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Saturday, December 18, 2010

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These are the the little things you miss in-country. Thank God for Beerleaguer. Is there any hope Valle moves up to Reading this year? I'd definitely like to see how he does against a bit higher level pitching, and I'm a bit sick of watching non-prospect Tuffy Gosewich, as cool as his name is, clog up the system when a kid like this could have a chance.

Now there is a head with a good looking hat sitting on a neck.

Didn't Valle do this last year as well in the Mexican League?

lekh: Yes, he did. Valle has excellent power. His problem is that he absolutely can't take a walk. If he can develop into a top defensive catcher (which I doubt), maybe he could be Bengie Molina. More likely, he'll turn out to be Rod Barajas.

Now there is a head with a good looking hat sitting on a neck.

Que?

I wish BAP were a baseball talent evaluator. Every report would feature like 2 good comments and then pages of negative comments.

Maybe he's working on batting leadoff?

Truth: That was negative? I just said that he has excellent power & I predicted a major league future for him. My post contained exactly one negative remark about Valle: that he can't take a walk. Considering that he drew 27 walks in 485 PAs last year, I don't think I had to do too much fact-bending to support that assertion.

BAP: And that you doubted he would ever turn into a top defensive catcher. I think that's still a little hard to predict for a 20 year old.

Plus he's thrown out 27% of base stealers in his minor league career and this past year shot that all the way up to 33%

BAP - Read your own post. He has excellent tools to become a good defensive catcher, and that's what everyone who's seen him play says. But you doubt he can develop into a top defensive catcher. What's that based on if not pure negativity?

Everyone doubted Ruiz also. He couldn't hold up to the beating. He'd never hit in the majors. Etc. But I'll just bet you were saying he'd be a star. Right?

aksmith: BAP can say whatever he wants. This is a blog and people should not be held accountable for what they say. It's not like BAP was just calling someone on something they said weeks ago in the last thread.

Delicious, delicious irony.

aksmith: As a matter of fact, I liked Ruiz from Day 1 & I always thought he'd turn into a good hitter. I actually thought he'd hit for more power than he does.

My skepticism about Valle's defense is based on tangible facts. A year or two ago, the Phillies were talking about moving Valle to a new position because his defense was so poor. They ended up keeping him at catcher & now they're saying he's really improving -- which I'm certainly glad to hear. But the idea that he's going to go from not-good-enough to be a minor league catcher to a "top defensive catcher" on a par with Bengie Molina strikes me as an incredibly dubious proposition. A far more likely scenario is that he turns himself into an adequate defensive catcher, who is able to have a career as a major league backup largely due to his ability to hit homeruns.

TTI - I'm not looking to beat up on the guy. I've been a Phillies fan since 1964 and I know it's hard to keep the negativity to a minimum. Just trying to point out that the earlier post was way more negative than even HE realized.

I think it's party of the collective Phillies fan subconscious to be negative at every possible point. Even thought this looks to be the middle of a completely new era in Phillies baseball.

I wonder if the Yankees make a hug push for Greinke now or if a team swoops in to make the Royals a great offer. I would watch out for an NL team that has some good young pieces to try and swoop in.

The Phillies raised the bar this week in the NL and some team may have to make a big move to compete.

BAP: If the standard you are holding someone too is probably the gold standard at that particular skill set the problem is your level of expectation.

BAP - I think you're misremembering things a little. In fact, I was the only one who liked Ruiz from day one. (Actually, I saw him play in AAA and thought he'd be a good, not great, major league catcher. And I too thought he'd have a little more power.)
The Phillies never discussed moving Valle from catcher. That was a publication that figured the system didn't have a third base candidate, so moved him there when D'Arnaud was still in the system. So, no, the Phillies did not doubt his ability to play there.

There is no basis to think he won't be a good defensive catcher. He's got a good arm and he's athletic enough. The only thing to be cleared up is the mental part of catching. And that can be said of any minor league catcher and quite a few major league ones.

