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Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Personally, I never quite trust guys like Morgan that come out of nowhere with a great year. I'd have trouble ranking him in a Top 100 until he shows it wasnt just a fluke year.

Hopefully John Sickles has a better read on Biddle (B+) than Law.

Astros estimated payroll for 2013 is $25 million now. 20 of their 25 MLB players will be pre-arbitration. They have 0 players in multi-year deals and $0 committed to the 2015 season. They have $6.15 million in payroll committed to 2014 but its all buyouts and money owed to Wandy Rodriguez who they traded last year.

Insane. Makes the Fish look like big spenders.


Sophist, thanks for the link.

However, my question is which prospect rating service, BA, BP, Sickels, KLaw, etc. has the best track record of accurately predicting MLB success and ceilings of prospects?

The reason I ask is it would help to know who's rankings/ratings to take to most seriously.

NEPP, isn't there a "minimum" that teams must spend?

IIRC the Fish ran into that problem a few seasons back and the MLBPA raised a stink over it.

NEPP: and Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. with the largest International port in the U.S. all the oil companies there, and tons of Fortune 500 companies in Texas You'd think they'd be able to properly support a ball club. It's larger than Philly so it's the largest 1 club market in MLB.

The Marlins got yelled at and then upped payroll to around $40 million. The Astros haven't gotten yelled at and I suspect its part of the deal they have to switch leagues with a new owner...they are basically getting to bank a huge profit the next couple seasons as a result.

Someone tweeted at Keith asking that if the phils lower level prospects had a good year could they be one of the teams that could "jump quickly". He responded yes, so there is hope.

rolo: I think your question would basically be a giant fool's errand. It would entirely depend on how you define "success," and there's frankly no way to accurately link their projections from what actually happens (i.e., if one scout projects someone to be a stud, but then they blow out their elbow, does that really mean anything about the scout's projection abilities?).

Just take it with a grain of salt--a bunch of people who know baseball very well are ranking 18-22 year olds. It's going to be a lot of hit and miss, and no one claims it to be science. If you think you trust their opinion, then use it. If you don't, then don't. I just don't think there's a way to possibly do what you're asking for, nor do I think it really matters.

Where Domonic Brown was once Top 5, at least according to B.A. Less than a week now.

Let's see the Astros' payroll in 2 years. It's an awful process, but they're pretty much building their franchise all over again.

I'm not going to make any predictions, but I do like this crop of Phils "toolsy/raw/whatever" prospects over recent years.

Rosenthal tweets that Astro's ineptitude could lead to 3 teams from the AL West making the playoffs. Questions whether this is fair to the AL East and Central.

Toolsy McToolshed once again goes unranked.

NEPP - Pretty much. It was the payoff to the new ownership in having to switch leagues. Astros are going to be swimming in the black the next few years with such a pitiful payroll.

There is no reason that any team in MLB doesn't have a payroll that isn't at least $45-50M and at least puts a semi-competitive team out there. Not with the MLB revenue sharing from several sources.

Of all the things that baseball needs the most, I would argue that a spending floor is the most important. It would prevent owners in smaller cities crying wolf while stuffing their pockets with cash.

Winter is coming.

I am glad though that we still have Hunter Pence though in RF this year . . .

Pence was a disappointment here any way you cut it but it is going to be interesting to see if Rube's 'Spread the Wealth' approach this year pays dividends or RF is a gaping sore all season.

After the Phils moved Blanton and Vic, they were under the luxury tax threshold. Still wonder if Pence wasn't moved due to operating margin concerns last year. If that was the case, it looks like a 'penny-wise, pound foolish' approach.

If we have fewer top prospects, does that mean the Phillies have more Some Dudes to trade?

jbird: To be fair, Law still thinks Biddle has a higher ceiling than Morgan. It seems like he and Sickles both see Biddle's ceiling at around a #2 starter. Law just doesn't seem as convinced he'll reach it.

I think the hand-wringing over the Astros is a little much. I fail to see how Jed Lowrie makes the difference between a competent team and an embarassment.

MG - Why do you go to great lengths to try and prove the Phillies are a cheap organization?

NEPP: "Lowrie's other problem: He cannot hit RHP."

Except for last season, when he posted an .819 OPS against 'em.

His biggest problem is that he's a bad fielder at SS, negative UZR past 3 seasons.

RedBurb: Everyone has their windmill.

I'll man up and say that aksmith was right...someone actually ranked Morgan over Biddle.

RedBurb - Who said cheap? There is a complete difference between 'being cheap' and a real concern about what last season's operating and profit margins were going to be.

Amaro said on the record the moves the Phils made at the deadline last year were primarily financially motivated.

Why do a bunch of people on here assume the Phils don't manage their business closely with a paramount concern on margins like any other business or with the lengthy history of this current ownership group?

That is what baffles me.

