Results tagged ‘ Squeezed Out series ’

Squeezed Out … of the Infield: Are Astros, Giants, D-backs and Red Sox Bridging to/Blocking Prospects?

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a three-part offseason series, “Squeezed Out.” Part one can be read here. For more information on the players mentioned below, click on the linked, underlined text.

Jonathan Singleton (Walter Barnard).

Jonathan Singleton (Walter Barnard).

ASTROS

MLB veterans: 1B Carlos Pena (signed through 2013)

MiLB prospects: 1B Jonathan Singleton (has played AA-ball)

Bridging/Blocking: This is a clear bridging arrangement. Singleton, 21, hit 21 homers in his first Texas League season last year. He should hit for average and power in the Majors while striking out his fair share. He’ll never be as good defensively as stopgap Pena, but an NL Central exec recently told me that he thinks Singleton is an above-average defender and moves well for being a 235-pounder. He is MLB.com’s No. 25 overall prospect.

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GIANTS

MLB veterans: 2B Marco Scutaro (signed through 2015)

MiLB prospects: 2B/SS Joe Panik (has played High-A-ball)

Bridging to/Blocking: Depending on how fast Panik moves through Double-A and Triple-A — and I think he’ll move fast — this is a blocking. Forget the fact that the Giants overpaid to keep the 37-year-old Scutaro. Panik, at 22 is very polished and is probably already as good as a defender as Scutaro. He is still playing shortstop in the Minors but will switch to second long-term with Brandon Crawford entrenched there in San Francisco. It would have been wiser to sign a veteran second baseman to a one- or two-year deal.

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Matt Davidson (Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images).

Matt Davidson (Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images).

D-BACKS

MLB veterans: 3B Eric Chavez (signed through 2013)

MiLB prospects: 3B Matt Davidson (has played AA-ball)

Bridging to/Blocking: A smart bridging here. The D-backs, who could also acquire young third baseman Mike Olt from the Rangers later this winter, appear set on the hot corner for the next couple seasons. The lefty-hitting Chavez and righty-hitting Chris Johnson, who was acquired last season from the Astros, will split time there until Davidson is ready to go. Davidson excelled at Double-A in 2012, hitting 23 homers, and will begin next spring at Triple-A Reno. He is MLB.com’s No. 41 overall prospect.

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RED SOX

MLB veterans: SS Stephen Drew (signed through 2013)

MiLB prospects: SS Jose Iglesias (has played in Majors)

Bridging to/Blocking: This one can be seen two ways. If you think Iglesias can be an everyday shortstop in the Majors, you’ll see this is a clear blocking. If you’re in the Iglesias-needs-more-seasoning-at-Triple-A-camp, this is more of a simple bridging. I am not sure what to make of Iglesias, who has a great glove but suspect bat. But consider that he turns 23 on Saturday. Ostensibly, he has time to develop his swing. Drew gives him that time, so we’ll call it a bridging.

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RAYS

MLB veterans: SS Yunel Escobar (traded for, signed through 2015)

MiLB prospects: SS Hak-Ju Lee (has played AA-ball)

Bridging/Blocking: This is a bridging, and a shrewd one at that. Escobar, acquired from the Blue Jays, gives Tampa Bay a talented cost-effective option (he has club options in ’14 and ’15) until Lee is ready. The 22-year-old South Korean is an exceptional defender but has work to do on his swing. He is MLB.com’s No. 32 overall prospect.

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Cody Asche (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com).

Cody Asche (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com).

PHILLIES

MLB veterans: 3B Michael Young (traded for, signed through 2013)

MiLB prospects: 3B Cody Asche (has played AA-ball)

Bridging/Blocking: This is also a bridging arrangement, though the Phils may need another stopgap to fill the space between Young’s exit next fall and Ashce’s entrance; Asche, featured recently in Lost and Found, is at least a year — and probably two years — from the bigs.

Squeezed Out … of The Outfield: Are Angels, Red Sox, Reds and Giants Bridging to/Blocking Prospects?