TTI: I predicted that a 20-year old low A catcher will turn into something between Rod Barajas & Bengie Molina. If anyone other than MG or I had said that, it wouldn't have even occurred to you that the comment was negative. In fact, it would have been seen as praise.

BAP: Don't try to be a martyr. If anyone would've said that I would've called the comment silly. A 20 year old catcher is hard to project defensively, but he has shown vast improvement in the past two years at the position. I don't know what that means for his future but to say, "I don't think he'll be as good defensively as Bengie Molina," is odd because Molina is probably the best guy in the majors at that particular skill set. That would be almost akin to saying, "Well I don't think Colvin will turn into Tim Lincecum."

And when you bring negativity as often as you do you can't be surprised when someone says you're too negative about everything.

hunter - Grammatically that would be better stated:

¿Como?

He's a cathcer? With an upside? What's the chance he's still with the organization after the trading deadline next year?

bap: you said he'll probably be Rod Barajas - those are fighting words!

bap -- this is me being a blatant suck-up because I ripped your absence on BL during the dismal post-Cincinnati playoff march. Again, I hope that you're feeling much better, and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Regardless, I agree with your initial assessment of Sebastian Valle. It appears friggin' impossible to predict a young catcher's ongoing development (wasn’t Werth catching at age 20?). Since the kid's got power from the right side, here's hoping he get’s a whole lot better quickly, and we keep him regardless.

I actually think BAP set pretty accurate upper and lower bands for Valle (assuming Valle can actually become a major league player and doesn't crash out at A+ or AA).

Molina (19-A): 183 PA .281/.324/.380
Valle (19-A): 485 PA .255/.298/.430
Barajas (20-RK/A+): 275 PA .285/.388/.478

Barajas's numbers are increased significantly by his Rookie ball play, he was atrocious in his first 80 high A plate appearances.

Truth: This is a silly dispute. But it's a silly dispute that you started by taking an absolutely uncontroversial comment and radically spinning it to fit your pre-existing type-cast of me. I'm fine with the type-cast. I'm not fine with people spinning my comments to mean something completely different than what I meant.

I picked Bengie Molina for no other reason than the one I noted in my original post: that he has a similar offensive skill set to Valle -- good power, terrible OBP. I then expressed my doubts that Valle can ever achieve the defensive excellence to be Bengie Molina's equal. Frankly, I added that comment because, if I hadn't, I knew I would get the inevitable "BAP thinks Sebastian Valle is the next Bengie Molina" post from clout. So I added a passing comment to make my post more measured and, lo and behold, I get accused of being negative.

hunter - Grammatically that would be better stated:

¿Como? Thanks Andy. I was just critiquing the photo based on past headshots.

aksmith: "He has excellent tools to become a good defensive catcher, and that's what everyone who's seen him play says."

Some revisionist history on here today. All the scouting reports loved Valle's bat from Day One. But there were HUGE questions about his defense: He has a strong arm, but his accuracy, footwork and technique have required a lot of work. He had 12 passed balls and 9 errors in 101 games last season.

Can he improve? He already has. But BAP is 100% correct: The issues with Valle are on defense.

BAP: "A far more likely scenario is that he turns himself into an adequate defensive catcher, who is able to have a career as a major league backup largely due to his ability to hit homeruns."

I agree with this 100%. It is unlikely that he'll ever have a high OB or AVG, but if he can raise the level of his defense to adequate, he can have a very nice career as a good team backup/bad team starter.

Typical MLB slash line: .245/.290/.450

i didn't have a problem with the categorization of him being a work in progress defensively. i do have a problem with comparing him with the guy who is probably the best in the league at that position defensively.

He may not end up being Bengie Molina defensively but you could probably say that about almost every catcher in the minors.

Also BAP- the first comment I made was a joke. Admittedly not a great one. But I didn't even really highlight anything in the post. You felt the need to defend the post and then focused on only the one negative thing you said ignoring the other one.

Clout - Footwork? Technique?

Those are the things that a catcher learns in the minors. Repetition and good coaching.

Strong arm? Can't learn that. And accuracy? That comes with practice and that technique thing again.

What exactly does he not have behind the plate that Ruiz did have at the same level?

