Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ranking the DFA'd

Yesterday was a big day in baseball, as teams had to decide which prospects they wanted to protect from the Rule 5 draft. This of course leads to players being taken off the 40 man roster to make room. According to MLBDepthCharts, 23 players were DFA'd yesterday. Here is my rankings of the players along with a paragraph on each of them:

1.Adam Moore (Royals): He played in just 4 big league games and just 72 overall in the Majors at age 28 (going to turn 29 in May). They haven't gone real well, and he has really struggled with injuries. Still, he has hit well in the minors, and is still somewhat interesting as 3rd catcher. Probably borderline on whether he is worth claiming, definite minor league contract guy.

2. Scott Cousins (Mariners): Despite having some extreme offensive and contact problems in the Majors, two teams have already thought he was worth enough to claim him (and then of course designated him). The tools make him interesting enough to teams that he will get his chance. Another borderline case, the two DFA's probably makes him a guy that you wouldn't claim. MiLB contract and invite to Spring Training makes sense. What he becomes relies on contact, but he is a possibility as a 5th outfielder (though the skill sets of Felix Pie and Darren Ford, both signed to MiLB contracts by the Pirates, are slightly more attractive).

3. Brayan Pena (Royals): long time back-up catcher, epitome of a replacement player. He is going to turn 31 years old to start the 2012 season. I can't imagine anyone claiming him unless they are just absolutely desperate for catching (he has already played for the Braves in the past, just saying). It seems like he is worth a minor league contract and invite to spring training as a AAA catcher/emergency big leaguer.

4. Derrick Robinson (Royals): Despite posting mainly good peripherals, the 25 year old has never hit very well in the minors. He plays a good centerfield according to some data and he can run really well. The 4th rounder at least has the tools to be an extra outfielder, but it just isn't something the Royals need right now.

5. Chris Volstad (Royals): A frustrating back of the rotation starter, the sinker baller has shown some potential, but doesn't miss many bats, and walks too many batters for his skill set. He has still been an above replacement pitcher and could perhaps eat up some emergency innings (a good infield would help him).

6. Cory Burns (Padres): Burns is interesting because he is 25 and put up some sparkling numbers in the PCL this year. The thing that makes him uninteresting is his well below average velocity and the fact that he is a right-handed reliever. He instead relies mainly on a changeup. It is a good changeup, and it has helped him get both lefties and righties out. We will see if it helps him get out hitters on a consistent basis in the Majors.

7. Zach Stewart (Red Sox): A product of a few different trades, Stewart has found the Majors very rough. In his 103 innings, he has a ridiculous FIP of 7.55 thanks to a low strikeout rate (but low walk rate) and over 2 home runs per 9 innings. With that said, he has a good ground-ball rate (50%), so his SIERA is 3.93, pretty solid. What Stewart actually is obviously somewhere in the middle. He has a mix of pitches  that he can throw in virtually any count (his tendencies aren't very predictable) but he has below average velocity. There is a chance he could be a back of the rotation guy, getting a lot of ground-balls and giving up a lot of contact. He is the kind of guy that could benefit from a pitcher ballpark more than others.

8. Mike McCoy (Blue Jays): McCoy cannot hit at all, but he has played in 170 big league games and has shown that he is a good fielder making him a capable utility man in the minors. He is a great example of why AAA Las Vegas numbers mean nothing, as he has clobbered the ball there, only to be one of the worse hitters in the Majors.

9. Cory Wade (Blue Jays): Wade is an interesting guy as a below average velocity reliever that has had some MLB success. A bounce back season from 2012 is likely, but he isn't a guy with high value.

10. Jim Miller (Athletics): DIPs hasn't been impressed with his short (63.1 innings) MLB career, but the veteran right-handed reliever has decent velocity and solid numbers in AAA. The question is not whether or not he can miss bats, it is whether or not he can limit walks.

11. Vin Mazzarro (Royals): Despite decent to above average velocity, Mazzaro has never really put it together. In now 286 big league innings, he has not proved much at all except that he can be an above replacement pitcher. Still just 26, he relies on basically just his fastball and slider, never really finding a 3rd pitch to get hitters out with. Perhaps a move to the bullpen would help, but it didn't work so well in 2012.

