Monday, February 28, 2011

Prospect Profile: Daniel Fields

Profile: OF - 6'2" - 200lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• Hit: 35-55
• Power: 40-65
• Eye: 45-60
• Range:  50-60
• Hands: 50-60
• Arm: 45-55
• Run: 55-65

Prospect Profile: Casey Crosby

Profile: LHP - 6'5" - 200lbs - BT:R - TH:L - 2011 Age: 22


• FB4 93-95: He's been clocked as high as 97-98 but works at 94. (55-65)
• FB2 91-93: He doesn't command the two-seamer as well as the four-seamer, but it's got plus sink. (50-65)
• SL 85-87: Can get loopy at times, but has plus rotation. (45-60)
• CH 84-85: Still developing, should be solid/average. (40-50)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to Expect From Austin Jackson In 2011

As the Tigers prepared for life without all-star center fielder Curtis Granderson following his off season trade to the Yankees for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke (that also helped net Max Scherzer) last year, they had a need for their new young center fielder to help make up for at least some of the 3.0 WAR performance lost in Granderson's departure.

Asking anyone, much less a 23 year old who had posted an OPS of just .759 in AAA the previous season to come up and replace a perennial all-star candidate like Granderson was asking a lot. Yet Jackson would manage to do all of that and more in 2010. Jackson had a phenomenal rookie season with the Tigers, providing the team with a solid on base percentage and plus speed out of the leadoff spot while simultaneous playing strong defense in center field, and somehow managing to help fans forget about Granderson by providing much of the same "ooh and ahh factor" that Granderson took with him to New York. In fact, the 3.8 WAR posted by Jackson as a rookie was better than all but one of Granderson's seasons.

In His Own Words: Casey Crosby

It's been awhile since I posted responses to a player interview, so today seems like as good a time as any for another. Top Tigers prospect Casey Crosby was good enough to take some time to answer so questions about his upbringing, Tommy John surgery, recovery and subsequent issues as well as pitching in general.

AL Central Injury Updates

- Jake Peavy is looking to be ahead of schedule. Throughout the off season the consensus has been that Peavy likely wouldn't be ready to go until early May. Then a couple weeks ago we started hearing Pitching Coach Don Cooper suggesting that Peavy could come back sooner than anticipated.

The Nightly Note

This evening my fiance and I took our daughter out to a wonderful little play area near where we live. The cost of admission was reasonable - six dollars I think - and our child loved it. She got to run around playing with the other kids, jumping in the inflatable bouncer-thing, climbing and sliding. All the while you could hear the yells and shrieks of happy kids. I of course did little, opting to try and sit back and let my daughter pursue this new world on her own. It's not that I didn't care, but I felt it important for her to wander off on her own a bit, to build the confidence that she could indeed play by herself without the constant need to have the security of mom or dad at arms length.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Indians Sign Chad Durbin

Every year there are a few players who over-play their off-season hand, holding out for the one team that will up their bid and land them a big payday. For a lot of players, that strategy backfires and they end up signing for far less than they were hoping for. The Indians have already landed one such player in Orlando Cabrera on a one year, one million dollar deal that will help shore up their infield.

Afternoon In The Central

Apologies for a slow writing day yesterday - I think it was the first time in a long time I legitimately had writers block. Hopefully I can get back on track today.

- The big news out of Cleveland in recent days has been the Indians signing of Chad Durbin. It's looked likely for awhile now, but it's finally official. Durbin leaves the Phillies for the Indians where he'll make 800k in 2011 and should help solidify the Indians 2011 'pen. I'll have plenty more on this soon enough.

- Let's Go Tribe has a weekend sixpack.

- Tony over at Indians prospect Insider is one of my favorite writers, and along with Alan Ciammiachella gives the Indians the best prospect reporting duo for any of the AL central teams. As always, he's been busy cranking out one scouting report after another. Over the past week he's given us reports on Zach Putnam (#21), Abner Abreu (#22), Giovanny Urshela (#23), Matt Packer (#24), Josh Judy (#25), and Jordan Henry (#26).

He also has a list of the remaining options for players on the 2011 40-man roster. Since, you know, everything else wasn't enough.

- At The Cleveland Fan, Paul Cousineau writers that Sizemore still matters and Nino Colla has an AL Central Outlook.

- With so many high level prospects knocking on the door, Royals GM has hinted that he isn't worried about bringing the kids up early just to avoid allowing them to reach Super-Two status. Clint Scoliny has another idea for keeping some of the young Royals cost effective over the long-term. Give them the Evan Longoria treatment and sign them to long-term deals really, really early.

- At Royally Speaking, Jeff Parker laments new Manager Ned Yost's seeming fondness for Chris Getz.

- Lots of good stuff over at Southside Sox including Juan Pierre's incredible workout habits, an interview with relief prospect Anthony Carter,  and a review of Mark Buehrle's opening days starts as he prepares to make his 9th.

- Mike Engel has his review of #3 Royals prospect Mike Moustakas.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What to Expect From Edwin Jackson In 2011

Every player in baseball has the ability to both dazzle and frustrate fans to varying degrees. That's true regardless of whether the player being discussed is Mark Teahan or Shin-Soo Choo. Still there are precious few players in the game who have the ability to so consistently tantalize a fanbase with their proximity stardom as Edwin Jackson.

Jackson has spent a career on the cusp, almost mocking the baseball gods with his mid 90s fastball that has always generated plus movement, a hard sharp slider that can dart away from the bats of righties and get under the swings of lefties, and a parachute changeup. Jackson is arguably one of the most talented pitchers in all of baseball. I would imagine that there are pitchers who would give a non-essential body-part to have his stuff. Despite all that talent however, Jackson has remained implacable.

The Nightly Note(s)

Part One

So I was driving home from the gym this evening when it occurred to me that I'm a really boring writer. Ok, maybe it didn't just occur to me, it's actually something that I've known and written about quite recently. Still, it's become a predominant and unshakable theme in my thoughts about writing.

"I'm a bad writer." 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Late Night In The Central

It was a big day for the Tigers today as Miguel Cabrera finally spoke with the media in regards to his latest alcohol related incident. Cabrera was unsurprisingly, apologetic and remorseful. The bullet points of the session were that Cabrera was sorry, would ask for the forgiveness of his teammates on an individual basis, and by far most importantly, has been working with Major League Baseball as well as the Tigers to develop a plan in conjunction with his doctors to continue to address his problems.

