Author: Tanner McClure

My MLB Draft Rant

Just so you are forewarned: this will not be something that will happen on this blog very often. No statistics, not many examples of what I’m going to be writing about, not much research, really all opinionated theory. You probably found this if you wanted to read something like this, but if you somehow stumbled on it and were looking for something to project out how well guys who got drafted will do, this isn’t the post for you. It might come later, but not right now.

Something that MLB Network analyst and draft guru Jonathan Mayo said during day 1 of the draft really struck a chord with me, and it wasn’t a good chord. I don’t have the recall skills to directly quote him, but it was something to the effect of “in the first round, you draft talent, not needs.”

Um… WHAT?

I’m no GM (of course I would like to be at some point in time), but I like to think I know some stuff about the game. I really think that at some point you need to draft to your team’s current and future needs, and the players who will fill these needs best are going to be in the first round. Granted, If you have a pick in the top 3-5, you go with the best guys on the board. Then if you’re in the later picks of the first round, you can aim for talent, but presuming you don’t have many needs at the major league level, you get guys to bring depth into your farm system. I.e. if you have five right-handed starters who are top-ten prospects, and you only have two lefties in your top 30, grab a freakin’ high school lefty there, and maybe draft one with the next pick you have, too. Don’t reach too far if you can help it, but try and keep a well-rounded farm system. Worst case is you have depth everywhere and you can play with some trade offers. As it gets into the later rounds, around day 3, probably even late day two, start to go for talent there.

Think of it this way, if you are drafting a fantasy team (I know, the fantasy baseball to real baseball comparison is a stretch, but it works here) in a deep keeper league, and you have Jose Altuve, Jason Kipnis, David Wright, Manny Machado, and Pedro Alvarez. You have to decide a late round pick, when you go for sleepers/prospects, and you can go with Garin Cecchini or Mookie Betts. Cecchini is ranked higher and probably profiles as a better fantasy player, but Betts isn’t bad at all either. So who do you draft?

Betts. Mookie Freakin’ Betts. That is who you draft. not because he is better than Cecchini, but because you already have three third basemen, and you don’t need another one. Plain and simple. Why keep four third basemen when you can only play one or two at a time?

I’m not saying MLB teams did this. I looked at the first round again, and it seems like they did pretty well with drafting needs over talent in the first round. The Padres didn’t draft a catcher to sit behind Austin Hedges like I saw in one mock, and the A’s didn’t draft a shortstop to do the same with Addison Russell, which was from the same mock. I just want to tell Jonathan Mayo, “Bro… no,” at least if I were making decisions.

So there it is, for any questions/opinions, comment, tweet me (@tanman128) or the blog (@AnalyticsAnonWP), or email us at analyticsanonymousblog@gmail.com. Thanks for putting up with this – TM

Two Extra Points:

1. My draft strategy also entails where the player is in development. If you are about to hit the panic button, draft a top college guy. He should be up before the top high school guys.

2. Just want to say congrats to Tyler Humphreys, who was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the seventh round yesterday out of St. John’s River State College. We are good friends with he and his family, and I’ve played ball with his brother since we were ten. He led all JUCO players in the regular season with 18 homers this year, and plays a solid defensive third base.

MLB Mock Draft, Picks 13-27

MLB Draft

For my intro and details on how I made my decisions, see the post on picks 1-12.  I ran out of time pre-draft to add stats and particulars, so those will come later in this post or another post. With that, here are picks 13-27. 

Kyle Schwarber, from AP

Kyle Schwarber, from AP

Pick #13, San Diego Padres; Kyle Schwarber, C/1B/OF, Indiana

L/R 6’0″ 240 lbs

Stat Line: .340 AVG, 200 AB, 56 R, 68 H, 30 XBH, 10 HR, 36 RBI, 8 SB

I struggled with this pick, to say the least. At first, I was thinking Monte Harrison would be a good fit, but signability concerns shyed me away from that pick. Kyle Schwarber is a fit here, as his raw power and big body play well with Petco Park, as well as his hitting smarts. They, as a system, don’t have much depth as far as lefty arms go, so they could take one here, but could probably snag one later in the draft because of how pitcher-heavy this year’s is. Schwarber was predominantly a catcher in college, but doesn’t project to stick there defensively, especially with top prospect Austin Hedges in his way behind the plate. He should transition to outfield or first base and bring his lefty bat to San Diego relatively quickly.

