Daily Notes for February 27th

Devin Mesoraco will likely keep doing this.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for the thing that’s now called Daily Notes.

1. Announcement: This Is Now Called Daily Notes
2. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top 120 Prospect List
3. Projecting: Steamer Projections for Hitters

Announcement: This Is Now Called Daily Notes
During the last two regular seasons, the present author has written a mostly daily column called One Night Only, in which he previews the day’s games. During not the regular season, the present author has written a mostly daily column called Offseason Notes, in which he aggregates from the internet that information most relevant to America’s baseball nerds. Those are facts that even championship lawyer Sam Waterston can’t deny.

What the beginning of spring training has brought to said author’s attention, however, is that there’s a time of the year that is both not the season and not not the season — which, as graduate humanities students everywhere can tell you, problematizes the idea of what is and isn’t the season.

In response, there will now be just one daily piece, and it will be called Daily Notes, and it will appear in these pages until such as time as seven seals and seven trumpets and seven plagues appear unto us.

Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top 120 Prospect List
John Sickels has (perhaps reluctantly) published his list of the top-120 prospects for 2012 — the first time, it should be noted, that he’s endeavored to produce a list of both hitters and pitchers together.

Here are some notes on same:

• John Sickels is all about Colorado third-base prospect Nolan Arenado, whom he ranks 13th overall — this compared to lower rankings by Baseball America (42), Keith Law (26), and Jonathan Mayo (22).

• Another surprise, perhaps: Sickels’ optimism regarding Red Sox shortstop (or third base) prospect Xander Bogaerts, whom he ranks 30th overall. The highest ranking he (i.e. Bogaerts, not Sickels) received on any of the the above-mentioned lists? Just 58th, from Baseball America.

• Sickels is decidedly less optimistic about left-handers Mike Montgomery (of the Royals) and Martin Perez (of the Rangers) than other prospect analysts. He ranks them 101st and 83rd, respectively. Of the lists mentioned above, Montgomery’s lowest rank is 52nd, on Keith Law’s list; Perez’ is 31st, on Baseball America’s.

Projecting: Steamer Projections for Hitters
This past Friday, we looked at the recently released Steamer Projections for pitchers — which projections have been more effective than all other systems at projecting pitcher performance over the last two years.

In the meantime, the Steamer Projections for hitters have been released. You can find them by here. Below are some notable ones, accompanied by very rough WAR projections. Said WAR projections are league- and park- and position-adjusted, but don’t include defensive runs of any sort. WAR projections are per 600 plate appearances — except for catchers, who are projected at 80% of that (i.e. 480 plate appearances).

Devin Mesoraco, C, 24, CIN: .267/.337/.499, 3.9 WAR480
Mesoraco isn’t behind many catchers with this projection — only Mike Napoli, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, and Brian McCann, from what I can tell.

Thomas La Stella, 2B, 23, ATL: .276/.333/.417, 2.9 WAR600
La Stella is listed at second base, but there’s a decent chance that his defense there is insufficient for the majors. Moving him to left field, say, would remove a win from that projection.

Nolan Arenado, 3B 21, COL: .295/.333/.489, 2.8 WAR600
Arenado was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League — and, as noted above, a favorite of John Sickels’.

Joe Panik, SS, 21, SF: .288/.334/.389, 2.7 WAR600
Panik is listed at shortstop — again, a position at which he might be fringy. However, it appears as though the offense is sufficient for second base, too, where he could even be a net plus defensively.

Kevan Smith, C, 24, CHA: .251/.322/.414, 2.0 WAR480
According to John Sickels (who ranks him eighth overall in the White Sox system), Smith has been old for his levels, but also didn’t play baseball full-time until 2009.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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This guy cares not for the title of “Daily Notes” / http://bit.ly/zEArs5