Showing posts with label David Wright. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Wright. Show all posts

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Dodgers should take note: It pays to draft third basemen early

The MLB Draft is a crap shoot -- more so than any other draft in professional sports. When there's as many as 40 rounds, that's bound to happen.

The Dodgers, in the Logan White era, have drafted many a pitcher. That is obviously his philosophy. There's nothing wrong with that.

White's first-round draft picks since 2002
(Italics denotes Supplemental first-round pick)
James Loney, Greg Miller, Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert, Blake DeWitt, Justin Orenduff, Luke Hochevar (did not sign), Clayton Kershaw, Bryan Morris, Preston Mattingly, Chris Withrow, James Adkins, Ethan Martin, Aaron Miller, Zach Lee, Chris Reed

Only three of these guys were not pitchers.

Now, they say it's harder to find a frontline starting pitcher than, say, a third baseman. But is that true?

We all know the Dodgers are in desperate need of a third baseman in the minors, but it's foolish to draft for need in the MLB Draft. However, as was pointed out to me on the Scout.com Dodger Message Board, it's hard to find a quality third baseman if a team doesn't: 
  1. Draft him in the early rounds of the draft, or
  2. Sign him as an international free agent (which is going away soon)
Let me break it down.

Drafted third basemen in baseball (overall selection)
Pedro Alvarez (2)
Lonnie Chisenhall (29)
Chase Headley (66)
Chipper Jones (1)
Brett Lawrie (16)
Evan Longoria (3)
Mike Moustakas (2)
Alex Rodriguez (1)
Scott Rolen (46)
Kyle Seager (82)
Ian Stewart (10)
David Wright (38)
Ryan Zimmerman (4)

Top undrafted/international free agent third basemen
Adrian Beltre
Miguel Cabrera
Placido Polanco
Aramis Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez
Pablo Sandoval

Nearly two-thirds (19/30) of all starting third basemen in the majors were drafted in the first three rounds or were signed as international free agents.

With every rule comes an exception. David Freese (ninth round), Mark Reynolds (16th) and Kevin Youkilis (eighth round) were later selections who have made an impact in the majors. Reynolds not so much, but he still hit 44 home runs in a season.

And it doesn't stop at current major leaguers. There are a ton of quality prospects who were either drafted high or signed as either undrafted or international free agents.

Notable drafted third base prospects (in a team's Top 10)
Nolan Arenado
Dante Bichette
Nick Castellanos
Zack Cox
Matt Davidson
Matt Dominguez
Todd Frazier
Will Middlebrooks
Mike Olt
Anthony Rendon
Josh Vitters

Of these guys, only Arenado (second) and Middlebrooks (fifth) were not a first-round selections.

Undrafted/international free agent third basemen
Edward Salcedo
Miguel Sano
Cheslor Cuthbert

Of the 30 teams in baseball, just five do not have a third baseman ranked in their Top 10 (according to Baseball America's rankings). There are 29 third basemen ranked in a team's Top 10 among all 30 teams.Of the 29, 13 were first-round picks, including supplemental first-round selections. Ten of the 29 were undrafted or international free agents.

So, 23 of the 29 (79.3 percent) were either first-round picks or signed outside the draft. The Dodgers have none neither of these things in recent years, hence the lack of quality third base prospects.

As it stands right now, guys like Pedro Baez and Alex Santana are the Dodgers' best third base prospects. Baez was an international signing and Santana was a second-round pick. Baez hasn't panned out (though, he's playing decent ball this season) and Santana is 18 years old -- many, many years from contributing.

With third base deep in this year's draft, the Dodgers could be in a position to upgrade the position rather quickly. It obviously pays off to draft third basemen early in the draft. A lot of them pan out, even if some don't (Stewart) or haven't yet (Alvarez, Chisenhall).

With the draft three days away, the Dodgers are going to have decisions to make. Whoever they draft now won't be able to help for a couple years (at the soonest), and they certainly don't want to reach for a third baseman for the sake of drafting a third baseman. But if a guy like Richie Shaffer is available at No. 18, there probably won't be many better players available at the pick

Photo credits  
Wright: slgckgc, Flickr

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nathan Eovaldi makes the Dodgers look smart for not signing Roy Oswalt

Look, there's no debating the illustrious career of Roy Oswalt, but perhaps it was a good thing he didn't sign with the Dodgers.

Oswalt signed with the Rangers on Tuesday -- 1 year, $5 million plus $1 million in incentives. That's a pretty decent price and I wouldn't have been opposed to the Dodgers picking him up on a similar deal. But when Nathan Eovaldi has a season debut like he had against Milwaukee, it makes losing out on Oswalt -- who really didn't want to play in Los Angeles -- much more bearable.

Eovaldi threw seven innings of two-run ball last night. The only mistake he made was to Ryan Braun, the reigning National League MVP. The fact the Dodgers couldn't give him any run support is not his fault.

I was also impressed he was able to go seven innings on 90 pitches in his first big league start of the season. His longest outing in the minors was seven innings and was the longest of his Major League career. Not only that, he did it while averaging 95 MPH on both of his fastballs. That's impressive.