***Except for last season, when he posted an .819 OPS against 'em.***

Funny, had I made that point, you'd have screamed small sample size. Using his career split instead of the 287 PA he had against RHP last year is probably a safer bet at predicting his future performance.

Lorecore - Thank you. However, I actually think Biddle does have the higher ceiling if he can reach it. I just think it's funny that Clout reproduces scouting reports on players he's never seen and acts like it's coming from on high.

I think there's not a whole lot to separate the two right now, and I think most of the pre-season rankings are saying the same thing.

You have to remember something about Clout. He will take one point and endlessly harp on it. I will probably never hear the end of thinking Minimart should be given a chance. Yes, I was dead wrong. I had never seen the kid play and thought Amaro should get the benefit of the doubt. But Martinez is and was awful.

But Clout also was wrong on Victorino and I was right. I think the balanced view is that everyone is wrong on prospects, and often. Except for Clout, who is right even when he's wrong.

It seems as though Law has more of a bias towards proximity to the majors, which makes sense. A top prospect close to the majors is almost always a better prospect than one further from the majors. The closer to the majors you are, the more projectable you are (i.e. your floor and ceiling are closer).

Some other services seem to have a bias towards players with higher ceilings regardless of proximity to the majors.

Decade = OVER

Eddard Stark >> Jayson Stark >> Tony Stark

I understand that some posters have axe's to grind regarding other posters, but for me, I could not care less who was right or wrong about a prospect. If he plays for the Phillies I want him to do well and become a good ball player. Maybe that's just me.

MG - If you have taken that position in the past, I apologize for rehashing history. However, whether it is talking about prospects or trades, there is a financial aspect to your posts that alludes to the team's cheapness. Whether it is calling the team "penny-wise, but pound-foolish" with regard to the Pence trade, or railing against the team for being cheap on MiL signings. It's a trend in your posts talking about why the team doesn't spend more money on this and that and financial motivation for many of their moves.

I've just noticed it in regard to many of your posts.

How did the farm do in the XBOX league?

"I will probably never hear the end of thinking Minimart should be given a chance."

Smitty, anyone who looked at minimart's minor league numbers knew that it was a fool's errand or an exercise in futility.

He had a few good games in MiL against the Phillies and they wasted 2 seasons and hundreds of PA on him. Wasted.

RedBurb - When did I ever say they were cheap on MiLB signings? I am a guy that typically loves having more depth.

What I hated was signing a guy like Lopez who I thought was added nothing and was signed because the Phils were familiar with him.

I thought Durbin was a bad signing too and I mentioned several other players who have signed recently including Lyon who I would have rather had the Phils sign.

Can't believe Sandcastle didn't make the top 100. Thought he was the next Bo...or Deion?

Cards' Chris Carpenter is hurt again. May be the end of his career.

aksmith: "But Clout also was wrong on Victorino and I was right."

You were right where? You weren't on the site in 2006.

NEPP: Don't be so thin-skinned. I wasn't contradicting you. His career numbers are horrible vs. RHP. You're right. But last season he totally reversed that. Great against RHP, terrible vs. LHP.

One of the pitchers/prospects that Geld says has been invited to MLB camp is the guy they got from BAL in the Thome trade, Kyle Simon.

It looks like they converted him to a reliever after the Phils picked him up last year and he finished the year on a very high note. Any scouting reports on him?

Looking back at Carp's career, his splits are a bit suspicious. He was a very very average guy in Toronto. He misses 2003 and then comes to STL in 2004 and is suddenly an elite CY winning SP. His 30s were far, far superior to his 20s.

rolo: Kyle Simon is a polished, pitch-to-contact guy out of the U of Arizona (2011 4th round). He is a Kyle Kendrick type: fastball around 90 mph, relies on sinker, which is very effective when he places it correctly.

He projects as a middle reliever/spot starter. He improved sharply when he was promoted to Reading and moved into the bullpen, event though he was a tad young for the league. His K/9 is much higher when he's used in relief. The Orioles tried him both as SP and the pen, but looks like pen is best bet.

I'd start him in Triple A this season and if he keeps it up we could see him in Philly in September.

NEPP, Carpenter definitely could have been using. He is also quite a hot head at times and likes to channel his inner Roger Clemens from time to time.

In case anyone was curious, the Phillies latest setup guy Mike Adams had exactly the same injury/surgery as Carp had last year.

Carp could have been using, or it could just be another line of evidence supporting the awesomeness of Dave Duncan.

Could be either obviously...its just hard to look at anything odd in the last 20-30 years of stats without being suspicious.

Unfortunately all these guys will be painted with the steroid/HGH brush. It's just a way of life these days. Duncan was obviously huge for the Cardinals.

Carp pre-shoulder surgery: 98 ERA+
Carp post-shoulder surgery: 133 ERA+

Maybe they gave him a really awesome cybernetic shoulder.

