Posts Tagged ‘Pedro Alvarez’

MLB Network Announces Top-50 Prospects In Baseball

January 28, 2010

Last night, MLB.com announced their top-50 prospects in baseball through a special on the MLB Network. While there were few surprises on their list, there were a couple of players that caught my eye.

No. 8: Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates. When the Pirates promoted Andrew McCutchen to the major leagues last season, Alvarez became the jewel of the Pirates’ farm system. The Pirates really need Alvarez to become the player they think he can be.

No. 24: Tim Beckham, Tampa Bay Rays. Beckham was the No.1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. As a matter of fact, Alvarez was the No.2 pick in that draft.

The Rays took a chance on the less polished Beckham and he struggled somewhat in his first year of professional baseball. Beckham is only 19, so he has plenty of time to figure things out, but 2010 is a big year. The Rays could have drafted Buster Posey.

No. 28: Casey Kelly, Boston Red Sox. Kelly and the Red Sox organization were faced with a big decision in 2009. Where was Kelly going to play full-time moving forward? Shortstop or pitcher? Kelly is now a full-time pitcher and it was the right decision.

Kelly had a 2.05 ERA in 95 minor league innings last year. He could be in the Red Sox starting rotation by 2012.

No. 30: Yonder Alonso, Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are going to be faced with an interesting decision a year or two from now. Alonso is a first baseman and the Reds already have a star in waiting at first in Joey Votto.

Alonso isn’t as athletic as Votto, so I suspect Votto will be moved to the outfield. A broken bone in Alonso’s hand limited his power in 2009, but this guy can rake. Once he figures out how to hit lefties, he will be good to go.

No. 40: Drew Storen, Washington Nationals. Not only is Storen fun to follow on Twitter, but he is also on heck of pitcher. Stephen Strasburg is getting all the hype, but Storen isn’t far behind him.

Storen is being groomed at the Nationals’ closer of the future. He could be their closer by 2011.

The Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals led the way with four players in the top-50. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, New York Mets (Ike Davis could have been on this list), and St. Louis Cardinals were the only teams not to have a player in the top-50.

You can find MLB.com’s complete list of top-50 prospects here.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Rays Trade Akinori Iwamura To Pirates

November 4, 2009

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates got together and made a trade yesterday.

The Tampa Bay Rays sent 2B Akinori Iwamura to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Jesse Chavez. The Pirates will assume all of the $4.85 million on Iwamura’s contract for 2010.

Akinori Iwamura

Iwamura is headed to Pittsburgh

For the Rays, they save the $650,000 buyout on Iwamura’s contract–which they would have had to have paid if they had just declined Iwamura’s contract option. Chavez will be under the Ray’s control until after the 2014 season.

I asked fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance member and writer for AOL Fanhouse and the No.1 Pirates blog on the web, Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke, Pat Lackey what his initial thoughts were on the trade…

“It’s a short-term move for the Pirates, which I’m not exactly keen about given that the team’s focus should be down the road, but as short-term moves go, this isn’t a bad one.

“Iwamura fills an immediate need for the team at second base and can move around the infield as necessary when Pedro Alvarez is ready, depending on how he, Andy LaRoche, and Garrett Jones are playing. Jesse Chavez was one of the Bucs’ most reliable reliever last year, but his strikeout rate dropped a bit while he reined in his walks and he’s got a bit of a homerun problem.

“All told, the move might not help the Pirates past 2010, but it probably doesn’t hurt them much either.”

I agree with Pat.

Is Iwawura going to help the Pirates win a World Series? Probably not. But the Pirates are trying to build a team around speed and defense and Iwamura fits that bill.

Iwamura is one of the best fielding second baseman in baseball and should fill the gap left at second base when Freddy Sanchez was traded. Best case scenario for the Pirates–Iwamura plays his usual solid second base, hits .285, and the Pirates trade him in July to a contender for prospects.

As for the Rays, thanks to Ben Zobrist’s breakout year (.297/27/91/.405), they didn’t need Iwamura. But what they do need is bullpen help and Chavez gives the Rays a serviceable option out of the pen.

Chavez appeared in 73 games for the Pirates in 2008 posting a 4.01 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, and a 6.3 K/9 rate. Pat mentioned above that Chavez had a homerun problem. He gave up 11 big-flies in those 73 innings, which isn’t great for a reliever.

I expect the Rays to be very active this Winter. Trading Iwamura is just the start.

San Francisco Giants Strike A Pose(y)

September 3, 2009

How good is the 2008 MLB Draft shaping up to be? In just a little over a year, we have already seen Gordon Beckham, Brian Matusz, Ryan Perry, and Daniel Schlereth make contributions at the major league level.

In 2010we could see Brett Wallace (Oakland A’s), Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh Pirates), Jason Castro (Houston Astros), and Justin Smoak (Texas Rangers) all get the call up from their respective clubs. With this influx of talent, the 2008 draft is shaping up to be one of the better drafts in quite some time.

Well, yesterday, the 2008 draft class added another member to a major league roster. The San Francisco Giants called up C Gerald “Buster” Posey from Triple-A Fresno.

Buster Posey

Buster Posey

Doesn’t “Buster Posey” sound like a classic Florida State linebacker? Gerald Posey? Not so much. Posey wasn’t a linebacker at Florida State, he was a catcher — and a very, very good one.

By the way, one note on Florida State University. My sister went there and I went to go visit her a couple of times. For you guys out there, if you want to go a college football game with a great atmosphere and see smoking hot girls — FSU is the place to be.

Back to Posey.

I think Posey has the potential to be one of the best catchers in the game. In three-to-four years we will be talking about Posey as the right-handed version of Brian McCann. Yes, he is that good.

If and when Posey impresses for the Giants, he could be in-line to be the Giants’ starting catcher in 2010. Bengie Molina is a free agent after the 2009 season.

Here are some other facts about Buster Posey…

Age: 22

College: Florida State University

Drafted: Fifth pick of the first round of the 2008 draft

Minor League Stats:

2008 Rookie & Single A: .351 avg. with one HR, six RBI, and a .467 OBP in 10 games

2009 Single A+ & Triple-A: .325 avg. with 18 HR’s, 80 RBI, and a .416 OBP in 115 games

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis

Ranking: No. 8 out of 100 best prospects in baseball

Analysis: “Posey presents a very balanced set of tools that, given his position, make him among the most valuable properties in the minor leagues. A recent convert from shortstop who also pitched a little in college, Posey is a plus defensive catcher with a plus arm (he pitched in the low 90s), soft hands, and a lot of energy at a position that demands it.

At the plate, he has a compact stroke, excellent bat control, and a good eye, so while he doesn’t project to hit for more than average power, he should make plenty of hard contact and end up a doubles hitter with 15-20 home runs per year.

The combination of a projected plus hit tool and currently plus defense make him a very high-probability prospect — he plays in the big leagues no matter what, be it as a quality backup if he never improves at all or as a star everyday catcher if he reaches his offensive ceiling.”