The Pujols negotiations are, well, pretty boring. If you are like me, you’re sick of hearing about aimless speculation about what will happen next. So lets speculate less aimlessly, if you will, about the future at first base without Five. We’ve got a few options. One, Matt Adams, may be a little far away, but that could change with an incredibly important, and what I cautiously see as a difficult, year for him in 2011. The other two are Mark Hamilton, and Allen Craig, viable mid-20′s players that could provide what most teams want from the corners — a hitter — one being more practical than the other. Let me explain…
Andrew in Allen Craig, analysis, Mark Hamilton, Matt Adams, tags: 2009 Draft, Albert Pujols, Allen Craig, Mark Hamilton, Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals
As reported by Bird Land, the front office came down with some bad news for 14 ‘future redbirds’ yesterday, most notably, Trey Hearne, a 28th-round pick from the ’05 crop. Hearne didn’t do much for me, but some liked his groundball mold as something that could advance. After some success in the lower levels, his lack of command caught up to him, especially in 2010 when he averaged a 5.1 BB/9 over the span of three levels and 60.1 IP. Here are the rest of the players who were released:
Fly high, baby birds.
AFL stuff starts Tuesday. Our friends at ESPN should have some pretty good coverage over there (if you’re an Insider, of course). We’ll try to keep you guys as updated as possible with anything Cardinal related out in the desert.
Andrew in Interviews
I had the chance to sit down for a few minutes to discuss the Minor Leagues with newly promoted Farm Director John Vuch last week. Check it out:
FR: How much will your role change from your previous job as Minor League operations to now Farm Director?
JV: Well it will change quite a bit, because now I kind of have more direct input as far as what the moves will be, the staffing, and that sort of thing. Obviously, I’m still going to lean heavily on our field staff and with Gary LaRoque who’s going to be serving as an advisor to me, as well, but the main difference is I will kind of have the decision on player moves, and that type of thing.
FR: When you go into player moves, how much time goes into the decision to promote or demote a player?
JV: Most of the time it’s done long before you actually see the move, because lots of times moves are reactions to injuries, so my goal is, when there’s an injury, we already know who’s going to take the place of somebody should something like that happen. A big thing is talking to our manager and rovers to get a feel for who is playing well, who might be in over their head at a level, but really our goal is to be a little on the conservative side, and not, you know, rush guys into a position where they aren’t ready.
FR: The minor league teams had a ton of success this year, how much of a value do you place on team success compared to maybe individual players progressing more in a process, or statistically?
JV: I think definitely there are two functions: developing the player, and the other is winning. Developing the player is always the priority, because I mean our main function in player development is to produce major league ready players, so you never want to do anything to stop the development of a player. That being said, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Winning is an important thing, as well, in terms of learning how to play the game the right way, doing the things that it takes to win a ball game, whether it be hitting behind a runner, or situations where you’re playing as a team. The other benefit of playing for a winning team is, a lot of times when a team is out of the running, you get guys trying to pad their stats, where as when the team is playing for a playoff spot, that kind of keeps the team together and has players playing team baseball. That said, the main function is developing players, and you never want to have winning superseding that. Sometimes you’ll see guys that might not be as polished of a player, but he’s a better prospect, so you might have a guy who on paper appears to be a lesser player who gets more playing time over a guy putting up good numbers.
FR: When you compare players with the numbers they have to what you’re hearing from the coaches, how much of a focus do you guys put on the numbers you see compared to the process that’s taking place?
JV: It’s more of a balance, because you’ll have guys that put up good numbers. One of my goals is, you know, you’ll have guys where coaches say ‘this guy may be an a-ball tops guy’, or ‘this guy may be a double-a tops guy’, you never want that to become sort of a self-fufilling prophecy. If the guy is producing, even if the coach doesn’t think he can get out of A-ball, if he produces, give him a chance. There’s guys who play in the big leagues like David Eckstein who came and talked to our minor league players three or four years ago, and he was pretty honest about how every level he played at, his coaches thought that’s where he was going to top out, so you never want to right a players career out before it actually happens. So in that regard, if the player keeps producing, we’ll let him prove that he’s not capable of playing at the higher level. That being said, there may be guys that are putting up poor numbers, if has ability, if he has talent, you may see him getting more chances based on the coaches recommendation.
FR: The fans are pretty familiar with the top guys, it’s changing a bit, but obviously Miller, guys like Cox, now Martinez, but in the lower levels of the system, there’s a very young group of prospects, talk about a few of those guys that the organization and the fans can get excited about?
JV: Well one of the top guys, and I know you guys who do a good job keeping up with your site may know is Oscar Taveras, he’s a guy at Johnson City, he’s 18-years old, had a really nice year. He’s got good power to all fields, even though he’s only 18 he’s a very polished hitter, he runs fairly well, solid defensively, got a nice arms. So he’s one guy, and you know, I hate to rank guys at that stage in their career, but he really stood out in his first year over in the United States. A kid who really stood out at the end of the year is Rainel Rosario at Quad Cities. He was really kind of under the radar, not many of our guys knew much about him because he had an injury earlier in his career, but he really opened some eyes as an offense player in the second half. Michael Swinson’s got a lot of ability, a lot of tools. It hasn’t really translated into statistical success yet, but he’s a guy that our managers and coaches are impressed by his tools. He’s still very raw and young so we think this could be a big year for him to translate those tools into success.
