Of the sites I most frequently use for analyzing players during the off season, two (now three) have made significant
Career minor league statistics
are crucially important to consider for any player who has been in the majors less than a couple years. Surprisingly, of the
dozens of career players stats available for free on line, only a few carry career minor league stats. Only Rotoworld, Baseball America, and MiLB.com give you current minor league stats, but they won’t take you back any further in time. Baseball Cube is the only source for career minor league stats of retired players of the last 10 years or so, but that site is riddled
with annoying pop-ups and ads from which there is no apparent escape.* The Toronto Star Player Index was my favorite until last year. It is completely clean and gives a little scouting report, describes transactions, call-ups/sent-downs,
and DL stints along with their career Organized Baseball record. It has career high info that I don’t pay any attention
to, but it is fun to see where a player was born and what he considers his home town. They lost my loyalty last year, because
their name cross-referencing wasn’t working. You had to click on the letter representing their last name, then scroll
down and find their name from there. CBS Sportsline worked better, though, the minor league stats are in a completely separate box at the bottom of a long page from the major
league stats. There isn’t much else on that long page that is useful or particularly interesting. I do look at their
player news sometimes, but there are better sources for analysis and injury updates. Their statistics are plentiful, but primitive.
Toronto Star fixed their index, so I’m back with them, now. Besides, you have to pay to get ESPN’s scouting reports, so I
use The Star’s unless I have better info from Baseball America or John Sickels.
*Correction Jan. ’07:
Baseball Cube has been cleaned-up and is now an excellent site. It’s advantage over the Toronto Star site is that it gives the pitchers’ home runs, hits, walks, and strikeouts per 9 innings. Other nice bonuses are play-off
stats, fielding stats, cross-referencing on players who are from the same home town, high school, or college. It even indicates
to which organization the player’s minor league teams belongs and a season-by-season list of managers he played for.
The strong points for the Toronto Star are its scouting reports, injury history, and overall cleanness. For example, it is much easier to find and read the transactions
associated with the player. The Baseball Cube is too busy with advertisements and a wonky layout. I do thank them for removing the most offending ads, however. And, if
you look at Vernon Wells or Rich Harden, you can see I’ve been a supporter of theirs for a long time – when a
lifetime sponsorship was ten or fifteen bucks!
Here in early January, I found only two Depth Charts Depth with data base links that are up-to-date with player movements:
Rotoworld and MLB.com. Rotoworld has revamped their look after abandoning their old depth charts late in the season last year.
Neither site has a master page such as CBS Sportsline’s. Both require selecting a team from any other team’s page. However, Rotoworld index is a bit wonky on my computer.
MLB.com has the much nicer index and the nicer graphic. You see the players distributed across a baseball field by position,
while Rotoworld merely has them listed in rows and columns. MLB.com shows who might play whichever other positions rather
than just showing the members of the bench at only one position. Here is MLB.com’s depth chart for the Blue Jays. The Rotoworld index which requires first clicking a drop down button that doesn’t even work right. Not all the teams
show up and there are extraneous “player” choices.
However, in my opinion Rotoworld has far more realistic predictions of who will be starting where. The list below shows
where they differ. After each comparison I call the winner. Note, I didn’t quibble over who was listed first through
fourth in the rotation. That really doesn’t matter. However, the 5th starter is the one most likely to lose
a job or at the very least, a few starts, so I did point out those differences. Both web sites often listed multiple pitchers
in the 5th spot, although Rotoworld listed far more candidates.
Bal lf: Payton Huff
Rotoworld. Close call. Huff might play some dh-1b possibly take over 3b from Mora leaving a greater number
of games played in leftfield for Payton. However, unless Huff gets hurt, he will have more at bats than Payton, and for now,
you can expect most of them will be in left.