Pick #14, San Francisco Giants; Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt

R/R 6’4″ 215 lbs

Stat Line: 7-6, 3.42 ERA, 84 INN, 88 K, 36 BB, 67 H

Beede is a big, dominant righty who led Vandy to the NCAA Super Regionals as their Friday Night starter. I wrote a post on he and teammate Carson Fulmer a while back, which is here. The only thing that Beede really has trouble with are some control issues. But with the kind of staff the Giants put together each year, Beede definitely has time to get everything to where it needs to be before cracking into the Bigs. His three plus pitches give him the chance to excel in the pros.

Pick #15, LA Angels of Anaheim; Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State

Chris Iannetta is a good catcher, and can certainly do the job, but when an opportunity comes for the Angels to get a catcher in the first round who could be a middle of the order bat, and can handle a pitching staff as well as Pentecost can, you take that opportunity as quickly as it comes. Being a great athlete, like he is, makes it easy to stay behind the plate, and should allow him to slot in nicely to an already powerful LA lineup.

Pick #16, Arizona Diamondbacks; Grant Holmes, RHP, Conway HS, South Carolina

You can never have too much pitching. It’s cliche but it’s true, and once Archie Bradley comes back and eventually gets to the Majors, Arizona’s rotation will be full. But by the time hard-throwing Grant Holmes is ready for a big-league call up, there will be a spot open, or one will be forced open with Holmes’ mid 90s heat and hammer of a curveball.

Pick #17, Kansas City Royals; Sean Newcomb, LHP, Hartford

With only two left-handed starters in their top-25 prospects, I see the Royals grabbing Newcomb here to help bolster the staff later on. Newcomb is a big lefty who sits in the low 90s. He will probably take a little longer than other college draftees so he can work out what his breaking ball will be (curve or slider) and get more time against better competition.

Pick #18, Washington Nationals; Jeff Hoffman, RHP, ECU

At the beginning of the year, Jeff Hoffman would have been a top-10 pick, but the Tommy John bug hit him, and his draft stock fell, but not so much for him to go out of the top 20. The Nats seem to be a good fit because they’ve taken an injured arm in the first round before (Lucas Giolito in 2012), and it turned out pretty well, as he is now Washington’s #1 prospect.

Jacob Gatewood during the 2013 HR Derby at Citi Field, from Zimbio

Jacob Gatewood during the 2013 HR Derby at Citi Field, from Zimbio

Pick #19, Cincinnati Reds; Jacob Gatewood, SS, Clovis HS, California

The Reds have very little infield depth in their system, at this point, so they should be poised to take a prep infielder in the first round. They have enough talent in the majors now that they can grab a guy who can take a little time to develop. Enter Jacob Gatewood. The kid who was dropping bombs at the high school HR Derby at Citi Field last year should be a good fit here, and his power swing profiles well at GABP, a hitter’s park. There are some mechanical issues that probably need to be fixed, which is fine, because they have some time. He could transition to another position, but if his glove and skill at the postion stick, he could/should stay at short.

Pick #20, Tampa Bay Rays; Erick Fedde, RHP, UNLV

Another pitcher who couldn’t avoid Tommy John, the Rays probably will snag him if he’s still available. Andrew Friedman likes home-grown pitchers, and drafting Fedde will just give more depth to an already deep system. This also plays well because if, for some reason, Fedde is a part of the minority that doesn’t come back well from the surgery, it won’t kill the system.

