Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:20:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Which minor leaguer is best equipped to beat a shift? Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:20:22 +0000 Which Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer is best equipped to beat the shift by hitting grounders the opposite way?

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It’s been a raging debate on the internet over the last 30 hours or so as new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that he would look at eliminating the shift in baseball to try and inject some offense back into the game. In a Baseball Prospectus article posted this morning it’s noted that two “sabermetric friendly” General Managers think it’s a good idea to ban the shift.

All of the talk about the shift got me to wondering though,which minor leaguer is best equipped to handle the shift. The first thing that popped into my mind was “guys who are good at bunting and use it as a part of their game” and I think that is still the best answer. But I decided to eliminate the bunts from the equation and look at only ground balls, since they are the type of ball that the shift is designed to take away hits on.

Since I do create spray charts for all of the guys in the system I had an idea of the player who went the other way the most often. That of course doesn’t automatically mean he went the other way with groundballs more than everyone else though, but in this case, it did.

I combined all ground balls to shortstop, third base and left field as “pulled grounders” and all ground balls to first base, second base and right field as “opposite field grounders” for right handers, and for left handers, it was the opposite.

Carlton Daal had the best rates on grounders going the opposite way. The shortstop had 143 grounders in the 2014 season. 85 of those were pulled and 58 of them were to the opposite field. His 41% of opposite field grounders was tops on the list. Of course, as a right handed hitter, Daal would face the shift less often than a left handed hitter would and would be less effected even if he saw the shift as often as a lefty would because of the inability to play 80 feet deep into left field like you can play in right field (the throw is possible from right, but not from left).

Guys like Jesse Winker and Kyle Waldrop, who used the entire field well in 2014, saw their opposite field grounder rates under 30%.

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Marquez Smith homers, Felix Perez shines in winter league playoffs Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:00:23 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospects Marquez Smith and Felix Perez shine in the Mexican and Venezuelan Winter League playoffs on Monday night.

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The Mexican Winter League playoffs came to an end on Monday night as Jalisco fell to Culiacan by a 4-3 score. Cincinnati Reds prospect Marquez Smith got the start at designated hitter in the game and had one of the Charros’ four hits and he made the hit count as he smacked a solo homer to left field in the fifth inning to get his team on the board. The season comes to an end for Smith after more than 300 plate appearances over the winter. Here is his total line for the winter, including both the regular season and playoffs.

290 42 76 19 1 14 46 34 57 .262 .340 .479

Down in Venezuela the finals continued with Caribes taking on Magallanes.  Caribes fell 10-3, but it wasn’t due to Felix Perez. The right fielder went 3-4 with an RBI as he continued to crush the ball in the winter league. After hitting .360 in the regular season the left hander is now hitting .324 during the playoffs. The series will continue Tuesday night.

Felix Perez (Venezuela), Alejandro Chacin (Venezuela), Jose Mijares (Venezuela), Neftali Soto (Puerto Rico) and Yovan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) are the only Reds still playing winter ball.

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What does the future hold for RHP Dan Langfield? Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:11:42 +0000 After missing the 2013 season, Dan Langfield returned for 2014 and had an up-and-down season with flashes of dominance. Where does his future lie?

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When Dan Langfield finally returned in May of 2014 after missing all of the 2013 season, it was a very impressive return. He topped out at 97 MPH, pitching in relief and just dominated the opposing hitters. Things went smoothly for Langfield for a bit of time after that, but he would have some ups-and-downs over the rest of the season.

There were plenty of good things. He made nine starts out of his 21 appearances, showing that he can still handle more than just a relief role in terms of his stamina. The right hander had 81 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched. From a stuff standpoint, he really stood out at times.

There were some not-so-good things too. He walked 43 batters in 60.1 innings pitched, a rate that must come down in the future. He was a very big fly ball pitcher, which isn’t something that can’t be overcome, but he had the second lowest groundball rate of all pitchers in the system during 2014.

