Offseason Notes for November 16th


Chicago (AL) lefty Chris Sale is one of the few major leaguers to play in khakis.

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: Baseball America’s Top-10 List for Chicago (NL)

Assorted Headlines
Confirmed: Sale to Start in 2012
White Sox general manager Ken Williams confirmed on Tuesday that left-hander Chris Sale will be a starting pitcher next season, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Sale, 22, was an enormously successful starter in college at Florida Gulf Coast University, but has pitched exclusively in relief for Chicago, posting this line in 2011: 71.0 IP, 27.4% K, 9.4% BB, 49.7% GB, 2.73 SIERA, 3.00 xFIP, 74 xFIP-. Dave Cameron discussed on Monday’s podcast (around the 8:10 mark) how Sale might profile as a starter. Mike Podhorzer reflects on the changes in Sale’s fantasy value over at RotoGraphs.

De Aza Likely to Start, Lead Off in 2012
“If I was making the lineup out,” the White Sox GM also told the Sun-Times’ Van Schouwen on Wednesday, “[Alejandro De Aza] would be my leadoff hitter.” De Aza hit .329/.400/.520 (.404 BABIP), .401 wOBA, 151 wRC+, in his age-27 season — a line that equates to 96 wRC+ with a .300 BABIP or 108 wRC+ with a .325 BABIP.

Brewers to Meet with Barmes Wednesday
Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin has plans to meet Wednesday with the representative of free-agent shortstop Clint Barmes, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. As noted in these pages before, even a decent shortstop — and, thus, an improvement over Yuniesky Betancourt — would help mitigate the loss of Prince Fielder considerably. Despite below-average offensive production (he’s probably a ca 85 wRC+ true-talent hitter), Barmes’ defense is above average, both according to UZR and scouting reports.

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% 15.4% 4.0% 0.86 0.70 0.55 0.71
Wil Myers KC 102 14.9% 18.2% 3.2% 1.11 0.22 0.18 0.50
Jefry Marte NYN 90 11.5% 15.8% 3.3% 0.34 0.63 0.23 0.40
Brodie Greene CIN 87 10.7% 14.9% 3.3% 0.14 0.79 0.24 0.39
Michael Choice OAK 75 10.8% 17.8% 4.1% 0.17 0.30 0.61 0.36
Nolan Arenado COL 121 7.5% 12.4% 3.7% -0.59 1.21 0.41 0.34
Aaron Hicks MIN 114 12.8% 17.3% 2.7% 0.63 0.37 -0.03 0.32
Alex Hassan BOS 92 12.4% 16.9% 2.6% 0.54 0.45 -0.09 0.30
Logan Schafer MIL 104 8.8% 12.0% 2.5% -0.28 1.28 -0.14 0.29
Joe Panik SF 96 9.7% 13.7% 2.6% -0.07 0.99 -0.11 0.27

Notes
Perpetual SCOUT batting leader Robbie Grossman has recently broken his hamate bone and, in so doing, the hearts of his fans. Fortunately, not only do hitters make quick returns from hamate/wrist surgery, but, as our man Jeff Zimmerman has found, appear to display little so far as long-term effects are concerned. All indications point to Grossman being ready for spring training.

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% 9.8% 1.88 -0.13 0.88
Travis Webb CIN 7 7 19.2 92 23.4% 9.3% 0.91 -0.02 0.44
Anthony Bass SD 6 5 21.2 94 22.4% 8.6% 0.72 0.15 0.44
Tyler Lyons STL 7 7 29.2 124 22.0% 8.4% 0.63 0.18 0.41
Gerrit Cole PIT 5 5 15.0 59 22.1% 9.0% 0.66 0.06 0.36
Nathan Adcock KC 6 6 24.1 103 21.2% 8.2% 0.47 0.23 0.35
Patrick Lehman WAS 11 0 13.2 69 21.6% 8.6% 0.55 0.14 0.34
Evan Reed FLA 12 0 14.0 59 22.1% 9.1% 0.66 0.02 0.34
Nick Schmidt SD 7 3 20.1 97 22.6% 9.8% 0.76 -0.13 0.32
Stephen Harrold SF 11 0 14.1 56 21.8% 9.2% 0.59 0.01 0.30

Notes
Cincinnati minor-leaguer Travis Webb, 27, made his debut on the SCOUT leaderboard last Friday, was absent from same on Monday, but appears in the second spot on the present board. The rise is the result of a six-strikeout, four-inning performance on Monday. Webb now has as many Ks as innings pitched in every single one of his seven AFL starts. While promising, Webb’s performance must also be considered in the context of his age, as Webb is one of the older players in the AFL.

Prospecting: Baseball America on the Cubs
Baseball America has released its top-10 propsect list for the Chicago Cubs.

BA’s editors rank outfielder Brett Jackson first overall in the system. Jackson is noted for his tools and did slash .297/.388/.551 in 215 plate appearances following a mid-July promotion to Triple-A Iowa; however, he also benefited significantly from a .402 BABIP and the 29.8% strikeout rate he posted over that span is decidedly problematic. Bill James projects Jackson to post a .342 wOBA in 2012 — a mark that would make Jackson slightly above-average center fielder, were he to play average defense. That, of course, is predicated on the Cubs abandoning Tyler Colvin for the time being and moving Marlon Byrd to right field. With Jackson likely to hold some future value, it’s very likely he won’t debut until June or so.



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