He was, however, surprisingly even on groundouts and fly outs (9-9) after posting a 1.75 rate with Chattanooga this season. But he was able to keep the Milwaukee bats in check.

Granted, the Brewers' lineup isn't as good as in years past, thanks to the loss of Prince Fielder and the struggles of Rickie Weeks, but Eovaldi had little trouble dispatching with some solid hitters.

If Eovaldi can step in for Ted Lilly admirably, the Dodgers can focus their resources on improving the offense -- something that is more pressing than another starting pitcher.

Of course, teams like the Mets and White Sox need to stop winning so guys like David Wright and Paul Konerko become available.

#####

Here's my latest "Down on the Farm" report at ChadMoriyama.com. Here's an excerpt:
"Can there really be a Pitcher Of The Week when the staff allowed 57 runs in seven games? Sure. This week, it’s Ely. Elymania posted a great line this week: 14 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 13 K. This is his second POTW honor, and it’s really surprising to see such a good performance from him in a week the team allowed so many runs. In fact, if you take away Ely’s three runs allowed, the rest of the Isotopes staff allowed 54 runs. That’s … ugly.

After a rough start to the season, Ely has put up some great numbers in an extreme hitter’s league: 3.58 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 0.7 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 9.7 K/9, 4.33 BB/K and a 1.85 groundout to flyout rate. He wouldn’t be nearly this good in the majors, but it’s nice to see him pitching well in case the Dodgers need an emergency starter later this season."

John Ely is having a fantastic season for the Isotopes and is renewing faith in myself (for whatever that's worth) that he can be a decent emergency starting pitcher option, if needed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prince Fielder agrees to 9-year deal with Tigers

Well, that just happened.

Prince Fielder, the man who would have been perfect hitting behind Matt Kemp, just agreed to a 9-year, $214 million deal with the Detroit Tigers today.

Fielder will take Victor Matrinez's spot in the lineup, as he suffered a torn ACL last week and could miss the vast majority of the 2012 season.

Preliminary reports make it sound like he'll play first base for the Tigers, forcing all-world hitter Miguel Cabrera to change positions. Cabrera came up as a shortstop and has experience in left field and at third base.

Having said that, the Tigers do have the benefit of the designated hitter, so I'm betting the two split time at first and DH.

There was talk he might consider a 1-year deal to hit the market next off-season when the Dodgers could afford him. That obviously went by the wayside.

Instead, super agent Scott Boras worked his magic again, landing Fielder a 9-year commitment and more than $200 million.

It now seems the Dodgers are going to have to acquire a big bat via the trade market once a new owner is in place. The best bat available next off-season is Josh Hamilton, who isn't the most durable player and I'm sure the Rangers wouldn't want to let him walk so easily.

A name to keep an eye on is David Wright of the Mets. They're going nowhere fast and Wright isn't the lifetime Met many thought he would be. He has a $16 million option for 2013 (I think... Cot's is down at the moment) that isn't a no-brainer for the Mets to exercise.

Fielder would have been nice, but it wasn't meant to be (and certainly not for that contract). I've already written about how the Dodgers blew their chance -- even with limited funds (or so we thought). The $23.8 million average annual value isn't absurd, but the nine-year duration is less-than desirable.

James Loney's job is safe -- for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season preview: Trade targets

In the last of my off-season previews, I look at potential trade targets. The Dodgers' minor-league system is rich with low-level pitching and MLB-average (at best) outfielders. Teams will be interested in pitching, but the Dodgers could (and should) go a different direction -- trading veterans.

Will they? Probably not. But there are some pieces on the market the team could certainly use.

Not surprisingly, there are no pitchers on this list. And yes, you will see some of these scenarios in my 2012 plan, which will drop this week.

Targets

C Chris Iannetta, COL
.238/.370/.414, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 102 OPS+
- Iannetta has good power potential and on-base abilities, but he doesn't hit enough on the whole. Still just 28, perhaps a change of scenery is in order for him.

What would it take to get him?
To Colorado: Ivan DeJesus, Javier Solano
To L.A.: Ianetta

Why it works for Colorado: The Rockies get a Major League-ready middle infielder and a relief prospect who's faced Double-A competition. Plus, it clears the way for Wilin Rosario.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers take a chance on a catcher who, if he could put it all together, could be a force. He's a solid defender and would prevent the Dodgers from relying on solely A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz.

C Devin Mesoraco, CIN
.289/.371/.484, 15 HR, 71 RBI (Minors)
.180/.226/.360, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 57 OPS+ (Majors)
- Mesoraco is one of the best catching prospects in the game. So, why is he available? Well, he might not technically be available, but the Dodgers have a couple pieces that could intrigue the Reds.

What would it take to get him?
To Cincinnati: Ethier, Steve Ames
To Los Angeles: Mesoraco

Why it works for Cincinnati: Ramon Hernandez is a Type-A free agent and if the Reds don't offer him arbitration, he won't be back. If they do, however, there aren't going to be a lot of teams lining up to give up a first- or second-round draft pick to get him. But the Reds would be getting a middle-of-the-order bat in Ethier and a nearly Major League-ready reliever who had good success in at High-A and Double-A in 2011.