Pick #21, Cleveland Indians; Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Wichita State

Casey is the younger brother of White Sox infielder Connor, but he profiles as more of a power bat than his brother. He is a good defender at first, and if Cleveland is dead set on Carlos Santana staying at third base then they need a power bat to fill the DH spot better than Ryan Raburn, or who plays defense well enough to move Nick Swisher to DH. It also helps that Casey is a switch hitter, so he should fit right into a lineup where the other two prolific power basts are also switch hitters (Swisher and Santana)

Pick #22, Los Angeles Dodgers; Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Sandalwood HS, Florida

Again, you can never have too much pitching. Reid-Foley gives the Dodgers a little time for him to get through the system because he is a high schooler, but his plus fastball and plus slider will help move him through the system. This pick could potentially be a future trade piece, as the Dodgers are armed (pun) with a great staff, and have more arms on the way.

Pick #23, Detroit Tigers; Nick Burdi, RHP, U of Louisville

I don’t usually regard relievers as first round picks. You can turn almost anyone into a reliever, so why use a potentially franchise-changing pick on one. If you need help now, then you use it. This is where the Tigers are. Joe Nathan has been out of sorts lately, and if it continues to be like that, they will need help soon for a playoff race. NIck Burdi and his sub-one ERA could be the Marcus Stroman/Paco Rodriguez of the 2012 draft.

Pick #24, Pittsburgh Pirates; Michael Chavis, 3B/2B, Sprayberry HS, Georgia

The Pirates have no top-30 prospects at second or third. Pedro Alvarez is going to stick at third, but Neil Walker isn’t the top-teir guy he once was, or once was thought of. Chavis and his great bat and bat speed will bring some depth there as the possible Pirates second baseman of the future.

Pick #25, Oakland A’s; Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy, Florida

The A’s need southpaw depth; they’re loaded up with righties in their system, but don’t have many top lefties. Griffin Brings a plus changeup, and will pitch well at O.Co Coliseum, a pitcher’s park.

Pick #25, Boston Red Sox; Derrick Hill, OF, Elk Grove HS, California

Derrick Hill is a speedy center fielder, and that speed is the tool that plays for him. If he doesn’t go to the Red Sox (or even before them), look for him to go somewhere in the 23-27 range.

Pick #27, St. Louis Cardinals; Spencer Adams, RHP, White County HS, Georgia

The Cardinals draft pitching. Plain and simple. Normally it would be a college arm (look for Luke Weaver at 34), but Spencer Adams’ repertoire stands out at this point, following Shelby Miller and Rob Kaminsky as the two most recent high school arms drafted by St. Louis in the first round.

MLB Mock Draft, Picks 1-12

MLB Draft

The MLB Draft is this Thursday, and, though it is not as hyped as the NFL Draft, to the more in-depth fan it is equally, if not more, important. Over three days, 40 rounds (plus a few compensation/competitive balance picks in the early going) worth of high school and college players will be presented the opportunity to play professional baseball. First-round picks are typically the most make-or-break guys. They will be remembered by franchises for years due to their successes, or lack thereof.

This is what I think will happen, but also some of what I would do in each team’s situation. I took into account both the teams’ current Major League depth chart, and the prospects they have in their system. I feel like I should go ahead and put it out there that, as far as pitchers go, I favor the college arms because they can make an impact with the big club quicker than the guys from high school. With that, let’s get rolling.

Brady Aiken, from Perfect Gme

Brady Aiken, from Perfect Game

Pick #1, Houston Astros; Brady Aiken, LHP, Cathedral Catholic HS, California

L/L 6’3″ 207 lbs

Stat Line: 5-3, 0.92 ERA, 53 INN, 80 K, 25 BB, 30 H

Pick #2, Miami Marlins; Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State

L/L 6’3″ 234 lbs

Stat Line: 6-7, 2.01 ERA, 99 INN, 117 K, 31 BB, 84 H

I need to explain myself for both of these picks together. Up until today I figured there was no way that the Astros could pass up Carlos Rodon. That was, of course until I found out that Scott Boras was in the situation. Yes, the “superagent” is Rodon’s “adviser” which is just the NCAA-friendly word for “future agent”. Based on his previous endeavors, one can only assume (i.e. I’d bet the farm) that Rodon’s contract will be worth every cent that his respective future team is allotted to pay him. Jef Luhnow, being the smart GM that he is, will presumably avoid as much contact with Boras as possible, draft lefty Brady Aiken, and try to save a few bucks. Jeffery Loria, the Marlins owner, is not strapped for cash, nor does he have restraint on spending it. It would work out extremely well because Rodon is Cuban-American, and that would be enough to sell tickets in Miami, as opposed to Houston.

