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ISSUE NO.
1604/ 160102
JAN. 29FEB. 12, 2016

Its All In Here.


BASEBALL AMERICAS 2016 PROSPECT HANDBOOK is the denitive

source on prospects. Youll get a scouting report and stats for the
top 30 prospects for every organization in the game.

THE PROSPECT HANDBOOK is available wherever books are sold,

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Departments

Features

Business Beat .................................................... 8


Prospect Pulse ................................................... 9
International Affairs ........................................ 10
Winter Wonders............................................... 10
Organization Reports....................................... 22
On Campus ...................................................... 28
Scoreboard ...................................................... 29

Columnists

AL WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

Astros: Reed has eyes on first base ............... 12


Angels: Ward leads thin L.A. crop .................. 14
Athletics: Barreto buoys revamped farm ...... 16
Mariners: Jackson looks to rebound ............. 18
Rangers: Gallo ready for round two .............. 21

Jerry Crasnick .................................................... 4


Peter Gammons ................................................. 6
Tracy Ringolsby ................................................. 6
John Manuel...................................................... 7
Jayson Stark .................................................... 31

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST FEATURE

Astros winning ways in the minors


translate to the majors .................................... 11

Vol. 36, No. 4

archives

FROM THE

FEBRUARY 13

2005
IN THIS ISSUE: Twoway stars Micah Owings
and Brian Bogusevic lead
Tulane to the No. 1 preseason ranking.
ALSO: Tennessees Luke
Hochevar and Nebraskas
Alex Gordon also star on
the college landscape.

News travels fast in New Orleans.


The thing you have to realize about this
town is its the largest small town in America,
Tulane coach Rick Jones said. If I have green
beans for lunch, 15 people know about it by
6 oclock in the evening.
So its no surprise that before Jones woke
up on the morning Baseball America named
Tulane the preseason No. 1 team, he already
had eight voicemail messages waiting on his
cell phone.
Tulane lost in the super regional at eventual
national champion Cal State Fullerton a year
ago, but returns eight of its top 10 position
player and five of its top seven pitchers from
that club. Plus it brought in the nations No.
4 freshman class before adding All-America
righthander/DH Micah Owings as a transfer
from Georgia Tech.
That nucleus prompts fans to talk about
the College World Series and Omahaa
place Tulane has gone only once, in 2001.
That club won a school-record 56 games
behind Jake Gautreau, Michael Aubrey, Tony
Giarratano and James Jurries.
If you look back at 01, we had a lot of
players that are now playing professionally,
Jones said. This club is as talented, but a little
deeper and has a little more experience.
Things start, as they do with most winning
baseball teams, on the mound. Tulane returns
three of its top four starters from 2004 in
Brian Bogusevic, J.R. Crowel and Billy Mohl.
Owings gives them four established juniors.
January 29February 12, 2016

The wait is almost over. The college


season is just around the corner and
our annual College Preview will get you
ready to map out the road to Omaha.
Well have the Preseason Top 25 and our
Preseason All-America Team, as well as
the skinny on which prospects to keep
an eye on for the upcoming draft as we
head into the spring.

COVER PHOTO: JOHN WILLIAMSON

Correa admits to hacking


BY VINCE LARACINISOMO

Chris Correa, the Cardinals former scouting director who was fired in July after just six
months on the job, pleaded guilty on Jan. 8
to federal charges related to his involvement
in hacking into the Houston Astros computer
network.
Correa entered his guilty plea to five charges of unauthorized access to a protected
computer in front of
U.S. District Court
Judge Lynn Hughes
in Houston, as part of
a plea agreement with
federal prosecutors.
The
maximum
penalty on each of
the five counts is
up to five years in
prison, a fine of up
to $250,000 and
restitution. Correas Chris Correa
sentencing hearing is
scheduled for April 11.
Yes, your honor, I accept responsibility
for my mistakes, Correa told Judge Hughes,
according to the newspaper.
Correa said he broke into the Astros computer system based on suspicion that the
Astros had acquired data from the Cardinals.
Current Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow
worked for the Cardinals before taking over in
Houston in 2011.
According to the federal indictment, Correa
accessed the email account of one Astros
employee, and the accounts of that employee
and another in the Astros proprietary database known as Ground Control. Neither of
the Astros employees was identified.
In the plea agreement, the estimated value
of the information Correa acknowledged
accessing was set at $1.7 million, and the
amount of information he would have at least
had access to was enormous.
We have secured an appropriate conviction in this case as a result of a very detailed,
thorough and complete investigation, U.S.
Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a statement. Unauthorized computer intrusion is
not to be taken lightly. Whether its preserving

the sanctity of Americas pastime or protecting


trade secrets, those that unlawfully gain proprietary information by accessing computers
without authorization must be held accountable for their illegal actions.
The Cardinals had no comment after the
court appearance, though general manager
John Mozeliak did speak about the aftermath for the Cardinals at a press conference
announcing the signing of Korean reliever
Seung Hwan Oh. He said he did not expect
any other Cardinals employees to be implicated, but that Major League Baseball might
still impose penalties on the organization.
I imagine its certainly a possibility,
Mozeliak told Baseball America correspondent Derrick Goold of the St. Louis PostDispatch. But I cant speak for the commissioners office.
In a statement, MLB said, Major League
Baseball appreciates the efforts of federal law
enforcement authorities in investigating the
illegal breach of the Astros baseball operations
database, and identifying the perpetrator of
this crime. We anticipate that the authorities
will share with us the results of their investigation at the appropriate time, and we will
determine what further actions to take after
receiving all the relevant information.
Correa, 35, was promoted to scouting director in December 2014. Last June, The New
York Times reported that the Cardinals were
being investigated by the Justice Department
for hacking a network of the Astros that
housed proprietary databases. That probe
stemmed from the leak of information about
trade discussions and other personnel decisions involving the Astros that were published
on Deadspin.com and other websites.
Correa was placed on a leave of absence
before being fired in July.
Goold first reported the story. A source told
Goold that Correa admitted hacking into
the database but said it was to verify that the
Astros had stolen proprietary data.
Correa had worked for the Cardinals since
2009 in statistical analysis, first as a qualitative
analyst, then as manager (and later director)
of baseball operations. He had been involved
with the Cardinals drafts and had gained
scouting experience.

BaseballAmerica.com

Swapping prospects

Disregarding whether they would approve it,


what would be five prospect-for-prospect trades
you could envision helping both teams moving
forward?
MATT HUML, LOUISVILLE, KY.

hanks, Matt, for a great question.


Prospect-for-prospect challenge trades
rarely happen. More often prospects
are traded for big leaguers, but that doesnt
mean we cant sketch out some realistic trades
(on paper at least) that move prospects who
can help both teams. Space wont permit me
to break down all five trades here, but heres a
look at the top proposal as well as four other
trades that make some sense.
Red Sox trade 2B Yoan Moncada to Mets
for LHP Steven Matz and SS Luis Carpio.

This is the blockbuster of all these offerings.


Moncada is one of the best position prospects in baseball. Matz is among the best pitching prospects in the game. And a swap would
help fill needs for either team. Moncada could
be the Mets long-term answer at second base
(where Neil Walker has been acquired as a
short-term Daniel Murphy replacement), and
his versatility means he also could become a
rangy, explosive center fielder. Thats not an
option in Boston, which currently has Mookie
Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
For the Red Sox, the only risk in acquiring
Matz is his injury history. Stuff-wise, hes a
frontline starter who has demonstrated that in
the big leagues. And he has thrown 150-plus
innings each of the past two seasons, so many
of those health concerns have been somewhat
alleviated.
Initially this deal did not include Carpio,
but a scout surveyed about the trade said he
felt that Moncada is a significant enough talent and Matz has enough injury concerns that
he believed the Mets would have to include
an additional piece. Carpio fits the bill as a
middle infielder who is far enough away (he
played in the Appalachian League last season)
that his ETA would be closer to the 20192020 window where Boston may eventually
start looking for middle-infield help.
PROPOSAL 2: Pirates trade OFs Austin
Meadows and Willy Garcia to Reds for LHP
Cody Reed.
PROPOSAL 3: Rockies trade 3B Ryan
McMahon and SS Pedro Gonzalez to Astros
for SSs Alex Bregman and Nolan Fontana.
PROPOSAL 4: Cardinals trade RHPs Luke
Weaver and Sandy Alcantara to Cubs for SS
Gleyber Torres.
PROPOSAL 5: Royals trade OF Brett Eibner
and RHP Pedro Fernandez to Cubs for 1B
Dan Vogelbach and 2B Arismendy Alcantara.
The most obvious minor league logjam is
the Pirates surplus of outfielders. A swap with
the Reds would help both teams. Other deals
could get Vogelbach into a DH role, give the
Cardinals a long-term answer at shortstop and
bring the Astros a third baseman who could
round out their infield.

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Uptons free agency


doesnt follow script
As Justin Upton
accrued the necessary
service time to move
closer to free agency,
two questions predominated. How many
teams would pursue
him, and how high
would the price tag
soar?
Baseball Writer,
Amid the incessant
ESPN.com
news vacuum since
Upton first appeared
on the market, the lack of buzz has generated
a different question: Where is the love?
The planets all seemed to align properly for
Upton as free agency beckoned. He hit the
open market in November as a 28-year-old,
three-time all-star who could provide consistent production at a time when offense is
extremely hard to find.
Two months into the process, the market
was lagging enough that his agent, Larry
Reynolds, released a statement to dispel the
notion that Upton might be willing to consider a one-year pillow contract and go back
on the market again in a year.
We are not considering shorter-term deals
at this time, Reynolds said. The goal has
been and will continue to be a long-term
contract for Justin Upton.
Timing is inevitably a factor in free agency,
and Uptons isnt the greatest. He hit free agency in a winter when teams prioritized pitching,
so a lot of money came off the board. David
Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Jordan
Zimmermann, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake
and Wei-Yin Chen will make a combined
$913.5 million over the course of their next
contracts, and MLB clubs have spent about
$1.3 billion overall on starters and relievers.
Upton incurred a double whammy with
the presence of a bountiful outfield market
this offseason. Teams in search of a bat could
choose among Upton, Jason Heyward, Yoenis
Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Chris Davis, who
is being pitched by agent Scott Boras as a
potential corner outfield placeholder until a
first base opening arises.
The White Sox, Orioles, Angels, Cardinals,
Tigers, Rangers and Red Sox have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Upton.
But they all seem either lukewarm about signing him, resistant to committing to a six- or
seven-year deal or content to wait in hopes
that the price will drop.

Jerry
Crasnick

Fredi A Fan
Uptons stint in free-agent purgatory has
been perplexing to some people in the industry. The roster of puzzled bystanders includes

Fredi Gonzalez, who managed Upton in


Atlanta in 2013 and 14. Upton averaged
28 homers and 86 RBIs per year and won a
Silver Slugger award as a Brave. To this day,
when he has a particularly productive game at
the plate, Gonzalez will see the box score and
shoot him an attaboy text.
Hes been one of my favorite players that
Ive managed in my career, Gonzalez said.
He shows up at the ballpark every day ready
to play. Hes respectful. He knows the game.
Hes a great teammate and clubhouse guy. He
puts out 20-plus home runs and 100-plus
RBIs, and people are like, He could do more.
Well, you know what? If he does 20 homers
and 100 RBIs for the next 10-12 years, hell
be one of the premier righthanded hitters in
the big leagues. Thats a hell of a career. I think
there are a lot of teams missing the boat on
him. I really do.
Why the prolonged wait for Upton? Market
forces and economics are part of the story,
obviously. But it also appears hes a victim of
some industry biases and a narrative beyond
his control.

The Weight Of Expectations


From the moment Upton wowed scouts at
Long Beach States Blair Field as a 14-year-old
shortstop at the 2002 Area Code Games, he
was destined to be a prisoner of hype. The
Diamondbacks drafted him No. 1 overall in
2005 and signed him to a record $6.1 million
bonus, and he made it to the majors at age 19.
The term five-tool prospect doesnt seem
strong enough for Upton, Baseball America
wrote in 2007. He does everything exceptionally well and already has the body and
composure of a big leaguer.
Fast-forward nine years, and Uptons top
Baseball-reference.com comparables include
Ruben Sierra, Larry Hisle, Jayson Werth,
Adam Jones, Jason Bay, Preston Wilson and
Carl Everett. While thats nice company, those
names fail to elicit the spine-tingling euphoria
that the early buzz heralded.
Since his first full season, Upton ranks
eighth among MLB outfielders with 173 home
runs and 12th in slugging percentage at .478.
Upton has spent the past three seasons playing
at Turner Field and Petco Park, ballparks that
are more favorable to pitchers, in lineups that
dont afford him a lot of protection. But those
qualifiers only do so much to temper the perception that hes failed to live up to the hype.
Hes in the mold of Eric Davis, who spent
much of his career dogged by the realization
that he wasnt the next Willie Mays.
The problem with Justin is other peoples
unrealistic expectations of Justin, said a longtime MLB executive. He was the top pick in
the country, and people expected this guy to be

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Justin Uptons wait for a new contract proved


far longer than anyone anticipated

Superman throughout his career. They expected him to be a guy who hits 35 homers with
100-some RBIs and a high average every year,
and honestly, I dont think he has that type of
ability in him. Who does? Its pretty rare.

The Demeanor
After getting knocked for everything from
his temper to his body language in the low
minors, Upton has worked hard to maintain
an even keel, yet now hes being penalized
for a different reasonhes soft-spoken and
reserved by nature, and some talent evaluators
equate that with a lack of passion.
It doesnt help his cause that his older brother, Melvin, went into a career death spiral after
signing a five-year, $75 million deal with the
Braves in 2012. Could Justin be a victim of
guilt by association?
Those concerns arent necessarily shared by
Uptons former coaches and managers, who
say he routinely runs out balls and plays with
effort. If the ultimate barometer of caring
is taking the field, Uptons commitment is
beyond dispute. Since 2011, he ranks 13th
among MLB players with 762 games played.
Hes fifth among outfielders in that stretch,
behind only Andrew McCutchen, Adam
Jones, Ichiro Suzuki and Jay Bruce.
Gonzalez, for one, thinks the team that
signs Upton will get its moneys worth. During
their time together, Gonzalez and Upton discovered they were both wine connoisseurs. If
things work out in the end, the skipper will
gladly collect the booty for his endorsement.
I hope he gets a contract and reads this
article, because Ill get a bottle of Pinot Noir
from him, Gonzalez said, laughing.
As the spring training reporting date for
pitchers and catchers draws near, its still too
early to start popping corks and planning
news conferences. Justin Uptons free agent
adventure has dragged on longer than anyone
expected. There could be more waiting and a
few more anxious moments to come.

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BaseballAmerica.com

January 29February 12, 2016

EDITED BY JOSH NORRIS

Mets executive
DePodesta jumps
to NFLs Browns

PERSPECTIVE | Paul Trap

paultrap@BaseballAmerica.com

January 29February 12, 2016

IN SHORT | PEPPER

Pioneer, HOFer
Irvin Dies At
Monte Irvin, one of Major League Baseballs
first black players and the second-oldest living
Hall of Famer, died on Jan. 11 at his home in
Houston. He was 96.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and
Museum made the news of Irvins death public
on Jan 12.
Monte Irvins affable demeanor, strong constitution and coolness under pressure helped
guide baseball through desegregation and
set a standard for American culture, said Jeff
Idelson, president of the Hall of Fame.
His abilities on the field as the consummate
teammate are undeniable, as evidenced by
World Series titles he contributed to in both
the Negro and Major leagues, and a richlydeserved plaque in Cooperstown. He was on
the original committee that elected Negro
Leagues stars to the Hall of Fame, something
for which the Museum will always be grateful.
Irvin played eight seasons in the majors for
the Giants and Cubs and was elected to the Hall
of Fame in 1973. Irvin later became a scout for
the Mets and then spent 17 years in the commissioners office.

BY VINCE LARACINISOMO

Paul DePodesta, a front office baseball


executive since 1997 and most recently the
Mets vice president of scouting and player
development, is changing teamsand sports.
DePodesta was hired by the NFLs Cleveland
Browns as chief strategy officer, as the team
made over its front office and coaching staff.
According to a team news release, DePodesta
will be responsible for assessing and implementing best practices and strategies that will
provide the organization with the comprehensive resources needed to make optimal
decisions.
He and new general manager Sashi
Browna Harvard graduate like DePodesta
will report to owner Jimmy Haslam.
We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an
extremely talented, highly respected sports
executive who will add a critical dimension
to our front office, Haslam said in a news
release. His approach and ambition to find
the best pathways for organizational success
transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high level sports executive make him
a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns.
Paul has invaluable experience in management and leadership with a number of highly
successful sports teams, Brown said in a
release. His ability to create better processes
and systems throughout organizations, his use
of data as a tool to produce better outcomes,
and his relentless focus on looking for innovative ways to create more success will be a
strong asset as we look to be as comprehensive
as possible in our decision making.
DePodesta had been with the Mets since
2011, first as assistant to GM Sandy Alderson,
whom he worked with in Oakland and San
Diego.
Working with Sandy, Paul put into process
a new approach toward player development
throughout our organization. Ownership and
all of us at the Mets thank Paul for his tireless efforts. We look forward to seeing Pauls
continued success with the Browns, Mets
chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said in a
statement.
DePodesta has been thought of as the most
likely heir to Alderson, who is undergoing
treatment for cancer this offseason.
Paul completely reorganized the Mets
scouting and player development functions
and had an extraordinary impact in both
areas, but he was also directly involved in our
trade and free agent acquisitions. His commitment to excellence and his passion for
innovation will be missed by the Mets and all
of baseball. I wish him well with the Browns,
Alderson said in a statement.
DePodesta, 43, played wide receiver at
Harvard and broke into baseball as an assistant in baseball operations with the Indians.
Cleveland and football have always held a
special place in my heart, he said in a release.
It was 20 years ago this month, after pursing
my first love of football and looking at every
possible job in the NFL, that I got the biggest break I could imaginea job offer from
the American League Champion Cleveland
Indians. As excited as I was then, I am even
more excited now to return to Cleveland and
to try to help the Browns.
DePodestas cross-sports move is not without precedent. Longtime college and pro football coach Lou Saban worked as president of
the Yankees in 1981 for George Steinbrenner,
who was a friend of Saban.

LEADING OFF

USA Baseball unveils


loaded NHSI eld
BY HUDSON BELINSKY

USA Baseball announced the 16 teams participating in the 2016 National High School
Invitational, and the field is loaded with quality high school teams as well as elite prospects,
including outfielder Blake Rutherford and
lefthander Braxton Garrett.
Seven of Baseball Americas Preseason High
School Top 100 Prospects will attend the
tournament in Cary, N.C. from March 23-26:
Rutherford (No. 3), Garrett (12), shortstop
Carter Kieboom (17), righthander Zach Hess
(24), shortstop Daniel Bakst (26), outfielder
Josh Stephen (81) and righthander Greg Veliz
(90).
Huntington Beach (Calif.) High. is the only
team returning from the 2015 NHSI, having
lost in the semifinal round to eventual champion San Clemente (Calif.) High. Huntington
Beach brings back most of its top talent,
including potential 2017 first-round pick
Hagen Danner. Danner will team up with
2017 transfer lefthander Nicholas Pratto and
2016 righthander Logan Pouelsen to form one
of the most potent rotations in the nation. All
three pitchers possess advanced command and
athleticism, making Huntington Beach the
early favorite to win the tournament.
Even with its pitching staff, Huntington
Beach will see plenty of competition. North
Broward Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.) has 10
seniors bound for college baseball, and Veliz
has the quick-twitch ability to dial his fastball
up to 96 mph. Veliz will team up with Evan
McKendry and Anthony Masiello to form one
of the top rotations in the tournament.
The First Academy (Orlando) won the
2014 NHSI, and will return to Cary with a
deep, talented roster. Senior Garrett Milchin
is committed to Florida as both a third baseman and righthanded pitcher. Junior shortstop and Notre Dame commit Cash Case
will also play a key role, as will sophomore
outfielder Kendrick Calilao and freshman
righthander Joseph Charles.

The first NHSI took place in 2012, when


Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) took
the inaugural crown. Mater Dei repeated as
champions in 2013, and will return to Cary
for another chance at national supremacy in
2016.
This year, Mater Deis best player is Stephen,
a lefthanded hitter with exceptional timing
and a quick trigger. Stephen has shown the
ability to handle elite pitching in the past, and
could set the table for Mater Dei against some
of the nations top arms at NHSI.
Poly Prep (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will represent
the northeast at the event this year. Led by
senior infielders Bakst and Anthony Prato,
the Blue Devils are coming off a 19-4 season.
Bakst, a Stanford commit, has proven himself
to be one of the best righthanded hitters in the
2016 draft class. Bakst will play third base this
spring, with the surehanded Prato manning
shortstop. 2017 Nicholas Storz has a physically imposing 6-foot-6 frame and his fastball
can already reach into the low 90s. Storz is
committed to Louisiana State. As a hitter,
Storz brings excellent raw power to the plate,
and should have an impact for Poly Prep.
With Kieboom at shortstop and righthander Zac Kristofak on the mound, Walton High
(Marietta, Ga.) also has a chance to compete
for the NHSI championship. Walton is coming off an excellent 2015 season, in which it
finished as the Georgia 6A state runners-up.
Kieboom, a Clemson commit, is one of the
nations best pure hitters, gifted with exceptional vision and timing.
The other schools participating in this
years NHSI are: Allatoona High (Acworth,
Ga.), Bingham High (South Jordan, Utah),
Chaminade College Prep (Canoga Park,
Calif.), Flanagan High (Pembroke Pines,
Fla.), Florence (Ala.) High, Houston High
(Germantown, Tenn.), Liberty Christian
Academy (Lynchburg, Va.), Rocky Mountain
High (Fort Collins, Colo.), Trinity Christian
Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.) and host school
Topsail High (Hampstead, N.C.)

BaseballAmerica.com

Anthopoulos Lands
With Dodgers
Alex Anthopoulos, who stunned the Blue
Jays and baseball by walking away from
Toronto after its first postseason appearance in
22 years, has been hired by the Dodgers as vice
president of baseball operations.
Anthopoulos, 38, will assist in all aspects
of baseball operations, the Dodgers said in a
news release.
We are thrilled to be bringing Alex on
board, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a news release.
Farhan (Zaidi), Josh (Byrnes) and myself all
have longstanding relationships with him and
believe his experience and perspective will be
tremendous assets to our organization.
Anthopoulos in October left the Blue Jays,
rejecting a five-year extension to stay, according to Blue Jays chairman Edward Rogers. The
decision came shortly after former Indians general manager Mark Shapiro assumed his role
as president and CEO of the Jays. Anthopoulos
was expected to work closely with Shapiro
before his surprise decision.
Anthopoulos denied there was any friction
with Shapiro, saying he just didnt feel it was a
fit to remain in Toronto.

MLB Promotes Bean


And Hires Pride
Major League Baseball on Jan. 7 named
former big league outfielder Curtis Pride as
its new Ambassador for Inclusion, while the
incumbent, Billy Bean, was promoted to vice
president for social responsibility and inclusion.
Pride, 47, who is deaf, played parts of 11
seasons in the majors for the Expos, Tigers, Red
Sox, Braves, Yankees and Angels after being
drafted by the Mets in the 10th round in 1986
out of William & Mary. His best season came in
1996 with the Tigers when he hit .300/.372/.513
in 95 games.
Curtis Pride is an inspiring example of determination and an outstanding role model for
kids and all those who overcome challenges,
commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news
release. He will offer a valuable perspective
as we continue efforts to foster an inclusive
environment for anyone who plays or is a fan
of our sport.

MAJOR LEAGUES Close-out sale

BOSTON

Of course Aroldis Chapman is a gamble, a huge gamble.


He also is the most prolific strikeout
reliever that ever strolled out of a major
league bullpen, and the Yankees add to a
dominant bullpen that included Andrew
Miller and Dellin Betances.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi immediately named Chapman the closer, with a
suspension pending for his involvement
Columnist,
MLB Network
in an alleged domestic violence incident.
When Brian Cashman made the deal,
he and Hal Steinbrenner knew theyd
hear from people repulsed by domestic violence. They know
Chapman could be suspended by Rob Manfred. They know
there is a chance something will go haywire in New York.
But they got the most overpowering reliever in the history of
baseball from the Reds for practially nothing. And if Chapman
is cleared of the domestic issues, they get something significant
for something insignificant. You take that chance.
Hey, the Texas Rangers, who twice have taken on Josh
Hamilton, recently signed Matt Bush, who had been out of
baseball since a drunken driving incident in Florida landed
him in jail. Bush will be 30 on Feb. 8 and hasnt pitched in four
years, but he served his time, worked for one last chance and
costs the Rangers nothing. They take that chance.
Bullpens are more important than theyve ever been; dont
think the Dodgers didnt want to acquire Chapman, they just
could not see taking the risk, especially as the news of his
personal problems had just come out and was hot. Even with
Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers envision the majority of their
games being set up so starters get 15-18 outs, the bullpen gets

Peter
Gammons

most of the third and fourth trips around the order, and by the
time April rolls around the Kershaw-to-Kenley Jansen, 12-man
staff will be aligned.
When Chris Archer pitches, the Rays bullpen usually isnt
asked to awaken until the seventh or eighth inning. Most
other games, the starters go twice around the order, when
Kevin Cash begins the assembly line to the 27th out, usually
with Brad Boxberger, and guys such as Steve Geltz and Xavier
Cedeno are important pieces to their season.
This is life in the American League East, where four of the
five ballparks often seem like squash courts. Buck Showalter
has aligned his pitching masterfully, using optionable contracts
for a Norfolk shuttle that creates the illusion of a 15-man staff
to get to Zach Britton and Darren ODay. So they lose WeiYin Chen? Theyre paying ODay $31 million for the next four
years for what he does and who he is.
Dave Dombrowski attacked the Red Sox pitching with an
alpha/omega plan. Yes, David Price is getting $217 million.
But Dombrowski traded four prospects to get three years
and $37 million of an elite closer in Craig Kimbrel, traded a
200-inning starter to get Carson Smith for the eighth inning
and has Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross, Steven
Wright and possibly Matt Barnes.
And, remember, the Yankees have Jacob Lindgren to replace
Justin Wilson, which enabled the deal for Luis Cessa.

A New Ballgame
Weve seen the Tigers go get Wilson, Francisco Rodriguez,
Mark Lowe and Mike Pelfrey. Houston, which was deep in
middle relievers, paid heavily for Ken Giles. Washington has
moved on three power middle men, while trying to stagger two
closers. The Cubs have three, maybe four relievers who can be
starters. Oakland has signed or acquired four relievers, some of

TOMASSO DEROSA

Yankees see Chapman risk


as one thats worth taking

The cost in terms of prospects for Aroldis Chapman was light

whom may have July trade value.


The Yankees have given up little and took on poor public
relations to back a questionable rotation with three of the great,
power back-end relievers on the planet, with adequate sixth
and seventh inning bridges. Lets say they go into the final 10
games of the season in a scrum with the Orioles, Blue Jays and
Red Sox, and in six or seven of those 10 gamesscheduled in
Toronto and at Yankee Stadium with Boston and Baltimore
they can go Andrew Miller in the seventh, Dellin Betances in
the eighth and Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
You take that chance.

DENVER

Tom Mooney was


working at the Balboa
Bay Club in Newport
Beach, Calif., in 1981,
rubbing
shoulders
with the wealthy, still
wanting to live his lifelong dream of being
involved in baseball.
It was all I ever
wanted to do growing
Columnist,
MLB.com
up, said Mooney, who
had played the game
through junior college
and coached at the high school and American
Legion levels.
And the next thing Mooney knew, he had
walked in the back door and found himself
very much involved in baseball. Mooney was
a Seattle Mariners area scout in 1987, and
he put in the first and the strongest recommendations for the franchise on a high school
prospect named Ken Griffey Jr.
The Mariners used the first overall pick in
the draft that June to select and sign Griffey,
who became the first homegrown Mariners
player to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
It was a moment that Mooney, who is now
with the Brewers and about to embark on
his 33rd season in pro scouting, can cherish
as well.
I am happy for him, and Im happy for
Senior, Mooney said in reference to Griffeys
father, who played 19 years in the big leagues.
His dad was still playing with the Braves
back then, and if they had a Monday off, hed
fly home to Cincinnati on Sunday night and

Tracy
Ringolsby

spend (Monday) with his son.


And Mooney knows plenty about being
down to earth himself. Working at the Balboa
Bay Club provided him a chance to meet one
of the members, George Argyros, who had
just purchased the Mariners prior to the 1981
season.
Thats how I got my foot in the door,
Mooney said. George eventually hired me
as a personal assistant. Id pick him up in the
morning, drive him around, run errands for
him. I did that for a year. I guess it was like
waiting tables in a steakhouse in New York
City (and) going to auditions on Broadway.
The two quickly developed a good relationship.
My first day on the job, George asked
me, Tom, what do you want to do for a
job? Mooney said. I told him I wanted to
work in baseball, and he laughed. Theres no
money in baseball. Why would you want to
do that?
Having developed the relationship with
Argyros, Mooney finally got his opportunity
in baseball. He joined the Mariners in 1984
as an area scout.

Lack Of Trust
It wasnt the best relationship (with the
baseball people), Mooney said. At first, they
thought I was Georges spy. They decided to
send (me) to Ohio and see what happens.
What the baseball people soon discovered
was that Mooney was all they could ask for.
He was a tireless scout, intent on being a
success in the baseball world, and he welcomed the advice of the veteran members of
the scouting staff, particularly Bill Kearns,

who became Mooneys scouting mentor.


His first major test came in 1987, with the
Mariners holding the No. 1 pick in the draft
and Mooney providing the initial evaluations
of Griffey.
Tom was very strong on Griffey, said
Dick Balderson, a scouting director with the
Royals who had become the Mariners general
manager prior to the 1985 season. And Roger
(Jongewaard), who was our scouting director,
was so experienced and a very good evaluator
and was just as committed to Griffey. They
both said Griffey was the best player in the
draft, and it turned out Griffey was far, far
superior to anybody else.
And there was more. Griffey and his family wanted him to be the first player taken in
the draft.
When the conversations about the potential
signing bonus began before the draft, that fact
was critical. The Mariners signed Griffey for a
$160,000 bonus, which was about $30,000 or
so less than Mark Merchant with the Pirates,
the second pick.
Griffey, however, had the distinction of
being the first player selected. And more
importantly to his father, his son was going
to a franchise that did not have a lot of depth
in the minor leagues, which meant Junior was
going to have the opportunity to get to the big
leagues quickly.
The son wasnt concerned about the difference in signing bonuses. He assured his father
that he would more than make up for that
$30,000 difference in the long run.
He was right. Griffey was in the big leagues
to stay less than two years after he was
drafted, following a road that has taken him

BaseballAmerica.com

TOM DIPACE

Griey proved himself and his scout

Ken Griffey Jr. and his family wanted him to


be the first player taken in the 1987 draft

to Cooperstown, where hell be enshrined


with the rest of the best to have ever played
baseball.
And Mooney?
He is smiling, remembering that 1987
draft, when he also scouted righthanded
pitcher Dave Burba, who was the Mariners
second-round selection. And Mooney is still
enjoying his life in baseball.
Its worked out nicely, said Mooney.
Griffey would have to agree.
January 29February 12, 2016

Texas two-step PERSPECTIVE

No division in baseball has less history


than the American
League West. Only the
Athletics existed before
1962; Oakland is their
third stop. The As
and the Angels (2002)
are the only ones to
have won World Series
championships; every
Editor in Chief
other division has at
Baseball America
least
three past chamjohnmanuel
pions.
@baseballamerica.com
The Rangers came
close in 2010 and
2011, losing back-to-back World Series. The
Mariners have had some of the greatest players in baseball and division historyheck,
at one time they had Ken Griffey Jr., Randy
Johnson, Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriguez
on the same roster, for three seasons. Houston
has its own history, including a World Series
appearance in 2005, but most of it came in
the National League.
The division-champ Rangers and wild-card
Astros made the playoffs in 2015, beating out
the Angels, who won 98 games in 2014 but
13 fewer last season. Oakland continued its
recent slidethe As won 96 games in 2013,
88 in 14 and just 68 in 15. Seattle fired GM
Jack Zduriencik en route to its 10th losing
season in the last 13 years.
Looking at the division with this issues
Top 10 Prospects lists, its impressive to see
the two best farm systems also belong to the
organizations with the two best big league rosters. The Rangers have a nice mix of veteran
contributors (from team leader/future Hall of
Famer Adrian Beltre to Shin-Soo Choo and
Prince Fielder) to young potential stars such
as second baseman Rougned Odor and cover
boy Joey Gallo. Texas could soon have the best
one-two rotation punch in the division as Yu
Darvish returns from Tommy John surgery to
join Cole Hamels.
Last Julys acquisition of Hamelswhos
signed through 2018 at a reasonable $23.5
million per yearwas a master stroke by the
Rangers, and brought a needed ace to keep
up with the Astros. Houston has reigning Cy
Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel to go
with emerging star Lance McCullers Jr., who
has the stuff to be a 20-game winner. Houston
also has the divisions top talent in shortstop
Carlos Correa.
Both clubs have much more talent on the
way. Gallo, Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara
are the kind of young hitters the Rangers need
to supplement their core of 30-somethings,
and the Astros have power arms such as righties Francis Martes and David Paulino to go
with envious depth, even after trading four
prospects for closer Ken Giles.