There is plenty of good analysis of the subject throughout the Tigers blogosphere including opinions from Kurt Mensching, Alli Hagen, and John Parent.

- Also worth checking out are Austin Drake's interviews with Tigers Minor Leaguers Daniel Fields, Danny Worth, Brandon Douglas, and Zach Simons. Kudos to Austin for those gets, good reads all.

- James Chipman has begun contributing to Motor City Bengals (the aforementioned John Parent's website) and his first post is a good one, choc full of pictures and videos taken from down in Lakeland.

- I intend to spend some time talking about the Royals catching situation at some point in the near future, and the subject of Salvador Perez will certainly come up. In the meantime, Craig Brown has a good write up of his own on Perez.

- The Wire is hands down my favorite TV show of all time, and it's really not even close. So anytime someone can cleverly combine baseball, which is my favorite subject, with my favorite show, well, that's a winner in my book.

- Will McDonald has a really good write up on what to expect from Wilson Betemit in 2011. Betemit if you'll recall had a pretty outstanding 2011, though it was in limited action.

- Over at Kings of Kauffman Mike Engel continues working like a madman, churning out one impressive prospect scouting report after another. Most recently those have included Brett Eibner (#10), Christian Colon (#9), Jake Odorizzi (#8), Danny Duffy (#7), Chris Dwyer (#6), Mike Montgomery (#5), and John Lamb (#4).

- Over at Southside Sox they break down the AL Central Center Fielders.

- At Twinkie Town Jesse Lund did his annual interview with Twins Assistant General Manager Rob Antony and, as always, it's an absolute must-read for anyone even remotely interested in Twins baseball or "The Twins Way."It's a pretty long read so settle in with your favorite beverage, a bowl of popcorn and enjoy.

- Over at North Dakota Twins fan, Cody Christie has been writing a ton and has a few good new posts up, all worth checking out. They include thoughts on Tsuyoshi Nishioka as well as Alexi Casilla, and when top prospect Miguel Sano can realistically expect to reach the Majors.

- Nick Nelson writes about the Twins need to protect all-star catcher Joe Mauer.

Prospect Profile: Nick Weglarz

 Profile: OF - 6'3" - 240lbs - BT:L - TH: L - 2011 Age: 23


• Hit: 35-40
• Power: 55-65
• Eye: 55-65
• Range:  40-40
• Hands: 50-50
• Arm: 45-45
• Run: 30-30

An Early Look At The Royals Bullpen

Almost every team heads into a season with one or two bullpen positions up for grabs, and in the Royals case, that number is probably closer to four. The teams used a total of 19 relievers in 2010, and racked up the worst bullpen ERA in the American League last year. In short, the unit was a disaster.

Obviously the bullpen will be anchored by Joakim Soria who is one of baseballs five best - and probably it's most unheralded - closers. Setting him up will be Robinson Tejada, a solid if unspectacular middle reliever with swing and miss stuff and control issues. Also likely to be in the bullpen is Blake Wood who had a solid showing in his rookie campaign last year and profiles as a ground ball, pitch to contact middle reliever.

Indians Payroll Estimate: 2/24/2011

This estimate reflects only players who are currently under team control for the 2011 seasons and those that follow. It does not include any speculation on players who will be signed via free agency or those who will be acquired via trade. This list will change as the off season progress, and players are acquired, or lost.

Nightly Note

I haven't done this in awhile, mostly because of my vacation, but also because I spent last night out with some friends. Good times were had, alcohol was consumed.

With that out of the way, there is some news to announce... I've been brought on by Baseball Digest to serve as a Senior Writer in charge of their AL Central Content. Cool right? Of course it is. I'm not 100% certain on what you're going to see there but it will be new original content. It's my understanding that I'll be responsible for two posts per week and they can be on whatever I'd like, though they do have some formatting guidelines they'd like me to work within.  I'll be doing some topic/opinion stuff and of course there will be some link lists. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prospect Profile: Jason Knapp

Profile: RHP - 6'5" - 235lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• FB 93-95: He can reach back for 97-99 but his command and movement are much better here. (50-70)
• CV 81-83: Inconsistent but occasionally very good 12-6 action tight rotation. (45-65)
• CH 84-86: Needs work but flashes above average (40-55)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WAR Explained

What is WAR?

Throughout the decades, baseball fans have sought to quantify a players value. Batting average, runs batted in, home runs, wins, losses... all metrics that have throughout the years been used to measure a players performance. As the years have gone on, new metrics like runs, earned run average, and stolen bases have been added to the lexicon.

Over the past few decades however, the desire to properly assign value to a players performance has been driven forward by leaps and bounds. Today, one of the easiest ways to value any player, fielder or pitcher, is a metric called Wins Above Replacement, or WAR.

Morning In The Central

I've been gone for a long time, so lets get my writing started again with something easy - lets link to other peoples writing!

- Over at Let's Go Tribe they compare the talent levels of 2003/2004 to 2010. They also take a stab at the Indians perplexing second base situation where the team has far too many players for one positions.

- Nino Colla over at The Cleveland Fan has an excellent Tribe spring training primer. For those looking for a quick and dirty over view of what the team will be looking at this spring, it's highly recommended.

Also at The Cleveland Fan, you'll find Alan Ciammaichella's Indians Top-50 prospects. I've plugged this list time and again, and now I'm doing it again. His work is really top-notch so be sure to stop over and read up.

- Jason Kendall has become quite the Twitter punch-line in the last 24 hours after unloading on a reporter who was trying to ask a pretty benign question to Mike Moustakas. It's pretty hilarious stuff with Kendall making quite the ass of himself. #rewindyourself

- Jeff Parker of Royally Speaking did something almost inexplicable, he took a couple days off, but chipped in with a beauty on Yuniesky Betancourt and RBI. It's a good piece with some fun background from his old writing days. As always, his work is a must-read.

- Steve Adams has a good piece up at 612Sports asking the question, Is Delmon Young Part Of The Twins Future? He's good enough to link back to my work covering his arbitration signing, so that's gotta count for something, right? Personally I expect he will be, but Adams has some good points, and with the incredible outfield depth in the Twins system, it's at least plausible that the Twins could let him walk after 2012.

- When the Twins didn't sign Francisco Liriano to a long-term deal this spring, it surprised quite a few people and the subsequent and overblown fears about a potential trade sent the Twins blogosphere into a tizzy. But with Liriano having shoulder soreness this spring and reportedly checking into camp out of shape, people are now questioning his work ethic. Phenomenal Twins blogger Nick Nelson has a very well written piece discussing the whole ugly situation.

