August Picks (A.L. Robinson)
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an analysis of our league's final supplementary draft


For whatever reasons - and there are many - at this point of the supplemental draft we have widely differing notions of who we should draft. Half of the players taken this round weren't even on my list - but that may well have been an oversight on my part. I missed David Hernandez the last draft. Here is who was taken in my league (AL Robinson Canada) during the first round mostly on Tuesday Aug. 18:


1. Cement: Trevor Reckling - age 20 doing well in AA (2.72 ERA, 7.2 K/9). Baseball America: "He has a ceiling of a No. 3 starter." He was ranked fourth in the Angels organization by both BA and Baseball Prospectus.


2. Lumber: Jeremy Sowers - most recognizable "name" available. His ERA was 3.57 as a rookie. It shot up to 6.42 in 2007. Last year it came down to 5.58, and it is sitting at 4.88 now. What's in store next year: 2.50 or 7.50?


3. Mainahs: Martin Perez - an 18 year old Venezuelan who was just promoted to AA - skipping the A+ level. BA didn't rank him in the Rangers' top 10, but BP did with one scout comparing him to Scott Kazmir.


4. Hornets: Tyler Flowers - 23 year old catcher whose O+S has improved each year at an ever higher minor league level. This year his .993 in the Southern League forced a mid year promotion to AAA.


5. Demons: Tommy Hunter - just turned 23 last month, was never distinguished as a prospect or having the minor league stats to suggest otherwise. However, after 10 starts his ERA in the Texas heat this summer is 2.64 and holding.


6. Thunder: Chris Carter - a 22 year old A's prospect who has blown away AA all year. He was rated in the A's top six by both BA & BP for destroying A+ last year and the South Atlantic League the year before. All bat, no glove. No relation.


7. Tao: Marc Rzepczynski - a 23 year old left-hander ranked 9th on both Jays' prospect lists, he's had success and high strike out rates at each level and is pitching decently since his promotion to the Jays in early July. Decent is apparently his upside.


8. Balls: Doug Fister - just called up this month, this 25 year old may be place filling for other injured Mariners, but walked only 1 batter per nine innings for Tacoma this year while striking out 7 /9i. He has carried his success to the majors in his first few starts so far.


9. Wrecks: Fu-Te Ni - the Major League's only Taiwanese player earned his shot in the world's top league with his success in Asia and with Toledo earlier this year. Another southpaw, for Detroit so far (21 innings), he is 2.14, with 17 K and 6 BB - and my pick as the best reliever available.


10. Silks: Alex Avila - a 22 year old catcher rising even faster than Flowers. I'm a Tigers fan, yet, I never heard of him until he leapfrogged Dusty Ryan onto the Major League team less than two weeks ago. I read one scout saying because of his hustle, he wouldn't be surprised if he is the starter before the year is over - and Detroit is in a pennant race! - and Laird isn't bad. Avila hit a respectable .768 O+S last year - his first pro season - in a low level A league. The good part about it was his .383 OBA. The bad part was his .374 BABiP. Yet, he must have made an impression as he skipped A+ and started this year in the Eastern League. He kept his OBA up to .365, but his Slugging increased to .450 (from .385 the year before). Now he seems to be playing about half the time and has a 1.622 O+S in his first 20 at bats!


Of course, he isn't going to keep that up and there is not enough data here to promise he'll be anything more than a solid back-up, but, heck, who was Mike Piazza before he burst onto the Dodgers? At 22 Piazza had to repeat the A+ level. His first short pro season was at age 20. His bat did come alive that second year at the A+ level, then continued to soar with stints at AA and AAA the following year until his September call up.


With Guillen and Ordonez struggling most of the year, perhaps, the Tigers have suddenly switched from favoring lefties to favoring righties. Granderson, Huff, and Avila bat from the left side.


11.  Cement: Matt Moore - oooh, good pick-up, if you can tolerate pitching prospects at all - Moore is yet another brilliant gem in the Rays' fold. He had already shinning in the middle of BA's Rays' Top 10 prospect list - the one that was still headed by David Price. This year at age 20 in the lower A level, he has 156 strikeouts in 110 innings and a 2.68 ERA. He just needs to get his walks down (62). He is on Baseball America's mid summer Top 50.


12.  Lumber: Brandon Lyon - probably the most reliable arm available in the draft. He's 29, pitching for Detroit with 40 K, a more than I would like to see 22 walks in 57 innings, and a handsome 2.84 ERA. Even though YCL is close to being out of the race, a useful reliever could generate a good prospect at the trading deadline.


