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Thursday, December 17, 2009
With the Roy Halladay trade finalized, Philadelphia's farm system has been shaken up. For those wondering, here is the top 10 I was expecting to publish, before the trade:
1. Kyle Drabek
2. Michael Taylor
3. Domonic Brown
4. Domingo Santana
5. Anthony Gose
6. Trevor May
7. Antonio Bastardo
8. Sebastian Valle
9. Travis D'Arnaud
10. Vance Worley
Now with Drabek, Taylor and D'Arnaud departing and Tyson Gillies, Phillippe Aumont, and J.C. Ramirez being brought over from Seattle, here is how the new top 10 looks, followed by arch-rival Atlanta's (much better) system. It is interesting to note that Seattle's No. 6 and No. 7 prospects, Gillies and Aumont, rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in Philadelphia's system. It's more of an indication of Philadelphia's lack of blue-chip prospects rather than Seattle's strong system.
1. Domonic Brown: I have been criticized for my low ranking of Brown in the past. And I admit it: If it weren't for the trade of Drabek and Taylor, Brown would be ranked third in the organization. I feel that Brown has a good mix of skills, but nothing he does stands out as elite, leaving me a bit cold.
2. Tyson Gillies: Traded from Seattle. If it weren't for Alex Liddi, everyone would be singing the praises of Gillies. Both starred for the High Desert Mavericks, but Gillies took a different approach. He demonstrated every skill necessary to become a good major league leadoff hitter. As with Liddi, though, I'm hesitating a bit until I see his performance against better competition in a more balanced league.
3. Phillippe Aumont: Traded from Seattle. Everyone loves the stuff that Aumont brings to the ballpark, but, when it comes right down to it, he is now strictly a relief pitcher. While he could become Philadelphia's closer in short order, his bullpen status hurts his stock.
4. Domingo Santana: Call me bullish on Santana's potential, but no one else in the organization really stands out from a skill perspective. The scouting reports are glowing and the initial numbers are promising.
5. Anthony Gose: Gose has terrific speed that shines both on the base paths and in his outfield range. His bat lags way behind at the moment, but Philadelphia has top-of-the-order hopes for this teenager.
6. Trevor May: May sports a low-90s fastball with strong movement and an average curveball that could grow into his out pitch. Just 20 years old with impressive strikeout numbers in the Sally League, the 6-foot-5 May has room to grow but much to learn when it comes to locating his arsenal.
7. Antonio Bastardo: Bastardo has a workable three-pitch mix that adds up to a middle- to back-of-the-rotation future. His inconsistent major league debut offered too little of a sample size to draw conclusions, but his control numbers were solid and spell at least minor success.
8. J.C. Ramirez: Traded from Seattle. Don't let his California League numbers throw you off too much. Ramirez has good upside with his strong fastball and potentially plus slider. His questionable strikeout total in 2009 does raise an eyebrow, but I'm willing to ride it out for another year.
9. Sebastian Valle: There are questions regarding Valle's ultimate ability to stick at catcher, but he is way too young and raw for that question to be answered anytime soon. Philadelphia will let him ride it out at catcher for now, where his immense power potential would be a huge asset.
10. Vance Worley: Worley posted some 2009 numbers that are hard to sugarcoat. But I trusted his strong right arm coming out of the 2008 draft, and I'm not going to fully downgrade him yet. Call me stubborn, but he has the poise to pull it all together in 2010.
1. Jason Heyward: Heyward is the best hitting prospect in baseball. As a 20-year-old, his bat has no weakness and there is more improvement ahead in every facet. A dynamic, middle-of-the-order future is in store.
2. Freddie Freeman: While his bat is advanced for his age, his home run numbers dropped off in his second full season. Will his home run power return? His future value hinges on it. I'm buying into a good 2010 campaign.
3. Julio Teheran: It is amazing that Teheran's 160-pound body is able to generate the type of velocity that has scouts everywhere drooling. His youth and inconsistent delivery have me worried about his long-term health, but his initial stats, promising repertoire and unbridled heat have been turning heads.
4. Mike Minor: Minor's best attribute is his overall repertoire, with his change-up being his best pitch at this time. Minor certainly doesn't blow people away, but he was a safe pick in the first round of the 2009 draft. If either his curveball or slider can take the next step, he could become an under-the-radar No. 2 starter when he hits the majors.