And his bat is all projection at this point except for the power.

I haven't seen him play an inning, so this is all speculation. Have you seen him play, Clout?

TTI: Bengie Molina was, at one time, a really good defensive catcher, but I think you're thinking of his brother Yadier.

Noah: Just repeating what BAP said. I would say over the course of time Bengie was pretty great defensively. Yadier is better right now though- I would agree on that. Bengie is still up there though.

On to more pressing matters for me. Does anyone have head shots of the Phillies four aces? I can't seem to find their publicity photos online.

But the only reason I brought up Bengie Molina was because of the offensive similarities. Having brought him up, I then thought it appropriate to note that any comparison of their defense would be a stretch.

Bengie, by the way, was a fine defensive catcher but hardly the Gold Standard for defense. Both of his brothers were/are considerably better.

I would be willing to bet that Valle would love to have a career similar to Barajas at the MLB level.

Barajas has hit over 100 HRs at the MLB level which is meaningful for a catcher, managed to stick for over 10 years, and collected over $12M to date in the process & another $3.3M next year.

Initial reports on Valle suggested his defense was poor. More recent scouting reports have liked all aspects of his defense quite abit more than they did. The reports basically graded him above average defensively for his level.

aksmith: It's called "scouting reports." They're easily available on line.

MG: Keeping in mind that the kid is only 20 years old, I think Barajas is an apt comparison for a projection.

Clout - Yeah, we can all read scouting reports on line. You think Barajas is an apt comparison? Fine. What do the scouting reports say. Scouts usually give an upside comp and a downside comp in their reports.

And as Mego noted above, he is now considered above average defensively for his level. Above average? Really? I thought he had bad footwork and an inaccurate arm?

The fact is, you've never seen the kid play and neither have I. So, go read your scouting reports and act like you know something.

Clout: The most recent scouting reports have been positive regarding Valle's defense. As aksmith notes, this is hardly some universal truth that you've made it out to be that Valle is a poor defensive catcher. The fact is none of us have any clue. We're all going on scouting reports; 2 years ago, you found a few that questioned his defense and have used those forever. Recently, BA has written positive things about his defense and some people are now using that.

BAP is 100% right to be skeptical of him turning into a top defensive catcher. Most 20-year olds don't, no matter who they are. The presumption should always be that a player won't turn out to be a stud. Frankly I'd be shocked if Valle was ever a starting catcher in the majors. But all you can go on is recent scouting reports, and those have expressed some optimism there in terms of defense.

The biggest issue with Valle isn't defense, anyway; it's plate discipline.

TTI: BAP is always negative, obviously. But the fact that he expressed skepticism about Valle turning into a top defensive catcher is ridiculous to criticize. How could you not be skeptical of that?

Jack: The reports I was referring to are not from 2 years ago. Last year he made 9 errors and allowed 12 passed balls in 101 games. That speaks for itself.

But he has improved, a fact I noted in my post. And, at his age, there's no reason why he can't continue to improve.

aksmith: The only thing I know is what I read in the scouting reports.

Obviously, you haven't read any beyond the BA blurb or you wouldn't have made that silly post telling BAP "He has excellent tools to become a good defensive catcher, and that's what everyone who's seen him play says."

In fact LOTS of people who've seen him play questioned his defense. And if you did a little research you'd know that.


There should at least be a temporary moratorium on full blown negativity until Lee reports to Camp Clearwater.

Jack: How about you read what someone posts before asking them a question that they answered a few posts ago? It's not that hard and nothing I typed in this thread is more than a few lines.

It appears aksmith not only was the first to deem Victorino a future star, but Ruiz as well. Impressive track record.

BB - yeah, the Ruiz comment was tongue in cheek. I did see him in AAA and did think more of him than the Phillies appeared to at the time. But no way did I ever expect he'd be as good as he's become.

Vic, that was serious. I saw quite a bit of him in AAA and thought he'd be a good major leaguer.

But to be fair, I didn't realize Chris Roberson had ADD and I thought he'd be at least an average major leaguer.