As far as how the two left handers compare, Rodon is a power guy who sits in the mid-to-high 90s with his fastball, with a nasty slider that stays around 85-87. After LEGEN (wait for it) Freshman and Sophomore seasons, in which he was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award both years, and won it last year, he had a somewhat disappointing Junior year, going 6-7 with a 2.01 ERA , a 3.77 K/BB ratio, and a 10.64 K/9. The stats don’t really say “disappointment” though, aside from the W-L, and I really don’t care about those. The fact of the matter is, he is a great pitcher, and should be picked 1 or 2.

Brady Aiken is another lefty arm, but is out of high school, and isn’t as much of a power guy, but works more with location and repertoire. He does run his fastball at 91-92, but touches 96-97 as well. His curveball is filthy, and he’s got baseball smarts, too. Aiken put up a 0.90 ERA. No, that is not a typo. He completely shut down the California high school circuit, and raised is draft stock to the almost consensus #1.

One more thing, DARY.

Pick #3, Chicago White Sox; Tyler Kolek, RHP, Shepherd HS, Texas

R/R 6’5″ 245 lbs

Stat Line: 4-1, 0.45 ERA, 46 INN, 100 K, 6 BB, 14 H

When a high school kid from Texas models his game after Nolan Ryan, you know he respects the game. When he actually pitches like Nolan Ryan, then you know he is going to have success. Tyler Kolek is just that. The 6′ 5″, 245 lb righty sits betweek 97-99 and topped out at 102. Again, not a typo. It should be safe to say that he and Chris Sale will make and effective 1-2 duo.

Pick #4, Chicago Cubs; Alex Jackson, C/OF, Rancho Bernardo HS, California

R/R 6’1″ 224 lbs

Stat Line: .415 AVG, 82 AB, 41 R, 34 H, 20 XBH, 11 HR, 26 RBI, 8 SB

Jackson really projects as an outfielder, probably right because of his strong arm. He has a quick bat, keeps his hands inside the ball, and has power to all fields. His swing is really smooth with not much movement, so he brings his hands straight through the ball.

Pick #5, Minnesota Twins; Nick Gordon, SS, Olympia HS, Florida

L/R 6’0″ 180 lbs

Stat Line: .508 AVG, 63 AB, 22 R, 32 H, 15 XBH, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 7 SB

Nick, son of Flash, brother of Dee, will stay at shortstop, and I feel he could hit in the middle of the order, but probably in the two-hole. He squares the ball up and hits line drives, so he’ll get on base, and he has above average speed, but not necessarily lead-off speed. He is smooth in the field, with a strong arm (he was a pitching prospect previously) and a lot of upside.

Michael Conforto, from Pine Tar Press

Michael Conforto, from Pine Tar Press

Pick #6, Seattle Mariners; Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon State

L/R 6’2″ 217 lbs

Stat Line: .369 AVG, 179 AB, 49 R, 66 H, 23 XBH, 7 HR, 55 RBI, 4 SB

Conforto, the first college bat off the board, is the best college bat on the board, a strong lefty power hitter from Oregon State who projects out to hit 20-plus homers per year, and one who can provide more protection for Robinson Cano in the heart of the Seattle order. The Mariners don’t have much top-tier outfield depth in the outfield in their system, or with the big league club right now, so they should be set to take one with their first pick.

Pick #7, Philadelphia Phillies; Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville

L/L 6’3″ 170 lbs

Stat Line: 10-2, 1.90 ERA, 100 INN, 128 K, 13 BB, 79 H

Let’s face it, Cliff Lee is getting old. To attempt to replace him, the Phillies should take the lefty from Evansville. Freeland has excellent control while sitting in the high 80s to low 90s with his fastball, and staying in the mid-to-high 80s with his slider. He was drafted out of high school a few years ago (failed to sign), and history has a tendency to repeat itself. Expect him to make his way to Citizens Bank Park in the next couple years to join Cole Hamels in the Phils’ rotation, presuming Ruben Amaro is able to lock up Hamels with a new contract.

Pick #8, Colorado Rockies; Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU

L/L 5’11” 184 lbs

Stat Line: 8-3, 2.16 ERA, 79 INN, 103 K, 21 BB, 60 H

Another hard throwing lefty comes up in the #8 spot. Finnegan throws in the mid 90s, with a slider in the low 80s and a change in the mid 80s. Should compliment Jon Gray and Eddie Butler well in the Rockies’ future rotation.

Pick #9, Toronto Blue Jays; Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU

R/R 6’1″ 196 lbs

Stat Line: 9-1, 1.42 ERA, 102 INN, 120 K, 23 BB, 60 H

I originally had Touki Touissant in this spot (see pick #12) but figured the Jays would go for the college guy from LSU over the Florida High Schooler. Nola’s brother, Austin, is already in Double-A in the Blue Jays system. Nola is a big, power righty with exceptional stuff. Look to see him in the bigs within the next year and a half.

Pick #10, New York Mets; Trea Turner, SS, NC State

R/R 6’1″ 171 lbs

Stat Line: .321 AVG, 215 AB, 65 R, 69 H, 23 XBH, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 26 SB

A lot of people have Turner going at nine to Toronto, but I just don’t see it. If he was out of high school, then maybe, but I really think Jose Reyes will be their shortstop for the next five years (at least), and the Mets need to hit the panic button at short real soon. That’s where Turner comes in. His top tool is his speed, as he was NC State’s leadoff hitter, but he flashes some pop as well. His swing can get long, so he’ll have to work it out in the minors, but even so, he’ll be up before the Blue Jays would have been ready for him.

Pick #11, Toronto Blue Jays; Bradley Zimmer, OF, San Francisco

6’5″ 205 lbs

Stat Line: .368 AVG, 220 AB, 42 R, 81 H, 24 XBH, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 21 SB

More baseball bloodlines show up in Zimmer, whose brother, Kyle, was the third pick overall by the Royals in 2012. Bradley is an athletic outfielder who has plus speed and can really square the ball up. He projects to play a corner outfield spot, but could stick in center as well. I really think he would go into a corner role (Left Field) with the Blue Jays, whether Anthony Gose or D.J. Davis winds up in center, with Jose Bautista in Right. I’m not a Melky Cabrera fan, so I would trade him whenever Zimmer is ready, presuming that Zimmer produces in the minors (he will).

Touki Toussaint from Perfect Game

Touki Toussaint from Perfect Game

Pick #12, Milwaukee Brewers; Touki Toussaint, RHP, Coral Springs Academy, Florida

6’2″ 198 lbs

Stat Line: 6-2, 0.82 ERA, 45 IP, 86 K, 33 BB, 17 H

The Brewers will need rotation help in a few years, it’s not urgent, but they will eventually. Plus, you can never have enough pitching. Milwaukee has relatively good position depth, so they should take the best high school arm on the board, and that is Toussaint. He is an athlete, and could probably play outfield, but his electric arm will keep him on the mound. He routinely runs his fastball up to 96, and has a heck of a breaking ball. The only real issue here is control, and that can be worked out in the minors. After all, the Brew Crew has some time. No need for a “savior” at this point.

To close the first twelve picks, I want to address the first three again. Those guys are really interchangeable up there, and Kolek has Aiken and Rodon beat statistically. But as the line from “Million Dollar Arm” goes, “A lefty with juice is money in the bank.” Aiken and Rodon both fit that bill, so they get the top two spots for me, and I addressed why Aiken gets the top spot earlier. Picks 13-34 will be coming later in two separate posts.

