Minor League Baseball Analyst Ranks Washington #17

Today, my copy of the 2010 Minor League Baseball Analyst came in the mail with good news. The Nationals are starting to move towards the middle of the pack, just one notch behind the defending World Champion New York Yankees at #17.

Last year, the Nationals were ranked #25, trailing only the Mets, Cubs, Tigers, Astros and Diamondbacks.

What I like about this book, as opposed to the breathless Baseball America and the stretched-too-thin John Sickels is that it blends sabermetrics with traditional scouting, a trend that I believe is good for everybody involved. WAY too many people frequenting sites like these look strictly at stats. I believe there’s some usefulness in that detachment, but there’s also something to be said for seeing things that don’t show up in the stats, namely player’s body language and reactions.

A perfect example is currently suspended IF Stephen King. His stats say “bust” but I’ve seen him play enough to say he’s got some talent that’s worth exploring. And I’ve also seen him react like a spoiled brat that tells me his emotional maturity is suspect. Those of you who’ve been on Brian Oliver’s Nationals Farm Authority are quite well aware that his father lurks there, and let’s say two words: apple, tree. The other five words between aren’t difficult to guess.

So, I’ll be looking over the book over the weekend and will post some more reactions, but everybody loves Top 10 lists, so without further ado, here’s the MLBA’s Top 15:

1. Stephen Strasburg, RHP
2. Drew Storen, RHP
3. Derek Norris, C
4. Chris Marrero, 1B
5. Danny Espinosa, SS
6. Ian Desmond, SS
7. Michael Burgess, OF
8. Destin Hood, OF
9. Eury Perez, OF
10. Justin Maxwell, OF
11. Jeff Kobernus, 2B
12. Aaron Thompson, LHP
13. A.J. Morris, RHP
14. Brad Meyers, LHP
15. Josh Smoker, LHP

My quibbles…

I think it’s a stretch to include Maxwell – He just turned 26 and has been riding the AAA shuttle long enough for us to know he’s most likely a backup OF. In his place, I’d put Tom Milone, though not maybe at the same slot. I just have a hard time not believing that Milone, the youngest pitcher at AA since Balester, doesn’t merit being included in the Top 15.

I’d also flip-flop Marrerro and Espinosa. I know Chris is just 21, but I sincerely doubt he’ll ever be good enough defensively and if the power that he showed in A- in early ’07 doesn’t come back (I think it will), then he’ll be a Casey Kotchman bat with an Adam Dunn glove. Espinosa, on the other hand, is correctly ahead of Desmond because I believe he already has two MLB-ready skills: fielding and strike-zone judgment, and those skills will eventually allow him to pass Desmond on the depth charts.

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8 Responses to Minor League Baseball Analyst Ranks Washington #17

  1. Bob_in_Manassas says:

    Sue: I’m with you on both Milone & Espinosa. Milone is one of those guys who ‘just gets batters out’, and Espinosa has a good glove, a sharp eye at the plate, and just strikes me as a solid baseball player.

    The Kobernus ranking seems a bit too high, with so little time in pro ball, but what do I know – I didn’t see him in college.

  2. Mark L. says:

    Sue,
    Please elaborate on King and the lurking father. I’m a regular reader on DFA and I still don’t know. Thanks. I keep getting the feeling that if this kid ever grows up, he would move pretty fast. Thanks.

  3. suedinem says:

    Mark L.

    For his father, you need only read through the comments on this post from NFA to get a feel for what I meant:
    http://natsfarm.com/2009/10/04/nats-farmhand-stephen-king-suspended-50-games/

    And I was there the night that King did this (hence “react like a spoiled brat”):
    http://thebagofhealthandpolitics.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/a-hot-sun-in-hagerstown/

    My friend in Hagerstown (not the author of the blog) says that King is the nicest kid off the field, but what happened that night wasn’t exactly an aberration (he’s an autograph hound, too, so I presume he’d talked to King while getting his signature).

    What I saw from King’s play were flashes of brilliance on defense and some really decent speed on the basepaths. And I also saw that mouth. I can only hope that his suspension will be wakeup call that gets him to grow up and tap that potential

  4. Mark L. says:

    Thanks, Sue.

  5. Toast says:

    Sue,
    You stated that Milone was the youngest pitcher at AA since Balester? I thought Milone was at High A all last year. Are you just assuming he will start the year at AA? I do agree 100% with your assessment of him.

  6. suedinem says:

    Toast,
    At the end of the season, I had a brief conversation with Tom and he said that the club expects him to start at Harrisburg. Good catch, because it’s certainly possible — though I sure as hell hope not — that Strasburg could start the season at AA, too.

  7. manoppello says:

    Stick to baseball. Just the facts. You’d be better off.

  8. Darrick Vian says:

    Awesome Blog, Mate! I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting sports sites and posts… which is what led me here. I certainly plan on visiting again! See Ya

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