- Parker Hageman has a great piece that should help unravel the mystery that is the Twins new middle infielder, Tsuyoshi Nishioka. He's also got a great notes section with thoughts on all sorts of Twins spring training news.

- Southside Sox is running a really cool series comparing the three AL Central contenders by WAR broken down by hitters and pitchers. Part one, the hitters, is available today. Frankly though, there is a on of really good new content up over there since I went on break, including breakdowns of the AL Central right fielders and a great spring training preview.

- Over at North Dakota Twins Fan, Cody Christie has been a writing machine, churning out high quality daily Twins content. Be sure to stop over and take a look, you wont be disappointed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prospect Profile: LeVon Washington

Profile: 5'11" - 170lbs - BT:L - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• Hit: 30-60
• Power: 25-45
• Eye: 35-60
• Range:  50-65
• Hands: 50-65
• Arm: 35-40
• Run: 65-70

Friday, February 18, 2011


If you're one of my readers, you're probably wondering why there hasn't been the typically massive amount of content you're probably used to by now. It's because I'm on vacation, and I'm not coming back until late Monday. I might check in with the occasional post, but by-in-large, I'm going to be as far away from a keyboard as possible. Instead, I'll be enjoying a bevy of  exceptional massages, partying, taking a polar plunge, enjoying some amateur MMA fights, and other various and assorted shenanigans.  I'll also be consuming unsafe amounts of alcohol. Thankfully, the party is right outside my hotel, which means I wont be getting behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle.

Stay safe, have fun, enjoy baseball, pictures to follow.

PS: IF you need me... I mean really, really need me!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Miguel Cabrera News

It probably hasn't been an ideal start to your Thursday if your a Tigers fan. As dozens upon dozens of media outlets have surely made you aware by now, Miguel Cabrera has been arrested on a DUI charge. Obviously this isn't Cabrera's first run-in with alcohol related issues - he infamously had a physical altercation with his wife after drinking during the stretch run of the 2009 season. The Tigers would collapse down the stretch, blowing a significant division lead to the Twins, and lose in an epic 163rd game.

Following the 2009 debacle, Cabrera checked himself into rehab and got help, admitting, "My drinking was a problem..." The flip side to all of that negativity was his resurgence in 2010. A slimmed down, and reportedly sober Cabrera would go on to have an MVP-worthy season, posting a .328/.420/.622 triple slash line, nearly single handedly keeping the Tigers relevant with a 6.2 WAR season.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Nightly Note

Whenever I engage in a topical conversation or debate, one thing I considered important, vital, essential, is that you provide intelligent rationale and support your assertions with data when possible. I believe that to do anything less dilutes your credibility, be it as a writer, a politician, student, or employee.

In doing so you're giving others the opportunity to cross check your work. It's easy to make a claim:

"Player x is better than player B..."
"Franklin Roosevelt saved America from the great depression..."
"My plan will significantly reduced the costs to the taxpayer..."

Royals Payroll Estimate: 2/16/2011

This estimate reflects only players who are currently under team control for the 2011 seasons and those that follow. It does not include any speculation on players who will be signed via free agency or those who will be acquired via trade. This list will change as the off season progress, and players are acquired, or lost.

Tigers Payroll Estimate: 2/16/2011

This estimate reflects only players who are currently under team control for the 2011 seasons and those that follow. It does not include any speculation on players who will be signed via free agency or those who will be acquired via trade. This list will change as the off season progress, and players are acquired, or lost.

White Sox Payroll Estimate: 2/16/2011

This estimate reflects only players who are currently under team control for the 2011 seasons and those that follow. It does not include any speculation on players who will be signed via free agency or those who will be acquired via trade. This list will change as the off season progress, and players are acquired, or lost.

Twins Payroll Estimate: 2/16/2011

This estimate reflects only players who are currently under team control for the 2011 seasons and those that follow. It does not include any speculation on players who will be signed via free agency or those who will be acquired via trade. This list will change as the off season progress, and players are acquired, or lost.

Twins, Young Come To Terms, Avoid Arbitration

It took nearly right up until the deadline, but the Twins and outfielder Delmon Young, one of just four remaining holdouts in all of baseball, have come to terms on a 5.375m contract and avoided arbitration. The deal covers Young's second arbitration season and is for 75,000 less than the mid point of the two offers and 125,000 short of my 5.5m estimate. It's also the final arbitration deal for the AL Central's off season.

Midnight In The Central

What an incredible day of baseball bloggery. So much content from so many great sites and so many talented writers. Let's dive in.

- Over at Southside Sox, Colintj wrote a piece entitled, "Sorry PECOTA, Edwin's For Real." The piece was thought provoking enough, but I disagree with a lot of the premises he seems to be making. Primarily that Edwin Jackson has somehow turned a corner. Did he throw harder with the White Sox? Sure. But we're walking about an 11 game sample size. And as always, Edwin was wildly inconsistent. In his first five starts he went 45K/8BB in 36.2 innings with a .546 OPS against. Incredible work, his best ever even. He then followed it up with 6 starts in which he went 32K/10BB in 38.2IP with a .770 OPS against. And take a look at the schedule he faced (team scoring rank in parentheses); 

BAL (13th)
CLEx2 (12th)
OAK (11th)
KCRx2 (10th)
DETx4 (8th)
BOS (2nd)

So in other words, for five games he was great against some really bad teams. For the next six, he was very much like his old self against some really bad teams.

The lens through which you choose to view Jackson will likely have a lot to do with your personal allegiances, but I've spent too many years trying to buy into Mr. Jackson only to be repeatedly let down to not take any fleeting improvements with anything less than a 10lb bag of salt. Hopefully I'm wrong and he has a great year for the South Siders.

- Also at Southside Sox, lead writer and editor Jim Margalus throws his hat into the ring and ponders whether Paul Konerko can repeat his success of 2010.

- Nick Nelson examines the Twins primary outfield backup plan, propsect Ben Revere.

- Lee Panas handicaps the Tigers opening day second base job, and has Scott Sizemore out in front.

- Over at Royals Authority, Nick Scott discusses the difficulties inherent in trying to replace the production of David DeJesus.

- North Dakota Twins fan has a pair of Twins-bullpen-related posts up. One asking the question of how cautious the team ought to be with Joe Nathan, and another pegging Pat Neshek as the key to the Twins 2011 bullpen.

- There are certain writers I mention a lot, and for good reason. One of them is Alan Ciammiachella and he finally finished up his rundown of the Top-50 Indians prospects. Alan's work is well written, insightful, and thorough.

