Baseball America top 100 includes 8 Atlanta Braves – FanSided


After graduating the #1 prospect last season as well as multiple prospects over the last two seasons, the Atlanta Braves still showed up prominently in Baseball America’s top 100 list released Wednesday.

The Atlanta Braves have dominated top 100 prospect lists from multiple list providers over the last few years as the team’s rebuild produced excellent young prospects. While many of those young players have begun to filter to Atlanta, enough are still in the minor leagues that 8 appeared on today’s Baseball America top 100 list.

But first, this…

When reviewing the stats on the BA top 100 list this season, one thing really stood out. The Atlanta Braves had 8 prospects make it, the third season in a row that they’ve had that number. They were bested, however, by the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays, who each had 9 players on their top 100 list. Add in the Blue Jays with 7, and those four teams had 1/3 of the 100 players on the list.

Conversely, three teams had no players on the list. It’s not the teams you would typically think, though. The Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox each landed zero players on the list.

Who made it

While the team did not have a player in the top 20, they did have three in the top 25. Here’s a list of the players who were selected and where they were ranked:

Impressive that all 8 were in the top 85 prospects on the list!

Who was snubbed

Anytime you see a list like this, there are players that are not on it that some feel should be. For me, there is one incredibly glaring omission, but after that, none that are horribly obvious.

The big one for me is catcher William Contreras. I’ve been the high man on Contreras for 3 seasons, having him inside my top 30 Atlanta Braves prospects 3 seasons ago, when he was coming out of the Dominican Summer League. However, even with a flux of catchers not seen in many years on a BA list, Contreras was left off in favor of catchers that really are not in his class, in my opinion.

The only other member of my top 10 that did not make the top 100 was Luiz Gohara, and that makes sense, frankly, after the year he had in 2018.

Beyond Gohara and Contreras, one could make a good argument for Kyle Muller, Greyson Jenista, Kolby Allard, and possibly Joey Wentz being part of top 100 lists this offseason, which should make seeing who ends up on various industry lists very interesting over the next few weeks.

Next: Scouting report on Kyle Muller

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On that note, one week from tomorrow, I will have an update to my top 125 Atlanta Braves prospect list, and the next day, you can see how many Atlanta Braves make my top 150 prospect list at Call to the Pen!

Last, but not least, we are going to re-institute a fun series we did years ago with Final Friday all prospects questions answered. I’ll put together a post on Friday morning this week as it’s the final Friday of January, and anything you want to ask on the minor league system is open and I’ll do my best to answer!



No good reason for Scott Rolen to be this far away from Baseball Hall of Fame | Hickey – Evansville Courier & Press


Story Highlights

  • The former Jasper star gained just 17.2 percent in his second year on the ballot
  • It was a notable bump from last year’s 10.2 percent but still a head-scratcher
  • Rolen’s strong offensive numbers and elite defense should eventually get him in

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Chipper Jones and Scott Rolen. One of those names is not like the others, and for no good reason.

They are the only third basemen in MLB history to record at least 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,200 runs batted in. Everyone but the latter was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and enshrined at the museum in Cooperstown, New York.

You know how Rolen did his first time on the ballot last year? 10.2 percent. That was living dangerously close to the five percent minimum required to stay on the ballot, let alone the 75 percent needed to gain induction.

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced Tuesday evening the Class of 2019: Mariano Rivera (unanimous), Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina. Nobody will really debate the credentials for those four. Most of the secondary storylines will be on how former performance-enhancing drug users Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to trend upward – though it might be a photo finish entering their final three years on the ballot.

Meanwhile, Rolen’s lack of support is a mystery after garnering 17.2 percent of the vote in his second go-around. A notable bump, but still a head-scratcher.

The former Jasper High School standout, who was Mr. Baseball and runner-up for Mr. Basketball in 1993, was a generational talent at the hot corner. He passed the eye test with eight Gold Gloves, which are more than any third baseman not named Schmidt or Brooks Robinson. The advanced metrics loved Rolen, as well. He’s third all-time at 175 fielding runs above average, with only Robinson and Adrian Beltre ahead of him, and sixth in defensive wins above replacement (WAR).

Robinson was also a first-balloter, and he wasn’t nearly as good of a hitter as Rolen.

For his career, the eight-time All-Star batted .281 with 316 HRs and 1,287 RBI. During his seven-year peak from 1998-2004, he averaged 29 homers and 103 RBI to go along with a .380 on-base percentage. Those numbers alone don’t necessarily scream Hall of Famer, but they also came during a period of time when PED use was rampant. His numbers at the plate only seemed less than spectacular because of that.

Plus, Rolen did it clean.

A vote for his inclusion is based on his all-around ability.

He wasn’t given much, if any, credit in MVP voting for his elite defense at a position that’s harder to play than most. Only once in his 16-year career did the Evansville native finish in the top 10 and that was 2004, his best season in which he produced an on-base plus slugging percentage north of 1.000.

More: Evansville-area natives who have played in the World Series

Make what you will of WAR, but FanGraphs’ version has Rolen ranked as the third most-valuable player from his NL Rookie of the Year season with the Phillies in 1997 to his best overall year in 2004 with the Cardinals. During that time, he compiled 48 fWAR, which was more than any other player not named Bonds or Alex Rodriguez (another known drug cheat.)

His lifetime WAR is 70, according to Baseball-Reference.com, and that is higher than the average Hall of Fame third baseman.

One last nugget for you, stat heads: Rolen and Paul Molitor, another first-ballot guy, had the same career-average weighted runs created plus (122). Although Molitor was a gifted base-stealer, it’s not nearly as important as defense and he was a below-average infielder.

Enough numbers, though.

As a baseball nut, and fellow scribe who grew up reading and following these reporters, I enjoyed seeing who all voted for Rolen. It’s a pretty impressive list: Peter Gammons, Keith Law, Joe Posnanski, Pete Abraham, Tracy Ringolsby, Derrick Goold, Jon Morosi, Susan Slusser, C. Trent Rosecrans, Sam Mellinger, Ryan Divish, Mike Bernardino.

Since high school, they’ve been must-reads for me. So, that was somewhat comforting.

I know the ballot is stacked and BBWAA members can only vote for up to 10 players. Rolen was only in his second year, so there’s plenty of time. He should get in, but just barely at this rate.

The waiting game is ridiculous. 

Pat Hickey is a sports reporter with the Evansville Courier & Press. Contact him by phone at (812) 464-6736, by email at pmhickey@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @patmhickey.



DeWitts: 'Market is changing' in baseball, and teams are wising up – STLtoday.com



Within moments Monday of two Cardinals executives telling fans all about the towers going up, the hotel coming in, and the apartments leasing out at Ballpark Village, Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and his son, team President Bill DeWitt III, fielded the question preoccupying baseball: What is going on with the free-agent market?

Two young, megawatt stars, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, remain unsigned as February approaches, as do dozens of talented players who would boost contenders. Teams are spending less on free agents, contracts are getting shorter, agents seem to be waiting longer, and the one-time kings of winter, those seasoned vets, are frozen out. From the main stage at the team’s Winter Warm-Up, the Cardinals’ team president said he gets it, he understands the perception.

Owners must be “just cheaper.”

No, Bill DeWitt III said, owners are getting “smarter.”

“Fewer and fewer teams are unprepared for the analytical revolution that we’ve seen,” the president told fans. “When you really analyze it, dollars and cents, as well as projecting from an analytical standpoint, some of these 10-year-plus deals into a player’s late-30s just don’t pencil out. There aren’t as many teams willing to completely throw caution to the wind when they have a lot of smart people working the numbers. The market is changing.”

Against the backdrop of this frostbitten market, the Cardinals introduced their 2019 roster and a pledge to return to the playoffs with the annual three-day fanfest at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch. For the first time in several winters, the Cardinals landed their initial target of the offseason, six-time All-Star Paul Goldschmidt. They were not runner-up, or “bridesmaid,” as executives said in past offseasons, drolly. They also signed free-agent lefty and October standout Andrew Miller, and with raises due returning players have a payroll that’s risen past $150 million and, with an addition still possible, headed toward $160 million.

Yet, perception persists. The cash-wise Cardinals appear to be one move away from spending their way from contender to favorite. The third question fans asked John Mozeliak on Saturday was the first that awaited the DeWitts on Monday when a young fan asked if the Cardinals would sign Machado or Harper.

The Cardinals have shown a willingness to bid big in each of the past three winters. After the 2015 season, they talked contracts worth around $200 million with outfielder Jason Heyward and lefty David Price. After 2016, the Cardinals upped their offer to land center fielder Dexter Fowler. And a year ago the Cardinals agreed to absorb around $255 million of Giancarlo Stanton’s remaining contract before he vetoed a trade the Marlins had accepted.

The Cardinals have missed on some expensive offers the past three winters and missed the playoffs in each of the following seasons.

“The big plays,” DeWitt Jr. said, “would have limited what we would have done elsewhere.”

An accessible example is the Stanton salary, which would have been a portion of the $26 million he’s owed for 2019. Into that line on the ledger the Cardinals have fit two players they wouldn’t have chased if Stanton was in their lineup: Marcell Ozuna ($12.25 million) and Goldschmidt ($15.5 million). DeWitt called the current roster “a payroll we can live with,” and yet they may not be able to tiptoe around a bigger commitment much longer. The Cardinals have finalized two $100 million contracts, none since Matt Holliday’s nine years ago. The Cardinals affirmed this weekend their intent to re-sign Goldschmidt, and that could take a five-year, $150 million offer or more. That length of contract, even into Goldschmidt’s mid-30s, is more palatable to the Cardinals than the 10-year contracts some free agents are chasing in their 20s.

“We’re not shying away from commitment,” chairman DeWitt said after his news conference Monday. He also said: “I always say to Mo there are a lot of ways in this industry to spend money to get better. You’ve got to pick your strategy. You’ve got to pick where you think you are and the best way to spend the money. It’s not like people are hoarding money and making a lot of money in this business. That’s not the case. It’s how do they put their resources to have the best chance to win this year, next year, or down the road.”

He added later: “I think staying competitive, year in and year out, is a function of how good our farm system is.”

That is also, increasingly, where spending has happened, on infrastructure. In baseball, the investment in player development has risen at a swifter rate than spending on the major-league roster for many teams. The Cardinals have built an academy in the Dominican Republic — the first class from its high school graduates next week — and run two summer league teams there. The number of coaches and instructors at some levels has doubled. Analytics departments have grown in cost. Front offices that used to have a general manager and an assistant now have a president, a general manager, and multiple assistants. Their salaries have increased. Bonuses for amateurs have swollen, but not minor-league salaries. Fans rarely audit these costs.

With universally accepted data and less interest in taking risks on aging, high-cost free agents, teams have become venture capitalists.

They’d rather invest in numerous start-ups and hope one hits big.

At the same time, revenue is increasing for MLB. The Cardinals are early in a $1.2 billion broadcast rights deal that guarantees increased payments in coming years. Across the street from Busch Stadium, a posh development is rising, though the DeWitts stressed Ballpark Village is “a separate entity” and they’re not “sacrificing Cardinals resources” for the development. President DeWitt said at some point the revenue from Ballpark Village could aid the ballclub, “but that’s way down the road.”

If the current marketplace persists, the one invited by the labor contract that chairman DeWitt helped negotiate for Major League Baseball, then teams will continue to exploit development spending rather than free-spending. Players are taking note.

“The last offseason — the kind of thought you left (with) was OK, well, teams are evaluating age,” third baseman Matt Carpenter said. “But when you look at the two guys that are unsigned now — I mean, they’re 26 years old. So that can’t be the reason. So I don’t know. It’s a situation that is obviously an issue.”

Said Miller: “It’s certainly changing, and it’s changing really fast. I think right now we’re in a phase (when) it’s kind of left behind the agreement to an extent, and we’re trying to play catchup. Certainly we don’t like to see players without jobs. We’ve got to find a way to make it better.”

During his first Warm-Up, the beginning of his recruitment to remain a Cardinal, Goldschmidt expressed concern about what a static market means for the game. He described how baseball is in danger of slipping in quality because “to put out the best product, you need the best players.”

With several teams advertising an uncompetitive year with their moves, that, too, erodes the quality of the game while also limiting the demand for free agents. The Cardinals have benefited from these market trends. Two teams pivoting into rebuilds allowed them to trade for Ozuna and Goldschmidt in consecutive winters. They were early investors in the analytics “revolution,” and that helped them stay ahead of rivals with player development. Nearly two-thirds of the team’s last pennant winner, in 2013, was homegrown, and, as a result, cost-effective.

But even that team needed to be outfitted with a marquee free-agent (Carlos Beltran) and a $100 million man in Holliday.

With a chill in the air between agents and players, and MLB, chairman DeWitt said Sunday he does not see a labor dispute nearing.

Players are scrutinizing the situation.

Jack Flaherty, 23, is two years away from arbitration, five from free agency, and yet he’s at the nexus of this moment. He’s the blue-chip return on development investment, the big-bonus pick with super-value production. If healthy, he’s a candidate to be offered the security of an extension that could delay his free agency till he’s 30. Oh, and labor strife would hit as he nears his peak years. Flaherty described Sunday how players are talking, and how he’s “trying to take the time to understand what’s gone on, where everybody is at, why guys aren’t signing, why guys aren’t getting paid what they should be.”

Philadelphia starter Jake Arrieta tweeted recently that players like Flaherty, who have less than three years of service time and make near league minimum, should pay attention.

Flaherty responded: “We always notice.”

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Dodgers well represented in Baseball America’s 2019 Top 100 Prospects – True Blue LA


When Baseball America releases their Top 100 Prospect List this Wednesday, the Dodgers will be well represented with five players making the cut. While we don’t have the names or the rankings of the players involved, it’s fair to speculate that Will Smith, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, Alex Verdugo, and Keibert Ruiz will be involved after headlining Baseball America’s top ten list for the Dodger organization.

The top question for most fans will be how high Ruiz reaches in the rankings. Baseball America is much higher on the young catcher than I am, but Ruiz did not set the Texas League on fire like you would expect from a blue chip prospect. He more than held his own, and teases with enough potential to likely rank in the 20-30 range.


Gavin Lux

Gavin Lux
Rich Crimi

The other likely top fifty player is major league ready Alex Verdugo. The outfielder saw time in the Los Angeles outfield in 2018 and with the trades of Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig (and the rumored trade talks for Joc Pederson), the deck is currently cleared for Verdugo to grab regular time in 2019. Verdugo makes easy contact but still needs more maturity to his game to reach his full potential. I would expect Verdugo to rank between 25 and 35.

After Verdugo and Ruiz, Gavin Lux has the next best shot at cracking the top 50. He’s a high ceiling prep prospect that had a big breakout offensively in 2018, but not everyone is convinced he will stay at shortstop. While I think he can handle the position just fine, I think questions on his defensive home will likely keep him just outside the top 50 prospects, landing somewhere between 50-60.


Dustin May

Dustin May
Rich Crimi ~ Tulsa Drillers

Dustin May had a similar breakout to Lux, cruising through both the California and Texas League. May’s results are a little ahead of his stuff right now, and he has a ways to go to fill out his long, slender 6’6 frame. If he can pitch more frequently at the upper reaches of his velocity band in 2019, he’ll move well up this list, but for now I expect him to fall somewhere in the 70’s.

Lastly, Will Smith will likely slide into one of the final spots of Baseball America’s top 100 list. Smith had a poor end of season showing in Oklahoma City and might be seen more for his defense behind the plate and his positional utility than for his offensive game. However, I’m a big fan of Smith and believe that Smith is likely rated more highly in this organization than he would be elsewhere. He’ll be somewhere in the 90’s for Baseball America, but I’d consider Smith a sleeper on the national stage, and barring any movement with JT Realmuto coming to Los Angeles, Smith could be a factor for the Dodgers in 2019.



Fantasy Baseball 2019: 3 Offseason Risers and Fallers – Fantasy CPR


Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball: WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 26: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals waves to the crowd following the Nationals 9-3 win over the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

With a lot of free agents off the board, here are three that had their fantasy baseball value rise and fall for the 2019 season.

While Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still on the market, a lot of other free agents know where they are going to play for 2019. There have been a couple of big trades that will have a big impact, too. Some players moved to a new home ballpark or a completely new division. Either one has an effect on their fantasy baseball value.

The Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees have signed five players each. The New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins brought in three free agents (not counting the trades they made). Some of those situations favor pitchers more than hitters and vice versa.

Some players are taking shorter deals so they will be able to hit the market again for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Smart on them. They can prove their value after one great season and cash in on the big contract they want.

There has been only one signed contract for over five years and that belongs to Patrick Corbin and his six-year deal with the Nationals. Nathan Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox are behind him at four years.

There’s been an ongoing debate about the lack of big contracts being handed out and if that will lead to a work stoppage when the current CBA expires. That’s more for a real-life baseball post. All I can tell you is that wherever Machado and Harper sign, that team will see a big impact in their offense’s fantasy value.

Until then, I can only talk about the current deals and what they mean for fantasy baseball in 2019.

Before I get into my list, here are some honorable mentions for fantasy baseball risers and fallers for the 2019 season.

Yasmani Grandal: Rise

Kelvin Herrera: Rise

Ian Kinsler: Fall

Chris Owings: Fall

Now, here’s the list.



Vanderbilt baseball 2019 schedule, TV, dates – The Tennessean


CLOSE

Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin has a basket filled with baseballs, jerseys and a portrait of Donny Everett in his office. Each item has a story.
Autumn Allison/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

Vanderbilt baseball once again is a national title contender amid a loaded field of ultra-talented SEC teams.

The Commodores returned nearly their entire lineup and pitching staff from a team that finished one win shy of the College World Series last season. And they added the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the nation.

Here is Vanderbilt’s full 2019 baseball schedule:

February

Friday, Feb. 15: Virginia (@ Talking Stick, Ariz.) | MLB Network

Saturday, Feb. 16: Cal State Fullerton (@ Talking Stick, Ariz.)

Sunday, Feb. 17: TCU (@ Talking Stick, Ariz.)

Wednesday, Feb. 20: Evansville

Friday, Feb. 22: Pepperdine

Saturday, Feb. 23: Pepperdine

Sunday, Feb. 24: Pepperdine

Tuesday, Feb. 26: SEMO

Wednesday, Feb. 27: Austin Peay

March

Friday, March 1: Dayton

Saturday, March 2: Dayton

Sunday, March 3: Dayton

Tuesday, March 5: Davidson

Wednesday, March 6: ETSU

Friday, March 8: Illinois State

Saturday, March 9: Illinois State

Sunday, March 10: Illinois State

Tuesday, March 12: Samford

Friday, March 15: @ Texas A&M*

Saturday, March 16: @ Texas A&M*

Sunday, March 17: @ Texas A&M*

Tuesday, March 19: Belmont (At First Tennessee Park)

Thursday, March 21: Florida*

Friday, March 22: Florida*

Saturday, March 23: Florida*

Tuesday, March 26: Lipscomb (At First Tennessee Park)

Friday, March 29: Tennessee*

Saturday, March 30: Tennessee*

Sunday, March 31: Tennessee*

April

Tuesday, April 2: Western Kentucky

Friday, April 5: @ Georgia*

Saturday, April 6: @ Georgia*

Sunday, April 7: @ Georgia*

Tuesday, April 9: @ MTSU

Friday, April 12: Arkansas*

Saturday, April 13: Arkansas*

Sunday, April 14: Arkansas*

Tuesday, April 16: Indiana State

Friday, April 19: @ Alabama*

Saturday, April 20: @ Alabama*

Sunday, April 21: @ Alabama*

Thursday, April 25: Auburn*

Friday, April 26: Auburn*

Saturday, April 27: Auburn*

Tuesday, April 30: Tennessee Tech

May

Friday, May 3: @ South Carolina*

Saturday, May 4: @ South Carolina*

Sunday, May 5: @ South Carolina*

Tuesday, May 7: @ Louisville

Friday, May 10: Missouri*

Saturday, May 11: Missouri*

Sunday, May 12: Missouri*

Tuesday, May 14: MTSU

Thursday, May 16: @ Kentucky*

Friday, May 17: @ Kentucky*

Saturday, May 18: @ Kentucky*

Postseason

May 21-26: SEC Tournament at Hoover, Ala.  

May 31-June 3: NCAA Regionals

June 7-10: NCAA Super Regionals

June 15-26: College World Series (@ Omaha, Neb.)

Reach Adam Sparks at asparks@tennessean.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.