As noted above, Langfield had time as both a starter and a reliever. Let’s take a quick look at his splits:

Split PA BB K BB% K%
As Starter 173 32 50 18.5% 28.9%
As Reliever 105 14 35 13.3% 33.3%

I chose to look at these stats first for a reason. To me, they are the most important. How often do you miss bats and how often do you miss the strikezone? Pitchers walks and strikeout rates generally tell us how successful they will be (along with home run rate – Langfield had the same rate for each). As a reliever Langfield walked significantly less hitters and struck out significantly more (on a rate status). His strikeout rate as a starter was very, very high. On the flip side, his walk rate as a starter was incredibly high. As a reliever his walk rate was quite high and it looks small compared to what he did as a starter in terms of walks.

Now let’s take a look at some different numbers from his time as a starter and a reliever:

As Starter 3.96 38.2 25 .247
As Reliever 5.32 23.2 20 .327

Here we see a different story than the one above. His ERA and hit rate was much lower as a starter than as a reliever despite guys making more contact, hitting homers at the same rate and walking guys at much more frequently. The big difference is that his batting average on balls in play was significantly lower as a starter than it was as a reliever.

What role is best for Dan Langfield moving forward?

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Neftali Soto has a big weekend in Puerto Rican championship Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:20 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Neftali Soto had a big weekend in the Puerto Rican Winter League Championship.

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All of the winter league seasons are through the playoffs and into their specific league championships. In Puerto Rico the match up is between Santurce and Mayaguez where the winner of the series will go on to represent the island in the Caribbean Series.

Entering the weekend Cangrejeros de Santurce trailed in the series two games to one. On Saturday night the team tied the series up with the help of Neftali Soto. Soto, hitting third in the lineup, went 2-4 with an RBI.

They hit the road on Sunday and took the series lead with a 9-1 win. Soto played another big role in the win, again hitting third. The third baseman had two more hits, going 2-4 with a walk and he drove in three runs. The series is off for Monday before returning on Tuesday night for Game 6 of the series.

On Sunday night in Venezuela the finals, Caribes de Anzoategui took a two game to none lead over Magallanes with an 8-5 win. Felix Perez continued his strong winter league season with a 1-2 night that included a walk and a 2-run home run.

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MLB considers eliminating the shift? Sun, 25 Jan 2015 18:31:10 +0000 Major League Baseball is considering eliminating the shift.

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One of the things I’ve been saying for the last year or so is that Major League Baseball should look at eliminating the shift. It’s an unfair disadvantages for left handed hitters because fielders can throw to first base from 60+ feet deep into right fields grass, while that throw simply isn’t possible from left field, where right handers will pull the ball. Shifts are up 570% over the last four years. It’s up because it works and the teams know it. And new commissioner Rob Manfred says it’s something he’s considering to get rid of.

Is offense down only because of the shift? No. Pitchers are better and that is why offense is down the most. But shifts are leading to part of the reason that offense is down.

Baseball will have a tough time selling people on the things that will lessen the effect good pitching will have. They aren’t going to lower the mound again. They will have a hard time getting the umpires union on board with a true strikezone called by computers to eliminate the different strikezones for lefties/righties or different zones for different counts, or even worse, who is catching.

I have seen several good points on the other side of my argument for eliminating the shift.

I fully see both sides here. Left handers do have the platoon advantage in most situations. That’s always been the case and isn’t something that you can really change. Guys are either left handed or right handed (except for those switch hitters).

Baseball America’s Ben Badler has an interesting thought as well with his thought process there. Should teams be told not to position players where they believe the guy is going to hit the ball? I can completely understand the thinking there. But teams aren’t playing the second baseman at shortstop and the shortstop 80 feet into left field even though they know it’s likely a right hander is going to put a groundball there. Why? Because it’s a play that you can’t make.

Football has illegal defense. Football has illegal offense. Basketball has both as well.