I like the versatility of the Phils younger catchers in the off season leagues. Kennelly caught, played left and right field in the AFL and is now playing third for Perth in the ABL. Valle has caught, played first and right and is now a regular in left for Los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific League. And both of them are showing some pop by going yard this week: Valle with all of his homers and Kennelly with a two run homer over the weekend.

Kennelly is a player I am looking forward to seeing. If he ever proves he can hit, he will be a true super utility man. A player who can play corner infield, corner outfield and catcher. Those guys are a rarity.

aksmith - I love 'super utility' guys who can play multiple positions at least capably and have some real pop instead a real empty .250 hitter.

Probably why one of my favorite players when I was growing up was Tony Phillips. Was he really the last great 'super utility' guy who actually did have some pop?

MG: Altho not as good as Tony Phillips, Bill Hall who just signed with the Astros has been right around 20 HR every year while playing all over the diamond.

The funny thing is that I figured people would jump on BAP for praising Valle the way he did...comparing a guy to a MLB regular with over 10 years of a career is really high praise.

Is Valle there? No, not yet. His OBP skills are suspect and his defensive skills are iffy at this point (more a rawness than anything as he supposedly as good potential defensively). There's comments that he can and will stay behind the plate despite his rough "on paper" stats that clout mentioned...basically, scouts like his potential both as a power bat and a defensive catcher.

And in the ninth inning, God created Beerleaguer.

Thanks for the updates on Phils prospects. It keeps me tuned in during the offseason and gives me a break from hanging on Cliff Lee's every word.

Clout: He did have those errors and passed balls. That said, I barely trust human scoring in major league ballparks. Do you have any idea how accurate scoring is at the Low-A level? My guess is none of us have any idea how many of those passed balls were actually on Valle, and how many were on the pitcher.

He also threw out runners at 33%, which seems pretty legit, but who knows.

Seems to me like the only consensus is we have no idea. Some scouting reports like his defense, some don't, no one knows for sure. I mean, we barely know how to evaluate catcher defense at the major-league level. I guess all that matters is what the Phils think internally of his defense, and we certainly don't know that. The only thing for certain is we should avoid acting like we have any idea what we're talking about with it.

His offense, however, is quite clear. Great power for a catcher, poor plate discipline.

I keep wondering if the Phillies can get involved in the Greinke deal - no not as the final spot for zack but supplying a piece or two as the third team for real RH bat OF. Maybe Bautista from Toronto or something like that. Or Maybe we package prospect(s) and Joe B for someone like Braun. or just a few pieces that match better with KC for someone that is ready now that doesn't match with KC. My guess is a team trading for Grienke may me overly aggressive and the third team could benefit - think Lee trade to Seattle.

Also by helping a strategic team, could help us insure he doesn't go where we don't want him. If I'm RAJ - I'm talking to Texas, Minnesota, Milwaukkee, Toronto and offering to help.

How come I never really see the name Austin Kearns linked with the Phillies? Does it just make too much sense?

Or Maybe we package prospect(s) and Joe B for someone like Braun.

I'm sure the Brewers would do that in a second.

What does Austin Kearns give us that Ben Francisco doesnt?

He'd be a nice 5th OF but he'd probably want more playing time than that.

NEPP - Not much except maybe better defense in RF although Kearns is one of those players at this point who rep is larger than his actual ability.

As for his offense, here are his splits the last 3 years:

vs. LHP (281 ABs): .199/.324/.310
vs. RHP (609 ABs): .250/.339/.368

Kearns basically had has one productive offensive stint with the Indians the past 3 years. Granted he battled injuries problems for much of 2008 & 2009 but even last year he didn't hit much for the Yanks once they acquired him (.235/.345/.324 in 103 ABs). Kearns really hasn't been a regular defensive offensive players since '07.

Giving him ABs even on a semi-regular basis would be a waste. Both Brown & Francisco could give you an OPS above .700. Good bet that Kearns won't. If they want to spend $1.5M or so, I would rather they spend that on a veteran left-handed for the pen instead of a guy like Kearns.