12. Bryan Lahair (Cubs): He turned out to be the AAAA hitter that Theo and company insisted didn't exist after a big start. Several Japanese teams have been looking at him, and the rumor is that he was DFA'd so he could pursue opportunities there (it appears that he has already signed with the Softbank Hawks for 950,000). The 10 % BB/30 % K MLB player seems to work over there for a few different reasons, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him have success there. He is probably better than Wily Mo Pena, as at least statistically he is an above average MLB hitter (obviously the lack of other skills get in the way).

13. Chone Figgins (Mariners): I honestly had no idea where to rank him. He has been so terrible over the last 2 seasons (and he wasn't good the year before), and the chances of him getting better at age 35 (before the start of the season) are slim to none. He doesn't quite have the speed he used to, and his defense has been pretty poor (it doesn't look he can be a traditional utility player), and his bat has absolutely disappeared. Still, he has had a really solid career and some team will bring him in on a MiLB deal and see if he can resurrect himself.

14. Sandy Rosario (Red Sox): His numbers may not be eye popping in the minors, but they aren't bad, and he has a good fastball that averages almost 95 MPH along with a slider and change that he throws quite a bit. He is already 27, and despite his short sample in the Majors, he could be a guy that eventually sticks in a MLB bullpen.

15. Fabio Martinez (Indians): Martinez has a big time fastball, but he has really struggled with command. He is still just 23, but hasn't yet reached AA. This is why he isn't worth a 40 man spot yet, as he simply isn't ready. However, there is more potential here than just about anyone on this list.

16. Clint Robinson (Royals): Somewhat of a classic AAA slugger, Robinson has put up some eye popping numbers in the minors. Despite playing in a hitter friendly park in Omaha the last two years, he has virtually no home/road splits and he has walked more than he has struck out against righties. The decent strikeout rate makes him interesting, but it is hard to tell with these sluggers sometimes. He could be a bench bat, a AAAA slugger forever, or even go to the NPB.

17. Brandon Hicks (Athletics): Once considered somewhat of a prospect, Hicks hasn't really hit since he got to AA and his time in the Majors has been a disaster. However, he still can play shortstop, and evidently a pretty good one. There is always some value there.

18. Mike McDade (Blue Jays): Despite not turning 24 until May of 2013, it is quite apparent that McDade is the traditional AAAA slugger. He provides no defensive value with that body type and the bat speed just isn't there. However, he has put up some monster numbers in AA and AAA, and at the very least can be brought in by a team to anchor the 1B/DH spot in AAA and be a bench bat in an absolute emergency.

19. David Carpenter (Red Sox): While Carpenter does have an above average fastball, it has lead to no MLB success. He gets a fair amount of strikeouts, but too many walks and not enough grounders have lead to his demise. His sample sizes in the minors are too small to really glean anything from, but he doesn't belong on a 40 man roster but does at least belong in a MLB camp (if just for the fastball).

20. Danny Valencia (Red Sox): Valencia has had some success in the Majors, he was good in 2010 and above replacement in 2011, but the value is all tied to his bat and he was a mess in 2012. He seems really reliant on BABIP, which is no way to make a living. Perhaps he has some kind of rebound (it's hard to predict BABIP, the "Bill James" Projection system likes a bounce back), but a low walk, low power, bad defense, bad baserunning skill set doesn't exactly lead to attractive players.

21. Ryan Verdugo (Royals): Verdugo's one start in the Majors was an utter disaster, and he clearly has below average stuff and velocity. In the minors, his numbers are much more impressive as a reliever than they are as a starter. We will see if a move back to the bullpen will get him back to the Majors.

22. Ivan De Jesus (Red Sox): Now 25, De Jesus is no longer a shortstop, a below average defender, and has laughable hitting numbers away from Albuquerque. Other than a minor league lifer, I don't see much here.

23. Joel Carreno (Blue Jays): Both AAA and the Majors have proved to be extremely difficult for Carreno, but he is still just 25. As a right-handed reliever without overpowering stuff, one is probably better going off with relievers that are more of a sure thing like Cory Wade or Jim Miller. Or would could go the route of pitchers with better stuff like Fabio Martinez and David Carpenter.

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