Maybe nothing comes of it, but I’m glad that they are actually looking at it as a possibility. It’s not the biggest reason that offense is down, but it’s probably the easiest thing to implement to give the offense a bit of a boost.

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Breaking down the batted ball types for Reds minor leaguers Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:00:52 +0000 Looking at how the Cincinnati Reds minor league hitters break down with their batted ball types.

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There are five types of batted balls: Fly balls, ground balls, line drives, pop ups and bunts. Generally speaking though, only the bunt is truly attempted to be the specific result on an at-bat. The others are merely a results of an attempt to hit the ball hard. Each batted ball type tends to lead to different results in terms of how often each goes for a hit. Line drives go for hits over 70% of the time. Ground balls are the next most successful batted ball type as they go for hits 28% of the time. Fly balls find the grass, or the seats, 22% of the time. Pop ups are hits less than 1% of the time.

Line drives everywhere

Hitting line drives is obviously the best result as they go for hits more than twice as often as any other type of batted ball. It’s also the lowest rate among the three major batted ball types (GB/FB/LD). I removed bunts from the equation as players weren’t attempting to do anything else with that approach and found the guys with the highest line drive rates from the 2014 season among Cincinnati Reds minor league hitters with at least 145 at-bats. Here’s the Top 10:

Name Line Drive %
Bryan Anderson 29.0%
Alex Blandino 25.9%
Chris Nelson 23.2%
Thomas Neal 23.1%
Steve Selsky 22.5%
Jason Bourgeois 22.3%
Donald Lutz 22.1%
Kyle Waldrop 21.7%
Ruben Gotay 21.6%
Felix Perez 21.5%

The first thing that jumped out to me from this list was that only two players didn’t spend a significant amount of their season in Triple-A this year. One thing to note on these break downs is that all of the tabulation was done by human beings watching the game live and that each home team has a different person in charge for deciding what type of ball it was. There may be some bias (there probably is) in the numbers where hits are labeled as line drives, while the same trajectory ball that is turned into an out may be labeled as a fly ball. With so many Bats on the list we may be seeing this effect. Perhaps they were all just high line drive rate hitters, but the next three guys, and four the of the next five were also Louisville Bats hitters.

That makes what Alex Blandino did really jump out with such a high rate of line drives. Having only played roughly half of a season it gives him less time for the numbers to normalize, but he was very successful in his debut. Kyle Waldrop joined him as the only non-Bat in the top 10 and I doubt that comes as a surprise given the season that he just put up. Before running the numbers he would have been near the top of the list of players I would have expected to see.

Who avoids popping up?

You may recall the articles about Joey Votto over the last few years about just how seldom he pops up. If not, you don’t need to look them up. Votto has never popped up (which is just a “fly ball” that is caught by an infielder) more than twice in any given season outside of 2008 when he had just five such instances.

We have a general understanding of how offense works out and the batting average on balls in play is a big part of it. There are some things that help or hurt that number and the batted ball distribution is a part of that. More line drives and ground balls help BABIP stay higher, generally speaking. Lots of fly balls hurt since they tend to go for hits less often. A big driver though can be a players infield fly rate. Since they are turned into outs as often as strikeouts are, the number of infield flies can really alter the number. For the 69 players that qualified for this list in the Reds system they averaged a 7% infield fly ball rate. Which players avoided infield fly balls the most often in 2014? Here’s the top 10 list:

Name Pop Up %
Neftali Soto 1.3%
Juan Duran 1.9%
Bryan Anderson 1.9%
Carlton Daal 3.2%
Argenis Diaz 3.2%
Hernan Iribarren 3.7%
Ray Chang 3.8%
Gavin LaValley 3.9%
Yovan Gonzalez 4.2%
Beau Amaral 4.3%

This is such a strange stat that I didn’t go into this thinking that any specific player would or wouldn’t rank well in this category. Not performing well here didn’t hold everyone back from being successful. Aristides Aquino ranked 68th on the list and he was able to overcome a lot of infield flies by hitting the ball over the wall a whole lot. Avoiding infield flies helps, but it can be something players can do often enough and still be successful if they are good in other areas.

Who bunts? And who does it successfully?

For this I only chose to look at position players who had at least five bunts during the season. There were only nine players in the system that had more than eight bunts and no one topped 16 bunts. Here is the entire list of players who had at least five bunts and the types of success/failure that they had on those bunts:

Player Bunts Hits Sac AVG Non-SB AVG
Beau Amaral 16 5 5 .313 .455
Ronald Bueno 15 6 7 .400 .750
Juan Silva 15 5 3 .333 .417
Jonathan Reynoso 15 7 4 .467 .636
Zach Vincej 12 6 4 .500 .750
Hernan Iribarren 12 3 4 .250 .375
Carlton Daal 12 4 5 .333 .571
Brodie Greene 12 5 6 .417 .833
Jamodrick McGruder 10 2 4 .200 .333
Jose Siri 8 4 1 .500 .571
Jon Matthews 8 2 1 .250 .286
Player Bunts Hits Sac AVG Non-SB AVG
Jimmy Pickens 8 2 3 .250 .400
Devin Lohman 8 2 4 .250 .500
Tucker Barnhart 7 0 4 .000 .000
Kristopher Negron 7 4 2 .571 .800
Felix Perez 7 5 1 .714 .833
Avain Rachal 7 1 3 .143 .250
Sebastian Elizalde 6 2 1 .333 .400
Rey Navarro 6 1 5 .167 1.000
Juan Silverio 6 2 2 .333 .500
Juan Perez 6 3 1 .500 .600
Player Bunts Hits Sac AVG Non-SB AVG
Joe Hudson 6 2 2 .333 .500
Jeff Gelalich 6 1 4 .167 .500
Hector Vargas 6 1 3 .167 .333
Yorman Rodriguez 5 1 1 .200 .250
Ty Washington 5 2 1 .400 .500
Seth Mejias-Brean 5 0 3 .000 .000
Sammy Diaz 5 2 2 .400 .667
Luis Gonzalez 5 1 3 .200 .500
Kyle Waldrop 5 1 3 .200 .500
KJ Franklin 5 1 1 .200 .250
Jason Bourgeois 5 1 3 .200 .500

I really don’t like looking too much at the averages for hitters on bunts because it takes into account sacrifice bunts. A sacrifice bunt for Juan Silva is a lot different than one from Tucker Barnhart. Barnhart is not fast, so when he’s asked to lay a bunt down to move the runners over, he knows that his job is to get the bunt down and run hard to first base in case there is a mistake made by the defense that he can also reach base. When Juan Silva is asked the same thing there’s a chance he can actually turn it into a hit because he has far better speed. I chose to include it because I figured some of you would like to see the numbers without trying to do the math in your head, but I don’t pay too much attention to it for most guys. The small sample size also means one hit or out makes a huge difference.

