Sunday, January 20, 2008

Prospecting on a Lazy Sunday

The temperature has dropped precipitously outside and, frankly, I don’t feel much like shoveling 1 or 2 inches in single digit weather – so let us warm ourselves around the Hot Stove on a Lazy Sunday:

As the “Top Prospect” lists continue to roll off the conveyor belt in various forms, Baseball America’s highly-anticipated list was released this week. The list was compiled by Chris Kline who, prior to working for Baseball America as a national writer, was the beat writer for the Kinston Free Press, covering the Class A Kinston Indians. So, needless to say, Kline has an understanding of the Indians’ organizational philosophies and has likely retained the contacts that he had within the organization while covering the K-Tribe.

While the “ranking” of prospects will always remain (to me, at least) a bit of an extremely objective crapshoot and serves more of a purpose of seeing which names are on the list and which are not – a fascinating part of the annual BA write-up is the “Projected Roster” four full seasons from now. This year’s edition is no exception as Kline has some interesting assumptions in his 2011 Projected Roster:
- Victor is still a catcher and has signed an extension (current contract expires in 2010)
- Ryan Garko has held off Jordan Brown at 1B
- Jhonny is still at SS (with his 2011 option picked up), Asdrubal is still at 2B
- Beau Mills is the 3B, not Andy Marte or Wes Hodges
- Nick Weglarz emerges from the cluttered OF mix to claim LF
- The Tank remains in RF
- C.C. has re-signed
- Jake does not sign another extension after his current deal expires after the 2010 season
- Atom Miller (shown above) still projects as a starter
- Jeremy Sowers has been passed up by other LHP in the organization (Laffey, Lofgren)
- Rafael Perez is the closer

Obviously, I’m looking far too into something that merely takes up a portion of the write-up, but it certainly is interesting to see the continuity and stability that Kline predicts for the Tribe going forward. If you’re counting at home, that would be 2 new faces in the lineup 4 years from now (one of which, Nick Weglarz, who just turned 20 a month ago, is shown here with a sweet LH stroke) and that the young arms (Miller, Laffey, and Lofgren) are thought to fill out the middle to back of the rotation.

Speaking of Prospect lists, here is the list from Minor-League Guru John Sickels, who must have Brad Snyder and Jordan Brown confused. Also, a wrap on Tony Lastoria’s phenomenal, and phenomenally exhaustive, 1 to 50 list.

Around the horn, here is the latest Big League Choo update and a nice piece on Jordan Brown, who has won two consecutive MVP’s playing in Kinston and Akron and has the aforementioned Chris Kline predicting (in an online chat) that he could win another one in Buffalo, something Dennis Manoloff makes light of in the linked article.

Hoynsie reports that the Indians’ interest in Bartolo Colon has dimmed but that the Tribe continues to follow Mr. Anna Benson.

Anyone else find it interesting that the Indians, who at first (and second) glance seem to be extremely deep in starting pitching, are scouting these players who could possibly pitch at some point, and MAYBE contribute, in 2008? Does this mean that the Indians are simply hedging their bet in case Cliff Lee’s freefall continues and NONE of the youngsters step up? Or could the interest indicate that one of the young arms is being shopped (in addition to Lee, who certainly is being shopped) and a pitcher like Benson would refortify the depth?

Finally, Indians’ Veep Bob DiBiasio is projecting that the salary base for the Tribe’s 40-man roster in 2008 should be around $90M, with $75M of that committed to the 25-man-roster.

Seeing as how the dollars committed to the 40-man, right now, totals a little over $73M with another $6M likely going to Casey Blake and $2M going to Rocky Betancourt (both approximately) in arbitration or deals reached outside of arbitration, that takes the total to $81M with every member of the 40-man spoken for.

As everyone here should know, I’m no math genius, but where does the extra $9M or so get paid out to if the Indians’ roster and payroll to that roster is essentially set to hit the projected $90M?
Perhaps an extra $8M or so on the contract of a certain big-boned LHP (a strategy utilized in the Westbrook and Hafner deals) to make his 2008 salary closer to $19M?


t-bone said...

My condolences to the DiaBride for her loss (Packers) tonight.

Rockdawg said...

I was glancing at that post while playing cards, so I was just skimming...I saw the line "CC has resigned" and got so excited. Then I scrolled up to get some frame of reference, as it was just a prediction...Do you really see Jhonny holding onto short that long?

Paul Cousineau said...

Faces were certainly long after the Tynes kick around the Wigwam.
My brother-in-law attended the game at Lambeau and texted us that his beer was frozen in the 2nd quarter.

RD - the predictions are made by Chris Kline of Baseball America. Nice job on the podcast, btw...I added a link.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Chris(Detroit): I understand the arguement for some of the other divisions...but with the player additions to the central, how could they not be the strongest?

SportsNation Jerry Crasnick: Chris,

Here's one of my problems with the AL Central: Minnesota, Kansas City and Chicago ranked 12th, 13th and 14th in the American League in runs scored last season. And Cleveland ranked 10th in the league in runs after the All-Star break. Discounting Detroit, you're looking at some pretty suspect offenses.

Pronk, he's talking to gonna take that?