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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Pickoff Moves

One of the reasons I like this columnette is that I get to pass along great small items with it without having to think too hard. Perversely, I find it easier to write longer essays when nothing of import is happening in baseball (e.g., the offseason, or right about now); for some reason, actually watching baseball played has the effect of making me want to write about the games themselves, rather than the big picture -- in Joss Whedon's parlance, the episodes rather than the story arc. Okay, I admit it: Dodger Thoughts is thoughtful, but my blog is... well, while I'm looking for a suitable adjective, here's a couple more bits to keep you going until I can finish the Angels Midterm later today.

Just How Good Is Barry? Why, He's TWICE The Hitter Scott Rolen Is!

In fact, more than twice. Mariners Wheelhouse does the math. Incredible.

Throwin' It Out There

In today's earlier exercise, we discussed the dubious merits of a proposed Cubs-Red Sox-Diamondbacks trade. Here's one my wife suggested, and on mulling it over, it might make some sense. David Eckstein to the Cubs for prospects, say, Andy Sisco and a PTNBL. The Angels system is in terrible shape right now with regards to its premier pitching prospects; each of Ervin Santana and Bobby Jenks have spent extended time on the DL. Baseball America has soured some on Bobby Jenks' future, though admittedly some of that has come from a change in the reporter covering him. (Josh Boyd left BA to work for the Padres; replacing him is Jim Callis.) The Cubs get a franchise player with legit leadoff hitting (albeit shaky reliability thanks to DL time), and the Angels get a guy with Randy Johnson comparisons attached (ya gotta pay to get in):
Background: After snaring Mark Prior with the No. 2 overall pick in 2001, the Cubs followed up with another potential ace in Sisco in the second round. Recruited as a defensive end by Pacific-10 Conference football programs, he signed for $1 million. He missed two months with a broken pitching hand in 2003, but finished strong by not allowing an earned run in two starts as Lansing won the Midwest League playoffs.

Strengths: Sisco is a huge lefthander who already throws 92-94 mph and projects to add more heat, so he draws obvious comparisons to Randy Johnson. And while he has to polish the rest of his game, he has better mechanics and command than the Big Unit had at the same age. Sisco already has an effective changeup and at times shows a plus curveball.

Weaknesses: Sisco’s curve is far from a finished product, as one in four he throws is above-average. He’d be better off throwing fewer splitters and focusing on his other pitches. The Cubs like his competitive makeup, but he also can be immature.

Of course, the only way this trade happens is if Angels prospect Dallas McPherson pans out toward the end of the season, so Figgins can move to short. Something to think about for the 2004/2005 offseason.

Eat This, Moneyball Jihadists

This just in from Baseball America: surprise, the risk of drafting prep righties is grossly overstated.

In a study of the first 10 rounds of the 1990-97 drafts last year, I found that regardless of round or position, high schools held their own versus colleges in terms of producing talent. The colleges' only pronounced edge came in the number of cup-of-coffee players who reached the majors. With significant players, the two crops were virtually even, and high schools generated more star-caliber talent (4.3 to 2.3 percent).

Don't just take my word for it, however. A club official recently examined the performance of all pitchers drafted in the first round from 1990-98 and sent me the results--which reinforced mine.

Worth reading regardless of whether or not you believe in the Moneyball religion (oops -- did I say that?).

Comments:
David Eckstein, franchise player? No one would trade real prospects for David Eckstein- not even the Cubs.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I recommend you take a look at whose visage is on the outside of freshly renamed Angels Stadium. Between him and Anderson, I expect Eckstein to be gone first.
 
Also -- you haven't seen Rey F. Ordoñez (you may extrapolate what the "F" stands for) play shortstop.
 
testing 1 2 3
 
I'm not saying that no one would want David Eckstein. I'm just saying that he's not worth a top-level prospect. Remember, this was a guy that got picked off the waiver-wire a few years ago. If he does get traded (and he won’t- at least not this season) it’ll be for something closer to a major-league utility guy rather then a Randy Johnson clone.

Ask yourself, would you trade Ervin Santana or Bobby Jenks for David Eckstein? Why would the Cubs?
 
Okay, so you move down the line, but there are two points here:

1) the Cubs system isn't the Angels, and
2) they desperately need a legit leadoff hitter; Grudz isn't that.
 

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