Going through the process myself for the very first time, I can honestly say it's an incredible grind and those who undertake the process and devote as many words to each player as he does are very impressive writers.

- Not AL Central related at all, but here's a video of Marlins top prospect Logan Morrison taking BP in the Marlins new, but still far from finished stadium. Just from the existing architecture, it looks like it'll be beautiful. And oh the sweet sound of the crack of the bat.

The Nightly Note

Talk about a disappointing day of writing. When I discussed writing being a journey yesterday, days like today are part of that journey. You can set out with noblest of intentions - to be productive and produce thought provoking content, to follow up on all your outstanding obligations - and then for various reasons, fail miserably. In that same piece, I noted that real life can be like baseball in the sense that improving your game means acknowledging your flaws. Well, it also means you're going to have games where you go 1-5 with a bloop single and leave 6 runners in scoring position.

Today was kind of like that for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Prospect Profile: Tony Wolters

Profile: SS - 5'10" - 155lbs - BT:L - TH:R - 2011 Age: 19


• Hit: 30-55
• Power: 25-50
• Eye: 35-60
• Range:  55-60
• Hands: 55-65
• Arm: 60-65
• Run: 50-55

Prospect Profile: Chance Ruffin

Chance Ruffin

Profile: RHP - 6'0" - 185lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22


• FB 91-93: Can locate the pitch well, has good run. (55-60)
• SL 81-83: Good bite, well commanded (60-65)
• CV 76-79: Too slurvy, hitters can pick it up easily. (35-45)
• CH 84-86: Poor differential, doesn't have a great feel for the pitch. (30-40)

Morning In The Central

Ok, it's a really early morning in the Central set of links, but until I get an editor, I still get to choose my own titles, inappropriate as they might be. I trust everyone had a pleasant Valentine's day and survived their Monday's well enough.

I never got around to writing the Chance Ruffin profile I had intended to yesterday so you'll definitely be getting that today, and quite possibly one more profile. Also on the docket will be an examination of how Grady Sizemore and Carlos Guillen are faring in their respective rehabilitations following microfracture surgery and maybe another installment in my Sabermetrics Explained series - I've been wanting to delve into WAR before I start doing my projections for the season, and frankly I need to given how important that will be in my grading.

Not to call out a commenter by any means, but I had the privilege of interacting with one of my readers last night, and while it didn't start out so well, I'm pleased with how our interaction ended. Know this, I'm perfectly happy with criticism, appreciate it even. To some extent, being criticized is how you know you're doing your job well, it's also a great way to help you grow as a writer. Part of being an objective observer and an honest writer means that occasionally you're going to say something that will upset someone. Such was the case last night. To the gentleman/womans credit, they handled themselves with class and integrity, and though we didn't reach a consensus opinion I appreciate that they gave me the opportunity to explain myself further.

That's really all a writer can ask for. 

- The always impressive Seth Stohs covers his list of potential impact prospects for the Twins in 2011. Most of the names will be familiar to Twins fans, but even I was a bit surprised to see Tony Davis on the list. That's digging deep.

- Indians Prospect Insider keeps breaking down their Top-50 with #31 Zach McAllister, the player the Indians got from the Yankees in their mid-season trade of Austin Kearns.

- IPI is one of my favorite Indians sites, but Alan Ciammiachella is one of my favorite Indians writers, and staying on the theme of prospect count downs, he's got two new installments up including prospects 11-15 and prospects 6-10.

- Parker Hageman touches on Scott Baker's recent setback and highlights something I'm usually quicker to point out - that pitchers who deal with minor elbow surgery to clean up loose bodies have a startlingly high tendency to end up having Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter.

He thinks there's good reason for concern, and I for one agree.

- Kirsten Brown has a two part series breaking down something I've been convinced of for some time; that baseball is inherently superior to football.

- David Tokarz of Bless You Boys has his #25 Prospect Profile up, it's Cody Satterwhite.

I realize that's not much, but hopefully it gives you some good stuff to chew over this morning.

Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts, and general tomfoolery. 

Tip-toeing Into A Flavorful World And Grading My Own Writing

Talk about a busy day, I managed to crank out 6 posts yesterday and by my own estimation, they didn't completely suck. Writing has been a journey for me, and as either of my frequent readers might tell you, I'm not all that good at it. I frequently read through my posts and cringe at some of the sentences I put together, or the occasional spelling blunder or typo - and let's not even get into my grammar. Simply put, I'm just not that talented as a writer, and for those of you who are kind enough to read my work once and come back for more, thank you so much for dutifully suffering my inadequacies.

But in real life, as in baseball, the most important part of improving is acknowledging those flaws in the first place. Then working diligently on improving them. If I were to grade my writing abilities on the 20-80 scale they might read something like this;

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chris Sale And The Implications Of A Four-Man Rotation

Having taken a look at the schedule, Manager Ozzie Guillen has decided that he'll try and go with a four man rotation to open the season. His team has off days on April 4th and April 14th which should allow him to easily keep his four other projected opening day starters on their regular rest cycle. He then plans to fill in the rotation with spot starters as needed. Likely candidates for that role would include long man Tony Pena, or minor leaguers Philip Humber or Lucas Harrell.

Twins Sign Felix Jorge

Ben Badler of Baseball America is reporting that the Twins have signed Dominican righty Felix Jorge for $250,000. Jorge became eligible during last years international free agent period which began July 2nd and Baseball America had him projected for the 31st largest bonus international bonus. However Badler states that concerns over inconsistent velocity readings scared teams off. After pitching in the Domincan Propsect League's All-Star game however, it would appear the Twins have decided to take a chance on him.

At 17 years old and standing 6'4" 170lbs, there is plenty of projection left in Jorge. Given time to add bulk and strength, it's likely that he'll add a couple miles per hour to fastball said to currently be in the 88-91mph range. The video included in Badler's report shows a kid with a pretty raw delivery and spotty command. Still, he struck out four of the nine batters he faced in the game and he features a slurvy curveball.

The Twins have done a good job developing raw Latin pitchers and along with some of their other recent signings helps reinforce their presence in the nation where, until recently, they hadn't been as active as some other teams.

Afternoon In The Central

It's gorgeous here in Minnesota again, 40 degrees with some sun and snow melt pouring onto the streets. Feels like spring. I've also successfully completed a stomach altering trade with Chipotle for a barbacoa burrito. Chipotle will receive cash considerations and a player to be named later.

