and swing only once.

Kim Only 32
Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors reminds us that Byung-Hyun Kim, who signed recently with the Nexen Heroes of the KBO, is still only 32 years old.

Prospecting: Catching Up with John Sickels, Part II
John Sickels has been prolific of late, publishing a number of his preliminary top-20 lists over the winter holiday while the rest of us were drinking heavily and yelling at the neighbor children. I omitted eight of his lists total from the Notes over the last couple weeks. We looked briefly at four of those yesterday; here are links to the remaining four. Idle comments are my own, and shouldn’t be confused with proper analysis.

Colorado Rockies
Sickels ranks third-base prospect Nolan Arenado first overall in the organization. Here’s what Nolan Arenado does: hits for power. Here’s what else: makes contact frequently. (Which tandem of skills allowed him to make the SCOUT batting leaderboard for this year’s Arizona Fall League.) Second note: is third-ranked Chad Bettis (command of a 94-95 mph fastball and tight slider, but with no third pitch) more likely to be Michael Pineda or David Hernandez?

New York Yankees
This went up before the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade, but it’s notable that Sickels gives the former a straight A, which is pretty rare. Sickels: “His glove isn’t very good and while he’s not a complete player in terms of contributing speed or defense, his hitting is so strong he still gets a Grade A from me.” Possiblly underrated guy from Sickels: ninth-ranked corner guy Christopher (or Tyler) Austin.

Chicago Cubs
First-base prospect Daniel Vogelbach just turned 19 and is listed at 6-0, 250. He’s also a real, real hitter.

Cincinnati Reds
Your overlooked prospect here, per Sickels: Tim Crabbe, at No. 14. Apparently has mid-90s fastball and, per Baseball America, the best slider in the Reds system.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: New York (AL) 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 / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Miami / Houston / Los Angeles (AL) / Los Angeles (NL, Home Games) / Los Angeles (NL, Away Games) / Milwaukee / Minnesota.