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Law's Top 100 Prospects

Following his organizational rankings released yesterday, Keith Law published his Top 100 prospects rankings on ESPN today.

I can smell the RSN soiling themselves over Lars Anderson’s #7 ranking, and rightfully so. Will be a nice replacement for Papi in a few years, likely bumping Youk back to 3B.

You have to get to the 2nd page (Insider required!) to see the first Yankee prospect listed at #46, Austin Jackson. Says Law:

Jackson’s star has dimmed over the past year or so, as an expected breakout hasn’t come. He’s shown that he takes a while to adjust to each new level or challenge. He’s still a great athlete, but it’s not translating into baseball skills as quickly as hoped.

Jackson’s tools grade out as more or less average across the board, with nothing standing out as plus except for the possibility that he’ll become an above-average hitter (for average, that is). He had good speed but is, at best, a 55 runner now, although he has good instincts on the bases. He has gap power and can jerk a ball over the fence to left, but doesn’t project as more than a 15-20 homer guy unless he fills out substantially.

He’s solid in center field with a good arm, but probably isn’t a Gold Glove candidate. Because he lacks a major weakness, he’s still a valuable prospect, and he’ll play all of 2009 at age 22, so he has room for growth. It’s just hard to see the ceiling that appeared to be there a year or two ago.

Continue reading Law's Top 100 Prospects

Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

I got a bunch of Commish For A Day suggestions that seem to hover around the general topic of “call things according to the rulebook“. Since they were brief, I’ll run ’em all here.

Leading off, the almighty ShysterBall, who STILL cannot get past rule 8.04:

I’d demand strict adherence to the rule 8.04, which requires that a pitcher throw the damn ball within 15 seconds of receiving it from the catcher, and I’d pair it with a mandate to the umps that batters not be granted time every single time they ask for it. Let’s move the game along people.

Channeling his inner ShysterBall is old pal Carl, a Nationals ticket holder who has an affection for seeing as many ballparks as he can as well as an unnatural affection for John Kruk and for all mascots.

I’ve known the answer for this for quite some time. I would change or enforce rules to speed up the game. Can’t leave the batters’ box without a genuine need, can’t wander around the mound between pitches. Get in there and hit. Get up there and pitch.

Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like baseball, and I ask why, they almost always respond “It’s boring! All they do is stand around.” But MLB has been unable to address this core flaw in the game. It wasn’t always like this, even in the post-season. I remember reading an editorial on this subject a while back (unfortunately, can’t remember the writer) that said “The 1985 World Series was important too, but they still managed to play all seven games in under three hours.”

Also wanting to chip in on the “playing by the rules” is Doug Beebe, who has no problem busting the umpiring union to smithereens, if necessary:

You list SO many good options, but I’m going to go off the board for a different change:

Call the game by the rules (necessarily, fire umpires who refuse).

Some impacts of this: no more “in the vicinity” at second base on double plays, failing to avoid being hit by (or actively leaning into) a pitch does not award first base, call the strike zone as published (and, if we don’t like what’s written, heck, change it).

This won’t have the sweeping impact of some other things I would also do (cap & floor, team stadium funding, all-star doesn’t determine home field, playoff start times), but it would make me a lot less frustrated when I watch games.

As you might recall, I posted a mini-rant/ramble on some rules changes to speed things up during the World Series 2008.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Continue reading Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

Cano looking good

From Kevin Long, Yanks hitting coach:

Robinson Cano met with Long in November, working out in the Dominican Republic and continuing the adjustments that the hitting coach suggested late in the season. Cano had hit rock bottom in terms of frustration, and only a September surge helped him raise his average to .271.

With Long’s help, Cano has reduced movement at the plate, tweaks that remain constant in the overhauled stance that will be on display next month. But Long said he was blown away by other changes Cano has made, hiring a personal trainer to help reduce his body fat and add muscle for the year ahead.

The trip to the Dominican went above and beyond what I expected,” Long said. “Really, I just expected to go out there and see where he was from an offensive standpoint and mechanically, and mentally talk to him about his game plan for winter ball.

To go out there and see what kind of shape he was in was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. He’s worked hard to get himself in shape and get himself looking like a top-notch ballplayer.”