All batted ball breakdown

Name Total FB% GB% PU% LD%
Alex Blandino 185 34.1% 34.6% 5.4% 25.9%
Argenis Aldazoro 178 34.3% 39.9% 5.1% 20.8%
Argenis Diaz 409 20.8% 59.2% 3.2% 16.9%
Aristides Aquino 219 27.9% 45.2% 12.3% 14.6%
Avain Rachal 169 20.1% 55.0% 8.9% 16.0%
Beau Amaral 371 32.9% 51.2% 4.3% 11.6%
Brian O’Grady 173 39.9% 38.2% 8.1% 13.9%
Brodie Greene 322 31.7% 43.2% 8.4% 16.8%
Bryan Anderson 207 34.3% 34.8% 1.9% 29.0%
Bryson Smith 147 24.5% 59.2% 4.8% 11.6%
Carlton Daal 285 17.5% 64.6% 3.2% 14.7%
Chris Berset 163 28.8% 49.7% 4.9% 16.6%
Chris Nelson 311 23.5% 48.6% 4.8% 23.2%
Cory Thompson 211 27.0% 46.0% 10.4% 16.6%
David Vidal 136 39.7% 44.1% 5.1% 11.0%
Devin Lohman 266 31.6% 42.5% 7.5% 18.4%
Donald Lutz 389 26.2% 44.0% 7.7% 22.1%
Felix Perez 545 25.5% 44.8% 8.3% 21.5%
Gabriel Rosa 107 33.6% 47.7% 10.3% 8.4%
Garrett Boulware 126 38.9% 38.1% 7.9% 15.1%
Gavin LaValley 155 28.4% 48.4% 3.9% 19.4%
Hector Vargas 136 25.7% 52.2% 5.9% 16.2%
Hernan Iribarren 268 29.1% 49.3% 3.7% 17.9%
Jamodrick McGruder 270 31.5% 48.5% 4.8% 15.2%
Jason Bourgeois 529 18.7% 52.9% 6.0% 22.3%
Jeff Gelalich 320 28.1% 51.6% 7.2% 13.1%
Jesse Winker 271 34.7% 44.3% 5.5% 15.5%
Jimmy Pickens 128 32.0% 50.8% 4.7% 12.5%
Joe Hudson 251 28.3% 45.8% 10.0% 15.9%
John Tolisano 147 41.5% 37.4% 7.5% 13.6%
Jon Matthews 214 16.8% 61.2% 8.9% 13.1%
Jonathan Reynoso 140 20.7% 62.9% 6.4% 10.0%
Jose De Luna 144 29.2% 50.0% 8.3% 12.5%
Jose Siri 120 23.3% 58.3% 7.5% 10.8%
Juan Duran 208 30.8% 49.0% 1.9% 18.3%
Juan Perez 390 36.9% 43.6% 5.4% 14.1%
Juan Silva 287 25.4% 55.1% 5.9% 13.6%
Juan Silverio 282 31.6% 44.0% 8.2% 16.3%
Kevin Franklin 174 27.6% 47.1% 8.0% 17.2%
Kristopher Negron 272 22.4% 51.8% 5.1% 20.6%
Kyle Waldrop 461 31.2% 40.3% 6.7% 21.7%
Luis Hernandez 112 41.1% 39.3% 11.6% 8.0%
Marquez Smith 555 32.8% 46.8% 8.5% 11.9%
Narciso Crook 107 21.5% 54.2% 7.5% 16.8%
Neftali Soto 308 22.7% 54.5% 1.3% 21.4%
Nick Benedetto 152 31.6% 44.1% 8.6% 15.8%
Phillip Ervin 393 33.1% 36.6% 14.2% 16.0%
Ray Chang 131 22.1% 55.7% 3.8% 18.3%
Rey Navarro 572 29.0% 40.6% 9.4% 21.0%
Reydel Medina 120 37.5% 45.0% 5.0% 12.5%
Robert Ramirez 137 29.9% 40.9% 8.8% 20.4%
Ronald Bueno 150 18.7% 56.7% 12.0% 12.7%
Rossmel Perez 283 25.1% 49.1% 5.7% 20.1%
Ruben Gotay 501 32.9% 35.9% 9.6% 21.6%
Ryan Wright 380 35.3% 38.2% 7.9% 18.7%
Sammy Diaz 267 27.3% 48.7% 7.1% 16.9%
Sean Buckley 243 37.4% 37.4% 9.9% 15.2%
Sebastian Elizalde 529 35.9% 38.9% 9.6% 15.5%
Seth Mejias-Brean 454 25.1% 54.6% 5.5% 14.8%
Steve Selsky 204 26.5% 46.6% 4.4% 22.5%
Tanner Rahier 325 29.5% 43.4% 14.2% 12.9%
Taylor Sparks 118 37.3% 38.1% 11.0% 13.6%
Thomas Neal 294 23.5% 48.3% 5.1% 23.1%
Travis Mattair 339 32.4% 43.1% 8.8% 15.6%
Tucker Barnhart 275 25.5% 48.7% 4.7% 21.1%
Ty Washington 174 35.6% 43.7% 8.0% 12.6%
Yorman Rodriguez 349 21.5% 53.3% 4.9% 20.3%
Yovan Gonzalez 263 28.9% 54.4% 4.2% 12.5%
Zach Vincej 362 29.0% 51.4% 5.2% 14.4%
Total/Averages 10171 29.8% 45.6% 7.5% 17.1%