John
Manuel

International Deficit
Thats a major problem for the rest of
the division, particularly for the Angels and
Mariners, who have two of the worst farm systems in baseball. The Angels best teams from
2004-2009, when they won the division five
times, fused free-agent pickups like Vladimir
Guerrero and Torii Hunter with a homegrown
core from draft (Jered Weaver, Mike Napoli,
Howie Kendrick) and international (Erick
Aybar, Francisco Rodriguez, Ervin Santana)
success stories.
January 29February 12, 2016

The franchise still benefits from draft wins


such as Class of 2009 products Mike Trout
and Garrett Richards, but internationally, the
Angels are a shell of their former selves, with
few international products on the horizon.
They havent been a major factor internationally since firing then-international director
Clay Daniels and most of the scouts in his
department in 2009 over bonus-skimming
allegations.
When the Angels have developed prospects,
such as 2014 first-round pick Sean Newcomb,
they have traded them for big leaguers. And
the Angels usually have winning teams in
the majors, so they pick toward the back of
the first roundwhen they dont forfeit firstrounders after signing free agentsand have
smaller bonus pools.
New GM Billy Eppler knows they have to
win now, because the farm system isnt ready
to deliver much help.
The team is trying to be good now, said
lefthander Chris OGrady, who spent four
years in the Angels system before the Reds
selected him in the major league phase of the
Rule 5 draft. Its like the Yankees almost,
theyre expected to be good every year . . .
As a minor leaguer coming up in that system, its hard to make it to the majors and its
harder to stay there, because youre expected
to succeed right away.

KEN BABBITT

Texas teams take


charge in AL West

With young stars like Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros are set to compete for years to come

think anyone is going to start copying Billy


Beane in trading future MVPs with four years
of club control remaining.
Considering the As have the worst stadium
situation in the game along with the Rays,
they have a harder time keeping players

around once they get expensive.


That hasnt kept them from competing in
the very recent past. But considering both
current rosters and prospects, the AL West
looks like it will be a Texas tussle for much of
the foreseeable future.

Rebuilding Again In Seattle


Seattle, meanwhile, has hired ex-Angels
GM Jerry Dipoto, who has tried to rebuild
the big league club on the fly since being
hired in September. Hes made 11 deals,
some involving the precious few prospects the
Mariners had on hand.
He needs his new club mix it up in the
draft a bit. The Mariners have invested heavily in righthanded-hitting corner bats, none of
whom has come through either as a prospect
or as a big leaguer yet. Seattle has way too
many prospects with similar skills and profiles, such as corner outfielders Alex Jackson
and Tyler ONeill and corner infielder D.J.
Peterson.
The Mariners best years came after they
hit on top draft picks such as Griffey (1987)
and Rodriguez (1993), two of the best No.
1 overall picks ever. But Seattle hasnt found
a game-changing talent in the draft in years,
from now-traded Dustin Ackley (No. 2 pick
in 2009) to Danny Hultzen (No. 2 in 11) to
Mike Zunino (No. 3 in 12).
Dipoto also has to rebuild Seattles international program, which used to be one of the
most fruitful in the game under Bob Engle.
These player-development shortcomings will
make it challenging for Dipoto to turn Seattle
around, but that hasnt stopped him from
trying.
Oakland, as usual, remains the divisions
wild card. The As 16 division titles are the
most in AL West history, but the 2016 team
appears to remain in rebuilding mode, still
reeling from trading elite talents like Josh
Donaldson and Addison Russell in the last
18 months.
But no team in baseball has been as unpredictable than the As, who have an improving
farm system led by trade pickups Franklin
Barreto (who arrived in the Donaldson deal)
and Sean Manaea (from the Royals for Ben
Zobrist). The As have been ahead of the
industry several times in the past, but I dont
BaseballAmerica.com

BUSINESS BEAT A seahorse, of course

COMPILED BY JOSH NORRIS

Norfolk nds success


with new logo look
In the wild, seahorses can grow to be up
to 14 inches long. They typically weigh less
than a pound. They are not large or imposing
creatures.
When taken out of their natural habitat and
placed on shirts, jerseys and caps, however,
seahorses can have a monumental impact.
Just ask the Norfolk Tides accounting staff.
This offseason, the Tides, the Mets Triple-A
affiliate in the International League since
2007, are going through a brand overhaul.
Out went the blue T with the wave as its crest.
In its place, an angry-looking orange seahorse,
adrift in a sea of green.
The Tides also added a metallic-looking
N, enveloped by the type of chain used
to weigh down an anchor. Both images,
designed by minor league marketing specialists Brandiose, were used to pay tribute to
Norfolks nautical history.
Rebrands happen every offseason, whether
as part of a name change, a move or simply
an effort to spice up the status quo. In each
situation, a fresh look usually means a boon
for the teams coffers.
That has proven especially true in Norfolks
case.
As first reported locally by The VirginianPilot newspaper, the Tides merchandise sales
for December were up 2,100 percent as
compared to last December. To put that in
perspective, gas prices in Norfolk have risen
470 percent since 1969, when the team first
joined the IL.
Tides general manager Joe Gregory said he
expected the new logo, combined with the
holiday season, to bring a boost to the cash
register. He wasnt expecting anything close to
what happened.
We havent really changed our logo since
we moved to Harbor Park in 1993. So I imagine going back to those days is when youd
see some big jumps like (the current one),
Gregory said. Im heading into my fifth year
here as general manager and this is the by far
the biggest increase Ive ever seen.
And despite the expected financial benefit,
the decision to rebrand a team isnt one thats
taken lightly. The teams most loyal fansthe
ones who arent there to watch the newest
prospect or to watch the on-field promotionsare likely to become upset by a drastic
change.
In 2012, when the Reading Phillies
(Eastern) changed their name to the Reading
Fightin Phils, fans were particularly irate.
The Reading Eagle ran an online poll gauging
reaction to the switch, and nearly 90 percent
of the 1,136 respondents said they didnt want
the team to change its name.
Still, the brand marched on, and Reading
finished in the top two of Eastern League

attendance in each of the three seasons since


the name change.
Still, its a decision the Tides weighed carefully before going forward.
Having been in this area for so long, weve
built up a lot of equity, Gregory said. Thats
why we didnt want to change the name of
the Tides. The name Tides has a lot of brand
equity and staying power.
Beyond the new logo, the Tides revamped
look also ties in the orange of the parent
Orioles. The green with the orange helps
them stay unique within the ever-changing
minor league landscape.
The seahorse wasnt the only choice for the
Tides new logo. What were the others? They
arent saying. Thats because the candidates
that didnt make the final cut might appear
throughout the season as parts of various
promotions.
Until then, the Tides are looking to name
their horse. They started a contest on their
Facebook page asking readers for suggestions.
Some fans used this space to renew their
frustrations with the new name, but others
came up with names like Trident, Sultan,
Salty, Ripple and (on multiple occasions) Sea
Biscuit.
Itll be a few weeks before their new mascot
gets a name, but its effect has already been felt
in the front office.

Roaming Goats
On Jan. 12, after a few weeks of speculation, the Hartford Yard Goats (Eastern)
announced what seemed inevitable: Dunkin
Donuts Park will not be ready for Opening
Day, and the team will begin its first season in
Hartford on the road.
Specifically, the team plans to miss its first
17 home games, which will take them through
May 8. Instead of welcoming Richmond,
Portland, Harrisburg and New Hampshire,
the Yard Goats will instead travel to those
locations. Theyll have three off days during
that five-week stretch and two scheduled
doubleheaders.
The team also noted in a press release that
it will pay for tickets to the road games for its
season-ticket holders should they choose to
make the trips. The Yard Goats are moving
to Hartford from New Britain, and playing
games in their old ballpark was not an option
because an Atlantic League team has taken up
residence there.
The Goats extended road trip mirrors the
plights of the Biloxi Shuckers (Southern)
in 2015, the El Paso Chihuahuas (Pacific
Coast) in 2014 and the Scranton/WilkesBarre Yankees (International) in 2012. All
were forced into their situations by delays in
the construction of new stadiums.

Norfolk had not significantly changed its logo since moving into its current ballpark in 1993

In the Yard Goats case, however, the


problem seems to go deeper. The Hartford
Courant has reported that the Hartford
Stadium Authority is at an impasse over a $10
millon cost overrun with the stadiums developers, Centerplan Cos. and DoNo Hartford
LLC. The developers blame the city and its
stadium authority, while the city points the
finger the other way.
The authoritys chairman, Charles Mathews,
issued a statement on Dec. 21 which said in
part: DoNo Hartford has informed us that
the ballpark may not be ready until late spring
and there is a $10 million shortfall. The
Hartford Stadium Authority remains committed to working toward the goal of successfully
completing the ballpark, ready for baseball
in 2016, at no additional cost to the City of
Hartford.
The city approved a budget of $56 million
for the project, so an increase of $10 million
would present significant problems.
The Yard Goats owner, Josh Solomon,
did not respond to Baseball America for
comment, but told the Courant that he had
significant concerns about the project.
I see incompetence, Solomon said. I see
dishonesty. I see a lack of credibility. Im not
sitting in the citys chair, I cannot say they
should have handled DoNo differently, how
they did or didnt address it. But I, like them,
heard the developer say, Im going to deliver
this project on time and on budget, for well
over a year. I was there at the meetings.

Home Off The Range


When Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina)
marketing director Joe Valenti went to work
one night last August, he had an idea. When
he went home that night, he had a dog.
Well, almost.
That night, as so often happens at
Wilmingtons Frawley Stadium, the Cowboy
Monkey Rodeo was performing. If youre
unfamiliar with the concept, the act goes like

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this: Ringmaster Tim Lepard releases sheep on


to the field. The sheep run around for a while
until Lepard releases sheepdogs to herd them
back. Unlike regular sheepdogs, however,
these pups are carrying monkeys dressed as
cowboys.
The Blue Rocks were the first team to welcome the rodeo into its promotional schedule,
so Valenti was very familiar with Lepard and
his crew.
We had always had a good relationship
with Tim, the gentleman who runs the show,
Valenti said. For the past few years Id been
working with him as far as bringing him out,
coordinating with him, that sort of thing.
Weve become pretty friendly.
Valenti had heard one of the Cowboy
Monkey Rodeos dogs had recently retired
into a normal dogs life with another owner. A
year had gone by since Valenti and his wifes
dog had died and they had discussed whether
the time was right to look for another pet and
whether one of Lepards dogs would be a good
fit. Valenti mentioned it to Lepard during
the rodeos final performance of the season
in Wilmington, and Lepard surprised Valenti
that evening.
That night, on the field, as he was doing
his show finale . . . he announced that he was
retiring this dog to me, Valenti said, kind
of unbeknownst to me. He just did it as a
surprise. Yeah, I told him I was interested but
that was the only time wed discussed it.
Of course, he wasnt nearly ready to bring
home the new dog, a border collie named
Shot, so Valenti and Lepard made arrangements and Valenti brought Shot home just
before the new year. The Valentis also have a
young daughter, and the dog has meshed well
with his new family. Shots new life, of course,
is also less hectic.
Theyre obviously running around a lot,
Valenti said. They have these monkeys on
their back, literally. They can relax and, as
(Lepard) put it, live a dogs life.

Mike Trout

January 29February 12, 2016

Two-way tales PROSPECT PULSE

Samardzija proves it
pays to play baseball
BY J.J. COOPER

eres the story of two excellent, twosport stars and the difference between
baseball and football.
Jeff Samardzija was one of those rare players who was truly good enough to be a pro
football or pro baseball player. When he
finished his four years at Notre Dame, he was
the schools all-time leader in receiving yards.
Twice, he was a finalist for the Biletnikoff
Award, given to the best receiver in college
football. He was also an excellent pitcher,
going 21-6, 3.82 with the Irish.
Samardzija was an NFL draft prospect as a
receiver and a baseball prospect as a pitcher.
He chose baseball in part because the Cubs
gave him a guaranteed $10 million, but also
because he was considered only one of the top
10 wide receiver prospects in the 2007 NFL
draft, so he wasnt a surefire first-round pick.
More likely he would have been picked in the
second or the third round.
Calvin Johnson was one of the best wide
receivers college football had seen in years. A
member of that same 2007 NFL draft class,
Johnson was easily the top receiver in that
years draft, and one of the better wide receiver
prospects of the decade. So it was never a
tough decision for him to choose football,
but coming out of high school he was also
considered a promising baseball prospect as
an outfielder.
Johnson has lived up to every expectation.
Hes making a case to be considered among
the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.
Hes a six-time Pro Bowl choice and a threetime first-team All-Pro. He twice led the NFL
in receiving yards, ranks 27th in all-time
receiving yards and is only a year or so away
from likely cracking the top 20.

amardzijas baseball career has been


much more mixed. His initial major
league deal forced him to move quickly
to the big leagues, and it took him several
years to settle in. After struggling in 2009 and
2010, he broke through as a reliever in 2011,
moved to the rotation in 2012 and took a big
step forward in 2014, when he made the allstar team for the first (and so far only) time in
his career. As a 30-year-old, Samardzija took
a step backward last year, going 11-13, 4.96
with th White Sox in his final year before free
agency, with his ERA ranking 76th out of
78 pitchers who pitched enough innings to
qualify for the ERA title.
Samardizja has been very up and down as
a starter. In the past four years, he has posted
an ERA+ of 96, so in essence he has been
slightly worse than the average pitcher. Theres
still some promise there, but theres only been
one year in his career that Samardzija has produced as a frontline starter.
Heres where the difference in compensation between the NFL and MLB becomes
apparent.
So far, Johnson has done better financially
than Samardzija. According to Sport Trac,
over his nine NFL seasons Johnson has earned
$113.8 million. He could earn an additional
$67.7 million over the final four years of
his current deal, but none of that remaining
money is guaranteed. If Johnson is injured
tomorrow, the Lions could release him before
next season and avoid paying any of that
remaining money. And Johnson ended his
2015 season by saying he may retire. The

January 29February 12, 2016

At Notre Dame, Jeff Samardzija showed true


two-sport prowess as a pitcher and receiver

30-year-old is still one of the best wide receivers in the game, but he isnt sure he wants to
put more wear and tear on his body.
Johnson is as good as an NFL player gets.
Hes not a quarterback, but hes the best, and
the best-paid, wide receiver in the game.
Samardzija has been a promising if inconsistent starting pitcher. So far he has earned
$43.8 million, so Johnson has earned more.
But now that he has reached free agency
Samardzija has signed a five-year, $90 million
deal with the Giants that will ensure he will
earn $133.795 million by age 35. Baseball
deals are guaranteed, so Samardzija knows
hell collect every penny. And when that deal
is done, he still may have another contract in
his future.
When he wraps up his career, its possible
that Samardzija will make more as a baseball
player than Johnson will in his NFL career,
even though Johnson is a Hall of Fame-level
football player, while Samardzija is a middleof-the-road starting pitcher.

ost players dont really have a choice


between the NFL and MLB. Most
are significantly better at one sport
than the other. But if all things are equal,
Samardzija is a great example of how it pays
to play baseball.
Still, while it may pay to play baseball
instead of football (both for your wallet
and your health), it has become tougher for
baseball to compete for two-sport football/
baseball players who are coming out of high
school. Before the new Collective Bargaining
Agreement put in strict financial and draft
pick penalties for exceeding allowed bonus
allotments, teams could stretch to sign a twosport player.
Samardzija signed originally for a $7.25
million bonus on a deal that allowed him to
return to Notre Dame to play his senior season with the football team. Six months later,
the Cubs renegotiated to sign him to a $10
million major league deal to persuade him to
give up a chance of entering the NFL draft.
Samardzijas contract wasnt an outlier. It
was a standard approach to induce two-sport
players to focus on baseball. The Yankees
guaranteed third baseman Drew Henson $3.9
million in 1998 to play for them while he
also played football at Michigan. They then
reworked the deal to a six-year, $17 million
major league deal to steal him from football.
Joe Borchard signed with the White Sox
in 2000 for $5.3 million to give up a chance
to be Stanfords starting quarterback and a

potential high NFL draft pick. In the final


year of the old CBA, the Reds spent $1 million on 22nd-round pick Amir Garrett even
though he hadnt played baseball as a high
school senior. After three seasons of college
basketball and jumping to pro baseball during abbreviated summers, Garrett focused on
baseball full-time and is now one of the top
pitching prospects in the Reds system.
Those kind of deals are not an option
anymore. The new rules prohibit teams from
signing draftees to major league contracts and
Samardzijas original $7.25 million signing
bonus (which was in 2006 dollars) would
be more than any player has received in any
draft since the new rules went into effect in
2012. Teams would have to cut a lot from
other signings in the top 10 rounds to find
$1 million to spend on a 22nd-round pick
like Garrett.
Shortstop Kyler Murray, a 2015 Baseball
America Preseason High School All-American
and the first Under Armour All-American in
both football and baseball, opted out of the
baseball draft last season to play football and
baseball at Texas A&M. He has announced
his transfer to Oklahoma, meaning he will not
be playing baseball this spring. He will not be
eligible to play football this fall. Considering
that he will be competing for the Sooners
starting quarterback job next spring, its pos-

BaseballAmerica.com

sible that hes played his last game on the


baseball diamond.
In Murrays case, his decision to head to
Texas A&M led him to remove his name from
the draft. Brandon McIlwain, an outfielder/
quarterback, has already removed his name
from the 2016 draft by enrolling early at
South Carolina. Because football scholarships
are full scholarships, players who play both
baseball and football in college are generally
football players first.
Unless the guy has an absolute true love for
baseball . . . thats the only way to get a guy like
that now, said Tim Wilken, now a specialassignment scout for the Diamondbacks and
the Cubs scouting director when Samardzija
signed. You dont have the financial capabilities of doing something like that.
There still are a few two-sport success stories for baseball. Blue Jays outfield prospect
Anthony Alford signed with the Blue Jays for
$750,000 as a third-round pick in 2012. In
his first three pro seasons he played a combined total of 25 games, but eventually Alford
focused on baseball after his football career
failed to get going and made up for lost time.
Alford is now the Blue Jays top prospect.
But its much harder to get a player to give
up football under the current draft bonus
rules, even if the long-term financials of baseball players are more promising than football.

WINTER WONDERS From Cuba to L.A.

Dodgers bet big on Sierra


The Dodgers are banking that the performance will eventually match the stuff on
Cuban righthander Yaisel Sierra.
The team has an agreement to sign Sierra
for six years and $30 million, according to
MLB.com, a contract that is exempt from the
international bonus pools.
Sierra, 24, ranked as the No. 13 player on
Baseball Americas list of the Top 20 Cuban
players still on the island last April. Sierras
athletic frame (6-foot-1, 170 pounds), clean
arm action and pure stuff are promising, though
his results never matched his potential in Cuba.
At his best, Sierra has looked like a midrotation starter. Yet last season in Cuba, Sierra
posted a 6.10 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 31
walks in 70 innings as a reliever, leading the
league with 11 wild pitches.
Still, Sierras stuff is impressive, with a
fastball that sat at 91-94 mph, touched 96 in
Cuba, and has reached 97 since then. His fastball has good life, enabling him to get swings
and misses in the strike zone. His slider flashes
as another plus pitch with tight spin and late
tilt. Sierra also threw a splitter when he was in
Cuba, though he has since ditched that pitch
in favor of a changeup. Like many Cuban
pitchers, Sierra used to throw from multiple
arm angles in Cuba, getting more movement

on his pitches when he dropped to a lower


arm slot, though he now pitches exclusively
from a higher arm angle.
There are some similarities between Sierra
and Reds righthander Raisel Iglesias, another
Cuban pitcher with good stuff who frequently
pitched from multiple arm angles when he
was in Cuba, with Sierra having more size but
Iglesias showing more polish and better performance in his final season in Cuba. Sierra
should start somewhere in the upper levels of
the minors, possibly in Triple-A.

Two Cleared To Sign


Two top Cuban prospects have received
clearance from the commissioners office to be
eligible to sign.
Randy Arozarena, who has showcased as a
shortstop but also has experience as an outfielder, was declared eligible to sign. The commissioners office also informed teams that
outfielder Lazaro Armenteros will be eligible
to sign on Feb. 10. Both players are subject to
the international bonus pools.
Arozarena, 20, ranked as the No. 9 player
in Baseball Americas Top 20 Cuban player
rankings in April. Hes a quick-twitch athlete
with plus speed, a sound righthanded swing
and a good eye at the plate, with the potential
to become a top-of-the-lineup hitter who
can play somewhere in the middle of the

diamond. In his final season in Cuba (201415), Arozarena batted .291/.412/.419 with
36 walks and 37 strikeouts in 74 games and
ranked second in the league in stolen bases
with 15 in 21 attempts.
Armenteros, 16, had been one of the top
hitters in his age group in the Cuban junior
national leagues. In August 2014, he played
in the 15U World Cup in Mexico, where he
hit .462/.611/.962 with 10 walks and eight
strikeouts in 36 plate appearances.

Pena Leaves Indians


The Indians will have a new scouting boss
in Latin America after the team parted ways
with Ramon Pena.
Pena, who was in charge of the teams Latin
American scouting since Nov. 2009, has been
in scouting for 34 years, including previous
stints with the Mets, Tigers and Royals.
Over the course of the last several weeks,
Ramon and I had a chance to talk through our
vision for Latin America, Indians president
of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said.
Throughout the course of that dialogue,
after a lot of discussion, we both thought it
would be best to go our separate ways. It was
an amicable split.
Antonetti said the team was still in the process of determining who will be in charge of
the teams Latin American operations.

PERFECT GAME

BY BEN BADLER

The Dodgers shelled out $30 million to sign


Cuban righthander Yaisel Sierra for six years

We agreed upon parting ways in a mutual,


friendly way, Pena said. I want to thank the
Dolan family for the opportunity they gave
me to work for a fine organization like the
Cleveland Indians.
The Blue Jays also hired Gil Kim, who
had been the international director for the
Rangers, as their new farm director, leaving
a vacancy in Texas for the teams top international position.

Reds pay costly price


to sign Cuban shortstop
The Reds having
an agreement to sign
21-year-old
Cuban
shortstop
Alfredo
Rodriguez is no surprise. The word for
months had been that
the Reds were the
favorites to sign him.
With
Rodriguez
becoming a free agent
National Writer
on Jan. 11, he and the
Baseball America
Reds are now in agreebbadler
ment to sign for $6 mil@baseballamerica.com
lion, with a source confirming that Rodriguez
will sign his contract during the current 201516 signing period rather than wait for the new
bonus pools to kick in on July 2.
While not unexpected, it is still an enormous price to pay, both in terms of the money
the Reds will spend and opportunity cost.
The Rodriguez signing will put the Reds
well over their international bonus pool,
resulting in a 100-percent tax on their pool
overage and restricting them to signings of no
more than $300,000 on pool-eligible players
during the next two signing periods.
The Reds have a $2,873,000 bonus pool
for the current 2015-16 signing period, which
began last year on July 2, with their current
spending having put them right at the cusp
of maxing out their pool already. So the total
amount between the bonus and the tax that the
Reds will pay to sign Rodriguez is $12 million.
That itself is pricey for a slick defender
who has a long, long way to go at the plate.
Rodriguez is a solid prospect who any team
would like to have, but his talent is commensurate with players who have gone in the third

Ben
Badler

10

BaseballAmerica.com

to the sixth rounds of the draft in recent years.


Rodriguez was the Serie Nacional rookie of
the year last season, though he won the award
in part because outfielder Yusniel Diaz left the
country before the winner was announced.
Rodriguez hit just .265/.301/.284 in 304
plate appearances.
Rodriguez doesnt swing and miss excessively, but his righthanded swing will need
work, his overaggressive approach impairs his
ability to get on base, he lacks power now and
doesnt project to hit for power in the future.
The selling point on Rodriguez is his defense.
Hes a plus runner with excellent footwork,
quick actions, good agility and body control
along with a nose for the ball, and won a gold
glove award in his only Serie Nacional season.
Beyond paying $12 million for a player
with that offensive risk, the Reds will sacrifice
more than most teams by going over their
bonus pool. The exact pool numbers arent
out yet for the upcoming 2016-17 period,
but the Reds know they will have the secondhighest bonus pool in baseball. Last years No.
2 pool space checked in at $4.97 million, so
this year the Reds likely would have had at
least $5 million in their pool.
Theres still time for the Reds to sign more
players subject to the bonus pools before the
current signing period closes on June 15.
Cuban outfielder Jorge Ona, still waiting for
free agency, also trains in the same program
as Rodriguez. He could be one target, as
could shortstop Randy Arozarena or outfielder Lazaro Armenteros or a pitcher like Norge
Ruiz or Vladimir Gutierrez. Signing multiple
players from that group would be smart at this
point, but paying $12 million for Rodriguez
and giving up two years of bonus pool advantages is a steep sacrifice to make.
January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

Astros see minor titles pay dividends


BY J.J. COOPER

t has been an impressive run of success


at the minor league level for the Astros.
Houston spent the first several years of
Luhnows tenure as the worst team in baseball at the major league level before turning
into a playoff team in 2015. In the minor
leagues, the success came much more quickly.
From 2012-2015, the Astros won 55 percent of their minor league games, easily the
best in the minors over that stretch (the Mets
are second).
What makes that surprising is just how
bad Houston was in the minors right before
January 29February 12, 2016

CREDIT

o matter how many dogpiles and postgame celebrations you are a part of,
you never really plan what to do.
The final out is recorded, the sprint and
the screaming begins and rational thought is
replaced by euphoria.
Tyler White has become an expert. His
three years as an Astros minor leaguer have
each ended in championship celebrations.
And in every one of those years, the celebration is always just a blur of excitement, a
mass in the middle of the field and a lot of
yelling.
White and his teammates have learned
from experience. Triple-A Fresnos Pacific
Coast League title never turned into a
dogpiletoo much risk of someone getting spiked or otherwise injured. Instead, it
turned into a mosh pit around the pitchers
mound. For many of the players in the celebration, this wasnt their first championship.
Theyve lived and learned.
Its never bad to be labeled as winners.
Thats definitely a good thing, White said.
White was on short-season Tri-Citys New
York-Penn League champs in 2013. He and
several of those same teammates moved up to
high Class A Lancaster to win the California
League title in 2014. And last year he was
a midseason promotion to Fresno, where
he helped the Grizzlies win the PCL and a
Triple-A National Championship.
White is an anomaly in that hes gone
three-for-three on winning titles, but if
you are an Astros minor leaguer of recent
vintage, theres a good chance that at some
point youll win a championship and learn
to enjoy the feel of a celebration. Last year,
Houston sent six of its seven minor league
affiliates to the playoffs. The Grizzlies and
Rookie-level Greeneville (Appalachian
League) each won titles. Over the past four
seasons, Houstons minor league teams
have won six minor league titlestied with
the Diamondbacks for the most over that
stretch. The Red Sox have five minor league
crowns, the only other team with more than
three.
In spring training, the Astros award championship rings to their minor league teams
that won titles the year before. The team
flies in the minor league teams general manager, theres a dinner, general manager Jeff
Luhnow speaks and the team is honored in
front of the organization.
You come in and get a really good meal.
Its a blast, White said.
Two years ago, Carlos Correas impromptu
speech at the low Class A Quad Cities ring
ceremony was yet a further indicator of why
the Astros believed he was a natural leader.
The Astros have gotten plenty of practice at
throwing the party. With at least one title
every year, the Astros have had a reason to
have a championship banquet every spring
training of Luhnows tenure so far.

Tyler Whites career is a microcosm of the Astros recent run of minor league success

Luhnow and his staff arrived. From 20082011, Houston finished with the worst
record in the minors three times in four
yearsand the one year they werent 30th,
they were 29th.
During those four years, Houstons minor
league teams had a collective .417 winning
percentage. From 2008 to the present, no
other organization has had any one season
where their affiliates finished with a winning
percentage that poor. No other team has won
less than 46 percent of its games over that
time period.
When Jeff and the regime came over a
few years back, the organization not only
wanted to replenish the talent in the system
but also change the culture, Astros director of player personnel Quinton McCracken
said.
The rebuilding effort that began in 2011
under previous general manager Ed Wade
started to lay the groundwork, but Luhnows
scouting and analytics-based approach has
helped the Astros win at every level in recent
years.
When Luhnow was scouting director in
St. Louis, the Cardinals had a knack for getting value both at the top and much deeper
down in their drafts. Not coincidentally, the
Cardinals won 52 percent of their minor
league games and five minor league titles
from 2008-2011.
Houston has seen a similar payoff. The
Astros had developed an impressive depth
of minor league talent. They are winning
with youth and prospects. Fresno won the
Triple-A National Championship with the
youngest lineup and the second-youngest
pitching staff in the Pacific Coast League.
Double-A Corpus Christi had the best record
in the Texas League (89-51) with the youngest lineup and the youngest pitching staff in
the league. Greeneville won the Appalachian
League title with the third-youngest lineup
and second-youngest pitching staff in the
league.
Its been a collective effort. Changing
the whole image of the organization,
McCracken said. When you draft players
and develop them properly, the end results
are teams that are competitive . . . It starts
with the foundation of drafting quality,
talented players that have those intangibles
and that winning mentality. The Correas of
the world, the (Alex) Bregmans, they make

MASTERING THE MINORS


Since general manager Jeff Luhnow arrived in Houston before
the 2012 season, the team has had the best record in the
minors and has won the most minor league titles.
Team
Astros
Mets
Twins
Diamondbacks
Rangers
Giants
Cardinals
Rays
Yankees
Nationals
Cubs
Pirates
Red Sox
Dodgers
Blue Jays
Athletics
Indians
Tigers
Rockies
White Sox
Marlins
Phillies
Mariners
Braves
Orioles
Royals
Padres
Angels
Reds
Brewers

W
1682
1608
1468
1627
1462
1447
1562
1552
1548
1419
1393
1471
1397
1385
1518
1379
1362
1354
1393
1357
1347
1347
1438
1323
1342
1421
1318
1311
1283
1273

L
1376
1373
1285
1445
1310
1332
1476
1482
1483
1365
1342
1449
1390
1384
1522
1394
1408
1417
1459
1424
1423
1426
1527
1420
1446
1563
1459
1456
1479
1472

MiLB
PCT Titles
.550
6
.539
2
.533
3
.530
6
.527
2
.521
1
.514
3
.512
3
.511
1
.510
2
.509
3
.504
2
.501
5
.500
1
.499
2
.497
2
.492
3
.489
2
.488
2
.488
2
.486
1
.486
0
.485
1
.482
1
.481
1
.476
3
.475
1
.474
1
.465
1
.464
1

players around them better. That can be contagious. It raises the bar.

o just how valuable is winning in the


minor leagues? Well, it depends. Its
possible to have rather meaningless
success by stacking a team with players who
arent age-appropriate for the level. But if
you can win with prospects then you might
have the makings of something, especially if
you are trying to turn around a team that has
been losing for far too long.
The primary goal of the development
system is to produce major league value,
Luhnow said Developing players should
always be the primary objective, and has
been both with the Cardinals when I was
there as well as the Astros since Ive been
here. Having said that, developing players

BaseballAmerica.com

while winning is the optimal outcome and


the winning speeds up their development.
Players that have a winning mindset in the
minor leagues carry that over to the big
leagues and it is an advantage. The talent
gaps between teams is small in pro ball and
often the teams that win are doing all the
little things right. Thats a mindset that helps
in the show.
The Royals front office knew a lot about
losing. When Dayton Moores front office
staff arrived and started trying to rebuild the
organization, they knew that they werent
going to be winning in the big leagues soon,
but they believed they could build a core of
young talent that would win on its way up.
It was a very conscious effort, said Royals
assistant general manager Scott Sharp, who
formerly was the farm director. We had not
won at the major league level. The focus was
on scouting and player development. The
idea was, well take this group and put them
together. If they win in the minor leagues,
that will translate to the major leagues. They
will expect to win because they have won all
along as teammates. So when they get to the
majors, Why cant we win here?
Kansas City tried to group Mike
Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer,
Danny Duffy and others together throughout the minors hoping they could build a
tradition of winning together.
The Moustakas-led Burlington Bees won
the 2008 low Class A Midwest League
title. Much of that same group won the
Double-A Texas League title in 2010 thanks
to Hosmers six playoff home runs, including two two-run home runs in a 6-5 win
in an elimination game against Springfield.
A year later, many of the same players won
the Triple-A Pacific Coast League title with
Omaha.
When Hosmer hit a two-run home run in
the 11th inning to beat the Angels in Game
Two of the 2014 American League Division
Series, many Royals flashed back to his Texas
League heroics. When the team arrived in
spring training in 2015 motivated to win a
World Series, Sharp couldnt help but think
about how many of those same players
responded to a surprisingly early playoff exit
in the 2009 high Class A Carolina League.
I think it was a very conscious effort to
teach these guys, Hey, you can win. Youre
going to win with these guys here and at the
major league level, Sharp said. When you
bring those players up together they become
accountable to each other. They have shared
in those experiences instead of a collection
of players who hadnt played together before.
I think its how you define winning at the
minor league level is the most critical part.
Its extremely important to win at the minor
league level, but you have to do it with the
right types of players. You cant put fifth
graders in a second-grade dodgeball game to
win it. But if you teach the second graders to
win, thats important.
When the Royals get their World Series
rings, it will be Duffys seventh championship ring (2008 Midwest League, 2010 Texas
League, 2011, 13 and 14 Pacific Coast
League, 2014 American League and now
2015 World Series). Its fair to say that this
latest ring will be a little pricier than the
other six in his safe.
No Astros player has seven rings, but many
have two or three. And more and more
Astros are reaching the majors having won
on a smaller stage. And Houston has reason
to believe that will pay dividends in the big
leagues as well.