We can only hope he shows that dedication and resumes his ascention to becoming a top AL 2B. Continue reading Cano looking good

Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Nothing says “good morning” like a healthy dose of tersely written, clenched teeth Commish For A Day goodies. Many readers from here (and from ShysterBall) will recognize Mark Smith (aka tHeMARksMiTh) and his new site Way Back and Gone. Lifted from his site, Mark describes his new blog: Way Back and Gone is intended to be a blog dedicated to baseball history, but it will be occasionally transported to the present when the author, who is obnoxiously referring to himself in the third person, feels the need to rant about the Braves or another preposterous event in modern baseball.

Let’s just say that Mark isn’t a fan of Instant Replay (even though I am):

If I could change one thing, it would be instant replay.

One, we’ve gotten by without it for 100+ years, so there’s no reason to get it now. Sure, we have the technology, but just because we have an atom bomb, it doesn’t mean we should use it (a bit extreme, yes).

Two, the slippery slope applies. I doubt Selig will let it happen, but what about after him? Are we that obsessed about getting every call “right” that we have to move to having all calls be made electronically? Yes, home runs are more important than strikes and balls and safes and outs, but I guarantee many more mistakes are made on the latter to more than make up for the value discrepancy. If you argue for using IR because of the value of home runs, then you need it for the rest because they add up, too. It may not be used a lot now to make a difference, but it won’t be too long before it becomes more ubiquitous. What happens when a Red Sox/Yankee/Met/Cub (or now that IR has begun, any team) is involved in a Holliday-like slide in the playoffs?

Three, we just overreacted. Delgado and ARod had their home runs taken away, and we got upset. I bet they’ve gotten a few lucky bounces that padded their stat sheets, so I’m not too worried. We talk about all the nooks and crannies in stadiums, but what about when the fences were pushed back farther, making it harder to see? I bet they missed a few then as well. If the umps get it all right, then we’re left to blame our team when they lose.Four, it may not always work out. The NFL has IR, and they still screwed up calls (see Ed Hochuli). You’re telling me that all plays will be conclusive when we look at it? So far so good, but will it always stay that way? There will be problems and missed calls regardless. It’s part of the game.

Five, over 162 games, does that one moment really count? It may make a difference in that game, but your team has 161 other games to make up for it. If your team loses by one game, you can blame that one moment, but they had an entire season (not to mention the rest of the game) to have taken advantage of opportunities they should have. That one game didn’t kill them.

Six, remember a couple years ago when Brian Jordan hit a home run in Philadelphia that didn’t count? I didn’t think so. He hit the bottom of the foul pole and would have tied the game, but the umpires didn’t count it. I got over it and moved on. Everyone else will too.

I realize we want to get everything right and have everyone get their due, but Pettitte didn’t deserve his bad ERA and Dice-K didn’t deserve his good ERA. Life isn’t fair. Maybe I’m too traditionalist, but I do like Interleague Play and the Wild Card. I can even tolerate the DH. This, though, bothers me.

Of course, the ever-wacky Jayson Stark actually called that slippery slope progress.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

Continue reading Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Suckiest pitcher of the 00's

Gotta love Jayson Stark. He’s got a posting about the dubious achievements of the Aughts. What jumped out at me is how many times Livan Hernandez’s name appears:

MOST LOSSES: Livan Hernandez (112), but Javier Vazquez is six back if Livan doesn’t find work.

MOST HITS ALLOWED: Livan Hernandez (2,230), meaning Livan has given up 500 more hits in the ’00s than Derek Jeter has gotten.

MOST RUNS ALLOWED: Livan again (1,053), which means the only player in baseball who has scored more runs in the ’00s than Hernandez has allowed is A-Rod (1,112).

Oh yeah, Livan’s earned over $50 million during his career, $45.8m of that was “earned” during the 00’s. Professional ballclubs saw fit to lavish Livan with millions to pitch well below league average.

No, really.

At least Fat Sidney Ponson only “earned” about $23m over that same time frame. Wow, I guess I would rather have had Fat Sid for half the price of Livan. Who woulda thunk THAT?

[And if you look at both Ponson’s and Livan’s B-R profiles, you will see that the player they each most closely resemble during their age 26 and 27 years is… EACH OTHER! Priceless!] Continue reading Suckiest pitcher of the 00's

Law ranks organizations' farm systems

From Keith Law, via ESPN, his rankings of MLB teams’ farm systems. Yanks are middle of the pack, #15, with good reason:

15. New York Yankees: For the first time in several years, the Yankees’ system is light on impact talent, with major question marks on each of the top four prospects. The 2008 draft class doesn’t offer much hope — the Yankees’ first pick reversed course on them midsummer and decided to go to college; their third pick had a medical issue and didn’t agree to terms; and the resulting crop of players doesn’t offer much upside.