And of course for all you love birds out there, happy Valentine's Day. Feel free abuse your Visas at will.

- I'm constantly prowling through Central-land in search of new blogs and this afternoon I came across Tigers Amateur Analysis. With 200 posts in each of the last two years, Erin is clearly working hard and pumping out a lot of content.

- The AL Central FanSided blogs have finally - at long last, and after a protracted 3rd base run off vote - reached a consensus on position players for it's AL Central all-star team. Unless the rules stipulated that each team needed to have at least one representative, it would seem to me that Adam Dunn got hosed. If the rules did stipulate that, then Butler was the only logical choice.

- One area of the AL Central blogosphere that I have done a poor job exploring has been the Indians realm. That's not on purpose of course, my internet travels just haven't led me in that direction enough. Today I try and fix that.

To open, I'll start with the work of Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe who has done a phenomenal job with his website and is producing perhaps the best Indians content anywhere. The writing is exceptional, the analysis is spot-on, and the posts are frequent. It'll definitely be a part of my daily reading from now on. A must bookmark if you're an Indians fan.

- I'll also give some love The Tribe Daily. They don't quite live up to the name, but it's a site worth checking out all the same. One thing author Nino Colla really has going is a fantastic list of roster information and payroll data. 

- Kings Of Kauffman keeps counting down their Top-25 prospects, today it's diminutive lefty Tim Collins.

- Tigers mainstay Bless You Boys is bringing on a new writer, Matthew LaFave. I'm sure it'll be another fantastic acquisition for their site and I wish him nothing but the best with them.

Speaking of adding writers, I've been kicking around the idea of trying to bring another voice into the fold here at CiF. We'll see if I actually decide to do anything with that. But if you're interested, let me know by dropping a line at

- A great take on the Chris Sale situation now that the White Sox have decided to work with a four-man rotation to open the season from Southside Sox. A subject I really need to expound on myself in the near future.

Prospect Profile: Drew Smyly

Drew Smyly

Profile: OF - 6'3" - 190lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 22


• FB2 89-91: Good arm side run with sink. Well commanded. (55-60)
• CT 87-88: Good bite, well commanded (55-60)
• CV 77-78: Can break off a strong offering now and then. (45-50)
• CH 84-86: Needs to improve velocity differential. (35-40)

Late Night In The Central

- This is going to be spraying mace in the the eyes of Royals fans, but Tony Pena Jr is making a comeback... as a reliever. But don't worry Royals fans, Dayton Moore hasn't signed him yet, he's in the Red Sox camp this spring.

- I'm ashamed I haven't caught onto this site sooner, but Clint Scoles is doing some really amazing work covering the Royals at his blog 14 for 77. I'd definitely recommend heading over there and reading some of his work. I'll also be adding it to my recommended reading.

- Still more on the Liriano craziness as a pair of my favorite Twins writers, Nick Nelson and Phil Mackey weigh in with sound analysis and especially in Nelson's case, just really engaging writing. 

- Former White Sox executive David Wilder has plead guilty to charges that he skimmed bonuses from Dominican signees.

The Indians Aren't Going to Lose The AL Central Because Of Their Payroll

Paul Hoynes is a very good beat writer for the Indians and in general, I love and appreciate his work. But in his latest piece, filled with the typical feel-good quotes from folks within the organization that are typical of every team at this time of the year, he seems to insinuate that the Indians are going to have difficulty competing because of the payroll disparity that exists between them and the three front runners for the division crown.

Hoynes is good enough to point out that the Twins won the division six times in the past decade, and in none of those years was the biggest spender in the division. In fact, for at least five of those six division crowns, they weren't even particularly close - and for what it's worth, they opened last year still trailing the Tigers by nearly 40 million.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Evening In The Central

First and far most importantly, happy first day of spring training everyone, it's not quite the greatest day of the year - but it's awfully close. That first day when pitchers and catchers report is like a beacon that lets everyone know baseball is near. If you're a fan of an AL Central team, odds are you're living somewhere that's still pretty cold, and will still be pretty cold for another month. But even though we aren't there, we know that somewhere, catchers mitts are popping again and that salvation from our seemingly endless winter purgatory is at hand. And since Aaron Gleeman - one of my inspirations for writing about baseball - has already done it best, let me just remind everyone, here comes the sun.

Secondly, I apologize for the lack of content around here recently. I spent a couple days this weekend with my fiance enjoying some kid-free time to ourselves. Yes it was lovely. However, I also missed writing terribly and it took an enormous amount of will-power to keep from constantly checking in various websites. I think this is probably a good thing, it means that despite the significant (heck, insane) amount of time I invest into this website, it's still a passion. Yeah, that's a good thing.

But I'm back now and I should be cranking out content in bulk again. I'm still only about half way through my prospect profiles so there is still a lot of work for me to do with those and you'll continue to see one or two a day along with hopefully at least one links post. I'm also anxiously awaiting the Twin signing of Delmon Young, which would mean that baring any new acquisitions, all five teams have essentially finalized their rosters which will allow me to get my second-to-last set of payroll estimates for all five teams up. I'll do one more set right before the season gets under way that will provide you with exact opening day information.

- As I just got done saying, opening day is a really exciting time. A time when fans of teams who's season looks bleak, and even the guys on the field who's season is likely to be bleak, can be excited. It's also a time when fans find out whether all important facial hair superhero's will still be sporting their trademark looks.

- Over at Kings Of Kauffman, they've got a couple profiles up for prospects Jeremy Jeffress and Louis Coleman, both of whom could make an impact in the Royals 2011 bullpen.

- Messing with a kid like this just isn't fair. Ironically, in the event a central team were to acquire Michael Young, I think my general reaction would be the same. While there has been some speculation about where Young might land - the Twins were one of the eight teams not on his no-trade list - there is really no reason anyone should want him. A 34 year old with a career .795 OPS and 48m (16m per annum) remaining on his  contract, he's one of the most outrageously overpaid players in the game.The guys over at The Detroit Tigers Weblog offer a good rationale for why bringing Young in makes so little sense. So does Austin Drake of Detroit Tigers Scorecard.

- If you read my site regularly, you know that I give regular shout-outs to Jeff Parker of Royally Speaking, well, I'm continuing the trend today. I'll stop as soon as his good work does. And given that he's headed into his 4th year of blogging, I'm guessing that won't be any time soon. Most recently he breaks down the Royals rotation candidates by WAR.

If somehow you're a Royals fan (or fan of the Central) and his site isn't bookmarked yet, remedy that situation quickly.