11

HOUSTON
ASTROS
ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
General manager: Jeff Luhnow.
Farm director: Quinton McCracken.
Scouting director: Mike Elias.
FARM SYSTEM

Classification
Affiliate
Triple-A
Fresno
Double-A
Corpus Christi
High Class A
Lancaster
Low Class A
Quad Cities
Short-season
Tri-City
Rookie
Greeneville
Rookie
GCL Astros
OVERALL 2015 RECORD

W
L
84 59
89 51
75 65
88 50
42 33
34 33
19 41
431 332

BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average
Best Power Hitter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline
Fastest Baserunner
Best Athlete
Best Fastball
Best Curveball
Best Slider
Best Changeup
Best Control
Best Defensive Catcher
Best Defensive Infielder
Best Infield Arm
Best Defensive Outfielder
Best Outfield Arm

A.J. Reed
A.J. Reed
Nolan Fontana
Myles Straw
Daz Cameron
Francis Martes
Francis Martes
Riley Ferrell
Chris Devenski
Joe Musgrove
Alfredo Gonzalez
Alex Bregman
J.D. Davis
Daz Cameron
Teoscar Hernandez

PROJECTED 2019 LINEUP


Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
No. 1 Starter
No. 2 Starter
No. 3 Starter
No. 4 Starter
No. 5 Starter
Closer

Jason Castro
A.J. Reed
Jose Altuve
Alex Bregman
Carlos Correa
Daz Cameron
Carlos Gomez
George Springer
Kyle Tucker
Dallas Keuchel
Lance McCullers Jr.
Francis Martes
Joe Musgrove
David Paulino
Ken Giles

Farm system fuels majors success


BY J.J. COOPER

f the Astros have their way, the 86-win 2015


season that ended in the American League
Division Series will be remembered as a sign
that their plan was on schedule. It was a step
forward, but only a first step.
After three straight sub-60 win seasons and
a basement-dwelling 70-win season in 2014,
the Astros came the closest of any playoff team
to knocking off the World Series champs. The
Astros were six outs and a four-run lead away
from eliminating the Royals in Game Four of the
ALDS. Kansas Citys seven-run outburst in the
final two innings propelled the Royals to their
first World Series title in 30 years. In the process
it reminded the Astros that the bullpen needed
further help.
Better days should be ahead for Houston.
Carlos Correa, already one of the best shortstops
in the game, wont turn 22 until the final month
of the 2016 season. While Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel will have a hard time topping
his outstanding 2015 season, a full season of
22-year-old righthander Lance McCullers should
give Houston a solid No. 2 starter to follow
Keuchel. Houston has a young core of stars and
a number of solid regulars to fit around them.
Thats by plan. The Astros rebuilding plan has
always been focused on numbers.
As one of the games most analytical teams,
the Astros rely a lot on statistics, but those arent

BILL MITCHELL

AMERICAN
LEAGUE
WEST TOP 10
PROSPECTS

Carlos Correa should be the Astros shortstop


and franchise cornerstone for the next decade

the numbers were talking about. Under general


manager Jeff Luhnow, the Astros have focused
on depth. If one prospect is good, five are much

NO. 1

PROS
PECT

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Jason Hirsh, rhp
Hunter Pence, of
J.R. Towles, c
Jason Castro, c
Jason Castro, c
Jordan Lyles, rhp
Jon Singleton, 1b/of
Carlos Correa,ss
Carlos Correa, ss
Carlos Correa, ss

2015 Org.
Did not play
Giants
Did not play
Astros
Astros
Rockies
Astros
Astros
Astros
Astros

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE


Player, Pos.
Max Sapp, c
*Derek Dietrich, 3b (3rd round)
Jason Castro, c
Jio Mier, ss
Delino DeShields Jr., 2b
George Springer, of
Carlos Correa, ss
Mark Appel, rhp
*Brady Aiken, lhp
Alex Bregman, ss

2015 Org
Did not play
Marlins
Astros
Astros
Rangers
Astros
Astros
Astros
Indians
Astros
* Did not sign

LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY


Mark Appel, 2013
Alex Bregman, 2015
Carlos Correa, 2012
Kyle Tucker, 2015
Daz Cameron, 2015

12

$6,350,000
$5,900,000
$4,800,000
$4,000,000
$4,000,000

LARRY GOREN

Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

better. That depth paid off in multiple ways in


2015. Seven of eight domestic affiliates made the
playoffs.
In the draft, Houston has worked to make its
classes deeper. In 2012, a below-slot deal with
No. 1 pick Correa paid off in above-slot deals to
Lance McCullers (a big league starter) and Rio
Ruiz (since traded to the Braves for Evan Gattis).
The Astros also landed outfielders Brett Phillips
(since traded to Milwaukee) and Preston Tucker
in that same draft. In 2015, with the largest
signing-bonus pool (thanks in part to a compensation pick at No. 2 overall, for having failed to
sign 2014 No. 1 pick Brady Aiken), they added
Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron,
all top 15 talents.
Houston has a promising international development program adding further prospects to a
system that already has plenty.
That depth has allowed the Astros to improve
the big league roster. Six of the clubs Top 10
Prospects coming into the 2015 season (Mark
Appel, Mike Foltynewicz, Vince Velasquez,
Phillips, Ruiz and Josh Hader) have been traded,
netting Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers, Ken Giles,
Gattis and the since departed Scott Kazmir in
return. Even after that Houston still has one of
the best farm systems in the game.
In 2016, 86 wins should rank as a disappointment for Houston. What was a big step forward
yesterday will not be enough for a team that
should be a power for several years to come.

A.J. REED, 1B

SCOUTING GRADES

BORN: May 10, 1993. BT: L-L. HT.: 6-4. WT.: 240.
DRAFTED: Kentucky, 2014 (2nd round).
SIGNED BY: Nick Venuto.

BATTING: 60
POWER: 65.
SPEED: 30.

DEFENSE: 40.
ARM: 60.

Based on 20-80 scouting scalewhere 50


represents major league averageand
future projection rather than present tools.

BACKGROUND: When Reed arrived at


Kentucky as a freshman, he had been drafted
by the Mets, who didnt sign him in part
because they couldnt decide if he was a better prospect as a pitcher or a hitter. Kentuckys
coaching sta saw him as a potential ace who
as a bonus would be able to hit as well. Reed
lived up to every expectation as a pitcherhe
went 19-13, 2.83 in three seasonsbut was
an even better hitter. He won the BA College
Player of the Year award in 2014 after hitting
.336/.476/.735 with an NCAA-best 23 home
runs. His 23 home runs was more than 185
Division I teams hit that year. He also joined
David Price and Dave Magadan as the only
unanimous Southeastern Conference player
of the year honorees. Reed was Kentuckys
Friday starter and served as the DH all weekend to keep his body fresh. He was a legitimate draft prospect as a pitcher with an
88-92 mph fastball, but he was a much better
prospect as a hitter. Reed followed up his
excellent 2014 college season by leading the
minors in home runs (34), RBIs (127), slugging
percentage (.612) and OPS (1.044) in 2015.
He dominated the minors despite coming
into the season out of shapehe showed up
to camp at 285 pounds, at least 25 pounds
heavier than he hopes to play at in 2016.
SCOUTING REPORT: Reed has outstanding power and pairs it with an excellent
batting eye. That selectivity allows him to hit
for average and get on base. Reeds swing
has some length and he has long arms
that can get tied up. His above-average bat
speed combined with his natural strength
gives him double-plus raw power. Reeds

selectivity is exceptional. He doesnt just


dierentiate between balls and strikes, he
also takes strikes he cant drive. Hes comfortable hitting behind in the count and has an
advanced two-strike approach. His ability to
spoil pitches explains his surprisingly modest strikeout rate (20 percent) considering his
power. He uses the entire eld, something
that improved even more after he moved
up Double-A Corpus Christithe wind at the
Hooks home park usually blows directly in
from right eld, punishing lefthanded hitters
for a dead-pull approach. The biggest knock
on Reed oensively is he is much more comfortable facing righthanded pitchers. He hit
.238/.320/.397 against lefthanders after his
promotion to Double-A. Reed is adequate at
best defensively at rst base. If he shows up
in better shape in 2016, it should improve
his agility. His hands and arm are ne but he
doesnt have much range or speed.
THE FUTURE: Reeds upside is signicant.
He has a chance to become one of the rare
players who can produce above-average onbase and slugging percentages thanks to
selectivity and excellent power. He hasnt
shown he can do the same damage against
lefthanders, and he still can be induced to
chase a good breaking ball, so the Astros have
some incentive to let him head to Triple-A
Fresno to begin the 2016 season. But he will
get a chance to compete for a big league job
in spring training.

2015 Club (Class)


Lancaster (Hi A)
Corpus Christi (AA)

R H
75 110
38 68

B eballlAm
Base
Amer
merric
i a.com
.

AVG OBP
.346 .449
.332 .405

SLG
.638
.571

AB
318
205

2B 3B HR RBI
16
4 23 81
14
1 11 46

BB
59
27

SO SB
73
0
49
0

January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

BORN: March 30, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-0.


WT.: 180. DRAFTED: Louisiana State, 2015
(1st round). SIGNED BY: Justin Cryer.
BACKGROUND: Bregman has been one of
the best players everywhere hes ever played.
A USA Baseball veteran since early in his
high school days, he was the BA Freshman of
the Year in 2013, a two-time first-team AllAmerican for Louisiana State and, ultimately,
the second overall pick in the 2015 draft.
SCOUTING REPORT: Blessed with excellent
hand-eye coordination and a simple, level
swing, Bregman has plenty of bat speed and
is equally comfortable yanking the ball down
the left-field line or staying back and stinging
a ball to the right-field wall. He should be at least a plus hitter who racks up walks as well. His
range is average at best and his arm is only average as well, but he anticipates exceptionally
well and plays with a smooth unruffled grace. Nothing surprises him and the ball never seems
to eat him up. Hes an above-average runner who runs the bases well. Bregman has the power
to hit 10-15 home runs a year, but hes at his best when hes spraying line drives.
THE FUTURE: Bregman is one of the safer college picks in recent years with a long track
record of success and a Carlos Correa-like drive to succeed, but without Correas physical gifts.
At worst, Bregman should be an everyday second baseman who hits for average with occasional power. Hes on the fast track and should spend much of 2016 at Double-A Corpus Christi.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Quad Cities (Lo A)
.259 .368 .330 112 18 29 5 0 1 13 17 13 5
Lancaster (Hi A)
.319 .364 .475 160 19 51 8 4 3 21 12 17 8

BORN: Jan. 15, 1997. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2.


WT.: 185. DRAFTED: HSMcDonough, Ga.,
2015 (1st round supp). SIGNED BY: Gavin
Dickey.
BACKGROUND: Cameron was born into a
big league lifestyle. The year he was born his
father Mike became a big league regular. For
the next 15 years the elder Cameron stood out
as an exceptional defensive center fielder with
plenty of power. Just as Mikes career ended,
Daz stepped on to the scene, impressing at
the 2012 World Wood Bat Championship. The
Astros signed Cameron for the same $4 million
they gave to Kyle Tucker, the No. 5 pick.
SCOUTING REPORT: Cameron isnt the topof-the-scale defender his father was in center, but hes a plus defender with good routes,
anticipation and above-average speed once underway. He has plus bat speed and solid batto-ball skills, but he doesnt have as much explosiveness in his bat or athletically as scouts
once hoped. He projects more as a fringe-average hitter with average power. His speed plays
better underway than out of the box but he has demonstrated solid basestealing ability.
Camerons feel for the game and his body control is more notable than any one loud tool.
THE FUTURE: Cameron has a slightly lower ceiling than Kyle Tucker because of his lesser
power potential but he has a higher floor because of his ability to roam center field. Hell join
Tucker in low Class A Quad Cities in a loaded lineup.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
GCL Astros (R)
.222 .326 .250 72 14 16 2 0 0 6 9 18 13
Greeneville (R)
.272 .372 .350 103 20 28 2 3 0 11 16 31 11

6. JOE
MUSGROVE, RHP

HOUSTON ASTROS

MIKE JANES

5. DAZ
CAMERON, OF

January 29February 12, 2016

BORN: Dec. 4, 1992. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-5.


WT.: 255. DRAFTED: HSEl Cajon, Calif.,
2011 (1st round supp). SIGNED BY: Andrew
Tinnish (Blue Jays).
BACKGROUND: Musgrove was part of the
10-player Blue Jays-Astros trade that sent J.A.
Happ to Toronto. It took Musgrove a long time
to blossom. A sprained rotator cuff cost him
almost all of the 2012 season, and he missed
time in 2013 with a sprained UCL elbow ligament.
SCOUTING REPORT: Finally healthy,
Musgrove dominated three levels. He has plus
command/control alreadyat one point he
had a 66-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He owns
the inner half of the plate with boring life on his 90-93 mph fastball that reaches 95 whenever
he needs it. Musgroves fastball is a plus pitch thanks to its movement and his command. His
80-85 mph slider is an average offering but it also plays up because he can spot it so well
hell backdoor it, make it a chase pitch and generally make hitters defend both sides of the
plate at all times. His 80-85 mph changeup is an average offering as well.
THE FUTURE: Musgrove has a strong body and clean delivery, and his injury issues are
now several years in the past. He was shut down in August just to limit his innings. He could
eventually be a No. 3 starter and he could reach Houston in 2016.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Quad Cities (Lo A)
4 1 0.70 5 3 0 0 26 22 0 1 23 .232
Lancaster (Hi A)
4 0 2.40 6 4 0 0 30 28 2 1 43 .243
Corpus Christi (AA)
4 0 2.20 8 7 0 1 45 35 7 6 33 .210

9. DEREK
FISHER, OF

HOUSTON ASTROS

HOUSTON ASTROS

8. COLIN
MORAN, 3B

BORN: Oct. 1, 1992. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-4. WT.:


214. DRAFTED: North Carolina, 2013 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: Joel Matthews (Marlins).
BACKGROUND: The sixth pick in the 2013
draft, Morans lack of productive power and
low-energy approach quickly turned off the
Marlins, who traded him the next season in
a deal that sent Jarred Cosart to Miami and
netted Francis Martes as well for the Astros.
Moran missed a month this year with a broken
jaw thanks to an errant throw, but he showed
no ill effects upon his return.
SCOUTING REPORT: Moran can really hit. He
starts from a very open stance but squares up
with his timing step. He will occasionally connect on a long home run, but his approach is geared to stay back, avoid getting fooled and
use the whole field with a small load to his swing. He draws walks as well. But what makes
Moran such a divisive prospect for scouts is what he cant do. Hes a near bottom-of-the-scale
runner and a below-average defender at third base because of a lack of first-step quickness
and limited athleticism. His plus arm is very accurate, which is key because without the arm,
hed already be playing first base.
THE FUTURE: If Moran stays at third base, his potential to hit .290 with above-average
on-base percentages, and the 25-30 doubles may make the 10-15 home runs hell hit seem
adequate. But if a team is unwilling to live with below-average defense at third, he becomes
a much less interesting first baseman. Hes ready for Triple-A and isnt far away.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Corpus Christi (AA) .306 .381 .459 366 47 112 25 2 9 67 43 79 1

4. KYLE
TUCKER, OF

MIKE JANES

3. ALEX
BREGMAN, SS

BORN: Nov. 24, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 225. SIGNED: Dominican Republic,
2012. SIGNED BY: Albert Gonzalez/Sandy
Nin/Domingo Ortega (Marlins).
BACKGROUND: The Astros make it a point
of emphasis to scout the complex leagues.
The best payback so far from that approach
is Martes, a raw righthander for the Rookielevel Gulf Coast League Marlins when he was
acquired in the 2014 Jarred Cosart trade.
SCOUTING REPORT: Martes jumped from
complex ball to Double-A Corpus Christi
because he has two present plus-plus pitches.
He can manipulate his 93-95 mph fastball like
a vet as he adds and subtracts velocity and
generates plenty of life. His fastball sets up a power curveball with depth and excellent spin.
The combo of a fastball and hard curve cant help but remind scouts of Lance McCullers Jr.s
arsenal. His change shows some sink and has average potential because he maintains the
arm speed and slot of his fastball, but he uses it infrequently. His control is average already.
THE FUTURE: Scouts love how Martes always seems in charge on the mound. He shows no
expression whether hes struck out the last three or given up three straight hitsbut he has
much more experience with recording three straight strikeouts. Martes will return to Corpus
Christi, but hes not far from the big leagues and he has the potential to be a front-line starter.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Quad Cities (Lo A)
3 2 1.04 10 8 1 2 52 33 1 13 45 .181
Lancaster (Hi A)
4 1 2.31 6 5 0 0 35 31 1 8 37 .230
Corpus Christi (AA)
1 0 4.91 3 3 0 0 15 19 2 7 15 .311

BORN: Aug. 21, 1993. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 205. DRAFTED: Virginia, 2014 (1st round
supplemental). SIGNED BY: Tim Bittner.
BACKGROUND: Dating back to his prep days
in Pennsylvania, when he was an unsigned
sixth-rounder by the Rangers, Fisher has
teased scouts with his body and lively tools.
Hes an excellent athlete and runner, but he
played left field at Virginia. He shows a sweet
swing at times, but he never hit .300 as a
Cavalier, and a hamate injury as a junior caused
him to fall into the supplemental first round.
SCOUTING REPORT: If Fisher could play center field, he would be a nearly perfect profile
prospect. But hes never shown any aptitude
for the position. Hes a plus runner, has a great, athletic frame and will show plus-plus raw
power in batting practice. Fishers power doesnt show up in games as often as one would
expect. His swing generates raves from some scouts with his bat speed, fluidity and a good
all-field approach. At times hes demonstrated a tenacious two-strike approach, but his pitch
recognition needs work. Fisher has always struggled with reads and routes. He looks more
comfortable in left where his below-average arm plays better.
THE FUTURE: Fisher runs the bases well and has 20-20 potential. But hes still a very high
variance prospect who has a chance to be a star along the lines of Jason Bay, and a chance to
struggle to have a big league career. Hell take on Double-A in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Quad Cities (Lo A)
.305 .386 .510 151 32 46 11 1 6 24 19 37 8
Lancaster (Hi A)
.262 .354 .471 344 74 90 10 7 16 63 47 95 23

BaseballAmerica.com

BORN: Jan. 17, 1997. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-4.


WT.: 190. DRAFTED: HSTampa, 2015 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: John Martin.
BACKGROUND: Kyles older brother Preston
made his big league debut in May 2015, a
month before Kyle joined him in the Astros
organization. Kyle has his brothers power
potential, but he brings with it more bat speed,
a better body and more athleticism. Tucker
broke his brothers Plant City High career home
run record and was the BA High School Player
of the Year in 2015.
SCOUTING REPORT: Tucker is athletic and
somewhat slender, but he is expected to fill
out into a profile corner outfielders frame. He
generates 60 hit and 60 power grades from scouts who are sold on his bat. Tuckers swing
starts with low hands and an arm bar, but his swing gets more fluid as he brings the bat head
through the zone and the bat stays in the zone a long time. He has excellent bat speed and has
present pull power, although opposite-field power will have to wait until he adds strength.
Tucker is an average runner who runs the bases well. He played a little center field in 2015,
but long-term, hes a corner outfielder who has a chance to be above-average defensively. His
average arm means hell slide to left on a team with a true right fielder.
THE FUTURE: Tuckers unconventional swing causes slight concern, but he has a chance to
be a middle-of-the-order hitter. Hes ready for low Class A Quad Cities.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
GCL Astros (R)
.208 .267 .317 120 19 25 3 2 2 13 9 14 4
Greenville (R)
.286 .322 .393 112 11 32 9 0 1 20 7 2 14

7. DAVID
PAULINO, RHP

HOUSTON ASTROS

HOUSTON ASTROS

2. FRANCIS
MARTES, RHP

BORN: Feb. 6, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-7. WT.:


215. SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2010.
SIGNED BY: Carlos Santana/Ramon Perez/
Miguel Garcia (Tigers).
BACKGROUND: Paulino was a Rookie-level
acquisition when the Astros acquired him as
the player to be named in the 2013 Jose VerasDanry Vasquez trade. Paulino battled elbow
problems as a Tiger and he missed all of 2014
with Tommy John surgery, but he returned to
show two plus-plus offerings.
SCOUTING REPORT: He generates swings
and misses with a 91-95 mph fastball and can
sporadically reach back for 97-98. His fastball
has angle as he works down in the zone consistently, occasionally elevating with a four-seamer up. Both his fastball and his high-70s,
11-to-5 curveball have excellent spin. Hell still bounce his curveball too much but when
he gets it right it freezes hitters. Scouts who have seen him well grade both as at least 60s
and both generate some plus-plus grades. His average changeup has sporadic sink and he
maintains his arm speed, but he seems hesitant to throw it. Paulino repeats his delivery well. .
THE FUTURE: The biggest knock on Paulino is his lack of inningshes a 21-year-old whos
thrown 106 innings in five pro seasons. Paulinos elbow has been fine post-surgery but he
needs to show he can handle a heavier workload. If he can he has No. 2 starter potential.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Tri-City (SS)
1 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 9 4 0 2 10 .125
Quad Cities (Lo A)
3 2 1.57 5 5 0 0 29 21 0 7 32 .202
Lancaster (Hi A)
1 1 4.91 6 5 0 1 29 24 1 10 30 .220

10. MICHAEL
FELIZ, RHP

BORN: June 28, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-4.


WT.: 226. SIGNED: Dominican Republic,
2010. SIGNED BY: Felix Francisco/Rafael
Belen/Jose Lima.
BACKGROUND: Houston signed nine Latino
amateurs to six-figure bonuses or larger in
2010. Most have never panned out, but Feliz,
who only signed with Houston for $400,000
after his contract with the Athletics was voided
for a positive steroid test, has made up for the
rest of the misses. He made the 2014 Futures
Game, was added to the 40-man roster after
the season and made it to the majors.
SCOUTING REPORT: Felizs combination of
exceptional fastball velocity, less-impressive
secondary offerings and fringe-average control have long led some scouts to believe his
longterm future lies in the bullpen. Feliz can touch 98-99 mph out of the bullpen and he
sits 93-94 with his plus fastball as a starter. If hes going to start, Feliz needs to improve
the consistency of his slider and changeup. Both flash average or better, though not nearly
consistently enough. He rips off a good slider roughly two out of every five times he throws it,
the changeup a little less than that, and too many of the poor ones catch the plate.
THE FUTURE: The Astros starting pitching depth may push Feliz to the bullpen, but theres
no reason to move him there yet. Feliz has made strides,, but hes far from a finished product.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Lancaster (Lo A)
1 1 4.11 8 5 0 0 33 30 2 12 33 .246
Corpus Christi (AA)
6 3 2.17 15 12 0 1 79 52 5 20 70 .185
Houston (MLB)
0 0 7.88 5 0 0 0 8 9 2 4 7 .273

13

LOS ANGELES

ANGELS

ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
General manager: Billy Eppler.
Farm director: Mike LaCassa.
Scouting director: Ric Wilson.
FARM SYSTEM

Classification
Affiliate
Triple-A
Salt Lake
Double-A
Arkansas
High Class A
Inland Empire
Low Class A
Burlington
Rookie
Orem
Rookie
AZL Angels
OVERALL 2014 RECORD

W
L
58 86
71 68
61 79
63 76
41 35
23 30
317 374

BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average
Best Power Hitter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline
Fastest Baserunner
Best Athlete
Best Curveball
Best Slider
Best Changeup
Best Control
Best Defensive Catcher
Best Defensive Infielder
Best Infield Arm
Best Defensive Outfielder
Best Outfield Arm

Jahmai Jones
Eric Aguilera
Taylor Ward
Ayendy Perez
Jahmai Jones
Joe Gatto
Austin Adams
Jake Jewell
Jaime Barria
Taylor Ward
David Fletcher
Kaleb Cowart
Jahmai Jones
Jared Foster

Angels approach comes up short


BY BILL MITCHELL

he Angels continue to maintain a contending major league team without much


support from their minor league system.
It remains to be seen whether that strategy will
translate into consistent success, but Los Angeles
once again challenged for a playoff spot in 2015.
The Angels won 13 fewer games and missed
out on a wild card spot by one game while finishing 85-77 and in third place in the American
League West.
Star center fielder Mike Trout again powered the Angels offense, hitting a career-high
41 home runs and leading the AL with a .590
slugging percentage and .991 OPS. He finished
runner-up in AL MVP balloting for the third
time in four seasons. First baseman Albert Pujols
chipped in with 40 homers and ace Garrett
Richards returned from a knee injury to lead
the staff with 15 wins. Had they simply been
mediocre instead of awful in August (10-19),
they might have claimed a playoff berth.
Drama characterized the Angels 2015 season.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton, in the third year of
a five-year, $125 million contract, admitted
in February to a drug relapse. Major League
Baseball declined to suspend him, so the Angels
moved quickly to trade him back to the Rangers
for modest salary relief. Hamiltons departure left
a hole in left field, and he wound up helping the
Rangers beat out the Angels for a playoff spot.

TONY FARLOW

AMERICAN
LEAGUE
WEST TOP 10
PROSPECTS

The Angels cashed in their top two prospects to


acquire Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons

Just before the midpoint of the season, an


ongoing clash between general manager Jerry
Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia over the

use of analytics came to a head, with the former


resigning after three and a half years in the role.
The Angels hired Yankees assistant GM Billy
Eppler as Dipotos replacement in October.
Dipoto quickly found work as GM of the division rival Mariners, and he took Angels assistant
GM Scott Servais with him to serve as field manager. Los Angeles also lost assistant GM Matt
Klentak, who took over as GM of the Phillies.
Epplers first maneuver for the Angels occurred
during the GM meetings in November. He traded lefthander Sean Newcomb and righthander
Chris Ellis, the franchises first- and third-round
picks in the 2014 draft, to the Braves for Gold
Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons. While the
deal upgrades the Angels defense, it also cost a
beleaguered system its top two prospects.
Eppler further upgraded the left side of the
infield by trading righthanders Trevor Gott, a
rookie reliever in 2015, and Michael Brady to
the Nationals for third baseman Yunel Escobar.
The Angels received a few notable reinforcements from the farm in 2015 in lefthander
Andrew Heaney, righthander Nick Tropeano,
catcher Carlos Perez and relievers Cam Bedrosian
and Trevor Gott.
After primarily targeting pitchers in the 2014
draft, the Angels selected position players with
eight of their top 10 picks in 2015, with all but
one of the choices being college products. They
made Fresno State catcher Taylor Ward the 26th
overall pick and signed him for $1.67 million.

PROJECTED 2019 LINEUP


Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
No. 1 Starter
No. 2 Starter
No. 3 Starter
No. 4 Starter
No. 5 Starter
Closer

Taylor Ward
C.J. Cron
David Fletcher
Kaleb Cowart
Andrelton Simmons
Chad Hinshaw
Mike Trout
Kole Calhoun
Albert Pujols
Garrett Richards
Andrew Heaney
Jered Weaver
Tyler Skaggs
Nate Smith
Victor Alcantara

NO. 1

PROS
PECT

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Brandon Wood, ss
Brandon Wood, ss
Brandon Wood, ss
Nick Adenhart, rhp
Hank Conger, c
Mike Trout, of
Mike Trout, of
Kaleb Cowart, 3b
Taylor Lindsey, 2b
Andrew Heaney, lhp

2015 Org.
Did not play
Did not play
Did not play
Deceased
Astros
Angels
Angels
Angels
Padres
Angels

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
2015 Org
Hank Conger, c
Astros
Jon Bachanov, rhp (1st rd supp.) Did not play
Tyler Chatwood, rhp (2nd round)
Rockies
Randal Grichuk, of
Cardinals
Kaleb Cowart, 3b
Angels
C.J. Cron, 1b
Angels
R.J. Alvarez, rhp (3rd round)
Athletics
Hunter Green, lhp (2nd round)
Angels
Sean Newcomb, lhp
Braves
Taylor Ward, c
Angels

14

$8,000,000
$4,000,000
$3,000,000
$2,518,400
$2,300,000

BILL MITCHELL

LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY


Roberto Baldoquin, 2015
Jered Weaver, 2004
Kendrys Morales, 2004
Sean Newcomb, 2014
Kaleb Cowart, 2010

TAYLOR WARD, C

SCOUTING GRADES

BORN: Dec. 14, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1. WT.: 190.
DRAFTED: Fresno State, 2015 (1st round).
SIGNED BY: Scott Richardson.

BATTING: 50.
POWER: 45.
SPEED: 40.

DEFENSE: 60.
ARM: 70.

Based on 20-80 scouting scalewhere 50


represents major league averageand
future projection rather than present tools.

BACKGROUND: The Rays had their eye


on Ward in the 2012 draft, when they made
the Indio, Calif., prep catcher a 31st-round
pick. He spurned Tampa Bays advances and
spent three seasons at Fresno State. A parttime player in his freshman year, Ward earned
the Bulldogs starting job for the next two
years while doubling as one of three catchers for USA Baseballs Collegiate National
Team in 2014. As a junior at Fresno State, he
hit .304/.413/.486 with a team-best seven
home runs. The Angels used the 26th overall pick to select Ward and address a major
organizational need for catching depth. MLB
Networks draft coverage showed an exuberant scene in the Angels draft room when they
discovered that Ward would be available.
Others in the industry were not as convinced
that the catcher possessed rst-round talent,
viewing Ward as a defense-rst catcher who
would struggle to hit in pro ball. The Angels
signed him shortly after the draft for a belowslot $1.67 million bonus and were satised
with their choice after Ward advanced to
low Class A Burlington in his pro debut. He
showed impressive defensive skills and made
plenty of contact. He hit .348/.457/.438 in 56
games while accumulating more walks (39)
than strikeouts (23).
SCOUTING REPORT: Ward stands out as a
potentially above-average or better defender
behind the plate. He already ashes a plus
arm, throwing out a combined 35 percent
of basestealers in his pro debut. He didnt
always make the best use of his lower half
and had some rhythm issues early, but he
improved during the 2015 season and put

up consistent sub-2.0-second pop times on


throws to second base. Wards quick feet and
athleticism make him a good receiver, especially as he gets more experience and adjusts
to the speed of the pro game. Hell need to
add strength to his slender frame in order to
survive the grind of catching 100-plus games
a year. The Angels believe the extra bulk will
come as they integrate him into their strength
program. Ward projects to be an average hitter, more likely batting in the lower part of
the order, but if his defense develops as the
Angels expect that will be enough to earn a
big league starting catcher job. He has a good
idea at the plate and a fairly simple swing, but
can be too patient at times instead of swinging aggressively at pitches he can hit. While
he shows some pull power, Ward projects to
be more of a line-drive hitter who will stroke
doubles to the gaps. Wards approach is very
much geared to contact and he does a good
job of putting the ball in play. He has decent
bat speed but will need to get stronger to
maximize his power potential. A below-average runner, he moves well enough that he
wont be a baseclogger.
THE FUTURE: Ward should be ready for
an assignment to high Class A Inland Empire
in 2016. If everything goes well, he could
reach Double-A Arkansas before the end of
the season. Hes the Angels catcher of the
future, and if he experiences no setbacks, he
will arrive by 2018.