Kearns is the kind of guy a bottom-feeder like the Pirates picks up on the cheap and hopes that they he can produce a modest .750ish OPS season in RF.

If the Phils are scraping the bottom of the FA barrel in RF, I would much rather see them sign A. Jones even Guillen or Inglett instead of giving Kearns a guaranteed deal in the ~$1.5M neighborhood.

Jack,
Good point on minor league scoring. My friend is the offical scorer for the Hagerstown Suns the low A team for the Nats in the Sally League. Lakewood is in this league. Just about every night someone is strong arming him to change a call so someone can keep a streak gone or to bust out of a slump.

The Phils starting staff is good enough that even Kearns wouldn't cause them much pain. But he'd cause me a lot. Please leave him on someone else's trash heap.

I keep looking but no one who needs SP enough to want Blanton (or KK - who I still think is more tradeable because he costs less) also has a RH OF they can part with. And everyone with an extra OF does not need pitching.

Even Minnesota, where I (though no one sane would do this) would be willing to send Ibanez, Blanton and Kendrick, maybe some cash too, for Delmon Young and flexibility, even MIN only has one RH OF (Young) and would not part with him.

If I had a quarter for every time BA changed it's mind about a catcher's defense. Jason Jaramillo is the classic example. They flip flopped over his defense like five times.

Well if the Brewers did land Greinke as first reported by a blogger last night, there may be players still floating in tradeland for a third team to nab.

Brew Crew definitely got Greinke. But it doesn't appear there any floating players out there.

Francouer may have found his home at KC. The Ole Man at 27. One year contract to prove his worth as a veteran presence on a young team.

J. It's the classic - no way to measure defense thing, only magnified.

So much of what a catcher has to do defensively is dependent on the pitcher. In the minors it's dependent on a lot of pitchers who are simply not good at holding runners on (some of whom are not even working on that aspect of their game) nor throwing consistently to a target.

My take: Jason Jaramillo is good and bad at defense - or excellent or lousy. Same with Valle. All of them are either going to be in the top 5% or the bottom 5% or somewhere in the middle. Definitely.

I would just give the guy who insisted that Ruiz could be a great defensive catcher a lifetime job as Catcher Rater -Defense for all minor league players.

Here's the Greinke deal:

The Brewers acquired ace righty Zack Greinke from the Royals, confirms ESPN's Buster Olney. Milwaukee will reportedly send shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and pitching prospects Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to the Royals for Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2MM. Credit Jim Breen of Bernie's Crew with the scoop last night, with an assist to Andrew Wagner of OnMilwaukee.com.

No great fan of the NY Times, but the following article is actually rather amusing:

"On East Coast, a Three-City Rivalry Transformed by Cliff Lee Signing"

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/sports/19rivalry.html?ref=sports

Glad to see Greinke in the NL, so that now I can perhaps see him pitch. Less glad if the NL Central champion Brewers beat the Phillies in the playoffs.

Nothing like a Times article to send me to the coffee pot for a refill. I had just departed the Wisconsin rags only to be filled with more information than my little brain could handle.

The Brewers rotation will be tough -- Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum would be a tough three game series. The NL Central should be a knife fight between the Brewers and Reds.*

* Great threads on here lately. Unfortunately, for some time I haven't had the time to engage in debates as I used to, but JW and the commenters here still make this the go to place for Phillies commentary. Happy holidays to all.

I thought the Times article was pretty funny, albeit a bit hyperbolic (a word?) for my tastes. Not even BL subscribes to that much hyperbole in so short a space. It's nice to see a New Yorker sweating under the collar a bit. I was surprised, however, that he had the audacity to comment on Boston-area accents; apparently the man has never heard someone from Brooklyn or Staten Island speak out loud.

The Royals have been awful forever in the middle INF so Escobar is a nice addition, Cain is a great glove in CF, which is big in Royals Stadium, and Odorizzi is on track to be a good middle-of-rotation guy by 2013.

That said, I love this trade for the Brewers.

Yo, newer thread

Last minute gifts for Phillies Fans --> http://shortme.eu/exk

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