- Remember when I took exception to Dave Dombrowski trading away Armando Galarraga? Well, over at Old English D, they hit on at least part of the reason why. I like Andrew Oliver a lot and think he'll be a very solid starter someday, but odds are he's not there just yet. Unfortunately, he's probably the best option the Tigers have in the event of an injury to their rotation.

- I've already spoke my piece on the issue, but now one of my favorite Indians authorities checks in with their thoughts on the Orlando Cabrera acquisition.

- I'm one of a handful of contributors to a site called, which is a great catch-all site for fans of Minnesota sports and I highly recommend it. In a bit of a unique post, Andrew Bryz-Gornia suggests the Twins should place a waiver claim on the Red Sox recently designated Robert Coello.

- Hold on, what? Kurt Menchsing does a link list and I'm not on it? Hrumph. #snubbed

Did I miss anything amazingly cool? Make sure to let me know.

Prospect Profile: Jacob Petricka

Profile: OF - 6'5" - 170lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 23


• FB 94-95: A thrower of the first order, can hit high 90's, rumored to have hit 100 (40-60)
• CV 77-80: Humps the pitch, needs a lot of work. (30-50)
• CH 85-87: Telegraphed (30-40)

Prospect Profile: Brandon Short

Profile: OF - 6'1" - 195lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22


• Hit: 40-50
• Power: 35-45
• Eye: 35-45
• Range:  50-50
• Hands: 60-60
• Arm: 45-45
• Run: 50-50

Friday, February 11, 2011

Morning In The Central

- Came across a new White Sox Blog to check out, My Sox Are White.

- There was all kind of discussion yesterday about the Twins possibly trading Francisco Liriano. As a rule, I try not to speculate about transactions, far too often it's an exercise in futility. But that doesn't mean there wasn't all kinds of great discussion about it from around the Twins blogosphere. If you're into that kind of thing, be sure to check it out. Recommended links are for Parker Hageman, Andrew Bryz-Gornia, and Jesse Lund... and now the great Seth Stohs chimes in.

- Lee Panas at Tigers Tales gives out a good tool for measuring Weighted Component ERA. What is that you ask? Head over to the site to check it out.

- More analysis of the Indians signing of Orlando Cabrera at Let's Go Tribe and Tony Lastoria of Sports Time Ohio.

- Continued Indians prospect countdowns from Alan Ciammiachella, and Tony of Indians Prospect Insider.

- Royals Review has a good preview for Jeff Francis. I've got high hopes for him and hopefully he has a good year which would help to stabilize a rotation that could be very, very bad. There is also a good piece there about outfielders the Royals should target.

That's it for now, if you think of anyone else deserving of a link today, be sure and let me know!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prospect Profile: Oswaldo Arcia

Profile: OF - 6'0" - 210lbs - BT:L - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• Hit: 40-60
• Power: 45-60
• Eye: 30-50
• Range:  60-60
• Hands: 60-60
• Arm: 55-55
• Run: 60-60

Indians Sign Orlando Cabrera

*Update* Contract is for 1.0m.

*Update* It's a MLB contact (still no word on the terms) which means the Indians will need to drop someone from the 40-man roster. My guess as to who will be dropped remains unaffected. 

No details yet but the Indians have acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera. The Indians are actually pretty well set in the middle with Asdrubal Cabrera at short and a bevy of options including Luis Valbuena, or Jason Donald who are already on the MLB roster, and Jason Kipnis, or Cord Phelps in the minors.

Prospect Profile: Chris Dwyer

Profile: LHP - 6'3" - 210lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 23


• FB 91-92: Gets flat when he leaves it up but he can reach back for 94. (40-55)
• CV 78-79: Very good 12-6 action with refined feel. (65-70)
• CH 83-84: Needs work but flashes average (40-50)

Morning Link Roundup

- More good news for Twins fans following on the heels of yesterdays positive update on Justin Morneau - Joe Nathan is already throwing off a mound and working in his breaking stuff too. Good to know the arm still works. Of course, throwing off a mound is one thing, throwing it well is something all together different. Still, it's better than the alternative.

- Speaking of rehab updates, the White Sox Jake Peavy is also working off a mound. It's a bit different than the Nathan situation in that Nathan is coming back from an injury that is well known - Peavy's detached lattisimus dorsi muscle is brand new ground. Now, I'm not a doctor and I've never played one on TV, but I hope for his sake the recovery process is smooth.

- Alan Ciammiachella (who's last name I'll never memorize) is out with the latest update in his Top-50 Indians prospects countdown with numbers 21-30. He does really amazing work and I always advise people to read him daily.

- Austin Alonzo at Kings Of Kauffman examines the Royals catching situation.

- SouthSideSox keeps running down the Central Division, position-by-position. The latest: Left Fielders.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Prospect Profile: Aaron Crow

Profile: RHP - 6'3" - 190lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 24


• FB 92-94: Solid movement when he doesn't get behind his body, poor command. (45-65)
• SL 85-86: Good lateral and horizontal movement, not well commanded. (50-70)
• CH 84-85: Needs work but flashes average (40-55)

Indians Sign Kevin Calderon

A minor deal today as the Indians signed 16 year old catcher Kevin Calderon out of the Dominican Republic for $80,000. The Indians made the move after Calderon participated in the newly formed Dominican Prospect League's all-star game. Unfortunately, I don't have much to tell you about him as I haven't seen any video and obviously he hasn't played any professional baseball yet.
Reports describe him as an offensive first catcher with a good arm and quick release. How he'll play offensively is anyone's guess until more information is available. What we do know is that he'll likely open the season playing in the Dominican Summer League before transitioning to the United States and the Rookie Leagues.

He's a long ways away from the Majors at this point and clearly a long-shot to reach, but if his defense can play, he'll always have a chance.


Paul Hoynsie has some info.

Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.

Prospect Profile: Brett Eibner

Brett Eibner

Profile: OF - 6'4" - 210lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22


• Hit: 40-50
• Power: 45-60
• Eye: 35-45
• Range:  50-50
• Hands: 50-55
• Arm 65-65
• Run: 45-55

Link Roundup

- A few days ago I made a point of highlighting the great work friend of CiF Josh Duggan was doing over at Royalscentricity - today I'll also point out the great writing of Jeff Parker at Royally Speaking. Today he's got a really great article about Alex Gordon up. Highly recommend checking it out.

If those two Royals Blogs aren't on your bookmarks list, they should be.