Josh Hamilton (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

Josh Hamilton (Danny Wild/MiLB.com)

When word broke of the Angels swooping in and signing former Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton this hour, his soon-to-be-official teammates in Los Angeles were Tweeting to their heart’s content. A small sampling:

  • @Trouty20 (CF Mike Trout): “Wow”
  • @NickMaronde (LHP Nick Maronde): “Glad I don’t have to face the @Angels lineup! #Halonation
  • @GRichards26 (RHP Garrett Richards): “I am so excited for this year!!! Welcome @thejoshhamilton!!!”
  • @CCron24 (1B C.J. Cron): “Welcome the newest member of the Halo family @thejoshhamilton. Congrats!”

All pretty standard stuff, though it’s easy to appreciate Trout’s genuine surprise.

Personally, I was struck by a Tweet from Randal Grichuk, however. Remember him? He’s the guy the Halos drafted a slot ahead of Trout in 2009 (even though they rated Trout ahead of him). Here is what Grichuk sent out from his social media account (@RGrich15): “Wow phone will not stop going off about the Angels signing@thejoshhamilton !!! No team better than the @Angels #ALWest“.

Either Grichuk is just the ultimate team-first guy or he is so much a cliche-clenching ballplayer that he is taking it one day at a time and not worrying about whether Hamilton just limited his Major League chances in the coming couple years.

Whatever the case, if you’ve been reading this blog since day one or are just stumbling upon it this afternoon, you probably know PROSPECTive has a different mindset about such things. There’s plenty of room for hypotheticals here. And, here and now, I wonder aloud how teams’ offseason splashes could affect their pools of prospects. We’ll start this with the outfielders. (Look for infielders and pitchers sometime next week.)

Bryce Brentz (Ken Jancef/MiLB.com)

Bryce Brentz (Ken Jancef/MiLB.com)

RED SOX

MLB veterans: Jonny Gomes (signed through 2014), Shane Victorino (through ’15)

MiLB prospects: Bryce Brentz (has played AAA ball), Jackie Bradley (AA), Brandon Jacobs (A)

Briding to/Blocking: This is clearly a blocking of Brentz, who depending upon who you ask is either Major League-ready of very close to it. This is a bridging to of Bradley, who is developing into a on-base machine/strong defender in center. Victorino can shift to a corner and Jacoby Ellsbury will likely be gone by the time of Bradley’s first callup. Jacobs, while talented, is far enough away that he doesn’t have to worry quite yet.

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REDS

MLB veterans: Ryan Ludwick (signed through 2014,) Shin-Soo Choo (traded for, signed through ’13)

MiLB prospects: Billy Hamilton (has played AA ball), Ryan LaMarre (AA)

Briding to/Blocking: This is a clear bridging to, and a smart one. Cincinnati will count on Choo to man center field next spring, then watch him leave and have either Hamilton or LaMarre, both potential leadoff men who can steal bases and cover a lot of grass in the outfield, replace him ably in the lineup. Hamilton is likely to get the gig in ’14, meaning LaMarre would be a nice fourth outfield option behind Ludwick and Jay Bruce.

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Gary Brown (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

Gary Brown (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

GIANTS:

MLB veterans: Angel Pagan (signed through 2016), Andres Torres (signed through ’13)

MiLB prospects: Gary Brown (has played AA ball)

Briding to/Blocking: Another bridging to, even if this case isn’t as obvious. Yes, the Giants gave Pagan too many years (four) and dollars (40 million), but he can move to left when Brown is ready for big league ball in 2014. Brown has similar skills (leadoff ability, gap power, a lot of range in the outfield) and is still looked at as an impact player in the Giants organization despite his less-than-spectacular season at Double-A this year.

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ANGELS

MLB veterans: Josh Hamilton (signed through 2017)

MiLB prospects: Kole Calhoun (has played AAA ball), Travis Witherspoon (AA) and Randal Grichuk (A)

Analysis: With Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Vernon Wells, Hamilton and Mark Trumbo (who can also play the infield) all in the mix, I wouldn’t want to be a fringe Angels outfield prospect in the next five years. Calhoun is probably a bench player and Witherspoon is a question mark at this point, while many believe Grichuk can develop into a starter so long as he stays healthy. But it’s hard to imagine him breaking into this outfield anytime in the next couple years. Score this one a blocking.

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