13.  Mainahs: Casey Kelly - the 19 year old first round pick of the Red Sox last year. It is still up in the air whether he will pitch as his employers wish or shortstop as he wishes. So far, he's had more success on the mound than beside the plate - enough to make Baseball America's mid summer Top 50.


14. Hornets: Lonnie Chisenhall - 20 year old SS-3B prospect for Cleveland was productive enough in the A+ Carolina League .276/.346/.492 that he shot up to make BA's mid summer Top 50 and was promoted to AA. I was hoping to draft him.


15. Demons: Hector Rondon - a 21 year old pitcher in Cleveland's system who earned a mid year promotion to AAA with a 2.81 ERA and 120 K in one less inning for Akron. He's continued at precisely the same pace for Columbus. BP ranked him 6th among Indians' prospects over the winter. His walk rate is way down from his year last year in the Carolina A+ league. Good find.


16. Thunder: Brandon Erbe - a highly prized pitching prospect as an 18 year three years ago, it looked as though something went horribly wrong. Erbe flunked his first year at the A+ level with a 6.26 ERA. He just barely passed repeating it last year. Yet, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus do seem to know what they are talking about and kept him in the middle of their Top 10 lists for Baltimore. Sure enough, Erbe has been excellent this year in the AA Eastern League (2.26 ERA), though his K/BB is only 1.48.


17. Balls: Randy Ruiz - was stuck in the high minors for 4 years hitting in the high .800s and low .900s with 6 different organizations. Then with Toronto his 7th recent organization Ruiz was dominating the PCL with a .976 O+S. So, after letting the White Sox take Alex Rios off their payroll, the Jays called up Ruiz. He hasn't let them down and is hitting .954 in his first 30 plate appearances.


18. Tao: Kyle Gibson - 18 year old pitcher expected to be drafted in the top 10 this June, but fell to 22 (Minnesota) due to a stress fracture in his forearm. He signed for 1.85 million.


19. Wrecks: Jamey Carroll - The Wrecking Crew are not wasting a pick on a prospect when they have a division to defend - and a championship to strive for. Carroll is having one of his better years (.766 O+S) and is badly needed where the Crew's thirdbaseman has been demoted (Alex Gordon) and his back-up is injured (Scott Rolen) - or visa versa.


20. Silkx: Brendan Donnelly - yeah, I know he's 37 years old and hasn't pitched well in the heat of August, but he is still fanning batters and his ERA has only risen to 2.08. If he has a good week if and when our month of summer is over, he might well be worth using on a play-off roster. He is pitching for Florida which means there is a risk he will be ignored in September.


21. Cement: James Simmons - a nearly ready 22 year old pitcher with Oakland's AAA Sacramento where he has a 5.10 ERA and a 1.82 K:BB. The PCL is a hitter's league, though, and Simmons does not give up many homers.


22. Lumber: Mike MacDougal - the 32 year old reliever known for frequent injuries and occasional excellence has a 2.20 ERA since joining Washington. However, he has more walks than strikeouts.


23. Mainahs: Matthew Hobgood - just turned 19 this month, he was the no. 5 pick overall in this year's June draft - taken by Baltimore. He started pitching right away in a rookie league. I hope he makes it for the fun of his name.


24. Hornets: Grant Green - Oakland's first pick. The offensive sided 21 year old shortstop signed for $2.75 million. He was certainly high on my list, too. I quote BP's Kevin Goldstein, "I think Oakland got away with a truckload here. Green is a better player than half the guys selected ahead of him."


25. Demons: Jacob Turner - 18. The Tigers have done notably well with their first round picks of pitchers lately: '04 Verlander, '06 Andrew Miller (well, maybe), '07 Porcello, '08 Ryan Perry after decades of doing notably badly: '81: Ricky Barlow, '82: Rich Monteleone, '83: Wayne Dotson, '85: Randy Nosek, '89: Greg Gohr, '92: Rick Greene, '94: Cade Gaspar, '95: Mike Drumright, '96: Seth Greisinger, '97: Matt Anderson (not a total bust, but very disappointing for Detroit's only first overall pick), '98: Jeff Weaver - finally someone who had some good years, '00: Matt Wheatland - oops back to failure, '01: Ken Baugh, '03: Kyle Sleeth. Their position player first picks in that time weren't any better, just fewer. Tony Clark had a decent career, but he was the no. 2 overall pick that year after Chipper Jones. The next best first pick was also a first-baseman: Rico Brogna.