-TM

Vandy and their Dynamic Pitching Duo

This was supposed to go up a few weeks ago… but it didn’t. So here it is, better late than never.

Carson Fulmer Image Courtesy of ESPN

Carson Fulmer
Image Courtesy of ESPN

Friday night baseball games at McKethan Stadium always provide great entertainment and great baseball. The competition provided in the SEC is the best in the country, and many future Major Leaguers are produced by those programs. Vanderbilt is notorious for this, putting out names like David Price, Sonny Gray, Pedro Alvarez, and Ryan Flaherty, among others. Coach Tim Corbin is one of the greatest coaches in college baseball, and it shows with the talent he recruits, the talent he puts on the field, and the talent he sends to the pros. They are perennial contenders to make a trip to Omaha, and this year is no different. As the old adage goes, pitching and defense wins championships, and the Commodores certainly have pitching. Righthander Tyler Beede is projected to be a top-10 pick in this June’s First-Year Player Draft. This time next year, I expect the same to be said about Beede’s teammate, fellow righty Carson Fulmer. Beede is 6’4″ with a four seam fastball that sits in the mid to high-90s, a two seamer that sits in the low to mid-90s that tails, and two exceptional off-speed pitches; a curveball with good 12-6 break and a changeup that sits in the high-70s with good movement. The change could be his best pitch. Off the field, Beede raps under the alias Young Beedah, and he’s actually pretty good. Maybe one day we could see a Beede-Trevor Bauer collaboration feat. Ken Griffey Jr. I didn’t get to see him pitch on Friday (he threw Thursday), but I got his autograph after the game and he seems like a really nice guy.

Tyler Beede Image Courtesy of baseballjournal.com

Tyler Beede
Image Courtesy of baseballjournal.com

As for who I did see pitch on Friday, the 5’11” Fulmer was absolutely masterfulthy (I wanted to say masterful and filthy, so we now have a word for that). His delivery is very quick, and he generates a lot of torque with his lower half. Notice how I said he was 5’11”; he throws 95. This is something that I’m going to rant on for a few sentences, so prepare yourself; there is no such thing as a player being “undersized”. Not in baseball, not in football, not anywhere. If a guy can play, he can play, and Carson Fulmer can play. He also has above-average secondary pitches, and can command the zone. Early and late in the game he had some short stints where his control eluded him, but in the middle he was solid, and even went on a treak of retiring twelve straight Gators.

(Side Note: I am really excited about Fulmer as far as his stuff, and how he pitches. This is probably because I actually saw him pitch in person, so I know more about his game, even though it was only one game, and probably his best game. All I have for Beede are some clips from YouTube, so that’s what I’m going off of, along with another scouting report.)

Fulmer’s start in Gainesville resulted in a complete game-four hit-shutout, the first shutout of his college career. He was still hitting 95 on the gun in the ninth on one of his fastballs to the last batter of the game, who he struck out. His line at the end was: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K. Post-game, when i went to go try to get his autograph, he had A Lot of friends and family there. He is from Lakeland, so I wouldn’t really expect anything less, and he put on a great show for his “hometown” crowd.

As far as pro player comps, you can’t help but compare him to “small” pitchers. I’ve put him up with two guys who have had success and were successful; Drew Storen and Marcus Stroman. Storen is three inches taller than Fulmer, and he was a reliever his whole career so that would probably be the least accurate comparison. Stroman is two inches shorter, and started some at Duke, so we could put these guys up next to each other and get a good comp.

Fulmer, Storen, and Stroman's college stats. Courtesy of www.thebaseballcube.com

Fulmer, Storen, and Stroman’s college stats.
Courtesy of The Baseball Cube

Fulmer’s WHIP and ERA are closer to Storen’s but his K/9 are closer to those of Stroman, so it could really be the best of both worlds. Fulmer only has four collegiate starts because he was just recently moved into the weekend rotation, and it looks like a move that is paying off for the ‘Dores, with his 0.98 ERA. He had recorded 9 saves prior to the move, which goes back to the comparison to Storen; Storen led Stanford in both wins and saves his sophomore year.