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Marquez Smith homers in Game 2 of the Mexican Winter League championship Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:03:25 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Marquez Smith homers, leads Jalisco to Game 2 win in the Mexican Winter League finals.

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After falling in the first game of the Mexican Winter League playoffs on Wednesday to former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Dave Sappelt and Culiacan, the Charros de Jalisco stormed back to win Game 2 of the series and tie things up in the best of seven series.

With the game sitting at 3-0 in the seventh inning Marquez Smith came up to the plate with a runner on and put the game out of reach with a 2-run homer, capping off a 2-4 night. In 12 playoff games that puts Smith’s line at .325/.404/.575 with nine runs batted in, six walks and eight strikeouts. The two teams are off today before getting back in action on Saturday night.

Smith re-signed with the Reds after testing the free agent market after the 2014 season. He’s spent the last two years just beating up on the California League with just a small taste of Double-A Pensacola. In 2013 he got a promotion to Pensacola at the mid-season but he went down with an injury three weeks later and missed the rest of the season. The 2014 season saw a brief call up to Double-A that lasted just over two weeks where he was used mostly as a pinch hitter.

With the Reds moving their Advanced-A team to Daytona, at worst, Smith will find a new place to play. With the amount of success he’s had in the last two years at the level, and his past success before joining the Reds organization above the level, hopefully Smith will finally get a chance to play full time at the Double-A level in 2015.

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Cincinnati Reds sign RHP Jason Marquis to minor league deal Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:45:53 +0000 The Cincinnati Reds have signed veteran RHP Jason Marquis to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

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On Wednesday afternoon the Reds signed veteran right handed pitcher Jason Marquis to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Marquis last pitched in the big leagues in July of 2013 before going under the knife for Tommy John surgery after suffering an elbow injury.

He returned to baseball in 2014 and signed a minor league deal with the Phillies where he made one rookie league start and eight starts for their Triple-A club in Lehigh Valley. With the IronPigs he posted a 4.63 ERA in 46.1 innings with 13 walks and 36 strikeouts.

Marquis has never missed many bats, striking out just 5.3 batters per nine innings pitched in his big league career and only once has his strikeout-to-walk ratio been above 2.0, so control hasn’t exactly been a big part of his game either.

What has been a part of his game has been strong groundball rates throughout his career, especially since 2009 began. In limited minor league action in 2014 that was more of the same as he posted a 52% groundball rate in Triple-A.

I went back through to watch his fourth start of the year, and his third at the Triple-A level in 2014 against Indianapolis. I chose that game as Indianapolis has a radar gun that is fairly accurate that is displayed on their broadcasts.

Scouting Report

Fastball | The pitch showed good sinking action, but it worked in the 84-86 MPH range and touched a tick higher every so often.

Slider | The slider was his go-to pitch when he was ahead in the count. It had some biting action to it and came in around 80 MPH.

Change Up | He didn’t use it often, but it was an ok offering that came in around 80 MPH as well.

Overall Thoughts

If Marquis is in the system to pitch in Louisville this signing is fine. He can compete at the Triple-A level and get guys out. Unless his stuff has taken a big step forward in the offseason though I can’t see a spot where he fits onto the big league club.

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Major League Baseball to move the draft back to July? Thu, 22 Jan 2015 00:36:02 +0000 Major League Baseball is exploring the option to move the draft into July. The ramifications could go deep.

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Is Major League Baseball trying to push the amateur draft back to June from it’s usual spot in the first week of June? That seems to be the case according to Peter Gammons.

This is a situation that is still in the discussion phase. For any change it will need to be collectively bargained between the players association and Major League Baseball, which means this likely won’t happen for the 2015 draft (the next CBA comes up after the season). It’s also been noted that even if the change were to take place that the signing date would still remain July 15th.

The change could have quite a few ramifications.

  • Players will go from having five weeks to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives (at ages 17-23 nonetheless) to having just two weeks to make the same decision. Just a few years ago they had 10 weeks to make the same decision.
  • Teams will no longer have to worry about players they drafted being injured while playing in the College World Series.
  • Could this effect when the rookie leagues begin? Currently they are beginning around the June 20th time frame each season. Several leagues have stated in the past that they would prefer their seasons begin sooner, not later.
  • If the season begins at the same time as usual there will be players in several rookie leagues that will only have jobs for a few weeks before being released and sent on their way to their next destination, either with another organization or onto the next step in their lives. Teams will have about 30 roster spots that need taking between two rookie level teams that are usually made up from draftees from that season, who won’t exist at the time the season begins. That may be beneficial for the few that turn what would have once been a release at the end of March into keeping a job and earning their spot through extended spring training into keeping a job with improvements through the rest of the time before the season begins.
  • If the season begins later, will the league cut the season short or will it extend the season? I can’t imagine Minor League Baseball allowing teams to have fewer games, and thus less revenue. That would extend the season. Even three week later would have pushed the Billings Mustangs season to the very last day of September. That would have interfered with instructional league in Arizona this past season. While teams hold instructional leagues in Arizona and in Florida where it’s warm enough to still play baseball it lengthens the season for everyone.
  • The July 1st date for the draft would mean that the three day draft would overlap with the beginning of the International Signing period for players who are 16-years-old, which begins on July 2nd.

I’m sure there are plenty more that I’m not thinking of, but this change could lead to a whole lot of new things on how the minor league baseball season goes moving forward (once it is implemented – if it is at all). It’s good that baseball is doing something to try and work with colleges, but I’m not sure that this is the best scenario to go about things either.

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Felix Perez homers twice, drives in five in winter league playoffs Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:00:15 +0000 Cincinnati Reds outfielder Felix Perez homered twice in a Venezuelan Winter League playoff win on Tuesday night.

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Caribes de Ansoategui and Navegantes del Magallanes faced off in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs on Monday night. The two teams top the standings in the Round Robin playoffs, that lead to a finals where the two top teams face off to represent Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.

The game got off to an offensive explosion with Caribes taking a 5-0 lead after the top of the 2nd inning. Magallanes put up four runs in the bottom of the inning to make it a 1-run game. That was as close as they would get though as the visiting team just kept adding runs as they went on to a 16-5 blowout victory.

Several players had big games but it was Cincinnati Reds outfield prospect Felix Perez that topped everyone. He went 3-4 with a double, two home runs and five runs driven in. He was pinch hit for late in the game when it was out of hand and the player who pinch hit for him added a third homer for the seventh spot in the lineup.

The big night at the plate for Perez pushed his line for the playoffs to .305/.364/.593. In 300 plate appearances between the Venezuelan Winter League regular season and playoffs the outfielder has put up this stat line:

300 98 19 3 13 51 16 65 .349 .387 .577

It’s been a strong winter for Perez, but it’s also been a long winter as he’s racked up more than half of a seasons worth of extra plate appearances in Venezuela so far. If he can carry his production with him into spring training he could turn some heads and put himself into the running for a spot on the bench with the big league club.

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