Friday, January 18, 2008

Morosi 1, Henning 0

Two Top prospect lists were announced today. Baseball America released its list, compiled by John Paul Morosi of the Free Press. Not to be outdone, Lynn Henning posted his top 20.

Baseball America:
1. Rick Porcello, rhp
2. Cale Iorg, ss
3. Scott Sizemore, 2b
4. Michael Hollimon, 2b/ss
5. Yorman Bazardo, rhp
6. Jeff Larish, 1b
7. Matt Joyce, of
8. Danny Worth, ss
9. Francisco Cruceta, rhp
10. Brandon Hamilton, rhp

Like most people out there, I was a bit surprised to see Cale Iorg that high. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus had him ranked #4, but those rankings came out while Cameron Maybin (#1) was Detroit property and Casey Crosby (#3) had his previous elbow ligament. There seems to be somewhat of a consensus between their sources that Cale Iorg is very very impressive. It's hard to argue with that notion, as there is next to no data out there on him. He played just a couple of weeks in Lakeland before missing the Hawaii league with a minor injury.

For a guy with next to no power, Scott Sizemore seems kind of high to me. Jeff Larish may seem low to some people, but as I pointed out Wednesday, it's justified. Matt Joyce performed well enough in Erie to raise some eyebrows, and all reports suggest he has a great arm. Danny Worth has been overrated by many fans after a supposed hot start this year, and Francisco Cruceta cracking the #9 spot shows just how depleted the farm system is.

Overall, I have no major gripes with this list. The most egregious omission would appear to be James Skelton, but I have heard hesitation that he deserves a catcher of the future tag.

1. Rick Porcello, RHP, 6-5, 200, age 19
2. Cale Iorg, SS, 6-2, 175, age 22
3. Casey Crosby, LHP, 6-4, 195, age 19
4. Jeff Larish, 1B, 6-2, 200, age 25
5. Matt Joyce, RF, 6-2, 185, age 23
6. Danny Worth, SS, 6-1, 180, age 22
7. Scott Sizemore, 2B, 6 feet, 185, age 23
8. Michael Hollimon, SS, 6-1, 185, age 25
9. Jeff Gerbe, RHP, 6-3, 190, age 23
10. Clete Thomas, CF, 5-11, 195, age 24
11. Tony Giarratano, SS, 6-0, 180, age 25
12. Brent Dlugach, SS, 6-5, 200, age 24
13. Brent Clevlen, RF, 6-2, 190, age 24
14. Wilken Ramirez, OF, 6-2, 190, age 22
15. Joe Bowen, C, 6-1, 190, age 20
16. Devin Thomas, C, 5-10, 195, age 22
17. Audy Ciriaco, SS, 6-3, 195, age 20
18. Preston Larrison, RHP, 6-4, 235, age 27
19. Freddy Dolsi, RHP, 6 foot, 160 pounds, age 25
20. Guillermo Moscoso, RHP, 6-1, 160, age 24

The top eight, in no particular order, seem reasonable. Jeff Gerbe seems pretty high at #9, as I have a hard time seeing a guy bound for relief as the third-best pitcher in the organization. Clete Thomas had an okay year last year, but he is a guy with contact issues and limited power. Tony Giarratano and Brent Clevlen were both defense-first shortstops who have yet to return from labrum surgery. As such, they really don't belong in the discussion. Brent Clevlen's stock has taken a huge hit after terrible years in 2004, 2006, and 2007. It's spelled Wilkin. There is no way Joe Bowen belongs in this discussion at all, especially with the absence of Skelton. Preston Larrison is no longer a prospect, while Freddy Dolsi and Guillermo Moscoso are way too old for their levels.

I was trying to hold out until the fan rankings come out, but I will post my Top Ten today:

1. Rick Porcello
2. Yorman Bazardo
3. Mike Hollimon
4. Jeff Larish
5. James Skelton
6. Charlie Furbush
7. Matt Joyce
8. Danny Worth
9. Scott Sizemore
10. Virgil Vasquez

Porcello is obvious. Despite the full rotation, I do believe that Yorman Bazardo has the stuff and ability to crack the rotation in the event of the inevitable injury. It will be very important that the Tigers don't make a mistake and let him go this spring. Hollimon comes in over Larish because there are more possibilities for a middle infielder than a firstbaseman. I admit that Skelton and Furbush are probably too high, but there isn't much out there. Both had pretty good seasons this year, and I believe Skelton will forever be battling biases against his size as a catcher. Joyce's plate discipline leaves a lot to be desired, and as a corner outfield he needs to be doing better than just above average offensively. I'm still not sure Worth and Sizemore will hit enough, and Virgil Vasquez leaves a lot of balls up in the zone. I have Cale Iorg in at 15, although a top notch season this year will shoot him up where those in the organization apparently think he belongs. I'm confident in Casey Crosby's recovery, but do want to see some results or a positive prognosis before placing him high on the list. I just think the rust may be too hard to kick off.

Two more avoid arbitration
Finally, the Tigers avoided arbitration with Miguel Cabrera ($11.3 million) and Bobby Seay ($780,000). Both were right around what I expected. Seay was really an unsung hero last year, as he was arguably the team's best reliever, as he was finally utilized in an advantageous manner with lefties hitting just .209/.270/.275 against him.


Anonymous said...

And Joyce didn't have contact and avg. issues??? He is the one that is way, way over-rated! I'm not saying that he is not a good player, because he is. Thomas, however is more than capable enough to play all three outfield positions at the next level, whereas Joyce is limited. Having said that, I feel they are pretty close in the system, with regards to rankings with Clete being 10-12ish and Matt being in the 12-14 range.

Eddie B said...

Thomas struck out in 18.4% of his plate appearances, Joyce in 24.7% of his. You are correct that Joyce struck out more often.

The problem is with the fact that Clete Thomas and his .125 ISOP need to make contact as consistently as possible. Meanwhile, Joyce has better power and a lesser contact rate can be accepted.

On top of that, Joyce is a superior defensive outfielder with an amazing arm, while Thomas hasn't gotten the defensive praise.

Overall, they are similar. I should point out that the rankings after Porcello are very tight, as there are a wide variety of players who could stake a claim for the #2-15 spots in the organization.

Anonymous said...

"On top of that, Joyce is a superior defensive outfielder with an amazing arm, while Thomas hasn't gotten the defensive praise."

Unfortunately for your argument, this statement is incorrect. Thomas was voted "Strongest Outfield Arm" from Eastern League coaches last year, over Joyce and others, although I think he, Joyce and Clevlen are pretty close in that catagory. Also, he won an organizational Golden Glove for his performance in Lakeland the year before, so he is getting the praise, just not from the "pundits". As I mentioned, I think they should be pretty similarly ranked, they just play a different kind of game. Great debate though.