- The incredible Seth Stohs has a really good post about the Twins Kyle Gibson and why, despite the fact he may be ready from day one, the Twins would be wise to wait with him. Seth is a brilliant prospect mind and one of personal favorite writers/people. The piece is a cautionary tale to everyone about how, despite all the promise, even the best prospects need time to adjust to the Major Leagues, usually multiple years and how going slow with them is always a prudent strategy.

- A positive Justin Morneau update from Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.

- I could promote this website every day of my natural born life and still fail to do it justice. The folks over at Indians Prospect Insider continue to churn out tons of high quality scouting reports. Over the past week they've profiled seven players - prospects #40-#34. Robbie Aviles (#36 on their list) is one guy I have my eye on.

- Nothing unexpected, but Indians phenom Carlos Santana has been cleared to play ball again.

- Beyond the Boxscore (where friend of CiF Dave Gershman writes) has a very good post up ranking the AL Central rotations. I'd probably flip the Twins with the White Sox, but I certainly understand their rationale.

- Kevin Pajor with his first post as lead writer for Southside Showdown on Carlos Quentin. Certainly wish Charles the best in his venture with, a really solid network of sports blogs.

Did I miss something really good? Let me know about it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Prospect Profile: Avisail Garcia

Profile: RF - 6'3" - 190lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• Hit: 35-55
• Power: 35-50
• Eye: 35-45
• Range:  60-60
• Hands: 55-65
• Arm: 65-65
• Run: 65-65

Prospect Profile: Joe Gardner

Profile: 6'5" - 220lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 23


• FB4 91-93: Straight and tough for righties to pick up due to his cross-fire action. (45-55)
• SNK 89-91: Hard with heavy sink and solid command. (55-65)
• SL 82-83: Tougher on righties just due to his release point. Doesn't generate enough depth to be effective vs lefties yet. (40-50)
• CH 84-85: Needs work across the board (35-50)

Link Roundup

- ESPN's Jerry Cranick has handed out his AL Centrals off season grades. Without saying too much, the grades are Tigers B+, White Sox B, Royals B-, Twins C, and Indians D. Can't say I disagree with much of that.

- Filling the gap between ERA and FIP - a great post by Lee Panas over at Tiger Tales.

- Josh Duggan of Royals Centricty calls the Pedro Feliz signing a 'non-story.' If you read my review, you'll know I'm inclined to agree. Still, it's a good read.

- Over at Lets Go Tribe, they have a post in defense of David Huff.

Have anything else you want to recommend? Let me know about it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prospect Profile: Trayce Thompson

Profile: 6'3" - 195lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


• Hit: 35-45
• Power: 50-70
• Eye: 30-40
• Range:  50-55
• Hands: 55-65
• Arm: 65-65
• Run: 50-55

Link Roundup

Doing a daily link roundup is an idea I've kicked around for awhile, and frankly, it should be one of the easiest things in the world to do. I've just never stuck with it for some reason. Today is the day I start... for real this time.

• Over at Bless You Boys, the fantastic David Tokarz has posted his list of the Top-30 Tigers prospects. It's a quality list and with a few exceptions, I'm in agreement with his rankings.

• In case you hadn't heard, there is a brand new sports blog network out there - the G9 network. It's a group of all female bloggers, and one of them is Allison Hagen who runs the Tigers blog, No Run Support. It's a great blog with near daily updates and in one of her most recent updates, she was good enough to link back to my write up of Jacob Turner. Many thanks to her for being a friend of Central In Focus.

• Jerry Holt is yet another in the Twins stable of impressive bloggers and runs the appropriately named, The Baseball Blog. He has his Top-20 Twins prospects for 2011 posted and his picks are interesting with Ben Revere and Kyle Waldrop surprisingly high, and Miguel Sano surprisingly low. This just highlights how no two prospect evaluators are the same. People will rate players high or lower for a bevy of reasons.

If you're a Royals fan, be sure to stop by Kings Of Kauffman and read up on Mike Engle's breakdowns on the teams top 25 prospects. Good reads.

• One more site I want to highlight - and they've really done some incredible work in the past - is Indians Prospect Insider. If you are an Indians fan of any level - or if you're at all interested in their system - this is THEE #1 site to check out. Their work there is absolutely phenomenal and is a first stop for me whenever I need further information on any Indians prospect.

Prospect Profile: Dayan Viciedo

Profile: 5'11" - 240lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22


• Hit: 40-50
• Power: 60-70
• Eye: 25-35
• Range:  40-45
• Hands: 45-50
• Arm: 60-65
• Run: 40-40

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Prospect Profile: Danny Duffy

Profile:  6'3" - 195lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 22


FB 92-94: One of the hardest throwing lefties you'll find, could add movement, improve command (55-70)
CV 70-72: Gets good depth - needs to throw harder with tighter rotation and break. (45-55)
CH 84-85: Can parachute the pitch at times - could be plus. (50-65)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Twins, Liriano Come To Terms, Avoid Arbitration

A little over a week ago I wrote that I was confident the Twins were working on an extension for team ace Francisco Liriano. Then a couple days ago we learned via Seth Stohs, that the Twins had decided to go year-to-year with Liriano. Today, it's official - the team and it's ace have come to an agreement on a one year, 4.3m contract, 200k less than my 4.5m estimate. It's the second arbitration contract where the team and player have met in the exact middle of their two proposals.

In signing Liriano to a one year deal instead of trying to extend their ace, the Twins are protecting themselves from the risk associated with a long-term deal for a pitcher with one of baseball's more violent deliveries. They're also subjecting themselves to a fairly substantial risk of having to pay more for an extension should Liriano remain healthy and equally or even more effective which his peripherals suggest is a strong possibility. There's also a chance that Liriano, knowing he's just one year from a possible massive free agent payout could opt to eschew negotiations until after the 2012 season and instead test free agency.

The signing leaves Delmon Young as the last remaining arbitration candidate for the Twins or any other AL Central team. I'll have updated payroll information for all five teams once that signing is complete.

Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.

