Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.
Mets Sign Pitcher-Turned-Outfielder Loewen
The New York Mets have signed outfielder Adam Loewen to a minor-league deal, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America. After pitching in parts of three major-league seasons with Baltimore, Loewen converted to hitting in 2009 and made his second major-league debut this season for Toronto, slashing .188/.297/.313 (.278 BABIP), 73 wRC+ in 37 plate appearances. Loewen, 27, made most of his minor-league appearances in right, but split time pretty evenly between right and center in his brief major-league stint.
Pirates Sign Fox, Martis
Eddy also reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed quasi-catcher Jake Fox and right-hander Shairon Martis. Fox, 29, had a couple of promising seasons as a Cub minor leaguer, but doesn’t have a skill set entirely suitable to a major-league corner or catcher. Martis was sent back to Double-A Harrisburg this season and pitched there exclusively, posting this line: 23 G, 23 GS, 133.0 IP, 9.88 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9, 2.79 FIP. At 24, it’s decidedly not impossible that he could figure something out.
Braves Sign 14 to Minor League Contracts
From the press release:
The list of non-roster players who were signed and received an invite to Major League camp includes right-handed pitchers Adam Russell and Jason Rice, left-handed pitchers Dusty Hughes and Yohan Flande, catchers J.C. Boscan and Jose Yepez, infielders Ernesto Mejia, Drew Sutton and Josh Wilson, and outfielders Luis Durango and Jordan Parraz. In addition, the three players signed to minor league contracts includes left-handed pitcher Jose Lugo, first-baseman Ian Gac, and outfielder Brahiam Maldonado.
Sutton actually has a .258/.322/.403 (.345 BABIP), 89 wRC+ in 178 major-league plate appearances while playing the majority of his defensive innings at shortstop.
SCOUT Leaderboards: Dominican Winter League
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Dominican Winter League (DWL). SCOUT represents an attempt to derive something meaningful from small samples and is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the DWL mean in three important (and regressed) stats: walk rate, strikeout rate, and home-run rate. (Click here for more on SCOUT.)
• Minor-league free-agent (most recently of Toronto) Ricardo Nanita, 30, continues to occupy the top slot on the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the DWL. Through ca. 105 plate appearances, Nanita has almost as many home runs (six) as strikeouts (eight) — and has more walks (10) than either.
• Pittsburgh first-base prospect Matt Hague, 26, makes his SCOUT debut at No. 3 this week. Hague has demonstrated only modest power in the minors, but good plate-discipline numbers — not unlike what he’s done in limited DWL PAs. He’ll likely compete for the first-base job this spring.
For pitchers, SCOUT is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the DWL mean in (regressed) strikeout and walk rate.
Atlanta minor leaguer Jairo Asencio has pitched 3.2 innings and struck out five batters since we last looked at the DWL — and that performance has decreased his raw strikeout rate from 46.9% to 44.4%. He now has a 20:1 K:BB in his last 11.1 innings, and a 25:3 K:BB overall. It would not be shocking to see him become Sergio Romo… unless he already is Sergio Romo!?!
Here are some notes on same:
• Sickels rates first-base prospect Jonathan Singleton, whom the Astros acquired from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence deal, first overall in the organization — just ahead of 2011 first-round draftee Springer. Singleton, 20, is supposed to have excellent raw power, although that has yet to manifest itself in game play.
• University of Conneticut product George Springer is two years older than Singleton, but also has a considerably broader base of skills. In his last year at UConn, he posted a 36:40 BB:K in 245 at-bats, while also hitting 12 home runs (with the new bats) and going 31-for-38 on stolen-base attempts and playing center field. Sickels notes — and Springer’s college numbers confirm — that contact might be a problem. But if he handles center, that’s a good player.
• Outside of the top few players, 22-year-old right-hander Jake Buchanan is maybe most interesting. In 158.2 innings at High-A Lancaster (of the hitter-friendly California League), Buchanan posted only a 15.3% strikeout rate, but also walked just 5.3% of opposing batters and — per both StatCorner and First Inning — had about a 60% ground-ball rate.