2015 Club (Class)


Orem (R)
Burlington (Lo A)

R
20
10

BaseballAmerica..com

AVG OBP
.349 .489
.348 .412

SLG
.459
.413

AB
109
192

H
38
32

2B 3B HR RBI
7
1
3 19
3
0
1 12

BB
29
10

SO SB
8
5
15
1

January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

BILL MITCHELL

2. JAHMAI
JONES, OF

3. NATE
SMITH, LHP

BORN: Aug. 4, 1997. BT: R-R. HT.: 5-11.


WT.: 210. DRAFTED: HSNorcross, Ga.,
2015 (2nd round). SIGNED BY: Todd Hogan.
BACKGROUND: The Angels went heavy on
college hitters in the 2015 draft, with Jones the
lone high school selection among Los Angeles
top 10 picks. A second-rounder who signed for
$1.1 million, he passed on a scholarship offer
from North Carolina. Jones late father Andre
played linebacker at Notre Dame and for one
season in the NFL, while his older brothers
T.J. and Malachi are football wide receivers
for the Detroit Lions and Appalachian State,
respectively.
SCOUTING REPORT: Jones stands out for his
elite makeup and work ethic that will allow him to play above his tools. He played most of
the 2015 season at age 17 in the Rookie-level Arizona League, and though he hit .244, the
adversity helped him grow. Jones makes hard contact with a good swing path and the ability
to keep his hands inside the ball. He hits line drives to all fields but wont hit for power until he
develops more loft in his swing. Jones should be able to stay in center field, where he comes in
and goes back well on flyballs, and his average arm makes right field an option. A plus runner
now, he may slow down with age.
THE FUTURE: Jones could be ready to handle a jump to low Class A Burlington in 2016, but
more likely he will stay behind in extended spring training before heading to Rookie-level
Orem in June.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
AZL Angels (R)
.244 .330 .344 160 28 39 6 2 2 20 17 33 16

BORN: Aug. 28, 1991. BT: L-L. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 205. DRAFTED: Furman, 2013 (8th
round). SIGNED BY: Todd Hogan.
BACKGROUND: Since signing for just
$12,000, Smith has advanced rapidly through
the system and could reach the big leagues as
soon as 2016. Turning in an impressive halfyear in his return to Double-A Arkansas after
finishing the 2014 season there, Smith then
headed to Toronto with Team USA for the Pan
American Games. There, he earned the win
against Cuba in the semifinal.
SCOUTING REPORT: Smith finished the
season with seven starts at Triple-A Salt Lake,
where fatigue and the Pacific Coast League got
to him. Smith added a viable fourth pitch to his repertoire in 2015, as his serviceable slider
helped his other pitches play up. Armed with the new pitch, hes more of a safe bet to stay in
the rotation as a No. 4 starter instead of profiling as more of a swingman. Smiths fastball sits
87-91 mph, delivered from a high three-quarters arm slot. The difference-maker in Smiths
arsenal is a plus changeup he commands well and uses to get swings and misses. Rounding
out his repertoire is an average curveball in the mid-70s. He consistently lands all four of his
pitches in the strike zone.
THE FUTURE: Smith will get another shot at Triple-A in 2016 and could be one of the first
pitchers called up when an arm is needed.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Arkansas (AA)
8 4 2.48 17 17 1 0 102 82 10 28 81 .216
Salt Lake (AAA)
2 4 7.75 7 7 0 0 36 48 7 15 23 .308

BORN: May 16, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 215. DRAFTED: Northeastern Oklahoma
A&M JC, 2014 (5th round). SIGNED BY: Drew
Chadd.
BACKGROUND: Jewell spent the last part of
his college career as a closer at Northeastern
Oklahoma A&M JC, but the Angels envisioned
him as a starter and went over slot to sign
the 2014 fifth-round pick for $250,000. He
started strong at low Class A Burlington in
2015, recording a sub-3.00 ERA over the first
two months while working shorter outings,
but his ERA ballooned to 5.37 in the second
half while he adjusted to higher pitch counts
and worked to refine his changeup.
SCOUTING REPORT: Jewell takes a solid four-pitch mix to the mound, highlighted by a
plus, heavy fastball with late tail that sits 91-96 mph and touches as high as 99. His fastball
velocity fell in the second half as he wore down as a starter and in his first full season. His
high-70s, plus changeup with split action is now his best secondary pitch, giving him a
secondary offering that batters have trouble squaring. He made significant advances with his
changeup in the second half of 2015, and its now a separator. He shows the ability to spin
both a slider and curveball. Both are inconsistent now but project as average offerings. Jewell
has a loose arm and a strong build, and he throws all four pitches for strikes.
THE FUTURE: Jewell will move up to high Class A Inland Empire in 2016, with the Angels
planning to increase his innings total to around 140.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Burlington (Lo A)
6 8 4.77 31 15 0 2 111 110 8 31 110 .263

8. KALEB
COWART, 3B

BORN: June 2, 1992. BT: B-R. HT.: 6-3. WT.:


220. DRAFTED: HSAdel, Ga., 2010 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: Chris McAlpin.
BACKGROUND: A first-round pick in 2010
and the systems top prospect as recently as
2013, Cowart was demoted to high Class A
Inland Empire to begin 2015 after two abysmal
years at Double-A Arkansas. He seemed destined for a return to extended spring training
to give pitching a try, but he experienced a
breakthrough with the help of 66ers hitting
coach Brent Del Chiaro. He moved to Triple-A
Salt Lake and eventually the big leagues.
SCOUTING REPORT: Cowart adjusted both
the point at which he started his hands as
well as the timing of his foot strike during his swing. His confidence returned and he hit
.285/.363/.442 in 113 minor league games on his way to Anaheim for a 34-game trial. Cowart
now takes a more simplified approach at the plate, and the switch-hitter continues to impact
the ball more frequently from the right side. He has plenty of raw power but has struggled to
get to it in games. Despite his offensive struggles, Cowart always has been a plus defender at
third base with an elite, double-plus arm.
THE FUTURE: Cowart will get another chance at a big league job in 2016 spring training,
though he probably will return to Salt Lake for more seasoning.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Inland Empire (Hi A) .242 .326 .387 194 32 47 14 4 2 23 22 43 10
Salt Lake (AAA)
.323 .395 .491 220 35 71 13 3 6 45 29 64 2
Los Angeles (MLB) .174 .255 .283 46 8 8 2 0 1 4 5 19 1

January 29February 12, 2016

6. GRAYSON
LONG, RHP

BILL MITCHELL

5. JAKE
JEWELL, RHP

BORN: May 27, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-5.


WT.: 230. DRAFTED: Texas A&M, 2015 (3rd
round). SIGNED BY: Rudy Vasquez.
BACKGROUND: Long served as a rotation
workhorse for the Texas A&M team that fell
one win short of reaching the 2015 College
World Series. After signing with the Angels as
a third-round pick for $548,600, he worked just
20 innings for his pro debut after logging 96
frames during the spring for the Aggies.
SCOUTING REPORT: Long is a big, physical righthander, similar in body type and
repertoire to 2014 third-rounder Chris Ellis,
whom the Angels traded to the Braves, along
with Sean Newcomb, for shortstop Andrelton
Simmons. He also draws comparisons with system-mate Joe Gatto, though scouts believe
a better delivery gives Long a better chance to remain a starter at the next level. His aboveaverage fastball with good angle sat 90-91 mph at Rookie-level Orem, just a tick below his
college velocity. A fresh arm and a winter of conditioning and rest should remedy that. None
of his three secondary pitches projects to be more than average, but his advanced pitchability
allows Long to be successful. Also, by repeating his high three-quarters arm slot, he can locate
his pitches down in the zone.
THE FUTURE: Long will get back on a full work schedule in 2016 at low Class A Burlington.
He projects as a back-end starter whose command and pitchability should allow him to stick
in that role.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Orem (R)
0 0 5.03 13 12 0 0 20 19 1 10 22 .253

9. JAIME
BARRIA, RHP

BORN: July 18, 1996. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 205. SIGNED: Panama, 2013. SIGNED
BY: Roman Ocumarez.
BACKGROUND: A native of Panama who
signed with the Angels in 2013 for $60,000,
Barria began his first U.S. season in the Rookielevel Arizona League in 2015 with a 31-to3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36 innings. Los
Angeles bumped him to Rookie-level Orem
shortly after he reached his 19th birthday.
SCOUTING REPORT: Barrias biggest
improvement occurred during extended spring
training, as he started trusting his fastball and
worked in a two-seamer more often. Scouts
then noticed another jump forward during
instructional league. He projects as a back-end starter with good downward angle on his
pitches. Barrias fastball with armside life sits 88-93 mph, but his best pitch is a changeup
projecting to be at least above-average. His average curveball is a hard, three-quarters
slurve. He pitches to contact and is noted for throwing quality strikes. Barria has a clean,
repeatable, high-three-quarters arm slot that allows him to throw his two-seamer, and he
uses the same arm speed to deliver his fastball and curveball. He projects to add velocity as
his well-conditioned body matures.
THE FUTURE: While he struggled after the promotion to Orem, Barria has enough pitching
savvy and maturity to handle low Class A Burlington at some point in 2016.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
AZL Angels (R)
3 0 2.00 7 6 0 0 36 40 0 3 31 .280
Orem (R)
2 4 6.21 8 8 0 0 33 45 4 7 30 .324

BaseballAmerica.com

4. VICTOR
ALCANTARA, RHP

BORN: April 3, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2. WT.:


190. SIGNED: Dominican Republic, 2011.
SIGNED BY: Roman Ocumarez.
BACKGROUND: Alcantara continues to tantalize with his power arm and dynamic threepitch mix, moving one level at a time since
starting his Angels career in the Dominican
Summer League in 2012. The results in his
first try at high Class A Inland Empire were
inconsistent. He mixed dominating starts with
bad to go 7-12, 5.62 in 27 starts.
SCOUTING REPORT: Alcantara delivers his
fastball from 92-97 mph with a violent arm
action that significantly affects his command,
but when hes going well, batters dont have
comfortable at-bats. His 88-91 mph slider flashes plus at times but is inconsistent, and his
changeup is an average pitch but too firm at 86-90 mph. While his command still grades as
below-average, Alcantaras walk rates have dropped from 5.3 per nine innings in 2013 to 3.8
in 2015, with the biggest improvement coming by focusing on his direction to the plate. His
stuff is as good as any pitchers in the organization, but he needs to continue to repeat his
delivery and throw strikes. His delivery has been compared with that of big league reliever
Fernando Rodney.
THE FUTURE: Alcantara will move to Double-A Arkansas in 2016. A majority of evaluators
believe he would be better served as a power arm in the bullpen, but for now hell remain in
the rotation while refining his command.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Inland Empire (Hi-A)
7 12 5.63 27 27 0 0 136 152 10 58 125 .219

7. JOE
GATTO, RHP

BORN: June 14, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 225. DRAFTED: HSRichland, N.J.,
2014 (2nd round). SIGNED BY: Nick Gorneault.
BACKGROUND: Gatto netted a $1.2 million
bonus after being taken by the Angels in the
second round in 2014. He bypassed a commitment to North Carolina, much like Tigers 2007
first-rounder Rick Porcello, another prominent
New Jersey prep who had committed to UNC.
The righthander still hasnt reached full-season
ball, moving up to Rookie-level Orem in 2015
after pitching primarily in the Rookie-level
Arizona League in 2014 .
SCOUTING REPORT: Gatto stands out for
his ideal pitchers frame with broad shoulders,
long limbs and lower body strength. His delivery is a little stiff, but the ball comes out of his
hand easily with good extension. His above-average fastball sits in the low 90s and touched
95 mph in Orem, with a little cutting action. His curveball projects as an above-average pitch
but gets loopy at times. The coaching staff at Orem had Gatto working on his changeup, which
has some sink but can be inconsistent. He doesnt have separating arm speed, and he struck
out just 6.3 batters per nine innings in 2015, but he compensates with average control and
an elite groundball rate. He recorded a 2.8 groundout-to-airout ratio at Orem that would have
led the Pioneer League had he pitched enough innings to qualify.
THE FUTURE: Scouts project a move to the bullpen for Gatto unless he improves his delivery
and fastball command. He will make his full-season debut at low Class A Burlington in 2016.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Orem (Rookie)
2 3 4.31 12 12 0 0 54 73 4 17 38 .340

10. CHAD
HINSHAW, OF

BORN: Sept. 10, 1990. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 200. DRAFTED: Illinois State, 2013
(15th round). SIGNED BY: Joel Murrie.
BACKGROUND: A four-year player at Illinois
State drafted in the 15th round in 2013,
Hinshaw was a sleeper who emerged in 2014
by hitting 16 homers and stealing 41 bases at
two Class A levels. He continued his development with a strong year at Double-A Arkansas
in 2015, followed by an even more impressive
performance in the Arizona Fall League in
which he hit .349. He missed 10 weeks during the 2015 season after tearing a thumb
ligament.
SCOUTING REPORT: Hinshaw is notable for
his outstanding makeup and reputation as a student of the game, but he also owns impressive tools. Hes an above-average runner and a plus basestealer, having stolen 27 bases in
32 tries in 2015. Hinshaw is at least an above-average defender who gets good jumps and
is capable of handling all three outfield positions. At the plate, he has a line-drive stroke but
with not a lot of power. He worked on his bat path during the season, shortening his stroke
and doing a better job of controlling the strike zone. He still strikes out a lot24 percent of
the time at Double-Abut counters that by drawing a fair number of walks.
THE FUTURE: Hinshaw profiles best as a righthanded-hitting extra outfielder with a good
chance of getting to the big leagues in that role. At age 25, he will move up to Triple-A Salt
Lake in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Arkansas (AA)
.289 .391 .365 263 48 76 17 0 1 26 37 75 27

15

OAKLAND
ATHLETICS
ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
General manager: Billy Beane.
Farm director: Keith Lieppman.
Scouting director: Eric Kubota.
FARM SYSTEM

Classification
Affiliate
Triple-A
Nashville
Double-A
Midland
High Class A
Stockton
Low Class A
Beloit
Short-season
Vermont
Rookie
AZL Athletics
OVERALL 2015 RECORD

W
L
66 78
83 57
74 66
55 84
33 42
24 32
335 359

BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average
Best Power Hitter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline
Fastest Baserunner
Best Athlete
Best Fastball
Best Curveball
Best Slider
Best Changeup
Best Control
Best Defensive Catcher
Best Defensive Infielder
Best Infield Arm
Best Defensive Outfielder
Best Outfield Arm

Franklin Barreto
Matt Olson
Matt Olson
Skye Bolt
Richie Martin
Sean Manaea
Dylan Covey
Sean Manaea
Casey Meisner
Dillon Overton
Iolana Akau
Richie Martin
Matt Chapman
Skye Bolt
Skye Bolt

As bottom out in latest rebuild


BY JIM SHONERD

he Athletics latest attempt at a roster makeover fell flat in its first season, but the good
news is that help is on the horizon.
Coming off three straight early playoff exits,
punctuated by an epic collapse at the end of
2014, general manager Billy Beane blew things
up. The As made seven trades during the 201415 offseason, most of them exchanging veterans
for prospects. Stalwarts like Josh Donaldson,
Brandon Moss and Derek Norris headed out the
door. Donaldsons loss proved the most painful, as
the third basemans stardom reached new heights
after he was dealt to Toronto, where he won the
American League MVP award and helped the
Blue Jays reach the AL Championship Series.
Meanwhile, the As trudged through a 68-win
season, the worst record in the AL and the worst
of Beanes tenure as GM. Oakland made five
more most veteran-for-prospect trades during
the season, most notably sending Tyler Clippard
and Ben Zobrist to eventual World Series participants the Mets and Royals, respectively.
With all the comings and goings among prospects, the As farm system made little imprint
on the season. Just five players who suited up
for Oakland in 2015 were fully homegrown,
although 2011 first-rounder Sonny Gray proved
one of the seasons few bright spots as he blossomed into a first-time all-star.
The homegrown ranks should start grow-

CLIFF WELCH

AMERICAN
LEAGUE
WEST TOP 10
PROSPECTS

Oakland has imported young players like Kendall


Graveman in trades over the last two years

ing before long. The heart of Oaklands system


formed the core of players who led Double-A
Midland to the 2015 Texas League champion-

ship, headlined by lefthanders Sean Manaea and


Dillon Overton, corner infielders Matt Olson
and Renato Nunez and shortstop Chad Pinder.
All of them rank among the systems top 10 prospects and will start at Triple-A Nashville in 2016,
just a phone call away from the majors.
Still, the future is always in motion for the As,
as Beane has proven no prospect is untouchable.
Just three of the organizations last 10 first-round
picks are still As. Beanes wheeling and dealing is felt throughout the system, where its top
two prospects, Manaea and shortstop Franklin
Barreto, and six of its top 15 were all acquired in
trades. Beane didnt wait around after the season
to start dealing again, sending Brett Lawriea
big part of the return for Donaldsonto the
White Sox for a pair of pitching prospects.
More meaningful changes are afoot as the As
will break in new hitting and pitching coordinators in 2016. Greg Sparks (hitting) and Garvin
Alston (pitching) left after the season to join the
big league coaching staffs of the White Sox and
Diamondbacks, respectively.
Jim Eppard comes over after 13 seasons working for the Angels to take over as the new hitting
coordinator. The As found a familiar face to take
the reins as their new pitching coordinator when
Gil Patterson returned for his third stint in the
organization. Patterson returns to his old post,
having previously served as Oaklands pitching
coordinator from 2008-12 before leaving to join
the Yankees.

PROJECTED 2019 LINEUP


Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
No. 1 Starter
No. 2 Starter
No. 3 Starter
No. 4 Starter
No. 5 Starter
Closer

NO. 1

Jacob Nottingham
Renato Nunez
Marcus Semien
Matt Chapman
Richie Martin
Matt Olson
Franklin Barreto
Josh Reddick
Chad Pinder
Sonny Gray
Sean Manaea
Jesse Hahn
Casey Meisner
Chris Bassitt
Sean Doolittle

PROS
PECT

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Daric Barton, 1b
Travis Buck, of
Daric Barton, 1b
Brett Anderson, lhp
Chris Carter, 1b/of
Grant Green, ss
Jarrod Parker, rhp
Addison Russell, ss
Addison Russell, ss
Daniel Robertson, ss

2015 Org
Blue Jays
Did not play
Blue Jays
Dodgers
Astros
Angels
Athletics
Cubs
Cubs
Rays

Player, Pos.
Trevor Cahill, rhp (2nd round)
James Simmons, rhp
Jemile Weeks, 2b
Grant Green, ss
Michael Choice, of
Sonny Gray, rhp
Addison Russell, ss
Billy McKinney, of
Matt Chapman, 3b
Richie Martin, ss

2015 Org
Cubs
Nationals
Red Sox
Angels
Indians
Athletics
Cubs
Cubs
Athletics
Athletics

LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY


Michael Ynoa, 2008
Mark Mulder, 1998
Grant Green, 2009
Addison Russell, 2012
Renato Nunez, 2010

16

$4,250,000
$3,200,000
$2,750,000
$2,625,000
$2,200,000

BILL MITCHELL

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

FRANKLIN BARRETO, SS

SCOUTING GRADES

BORN: Feb. 27, 1996. BT: R-R. HT.: 5-9. WT.: 175.
SIGNED: Venezuela, 2012.
SIGNED BY: Ismael Cruz/Luis Marquez (Blue Jays).

BATTING: 60.
POWER: 50.
SPEED: 55.

DEFENSE: 50.
ARM: 50.

Based on 20-80 scouting scalewhere 50


represents major league averageand
future projection rather than present tools.

BACKGROUND: Barreto is accustomed to


performing in the spotlight. He played for
Venezuelan national teams regularly as an
amateur and won MVP awards at the 12-andunder Pan American championships in 2008
and the 14U Pan Ams in 2010. The Athletics
began scouting him at age 14, and several
teams regarded him as the top prospect in the
2012 international amateur class before he
eventually signed with the Blue Jays for $1.45
million. That spotlight will burn even brighter
given the trade that brought him to the
organization. The biggest move in Oaklands
latest rebuilding project came in November
2014, when the As traded Josh Donaldson to
the Blue Jays for four players: third baseman
Brett Lawrie, righthander Kendall Graveman,
lefty Sean Nolin and Barreto. While As fans
had to watch Donaldson win the American
League MVP award, Lawrie underperformed
before getting traded again, and Graveman
and Nolin battled injuries. That left Barreto,
who more than held his own after skipping
a level, to play at high Class A Stockton as a
19-year-old. He dealt with a wrist injury of
his own in July but returned in time to help
Stockton reach the California League playos.
SCOUTING REPORT: Barreto can do some
of everything, oensively. Multiple observers
compared him with former Braves shortstop
Rafael Furcal, given his 5-foot-9 frame, explosiveness and fast-twitch athleticism. He has
loose hands at the plate, allowing him to
wait back on balls and still hit them from
line to line. His swing does have some moving parts, and Cal League pitchers exploited
him on the inner half in the early portion

of the season, but he worked to shorten his


swing and handled those pitches by the end
of the year. Barreto has the physicality and
particularly the strength in his wrists to hit
for solid-average power, and his 13 homers
in 90 games in 2015 were more than he hit
in two years of short-season ball combined.
While Barreto makes plenty of contact, the As
want him to be more selective, as drew just
15 walks all last season. Hes not a lock to stick
at shortstop, but the As feel optimistic about
his chances. His arm is the biggest potential
stumbling block because its solid but not
spectacular. He committed 34 errors (.911
elding percentage) to lead all Cal League
shortstops in 2015. The As went back to
basics in terms of giving him fundamental
instruction so he can handle routine plays
more consistently. He had a tendency to rush
himself too much, and the As tweaked his
throwing mechanics as well. He has good
range and instincts for the position, and his
footwork improved. Despite his youth, his
body is already fairly mature and doesnt
involve much projection.
THE FUTURE: Barretos bat would have
the most value at shortstop, but he can still be
an impact player even if he does have to slide
across to second base. He also played center eld for Zulia in the Venezuelan League.
Barreto has the highest ceiling among the
systems shortstops, and he will play at
Double-A Midland as a 20-year-old in 2016.

2015 Club (Class)


Stockton (Hi A)

R H
50 102

Base
Ba
seba
ballAm
llllAm
Ame
erric
ica.c
. om
m

AVG OBP
.302 .333

SLG
.500

AB
338

2B 3B HR RBI
22
3 13 47

BB
15

SO SB
67
8

January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

2. SEAN
MANAEA, LHP

3. MATT
CHAPMAN, 3B

BORN: Feb. 1, 1992. BT: L-L. HT.: 6-5. WT.:


235. DRAFTED: Indiana State, 2013 (1st round
supp). SIGNED BY: Jason Bryans (Royals).
BACKGROUND: Manaea bounced back from
an abdominal strain that had kept him out
of the first half of the year and pitched well
at Double-A Midland after coming over from
the Royals, including a dominant 13-strikeout
performance in his last regular-season outing.
SCOUTING REPORT: A big, power lefthander,
his fastball sits at 92-93 mph, but he can reach
back for as much as 98. He also can vary the
velocity on his slurvy slider, which looks like a
plus pitch at times but needs more consistency.
He worked hard to improve his changeup both
before and after the trade. The As kept experimenting with his changeup grips, and he threw
some nice sinking changes in the Arizona Fall League. Manaeas delivery is fairly clean, but
the As worked to give him a better rhythm to his motion and a more consistent finish. Scouts
worried about his command during the season, but he showed improvement in the fall.
THE FUTURE: Manaea has a frontline arm but needs to get through a season healthy.
Injuries might be the biggest knock on him, dating back to when he needed hip surgery
coming out of college. Hell go back to Midland or Triple-A Nashville to open 2016, but a big
league look might not be far off.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Wilmington (Hi A)
1 0 3.66 4 4 0 0 20 22 0 4 22 .297
NW Arkansas (AA)
0 1 5.14 2 2 0 0 7 9 1 6 11 .310
Midland (AA)
6 0 1.90 7 7 0 0 43 34 3 15 51 .218

BORN: April 28, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2.


WT.: 205. DRAFTED: Cal State Fullerton,
2014 (1st round). SIGNED BY: Eric Martins.
BACKGROUND: Injuries plagued Chapmans
first full season as a pro, which ended with
him needing wrist surgery, but he tore up the
high Class A California League when healthy.
Despite being limited to 80 games, Chapman
led Stockton with 23 homers, nearly doubling
the 13 he hit over three seasons at Cal State
Fullerton, where he was the 25th overall pick
in the 2014 draft and signed for $1.75 million.
SCOUTING REPORT: Chapman came into pro
ball with a gap-to-gap hitting approach. He
has learned to drive balls with more regularity
and can still go to right-center field when he needs to. He should continue to be an annual
20-25 homer threat at higher levels. Although hes not an undisciplined hitter, the As would
like him to be more selective to give him a better chance to hit for average. Some moving
parts in his swing dont help, either. Chapman shines on defense, where he can range well to
either side and has a plus throwing arm. He makes his share of errors19 last seasonas
hell sometimes try to throw rockets when he doesnt need to and can get careless on routine
plays, but the tools are there for him to be a top-flight defensive third baseman.
THE FUTURE: Chapmans surgery was done early enough that he should be good to go for
spring training and then an assignment to Double-A Midland. The As traded Brett Lawrie
in December, clearing the way for Chapman to take over at third base in 2017 at the latest.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Stockton (Hi A)
.250 .341 .566 304 60 76 21 3 23 57 39 79 4

BILL MITCHELL

5. RICHIE
MARTIN, SS

6. MATT
OLSON, 1B/OF

BORN: Dec. 22, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-0.


WT.: 192. DRAFTED: Florida, 2015 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: Trevor Schaffer.
BACKGROUND: Martin played somewhat
in the shadows of fellow Southeastern
Conference shortstops Alex Bregman and
Dansby Swanson while he was at Florida, but
he nonetheless joined them as a 2015 firstround pick, going 20th overall to the Athletics
and signing for a below-slot $1.95 million.
SCOUTING REPORT: Martins defense is his
calling card right now. Hes a pure athlete with
tremendous range and agility at shortstop,
and he plays the position with some flair as
well. He can rush himself on defense at times,
but scouts noted he did a better job of not forcing things in 2015. His arm is strong enough
albeit not a cannon. All this isnt to say he doesnt have offensive upside as well, but his bat
isnt as polished. He can be a little rigid at the plate and the As have worked to give him more
rhythm, but he has the makings of a line-drive hitting, top-of-the-order player. His game
wont be predicated on home runs, but he does have enough strength to pop some balls out.
The As like his makeup and work ethic, and hes gotten better at controlling the zone and
hitting balls the other way.
THE FUTURE: Martin was young for his draft class, just turning 21 in December, so theres
more projection involved with him than most college juniors. Hell likely ease into full-season
ball at low Class A Beloit in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Vermont (SS)
.237 .353 .342 190 31 45 6 4 2 16 25 47 7

BORN: March 29, 1994. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-5.


WT.: 230. DRAFTED: HSLilburn, Ga., 2012
(1st round supp). SIGNED BY: Matt Ranson.
BACKGROUND: With Addison Russell and
Daniel Robertson since traded, Olson is the
last man standing of the three blue-chip high
schoolers the Athletics took at the top of their
2012 draft class. Hes lived up to his billing
as a power bat, as no one in the system has
more homers over the last three seasons than
Olsons 77. The tough hitting environment in
Double-A Midland dragged down his numbers
last season, but he hit .281/.394/.485 with
nine homers in the second half.
SCOUTING REPORT: Olsons offensive profile
comes straight out of the Moneyball erahell hit home runs and draw walks. He worked
to hit more line drives and go the other way more often in order to survive in Midland, but
ultimately his plus raw power remains his carrying tool. Hes as disciplined as any hitter in
the organization, finishing second in the minors in walks in 2015. The As wouldnt mind
him being more aggressive to give him a chance to raise his average, but there are holes in
his swing and hell still swing and miss in the zone. Hes a standout defender at first base
and plays passable defense in right field, splitting his time between the two positions. Hes
not a flashy outfielder, but hes got enough arm strength and a quick release on his throws.
THE FUTURE: Given the organizations glut of corner infield prospects, it would be beneficial
to all parties if he can make a go of it in right field. Hell take on Triple-A Nashville in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Midland (AA)
.249 .388 .438 466 82 116 37 0 17 75 105 139 5

BORN: Aug. 17, 1991. BT: L-L. HT.: 6-2.


WT.: 172. DRAFTED: Oklahoma, 2013 (2nd
round). SIGNED BY: Yancy Ayres.
BACKGROUND: One of the premier college
arms leading into the 2013 draft, Overton
had Tommy John surgery after signing with
Oakland that summer. Now two years removed
from the operation, Overton made it unscathed
through his first full minor league season in
2015, reaching Double-A Midland. He was at
his best late, reeling off a 19-inning shutout
streak over his final four starts in August.
SCOUTING REPORT: The As still hold out
some hope Overton can regain more of the
mid-90s velocity he had at Oklahoma, but he
works 87-90 now. He touched 91 mph late in the season. Learning to pitch without his old
heater, Overton has developed excellent command and feel. He throws across his body, which
doesnt look picturesque but gives him some deception. His fastball comes in with armside
run and his fading changeup has become his best secondary weapon. He spots his curveball
to both sides of the plate and varies its shape as well. The As would like to see him add some
bulk to his wiry frame, but he hasnt kept any weight on so far.
THE FUTURE: The As consider Overton close to a finished product, with how much velocity
he ends up with the only real remaining X-factor. If he can get into the low 90s consistently, he
could at least be a mid-rotation starter. Otherwise, hes a finesse, back-of-the-rotation lefty.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Stockton (Hi A)
2 4 3.82 14 12 0 0 61 62 7 12 59 .270
Midland (AA)
5 2 3.06 13 13 0 0 65 65 4 15 47 .260

January 29February 12, 2016

9. CASEY
MEISNER, RHP

FRED DEVYATKIN

8. DILLON
OVERTON, LHP

BORN: May 22, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-7. WT.:


190. DRAFTED: HSCypress, Texas, 2013
(3rd round). SIGNED BY: Ray Corbett (Mets).
BACKGROUND: The Athletics had a good idea
of what they were getting in Meisner courtesy
of Ron Romanick, Oaklands former big league
pitching coach and current Mets pitching coordinator. When the Mets came looking for relief
help in the form of Tyler Clippard at the 2015
trade deadline, the As targeted Meisner, whod
just been promoted to high Class A.
SCOUTING REPORT: Meisner has an electric
arm. He touched 96 mph earlier in the season and still sat 90-94 late in the year with
Stockton, mixing two-seam fastballs with his
riding four-seamer. The team expects he can add some more velocity as he puts some meat
on his slender 6-foot-7 frame. His advanced changeup is his bread-and-butter secondary
pitch. He came to Oakland with both a curveball and a slider, but the As had him focus on the
curve for now. Its a work in progress but he shows a feel for it. Meisner takes advantage of his
height to generate good downhill plane, though as with most taller pitchers, his long levers
make him more susceptible to getting out of whack and losing some command.
THE FUTURE: Hell have a chance to pitch in Double-A at age 21 in 2016, though starting
the year back in Stockton remains a possibility.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Savannah (Lo A)
7 2 2.13 12 12 0 0 76 59 6 19 66 .213
St. Lucie (Hi A)
3 2 2.83 6 6 0 0 35 35 4 14 23 .259
Stockton (Hi A)
3 1 2.78 7 7 0 0 32 27 1 7 24 .220

BaseballAmerica.com

4. RENATO
NUNEZ, 3B/1B

BORN: April 4, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1. WT.:


200. SIGNED: Venezuela, 2010. SIGNED BY:
Julio Franco.
BACKGROUND: A prized $2.2 million signee
out of the 2010 international class, Nunez has
made steady progress up the ladder. A calf
injury from spring training shelved him for the
month of April last season, yet he still finished
as Double-A Midlands leading home run hitter
with 18 in 93 games, just edging out running
mate Matt Olson.
SCOUTING REPORT: Like Olson, Nunez has
power as his meal ticket. Though most of his
pop goes to his pull side, he nonetheless can
hit balls as far as anyone. At the same time,
the quality of his at-bats has improved markedly. Though he still doesnt draw a ton of walks,
he struck out just 16 percent of the time in 2015, compared to 25 percent at low Class A in
2013. He can be a dead red hitter at times and takes an attacking mentality to the plate, but
he has learned to dial back his approach with two strikes and gotten better about waiting for
a pitch to hit. Hell never be known for his defense, but improvements in his footwork and
technique have at least made him a serviceable third baseman, though making consistently
accurate throws remains an issue.
THE FUTURE: With Matt Chapman coming up a level behind him, a full-time move to first
base, where he already splits time, may be in Nunezs future regardless. Hell team up with
Olson again at Triple-A Nashville in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Midland (AA)
.278 .332 .480 381 62 106 23 0 18 61 28 66 1

7. CHAD
PINDER, SS/2B

BORN: March 29, 1992. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2.