Clout - I didn't know there was a Beerleaguer in 2006. I used to post on a couple of other boards. But since I didn't post my joy over Victorino on BL, I suppose it never happened.

However, you were wrong. That is easily provable. And really, that's the point. It's easy to say every longshot from the minors will be a failure. Anyone would be correct 99 percent of the time.

I disagree majorly with this. Not saying that their opinion is invalid but more that to me it makes no sense to the other scouts and experts. Also nothing ESPN does seems to be true most of the time. A list that I find to be more accurate is's Johnathan Mayo's lists. Which is much different than these guys list. He has Biddle at 60 which is very different than 95. Also from another comment saying that adam morgan came from no where so its less likely he will be good, how did he come from no where?? If i'm not mistaken he was drafted in 2011 and this was his first year. Also Dom Brown was a late draft pick and became a top prospect.

Compared to*

I'll forever hate Carpenter for besting Doc in that game 5 in the NLDS. Being in the house for that one was one of the worst Philly sports experiences of my life.

Joe D, objectively, that was was one of the best postseason games in recent history. A third party observer must've been thrilled with that game.

As a die-hard Phils fan, I was nearly comatose for 3 days following that game.

It was a terrific pitcher's duel but I, like you, was inconsolable for almost a week after that. I had awesome hall of fame suite seats too. I still remember the devastating pit in my stomach when Raul hit that one to the track that just died. On even a 5 degree warmer night they win that game.

The problem with that game was that we all knew, deep down, it was ending 1-0 after about the 4th inning. It was absolutely miserable.

You had Utley getting thrown out trying to steal as well. There was just never a glimmer of hope.

Someone switch gears here.

Who do we think the spring training surprise will be?

Joe D: I think Delmon Young will be the spring training surprise--he will hit .335 and look like "he's in the best shape of his life."

He will then be handed the starting RF job for the season and be the worst player in baseball.

Kyle Simon, saw him pitch in the AFKL. Pitch 1/3 inning and gave up 7 or 9 runs,forget which. Obviously he had better outings,but not much to brag about.

Luis: "Also Dom Brown was a late draft pick and became a top prospect."

Dom Brown WAS a top prospect before he was drafted. He fell to a later round because he had a full-ride football scholarship to Miami and most teams considred him unsignable. Phils went way, way over slot to sign him.

I am not really surprised. Most of the "close to ready players" have been traded. PLenty of reports about the minors have the Phillies ranked low but that may change once the lower level players make their way up. Not really concerned about this report.

I don't care what the prospect report says. We have an ostrich logo in Reading now. You just know that's going to make our prospects play better at AA.

Rauch signs with the Marlins for $1MM.

OK, those of you who want to rip the durbin signing have my permission to fire away...

Reid Brignac just got DFA'd by the Rays.

Can he field and is he better than Freddy Galvis?

System will be fine. If Quinn Greene and Franco become legit, and the pitchers keep devolving. The farm will be ok. I like Jordan's way of thinking. He doesn't care about age. Cares about performance. These three are still really young. Law probably hates babies and elderly people.

rolo, yes, Brignac can field at SS. The Rays also DFA'ed Elliot Johnson, who can play anywhere and is a much better hitter than Brignac. Either guy would be a good pickup; Johnson probably fits better because he would also be useful as a pinch-hitter.

rolo: Brignac is an excellent fielder. Can he outhit Galvis? Tough call.

He'd probably have trouble outhitting Mini Mart.

Pitchers keep "devolving"? Huh? Please explain, Hook.

Well, Brett Myers turned into a maybe that's what he was getting at.

Brignac and Galvis are a tossup - the big benefit would be giving Galvis time in AAA.

Johnson will be dealt for something of value - he's redundant on the Rays, but he'd help most major-league benches. (Heck, Houston would probably start him at SS with Lowrie gone.)

Galvis has more upside than Brignac at this point.

Brignac, however, is Galvis's most probable outcome sadly.

Still would probably take Brignac over Betancourt although I still really want Galvis on the Opening Day roster as the utility middle infielder.

If the intention is to actually try to make the playoffs, the Phils should have the guy on the roster who might actually help them to win games. Crazy concept.

Brignac does not have Galvis' defensive skill at SS. Not even close.

He also had better offensive numbers in the minors, though of course that hasn't translated to the majors at all.

In short, he's a less extreme player than Galvis. Galvis is an all-glove, no-bat shortstop. Brignac is less of a defender (though still good), but potentially a better hitter (though still bad). As a bench player, I think Brignac would probably have more value. As a starting SS, I would prefer Galvis due to the defense.

Rube likely prefers Betancourt to either Brignac or Johnson...because, you know, he "produces" or something.

Because of that, he will show zero interest in either of them.