Prospect Profile: Christian Colon

Profile: 5'11" - 180lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 22


• Hit: 40-60
• Power: 35-45
• Eye: 40-50
• Range:  55-65
• Hands: 60-65
• Arm: 60-60
• Run: 50-50

Prospect Profile: Adrian Salcedo

Profile: 6'4" - 175lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


FB 90-93: Late run, well commanded, could add velocity. (60-70)
SL 81-82: Too slurvy, but gets impressive movement, well commanded for his age. (45-65)
CV 75-77: Lacks ideal velocity, but gets good depth with 11/5 break, flashes plus. (45-65)
CH 83-84: Good late life, needs refinement. (50-60)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Prospect Profile: Jacob Turner

Profile: 6'5" - 210lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20


FB4 92-94: Straight but well commanded with plus velocity (60/65)
SNK 90-92: Good velocity, heavy sink, also well commanded (65/75)
CV 77-79: Inconsistent, but shows signs it could become a plus pitch with good 11/5 depth (55/70)
CH 83-84: Despite having good velocity differential, not as good as expected (50/60)

Prospect Profile: Carlos Gutierrez

Profile: 6'3" - 205lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 24


• FB 94-95: A power sinker that generates massive GB rates, command issues. (65-70)
• SL: Consistency issues, doesn't get great lateral or vertical movement (50-55)
• CH: Show-me pitch (40-45)


Writing a blog can be a lonely experience, especially when you're just starting out. I know that all too well having written here for almost exactly a year now, most days writing for no one but myself and maybe the occasional passer-by or friend. Lately however, I've had the very good fortune of getting some nice links from some friends of CiF. Those links have really helped pump some readership to my site and I deeply appreciate that.

I'd like to take a brief moment to thank some of those folks who have been helping to spread the good word about the work I've been doing here at Central In Focus.

First of all, to Kurt Mensching of Bless You Boys and Jesse Lund of Twinkie Town - two widely read blogs on the SB Nation network, thank you for your fanshots linking to my Daniel Fields interview, it was greatly appreciated and I look forward to delivering more. I'd also like to, thank Detroit Tigers Scorecard and K-Bro Baseball for your sidebar links to my site, they're much appreciated.

To anyone else out there who has helped bring readers to the site, thank you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Twins Decide To Go Year-To-Year With Liriano

Almost exactly one week ago I wrote about what a possible Liriano extension would look like saying,

"I've mentioned more than once that the Twins are likely working on an extension with Francisco Liriano as we speak..."

White Sox Sign Lastings Milledge. Why I like it.

 In a move to shore up their outfield depth, the White Sox have announced they've inked former first round pick and top prospect Lastings Milledge to a Minor League contract that will pay him 500k while he's in the Majors. There are no incentives.

Milledge is a polarizing player; very talented, he was once ranked Baseball America's #9 overall prospect, scouts loved his athleticism, quick hands, and raw power. Unfortunately, as was so often the case with the horribly mismanaged Mets, he was rushed quickly through the Minor Leagues and after just two and a half seasons, found himself exposed to big league pitching at just 21 years of age. Not surprisingly, he got eaten alive.

White Sox, Alexei Ramirez Agree On Contract Extension

Quality shortstops are a precisous and rare commodity in baseball, and outside of the steroid era, they always have been. There were a total of just four shortstops with at least 4 WAR in 2010, 6 in 2009, and 4 in 2008 - and Hanley Ramirez was the only one to be worth at least 4 WAR in each of those seasons. So in the rare event that a team finds a player they feel can provide long-term production at anywhere near that level, it behooves them to do everything within their ability to do just that.

Royals Sign Pedro Feliz

The Royals have plenty of money to spend with the contracts of Zack Grienke and Gil Meche no longer on the books. Today the decided to spend a little bit of it to sign third baseman Pedro Feliz to a Minor League deal.. Feliz had some solid offensive seasons in 2003 and 2004 with the Giants, but his offensive game fell off a cliff thereafter and he hasn't posted an OPS over .710 since 2005. Given that he'll be 36 in 2011, there is also essentially zero chance he turns that around.

Feliz's calling card however has always been his defense. Indeed, he may have been the best defensive third baseman in the game between 2003 and 2007. His defense too has fallen off which is what's expected of someone as they head into their mid-to-late thirties. He's still a solid option at the position however and he can provide depth and maybe serve as a defensive mentor to top prospect Mike Moustakas.

Wilson Betemit remains the likely opening day starter for the 2011 season.


I'm a huge fan of sabermetrics and by extension, I'm a huge fan of one of the fields greatest minds, Tom Tango. Tango is always positing new ideas at his blog, and today he toyed with the idea of something he called 'FutureFIP' (can we call it fFIP?) that is meant to be a better predictor of future performance than regular FIP/xFIP. As Tango notes, FIP was never meant to be a predictor of future performance, even though it does a decent enough job - certainly better than something like ERA.  

Anyways, it's worth checking out if you're a stat-head.

Royals Switch Wil Myers to Outfield

Wil Myers burst onto the prospect scene in 2010 with a monster season split between two levels of A ball and now the Royals have made a decision that should expedite the progress of his bat to the Major League level by switching him away from catcher. The concern for the Royals was that if they had left him at catcher, it would've taken at least three years for his defense - widely considered to be subpar - to be Major League ready. That time line could now potentially be moved to just one or two years depending on how successful he is in 2011. Moving Myers to the outfield will not only speed his progression to the Majors, it will also allow him to play more games, and therefor have a larger overall impact with his bat. Catchers generally need more rest than other players due to the demanding nature of the position, and they're also more susceptible to injury.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Prospect Profile: Cord Phelps

Profile: 6'2" - 200lbs - BT:S - TH:R - 2011 Age: 24


• Hit: 55-65
• Power: 40-50
• Eye: 50-60
• Range:  60-65
• Hands: 65-70
• Arm: 55-60
• Run: 40-40

In His Own Words: Daniel Fields

Obviously I love what I do here at Central In Focus - I enjoy writing about/discussing/analyzing baseball and I think that over the past year and change I've gotten better at all of it. One thing I've always wanted to do however, was to get closer to the players themselves and to try and share that with my readers. With that in mind, I have what will be the first of many player question-and-answer pieces that you'll be seeing this spring.

I hope it makes an interesting new addition to everything else you'll find here, adding some thoughts from professional players to my analysis. A lot of the questions will be fun, some serious, and hopefully at least one or two that are enlightening.

Without further ado, our first player Q and A; Daniel Fields, ranked the 5th best prospect in the Tigers system by Baseball America, the 3rd best by ESPN's Keith Law (and most importantly, a fellow Ken Griffey Jr. fan). Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prospect Profile: Nick Hagadone

Profile: 6'5" - 235lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 25


• FB 92-93: Has shown ability to work higher, but velocity was down somewhat in 2010. (55-70)
• SL 82-83: Flashes plus, needs to be more consistent. (65-70)
• CH 80-81: Same as slider. (60-65)