Offseason Notes for November 14th

Twins GM Terry Ryan: A Case Study in Human Communication

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

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Arizona Fall League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Arizona

Assorted Headlines
Plouffe to Move Off Shortstop
I don’t know much about the science of human communication, but I’m guessing that people who do would have something interesting to say about this utterance (relayed by ESPN 1500’s Phil Mackey) by new-old GM Terry Ryan regarding Trevor Plouffe: “It sounds as if I think our thoughts are he’s probably going to be best suited to the outfield and DH.” The phrase “It sounds as if I think our thoughts” is vigorously indirect. Understood literally, Ryan is suggesting that he’s not sure if he knows even what he thinks (“It sounds as if I think”). In fact, Ryan is probably well aware of what he thinks. More probable is that he’s utilizing an indirect construction to emphasize both/either that (a) the decision is not final and/or that (b) the decision is not merely his, but the product of a group (“our”) effort. In any case, it also appears to be the true that Trevor Plouffe — owner of one above-average offensive season in the minors — will DH periodically for the Twins this season.

Doumit Turns Down Offer from Dodgers
Free agent catcher Ryan Doumit apparently turned down a one-year deal from the Dodgers for just under $3 million, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. Los Angeles recently lost their catcher Rod Barajas to Doumit’s previous team, the Pirates. Doumit posted a 1.8 WAR over 236 plate appearances for Pittsburgh in 2011 while playing catcher exclusively; however, it’s his poor defensive reputation at the latter position that will likely prevent him from an everyday role.

Pirates Considering Santiago as Everyday Shortstop
The Pittsburgh Pirates have interest in free-agent Ramon Santiago as a potential everyday shortstop in 2012, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Santiago, who’s spent most of his career with the Tigers, has played a utility role almost exclusively for the duration of his career. That’s likely where he’s best suited, as well: over 650 plate appearances, Santiago is probably something like a -10 run bat, which, for a defensively average shortstop is a slightly below average mark, and would produce a WAR of about 1.7. Perhaps regular playing time would help his offense, but the upside still appears to be “average.”

SCOUT Leaderboards: Arizona Fall League
Batting Leaderboard
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Arizona Fall League (AFL). SCOUT represents an attempt to derive something meaningful from small samples and is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the AFL 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
Robbie Grossman PIT 124 13.8% 15.3% 4.0% 0.89 0.65 0.56 0.70
Wil Myers KC 98 14.6% 18.0% 3.2% 1.07 0.21 0.20 0.49
Jefry Marte NYN 90 11.5% 15.7% 3.3% 0.35 0.60 0.23 0.39
Michael Choice OAK 75 10.8% 17.6% 4.1% 0.17 0.27 0.62 0.35
Alex Hassan BOS 84 12.8% 16.5% 2.7% 0.65 0.47 -0.06 0.35
Brodie Greene CIN 82 10.4% 14.7% 3.0% 0.09 0.76 0.11 0.32
Nolan Arenado COL 117 7.7% 12.9% 3.7% -0.55 1.07 0.43 0.31
Derek Norris WAS 81 12.0% 16.8% 2.7% 0.45 0.40 -0.04 0.27
Aaron Hicks MIN 106 12.7% 18.3% 2.8% 0.63 0.15 0.00 0.26
Logan Schafer MIL 94 9.3% 13.2% 2.6% -0.17 1.02 -0.10 0.25

Outfielder Aaron Hicks, 22, has twice (before both 2010 and 2011) been ranked first overall on the Twins top-prospect list here at FanGraphs, but has developed more slowly than expected — which is why he’s slipped to sixth on Marc Hulet’s pre-2012 list for the Twins. In truth, his position on the SCOUT leaderboards isn’t particularly encouraging, as it’s largely a product of his walk rate — a skill he’s already demonstrated in the lower minors.

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
Miguel De Los Santos TEX 8 5 25.1 106 28.2% 9.5% 1.64 -0.15 0.74
Tyler Lyons STL 6 6 24.2 103 23.3% 8.2% 0.77 0.12 0.45
Kevin Munson ARI 13 0 13.2 52 23.2% 8.5% 0.74 0.06 0.40
Anthony Bass SD 6 5 21.2 94 22.5% 8.2% 0.62 0.13 0.37
Aaron Loup TOR 11 0 15.1 63 21.7% 8.0% 0.47 0.19 0.33
Evan Reed FLA 11 0 13.0 55 22.7% 8.8% 0.66 -0.01 0.33
Gerrit Cole PIT 5 5 15.0 59 22.2% 8.6% 0.57 0.05 0.31
Patrick Lehman WAS 11 0 13.2 69 21.7% 8.2% 0.47 0.13 0.30
Forrest Snow SEA 9 1 14.1 54 21.5% 8.5% 0.44 0.07 0.25
Nick Schmidt SD 7 3 20.1 97 22.7% 9.4% 0.65 -0.14 0.25

Making his first appearance since October 31st, Pittsburgh first-rounder Gerrit Cole pitched three innings on Saturday, with a 4:1 K:BB. His GO/AO so far is just 0.67, which equates to something like a 31% ground-ball rate — something that could become problematic if it materializes in future appearances. Otherwise, he’s doing as well as one could have expected.

Prospecting: John Sickels on Arizona
John Sickels has published his preliminary top-20 list for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here are some notes on same:

• Unsurprisingly, this year’s third-overall draft pick Trevor Bauer tops Sickels’ list. Bauer actually pitched 25.2 innings in the minors this season, 16.2 of which were at Double-A Mobile, where Bauer posted a 26:8 K:BB. Both First Inning and StatCorner place Bauer’s ground-ball rate in the mid-40s over the two levels.

• The first six prospects are pitchers (listed here with with Sickels’ grades in parentheses): Bauer (A), Jarrod Parker (A-), Tyler Skaggs (A-), Archie Bradley (A-), Andrew Chafin (B), Patrick Corbin (B-). That seems like a lot of pitchers.

Collin Cowgill, ranked 14th by Sickels, struck out in 28 of his (exactly) 100 plate appearances as a major-leaguer this (last?) year. Not have his contact rates in the upper minors been much better than that (13.8% in 456 plate appearances at Triple-A Reno last season, but he was also named the best baserunner, best defensive outfielder, and most exciting player in the Pacific Coast League by Baseball America.

• Sickels groups outfielders A.J. Pollock (7th) and Adam Eaton (10th) with Cowgill, noting that, while none has any standout physical tools, each does a number of things well.

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4 years 10 months ago

Not sure if this was mentioned in an earlier post, but SCOUT leader Robbie Grossman broke his hamate bone and is done for the AFL season.