Why it works for L.A.: The catching void is filled with one of the best prospects in the game. The Reds also have Yasmain Grandal waiting in the wings. The Dodgers shouldn't be looking to trade Matt Kemp's only protection, but if it means filling a big hole, then it should be done. Also, losing Ames could hurt a little, but the Dodgers have a glut of right-handed pitching prospects (starters and relievers).

1B/LF Logan Morrison, FLA
.247/.330/.468, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 116 OPS+
- Morrison is the type of the guy the Marlins wouldn't normally make available (and they haven't). He was demoted to the minors for seemingly no apparent reason in August. Some speculated it was because he was outspoken on Twitter. If a team is that afraid of a player, they don't deserve to have him (yes, I'm editorializing).

What would it take to get him?
To Florida: Allen Webster, Alfredo Silverio, Shawn Tolleson
To Los Angeles: Morrison

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins get three guys close to the Majors, with Webster and Tolleson ranking in my Top 10 Dodgers' prospect list. Silverio is in the low-teens at this moment. The Marlins are always seemingly in the market for a center fielder. Silverio might best be suited for the corners, but he could get a look there. They also get a young starter and fire-balling reliever.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a guy who is a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat and can play either left field or first base. In the Dodgers' case, he'd slot in at first base. Oh, and he's just 24 years old.

2B/3B Martin Prado, ATL
.260/.302/.385, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 89 OPS+
- This would be a case of buying low. Prado can play second or third base effectively, which is something the Dodgers could use. He had three consecutive seasons of .800-plus OPS from 2008 to 2010 before falling to .687 last season. The Braves have made him available and the Dodgers should be in on him.

The Braves are said interested in cutting payroll while acquiring a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat. The Dodgers have a person who fits the latter.

What would it take to get him?
To Atlanta: Andre Ethier
To Los Angeles: Prado, J.J. Hoover

Why it works for Atlanta: The Braves are in the market for a bat and have a big hole in left field -- the position Prado played most in 2011. Ethier, despite coming off knee surgery, would be a nice get for the Braves. The money might be the only factor with this trade.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers clear up some room in the outfield for Jerry Sands and another player (I'm looking at you, Logan Morrison). Plus, Prado makes less, offering the Dodgers some payroll flexibility. They also acquire a solid right-handed back-of-the-rotation or relief prospect in Hoover.

3B Ian Stewart, COL
.156/.243/.221, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 21 OPS+ (Majors)
.275/.359/.591, 14 HR, 42 RBI (Minors)
- Prior to the 2010 season, the then-24-year-old was on the verge of stardom. Stewart was coming off a 25-home run campaign and looked to be putting it all together (despite a .228 batting average). His 2010 wasn't horrible, but he didn't improve much, if at all. His 2011 was disastrous. He never got on track and has likely worn out his welcome in Colorado.

What would it take to get him?
To Colorado: Aaron Miller
To Los Angeles: Stewart

Why it works for Colorado: The Rockies get a former No. 1 pick who still has a chance to be a starter but will more likely end up in the bullpen. Plus, Stewart doesn't appear to be in the Rockies' plans.

Why it works for Los Angeles: The Dodgers don't have to give up much to buy low on a guy who has solid potential.

3B David Wright, NYM
.254/.345/.427, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 114 OPS+
- This is the one not a lot of people are talking about. There always seems to be a guy who gets traded who comes out of nowhere. Wright could very well be that guy. He's owed $15 million in 2012 and has a 2013 club option for $16 million (with a $1 million buyout). The Mets are said to be looking for a young center fielder. No, the Dodgers aren't going to trade Kemp for him. And there aren't many high-upside center fielders in the Dodgers organization otherwise. But they have a corner outfielder and starting pitcher who could interest the Mets.

What would it take to get him?
To New York: Ethier, Billingsley
To Los Angeles: Wright

Why it works for New York: The Mets get a bat to seemingly replace Wright's in the lineup (albeit not at the same position) and a young starter who had a poor 2011. Both are prime for bounce-back seasons. The Mets would keep Billingsley long-term and they could collect draft picks for Ethier after 2012 if they don't wish to keep him.

Why it works for Los Angeles: The Dodgers get a cornerstone-type player who's had mediocre seasons (by his standards) two of the last three seasons. Plus, he is immediate protection for Kemp. The Dodgers save some money in 2012, but it also opens up a hole in the rotation.

Analysis

I'd handicap the likeliness of a trade among the six players above like this:
  1. Ianetta
  2. Stewart
  3. Prado
  4. Morrison
  5. Mesoraco
  6. Wright
I'm a big Morrison fan, so I'd definitely want the Dodgers to explore that deal. I'm also intrigued by Prado. With the proposals above, the Dodgers could pull of both deals. Ianetta would be a nice acquisition, but the price tag (money wise) begins to get high. Mesoraco might be the most intriguing player of the bunch. Stewart would be a nice buy-low option. And if the Mets came to the Dodgers about a trade involving Wright, Ethier and Billingsley, they'd absolutely have to listen.

That does it for my 2011 off-season preview.

Next up: My 2012 plan.

Have thoughts? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter.