Posts Tagged ‘Yonder Alonso’

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

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Reds Get Good News, Edinson Volquez To Begin Throwing

December 31, 2009

There is more than one way for a fan to receive good news in the offseason about their favorite team.

The most common way during the offseason for a fan to receive good news is through a trade or free agent signing. But another form of good news could come from a star player progressing well from an injury.

Volquez is on the comeback trail

The Cincinnati Reds and their fans got that type of good news yesterday.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Inquirer spoke to Reds’ Assistant GM Bob Miller yesterday. While they talked about a variety of topics concerning the Reds, the topic of Edinson Volquez’s rehab came up.

“The reports are good,” Miller said. “He’s worked hard and got in great shape. That helps.” Volquez is about to begin throwing soon.

This is very good news for Reds fans.

For those of you who are not familiar with what happened to Volquez, he underwent Tommy John surgery last August. I am fully confident that Volquez can make a complete comeback and be a top of the rotation starter yet again.

Tommy John surgery is as common to pitchers these days as them hearing from a pitching coach “Bend your back” or “Don’t let your shoulder fly open.”

The list of pitchers who had Tommy John surgery stretches a mile long. Pitchers like Chris Carpenter, A.J. Burnett, Josh Johnson, Ryan Dempster, Kenny Rogers, and Randy Wolf have all had Tommy John surgery and have enjoyed success afterwards.

Volquez wants to return in 2010 by June, but I doubt that will happen. There is no reason for the Reds to rush the 26-year-old back and risk further damage. I am guessing Volquez returns around late August, early September.

He will probably start off in the bullpen just to get his feel for the game back and then make a couple of starts towards the end of the year. That seems to be the pattern most teams take with pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery.

A lot of people are picking the Reds as a darkhorse team in 2010. Without Volquez for a full year, I think it is going to be tough for them. I believe they are a year away.

When Volquez comes back and along with Drew Stubbs, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Yonder Alonso, the Reds could be the team to beat in the NL Central in 2011.

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

Preview: Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game

November 7, 2009

Update: Josh Vitters has been scratched from tonight’s game. Baltimore Orioles’ 3B prospect Josh Bell will replace Vitters on the East roster. Bell was traded to the Orioles in the deal that sent George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bell is expected to compete for the Orioles’ starting third base job in spring training and is a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010.

Original Post

Here is what I wrote back in June after I had just done a recap of the major league draft:

“Here is my suggestion for Bud Selig in order to give the draft some juice. Unless you are a real die hard baseball, other than Stephen Strasburg, you don’t know 99 percent of the players drafted in the first round.

“The MLB Network should show a high school or college “Showcase Game of the Week.” Once a week broadcast a game that features a projected first round pick. This will allow fans to get to know some of the players their team is interested in. I think this will really help the draft.”

Major League Baseball and the MLB Network has followed my suggestion–to an extent. Since we are there is no high school or college baseball to showcase right now, the MLB Network has decided to do the next best thing.

Tonight at 8:15 ET, the MLB Network will televise the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game. This is exactly what I was talking about when I suggested the MLB Network show a rising stars game for high school and college players.

This is really great for the game of baseball.

This will allow fans a chance to see some of the future stars of the game. How often do casual fans get to see their teams top prospects play before they reach the major leagues?

Now that the MLB Network is televising this game, who should you be looking for? Here are 10 players in tonight’s game that you should keep an eye on.

East

1. Buster Posey, C

Organization – San Francisco Giants

Arizona Fall League Stats – .218/.317/.364 in 14 games

Posey was called up by the Giants in September, but for reasons only known to the Giants organization he didn’t play much. In seven games, Posey only hit .118 with the big club.

Don’t be fooled, this guy can hit. All signs point to Posey being the Giants’ starting catcher in 2010.

2. Josh Vitters, 3B

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .360/.385/.460 in 12 games

The former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has been tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Vitters should be ready to take over the starting third base job in Chicago once Aramis Ramirez is done with his contract after the 2011 season.

3. Grant Desme, OF

Organization – Oakland A’s

Arizona Fall League Stats – .373/.453/.827 in 18 games

That sound you just heard was Desme just breaking another window. In just 18 games, Desme has 10 homeruns in the Arizona Fall League. Desme has “light tower power” and for those of you think he is a typical A’s “Moneyball” player–he is not.

In the minor leagues in 2009, Desme had 42 SB’s,

4. Starlin Castro, SS

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .433/.462/.550 in 17 games.

The Cubs might have a star on their hands with Castro. The 19-year-old non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic is currently leading the Arizona Fall League in hitting. He is also tied for third in SB’s with five.

Watch for Castro tonight. He might be the most exciting player on the field.

Castro also played in the Future’s Game in July.

5. Drew Storen, P

Organization – Washington Nationals

Arizona Fall League Stats – 0.93 ERA, nine K’s, and two saves in 9.2 IP

Not only does Storen do a good job of updating his Twitter page, but he also might be the future closer for the Nationals. If the East is leading in the ninth inning, look for Storen to close out the game.

West

1. Jason Castro, C

Organization – Houston Astros

Arizona Fall League Stats  –.143/.260/.214 in 11 games

Ready or not, here Castro comes to the Astros. Because the Astros no established catcher in their organization, Castro might be rushed to the majors in 2010.

Castro hit .300 with a .826 OPS in the minor leagues in 2009.

2. Yonder Alonso, 1B

Organization – Cincinnati Reds

Arizona Fall League Stats – .275/.298/.375 in 13 games

Alonso was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2008 draft and if he is going to play in Cincinnati, he is going to have to learn to play another position. I don’t think Joey Votto is going anywhere for a while.

Alonso had a .838 OPS between Rookie and Single-A in 2009.

3. Dustin Ackley, OF

Organization – Seattle Mariners

Arizona Fall League Stats – .300/.378/.375 in 11 games

The No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft is someone to watch tonight. The former Tar Heel star has all the tools to be a star in the majors.

I have gone on record in saying that Ackley would be the best player to come out of the 2009 draft.

4. Jordan Danks, OF

Organization – Chicago White Sox

Arizona Fall League Stats – .333/.378/.485 in 18 games.

The White Sox have done well with one Danks at the major league level, so why not give another Danks a try. Jordan is the younger brother of White Sox LHP John Danks.

Danks made the jump to Double-A in 2009 and while he didn’t tear up Double-A pitching (.243 avg), he could get his shot with the big club in 2011.

5. Tanner Scheppers, P

Organization – Texas Rangers

Arizona Fall League Stats – 3.00 ERA and nine K’s in nine IP.

Scheppers was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, but decided to go back to college. While in college, Scheppers tore his rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder.

With doubts about his health, Scheppers slipped to the 44th pick in the 2009 draft. Now healthy, Scheppers is showing everyone why he was on the highest regarded pitchers in the draft.

Conspicuous by his absence on this list is Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg was supposed to start this game for the East squad but was scratched because of a strained neck muscle.

The Reds and the Cubs have the most players in this game with four.

You can view the complete rosters for both teams here.