At least they gave up their first, second and third rounders next year as compensation for Teix, CC and Burnett. If you can’t grow it, buy it. Continue reading Law ranks organizations' farm systems

Brotherly Love?

Guess someone’s not getting invited to Thanksgiving:

“Shortly after I won the Contra Costa Bodybuilding Championships in May of 1994, Mark took the plunge. I accompanied him to Sacramento where we met with my supplier and trainer, who explained to him how the different drugs would work on his body and answered a myriad of questions from Mark. Given Mark’s curiosity and lack of knowledge about steroids I saw from Mark, I would be shocked if Mark did something like what Jose Canseco claimed happened back in the early years….[M]ark began to use, but in low dosages so he wouldn’t lift his way out of baseball. Deca-Durabolin helped with his joint problems and recovery, while growth hormone helped his strength, making him leaner in the process. I became the first person to inject him, like most first-timers he couldn’t plunge in the needle himself. Later a girlfriend injected him.”

Looks like there is a McGwire who’s here to talk about the past. Not that Big Mac really cares:

“…I’ve heard speculation that Mark will never get into the Hall of Fame. To some that might really get to them. Take Pete Rose. I think he would cut off his left arm to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Not Mark. I don’t think being in the Hall of Fame matters a lick to him.”

As for that picture, it looks like lil Mac’s head is on the wrong body like a bad photoshoped picture. Yeesh!

Also, I haven’t seen this book anywhere else (or even hints of its existence), so maybe Deadspin’s pulling a funny… Continue reading Brotherly Love?

Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites

For today’s second Commish For A Day installment, I’m turning the platform over to Zach Sanders of MLB Notebook, a veritable smorgasboard of baseball goodies. Zach’s “About Me” section reads as follows: MLB Notebook is run by Zach Sanders. Zach has also done work for KFFL, and was the managing editor of the now defunct 24/7 Sports Stop. Zach is a member of SABR, and a part of the Business of Baseball and Statistical Analysis committees.

If I were Commissioner for a day, I would get rid of the “Winner takes Home Field” aspect of the All-Star game. I would do this within my first 30 seconds in office.

The seriousness the All-Star game takes away from the purpose of it – to have fun! Think of the rest of All-Star weekend, it’s all about the players having fun. The homer run derby, and the softball game is fun for the fans and players alike, because there is nothing on the line to worry about. Think about the NBA. Basketball’s All-Star game is fun to watch, because it is a high flying event with a focus on

Another problem is the lack of control the teams in the World Series tend to have over the outcome. If a team has 1-3 players on the roster, can the team really help if the All-Star team loses? Next stop is a solution. Best record in the regular season sounds like a fairly reasonable solution, but it’s not the best one. The MLB should do what the NFL does: Neutral sites. We all witnessed the problems with big games in cold weather cities in this past World Series. Cities in the southern half of the county and teams with closed room stadiums (or retractable ones) should be allowed to host.

Of course, this would need more specifictions to deal with revenue sharing between the host team and the two World Series participants, but that’s a whole different issue.

Personally, I think the “this game counts” idea for the ASG is crap, and that’s being kind. I’m not in Zach’s camp on neutral sites, as you might remember, but I do think regular season records would be the way to go.

In fact, I was yelling kinda loudly against the “we need a neutral site NOW” crowd this past October.

I understand how it works for football (one game, early February dates, etc.) but it can’t work for baseball.

It’s not just taking the game from the local fans, it’s the essential stealing of money from the local economies that participate in the game. Remember, it IS about the money, stupid. Why reward a neutral site city, one that doesn’t have its own team and little chance of landing one?

We can cry about the fans who won’t get to go see the games in person, but we all know that most of the tickets are snapped up by the corporates or are priced out of reach for mere mortals. Besides, the games start so damn late that the kids aren’t there anyways. But the real reason this can’t (and won’t) happen is CASH.

The City of Philadelphia boosted their budget by an estimated $20million from this playoff run alone. Think they would willingly let that money flow to Nashville? Me either.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS

Continue reading Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites