I was going to keep this quiet because some times these things are tried out in instructional league and don’t ever see the light of day in the regular season, but MK spilled the beans earlier today in the comments section, so I will just put it out there. The Reds have reportedly told Seth Mejias-Brean that they want to try him out at catcher in the offseason. It is interesting on a few different fronts for this move. First is that there really aren’t any premium catching prospects in full season ball outside of Tucker Barnhart right now and from an offensive standpoint, Mejias-Brean would immediately become an above-average caliber bat at the catching position. He is also an outstanding defender at third base, which is another interesting thing to consider given the potential move. With that said, there is more depth at third base. While there isn’t a true standout at this point, Travis Mattair, Neftali Soto, David Vidal, Juan Silverio, Tanner Rahier and KJ Franklin is a solid group from top to bottom with depth. His athleticism rates out very well, so that could certainly be an advantage that helps him with the transition. The Reds haven’t been shy of trying out position players at catcher in recent years. A few years ago Neftali Soto gave it a shot and while it didn’t last long, they at least tried it out. Brandon Dailey is in his first season as a catcher after spending time as an infielder in the past and his performance has been for the most part good.
Harry Pavlidis has an interesting article up on change ups over at Baseball Prospectus. The article is part of a 3-article series, but to sum up what makes it so interesting to me, is that he basically identified two different types of change ups. Ones that miss bats and ones that induce groundballs. The ones that tend to induce groundballs are generally more “firm” change ups, while guys with swing-and-miss ones have more separation but also have the ability to throw their fastball hard. Which leads to this part, which is what really intrigues me about the whole thing as it relates to player development:
What if an organization can find the “throw your changeup harder” candidates and effectively and consistently train them to do so? It may not be the path to missing bats in the minors, but for some pitchers (like Bannister), missing bats in the minors did not translate to doing so in the majors.
Earlier this week Harry, who if you don’t know, is a Pitch F/X guru among other things, held a chat at Baseball Prospectus where I asked him this question (one that someone in the Reds organization has actually had with me in the past – so it is something that they considered): There are several teams out there who use Pitch F/X systems in the minor leagues for internal uses. How do they, or if you don’t know, how could they be using that to implement improvements/learning points with their players? His answer was as follows:
Harry Pavlidis: I think there are two ways. For certain players, it may be directly useful as a supplement to video. They’ll self identify. From the org level it’s about informing decisions/planning. You won’t have a coach talk to a kid about his pfx_x (amount of movement on one plane) but he will talk to them about pitching techniques that may have something to do with what you later measure.
I continue to think that this really is something that could be useful in the minor leagues when it comes to development. It has changed a whole lot of how Major Leaguers are going about their jobs (either directly or indirectly as someone else is using it to provide them supplements to scouting reports and video) and I believe could be even more valuable at the minor league level when supplemented with video for coaches and players to help identify things, differences and as Harry noted, coaching points that while they may not directly take to the player, gives the coach more information to use and then find ways to take it to a player to help improve upon.
With the season drawing close to the end for the minor leagues, I have began the process of figuring out what to do with all of the time in the offseason. Here are the current ideas that I have for offseason articles:
- Season in Review – For teams and players
- State of the Farm – Reviewing and grading each position on the farm
- Then and Now – Taking a look at players changes throughout the years
- Prospect List – Top 25 Reds prospects
- Game/Series Review – Looking at a pitcher (game review) or a position player (series review)
- Past draft review – Taking a look back at how the previous few drafts have played out
- Various Scouting Notebook types of articles
Added in of course with updates on fall/winter leagues and other news/notes types of things. With that said, is there anything that you guys want to see? The offseason is pretty long and eventually I am going to run out of ideas on my own. So any help is appreciated.