WT.: 190. DRAFTED: Virginia Tech, 2013 (2nd
round supp). SIGNED BY: Neil Avent.
BACKGROUND: Pinder hit over better than
.300 in all three of his seasons at Virginia Tech
and hasnt slowed down against professional
pitchers since being the No. 71 overall pick
in 2013. He was the Double-A Texas Leagues
player of the year in 2015 after finishing second in the league in both average (.317) and
slugging (.486) and leading it in RBIs (86),
despite the inhospitable hitting environment
in Midland.
SCOUTING REPORT: Once bound for a career
at second base, Pinders career path changed
with the trades of Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson, allowing him to serve as the everyday shortstop at Midland. The organization came away encouraged at how he handled the
role, showing fluid actions and good body control. His throwing motion can be a little upright
but his arm is strong enough for the position, and his instincts help him compensate for a lack
of above-average range. While hitting for power wont be his forte, hes learned to pull more
balls, which should help, and hes able to impart backspin. Hes an intelligent hitter who can
handle any kind of pitch, although the As would like to rein in his aggression at least a touch.
THE FUTURE: Pinder, who will move up to Triple-A Nashville in 2016, draws comparisons to
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. He could reach the majors at shortstop in the near future, but if
he does have to move, he has prior experience at second and third base.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Midland (AA)
.317 .361 .486 477 71 151 32 2 15 86 28 103 7

10. YAIRO
MUNOZ, SS

BORN: Jan. 23, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 165. SIGNED: Dominican Republic,
2012. SIGNED BY: Amaurys Reyes.
BACKGROUND: Signed for $280,000 four
days after his 17th birthday in January 2012,
Munoz soldiered through the first half of 2015
in the cold weather of the low Class A Midwest
League before getting a chance to go to high
Class A Stockton when Franklin Barreto went
on the disabled list in July. The move rejuvenated Munozs bat and he played a central role in
Stocktons run to the California League playoffs.
SCOUTING REPORT: Even when he struggles
with the bat, Munozs defense opens eyes.
He has soft hands and a well above-average
throwing arm. He can make highlight-reel plays, but his exuberance leads to too many
errors34 combined between his two stops last year. Although only a solid-average runner
down the line, he does have long strides that help him run closer to plus under way. Munozs
hitting can be similarly out of control at times. He knows how to manipulate the barrel, however, and can adjust quickly. His swing has some loft and he has the strength to hit for power,
although the As again would like to tone down his effort level there.
THE FUTURE: Some scouts can see Munoz moving off shortstop depending on how his body
develops. The As have no desire to shift him for now though, and hell man the position again
for Stockton to begin 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Beloit (Lo A)
.236 .278 .363 369 48 87 14 3 9 48 22 62 10
Stockton (Hi A)
.320 .372 .480 150 21 48 12 0 4 26 11 20 1

17

SEATTLE
MARINERS
ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
General manager: Jerry Dipoto.
Farm director: Andy McKay.
Scouting director: Tom McNamara.
FARM SYSTEM

Classification
Affiliate
Triple-A
Tacoma
Double-A
Jackson
High Class A
Bakersfield
Low Class A
Clinton
Short-season
Everett
Rookie
AZL Mariners
OVERALL 2015 RECORD

W
L
68 76
53 84
61 79
46 93
42 34
31 25
301 391

BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average
Best Power Hitter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline
Fastest Baserunner
Best Athlete
Best Fastball
Best Curveball
Best Slider
Best Changeup
Best Control
Best Defensive Catcher
Best Defensive Infielder
Best Infield Arm
Best Defensive Outfielder
Best Outfield Arm

Drew Jackson
Tyler ONeill
Drew Jackson
Drew Jackson
Braden Bishop
Edwin Diaz
Cody Mobley
Dan Altavilla
Andrew Moore
Andrew Moore
Steve Baron
Rayder Ascanio
Drew Jackson
Braden Bishop
Alex Jackson

Dipoto takes Ms in new direction


BY JOSH LEVENTHAL

he Blue Jays and Mariners came into the


major leagues together in 1977 as expansion brethren. They were linked together
again this year because when Toronto reached
the postseason, it left Seattle with the games
longest postseason drought.
That absence, since the clubs record-setting
116-win season in 2001, has made the Mariners
grow fonder for free agent fixes, and the signings
of Robinson Cano in 2014 and Nelson Cruz for
2015 were supposed to help push Seattle back to
the top of the American League West.
Cruz hit 44 homers in a boffo first season at
Safeco Field. Cano started poorly but rallied to
post a season that would look good on the back
of any baseball card, and stalwarts such as ace
Felix Hernandez and third baseman Kyle Seager
continued their steady excellence.
But general manager Jack Zduriencik, in his
seventh season, never surrounded those stars
with strong complementary talent. So Seattle
posted a losing record for the fifth time in his
tenure, bringing that tenure to an end and
prompting an overhaul of the front office.
Jerry Dipoto, who began the season as GM of
the rival Angels before he resigned at the end of
June, was named to the same post in Seattle in
late September. Soon thereafter, he fired manager
Lloyd McClendon and brought in his former
assistant GM from the Angels, Scott Servais,

BILL MITCHELL

AMERICAN
LEAGUE
WEST TOP 10
PROSPECTS

Rookie shortstop Ketel Marte hit .283/.351/.402,


emboldening the Mariners to trade Brad Miller

to manage the Mariners. Dipoto also imported


former Rockies coach Andy McKay as his farm
director and promoted Tom Allison from pro

scouting director to overseeing both the pro and


amateur scouting departments.
While scouting director Tom McNamara was
retained, the Mariners simply must draft better.
They finally gave up on 2009 No. 2 overall pick
Dustin Ackley, trading him to the Yankees after
his bat failed to emerge. They sent 2012 firstrounder Mike Zunino, drafted third overall, to
the minors in 2015. Lefty Danny Hultzen, the
No. 2 overall pick in a loaded 2011 draft, never
has stayed healthy and was removed from the
40-man roster in November. Early returns on
first-rounders D.J. Peterson (2013) and Alex
Jackson (2014) have been mixed.
Dipoto already has reshaped the big league
club with eight trades in his first few months
on the job. Notably, he has acquired starters
(righty Nathan Karns, lefty Wade Miley) and
bullpen pieces (righty Joaquin Benoit and lefty
C.J. Riefenhauser), middle defenders (outfielders Leonys Martin and Boog Powell, shortstop
Luis Sardinas and catcher Steve Clevenger) and a
middle-of-the-order bat (Adam Lind).
Dipoto also signed closer Steve Cishek, catcher
Chris Iannetta and outfielder Nori Aoki, executing all his moves on a budget and with a barren
farm system that is leaning heavily on an encouraging 2015 draft class.
Seattle looks better equipped to contend and
to take advantage of the window of opportunity
that still remains cracked due to the brilliance of
Cano, Cruz, Hernandez and Seager.

PROJECTED 2019 LINEUP


Catcher Mike Zunino
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
No. 1 Starter
No. 2 Starter
No. 3 Starter
No. 4 Starter
No. 5 Starter
Closer

NO. 1

D.J. Peterson
Robinson Cano
Kyle Seager
Ketel Marte
Tyler ONeill
Drew Jackson
Alex Jackson
Jesus Montero
Felix Hernandez
Taijuan Walker
Wade Miley
James Paxton
Nathan Karns
Edwin Diaz

PROS
PECT

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Jeff Clement, c
Adam Jones, of
Jeff Clement, c
Greg Halman, of
Dustin Ackley, of/1b
Dustin Ackley, 2b
Taijuan Walker, rhp
Mike Zunino, c
Taijuan Walker, rhp
Alex Jackson, of

2015 Org
Did not play
Orioles
Did not play
Deceased
Yankees
Yankees
Mariners
Mariners
Mariners
Mariners

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
2015 Org
Brandon Morrow, rhp
Padres
Phillippe Aumont, rhp
Blue Jays
Josh Fields, rhp
Astros
Dustin Ackley, of
Yankees
Taijuan Walker, rhp (1st round supp.) Mariners
Danny Hultzen, lhp
Mariners
Mike Zunino, c
Mariners
D.J. Peterson, 3b
Mariners
Alex Jackson, of
Mariners
Nick Neidert, rhp (2nd round)
Mariners

RHA

SCOUTING GRADES

BORN: Dec. 25, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2. WT.: 215.
DRAFTED: HSSan Diego, 2014 (1st round).
SIGNED BY: Gary Patchett.

BATTING: 50.
POWER: 70.
SPEED: 45.

DEFENSE: 50.
ARM: 60.

Based on 20-80 scouting scalewhere 50


represents major league averageand
future projection rather than present tools.

BACKGROUND: Jackson hit most everything in high schoolexcept a slump. He


belted 17 home runs as a sophomore and
nished his career with 47 at famed Rancho
Bernardo High in San Diego, becoming a
three-time BA High School All-American.
Jackson won the BA High School Player of
the Year award in 2014 and was the premier
prep batter in his draft class. He slipped to
the Mariners at No. 6 overall only because of
the wealth of arms ahead of him. He signed
for $4.2 million, shifted from catcher to the
outeld and ranked as the No. 1 prospect in
the Rookie-level Arizona League. That history
of success made Jacksons lackluster rst full
season in 2015 all the more puzzling. Perhaps
it was the combination of a nagging shoulder
injury, an aggressive assignment to low Class
A Clinton and his rst experience playing
in cold weather that led to a poor showing withwhich included an 8-for-53 stretch
before he was sent to extended spring training in May. Jackson worked on getting back
to basics in Arizona, including controlling the
strike zone and getting his bat-to-ball skills
in better sync, before returning to the eld
at short-season Everett. He showed more
ashes of the above-average batincluding nishing tied for fth in the Northwest
League with eight home runsbut nished
with a .239 average.
SCOUTING REPORT: Despite Jacksons
up-and-down full-season debut, the Mariners
have to hope there is no reason for alarm. The
tool set that made Jackson a prep sensation
remains intact, and it may very well be a matter of him putting the pieces together with a

fresh start in 2016. Jackson combines tremendous bat speed and hand-eye coordination
with strength to produce a thunderous swing.
At his best, he is an advanced hitter who uses
a disciplined approach to wait for his pitch
and then punish it. He has above-average
power to his pull side, and by the end of the
season began to show the ability to drive
the ball to all elds. He got out of sync in the
Midwest League by being overly aggressive
and chasing pitchers pitches out of the strike
zone early in the count. Jackson was noted
for a tremendous work ethic in high school,
and he has used that to make an easy transition from behind home plate to right eld.
He has plenty of arm strength and uses his
natural athleticism and instincts to take good
routes on yballs. Some observers believe
that Jackson often took his rst experience
with failure into the eld with him, sometimes
showing a lack of interest or desire. Others
believe its the same casual style that he has
used in a game that has come easy to him
most of his life, and that only the results were
dierent this year. Jackson is a below-average
runner but doesnt clog the bases.
THE FUTURE: Jackson will get a shot to
prove 2015 was merely a bump on his road
to Seattle when he returns to low Class A at
the start of 2016. He has middle-of-the-order
potential but needs to show he can make the
adjustments to reach it and help turn around
the Mariners system.

2015 Club (Class)


Clinton (Lo A)
Everett (SS)

R
10
31

PAU
L

GIE

$6,350,000
$6,000,000
$5,000,000
$4,200,000
$4,000,000

RT

LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY


Danny Hultzen, 2009
Dustin Ackley, 2011
Ichiro Suzuki, 2000
Alex Jackson, 2014
Mike Zunino, 2012

ALEX JACKSON, OF

18
8

B
Baseball
llllA
Am
me
erriicca.com
m

AVG OBP
.157 .240
.239 .365

SLG
.213
.466

AB
108
163

H
17
39

2B 3B HR RBI
6
0
0 13
11
1
8 25

BB
6
21

SO SB
35
1
61
2

January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

2. EDWIN
DIAZ, RHP

BORN: March 22, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 165. DRAFTED: HSCaguas, P.R., 2012
(3rd round). SIGNED BY: Noel Sevilla.
BACKGROUND: Diaz has added weight and
velocity since signing for $300,000 as a sixthrounder out of Puerto Rico in 2012. A stronger
lower half, better balance and an improved
slider keyed his development in 2015, which
started with seven strong starts at high Class
A Bakersfield and ended with a promotion to
Double-A Jackson and Mariners minor league
pitcher of the year honors.
SCOUTING REPORT: Developing feel for his
plus, mid-80s slider with tight rotation has
proven to be an effective counter to his plus
fastball that sits at 93-95 mph and tops out at 98. Toss in a below-average changeup that hes
starting to master but lacks confidence in and Diaz has emerged as a promisingthough
inconsistentpitcher. He was at his best in a July 23 outing against Montgomery, when
he struck out seven consecutive batters (one shy of matching a Southern League record). He
throws strikes but still struggles to command pitches within the zone while learning that he
cant rely on overpowering hitters as he moves up the minor league ladder. When he misses,
he tends to leave the ball over the plate.
THE FUTURE: Diazs level-by-level rise will continue at Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, when
he will be just 22. Further improvement of his command gives him No. 3 starter potential.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Bakersfield (Hi A)
2 0 1.70 7 7 0 0 37 21 3 9 42 .167
Jackson (AA)
5 10 4.57 20 20 0 0 104 102 5 37 103 .259

BILL MITCHELL

5. NICK
NEIDERT, RHP

BORN: Nov. 20, 1996. BT: 6-1. WT.: 180.


DRAFTED: HSSuwanee, Ga., 2015 (2nd
round). SIGNED BY: Dustin Evans.
BACKGROUND: Neidert attracted the
Mariners attention in an October 2014 outing
at the World Wood Bat Championships, when
he tossed a two-hit shutout. He missed time
during his senior season with elbow tendinitis but returned later in the spring, and the
Mariners signed him away from a commitment
to South Carolina with a $1.2 million bonus as
the 60th overall pick in 2015.
SCOUTING REPORT: Neidert is a slight righty
who draws comparisons with Tim Hudson, and
he brings an advanced approach and feel with
a fastball/changeup combination. He hits his spots with a 90-92 mph fastball that has
reached 94, and he can locate to either side of the plate. His changeup also has potential to
be an above-average offering with deception, sink and fade. Hes still developing feel for a
slider that hes learning to throw from his high three-quarters arm slot. Neidert worked on
improving his balance in his delivery so that he can more consistently work down in the zone.
He needs to be quicker to the plate with runners on base. Observers rave about his competitiveness and advanced approach. Making his lone relief appearance in the Rookie-level
Arizona League playoffs, he tossed four shutout innings to help his team advance to the finals.
THE FUTURE: Neidert has a chance to make his full-season debut at low Class A Clinton in
2016 and has No. 4 starter upsideperhaps higher if his velocity improves.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
AZL Mariners (R)
0 2 1.53 11 11 0 0 35 25 1 9 23 .198

8. ANDREW
MOORE, RHP

BORN: Jan. 2, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-0.


WT.: 185. DRAFTED: Oregon State, 2015
(2nd round supp). SIGNED BY: Jeff Sakamoto.
BACKGROUND: The Mariners believe they
got a steal in Moore with the 72nd pick of
the 2015 draft, and that the polished former
Oregon State ace could move quickly through
the system. In similar fashion to fellow 2015
pick Nick Neidert, Moore succeeds with command and control of a four-pitch arsenal more
than velocity.
SCOUTING REPORT: Moore adds and subtracts from an 89-92 mph fastball that touches
94 while locating it to all quadrants of the
strike zone. He issued just two walks in his
pro debut at short-season Everett, the fewest among any pitcher in the league who tossed
at least 20 innings. He keeps hitters off-balance with a changeup that has plus potential. He
throws the pitch with deceptive arm speed and gets some sinking action on the offering.
Moore mixes in a tight-breaking curveball that has potential to be an average big league
offering and a low-80s slider that is mostly used for show. He is a cerebral pitcher who excels
at reading batters swings and learning their tendencies, though he sometimes overthinks
and uses all of his pitches to a fault.
THE FUTURE: Moore must prove his modest-but-athletic, 6-foot frame can hold up under a
pro workload. He could move quickly and profiles as a back-end starter without a dominant
pitch.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Everett (SS)
1 1 2.08 14 8 0 0 39 37 2 2 43 .250

January 29February 12, 2016

3. DREW
JACKSON, SS

BORN: July 28, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2.


WT: 200. DRAFTED: Stanford, 2015 (5th
round). SIGNED BY: Stacey Pettis.
BACKGROUND: Jackson turned down the
Giants in the 37th round of the 2012 draft to
attend Stanford. The younger brother of former
Cubs outfielder Brett Jackson, Drew had long
tantalized observers with tools but showed
little feel to hit during his first two years with
the Cardinal, including an uninspiring turn
in the Cape Cod League. He missed the first
15 games of his junior season with a hand
injury before hitting .320 and signing with the
Mariners as a fifth-round pick for $335,400.
SCOUTING REPORT: Jackson carried his hot
streak through his pro debut at short-season Everett, with new contact lenses being a key to
his turnaround. He worked with hitting coach Brian Hunter on shortening his swing and keeping the ball out of the air to better take advantage of his double-plus speed. Jackson earned
Northwest League MVP honors while leading the league with a .358 average and 47 stolen
bases. Hes a top-of-the-order hitter with gap power. Jackson is a steady defender at shortstop with soft hands, average range and a double-plus arm. He sometimes relies on his strong
arm too much instead of charging the ball and needs to improve his footwork on throws. Hes
an aggressive basestealer with first-step quickness and a knack for reading pitchers.
THE FUTURE: Jackson could be a disruptive force at the top of the lineup and will make his
full-season debut in 2016, possibly at high Class A Bakersfield.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Everett (SS)
.358 .432 .447 226 64 81 12 1 2 26 30 35 47

6. LUIZ
GOHARA, LHP

BORN: July 31, 1996. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 210. SIGNED: Brazil, 2012. SIGNED BY:
Emilio Carrasquel/Hide Sueyoshi.
BACKGROUND: Gohara returned to shortseason Everett for a second straight season
in 2015 and showed signs of becoming the
power pitcher the Mariners envisioned when
they signed him for $800,000 out of Brazil in
2012. The hulking lefty didnt yield an earned
run until his third startwhen he gave up
five in five innings, an indication of his still
less-than-stellar command.
SCOUTING REPORT: At his best, Gohara
overwhelms hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball
that tops out in the upper 90s. Lefties hit
just .222 against him and struggled to pick the ball up out of his three-quarters arm slot,
especially his average, slurvy slider with depth. When things arent going his way, Gohara
struggles to repeat his delivery and loses command. Hes not particularly athletic and doesnt
always seem to have his limbs moving together. As a result, his 62 strikeouts ranked fifth in
the Northwest League, while his 32 walks tied for the most in the circuit. He also ran up a
6.20 ERA. His changeup still is developing and would be more effective at a lower velocity.
THE FUTURE: Gohara made two spot starts at low Class A Clinton in 2015, yielding just two
earned runs over 10 innings, and should get a chance to open 2016 in the Midwest League
as a 19-year-old starter.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Clinton (Lo A)
0 1 1.86 2 2 0 0 10 10 0 6 5 .294
Everett (SS)
3 7 6.20 14 14 0 0 54 67 4 32 62 .305

9. BOOG
POWELL, OF

BORN: Jan. 14, 1993. BT: L-L. HT.: 5-10.


WT.: 185. DRAFTED: Orange Coast (Calif.)
CC, 2012 (20th round). SIGNED BY: Rick
Magnante (Athletics).
BACKGROUND: The Athletics drafted Powell
but sent him to the Rays in the January 2015
deal that brought Ben Zobrist to Oakland. The
Rays later included him in the November 2015
deal that also brought Nathan Karns to Seattle.
Powell was suspended for 50 games in 2014
after testing positive for an amphetamine, but
he played enough to lead the minors with a
.451 on-base percentage.
SCOUTING REPORT: The Mariners believe
Powells plus speed and fearless defense will
make him a good fit for center field in Seattle. However, his ability to hit on a consistent basis
will determine if he plays as a regular or a backup. The 5-foot-10 Powell draws comparisons
with fellow diminutive, lefthanded-hitting outfielders Adam Eaton and Brett Gardner for his
style of play. He has good bat-to-ball skills and can bunt for hits, and he has drawn 61 walks
each of the past two seasons. Hes at his best when working the count and driving the ball to
gaps. Powell slumped when he expanded his strike zone and got big with his swing, trying to
generate power. Hes an above-average runner but an inefficient basestealer.
THE FUTURE: Powell will get a shot to make the big league club in 2016, most likely as
an extra outfielder.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Montgomery (AA)
.328 .408 .416 238 44 78 6 6 1 22 29 38 11
Durham (AAA)
.257 .360 .364 206 22 53 10 3 2 18 32 41 7

BaseballAmerica.com

4. TYLER
ONEILL, OF

BORN: June 22, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 5-11.


WT.: 210. DRAFTED: HSMaple Ridge, B.C.,
2013 (3rd round). SIGNED BY: Wayne Norton.
BACKGROUND: Over the first three months
of 2015, ONeill did little to live down his
reputation as a free swinger with premium bat
speed who never met a breaking pitch that he
wouldnt take a hack at. He left to play for host
Canada in the Pan Am Games in early July after
hitting .238 at high Class A Bakersfield. ONeill
hit three homers in the tournament, including
a decisive three-run blast against Cuba, to help
the Canadians win gold, then took off upon
returning to Bakersfield on July 23.
SCOUTING REPORT: In his final 41 California
League games, ONeill hit .298/.381/.702 with 16 homers to finish with 32, which tied for
second-most in the minors. He has plus raw power, so balls disappear over the outfield fence
when he makes contact. That qualifier, however, has been his downfall, for he struck out
nearly 31 percent of the time in 2015. ONeill recognizes breaking pitches but has struggled to
lay off them. He did a better job later in 2015 after tweaking his stance to better incorporate
his lower half. Hes equally aggressive in the field, where his above-average arm strength
plays in right field. ONeill is a raw defender but has improved his routes and instincts. He
runs well enough to play center field sporadically and has become a threat on the bases.
THE FUTURE: Further maturity could make ONeill a middle-of-the-order threat. Hell be
tested at Double-A Jackson in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Bakersfield (Hi A)
.260 .316 .558 407 68 106 21 2 32 87 29 137 16

7. BRADEN
BISHOP, OF

BORN: Aug. 22, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 190. DRAFTED: Washington, 2015 (3rd
round). SIGNED BY: Jeff Sakamoto.
BACKGROUND: Bishop was a two-sport athlete at St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif.,
excelling on the diamond and as a wide receiver. He even received Division I recruiting interest in football. He stuck with baseball, passed
on signing with the Braves as a 36th-round
pick in 2012 and chose to attend Washington.
SCOUTING REPORT: Bishop is a natural
defender in center field with well aboveaverage speed and a plus arm, but his lack of
consistency with the bat caused him to slip to
the third round in 2015, where the Mariners
happily grabbed the local product. Bishop gets equally high marks for his work ethic and
character, notably a charity he started to benefit Alzheimers research after his mother was
diagnosed with the disease at age 52. A shorter, more direct swing helped him hit .320 at
short-season Everett to rank second in the Northwest League. He could stand to be more
patient after recording 33 strikeouts and just five walks. Bishop rivals Everett teammate (and
2015 fifth-round pick) Drew Jackson for the fastest runner in the organization, but he lacks
Jacksons polish and aggressiveness as a basestealer. He covers a lot of ground in center field
and is an advanced defender well-suited for Seattles spacious Safeco Field.
THE FUTURE: Bishop should team with Jackson again to open 2016 with a Class A affiliate,
possibly high Class A Bakersfield.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Everett (SS)
.320 .367 .393 219 34 70 8 1 2 22 5 33 13

10. D.J.
PETERSON, 1B/3B

BORN: Dec. 31, 1991. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-1.


WT.: 210. DRAFTED: New Mexico, 2013 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: Chris Pelekoudas.
BACKGROUND: Petersons road to the big
leagues hit a significant pothole in 2015, when
a 0-for-15 start at Double-A Jackson turned
into a season-long slump. The Mariners drafted
him with the 12th overall pick in 2013, and his
younger brother Dustin, now a Brave, was a
second-rounder the same draft. D.J. was hit by
a pitch in his pro debut that broke his jaw, but
he returned the following season to belt 31
homers between high Class A and Double-A.
SCOUTING REPORT: Peterson lost weight
before the start of 2015 in an attempt to gain
flexibility and speed, but it failed to pay off. The Mariners gave him a change of scenery with
a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma in late July, but an Achilles injury ended that after just four
games. The Mariners would like to see Peterson manage the strike zone better and use the
whole field more. Some scouts still believe in his swing, but others dont think he will hit
enough to be a regular. Despite an above-average arm, he is a well below-average defender
at third base because of poor range. He spent more time at first base in 2015, likely his permanent home going forward. Hes a well below-average runner but does not clog the bases.
THE FUTURE: Peterson must show he can hit enough to play first base in a return to Tacoma,
but a bigger challenge looms at Seattles Safeco Field, which suppresses righthanded power.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Jackson (AA)
.223 .290 .346 358 39 80 19 2 7 44 31 90 5
Tacoma (AAA)
.214 .214 .286 14 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 3 0

19

TEXAS
RANGERS
ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
General manager: Jon Daniels.
Farm director: Mike Daly.
Scouting director: Kip Fagg.
FARM SYSTEM

Classification
Affiliate
Triple-A
Round Rock
Double-A
Frisco
High Class A
Myrtle Beach
Low Class A
Hickory
Short-season
Spokane
Rookie
AZL Rangers
OVERALL 2015 RECORD

W
L
78 66
60 79
78 62
81 57
34 42
28 28
359 334

BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average
Best Power Hitter
Best Strike-Zone Discipline
Fastest Baserunner
Best Athlete
Best Fastball
Best Curveball
Best Slider
Best Changeup
Best Control
Best Defensive Catcher
Best Defensive Infielder
Best Infield Arm
Best Defensive Outfielder
Best Outfield Arm

Nomar Mazara
Joey Gallo
Josh Morgan
Chris Garia
Lewis Brinson
Connor Sadzeck
Brett Martin
Luis Ortiz
Yohander Mendez
Collin Wiles
Pat Cantwell
Michael De Leon
Joey Gallo
Lewis Brinson
Nomar Mazara

PROJECTED 2019 LINEUP


Catcher
First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Shortstop
Left Field
Center Field
Right Field
Designated Hitter
No. 1 Starter
No. 2 Starter
No. 3 Starter
No. 4 Starter
No. 5 Starter
Closer

Jose Trevino
Mitch Moreland
Rougned Odor
Joey Gallo
Elvis Andrus
Shin-Soo Choo
Lewis Brinson
Nomar Mazara
Prince Fielder
Cole Hamels
Yu Darvish
Derek Holland
Luis Ortiz
Martin Perez
Keone Kela

Rangers return to winning ways


BY BEN BADLER

oming off a disastrous 2014 season with


the third-worst record in baseball, the
Rangers at least had hope that better
health could reverse their fortune in 2015 after
injuries ravaged the team the previous year.
Then before the 2015 season even began, Yu
Darvish went down for the year with Tommy
John surgery and Jurickson Profar had shoulder
surgery that would wipe out his second straight
season. Derek Holland threw one inning in April
before going on the disabled list with a shoulder
injury. By May 3, the Rangers were 8-16 and
looked like they might stay in last place in the
American League West the rest of the season.
Instead, the Rangers stayed competitive under
first-year manager Jeff Bannister. After they
pulled off a blockbuster trade for Cole Hamels
on July 31, the Rangers entered August just
50-52. Then they went on a rampage, going on
a 38-22 stretch to finish 88-74 atop the AL West.
The season ended on a bitter note, as Texas lost
a 2-0 Division Series lead against the Blue Jays by
dropping three straight to end the season, but on
the whole the Rangers defied expectations and
returned to their winning ways.
International scouting continues to be an
organizational strength. That work came to fruition in 2015 when second baseman Rougned
Odor emerged as one of the games top young
big leaguers. Odubel Herrera, another Rangers

DAVID SEELIG

AMERICAN
LEAGUE
WEST TOP 10
PROSPECTS

Rougned Odor established himself as a top-flight


second baseman as the Rangers won the AL West

signing out of Venezuela, went to the Phillies in


the Rule 5 draft and had a productive season in
Philadelphia, though the Rangers made up for

NO. 1

PROS
PECT

TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Edinson Volquez, rhp
John Danks, lhp
Elvis Andrus, ss
Neftali Feliz, rhp
Neftali Feliz, rhp
Martin Perez, lhp
Jurickson Profar, ss
Jurickson Profar, ss
Rougned Odor, 2b
Joey Gallo, 3b

2015 Org
Royals
White Sox
Rangers
Tigers
Tigers
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers

TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE


Year
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Player, Pos.
Kasey Kiker, lhp
Blake Beavan, rhp
Justin Smoak, 1b
*Matt Purke, lhp
Jake Skole, of
Kevin Matthews, lhp
Lewis Brinson, of
Chi Chi Gonzalez, rhp
Luis Ortiz, rhp
Dillon Tate, rhp

2015 Org
Did not play
Diamondbacks
Blue Jays
Nationals
Yankees
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers
Rangers
*Did not sign.

20
0

$5,000,000
$4,950,000
$4,500,000
$4,500,000
$4,200,000

JOHN WILLIAMSON

LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY


Leonys Martin, 2011
Nomar Mazara, 2011
Mark Teixeira, 2001
Jairo Beras, 2012
Dillon Tate, 2015

his loss with a shrewd Rule 5 pick of their own in


Delino DeShields Jr. .
More young hitting talent is on the way and
close to helping in Texas, with a talented trio at
the upper levels in Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson
and Nomar Mazara. The Rangers have done a
tremendous job of getting high-ceiling position
prospects with high strikeout rates to make more
contact, even while facing better pitching.
Several of those hitters have simplified their
swings, improved their balance in their lower
halves and in turn kept their heads locked in,
which has helped them better recognize pitches,
leading to improved plate discipline and contact
rates.
On the pitching side, the Rangers have several
prospects who throw a lot of strikesincluding
two with frontline potential in Luis Ortiz and
Dillon Tatebut many of those pitchers have
durability question marks, so the Rangers have
to handle them carefully.
The depth in the system isnt quite what it
has been in previous years, thanks in parts to
a series of trades highlighted by the Hamels
deal that cost them three of their top prospects
in outfielder Nick Williams, righthander Jake
Thompson and catcher Jorge Alfaro.
Yet the young talent is still intact on the major
league roster and more help from the farm is
on the way in 2016, which should allow the
Rangers to return to being a perennial threat in
the AL West.

JOEY GALLO, 3B/OF

SCOUTING GRADES

BORN: Nov. 19, 1993. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-5. WT.: 230.
DRAFTED: HSLas Vegas, 2012 (1st round supp).
SIGNED BY: Todd Guggiana.

BATTING: 50.
POWER: 80.
SPEED: 40.

DEFENSE: 45.
ARM: 70.

Based on 20-80 scouting scalewhere 50


represents major league averageand
future projection rather than present tools.

BACKGROUND: It was a Las Vegas sweep


of the 2015 Baseball America awards, with
Bryce Harper taking Major League Player
of the Year honors and Kris Bryant winning
Rookie of the Year. The next power-hitting
monster out of Vegas is Gallo, who was once
teammates with Harper when they were
8 and 9 years old and who worked with
Bryants father Mike as a personal hitting
coach. Signed for $2.25 million as the No. 39
overall pick in 2012. Gallo posted back-toback 40-plus home run seasons in 2013 and
2014. He got o to a strong start in 2015,
jumping from Double-A Frisco to the majors
on June 2 when Adrian Beltre went on the
disabled list. Gallo stayed there the rest of
the month and homered o Clayton Kershaw,
but when the strikeouts started piling up, he
went back down to Triple-A Round Rock. He
continued to show big power and too many
whis with before heading back to Texas as a
September callup.
SCOUTING REPORT: Even baseballs most
experienced scouts marvel at Gallos majestic
power. Its a true 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and it rivals anyone except possibly Giancarlo Stanton. He dazzles in batting
practice, and while he has a pull-conscious
approach, he can go deep to any part of
the park in games. Its easy power that he
generates with tremendous strength, quick
hands and bat speed, along with excellent
leverage and loft. Gallo made major strides
in 2014 with his contact rate, and through
the rst two months of 2015, he appeared to
be heading in the right direction, mashing in

Double-A while trimming his strikeout rate


from 40 percent at that level in 2014 to 34
percent in 2015. But in the major leagues
and in Triple-A, Gallos swing got longer, he
struggled to recognize pitches and chased
too many balls o the plate, leaving him
with too many holes. Gallo played 2015 as a
21-year-old, the same age as college juniors
just getting acclimated to pro ball, so hes
already ahead of schedule with plenty of time
to make adjustments. He has to work to keep
his swing shortsomething that will always
be a challenge with his long leversand
learn that he doesnt have to swing for the
fences every time. Gallo walked 14 percent of
the time in the minors in 2015, so even if hes
a .250 hitter, he should draw plenty of walks
and have the power to be a middle-of-theorder force. There arent many third basemen
who stand 6-foot-5, like Gallo, but hes quite
athletic for his size, though a below-average
runner. With his hands, agility and plus arm,
he could stick at third base. Yet with Beltre
under contract for one more season, Gallo has
also seen time in left eld and would t well in
either corner spot.
THE FUTURE: Not quite ready for the
big leagues, Gallo should return to Triple-A
to open 2016. If is able to make the proper
adjustments to that level and is dominating
the Pacic Coast League early, he could be up
quickly, with a chance to develop into a star.

2015 Club (Class)


Frisco (AA)
Round Rock (AAA)
Texas (MLB)

R
21
20
16

Basse
Ba
eball
ballllA
ba
Am
me
erri
rica.com
.

AVG OBP
.314 .425
.195 .289
.204 .301

SLG
.636
.450
.417

AB
121
200
108

H
38
39
22

2B 3B HR RBI
10
1
9 31
9
0 14 32
3
1
6 14

BB
24
27
15

SO SB
49
1
90
1
57
3

January 29February 12, 2016

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST TOP 10 PROSPECTS

2. LEWIS
BRINSON, OF

3. NOMAR
MAZARA, OF

BORN: May 8, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-4. WT.:


205. DRAFTED: HSCoral Springs, Fla., 2012
(1st round). SIGNED BY: Frankie Thon.
BACKGROUND: Strikeouts and injuries held
back Brinson his first two full seasons, but he
was one of the breakout prospects of 2015,
soaring through three levels and ranking second in the minors in slugging.
SCOUTING REPORT: Brinsons transformation came from a combination of physical and
mental adjustments. Adding strength to his
lower half helped him improve his balance
with a stronger base. That helped him keep
his head locked in, which allowed him to track
pitches better. Notorious for chasing breaking
balls, Brinson developed a plan to zone in on hitting the fastball. He doesnt yet punish breaking balls but now has learned to lay off more of them out of the zone and take advantage of
his excellent bat speed and plus power to crush the fastball. Brinson has gotten better at using
the whole field, though he could still use the opposite field more . His speed and arm are both
plus, with the range to be a plus defender in center field.
THE FUTURE: If Brinson can be even an average hitter, he will be an above-average player
because of his other skills. If his offensive growth plateaus, he could end up along the lines
of Cameron Maybin, but his power-speed combination gives him the upside of Adam Jones.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
High Desert (Hi A)
.337 .416 .628 258 51 87 22 7 13 42 31 64 13
Frisco (AA)
.291 .328 .545 110 14 32 8 1 6 23 6 28 2
Round Rock (AAA)
.433 .541 .567 30 9 13 1 0 1 5 7 6 3

BORN: April 26, 1995. BT: L-L. HT.: 6-4.


WT.: 215. SIGNED: Dominican Republic,
2011. SIGNED BY: Rodolfo Rosario/Mike Daly.
BACKGROUND: When the Rangers signed
Mazara for a then-record $4.95 million bonus
out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, other
teams believed it was a massive overpay.
Mazara has justified the faith of the Rangers
international scouts, becoming one of the top
prospects in baseball.
SCOUTING REPORT: Mazaras swing and
approach have evolved since signing, toning
down a giant, out-of-control leg kick that
caused timing issues and instead employing a
smaller toe tap. That adjustment improved his
balance and allowed him to see the ball better, with Mazara trimming his strikeout rate while
advancing to the upper levels of the minors without sacrificing his power. Hes a smart, mature
hitter with a good plan at the plate. Mazara has good bat control, uses the whole field and has
the plus raw power. Mazara has become a reliable defender in right field, even if hes a wellbelow-average runner who lacks first-step quickness and is still prone to youthful mistakes.
His best defensive tool is a plus arm with precise accuracy, which helped him collect 16 assists.
THE FUTURE: Mazara projects as an above-average regular in the middle of the lineup,
likely playing left field with right fielder Shin-Soo Choo under contract through 2020. He will
start 2016 in Triple-A and is on the 40-man roster, so he will be up by September, if not sooner.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Frisco (AA)
.284 .357 .443 409 57 116 22 2 13 56 47 92 2
Round Rock (AAA)
.358 .409 .444 81 11 29 4 0 1 13 5 10 0

5. DILLON
TATE, RHP

6. ERIC
JENKINS, OF

BORN: May 1, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-2. WT.:


165. DRAFTED: UC Santa Barbara, 2015 (1st
round). SIGNED BY: Todd Guggiana.
BACKGROUND: Tate pitched sparingly as a
freshman at UC Santa Barbara, but he emerged
as the Gauchos closer as a sophomore, then
moved into the rotation as a junior. His stock
rose quickly, with the Rangers drafting him
fourth overall in 2015 and paying $4.2 million
to sign him.
SCOUTING REPORT: Tate has an extremely
quick arm, with a fastball that sits at 92-96
mph and can reach 98 with good tailing life,
though it can come in on a flat plane. He has a
pair of plus pitches in his fastball and hard slider, a mid-to-upper 80s weapon that stays on plane with his fastball until the end when it has
late, tight break to miss bats. Tate didnt have much need for a changeup but it has improved
the more hes thrown it, projecting as a possible average third pitch. He mixes in an occasional
cutter as well. Tate held his stuff deep into games as a starter, though it faded down the
stretch in college. There is some effort to his high-energy mechanics, but the ball comes out
of his hand with ease and hes a good athlete who repeats his delivery and throws strikes.
THE FUTURE: Tate could be a fast-track guy with a chance to get to the big leagues by 2017.
While theres a chance he ends up in the bullpen, the Rangers took him at the top of the draft
to be a starter, with a chance to pitch at the front of the rotation.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Spokane (SS)
0 0 0.00 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 3 3 .000
Hickory (Lo A)
0 0 1.29 4 4 0 0 7 3 1 0 5 .130

BORN: Jan. 30, 1997. BT: L-R. HT.: 6-1. WT.:


170. DRAFTED: HSCerro Gordo, N.C., 2015
(2nd round). SIGNED BY: Jay Heafner.
BACKGROUND: The Rangers drafted Jenkins
in the second round at No. 45 overall and paid
him an above-slot $2 million bonus before
sending the speedster to the Rookie-level
Arizona League. Jenkins finished with low Class
A Hickory, then broke his right hamate bone at
the end of instructional league.
SCOUTING REPORT: Jenkins may have the
fastest hands in the organization. He has loose
wrists and a short, line-drive stroke. He doesnt
always repeat that swing though, losing his
balance and letting his shoulders fly out early.
That causes his swing to get in and out of the zone too quickly, creating more strikeouts than
scouts expected as an amateur. His pitch recognition skills are solid and he shows the patience
to take his walks. Jenkins is an explosive athlete with 70 speed, going 28-for-31 stealing bags.
Jenkins has a lean frame with room to add much-needed strength. He has sneaky power with
a chance for 8-12 home runs, but his swing isnt conducive for loft. In center field he has good
range and an average arm.
THE FUTURE: Jenkins fits the mold of toolsy, premium athletes the Rangers have targeted
in recent drafts. He could develop into an everyday center fielder, with his first full season
starting next year back in Hickory as long as his hand is healed.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
AZL Rangers (R)
.249 .342 .339 177 35 44 4 6 0 13 23 57 27
Hickory (Lo A)
.389 .421 .444 18 3 7 1 0 0 1 1 4 1

BORN: April 3, 1993. BT: R-R. HT.: 5-11.


WT.: 183. SIGNED: Cuba, 2015. SIGNED
BY: Jose Fernandez/Roberto Aquino/Gil Kim/
Thad Levine.
BACKGROUND: Ibanez stood out in Cuba
from a young age, leading the countrys 16U national league in batting (.458) and slugging
(.703) in 2011, playing in the 16U World Cup that year and the 18U World Cup in 2013. Ibanez
was the youngest player on Cubas 2013 World Baseball Classic team, though he didnt play
much there, and hit well in the 2014 World Port Tournament. After leaving Cuba, Ibanez
went through a change in representation before signing with Texas for $1.6 million, widely
considered a bargain by other organizations.
SCOUTING REPORT: Ibanez doesnt have one standout tool or flashy athleticism, but he
has a strong track record of hitting in Cuba. going back to his days in Cubas junior leagues
and in three seasons in Serie Nacional, where he hit .267/.377/.435 with more walks (33)
than strikeouts (28) in 280 at-bats as a 20-year-old in his final season in 2013-14 with La Isla
De La Juventud. He has a quick, short swing, good bat control and a line-drive approach with
occasional power, though hes more of a doubles threat than a home run hitter. Ibanez has a
thicker build for a middle infielder and is a below-average runner. He is an instinctive, high
baseball IQ player who won a gold glove one season in Cuba, though hes more of a steady
fielder than an above-average defender.
THE FUTURE: After a long layoff from competitive baseball, Ibanez spent time in the
Rangers Dominican academy before playing winter ball in Colombia, where he was one
of the leagues best hitters. Given his time off and age, Ibanez might start in low Class A
Hickory, but he could move quickly through the Rangers system if he progresses as the
team believes he can.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Did Not Play

January 29February 12, 2016

9. LEODYS
TAVERAS, OF

BILL MITCHELL

8. ANDY
IBANEZ, 2B

BORN: Sept. 8, 1998. BT: B-R. HT.: 6-2.


WT.: 175. SIGNED: Dominican Republic,
2015. SIGNED BY: Willy Espinal/Gil Kim/Thad
Levine.
BACKGROUND: Willy Taveras played seven
major league seasons as an outfielder, leading
MLB with 68 stolen bases in 2008. His cousin,
Leodys, is another quick-twitch athlete and
was one of the most well-rounded prospects
on the international market when he signed
with Texas for $2.1 million on July 2, 2015.
SCOUTING REPORT: With a lean, athletic
build, Taveras is a smooth player could have
five average to plus tools, playing the game
calmly and under control. Hes a sweet-swinging switch-hitter whos more advanced from the left side, with a clean, fluid stroke thats
direct to the ball with a good bat path. Taveras performed well in games before signing, and
while some scouts had reservations about his pitch recognition, he can hit good velocity. Since
signing, he has shown more ability to stay back on pitches longer and done a better job of
managing his at-bats. Taveras drives the ball well for his age, and with his size and big, strong
hands, theres considerable physical projection for his power to grow. Taveras has plus speed
with an easy gait and a strong arm, so while his outfield reads and routes need to improve,
he has the tools to stick in center field.
THE FUTURE: Taveras might start his career in the Dominican Summer League, but he
could join the Rookie-level Arizona League club when their season begins a few weeks later.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Did not playSigned 2016 contract

BaseballAmerica.com

4. LUIS
ORTIZ, RHP

BORN: Sept. 22, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-3.


WT.: 230. DRAFTED: HSSanger, Calif.,
2014 (1st round). SIGNED BY: Butch Metzger.
BACKGROUND: The Rangers drafted Ortiz No.
30 overall and signed him for $1.75 million. He
pitched effectively in his first full season with
low Class A Hickory, though he missed two
and a half months toward the end with elbow
tendinitis. He returned and finished the season
with four scoreless, one-hit innings in Hickorys
championship playoff run.
SCOUTING REPORT: Ortiz combines power
stuff with touch and feel. His fastball sits
92-95 mph and can bump 97, with excellent
command for his age to both sides of the plate
with a sound, repeatable delivery. Ortiz has a putaway slider with good tilt, coming out of
his hand on the same plane as his fastball before snapping off with late, tight break. He has
shown progress with a changeup that could become an average or better pitch, but its still
inconsistent. He also sprinkles in an occasional curveball. Durability is a concern with Ortiz,
who also missed time in 2014 with forearm tightness. The Rangers have had to be conservative with him because of his poor conditioning, with Ortiz growing sideways and carrying a
body reminiscent of Joba Chamberlain.
THE FUTURE: Ortiz has the highest ceiling among the organizations pitching prospects,
with frontline starter potential if he can get in better shape and stay on the mound. If he does,
he could move quickly, with high Class A High Desert his next stop.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Hickory (Lo A)
4 1 1.80 13 13 0 0 50 45 1 9 46 .238

7. JOSH
MORGAN, SS/3B

BORN: Nov. 16, 1995. BT: R-R. HT.: 5-11.


WT.: 185. DRAFTED: HSOrange, Calif.,
2014 (3rd round). SIGNED BY: Steve Flores.
BACKGROUND: After signing for $800,000
as a third-round pick in 2014, Morgan led the
Rookie-level Arizona League in OBP. Moved up
to low Class Hickory in 2015, Morgan continued
to show strong on-base skills with a polished
hitting approach before a broken right index
finger ended his season in early August.
SCOUTING REPORT: Morgan is a smart player with good plate discipline. He recognizes
breaking balls and doesnt chase many pitches
outside the strike zone. He has a simple, compact stroke without much movement. He has
quick hands, good bat control and makes contact at a high rate, backspinning the ball and
using the middle of the field. Morgan can sneak a ball over the fence to his pull side, but his
power is well below-average, with an profile that will always be tilted toward getting on base
over power. The Rangers also had Michael De Leon at Hickory, so Morgan split time between
shortstop and third base. A slightly above-average runner, Morgan is a steady defender who
doesnt have the pure range many teams seek at shortstop, but his hands, feet and instincts
help him, along with a solid-average arm.
THE FUTURE: As Morgan gets stronger and learns to drive the ball with more authority, his
ability to put the ball and play and draw walks could make him a top-of-the-order hitter. He
should make the jump to high Class A High Desert in 2016.
2015 Club (Class) AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB
Hickory (Lo A)
.288 .385 .362 351 59 101 15 1 3 36 45 53 9

10. MICHAEL
MATUELLA, RHP

BORN: June 3, 1994. BT: R-R. HT.: 6-6.


WT.: 220. DRAFTED: Duke, 2015 (3rd round).
SIGNED BY: Jay Heafner.
BACKGROUND: After the 2014 college season
at Duke, Matuella was a candidate to be the
No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, but health
issues derailed any chance. In the summer of
2014, Matuella was diagnosed with spondylosis, a chronic back condition. He returned in
the spring of 2015 for his junior year and didnt
show quite the same stuff, then had Tommy
John surgery in April. Despite the health concerns, the Rangers signed Matuella for $2 million, well above slot in the third round.
SCOUTING REPORT: When healthy, Matuella
showed four quality pitches with good control, starting with a two-seam fastball that sat
92-96 mph at hit 98 as a sophomore with plus life. His power curveball cranks up to the low80s with good depth and grades out as plus, while his mid-80s slider flashes above-average as
well. He hasnt needed to use his changeup much, but it has shown the makings of developing
into an average pitch. Matuella has a ceiling of a frontline starter, but he never threw more
than 60 innings in a season at Duke and is a major medical risk. Some scouts have likened him
to Tanner Scheppers, whom the Rangers also drafted and signed after significant injury questions caused him to slip in the draft, and Scheppers has had an inconsistent career as a reliever.
THE FUTURE: The Rangers do not expect Matuella to return to games until May or June, and
the club is targeting 80-100 innings for him in 2016.
2015 Club (Class)
W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO AVG
Did not playInjured

21

ORGANIZATION REPORTS AL East

Sanchez, Pazos vie for roles in majors

NEW YORK When Hal Steinbrenner included


Gary Sanchez and James Pazos in the list
of prospects the Yankees labeled untouchable
before the trade deadline last July, there was a
certain amount of head scratching.
Catcher Brian McCann was in the second
of a five-year deal and John Ryan Murphy
was looking like he would be a regular someday. So, where was the chance for Sanchez to
play?
Pazos is a lefty reliever who started the season on Double-A Trentons disabled list with
a shoulder issue. Lefty relievers Justin Wilson
and Chasen Shreve were pitching well, were

27 and 25, respectively and not making


budget-busting salaries.
Now with Murphy traded to the Twins for
outfielder Aaron Hicks and Wilson dealt to
the Tigers for a pair of minor league righthanders, there are openings for Sanchez and
Pazos to make the big league club.
He has grown up before our eyes, general
manager Brian Cashman said of the 23-yearold Sanchez, who was signed for $3 million as
a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic
in 2009.
Sanchez started the season at Trenton and
batted .262 with 12 homers, 36 RBIs and
an OPS of .795 in 58 games. Promoted to
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the righthander batted .295 with six homers, 26 RBIs
and a .849 OPS. The strong season continued
in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted
.295 with seven homers, 21 RBIs and a .982
OPS in 22 games.
He improved in every category, Cashman

said. The bat was always there, now his


defense has come a long wayblocking balls,
calling a game and throwing.
While Sanchez will open spring training
as the favorite to win the backup spot, Pazos
wont be an automatic choice.
I think he is definitely in the mix, he has
a power arm, Joe Girardi said of 6-foot3, 230-pound Pazos, who appeared in 11
September games for the Yankees after a combined 27 for Trenton and Scranton.
Pazos, 25 in May, was taken in the 13th
round of the 2012 draft out of the University
of San Diego.

BALTIMORE | Orioles

BOSTON | Red Sox

TAMPA BAY | Rays

BY GEORGE KING

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

B Y R O C H K U B AT KO

BY ALEX SPEIER

YANKEE DOODLES
Q Barring an injury to Mark Teixeira, first baseman Greg
Bird is likely ticketed for Triple-A to begin 2016.
Q Similarly, second baseman Rob Refsnyder, who also had
a taste of big league success in 2015, will join Bird after the
Yankees acquired second baseman Starlin Castro from the
Cubs in early December.

BY MARC TOPKIN

DAVID SCHOFIELD

NEW YORK | Yankees

Gary Sanchez

TORONTO | Blue Jays


BY SHI DAVIDI

Murphy Aims For Consistency

Mound Move Pays Off For Jerez

Rays Manage To Stay Static

Blue Jays Add Triple-A Depth

BALTIMORE The Orioles like the catching depth

BOSTON It wasnt hard to daydream with

ST. PETERSBURG Change can be good sometimes,

in their minor league system. Alex Murphy


wants to be a part of it again.
Murphy, 21, had sports hernia surgery last
year and appeared in just 49 games at three
levels. He had surgery on his left shoulder
the previous year, playing his final game on
Aug. 15.
Murphy ranked among the RBI leaders in
the low Class A South Atlantic League before
missing three months due to the surgery.
It was a little unfortunate, Murphy said.
Kind of unlucky there, but not really much
you can do about it. Just hope to prevent it
for next year.
Returning to the field in mid-August,
Murphy went 10-for-24 with five doubles,
two home runs and four RBIs in his final six
games at short-season Aberdeen. He reported
to the fall instructional league and got some
innings at first base, a position he might play
on occasion this season.
The Orioles selected three catchers among
their first seven picks in the 2013 draft, taking
Chance Sisco and Jonah Heim as well.
Murphy accepted a $275,000 bonus rather than attend Wake Forest. He was the
Gatorade High School Player of the Year as a
senior in Maryland.
It was an unreal feeling, Murphy said. I
thought they might draft me. When I saw my
name go across the screen, it was an indescribable feeling. There is nothing in my life that
has ever been like that. It gave me chills. Now
I get to follow my goals and my dreams.
Right now, it appears that Murphys offense
is ahead of his defense, though his work
behind the plate has improved. Hes striving to become more consistent and to stay
healthy.
Not getting too high or too low, hittingwise, Murphy said. Trying to stay in that
middle plateau all the way through the season.
Same thing with catching. Just try to throw a
little better and stay solid behind the plate.

Williams Jerez. From the time Red Sox


northeast area scout Ray Fagnant started following him in the summer before his senior
year of high school, Jerez stood out for his
physicality and five-tool skill set, while also
receiving tremendous marks for makeup.
In one showcase contest at the Yankees
spring training facility, Fagnant recalled, Jerez
went 5-for-5 with a long homer, a triple,
threw out a runner from the outfield and
made an impact on the bases.
He did everything, Fagnant said. He
obviously showed some high school raw vulnerability to breaking balls, like they all do,
but he showed all the makings of a top-flight
prospect. The big question mark with him,
like everybody else, was how well the tools
were going to play, and if he ultimately was
going to be able to hit.
He wasnt. After the Sox took Jerez in the
second round of the 2011 draft, he struggled
offensively for three years, never advancing
beyond short-season Lowell en route to a
.221/.254/.275 line. In deference to those
struggles, at the end of spring training in
2014, the organization asked Jerez to move
to the mound.
Two years into his pitching career, Jerez is
nearing that goal. The Sox added him to the
40-man roster this winter after the 6-foot-4
lefthander followed a strong debut in 2014
with an even better year across three fullseason levels in 2015.
Jerez sprinted from low Class A Greenville
to high Class A Salem to Double-A Portland,
totaling a 2.54 ERA with 86 strikeouts and
31 walks in 88 innings. He has an easy delivery with a three-quarters arm slot that seems
to generate some deception in allowing his
fastball, typically 92-94 mph with occasional
95s, to get swings and misses. His slider is
inconsistent but shows flashes of promise to
the point where the Sox felt compelled to
protect Jerez, thus making the 23-year-old a
part of the teams big league depth equation.

as the Rays showed by shuffling their minor


league coaching corps in 2015.
The Rays kept their staffs largely intact
for 2016, returning the same managers to all
seven domestic affiliates.
Stability is important to us, farm director
Mitch Lukevics said. We have managers up
and down the system that are not only good
teachers, but good leaders of men. Stay with
what works.
Under that plan, Jared Sandberg returns
to manage Triple-A Durham for his second season, Brady Williams to Double-A
Montgomery for his third season, Michael
Johns to high Class A Charlotte for his second, Reinaldo Ruiz to low Class A Bowling
Green for his second, Tim Parenton to
short-season Hudson Valley for his third,
Danny Sheaffer to Rookie-level Princeton for
his fourth and Jim Morrison to the Rookielevel Gulf Coast League for his fourth.
The biggest change among the coaching
staffs was the promotion of hitting coach
Ozzie Timmons, who moves up from
Montgomery to Durham to replace veteran
Dave Myers, who was not offered a contract.
Timmons, who played briefly for his hometown Rays during a 16-year pro career that
included parts of five seasons in the majors,
had spent the last seven seasons with the
Biscuits, and worked previously at low Class A
Columbus (2008) and Hudson Valley (2007).
Ozzie has been an important part of our
staff for years, Lukevics said. He is a former
Rays and Bulls player that has been ready for
the next level. He has more than earned his
promotion, and we look forward to what he
can bring to our players in Durham.
Timmons was replaced in Montgomery
by Dan DeMent, who continues his climb
through the organizations.

TORONTO During an organizational meeting


early in the offseason, the Blue Jays put their
potential roster for Triple-A Buffalo on a
board and saw a gaping hole for the Bisons
rotation.
There were five guys named blank,
team president Mark Shapiro said. The guys
named blank dont contribute many innings.
We had to deal with that challenge.
Those blank spaces were filled in late
December by the signings of Roberto
Hernandez, Brad Penny, Scott Copeland
and Wade LeBlanc to minor league deals
with invitations to spring training. Combined
with an earlier minor league deal with Scott
Diamond, the Blue Jays now have depth.
All five of those guys have major league
experience, have had success in the big leagues
in some capacity, assistant general manager
Andrew Tinnish said.
Hernandez, who has history from his
Cleveland days with both Shapiro and new
general manager Ross Atkins, may end up in
competition for the fifth starters spot with the
Blue Jays. His career ground ball percentage of
56.5 percent is a good fit for Rogers Centre.
In 20 games with the Houston Astros last
season, 11 of them starts, he went 3-5, 4.36
with a 1.37 WHIP.
Whats appealing about him and what he
could potentially bring to us is the ability to
sink the ball and get ground balls, Tinnish
said.
Penny spent the year with Triple-A
Charlotte in the White Sox system, recording
a 1.98 groundout-to-airout ratio, while walking just 33 batters over 135 innings
Hes another guy who gets a ton of groundballs, says Tinnish. Not a huge strikeout
rate, but threw a ton of strikes and got a
bunch of ground balls. Theres track record
there. Guys who have that history, who have
done it and can show they can still pitch, why
not take a shot?

BIRD SEED
Q The Orioles lost lefthander Tim Berry on a waiver claim
by the Marlins. Berry went 2-7, 7.32 last season at Double-A
Bowie and lost his spot in the rotation.
Q The Orioles signed outfielder Xavier Avery to a minor
league deal. They selected Avery in the second round of the
2008 draft before trading him to the Mariners on Aug. 30,
2013, for Michael Morse.

22

SOX YARNS
Q Bryce Brentz, whose season ended in mid-June due to
thumb surgery, joined Caguas in the Puerto Rican League in
mid-December.
Q Lefthander Brian Johnson, who was shut down with
elbow nerve irritation in August, is expected to be on track to
open 2016 in Pawtuckets rotation.

COOL RAYS
Q Charlie Haeger, who spent parts of five seasons in
the majors throwing a knuckleball, was hired as a pitching
coordinator. Haeger, who had been working as the pitching coach for Madonna University in Livonia, Mich., joins a
veteran staff that includes Dick Bosman, Dewey Robinson
and Jorge Moncada. Rafael Valenzuela, a former minorleague infielder with the Astros, was also hired as a coach
with the GCL Rays.
Q Athletic trainer Mike Sandoval returns to Durham for
what will be his 30th season in pro ball.

BaseballAmerica.com

JAYS CHATTER
Q The Blue Jays claimed Junior Lake on waivers from
the Orioles, and hes out of options like fellow outfielder
Ezequiel Carrera. Both are unlikely to win a big league job if
Michael Saunders is healthy, but will need to clear waivers.
Q Among the clubs other 40-man roster players who
head into spring training out of options are relievers Steve
Delabar and Chad Jenkins plus catching prospect A.J.
Jimenez.

January 29February 12, 2016

NL East ORGANIZATION REPORTS

Braves bring Swanson back home

ATLANTA The Braves opened a gaping hole at


shortstop in November when they traded
Gold Glover Andrelton Simmons to the
Angels for pitching prospect Sean Newcomb
and Chris Ellis.
Atlanta filled that hole a month laterat
least in the long termby acquiring shortstop
prospect Dansby Swanson, as well as big
league outfielder Ender Inciarte and Triple-A
righthander Aaron Blair, in the deal that sent
Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks.
A product of Marietta (Ga.) High in metro
Atlanta, Swanson attended Vanderbilt and
was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

The 22-year-old was well known to scouting


director Brian Bridges and special assistant
Roy Clark and fits every criteria the organization sought in building for the future.
Both Roy and Brian had watched him for
many years in both high school and college,
general manager John Coppolella said. Our
professional scouts and analytics department
also liked him a lot and felt he could be an
impact player at the major league level.
Perhaps most importantly, and aside from
the opinions of our people, was the importance we place on makeup and just knowing
what kind of player and person we were getting(hes) a true winner in every sense of
the word.
Swanson signed for $6.5 million but was
limited to 83 at-bats in his pro debut at shortseason Hillsboro after getting hit in the face
with a pitch during a simulated game. He
wound up batting .289/.394/.482 with 11
extra-base hits in 22 games and helped lead

the Hops to the Northwest League title.


The Braves believe Swanson can remain
at shortstop for the long haul. An ideal No.
2 hitter, he possesses a well-rounded skill set
and an advanced approach at the plate. He
also has outstanding athleticism and natural
leadership that should make him an ideal fit
on a team building for the future.
Coppolella said Swanson is not on a specific
timetable. He could begin 2016 at high Class
A Carolina and finish Double-A Mississippi.
We will let Dansby tell us when hes ready,
Coppolella said. Obviously we see him as a
big part of our future.

MIAMI | Marlins

NEW YORK | Mets

PHILADELPHIA | Phillies

BY BILL BALLEW

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

B Y WA LT E R V I L L A

BY ADAM RUBIN

WIGWAM WISPS
Q Third baseman Adonis Garcia turned in a strong
winter-ball showing in the Venezuelan League by hitting
.370/.430/.519 with 22 RBIs in 36 games with Magallanes.
Q First baseman Joey Meneses returned to his native
Mexico this winter and hit .271/.333/.370 with nine doubles,
three home runs and 25 RBIs in 52 games with Culiacan.

BY JIM SALISBURY

BILL MITCHELL

ATLANTA | Braves

Dansby Swanson

WASHINGTON | Nationals
BY LAC Y LUSK

Brice Is Right

Nearly Perfect

Cordero Shows Closer Stuff

Marmolejos Breaks Through

MIAMI The way righthander Austin Brice

NEW YORK Righthander Alex Palsha nearly was

PHILADELPHIA The Phillies traded two closers in

pitched on June 29 for Double-A Jacksonville,


he could have been effective against a big
league lineup.
Thats the opinion of Dave Berg, who spent
seven years in the majors as a utility infielder
and served as Suns manager in 2015.
Brice struck out a career-high 13 that day
and gave up only one hita singleas he
pitched eight scoreless innings. During one
stretch, he retired 20 consecutive batters, 12
of them by strikeouts.
He did all this against Biloxi, the Brewers
affiliate that had ripped Jacksonville pitchers
for 11 runs in the previous game.
Austin has great stuffthe ball coming
out of his arm is electric, said Berg, who also
coached him at low Class A Greensboro in
2013.
He has a plus fastball, a plus curve and
a really good changeup. This past season, he
developed a slider, and that was a big pitch
for him. He just played around with it, and it
came natural to him.
Brice, a 23-year-old who attended high
school in Pittsboro, N.C., is a 6-foot-4, 205pound righthander selected by the Marlins in
the ninth round of the 2010 draft.
Miami added him to the 40-man roster in
November, proof that the Marlins believe hes
a prospect worth protecting.
But the fact remains that Brice has mixed
highs with lows, which is evident by his career
4.41 ERA. He went 6-9, 4.67 in 25 starts in
2015, striking out 9.1 and walking 5.0 batters
per nine innings.
His biggest problem has been control. He
has a career walk rate of 5.3 per nine.
He is a little erratic, Berg said. He can
get a little emotional (on the mound), but
that (fix) will come in time with more experience, more maturity and more composure.
Austin is still young. Age is on his side.

perfect at short-season Brooklyn last season.


A 27th-round pick in 2014 from
Sacramento State, he limited New York-Penn
League opponents to one run in 25 innings.
He allowed 10 hits and nine walks while striking out 34 in 22 relief appearances.
The runand lone blown save in 14
chancescame in the ninth inning of the
Cyclones game on Aug. 16, the final day of
the first half. Palsha was set to travel to the
leagues all-star game.
It was definitely a bummer, Palsha said.
Its one of those things you definitely have in
the back of your mind, thinking about.
The 23-year-old throws a fastball that tops
out at 95 mph. He also makes use of a curveball and a changeup.
He had Tommy John surgery as a high
school senior in Danville, Calif., and redshirted his freshman year at Diablo Valley (Calif.)
JC. He went on to pitch one season there, one
season at the JC of San Mateo (Calif.) and one
season at Sacramento State.
Palsha worked as a reliever at the last stop,
setting up closer Sutter McLoughlin, who
pitched for Williamsport in the New YorkPenn League in 2015 after being selected by
the Phillies in the 25th round in June.
When I found out I was a reliever in college, I wasnt really used to it, Palsha said,
because Ive always been a starter. And Ive
always wanted to be a starter.
As the season (progressed), I developed a
routine and realized (relieving is) a really good
fit for me as a pitcher. I feel like its been working out well (in) pro ball.
Palshas 25-year-old brother Ryan pitched
for four seasons in the Orioles system after
being drafted in the 16th round in 2009.
We played high school on the same team
and travel ball on the same team, Palsha said.
He was a role model, especially when he
went pro. It just made me want to do what
he was doing and just compete with the best
out there.

2015 and will hold auditions for the role in


spring training. Down the road, the job could
belong to Jimmy Cordero, a righthander
with a fastball that can reach triple digits.
The 24-year-old is one of two power-armed
relievers from the Dominican Republic who
the Phillies acquired from the Blue Jays for
outfielder Ben Revere in July. The other is
21-year-old righty Alberto Tirado, whom
Philadelphia left exposed in the recent Rule 5
draft, but he went unselected.
The book on Cordero is similar, though
he is older, more advanced and was added to
the 40-man roster in November. He made 45
appearances at high Class A and Double-A in
2015, recording a 2.55 ERA to go with 8.6
strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings.
Phillies officials, who for years had seen
Cordero as an opponent, were impressed
with his work after the trade. In 17 innings
at Double-A Reading, he allowed just 11 hits
while walking four and striking out 18.
Ive seen a lot of Cordero, director of
player development Joe Jordan said. I like
him. I especially like what I saw late in the
season. I saw signs of a pitcher. He showed
consistency filling up the zone. Hes as good
an arm as we have. Were anxious to see more.
The Phillies traded Jonathan Papelbon
to the Nationals in July, opening the closers
role for homegrown Ken Giles. The rebuilding Phillies then dealt Giles to the Astros in
December for a package of five pitchers that
included righthanders Vincent Velasquez,
Mark Appel and Thomas Eshelman.
General manager Matt Klentak said the
Giles deal was one we couldnt pass up.
In the long term, Cordero could be the
clubs closer if he continues to harness his
power stuff. Regardless, the 2016 season could
be an important indicator of his future.
We think that Cordero has the weapons
to be a (high-leverage) reliever, Klentak said.
Well see. Sometimes in the minor leagues,
the development of the player takes precedent
over the role they serve.

WASHINGTON First baseman Jose Marmolejos


transformed himself from a nondrafted free
agent to the Nationals minor league player of
the year in 2015.
Therefore, this season will be all about
building on that success.
Marmolejos, who signed with Washington
in June 2011 out of Broward (Fla.) CC,
made the low Class A South Atlantic League
postseason all-star team in 2015. He hit
.310/.363/.485 with 11 home runs and 87
RBIs in 124 games at Hagerstown. He led
the systems full-season minor league batters
in average, on-base percentage and slugging.
Farm director Mark Scialabba said the
6-foot-1, lefthanded batter has developed a
very effective, consistent approach at the plate
and showed the ability to thrive with runners
on base.
While at South Broward High in
Hollywood, Fla., in 2010, Marmolejos was an
all-county selection as an outfielder. He also
went 2-0 as a pitcher.
At Hagerstown, Marmolejos played 84
games at first base, one in left field and 39
more at DH, but the 23-year-old has helped
himself with the glove.
Over the past year and a half, hes become
much more physical, Scialabba said, and his
work ethic has helped him on the defensive
side, where hes made strides with both his
foot work and glove work at first base. We are
expecting Jose to continue on the same path
(next season).
Since hitting just .223 in 184 at-bats in the
Dominican Summer League as an 18-yearold, Marmolejos has a .294 average over 1,098
at-bats. In his final 64 games of 2015, he hit
.339 with 28 extra-base hits.
He played sparingly for Licey in the
Dominican League this winter.
Jose had an impressive year, especially
in the second half, Scialabba said. Hes an
instinctual hitter who possesses the ability to
barrel the ball consistently, looks to hit the
ball where its pitched and uses all fields.

FISH BITES
Q The Marlins claimed lefthanded reliever Mike Strong on
waivers from the Brewers in December. He recorded a 2.54
ERA with five saves at Double-A Biloxi in 2015 but struggled
when promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Q The Marlins lost seven players in the minor league phase
of the Rule 5 draft: third baseman Zach Cox, first baseman Viosergy Rosa, lefthanders Chipper Smith and
Alex Burgos and righthanders Enderson Franco, Felipe
Gonzalez and D.J. Johnson.

January 29February 12, 2016

METAMORPHOSES
Q The Double-A Binghamton franchise was sold to Evans
Street Baseball. New owner John Hughes pledged to keep
the Eastern League club in Binghamton for the long term.
Q The Mets promoted Kevin Morgan to director of player
development to replace Dick Scott, who joined the big
league coaching staff as bench coach.

PHILUPS
Q Shortstop J.P. Crawford, the organizations top prospect,
will participate in his first big league camp this spring.
Q First baseman Brock Stassi, the MVP of the Double-A
Eastern League in 2015, also earned an invite to big league
camp. The 26-year-old hit .300 with 15 homers and 90 RBIs.

BaseballAmerica.com

CAPITAL GAINS
Q Brian Daubach will be the hitting coach at Triple-A
Syracuse in 2016 after managing at Double-A Harrisburg the
past two seasons.
Q Syracuse second baseman Cutter Dykstra re-signed
with the Nationals about a month after being granted minor
league free agency.

23

ORGANIZATION REPORTS AL Central

In either role, Fulmer will move fast


CHICAGO | White Sox

CHICAGO From the minute he was selected with


the No. 8 overall pick in last Junes draft,
Carson Fulmers future role with the White
Sox has been debated.
Is he going to emerge as a starting pitcher?
A reliever?
I view myself as a starter, said Fulmer,
who was 13-2, 1.82 in 17 starts at Vanderbilt
last season. I feel like Ive built a really good
endurance level. I feel like Ive been able to
keep my stuff late into games and that was
definitely something I had go out and pitch to
prove. But starting, relieving, whatevers going
to help the team and help them win a bunch

of ballgames is the biggest thing for me. Im


definitely one to do whatever.
After pitching 114 innings in college last
year, Fulmer eased his way into professional
baseball with the Sox and and pitched only 23
combined innings in the Rookie-level Arizona
League and high Class A Winston-Salem.
This year, Fulmer is likely to begin the season with Double-A Birmingham. Considering
his amateur resume, he could be with Chicago
before the season ends.
Given his ability, his repertoire, his makeup, I certainly understand the expectation
and belief that it will be a fairly quick path
through the minors, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. But even a fairly quick
path doesnt mean less than a year after the
draft. These things still normally take some
time.
The Sox drafted Carlos Rodon with the
No. 3 overall pick in 2014, and the lefthander
was also eased into pro ball. But after making

just two starts with Triple-A Charlotte last


season, Rodon joined the White Sox.
Rodon made his first three appearances out
of Chicagos bullpen before moving to the
rotation for the rest of the season.
Ace Chris Sale also broke into the majors as
a relief pitcher, and Fulmer is likely to initially
pitch out of the bullpen when he does make it
to the White Sox.
With four lefthandersSale, Jose
Quintana, Rodon and John Danksin the
current rotation, the righthanded Fulmer is
expected to provide some needed balance at
some point.

CLEVELAND | Indians

DETROIT | Tigers

KANSAS CITY | Royals

Indians Pass On Trade Talks

Injuries Delay Transition

Another Royals Power Arm

Twins Show Belief In Rosario

CLEVELAND Early in the offseason, the names of

DETROIT Shane Zeile has been sidetracked a bit

KANSAS CITY Andrew Edwards has what the

several of the Indians top prospects surfaced


in the usual cascade of trade rumors that
enveloped the Winter Meetings.
Feeling, however, that the organization was
in a good spot with a replenished minor
league system and a major league roster that
includes a starting rotation that has three key
and coveted pitchers under club control for
multiple years on club-friendly contracts,
Indians officials resisted the temptation to
trade any of those assets in their quest to
bolster the offense on the major league team.
Righthanders Corey Kluber, Carlos
Carrasco and Danny Salazar are the leaders
of the rotation, and the names of Carrasco
and Salazar, in particular, were frequently
mentioned in trade rumors.
Indians officials chose not to trade the two
young pitchers, and were likewise reluctant, as
the new year approached, to trade any of their
top minor league prospects in order to acquire
a hitter that could bring some sock to a lineup
that among American League teams last year
finished 11th in runs scored, 11th in slugging
and 13th in home runs.
Teams obviously inquired about outfielders Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier, two
former first-round picks who are ascending on
schedule and could be ready to contribute at
the major league level perhaps as soon as the
later portions of the 2016 (Zimmer) and 2017
(Frazier) seasons.
Other Indians prospects whose names were
mentioned in trade speculation were pitchers
Mike Clevinger and Rob Kaminsky and first
baseman Bobby Bradley.
When it comes to Zimmer and Frazier,
Indians president of baseball operations Chris
Antonetti appears disinclined to discuss either
player in trade talks.
They both have bright futures, but they
are not part of our planning for this year,
Antonetti said. For now, were looking to
build the best team we can for 2016.

by injuries while making the tough transition


from college infielder to professional catcher.
But his strong arm and desire to make the
move successfully have the Tigers believing
that he has a bright future.
Zeile, a fifth-round pick out of UCLA in
2014, has seen limited playing time.
He keeps getting nicked up, said Dave
Owen, the Tigers director of player development. Hes had little injuries here and there,
but Ill tell you what, heres a guy who can
really throw . . . Hes working on his footwork. Hes working on receiving. Hes working on a lot of things, obviously, to be able
to catch, but hes got the one thing you look
for and thats a guy that can throw. The other
things will fall into place.
Zeile, 22, hit .220/.284/.372 with six home
runs and 34 RBIs in 2015 while splitting time
between the short-season New York-Penn
League and low Class A West Michigan. He
batted .222/.275/.365 in 21 games in the
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014. He
lost time that season with a broken hand.
Zeile, who is 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, has
thrown out 41 percent of basestealers. Owen
listed Zeiles arm, his build and his desire to
learn the position as just a few of the reasons
the Tigers believe he can succeed as a catcher.
Hes got a good build for a catcher, if that
makes sense, Owen said. Hes not tall and
thin. Hes not too short, not that there is a
too short, but you look at him and hes just
got a good build for a catcher. Then obviously
he can throw.
Really one of the big things is he wants to
do it. Theres some guys you think would be
good catchers, you think it would be a good
avenue for them to pursue, and you mention
it to them and they dont want to do that.
Zeile is the nephew of Todd Zeile, who
played in the majors for 16 seasons before
retiring following the 2004 season.

Royals are seeking as a reliever.


Edwards, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound righthander who was a 19th-round 2013 draft pick out
of Western Kentucky, throws hard.
We love power arms, said Royals low
Class A Lexington pitching coach Carlos
Reyes, who tutored Edwards in the Arizona
Fall League. We want hard throwers. We
want them to come in there and go after
hitters.
Hes got a heavy fastball. Imagine trying
to catch a bowling ball thrown at you. When
youve got velocity and heaviness on the ball,
it takes your fastball to another level.
Reyes said Edwards touched 98-99 mph in
the AFL, but primarily works at 95.
At the beginning of the year back in A-ball,
they told me I was up to 100 one time,
Edwards said. The first couple of months of
the season I was anywhere from 94 to 98. I
was pretty consistent in that area.
A right ankle sprain in June set back
Edwards nearly a month.
Toward the later part of the season, I put
the ankle injury behind me and I started to
get back into form like I was and its been a
pretty consistent thing for me.
In Edwards final 10 appearances for high
Class A Wilmington, he allowed six hits,
holding opponents to a .133 average, while
striking out 14 in 14 innings.
That earned Edwards an invitation to the
AFL, where he had a 2.25 ERA in nine games,
striking out eight and walking one in 12 1/3
innings for Surprise. He has proven he can
throw heat, which fits the Royals bullpen
mold.
Theyve got a bunch of them up there at
the big league level, Edwards said. I hope
I can keep throwing the ball hard, throwing
strikes and getting guys out and maybe one
day help contribute to that bullpen up there
and help them win another World Series.

MINNESOTA Randy Rosario ranks 22nd among


Twins minor league prospects in the new
Baseball America Prospect Handbook. That
doesnt surprise Mike Radcliff.
I can understand why this guy doesnt
appear on anyones top 10 or top 20 lists, said
Radcliff, the Twins vice president for player
personnel. Hes been hurt, and he probably
doesnt jump out at you on paper. But as an
organization, we have a lot of belief in his
ability. We think hes absolutely a future big
league starting pitcher.
Minnesota proved that faith by placing
Rosario, a 21-year-old Dominican lefthander,
on its 40-man roster. It was a surprise move
for a pitcher who has yet to rise above low
Class A Cedar Rapids in five seasons.
When you put a guy on the roster, it
means there is a sense of urgency that hes
going to take steps forward, Radcliff said.
You dont put a guy on the roster who you
think will be just OK, adding that Rosario
has a much higher ceiling than a lot of guys
in our system. He made progress last year.
He did, posting a 3.52 ERA in 10 starts
and striking out 7.5 hitters per nine innings
in the Midwest League. The numbers werent
bad for a guy coming off elbow reconstruction
surgery.
Excellent arm action. Efficient delivery.
Good velocity, Radcliff said. The foundation of a good pitcher is all there. Hes got a
slider, secondary pitches. He got challenged at
Cedar Rapids and handled it well.
Rosario will start 2016 at high Class A Fort
Myers or Double-A Chattanooga. But the
Twins had an inkling that they werent the
only organization impressed with the lefty.
There was reasonable concern about losing
him to the Rule 5 draft, Radcliff said. We
didnt want to risk that. But now the clock is
ticking, and he needs to respond. We think
hes a lot closer than most people do.

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

BY JIM INGRAHAM

SMOKE SIGNALS
Q To make room for Rajai Davis on the 40-man roster
infielder Chris Johnson for was designated for assignment,
despite the fact that the he had two years and $17 million
remaining on his contract.
Q Outfielder Jerry Sands was designated for assignment
to make room on the 40-man for righthander Dan Otero,
acquired in a trade with the Phillies.

24

BY CHRIS IOTT

CHILITES
Q Chicago claimed outfielder Jerry Sands off waivers from
the Indians. Sands played in 50 games with Cleveland last
year and spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Columbus.
Q Looking to add bullpen depth, the White Sox signed
righthander Josh Wall to a minor league deal. Wall pitched
at Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pirates system last year.

BY ALAN ESKEW

TIGER TALES

ROYALTIES

Q Outfielder Steven Moya had two singles, a home run


and six RBIs on Dec. 20 before heading home for the rest of
the Dominican League regular season. He hit .298 with four
home runs and 27 RBIs. Moya walked 10 times and struck out
34 times in 35 games.
Q The Tigers traded lefthander Kyle Lobstein to the Pirates
for cash after designating him for assignment following the
signing of free agent Mike Aviles.

Q Outfield prospect Logan Moon, who is from the Kansas


City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo., started slowly in the
Australian Baseball League, hitting .174 in his first 22 games,
but in his next 22 games raised his average to .321. Moon hit
.476 with six multi-hit games.
Q The Royals signed lefthander John Lannan, who was
6-10, 5.39 starting for Triple-A Albuquerque last year, to a
minor league contract.

BaseballAmerica.com

BRIAN WESTERHOLT

BY SCOT GREGOR

Carson Fulmer

MINNESOTA | Twins
BY PHIL MILLER

TWIN KILLINGS
Q Catcher Kerby Camacho, an 18-year-old Puerto Rican
who batted .083 in his 19-game debut in the Rookie-level
Gulf Coast League debut in 2015, was suspended for 60
games after testing positive for the Nadrolone, an anabolic
steroid. Camacho was the Twins 11th-round pick last June.
Q Lefthander Buddy Boshers, who pitched 25 games
in relief for the Angels in 2013 but spent last season with
Somerset in the independent Atlantic League, accepted an
invitation to Twins camp for spring training.

January 29February 12, 2016

NL Central ORGANIZATION REPORTS

Taillon aims to show nothing was lost

PITTSBURGH Jameson Taillon was one of the


participants in the Pirates annual fan festival
in mid-December.
Signing autographs and posing for pictures
in a convention center across the Allegheny
River from PNC Park is the closest the righthander has come to pitching in the major
leagues.
Now 24, Taillon is getting antsy to make
his debut.
It is closing on six years since the Pirates
used the second overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft to select him from The Woodlands
High in suburban Houston, and he has missed

the past two seasons because of injuries.


I think by midseason I should be ready,
Taillon said of reaching the majors.
Taillon tore an elbow ligament during
spring training in 2014 and had seasonending Tommy John surgery. He had finished
the previous season by making six starts at
Triple-A Indianapolis.
Taillon was on the verge of returning to
Indianapolis rotation last June when he felt
abdominal pain during his fifth and final start
in extended spring training. He wound up
having another season-ending surgery.
However, Taillon insists that the last
two years have not been wasted. He has
lost 20 pounds off his 6-foot-5 frame and
is spending the offseason working out in
Houston with Pirates closer Mark Melancon
and Washington Nationals third baseman
Anthony Rendon.
It really bugged me when I heard people say I had two lost years, Taillon said.

Because those two lost years, I was working


with the best pitching coaches, away from the
drawing board, getting to refine what I was
weak at. I got to work out more and get on a
better eating schedule. I think that two lost
years is kind of bogus, because I definitely got
a lot better. I didnt stall out by any means.
Taillon will get the chance to start proving
that again in spring training. If all goes well,
he will start the season at Indianapolis
and everyone hopes that he can end it in
Pittsburgh.

CHICAGO | Cubs

CINCINNATI | Reds

MILWAUKEE | Brewers

BY JOHN PERROTTO

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

BY GORDON WITTENMYER

BY C. TRENT ROSECRANS

PITTBURGERS
Q Former major league infielder and coach Joey Cora was
hired to manage Double-A Altoona. Cora was the White Soxs
third base coach under manager Ozzie Guillen when they
won the World Series in 2005 and most recently served as an
analyst for MLB Network.
Q Tom Prince was promoted to minor league field coordinator after spending last season managing Altoona, his 11th as
a skipper in the Pirates system.

BY TOM HAUDRICOURT

MIKE JANES

PITTSBURGH | Pirates

Jameson Taillon

ST. LOUIS | Cardinals


BY DERRICK GOOLD

Preparing For Extra Time

Fine Fall For Travieso

Hot Contest At Hot Corner

Oh Yes! Cards Find Setup Man

CHICAGO The Cubs this winter have emphasized

CINCINNATI Everyone knows the Arizona Fall

MILWAUKEE It wasnt that long ago that Boston

in their minor league instruction a loud message in efforts to prepare players to last the
extra month of a major league season when
they get the opportunity:
Prepare for two extra months.
We talked about that this year, farm
director Jaron Madison said, planning for
our guys to play for eight months and get
deep into the year. Minor league guys start
the first week of April and are pretty much
done the first week of September. Its about
getting those guys mentally and physically
prepared to get through September and hopefully October.
Three of those guysKris Bryant,
Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarberall
debuted after the season started and as a group
were managed down the stretch to help prevent them from hitting the wall rookies often
face in September.
Now its preparing all of the minor leaguers
for the mindset of playing for that full eight
months, Madison said.
For example, thats why 2015 breakout
prospect Jeimer Candelario was sent to the
Arizona Fall League for 21 more games after
his 128-game regular seasonand why team
officials were excited about his performance.
Itll be interesting to see him around the
big leaguers and how he develops around those
guys, Madison said of the third baseman who
was added to the 40-man roster ahead of his
first big league spring training. Its going to be
an exciting year for him this year.
The theme carried into teams annual mindand-body strength and conditioning camp this
winter. Instructors stressed building up for the
grind of an extra-long season as much as shoring up individual performance deficiencies.
Were planning on playing in the playoffs
every year, Madison said, so those guys have
to be prepared to do that.

League features many of the games top talents, but something that is often overlooked
is that it also features some of the best young
umpires, many with major league experience.
For some of the younger playersespecially
pitchersin the AFL, its their first taste of a
big league strike zone. It was for Reds righthander Nick Travieso, and among the many
things that impressed Derrin Ebert, the Reds
pitching coach for their Rookie-level Arizona
League team and Traviesos Peoria team in
the AFL.
The strike zone is different than what they
see normally in the Florida State League,
Ebert said. Its one thing thats overlooked,
its one thing I was impressed with the tighter
strike zone. Travy is an aggressive guy, hes not
going to pick corners. Hes going to attack you
and if you beat him, youre going to beat him
with his best stuff.
In his 22 innings in the AFL, he had 20
strikeouts and just three walks. Travieso made
four starts and five appearances in the AFL,
going 1-0, 2.05, continuing the strong season
he had at high Class A Daytona, where he was
6-6, 2.70 in 19 starts.
While hes been overshadowed at points by
fellow first-rounder Robert Stephenson and
the high-rising Amir Garrett on Reds prospects list, many in the organization are just as
high on Travieso.
The way he goes about it, the way he goes
about his daily work, he shows that hes much
more mature than what his age shows, Ebert
said.
Much of that increased maturity, Travieso
said, was from his time off in 2015. Travieso
missed nearly two months with Daytona with
a broken bone in his right wrist after getting
hit with a comebacker.
This year was a big step for me, I wish I
hadnt gotten hurt, but at least I showed a lot,
Travieso said.

Red Sox fans wondered what would happen


to third base prospect Garin Cecchini with
Will Middlebrooks blocking him at the bigleague level. Now, both players will be in the
Brewers spring camp.
The baseball world can change pretty
quickly, general manager David Stearns
noted.
Within a span of five days in December,
the Brewers acquired Cecchini in a cash deal
with Boston and signed Middlebrooks to a
minor league deal with an invitation to spring
training. Middlebrooks, 27, became a free
agent when San Diego failed to tender him a
contract at the Dec. 2 deadline.
Once considered a top prospect,
Middlebrooks had a strong debut with Boston
in 2012, batting .288 with 15 home runs and
54 RBIs over 75 games. The following year, he
compiled 17 homers and 49 RBI in 94 games
but his OPS slipped from .835 to .522.
Plagued by injuries, Middlebrooks continued to slide in 2014, batting .191 with a .522
OPS in 63 games. After that season, the Red
Sox signed free agent Pablo Sandoval and
shipped Middlebrooks to the Padres. He continued to struggle last season in San Diego,
with .602 OPS before being sent to Triple-A
El Paso in July.
Cecchini, 24, was designated for assignment
after a poor year with Triple-A Pawtucket. He
bats lefthanded, setting up a possible platoon
with the righty Middlebrooks at third base.
As for why both players backtracked offensively, Stearns said, There are probably different reasons for each guy. Middlebrooks
did have success in the major leagues when
he first came up and since then has had success in spurts but hasnt maintained as well as
youd like.
Cecchini is still a young player. He has
been a prospect on the industry radar for a
while. We still think that same talent is there
and the ability is still there.

ST. LOUIS After a few years of learning the


landscape and a few failed attempts to land
talent from it, the Cardinals reached abroad
and into Asia this January to find the reliever
they desired.
The Cardinals signed Korean closer Seung
Hwan Oh to a one-year deal and made what
they hope is a significant stride into a market
they have explored and have wanted to find
a way to exploit. Oh, 33, had 80 saves and a
2.25 ERA total in the past two seasons with
the Hanshin Tigers of Japans major league,
and he had sought a chance to prove himself
in the majors. The Cardinals believe he can
be the chief setup man for closer Trevor
Rosenthal.
As we stated all along we felt like we wanted
to do something to ramp it up, general
manager John Mozeliak said. We were looking at a lot of different ways to do that. We
were going to spend some energy and some
resources trying to get a better understanding
of the Asian market.
The Cardinals began compiling a scouting
report on Oh during the 2009 World Baseball
Classic. The team also invested more scouting
time and resources in learning the professional leagues in Korea and Japan, while also
developing a way, analytically, to predict how
talent in Asia would translate to the majors. A
key part of that algorithm was comparing the
success of players who had made the move,
and unifying the statistical models with the
evaluations from scouts.
The past two winters, the Cardinals have
submitted bids for a Korean player and each
time they came shy of being the highest bidder, finishing second to Pittsburgh for infielder Jung Ho Kang before the 2015 season and
somewhere behind Minnesota for Byung-Ho
Park this past winter. Oh was appealing to the
Cardinals because he was a true free agent and
not attached to a posting fee.
Oh arrives with two nicknames that he
said fans gave him in Korea: Stone Buddha
and The Final Boss. He prefers The Final
Boss.

CUBBY HOLES
Q After dueling waiver wire moves, the Cubs added another
lefthander in Edgar Olmos. Olmos, a 2008 third-round draft
pick, was claimed Dec. 4 from the Mariners by the Cubs, and
then claimed six days later from the Cubs by the Orioles. The
Cubs claimed him back on Dec. 23.
Q Righthander P.J. Francescon, 27, was suspended 50
games for testing positive for a second time for a drug of
abuse. The two-time Southern League all-star earned his
Triple-A debut in 2015 after a strong Double-A showing.

January 29February 12, 2016

RED HOTS
Q After two years as a consultant, pitching coach Tom
Brown will return full-time to coaching, serving as the pitching coach at high Class A Daytona.
Q Third baseman Eric Jagielo, acquired in the Aroldis
Chapman trade, wont be the immediate successor to Todd
Frazier at third base, but he could find himself there in a platoon spot. Walt Jocketty, president of baseball operations,
said he could also play some first base.

MICROBREWS
Q Outfielder Eric Young Jr. signed a minor league deal with
an invitation to spring training.
Q The Brewers claimed three players on waivers in
December: outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (from the Mets),
catcher Josmil Pinto (Padres) and first baseman Andy
Wilkins(Rangers). Pinto was later designated for assignment, cleared waivers and signed a minor league deal.

BaseballAmerica.com

REDBIRD CHIRPS
Q The Cardinals will bring back the managers at all eight of
their minor league affiliates. Mike Shildt will lead Triple-A
Memphis.
Q Breyvic Valera hit .292/.381/.401 for Bravos de Margarita
in Venezuela after hitting .236/.301/.297 at Double-A.

25

ORGANIZATION REPORTS AL West

Consistent approach benets Brinson

ARLINGTON The debate about which Rangers


prospect had the best 2015 season boils down
to two players: Nomar Mazara and Lewis
Brinson.
Joey Gallo has an argument, to a degree.
After all, he actually played in the majors,
and at times played very well before a difficult
stretch at Triple A.
But Mazara and Brinson, outfielders on the
rise, had the best campaigns among players
who didnt spend time with the big club. In
Brinsons case, he finally showed the potential
that comes with being a first-round pick.
The 29th overall pick in 2012 excelled at

three levels in 2015 and finished the year


by hitting .300 in the Arizona Fall League.
Playing a level away from the majors and then
wearing a Rangers jersey in Arizona has him
thinking big.
At Triple-A, thats one step away. Even
Double-A is one step away, Brinson said.
Ive always wanted to be in the Fall League to
have the opportunity to wear that big-league
jersey.
Brinson posted a .300/.408/.575 slash line
in the AFL on top of his .332/.403/.601 line at
high Class A High Desert, Frisco and Round
Rock. The 21-year-old was one of only three
minor-leaguers to post an OPS above 1.000.
The 6-foot-3, 170 pound Brinson found an
approach at the plate, and for the first time as a
pro stuck to it for a full season. The result was a
reduction in his strikeout rate to 21.5 percent.
My ultimate plan is staying middle and the
other way, Brinson said. Every great hitter
has to have a great plan up there. I finally had

a plan and stuck to it all year, and stuck to


what worked for me and didnt panic when I
had a bad game. I trusted myself.
The Rangers outfield appears set for
2016 and maybe 2017 depending on Josh
Hamiltons health. Though Brinson plays
center field, he has played the corner outfield
spots and has no problem moving around.
Whatever gets me to the big leagues fastest, he said. Whatever I can do to help that
team win is what Im striving for.

HOUSTON | Astros

LOS ANGELES | Angels

OAKLAND | Athletics

BY JEFF WILSON

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

BY JOSE DE JESUS ORTIZ

BY MIKE DIGIOVANNA

RANGER ROUNDUP
Q Guilder Rodriguez retired as a player in September,
singling in his final at-bat, but hes not leaving the Rangers
organization. He was hired by Texas in November to be a
coach in the Dominican Summer League.
Q Travis Demeritte, the 30th overall pick in the 2013 draft,
was batting just .214 after 140 at-bats in the Australian
Baseball League. The second baseman, 21, missed most of
the 2015 season while serving an 80-game suspension for
using a banned substance.

BY CASEY TEFERTILLER

BILL MITCHELL

TEXAS | Rangers

Lewis Brinson

SEATTLE | Mariners
BY RYAN DIVISH

Under The Radar

Step Back To Step Forward

Breaking Down Barriers

A New Path

HOUSTON In a blockbuster deal in which the

ANAHEIM The numbers would indicate that

OAKLAND Starting as a 16-year-old in high

Astros unloaded the top overall pick in the


2013 draft and two pitchers with majorleague service time, Panamanian shortstop
Jonathan Arauz was the least known player
who changed addresses when the Phillies sent
closer Ken Giles to the Astros.
Arauz joined Giles with the Astros in exchange
for Mark Appel, Vince Velasquez, Brett
Oberholtzer and minor league righthanders
Harold Arauz and Thomas Eshelman.
It could be several years before anybody
knows if the Astros paid too much for Giles,
but Jonathan Arauzs development could ultimately make the deal more than a one-for-five.
Some scouts believed Jonathan Arauz, 17,
was the top amateur in Panama when he
signed with the Phillies for $600,000 as a
16-year-old in 2014.
Most teenagers from Panama, the
Dominican Republic or Venezuela spend a
year or two in the Dominican or Venezuelan
summer leagues before their big league clubs
secure P1 visas for them to play in the United
States. So its a testament to Arauzs talent that
he made his debut in the Phillies Rookie-level
Gulf Coast League team at 16 last year.
I saw him a lot as an amateur, said Oz
Ocampo, the Astros director of international
operations. Hes really athletic and has really
good hands, reliable hands.
Arauz hit .254/.309/.370 in 44 games in
the GCL. He had 2 home runs and 18 RBIs
with 13 walks and 29 strikeouts.
The lanky 6-foot, 147-pounder committed
only one error in 97 chances.
He shows some power, said Ocampo, who
had scouted Arauz before the young shortstop
signed with the Phillies. Hes a guy that, for
his age and for his background, hes got a
really good strike zone discipline.
Ocampo compares Arauz favorably to
Miguel Angel Sierra, the 6-foot Venezuelan
shortstop who received a $1 million signing bonus from the Astros in July 2014 as a
16-year-old.

20-year-old outfield prospect Natanael


Delgado took a step back in 2015.
Delgado, who signed with the Angels out of
the Dominican Republic in 2013, compiled
a .301/.333/.464 slash line with three home
runs, 21 RBIs, 34 strikeouts and five walks in
38 games for Rookie-level Orem in an injury
shortened 2014.
The lefthanded-hitting Delgado was promoted to low Class A Burlington in 2015 and
compiled a .241/.276/.355 slash line with six
homers, 46 RBIs, 104 strikeouts and 19 walks
in 108 games.
His strikeouts were high, and his walks
are low, said Bobby Scales, the former farm
director who was recently promoted to special
assistant to the general manager. Hopefully,
thats something we can clean up.
Delgados swing also needed to be cleaned,
and the significant changes he made under the
direction of Burlington hitting coach Ryan
Barba last season probably contributed to
Delgados struggles at the plate.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Delgado had
what Scales described as a really awkward
grip on the bat. Delgado sat a little too low
in his stance, and his shoulder and neck were
tucked inward, restricting him. Just raising his
hands slightly helped free Delgado up, but it
took months before he was fully comfortable.
The numbers werent great, Scales said,
but its tough for a kid who has had success
to buy into the changes we feel he needs to
make to reach the ultimate goal. He and Ryan
have forged a really good bond. Theres a lot
of trust there.
Delgado also changed his eating habits and
adjusted his exercise program in an effort to
improve his agility. He already has good raw
power, makes hard contact and hits to all
fields, and his doubles and home runs should
increase as he gets bigger and stronger and
continues to refine his swing.

school, Justine Siegal had a dream. She wanted to coach professional baseball and show
that a girl could teach the boys a thing or two.
That dream came true in the Fall of 2015
when Siegal served as a coach at the Athletics
instructional league camp in Mesa, Ariz.
She filled the role of a regular coach, hitting
grounders and throwing batting practice, plus
teaching a seminar on continuing education.
I loved every minute of it, Siegal said. Its
just that I love baseball. With the As, I felt like
I was part of a family.
Her work ethic and determination
impressed the coaches around her. Shes a
good person with a big heart, farm director
Keith Lieppman said. Her own story is that
of determination and setting new boundaries;
not being distracted by the naysayers. Those
are things that players can relate to.
Siegals personal story is one of facing many
naysayers. When she attended a baseball camp
at 16, she encountered it quickly. The first
person I told that I wanted to be a coach
laughed at me.
Now, she has the last laugh. Siegal played
baseball against the boys while she was growing up in Cleveland, then continued through
her adult years. She has already broken other
barriers. She served as an assistant baseball
coach at Springfield College in Massachusetts
from 2008-10. Two years later, she went on
a quest to become the first woman to throw
batting practice to a major-league team, and
she wound up throwing BP to the Indians,
As, Rays, Cardinals, Astros and Mets.
Ive prepared my whole life for pretty
much the impossible, the 40-year-old says
with a gentle laugh.
She is also the founder and director of
Baseball for All, a program that gives girls the
opportunity to play baseball.
I love coaching, and Im really honored to
be the first (woman in pro baseball), Siegal
said. But its not about me. Its about building a better future for the girls behind me.

SEATTLE When Mariners pitchers and catchers


report to spring training in Peoria, Ariz., on
Feb. 19, Danny Hultzen will come with a
new role: relief pitcher.
Ive already spoken to him, general manager Jerry Dipoto said. We are going to try
a new avenue. Hes going to come to spring
training with the idea we are going to deploy
him as a bullpen guy and see how it works.
Its not surprising, considering his injury
struggles the past three seasons.
Hultzen, 26, has made a total of 10 starts
the past three seasons (seven in 2013 and
three in 2015) because of shoulder problems.
After trying to rehab back to health in 2013
and failing, Hultzen had shoulder surgery on
Oct. 1, 2013 to repair damage to his rotator
cuff, labrum and shoulder capsule. He sat
out the 2014 season. His comeback in 2015
began well in spring training, but fatigue in
the shoulder limited him to short starts in
May. He didnt pitch again in 2015.
Its been a frustrating run of setbacks for the
6-foot-3, 210 pound Hultzen, who is one of
the more popular players and diligent workers
in the organization.
Hes a great kid, Dipoto said. I think
its just been unfortunate that hes had to deal
with a lot of the physical issues that he has.
Hes terrifically talented.
Considered to be one of the most bigleague-ready picks in the 2011 draft, Hultzen
was taken second overall and was expected to
join James Paxton and Taijuan Walker as the
foundation of the starting rotation.
Ive told this to (scouting director) Tom
McNamara, Dipoto said. Anybody in the
league is making that same pick. Its unfortunate that it has worked out the way it has. But
as I said to Danny on the phone when I told
him we were removing him from the rosterI
want to see him pitch in the big leagues.
Perhaps being a lefthanded reliever is the
best way to get there. The conversion process
wont be quick or simple for Hultzen. Keeping
the shoulder healthy will be a priority.

SPACE SHOTS
Q Shortstop Alex Bregman, the second overall pick in 2015,
will be in major league camp as a non-roster invitee.
Q Several of the Astros picks from the 2014 draft have also
progressed enough to earn invitations to big league spring
training. Outfielder Derek Fisher, third baseman J.D. Davis
and first baseman A.J. Reed will be in big league camp.

26

ANGEL FOOD
Q The Angels claimed three players on waivers in late
December: utility infielder Rey Navarro from the Orioles and
lefthanded relievers Rob Rasmussen from the Mariners and
Bobby LaFromboise from the Pirates.
Q To make room on the 40-man roster for the additions, the
Angels outrighted righthanded reliever A.J. Achter, a waiver
claim from the Phillies, to Triple-A Salt Lake and released
catcher Rafael Lopez.

AS ACORNS
Q The As hired Ed Sprague Jr. as a special assignment
coach. Sprague will work at spring training and instructs,
plus various duties throughout the system during the season.
Q Rangel Ravelo received time in left field during his stint
in the Venezuelan League. Normally a first baseman, adding
a position could provide more chances for making the majors.

BaseballAmerica.com

MARINADE
Q In honor of Ken Griffey Jr.s Hall of Fame induction, the
Mariners have retired the No. 24 not just at the major league
level, but with every minor league team in the organization.
Q The Mariners released righthanded reliever Anthony Bass
so he could pursue a pitching opportunity in Japan.

January 29February 12, 2016

NL West ORGANIZATION REPORTS

Padres make Rule 5 splash with Blash

SAN DIEGO Petco Park favors pitchers, but home


runs to left field are relatively easy to come by
in the Padres downtown home.
While the inviting left-field seats arent why
general manager A.J. Preller has targeted so
many righthanded sluggers, theyre a piece of
the puzzle
Jabari Blash, 26, is one of Prellers recent
additions, arriving with three other selections
from the Rule 5 draft.
Blash hit 32 home runs last year with
Mariners affiliates between Double-A and
Triple-A.
Jabari is a guy who was regarded as one of

the big power threats in the draft five years


ago, Preller said.
I think that power is playing out in games.
We were looking to replace a little righthanded power. Hopefully he can provide that
for us.
Preller traded for Blash after the Athletics
used the No. 6 pick to draft him out of
Seattles system. The transaction completed
a deal that sent first baseman Yonder Alonso
to the As.
Blash, who plays the corner outfield spots,
hit .271/.370/.576 last season in 406 at-bats.
He grew up on the island of St. Thomas.
He switched from baseball to basketball at
age 14 before returning to baseball as a high
school senior.
The White Sox spent a 29th-round pick
on Blash in 2007. He returned to the draft
in 2009 and went in the ninth round to
the Rangers, whose scouts included Preller.
Finally, after the Mariners took him a year

later in the eighth round out of Miami Dade


JC, he signed.
Blash, 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, said he
improved his hitting approach last year.
When I get into slumps, when the strikeouts bunch up, its from trying to do too
much, he told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Last year was key, figuring out how to focus
on putting the ball in play, putting together
good at-bats.

ARIZONA | Diamondbacks

COLORADO | Rockies

LOS ANGELES | Dodgers

BY TOM KRASOVIC

For statistics, organization reports,


prospect lists and recent drafts, check out:

baseballamerica.com/t/organization-reports/

BY JACK MAGRUDER

BY JACK ETKIN

FATHER FIGURES
Q Center fielder Manuel Margot, obtained in November
from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade, led his
Dominican League team with four home runs in 123 atbats. A righty who turned 21 in September, Margot hit
.220/.273/.390 in the 39 games for Toros del Este.
Q The Padres signed former Cubs minor leaguer Carlos
Pimentel, who was the 2015 Triple-A Pacific Coast League
pitcher of the year. Pimental, 26, went 12-6, 1.95 for Iowa
and allowed a .229 batting average. The righty will compete
for a back-of-the-rotation job.

BY BILL PLUNKETT

JOHN WILLIAMSON

SAN DIEGO | Padres

Jabari Blash

SAN FRANCISCO | Giants


B Y A N D Y B AG G A R LY

Brito In D-backs Plans

Anderson On The Mend

Youth At The Helm

Blackburn Turns It Around

PHOENIX Not only did the December trade

DENVER Lefthander Tyler Anderson is confi-

LOS ANGELES In choosing Dave Roberts as their

of Ender Inciarte and prospects help the


Diamondbacks land No. 2 starter Shelby
Miller from Atlanta, it also opened an outfield spot.
At least a little bit of the move, it seems,
had to do with the strides young outfielder
Socrates Brito made last season.
Hes got the right heartbeat, Arizona
manager Chip Hale said after the trade
was consummated. (Brito) knows how to
breathe. Nothing seems too big of a deal for
him.
The Diamondbacks plan is to start secondyear Cuban emigre Yasmany Tomas in right
field to go with A.J. Pollock in center and
David Peralta in left, but Britos short stint
as a callup last September opened their eyes.
Brito, 23, slashed .303/.324/.455 with
three doubles, a triple and a stolen base in 34
plate appearances with the Diamondbacks.
He also had two assists, one from left field and
one from right.
Socrates came up and did a really good
job for us, Hale said. You have to be careful,
we know that. You have to be careful what
you see in spring training and what you see in
September. So well see, when you get in the
midst of August and the grind, how he plays.
But Im very comfortable if we broke camp
with those four outfielders. We would be very
comfortable with that right now.
Vice president of Latin American operations Junior Noboa signed Brito, 6-foot-1
and 202 pounds, as a free agent out of the
Dominican Republic in 2010. BA named
Brito the best athlete in the organization
before each of the last two seasons.
Brito slashed .300/.339/.451 with nine
homers and 20 stolen bases at Double-A
Mobile, his first season at that level. He was
two years younger than the average position
player in the league.

dent the second stress fracture in his left elbow


that caused him to miss all of 2014 is fully
healed. Confirmation came in the Rockies
Dominican Instructional League program
where Anderson recovered quickly from two
three-inning starts.
Anderson, 26, was the Texas League pitcher
of the year in 2014 when he went 7-4, 1.98
in 118 innings for Double-A Tulsa. He missed
two starts that year in May with left elbow
soreness, which caused him to leave after three
innings in a championship-round playoff
game in September.
I never started throwing, said Anderson,
the 20th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Just
took the time off, and I first got a CT scan
in January. And it showed there wasnt much
healing. With a bone like that, if you take a
week or two off, you feel great. So I felt great
the whole time, which is the most frustrating part. You feel like you can go out and do
everything, but if it still shows up on a CT
scan, then theres a chance it might flare back
up on you.
Anderson said his last CT scan in late
September was clean.
Hes 23-10, 2.39 in 328 minor league
innings but has been plagued by injuries,
including a sports hernia in 2012 that required
surgery after the season, left shoulder soreness
that sidelined him for nine weeks in 2013 and
a stress fracture in his elbow that caused him
to miss the 2013 Arizona Fall League.
Player development director Zach Wilson
said Anderson was far along in his development when he finished up the 2014 season, so
some Triple-A experience this year should put
him very close to the majors.
The fact that we were able to knock the
rust off in the Dominican was a huge step
towards getting him ready, Wilson said. Im
very optimistic about whats going on with
him.

new manager, the Dodgers decision-makers


praised his energy, enthusiasm and openmindedness to the progressive direction the
organization plans to take.
The same qualities were apparently at the
forefront when assembling the minor-league
staff as well. The Dodgers announced their
group of minor league managers for the
2016 season, and it is a decidedly younger
group. Of the sixBill Haselman at Triple-A
Oklahoma City, Ryan Garko at Double-A
Tulsa, Drew Saylor at high Class A Rancho
Cucamonga, Gil Velazquez at low Class A
Great Lakes, Shaun Larkin at Rookie-level
Ogden and John Shoemaker in the Arizona
Leaguefour are 36 years old or younger.
Only Haselman (50) and Shoemaker (59)
return from 2015 when five of the six managers in those positions were 48 or older. But
skewing younger is more coincidental than
anything, according to Dodgers director of
player development Gabe Kapler.
Age will never be a factor, Kapler said.
What we are looking for is dynamic, charismatic leaders who were willing to pay attention to the initiatives we have in place in our
player development. Healthy foods, communication, trustthings that are important to
us, we want them to be fully engaged in that.
Haselman figures to have the biggest
challenge next season, moving up from the
California League to Triple-A. The OKC
Dodgers made 334 transactions last season.
Eighty-four different players appeared in at
least one game for them with the Dodgers
front office shuffling players constantly in an
attempt to customize the big league roster for
optimal results, at times on a daily basis.
Kapler acknowledged we really love the
concept of maximizing flexibility at the bigleague level and Haselman will have to deal
with similar roster churn in 2016.

SAN FRANCISCO It was beginning to look like a


lost year for righthander Clayton Blackburn.
He didnt get much of an opportunity
to impress Giants coaches in major league
camp because of shoulder tendinitis. Then
he stayed in Arizona when the minor league
seasons began. When he reported to Triple-A
Sacramento, he was 2-3, 4.50 in his first
seven startsincluding a nine-run blasting at
Albuquerque that served as a rude introduction to the Pacific Coast League.
But then three things happened: Jake Peavy
reported to Sacramento for a rehab assignment, then Matt Cain followed shortly thereafter, and Blackburn took a three-week break
from the rotation. He was able to refresh his
mind, and he had access to two of the organizations smartest starting pitchers to help him.
Blackburn returned to the rotation June 29,
he didnt allow more than two earned runs in
any of his remaining 13 starts, and his 2.85
ERA was the best in the league. Regardless of
the circumstances, winning an ERA title in
one of the minor leagues liveliest circuits is
an accomplishment.
Drafted in the 16th round in 2011,
Blackburn, 23, has a different goal as he prepares for another major league spring camp.
We want him to show us how close he is
to helping, Giants general manager Bobby
Evans said. I think were all very encouraged
with what he accomplished last season, and
hell get every chance to build on that.
The Giants dont figure to enter the season
with a dire need in the rotation, after spending $220 million on Jeff Samardzija and
Johnny Cueto.
But Blackburns ability to rediscover the
form and finish on his curveball, and his ability to keep an 89-90 mph fastball in the lower
third of the strike zone, made him an effective
contact-oriented pitcher that could translate
to the bigger parks in the NL West.

SNAKE BITES
Q Mike Benjamin, who managed the Rookie-level Arizona
League Diamondbacks in his first season in the organization
last year, was promoted to manage low Class A Kane County
in 2016. Benjamins staff will include first-year pitching coach
Rich Sauveur, hitting coach Jonathan Mathews and coach
Shawn Roof.
Q Mark Grudzielanek, who managed Kane County last
season, was promoted to a new position as the organizations
assistant hitting coordinator.

January 29February 12, 2016

ROCKY ROADS
Q Righthander Alex Balog, whose 2015 debut for high Class
A Modesto was delayed until June 14 due to a groin strain,
finished with 144 innings, including 47 in the Australian
Baseball League where he went 5-2, 1.35 in eight starts.
Q Center fielder Wes Rogers was successful on 46 of 50 stolen base attempts while hitting .278/.358/.392 in 77 games
for low Class A Asheville last year and is 68-for-73 in steals in
two professional seasons.

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Q The Dodgers signed outfielder Rico Noel to a minor
league contract. Noel, 27, spent September (and the wildcard game) with the Yankees last season. Noel is just a .254
hitter in six minor league seasons but has 283 stolen bases in
that time in 344 attempts.
Q Utilityman Elian Herrera is back with the Dodgers.
Herrera signed a minor league contract with a non-roster
invitation to spring training. The 31-year-old Herrera was
with the Dodgers in 2012 and 2013.

BaseballAmerica.com

GIANTICS
Q After one season managing at Double-A Richmond, Jose
Alguacil moves up to skipper Triple-A Sacramento, replacing
Bob Mariano. Former Giant Damon Minor was hired to
serve as the River Cats hitting coach. Former major league
catcher Miguel Ojeda was hired to replace Alguacil as
manager at Richmond.
Q Righthander Cody Hall was designated for assignment
when the Giants signed outfielder Denard Span and added
him to the 40-man roster.

27

ON CAMPUS ABCA convention

BY TEDDY CAHILL
NASHVILLE

As the 2016 American Baseball Coaches


Association Convention began at the Gaylord
Opryland Hotel, the Division I coaches had
their annual meeting to discuss some of the
pressing issues in the game.
The ABCA is pushing for several pieces
of reform that it thinks will benefit baseball
coaches, beginning with two rule changes
expected to be voted on this year. Both affect
the NCAA-enforced quiet period during
recruiting and hold wide support among the
coaches, according to an ABCA survey.
The proposed rule changes would prevent
coaches from working for outside camps or
clinics during the quiet period and would
extend the quiet period in the fall by a week
to enable coaches to be on campus when the
players begin the fall semester.
ABCA executive director Craig Keilitz said
he thinks both are common sense proposals.

I dont know how anybody could be


against that, he said. Thats pulling coaches
off the road more. Its a budget-saver, its
allowing kids to live lives in high school and
allow coaches to be with their student-athletes
on campus.
The ABCA is also beginning the process of
crafting proposals for next year and has four
changes it would like to bring about:
Q Eliminate the rule that scholarship players must receive at least 25 percent financial
aid.
Q Eliminate the rule that caps the number
of scholarship players at 27 per team.
Q Allow an additional paid assistant coach,
raising the number allowed to three.
Q Allow teams to play up to four exhibition
games in the fall that would not count toward
the 56-game maximum.
Those proposals must be officially submitted to the NCAA by September to be added
to next years docket.
More than 85 percent of coaches support

the proposal to add a third paid assistant and


to play fall games. The proposed rules on
scholarships hold majority support, but neither had a two-thirds approval rating.
Adding another paid assistant coach has
long been a desire of Division I coaches.
With three paid coaches, baseball has a coachto-player ratio of 1:12, one of the lowest
among several sports, including basketball,
field hockey and softball.
But many schools might not have the
money in their baseball budget for a third fulltime assistant. In the ABCA survey, coaches
were asked how they would use a third assistant if they were allowed. Only about a third
of coaches said they would hire a full-time
assistant. Fifteen percent said it would likely
be a part-time position, and more than half
said it would likely be a graduate assistant or
another volunteer assistant coach.
While announcing the proposal, Keilitz
used Ball State coach Rich Maloney as an
example. Maloney supports the rule change,

Coaches:

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Learn more at www.ABCA.org.


28

BaseballAmerica.com

MIKE JANES

ABCA backs NCAA rule changes

Ball State coach Rich Maloney supports an


idea to allow teams another assistant coach

even though he doubts Ball State will be able


to add a third full-time assistant to its budget.
I just dont think we should hold back
from what is right to do, Maloney said. In
this particular case Im not sure my program
would benefit from that, but I believe its the
right direction for our game.
The restrictions on scholarships have not
been in place long. Teams were required to
have just 27 players on scholarship for the
first time in the 2009-2010 school year. But
the rule makes it difficult for coaches every
summer as they have to make the math work.
Keilitz said because baseballs Academic
Progress Rate has improved in the past few
years and teams must meet minimum APR
requirements to be eligible for the postseason,
the additional restrictions arent necessary.
I think coaches have really understood
the importance of getting a student-athlete
and keeping a student-athlete on the 35-man
roster, so I hope we can take a look at that
language because thats what our coaches
want, he said.
Separate from the legislation the ABCA is
pushing is a proposal that will be voted on at
the NCAA convention in January that would
allow high school baseball players to be represented by agents in contract negotiations after
they are drafted. The rule would not allow for
representation of college players with eligibility remaining.
That proposal is being sponsored by the
Big 12 Conference as a part of the process the Power Five conferences have to
autonomously adopt legislation. If passed,
the rule would immediately go into effect for
the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Big
10 Conference, Pacific-12 Conference and
Southeastern Conference. Any other Division
I conference could adopt the rule if it passes.
While much of the meeting focused on the
different legislative proposals, Joel Erdmann,
the South Alabama athletic director and chairman of the NCAA Division I Baseball committee, also said his committee has changed
how the home team is determined for decisive
third games in super regionals. Instead of
a coin flip, the home team will now be the
higher-seeded team. If teams have equal seeding, a coin flip will still be used.
Erdmann said the committee is also discussing the pace of play because the issue
was brought to the committee by a variety of
people. The average time of a College World
Series game has increased 26 minutes over the
last four years. The NCAA rules committee
withdrew an experimental rules proposal for a
20-second pitch clock in October because the
issue did not receive enough support.
January 29February 12, 2016

SCOREBOARD

Transactions
Transactions involving minor league players, i.e. those not on 40-man rosters,
covering the period Dec. 23-Jan. 7.

NEW YORK METS: Released RHPs Randi Montero and Euner Rodriguez.
NEW YORK YANKEES: Signed RHP Tyler Jones, 2B Donovan Solano and
SS Jonathan Diaz. Released RHPs Matt Borens, Lee Casas, Taylor Garrison
and Corey Holmes. Traded RHPs Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, 2B Tony
Renda and 3B Eric Jagielo to Reds for LHP Aroldis Chapman.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: Signed LHP Wesley Wright.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS: Signed OF Matt McBride.
ATLANTA BRAVES: Signed RHPs Jhoulys Chacin, Kyle Kendrick and Alexi
Ogando and LHP Alex Torres. Released RHPs Clayton Cook, Francisco Gonzalez and Felix Marte; LHP Matt Bywater and OF Kelvin Estevez.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: Signed RHP Andrew Bailey and OF Christian


Marrero.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES: Signed RHP Paul Demny. Re-signed SS Paul Janish. Released Cs Shawn McGill and Kyle Moore.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Signed LHP Jim Fuller, C Ed Easley and SS Juan


Diaz. Released RHP Casey Sadler.

CHICAGO CUBS: Signed RHP Cole Brocker and 1B Jesus Guzman. Sold OF
Jesus Loya to Monterrey of Mexican League.

SAN DIEGO PADRES: Signed RHP Derek Eitel, 2B Adam Rosales and OF
DArby Myers. Re-signed C Miguel Del Castillo. Released LHP Ryan Atwood.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX: Signed RHP Charlie Shirek. Released RHP Tony
Bucciferro.

TEXAS RANGERS: Signed LHP Donnie Veal.

CINCINNATI REDS: Signed RHP A.J. Morris, 1B Patrick Leyland, SSs Carlos
Triunfel and Beamer Weems and OFs Stephen Wallace and Jordan Yallen. Re-signed 2B Ray Chang. Traded LHP Aroldis Chapman to Yankees for
RHPs Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, 2B Tony Renda and 3B Eric Jagielo.
CLEVELAND INDIANS: Signed LHPs Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny and
Joe Thatcher.
COLORADO ROCKIES: Signed SS Stephen Cardullo. Released RHP Alec
Crawford and OF Richard Prigatano.
DETROIT TIGERS: Signed RHPs Mike Crotta and Logan Kensing, C Rafael
Lopez and OF Chad Human.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Released RHP Luis Rodriguez, LHPs Clint Freeman and Colin Hering, SS Kelvin Ramos and OFs Edwin Drexler, Jeremy
Rathjen and Brian Wolfe.
MIAMI MARLINS: Signed C Cam Maron and OF Moises Sierra.
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Signed OF Eric Young Jr. Released RHPs Bubba
Blau, Zach Cooper, Luke Curtis, Jose Flores, J.B. Kole, Scott Lieser and
Gian Rizzo; LHPs Tyler Linehan and Trevor Lubking, C Paul Eshleman,
1B Connor Narron, 2B Gregory Munoz, SS Steven Halcomb and OF Mitch
Meyer.

January 29February 12, 2016

TORONTO BLUE JAYS: Signed RHP Roberto Hernandez.


WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Signed C Jhonatan Solano.

Obituaries
Carmelo Castillo, an outfielder who played 10 years in the majors from
1982-91, died Nov. 15, 2015, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He
was 57.
Castillo came up with the Indians in 1982 and maintained a fourthoutfielders role in Cleveland for the next seven years. He never played 100
games in a big league season but did hit double-digit homers three times, his
best year coming when he hit .261 with 10 homers in 87 games in 1984. The
Indians traded Castillo to the Twins during 1989 spring training and he played
parts of three more years in Minnesota, continuing in a part-time role. He
retired in 1991 as a .252 career hitter in 631 major league games.
Joseph Cockroft, a righthander who pitched four seasons in the minors
from 1955-58, died Nov. 25, 2015, in Hampstead, N.H. He was 79.
Jimmy Dambach, a pitcher who played pro ball in 1949 and 1953, died
Nov. 21, 2015, in Lilbourn, Mo. His age was not available.
Dick DeLozier, a righthander who pitched professionally from 1954-55,
died Nov. 25, 2015, in Fort Thomas, Ky. He was 83.

Robert Forisch, who played one season in the minors in 1940, died Nov.
3, 2015 in Parma Heights, Ohio. His age was not available.
Jordan Galvez, a second baseman who played three years of pro ball from
2010-2012, died Nov. 17, 2015, in Acandi, Colombia. He was 23.
George Genovese, a shortstop who played one year in the big leagues
in 1950 and had a lengthy scouting career, died Nov. 15, 2015, in Burbank,
Calif. He was 93.
Genovese played 12 years of pro ball, including a stint in the Mexican
League at the end. He reached the majors once after getting called up by the
Washington Senators at the end of April 1950. He got into three games, all as
a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter. He went on to a long career as a scout for the
Dodgers and Giants in Southern California.
Ken Johnson, a righthander who pitched in the major leagues from 195870, died Nov. 21, 2015, in Pineville, La. He was 82.
Johnson had a well-traveled career, pitching for seven different teams over
13 years. He first came up with the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, originally
working in relief, and assumed a starters role a few years later after landing
with the Houston Colt .45s in 1962. He had a couple of quality years as a
starter, posting a 2.65 ERA over 224 innings for Houston in 1963 and he went
13-9, 2.74 for the Braves in 1967. Atlanta was where he had his longest stay,
pitching there from 1966-69. He finished his career in Montreal in 1970 with a
3.46 lifetime ERA in over 1,700 big league innings. Of note, Johnson is the only
pitcher in big league history to lose a game in which he threw a nine-inning
no-hitter, accomplishing the dubious feat on April 23, 1964, when he no-hit
the Cincinnati Reds but his Colt. 45s lost 1-0 on an unearned run scored in the
top of the ninth inning.
Ben Jonietz, an outfielder who played professionally from 1956-58, died
Nov. 29, 2015, in San Antonio. He was 77.
James McAlister, who played three years in the minor leagues from 194850, died Nov. 4, 2015, in Wytheville, Va. He was 91.
Walt McCoy, a righthander who pitched eight years of pro ball between
1945 and 1955, died Nov. 10, 2015, in Lemon Grove, Calif. He was 92.
Paul McNeal, a catcher who played one season of pro ball in 1955, died
Nov. 14, 2015, in Hagerstown, Md. He was 87.
McNeal was a longtime scout and minor league coach for the Orioles
organization after his playing days.
Eddie Milner, an outfielder who played nine years in the majors from
1980-88, died Nov. 2, 2015, in Cincinnati. He was 60.
A 21st-round pick in 1976, Milner came up through the Reds' system,

BaseballAmerica.com

making brief appearances in the majors in 1980 and 1981 before earning a
more regular role in 1982. Milner hit .268 with four homers in 82, splitting
time at all three outfield spots, and took over as the Reds everyday center
fielder in 1983. He hit nine homers to go with a .261 average in 83 and held
the Reds center field role for four years, peaking when he slugged 15 long balls
and hit .259 in 1986. He finished in the top 10 in the National League in stolen
bases twice, topped by his career-best 41 steals in 1983. The Reds dealt him
to the Giants after the 86 season, but he returned to Cincinnati in free agency
after only one year in San Francisco. However, he played just 23 games for the
Reds in 1988, due in part to a suspension for drug use. Hed battled drug abuse
for much of his career, and the 88 season would be his last in the majors. He
became an ordained minister in his post-playing years.
Farrell Mitchell, who played one year in the minor leagues in 1950, died
Nov. 12, 2015, in Jacksonville, Ill. His age was not available.
Dick Nieberding, a lefthander who pitched one year in the minors in
1958, died Nov. 19, 2015, in Edgewood, Ky. He was 76.
George Owen, an outfielder who played four years of pro ball from 195053, died Nov. 9, 2015, in Boston. He was 89.
George Resavy, an outfielder who played one year in the minors in 1956,
died Nov. 21, 2015, in Hillsborough, N.J. He was 82.
Willie Royster, a catcher who played briefly in the major leagues in 1981,
died Nov. 23, 2015, in Ocean View, N.J. He was 61.
The Orioles drafted Royster in the 22nd round in 1972 out of Howard and he
played 11 years of pro ball. His lone major league call-up came in September
1981 and he appeared in four games for Baltimore, though he did not register
a base hit.
Richard Shrigley, a catcher who played two years in the minor leagues
from 1957-58, died Nov. 8, 2015, in Carlsbad, Calif. He was 80.
Tom Staley, a righthander who pitched professionally in 1944 and 1947,
died Nov. 8, 2015, in Joliet, Ill. He was 89.
Jim Stump, a righthander who pitched in parts of two big league seasons,
died Nov. 19, 2015, in Lansing, Mich. He was 83.
Stump pitched nine years of pro ball but only got a couple of brief callups to the majors with the Tigers in 1957 and 1959. He pitched well in the
opportunities he had, logging a 2.19 ERA in a combined 25 major league
innings, all in relief.
Obituary information provided by SABR. Information for minor league
obituaries may be emailed to BaseballNecrology@gmail.com.

29

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January 29February 12, 2016

Five Hall lessons STARKS REALITY

Martinez, Mussina, Schilling


might have Fame come easier

USELESS INFORMATION DEPT.


TRIVIALITY

Did you know that just 10 other


men with 500 homers and an OPS
Its only trivial if you
dont know the answer. and batting average as high as
Gary Sheffields (509/.907/.292)
have ever made it onto a Hall of
Fame ballot? Nine are in the Hall of Fame. Whos the 10th?

PHILADELPHIA

Ken Griffey Jr. was more than just a


Hall of Famer. He was a maker of magic.
The swing. The glove. The smile.
As magical as any wave of David
Copperfields wand.
And on Jan. 6, 437 Hall of Fame
voters had a message for Griffey and a
message for all of us: Magic rocks. Magic
works. And magic is what earns a man
Baseball Analyst,
99.3 percent of the vote, the highest
Senior Writer
percentage of any candidate who has
ESPN.com
ever reached this ballot (and should have
earned 100 percent, of course).
That, obviously, was the most important thing we learned,
on a night when Griffey and Mike Piazza teamed up to turn
this into the third consecutive Hall of Fame election to send
multiple players to Cooperstown.
But that was far from all we took away from this historic
night. So here come five things we learned from the 2016 Hall
of Fame election:

MORE HALL: Before Ken Griffeys induction, only one previous No. 1 overall pick even got enough votes to hang around
on the ballot for more than one year. That was Harold Baines,
who survived to make it onto five years worth of ballots (200711), peaking at 6.1 percent in Year 4, but then dropped below
5 percent in Year 5.

Jayson
Stark

THE SPORTS GROUP

TRIVIALITY ANSWER: Barry Bonds

1. New Electorate, New Life For One Trio


These were not your grandfathers Hall of Fame voters.
Heck, they werent even your big brothers Hall of Fame voters.
Once the Hall had finished bouncing a large group of voters
who hadnt covered baseball in at least a decade, heres what we
were left with:
An electorate in which 109 fewer writers cast a vote in this
election than in 2015; An electorate that had a much different
perspective on players who shined brightest under the light of
new-age metrics, and an electorate that appeared significantly
less judgmental of players shadowed by those pesky performance-enhancing drug clouds.
First takeaway: Seven different players jumped by doubledigit percentage points: Piazza (up 13.1), Jeff Bagwell (15.9),
Tim Raines (14.8), Curt Schilling (13.1), Edgar Martinez
(16.4), Alan Trammell (15.8) and Mike Mussina (18.4). All
seven are stars as big on the modern-metric field as they once
were on the playing field.
But the three men whose candidacies now look most different than they did last election day were Schilling (52.3 percent), Martinez (43.4) and Mussina (43.0). And its no longer
out of the realm of possibility that all three could make it.

Mike Mussinas Hall of Fame candidacy took a turn for the better

yet, OK? But is there another 30 percent, within this voting


group, thats willing to vote for them? Wow. It would be easier
to predict the winner of the 2068 Kentucky Derby than to
make that prediction.
The results of this election told us that PED stains dont
burrow as deeply with this group of voters as they did with the
older, more hard-line group that came before it. Maybe the
election of Piazzawho overcame unproven PED suspicions
from the same crowdwill change the landscape on this issue.
But if you asked me to bet today whether Bonds and Clemens
will lift their plaques on the Cooperstown stage someday, Id
probably still say, I dont see it.

3. What Happened To Magic Numbers?


Heres another takeaway on the new Hall of Fame electorate: It doesnt believe in magic numbers. Well, not the old, tried
and true magic numbers of yesteryear, anyway.
Four members of the 500-homer club appeared on this ballot: Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield.
Bonds, weve covered. Its a miracle any of the other three even
survived to appear on another ballot. They wound up with
fewer votes combined (136) than Lee Smith got all by himself.
McGwire, of course, didnt survive. It was his 10th and final
year on the ballot. And for the 10th straight year, he was a
nonfactor. He peaked at 23.7 percent in 2010.

2. Bonds, Clemens Gained Little Traction


Fifty percent of the vote; thats a threshold Barry Bonds and
Roger Clemens never crossed in three previous elections. But
Bonds jumped from 36.8 to 44.3 percent. And Clemens, who
has outpolled Bonds in all four elections, went from 37.5 to
45.2 percent. So dont banish them to Cooperstown oblivion

PITCHING TOES

WILSON

I thought this would be the year that McGwires old partner in home run glory, Sosa, would drop off the radar screen
himself. Nope. Hes still hanging in there, at 7.0 percent. But
his 31 votes were the second fewest ever by a member of the
500-Homer Club. Only Palmeiros 25, in 2014, beat him.
Finally, of the 17 holdover candidates on this ballot, just
two saw their percentages actually go down. One was Nomar
Garciaparra, who plummeted right off the ballot. The other
was Gary Sheffield, who dropped from 11.7 to 11.6 percent in
a year in which seven hitters around him jumped by at least 8
percent. And thats an ugly sign for Sheff.

4. First Time Not The Charm


Here are the guys you should really feel sorry for: actual players who appear on this actual ballot. Players like Billy Wagner
and Jim Edmonds, for instance. Despite winning eight Gold
Gloves in his career, Edmonds stay on the Hall of Fame ballot
lasted just one year as the outfielder garned just 11 votes.
Unlike Edmonds, at least Wagner lives on to see a second
ballot. But rationally, does it make any sense that, in the same
election, two closers with credentials as similar as Wagner and
Trevor Hoffman would rack up such insanely different vote
totals? Hoffman collected 67.3 percent. He deserves it.
Wagner, meanwhile, eked out just 10.5 percent. Absurd.
Ive written twice now that its hard to justify voting for one of
those men but not the other. But hundreds of voters did.

5. Ken Griffey Jr., meet John Elway


Finally, the June baseball draft is now 51 years old. Whod
have thought it would take more than half a century before
we finally elected a No. 1 pick to the Hall of Fame? But
heres to Junior Griffey. He did what Darryl Strawberry,
Shawon Dunston, Harold Baines and, yes, even Shawn Abner
couldnt do. He took that ride from the top of the draft to
Cooperstown. Its about time.

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January 29February 12, 2016

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31