Oh, back to Turner: he is costing the Tigers $5.5 million up to $7 million depending on how quickly he makes the Majors. Man, that is an obscene amount of cash for a high school pitcher of his merit - someone who I have not heard unanimous glowing hype over. Note Detroit did not play games holding back Porcello or Perry as is the fashion with some teams these days.


26. Thunder: Ryan Westmoreland - 5th round high school pick in 2008, yet without swinging a professional bat both BP & BA rated this outfielder in the middle of Boston's top 10 lists. Coming from Rhode Island he could be a local hero. You missed this one, Art! The 19 year old is off to a respectable start in a short season league this year.


27. Tao: Alex White - there seemed to be a good deal of surprise that he fell to the 15th overall pick for Cleveland. Scouts were predicting top 5 easily. It did take that kind of money to sign him (2.25 million). He will be 21 before this August is over.


28. Balls: Daniel Hudson - wow! what a find! Not in either White Sox top 10 list this 22 year old 5th round 2008 draft pick has shot up four levels in one year. All that's left is the Majors, and with the way Contreras, Colon, and Garcia have pitched, I think there is room there after Buehrle, Danks, and Floyd. Is Peavy a free agent? Do they have other pitchers more ready? Another thing I like about this pick for Goff's sake is that he'll probably give Balls R Us nearly a full season next year at the cost of a protected prospect. Furthermore, I think the White Sox are one of the better organizations for turning pitching prospects into solid pitchers.


29. Wreck: Branyan Peņa - a 27 year old Cuban catcher who began in 5th year in a row in AAA. John Buck's injury gave him more of an opportunity this year, and he responded with an .837 O+S in about 100 at bats so far - enough to bat clean-up on the Royals occasionally and stay with the team upon Buck's return. He's a perfect fit for Royals fan George who's Crew has lacked a back-up catcher all year.


30. Silk: Mike Trout - just had his 18th birthday on the 7th of this month. He's from New Jersey, no relation to Dizzy and Steve. He wasn't drafted until round 25, but this year there wasn't much separation among any of the first round picks after Strasburg. According to BP's Kevin Goldstein, he shows "plus-plus speed", "very good outfield skills", "off-the-charts make-up", and let's see, in his first 145 at bats in rookie league he is hitting .377/.439/.546. The Angels and I are pumped!


To sum up these August draftees, first I show the players who are helping this year by position:



Marc Rzepczynski

Tommy Hunter

Doug Fister

Jeremy Sowers - most established, but least effective at the moment



Fu-Te Ni

Brandon Lyon

Brendan Donnelly

Mike MacDougal



Alex Avila

Branyan Peņa


1B-DH Randy Ruiz

2B-3B  Jimmy Carroll


Our league drafted no outfielders this session, but there were a few who could be helpful:

Rajai Davis - CF job is now securely his (.786 O+S)

Gabe Gross - .779 - has Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings breathing down his neck

Clete Thomas - with Huff around, will lose pt, if Guillen and Ordonez are fit


I suspect all of those who are rookies above will blow their prospect status by the end of the season except Avila. Ni and Ruiz might make it, but not likely. Who will be protectable if they blow their rookie status? Any of those starting pitchers might be if they continue to pitch well down the stretch. Rzepczynski may be the most alluring, but he has the most competition for a spot in his rotation next year with about a dozen Blue Jay starters coming off D.L. over the winter. I wouldn't rule out Avila or Ruiz making enough of a splash to be considered for protection. I would think some team might wish they had Rajai Davis to protect, but apparently not.


These starting pitching prospects might be helpful in 2010 (in aprox. order of likelihood):

Daniel Hudson

Hector Rondon

Trevor Reckling

Brandon Erbe

James Simmons

Alex White - most upside, probably, but no pro experience, yet. All the others listed here have succeeded at the AA level.


These few position players could help next year, too:

1B-OF-DH Chris Carter (Oakland's)

SS-IF  Grant Green - hasn't begun yet, but is considered nearly ready

C       Tyler Flowers

Sorry, no outfielder to pass on to you. All the good ones I could find were drafted earlier.


These are the Bordeaux prospects we just selected who will need to be stashed longer:

3B   Lonnie Chisenhall

OF  Mike Trout

SP   Matt Moore

SP   Jacob Turner

SP   Martin Perez

P-SS Casey Kelly

OF  Ryan Westmoreland

SP   Kyle Gibson

SP   Matthew Hobgood

John Carter