Offseason Notes for November 18th

A Best Buy in Ranch Cucamonga at which Brandon Wood probably shopped while hitting 43 homers.

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. Projecting: ZiPS for Chicago (AL)

Assorted Headlines
All the nerd that’s fit to print.

Colorado Signs Former Uberprospect Wood
The Rockies signed infielder and former top prospect Brandon Wood to a minor-league agreement on Thursday,’s Thomas Harding reports. Wood famously hit 43 home runs as a 20-year-old at the High-A California League — a figure that, even after accounting for park effects, still pointed to excellent power from a potential major-league shortstop. As a major leaguer, however, Wood’s control of the strike zone has disintegrated almost entirely: in 751 plate appearances, Wood has a 4.3% BB and 29.0% K. To his credit, Wood improved upon those numbers after moving to the Pirates this year and managed to post his first positive WAR as a major leaguer. He’s a candidate at a third-base spot in Colorado for which only Ian Stewart and Ty Wigginton are the immediate competition.

Dodgers Target Four Starting Pitchers
The Dodgers have narrowed their search for a starting pitcher to Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, and Jeff Francis, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times reports. Because I was surprised, the reader might also be surprised to learn that Capuano had the lowest SIERA of any of those four pitchers — a 3.60 mark (3.67 xFIP, 95 xFIP-) in 186.0 innings. Kuroda was second, at 3.66 (3.56 xFIP, 92 xFIP-) in 202.0 innings.

Reminder: Reserve Lists (40-Man Rosters) Due Today
This is the last day, before December’s Rule 5 draft, on which teams can protect minor leaguers who would otherwise be exposed.

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% 3.9% 0.91 0.72 0.59 0.74
Wil Myers KC 106 14.6% 17.7% 3.1% 1.12 0.31 0.18 0.54
Jefry Marte NYN 90 11.4% 15.8% 3.3% 0.36 0.64 0.25 0.42
Nolan Arenado COL 129 7.5% 12.1% 3.6% -0.56 1.29 0.40 0.38
Michael Choice OAK 75 10.7% 17.8% 4.1% 0.19 0.31 0.64 0.38
Brodie Greene CIN 90 10.4% 15.8% 3.3% 0.13 0.64 0.25 0.34
Aaron Hicks MIN 120 13.0% 17.9% 2.6% 0.72 0.28 -0.05 0.32
Logan Schafer MIL 104 8.7% 12.0% 2.5% -0.27 1.30 -0.14 0.30
Joe Panik SF 102 9.3% 12.9% 2.5% -0.13 1.14 -0.13 0.30
Alex Hassan BOS 98 12.5% 17.4% 2.5% 0.62 0.36 -0.11 0.29

Mets prospect Jefry Marte remains a fixture in the upper third of the SCOUT leaderboard. Notably, he’s absent from Baseball America’s recently released top-10 prospect list for the New York Mets and from contributor Matt Eddy’s chat regarding same. That’s less a critique of BA and more a point of interest, as Marte is both quite young (he doesn’t turn 21 till June 21st) and performing well amongst a pretty impressive talent pool. BA did write in the 2010 edition of the Prospect Handbook that Marte might require a move to first base. Whether that’s still the prevailing view, I don’t know, but it would affect his value, certainly.

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 9 6 30.1 124 30.0% 9.5% 2.20 -0.18 1.01
Travis Webb CIN 7 7 19.2 92 23.5% 8.9% 0.87 -0.04 0.41
Anthony Bass SD 6 5 21.2 94 22.6% 8.2% 0.68 0.14 0.41
Tyler Lyons STL 7 7 29.2 124 22.1% 8.0% 0.57 0.16 0.37
Gerrit Cole PIT 5 5 15.0 59 22.4% 8.5% 0.64 0.05 0.34
Forrest Snow SEA 10 1 16.1 61 22.1% 8.3% 0.57 0.10 0.34
Nathan Adcock KC 6 6 24.1 103 21.3% 7.8% 0.42 0.21 0.32
Nick Schmidt SD 8 4 23.1 108 22.7% 9.2% 0.70 -0.11 0.30
Josh Zeid HOU 15 0 18.0 84 22.5% 9.0% 0.66 -0.07 0.29
Patrick Lehman WAS 12 0 14.2 73 21.3% 8.1% 0.41 0.14 0.28

Ranger prospect, left-handeder Miguel De Los Santos had another excellent performance Thursday, striking out six of the 17 batters he faced, while walking only two. His excellent strikeout rate, combined with 30.1 innings (third-highest among AFL pitchers), gives him the best strikeout mark by far in the AFL: his regressed strikeout rate of 30.0% is 2.2 standard deviations above the mean for the AFL’s 60 qualified (0.4 IP per team game) pitchers. Cincinnati’s Travis Webb is a distant second, at 0.87.

Projecting: ZiPS for Chicago (AL)
Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for the Chicago White Sox. Below are some of the notable ones. (All numbers assume major league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.)

Alejandro De Aza, LF, 28: .271/.328/.406, 94 OPS+
De Aza outpaces Alex Rios (.259/.301/.404, 86 OPS+), who barely outpaces Lastings Milledge (.259/.319/.378, 85 OPS+).

Brent Morel, 3B, 25: .261/.300/.384, 81 OPS+
As documented in these pages late in September, Morel basically played like a third-base version of Ian Kinsler over the last month-plus of the season, hitting eight home runs over his final 135 plate appearances (5.9%) and walking almost as much as he struck out (13.3% vs. 17.1%). His projection from the Bill James Handbook is .273/.314/.418, but I’d take the over on both.

Chris Sale, LHP, 23: 152.2 IP, 163 K, 75 BB, 18 HR, 109 ERA+
ZiPS projects five White Sox starters (including free agent Mark Buehrle) to pitch at, or above, league average, but Sale receives the highest mark among the group, largely by virtue of that 9.6 K/9. As mentioned previously here, Sale’s success as a starter will depend greatly on how well he performs while facing a greater percentage of right-handed batters.

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Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell

Based on what you saw late in the season, what do you see out of Morel in the future?