Vandy has good defense to stand behind these two guys, and if they can score runs, the can really be a force in the NCAA Tournament. They are definitely worth keeping an eye on, whether it be this year or next.

Why the importance of the Super Two deadline (and, in turn, the average MLB GM) is stupid

by Tanner McClure

So let’s say there is a current MLB team who is fourth in its division, is struggling at the plate, and has three potential Right Fielders. Right Fielder A has a slash line of .227/.301/.364, Right Fielder B has one of .262/.318/.295, and Right Fielder C has one of .400/.460/.644 (In more plate appearances than the others). But Right Fielder A has played the most at the Major League Level, and Right Fielder C has played at Triple-A all year. I bet that most anyone familiar with top prospects has figured out that I’m talking about the Pirates; RFA is Travis Snider, RFB is Jose Tabata, and RFC is Mega-Prospect, Gregory Polanco. If Polanco were inserted into the two-hole for Pittsburgh, I, like many other Cardinal fans would probably have nightmares when it came time for a series against the Pittsburgh. It would virtually be a Murderer’s Row at the top, with Starling Marte, Polanco, Andrew McCutchen, and Pedro Alvarez, followed by Neil Walker; not as prolific a bat, but still a good hitter. If Polanco starts to hit (which he will), and Alvarez slumps, all Pirates skipper, Clint Hurdle, would need to do is flip Walker and the Dominican phenom, give Alvarez some protection, and then everyone starts hitting. It’s scary, right?

Polanco while playing at AAA Indianapolis. (Image from here)

Polanco while playing at AAA Indianapolis. (Image from here)

The only problem here is money (That gets in the way a lot in sports, doesn’t it?). The Super Two deadline (here is a good explanation of it from fangraphs.com) passes in June or July, and it gives the Major League club full control (i.e. no arbitration) f0r the full three years after it passes instead of the two activated with a call-up before the deadline. This would pose a problem for teams with players who are bound to be superstars, like Polanco, because they would have to spend more money, sooner. It freaks out any average GM, and money, inevitably, gets in the way of talent. That is what is happening with multiple top prospects, including two big, young pitchers who I REALLY like, Noah Syndergaard (Mets) and Archie Bradley (D-Backs). All that Neal Huntington (or Sandy Alderson or Kevin Towers) has to do is take a page out of  Andrew Friedman‘s playbook. The Ray’s VP has become smart when handling young players’ contracts. He has signed multiple guys, including, Evan Longoria, Matt Moore, and Chris Archer to long term, club-friendly deals before their first go=around in arbitration. It really makes sense, because they give an offer before any long service time in the Majors, and the players are lured in by the security of a multi-year deal (i.e. 8 years for Archer). Neither Polanco or Bradley are represented by Scott Boras (or Jay-Z for that matter), so that in itself is a win (I couldn’t find Syndergaard’s agent).

From here

Syndergaard during the 2013 Futures Game. (Image from here)

George Springer is a prime example of calling up talent before the deadline. Although he probably could have been called up at the end of last year, Jeff Luuhnow waited until this year; Springer is not producing as well as the Astros had probably hoped, but it is still a small sample size, so we probably shouldn’t read as much into it. I can almost guarantee that Springer will get a contract before he goes to arbitration for the first time, because his talent is there, and teams shouldn’t mind paying more now, to save a little later.

The bottom line is that there are some really talented and exciting players in the minors who could be up in the majors if it weren’t for Super Two. I don’t disagree with the rule, I just disagree with how it’s looked at. GMs want to save money, but aren’t realizing that it would be more beneficial to forget about the deadline, let the kids play, and then sign them long term.

As a supplement, here are some Polanco Highlights from Youtube. Not the best, but the RBI double in the first video was against current Braves starter, Alex Wood.