We'd also have to clear a spot on the 40 man though there is some dead wood there (Savery, Rosenberg, Inciarte all come to mind) if they wanted to make room for either of them.

norbertods - Kind of although it just reinforces my comment on here a week ago. The only game the Phils mention that is sold out now is Opening Day.

Huge change from the past 2 years.

Given the complete dearth of middle infielders out there, I'd imagine several teams will make claims on both Brignac and Johnson...particularly Johnson who is a pretty solid utility guy (who is also a good base-stealer FWIW)

Good thing Braun didn't win MVP again.

Of course, if the list was left over someone's house overnight then he's in the clear. No pun intended.

No worries on Braun, he's not Latino and he's got an MVP trophy...thus, he cant be suspended.

Developing sorry sp wrong.

Johnson is not a very good fielder (league average at best) although he is versatile and a good base stealer as NEPP notes. His numbers vs. RHP (.279/.327/.371) were not bad for a utility guy totally devoid of power.

Braun's records at Biogenesis were not handled properly and thus cannot be used in any case against Braun. He is 100% innocent.

On a scale of 1 to 10 for utility guys, Johnson would be a 5, Brignac a 3, Betancourt a 0 and Mini-Mart a -7.

clout, you'd rate minimart THAT high?

Is anyone surprised about the Braun thing? I mean, we already knew definitely that he failed a drug test. Why should it be shocking that he was on the Biogenesis list?

The guy took PEDs. We know this. He just didn't get suspended.

***Johnson is not a very good fielder (league average at best) although he is versatile and a good base stealer as NEPP notes. His numbers vs. RHP (.279/.327/.371) were not bad for a utility guy totally devoid of power.***

Pretty much this...which is why he'd be a decent utility infielder.

***On a scale of 1 to 10 for utility guys, Johnson would be a 5, Brignac a 3, Betancourt a 0 and Mini-Mart a -7.***

The funny thing is that our GM would rate Betancourt the best because of his power...better "production" regardless of a .250 OBP.

Don't worry guys, Braun is all good. Its just a misunderstanding:

"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant," reads the statement. "More specifically, he answered questions about T/E ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples. There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch’s work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under ‘moneys owed’ and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch. I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."

Thank God...I was worried there for a moment.

I really, really hope that Braun fails another test in his career.

Don't get me wrong, he got away with it and it would be foolish to come out and say "yes, I used PEDs, which is why I failed the original test and I'm on the Biogenesis list." But come on. Who's buying this? Well besides MLB, of course.

RBill and NEPP, at one point I was willing to give Braun the benefit of doubt.

Not anymore.

He obviously has very good lawyers.

I'll lay odds he's one of the very first to be tested for HGH this season.

Isn't the testing "supposed" to be random?

You overeducated hicks, have you ever thought that maybe Rauch and Lyon wouldn't want to sign with the Phils because the don't want to be the 4th or 5th reliever in the pen. You know, they might want to get some exposure as a late inning option to increase their future value?

Spanky, you ignorant slut...

From MLBTradeRumors: Agent Scott Boras is telling the Mets he has attractive offers for Bourn, and the Mets are essentially challenging Boras to prove those proposals exist, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Mets have discussed a three-year deal for Bourn and hinted at a willingness to offer a fourth season, Sherman adds. It’s possible the Mets would match the four-year, $40MM contract Angel Pagan obtained, but only if their 11th overall draft pick becomes protected. Interestingly, the Mets would prefer to wait until they have an agreement with Bourn before challenging the existing draft pick compensation rules, Sherman writes.

Sure you do, Scott. That's why its 10 days till Pitchers/Catchers report and he's still unsigned. He's just having so much trouble choosing between all the great offers he has on the table. Totally believable.

spanky - Rauch and Lyon were looking for a guaranteed MLB deal because camp opens in a less than a week.

You might have a point if it was mid-Jan but now those guys are scrambling to find a job.

spanky - If Lyon signed on this team right now, you really think Cholly would use him as a 4th or 5th option and place guys like Aumont or Bastardo ahead of him?

If you think that, you haven't watched this team much since '05.

MG, word!

Jack, in re: Delmon Young

While one might read your predictions as cynical, the truth is that in Spring Training, pitchers are trying to throw strikes and hitters are all batting like batting practice (that is, swinging at everything). There are not a lot of walks in ST. Which means it's a perfect showcase for Mr. Young to look like a world beater.

In other words, I view your post as a fairly accurate prediction of the future.


"Unlike the players named by the Miami New Times in its report that blew open the Biogenesis case, Braun's name is not listed next to any specific PEDs."

I don't really doubt (or care) that Braun used some sort of PED at some point. But this quote from the Yahoo report seems at least relevant.

Rauch, would you like to pitch for the Phillies where you are guaranteed not to set up or close?

Rauch: no, I can get the same deal on a non contender and pitch in the backend of the pen.

Lyon, see above.


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