By Andrew Meyer
Last night, Jon Morosi let it be known that Orioles pitching prospect Kevin Gausman will be joining the Major League team to make a thursday start in Toronto. This season, which recent 5 game losing streak aside, has already been one of the most enjoyable O’s seasons in recent memory (most of my Orioles memories are suppressed, FWIW), with Chris Davis hitting the everloving piss out of the ball, Manny Machado revealing he is actually the Norse god of prosperity and fertility Freyr, and Nolan Reimold might not be getting PA’s when he gets off the DL, so seeing a debut of a top prospect will add to the fun. There are considerably less pitching highlights to be had so far this season, and with Jim Johnson‘s recent bad luck, Darren O’Day is the only pitcher on the staff I have feelings for. But that now, with the arrival fo Gausman, the 13th best prospect in the game according to Baseball Prospectus, and part of the 1-2 pitching prospect punchwith Dylan Bundy (I would not like to talk about the rest of the Orioles farm system, because this week has been stressful enough) my hopes are getting up,
only to get crushed by either his failure or him leaving to another team as soon as he can and I am excited to see his start unfold.
For many who are not wired into either the prospect or college baseball world however, Gausman might not be anything other than a really awesome sounding name, but there is more awesome to be had in the 2012 1st round pick from LSU. While the stinging memories of the last “Rotation of the future” the O’s tried to market featuring Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, David Hernandez, Jason Berken, and Zach Britton are still felt around Baltimore, that should not take away from
worshiping evaluating Gausman. He throws easy for his 6’3/190 frame, from a 3/4ths arm slot and an attacking pitching style, with a whole bunch of stuff, even if his pitchability is not all the way there yet. His Fastball is a devastating 70 grade pitch that works from 94-97 MPH, and can top 100 on occasion, that he loves to throw inside and features late life through the zone. He lacks top tier command with it, but even without that tool, his fastball is a weapon that most pitchers would kill wish for. He also throws a Changeup in the 84-86 range that I often see graded as a current 55 or 60, but has the potential to be right up there with he fastball thanks to it’s late life and his ability to throw it to both sides of the plate. His final pitch is also his newest, a slider that he added after joining the Orioles, that is generally seen as a current 40-grade pitch but has showcased the ability to be a plus (60-grade) pitch if he can overcome his fringy command, because it has a severe late bite that generates a lot of swing and miss and his willingness to throw it in any count. He has a great command of the strike zone, and while he may never be a Yu Darvish or Strasburg when it comes to collecting K’s, he will get his fair share and will rarely throw his main two pitches outside and won’t give away at bats with walks on the way to (hopefully many) 200 inning campaigns.
There is risk with Kevin Gausman, as there will be risk with Bundy, Oscar Taveras, Wil Myers, and every prospect to come up. Pitchers are the most likely to bust in general, but his command of the zone and his stuff should carry him. He has the upside of a high No. 2 starter on a contending team, and while he could still easily go back down to the minors this season or struggle for a while, the future looks bright for him.
By Andrew Meyer
So, as some of you are aware, Mike Trout is a baseball player, and as a rookie last year was a candidate for the MVP award. Some would say he is an above average baseballer, and with them I would agree. His triple slash line of .293/.373/.558 is not as good as his rookie year, but he is still just 21 and in the month of May he is slugging .727, which is pornographic, much like Trout Himself. But none of this really matters, because last night became the youngest player in the history of the American League to go for the cycle (Mel Ott was 20 when he hit his), and he made it look easy, with the following line: Strikeout in the 1st, Single in the 3rd (which was actually the closest play), Triple in the 4th, Double in the 6th, and then a casual Home Run in the 8th, which you can see in it’s beauty in the gif at the top of this post. The internets exploded, but Debbie Trout, Mother of Mike in case you were wondering, put it best.
One proud Mama!!! Standing ovation at the Big A !!! TROUTSTANDING !!!
— Debbie Trout (@DebbieTrout27) May 22, 2013
While I fear Troutstanding wil become the new catchphrase The Mothership sears into our psyche with blunt repetition, nothing matters because everything is beautiful right now.
If I were to tell you that there was a pitcher who hasn’t allowed more than two runs a start and has lasted at least six innings in every start this year, who would you guess? Yu Darvish? Felix Hernandez? Clayton Kershaw? Nope. Let me show this stat line and give me guesses to who you think it is:
Again, any guesses that aren’t the above mentioned aces? The answer is 23 year old Patrick Corbin, who is in his second year in the bigs. Corbin’s above mentioned streak is only the second such of it’s kind in the last 100 years of baseball, the other pitcher being Ubaldo Jimenez. It’s almost guaranteed he gets number 10 this week against San Diego.
So factor in the ballpark Corbin calls home, his age and the fact the D-Backs are first in the NL West and you’d imagine that more eyes would be on Corbin each time he pitches like Matt Harvey. I mean, this is the only GIF of him I could find! I can’t say I’ve actually watched the guy pitch, but man, I really should.