FR: What’s the Player Development department’s role one we get into the end of the Major League season here?
JV: One of our roles is to talk to Mo, talk to the staff in regards to potential promotions. This time of year, once the minor league season is over, we’ll sit down and talk with the Major League staff to get a feel for what they’ve seen from the guys that have come up, and see if there’s something that they see on the fundamental basis that we need to do differently on the Minor League side. If there’s a group of guys and they’re all doing something in a way the Major League guys don’t like, that’s something we need to correct. One of the things we really try to focus on is doing things in the Minor Leagues the same way we do on the Major League side.
Pretty straightforward here. Three prospects that took a step forward in 2010, and three that did not. Let me know y’alls three up/three down in the comment section, too.
What’s up, folks? The Cardinals are attempting to take a series from Cincinnati today, while I work on materializing a Tony La Russa v. Colby Rasmus cage-match. Some good people around the interwebs produced insightful thoughts, check em’ out:
- Daren Smith of MiLB.com recaps Johnson City’s Appalachian League Championship well here.
- Jay Hulsey of i70Baseball.com profiles Tyrell Jenkins.
- Adam Foster of ProjectProspect listed Daniel Descalso as a Top 5 Second Base Prospect.
That’s all I’ve got. Have a great Sunday, everybody.
Andrew in 2005 MLB draft, Daryl Jones, Minor Leagues, tags: 2005 Draft, Daryl Jones, Springfield Cardinals
With a downright awful 2010, Daryl Jones continues to be one of the more frustrating prospects in St. Louis’ system. What at times has been seen as a toolsy, athletic, above-average corner outfielder, is starting to look like an average fourth who doesn’t have the outfield instincts to stay at center, the arm for right, or the power for left.
Jones, an extremely athletic three-sport athlete in high school, was selected in the third round of the 2005 draft. After struggling to translate his tools to results in his first full two years of pro ball, Jones broke out in 2008, posting a .316/.407/.483 line with Palm Beach, and Springfield.
While he did hold on to a steady 21.5 LD% in 2009, his first full attempt at AA was hampered by a quad strain, and he’s never been the same since. While Jones has never been expected to hit for plus-power with his linear swing, he hasn’t even been capable of posting average power numbers lately, topping a .400 SLG in just one of his past nine months of ball. In ’10, his LD% trailed off to 19.7%. With a .292 BABIP, Jones posted a park-adjusted line of .241/.332/.345.
I had previously thought that if Jones could carry his success from ’08, and the first half of ’09, he could have a legitimate shot at earning a spot with the big league club in the 2011 Spring Training. That appears to be a long-shot now. And while Jones is still just 23-years-old, this stunt in progression is startling, and something to note, in my opinion.
What say you, readers? Is the injury still hampering him? Is it too early to give up on a 23-year-old? Has your projection of his upside been changed considerably with his awful ’10 season?
Obviously, the Major League Baseball draft differs heavily from other sports amateur drafts as far as seeing results immediately. Most teams don’ determine their decisions in the draft by what their highest level club needs, so often fans will have to wait three or four years before they can start to see the fruits of their clubs front office’s labor. However, thanks to some folks much smarter than I, we have data available to estimate the average Wins-Above-Replacement levels of picks based upon where they are selected, what position they play, and what level of play they are advancing from. Using Alex Pedicini’s post over at HardballTimes, we can apply this study to the Cardinals top picks of the ’10 draft .
If you don’t feel like checking out Pedicini’s post, here are the WAR/year averages of each player selected in the first, second and third rounds from the 1992-1999 drafts…
College hitters– 1.336 WAR/year
College hitters– .773 WAR/year
College hitters– .115 WAR/year
With St. Louis having five picks in the first three rounds, their total would be something around 1.9 WAR, but that would be counting Tyrell Jenkins as second round talent. Jenkins, a player who would have surely been selected in the first round had signability not been an issue, adds nearly a full win if he is grouped into first round talent-average.
Let’s see how St. Louis faired against the rest of the National League Central. Since we gave Jenkins the first round value treatment, we will do the same for the rest of the division if they selected a player outside of the first round that qualifies in the first thirty of Keith Law’s most recent Top 100. I’m giving teams Scouting/Player-Development departments the benefit of the doubt for questionable selections outside of the first round. Though, maybe I shouldn’t, considering Ed Wade is in play here…
St. Louis– 2.73 WAR/year (5 picks)
* Milwaukee failed to sign their first round selection.
This is not an indicator for how the Cardinals did in the draft as a whole. If I had more time, resources, and brainpower, I might be able to pull something off like that. Looking at the picks on a piece of paper, they did well, in my opinion, but we cannot forget the importance of player procurement that can turn late round picks into legitimate prospects, but hopefully this gives you a picture of how the Cardinals appear to have done at the top of their draft, based on historical studies.