Bal 5s: no R.Lopez
Rotoworld: Lopez is surely a candidate with Loewen, and, at least, we see who will be available for the first
Chi 5s: neither incl. Haeger and H.Phillips
Rotoworld: Gavin Floyd pitched 4.23 in AAA, 7.29 with the Phillies. Haeger was 3.07 and 3.44 (even after a
disastrous first start). Phillips has a 2.96 ERA in AAA.
Cle 5s: incl. Carmona no Carmona
Rotoworld: Although, it is nice to know who no. 6 is, there is no chance Sowers would lose his job to Carmona
in the spring.
Det 5s: Verlander Maroth (otherwise same five)
Rotoworld: Ridiculous. Although, Maroth could well get more starts for awhile due to Verlander’s tender
young arm, if anyone is in danger of losing his job to Ledezma or Andrew Miller, it will be Maroth.
KC 3b: Teahen A.Gordon
KC rf: Sanders Teahen
Rotoworld: The Royals could get sued if they kept Gordon in the minors any longer. You never know with this
organization, but Sanders seems the most logical one to bench or cut.
KC 5s: incl. Elarton no Elarton
MLB.com: Close, because it must be about time to give up on him.
LA dh: Hillenbrand J.Rivera
MLB.com: Considering Rivera’s serious leg break, Hillendbrand will certainly have a starting job until
Rivera returns – which could be early or mid season. The Angels have loads of potential to squeeze Hillenbrand out of
a job, but for now, he is fairly safe.
LA 5s: incl. Colon incl. Jered Weaver
MLB.com: As with Maroth and Verlander, both sites list these in both rotations. This time Rotoworld could plead
the “youthful arm” defence by having the young phenomenon 5th. With Colon’s
health concerns, though, he is far more likely to lose starts to co-5th starter Joe Saunders.
Min 3b: Cirillo Punto
Rotoworld: Punto earned the job. Cirillo is 37 and just hanging on.
Min 5s: neither incl. Baker and Ponson
Rotoworld: Who the heck is 3.92 AA pitcher Glen Perkins to walk away with a job over Baker or Ponson?
NY 1b: A.Phillips Mientkiewicz
Rotoworld. The Yankees have made it clear Mientkie is the larger platoon half.
NY 5s: Igawa Karstens, Proctor, Rasner
MLB.com: As Rotoworld lists no 4th starter, this must be an electronic typo.
Oak 1b: Swisher D.Johnson
Oak lf: Kielty Swisher
Rotoworld: Close, but this is how I would do it. I’m not sure if MLB.com has some inside knowledge here,
Oak 5s: no one Kennedy, Windsor, Halsey, and Saarloos
Rotoworld: Unless Oakland plans to stick to
a four man rotation, Rotoworld wins by default.
TB 1b: Norton Wigginton
Rotoworld. I’d believe Upton before Norton.
TB sp: no Seo Seo is
Rotoworld. Really, after Kazmir, they’re all 5rh starters. Seo certainly deserves mention.
Tex 5s: Koronka Volquez, Rheinecker, & Cruceta
Rotoworld: To continue with Koronka would be suicide. At least, the Rotoworld trio of candidates have some
Tor 5s: no Towers incl.
Rotoworld: Jays have plenty of room for a possible Towers comeback.
Rotoworld wins in 15 out of 19 comparisons.
They agreed completely on only Boston and Seattle’s
starters. So, for the accuracy of Rotoworld and for getting around their wonky index and making access to their depth charts
as easy as possible, you should build a direct link to each team in your “favorites:” folder. Just cut and paste
this link http://www.rotoworld.com/content/Depth_MLB.aspx?sport=MLB&majteam=BAL into a shortcut for each team, except change the team from BAL to BOS, CWS, CLE, DET, KC, MLB (for Angels), MIN, NYY, OAK,
SEA, TB, TEX, TOR, ATL, ARZ, CHC, CIN, COL, FLA, HOU, LA, MIL, NYM, PHI, PIT, SD, SF, or WAS as appropriate. Once you’ve
built your team depth chart folder, you will find how clearly this is the way to do things. Just remember, please, I told