5. Randall Delgado: Atlanta broke character with Delgado in 2009 by aggressively allowing him to pitch a full season in the Sally League at the tender age of 19. He has strong velocity now, and the ability to add more, potentially making his fastball a plus offering. As a project, though, his secondary stuff has a long way to go.
6. Zeke Spruill: Spruill doesn't have the fastball to be an ace, but his curveball has the look of a plus pitch at times. Youth and advanced control are on his side, and a No. 2 starter could be in the works.
7. Craig Kimbrel: A lively mid-90s fastball is Kimbrel's best asset. His control took a step forward in 2009, backing up his closer pedigree. He could immediately become one of Atlanta's top relievers as early as 2010.
8. Christian Bethancourt: Bethancourt has the defensive prowess to be a Gold Glover behind the plate one day. His bat is a long way off of that pace, however. He showed flashes of his power potential in his brief 2009 rookie league performance, but little else bat-wise.
9. Brett DeVall: Devall has No. 2 starter potential in his left arm. His fastball and change-up project as average offerings, but it's his curveball that could become special. Concerns about his injured elbow downgrade him slightly.
10. Cody Johnson: It's hard to find better raw power anywhere in minor league baseball. It's also hard to find a more hole-ridden swing than Johnson's. He's the biggest boom-or-bust player in Atlanta's system.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 6:30am
Dereks Ambrosino and Carty have written nice articles on the relative merits of a well-rounded player versus a one-category super-stud. Plenty of writers (including myself) are proponents of drafting players with high upsides. Undoubtedly, one thing to consider when drafting/buying your initial fantasy team is a player's eventual trade value. Some players, like some used cars models, are more tradable than others. Trade value is often a key component to strategies with super-studs or high-upside players.
The tempting thing is to take these strategies and use them to speculate for "trade" rather than "use" purposes. For instance: You're sitting in the 20th round of your draft and you already have Evan Longoria at third base, but you see Brandon Wood still out there and you think, "If Wood gets playing time this season, he could easily outproduce some of the replacement-level third basemen in the league or slot in for the owner who has an injured Chipper Jones." Wood is a high-upside guy that you will almost certainly have no room for in your starting lineup. But, if he breaks out, there should be other owners in your league willing to trade for him. You're drafting Wood not because he may have use for you, but because he may have value in a trade later on.
Of course the key question in all of this is: What is Wood's value? Is he worth the 20th pick over, say, Denard Span or not? How much should you consider Wood's potential value to your team by playing on it versus his potential value as a future trade piece?
To make a trade, there must be what economists call a "double coincidence of wants." Your team must not only have something the other owner wants, but you must be willing to give up a player that the other owner values more highly than the player he is giving up. You must have too much pizza and not enough beer and your trade-mate must also have too much beer and not enough pizza. Imagine if you conducted your everyday life like that—every time you wanted to buy milk, you'd have to have something the grocery store wanted in exchange (this is why barter economies and wife-swap parties frequently don't work and why money is so helpful).
The thing with upside players is that if their upside comes to fruition, they are replacing some current starter. If trade markets were "perfect"—with no waiting periods, irrationalities and so forth—then Wood would replace, say, Chipper Jones on some team, but Jones would then be traded from that team's bench to some other team, replacing, say, Mike Lowell, all the way down the line until Casey Blake ultimately is the starter that ends up on the bench.
The problem is that trade markets aren't perfect. If they were, a lot more trades would happen throughout the season. So if you have Wood and Longoria on your team and you've found an owner with Chipper Jones who now wants to trade for Wood, he's going to give up a lot less for Wood in the world where he can't turn around and trade Jones immediately. Of course, you could try to trade Wood to the owner suffering with the previously replacement-level Blake, but he may be out of town (mentally or literally), or unwilling, or Blake's kid nephew or whatever. Finding trading partners is hard, and sometimes you just have to be happy to find someone willing to give you anything for a player who's almost surely going to stay on your bench. What's more, the player you get in return for Wood (say, Geovany Soto, for some reason) would have more value to you if the catcher on your roster that he was replacing was also easily tradable. But he likely won't be—you might even just have to cut him even though he was above replacement level.
So let's say in the beginning of the season, you worked on your projections and you think Wood is a player who, if he breaks out, will be better than Jones but worse than the next best third baseman (say, Michael Young). If by that 20th round you've drafted a replacement-level player like Blake at third, then Wood could have value in use. But if you've drafted someone Wood has no chance to replace (unless there's an injury), then you're drafting Wood to trade him, and his value in that case is, I argue, a lot less.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 6:20am
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