Maybe it’s because Jimenez is the only other guy to do this (which is a dumb reason btw) or maybe because he’s not on the East Coast (still another dumb reason but whatever) but the bottom line is that Corbin is straight dealin and we should all be paying attention.
I’m just going to leave this here and wait for everyone to pick their jaws off the ground.
So if you can’t tell, this is the stat box of Miguel Cabrera. Last year he won the coveted Triple Crown. As of now, he’s a homer or two away from leading the Triple Crown race again. Also, we just passed the quarter mark of the season. Cabrera is on track for just as many homers, 51 more RBI’s a ton more bases, less strikeouts and more walks all with a substantially higher batting average. If anyone has had the grace of watching Miggy this year, you can tell he’s just seeing the ball better and becoming a pitcher’s worst nightmare.
Now, here comes the ironic part of it all:
I’m just going to leave this here and wait for everyone to pick their jaws off the ground, again. those are the stats so far of Manny Machado, who if you didn’t already know, is off to a better career start than either Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Small sample size aside, Miggy is crushing the cover off the ball but is third in WAR to Machado, who plays substantially better defense than Miggy does at the same position.
We all know the arguments, we all know who stands on what side…I’m just warning us all that after a quarter of the season, we have 2012 all over again but with better players and crazier numbers. You have no idea how excited I am.
by Andrew Pregler
We at Formerly Fausto are really happy and proud to say that through May, we have consistently been one of the best performing MLBlogs out there. This wouldn’t be possible without you. So….we want to give stuff away! Here’s how it works: Over the next week (until May 27th) we will monitor the RT’s of this specific tweet.
— Formerly Fausto (@FormerlyFausto) May 20, 2013
And here’s how it works… Once we hit 10 RT, I give away one of the blue border Carmona’s. We hit 30, I give away another blue border Carmona. We hit 50 RT, I give away the alternate image Carmona. If we hit 100 RT, the special limited print reflective Carmona gets given away. It’s number 26 of 1959, which is pretty awesome.
So…..get RT’ing people! I want to be mailing these cards out like crazy and once again, THANK YOU.
by Andrew Pregler
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 26-18, their best start since 1991. Andrew McCutchen‘s OPS is 100 points lower than last year, Pedro Alvarez just reached the .200 BA mark, and Brandon Inge is a regular in the lineup right now. There is all this evidence screaming that the Pirates are a fluke, but yet, there is just enough to say that this team could content all the way into September.
Starling Marte is having a breakout year at the top of the lineup and at age 24 the future is only bigger and brighter for the homegrown Pirates outfielder. Russell Martin‘s offense is already surpassing last year’s mark both with the Yankees and the Pirates’ group of catchers. But it’s Martin’s defense that has paid off most as his pitch framing abilities have helped a Pirates pitching staff and bullpen rise to the top of the league.
A.J. Burnett is a legitimate Cy Young Candidate, second in the MLB in strikeouts. Wandy Rodriguez is basically guaranteed for 6 and 2 earned every night with seven innings on a good night. Jeff Locke is coming into his own as a solid groundball guy who can match the production of Wandy while improving start to start. Fransico Liriano through two starts looks like a huge gambit paid off. Gerrit Cole is ready to join the staff in July. Oh, by the way, Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon, two cast aways, make up the most consistent and shutdown back end bullpen in the league with a 1.6 WAR combined.
The million dollar question: Are they for real or will they collapse down the stretch?
In a short answer, no. But the more you talk about it, the more you realize that this isn’t a playoff team.
The Pirates aren’t beating up on slouches like they did last year to pad their W-L record. To date, the Pirates have taken series against D-Backs, Reds, Braves, Phillies, Cardinals, Mets, Brewers and Astros. They’ve split against the Cardinals and Mariners and lost against the Cubs, Nationals and Brewers. Just typing out that first sentence was kind of mind blowing. They’re playing solid baseball with a good defense and safe pitching. The hitting comes and goes but the bullpen doesn’t blow any leads.
Right now, there’s only a two game difference between the teams actual record and pythangrorean record, a normal occurrence for a baseball team. This team isn’t fluking their way into wins. You expect Neil Walker to hit at least .250. You expect Pedro Alvarez to get to .230 and belt 30 homers and Cutch to be an MVP candidate. Those jumps to normalcy should alone balance out any regressions from Marin or Marte. The bullpen is overworked but there are just as comprable arms in AAA to replenish if necessary. So as of right now, the Pirates should continue their pace, if all of this goes according to plan.
However, the month of June poses huges hurdles to clear: Cincinnati, at Atlanta, San Fran, both LA’s, and a road trip to visit the Reds, Angels and Mariners. If the Pirates come out of their normally hot June month .500, the Bucs will be in GREAT shape.
So we’re going to hold off on finishing this until then. Because it’s still the Pirates and it’s still only May.
I can’t say I’m taking full responsibility for this. Rob Neyer (who I really like and respect) tried doing this, but due to the lack of really wrong scouting reports, went with the eight best ones. In the post, he suggested you get lost in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s released scouting reports, which I started to do. And boy, I found some doozies of reports that were way off, others not as bad but still pretty wrong. I figured we’d have some fun here and post the five worst with the MLB Draft coming up and all. All images link back to the HOF’s Diamond Mines page with the report.
There’s just so much here to look at… from “Mistake HR Power” to “future weight problem” to a 40-55 on the hit-power ratings.
Just an FYI, this was a guy who would end up with a plus arm, an amazing bat and play into his age 40 season, AFTER winning an MVP in 1978. To be fair, a scout in 1977 sorted everything out.
This is where things start to get hazy as, well, these major league scouts did a pretty good job evaluating talent. (Meaning the GM’s make the mistakes…?) Anyways, Gwynn is only projected to be “average” even though he is given the caveat of being a “good hitter someday.”
Again, kind of reaching, but it’s not glowing for a Hall of Famer known for hustle and solid all around play. Another scouting report isn’t much better but it’s not a negative review per say.
Anyways, I highly suggest checking out the Diamond Mines site, it’s a great find for any baseball fan and a great tribute to the real guys who build baseball teams.
By Andrew Meyer
Oh the Brewers. While watching Ryan Braun hit things and sometimes fall spectacularly is always fun and Carlos Gomez decided this was the year he would never get out, the team as a whole is 16-21, last in the NL Central in Run Differential at -21, and the farm system is rather bare, and the top three pitchers in it could easily become relievers (Although I hope Johnny Hellweg makes it as a starter because we need more 6’9″ starters). So the now sucks and the future could be even worse, but there is hope in form of their 5’10″ Shortstop from the Dominican, Jean Segura.
Segura’s most famous moment to date might be his refusal to conform to the mans standards of baserunning, but there is much more to the player than that. His slash line is an impressive .359/.403/.592, but once you factor in he is leading Shortstops in both Baseball-Reference’s and Fangraph’s version of WAR, wRC+, and Steals, second in OPS, wOBA, and HR/FB rate, as well as posting one of the lowest K% of in the majors. He also sports a .376 BABIP, which is second for Shortstops, which is an indicator for regression, as is that while he has bashed 7 home runs so far, 5 of them rate as “just enough” according to ESPN’s home run tracker These and other basic regression factors indicate that Segura likely won’t finish the season in these positions, but he still has shown that he is more than capable of being a quality starter at the plate.
So with this seasons offensive results, along with his pedigree as one of the better prospects in baseball, it is easy to see why the Brewers would want to lock him up long term (although according to Ken Rosenthal they Brewers first contacted his agent a month ago), but is now the right time to go about this? Not only is the cost considerably more than it would have been a month ago, but Segura is not even arbitration eligible until 2016, so any time before and even during the first arbitration season he will be extremely cost effective, so the club should feel no pressure due to time to get a deal done. Segura and his agent would also likely be using Starlin Castro’s 7-year, $60 million contract extension he signed in august as a comparable one for the deal, and while you can argue whether or not Segura (or Castro) is worth that in a vacuum, the Milwaukee Brewers do not operate in a vacuum, they operate as a team who spent significantly more in the past few years (and have Braun’s contract coming into it’s own) and they ever have before, and thus a considerably smaller margin of error. I feel that Segura is a player who should be locked up for the long term, but I feel like if the Brewers did so now or in the near future, they could be paying above the going rate for Segura based on an impressive, but small, sample size. But then again I am no baseball economist, so who knows what the future has for Segura and the Brewers.
By Andrew Meyer
Julsan Kamara. Stop me if you have heard of this person before….. Ok everyone still here? Good let’s begin.
Yesterday, as first reported by Philipp Wuerfel of Mister-Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies signed the 17-Year old German Outfielder Julsan Kamara to a 7 year contract that will start once the right hander finishes school in the spring 2014. Kamara is generally considered one of Germany’s and Europe’s best prospects, participating at last years International Power Showcase at Marlins Park in Miami and was a 2012 attendee of the MLB European Academy in Italy. When I asked Baseball Prospectus writer/prospect guru/life coach Jason Parks what he knows about Kamara, he said he is not all that aware of the kid, but offered the following (yay being in the same FB group as him): “ German toolshed; 17 y/o; 6’4” ~195; big raw power; plus run; promising hit; unrefined.” That is something really nice to dream on, especially in a system that had one player in BP’s top 101 and Ranks 24th out of the 30 teams. The Phillies are also not really one to venture into international markets, with their last signing being Venezuelan Outfielder Carlos Tocci in 2011 for just under a 760k bonus in 2011, per MLBTR, so yay for deciding to do that Ruben Amaro Jr.
European prospects always fascinate me, and with the Netherlands doing so well in the past WBC (Honkbal forever) my interest continues to grow. While it would be silly to think Julsan will reach the majors any time in the near future (reaching low-A sometime in 2015 would be more than good enough), I am already quite excited to see what the future has in store for him.