Tag Archives: Kyle Drabek

Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

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Trade Review: Shaun Marcum to the Brewers


The Winter Meetings hadn’t even officially kicked off and there had already been two trades, one gigantic one, and another which is a pretty decent sized one as well. I already wrote up the Adrian Gonzalez trade, but another one that came together pretty quickly on Sunday evening was the Brewers’ acquisition of Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Shaun Marcum in exchange for 2B prospect Brett Lawrie.

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Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 3


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did. I posted my thoughts on the first 20 prospects Tuesday and Wednesday, and will look at the final 10 today.

Tony Sanchez (PIT)

The Pirates were really looking cheap when they drafted Sanchez, but he has shown a fair amount of talent at this point. My prediction back in January: .320/.390/.490, 12 HR, 65 RBI (Split between High-A and AA). He ended up hitting .314/.416/.454 with 4 HR and 35 RBI in just 59 games due to injury. I think he’s going to end up a lot higher on prospect charts for 2011 and hopefully he’ll be able to stay healthy the whole season.

Chris Carter (OAK)

I really thought that Carter would come up sometime around mid-season, and he just didn’t hit well enough to unseat Daric Barton. He hit 31 homeruns and drove in 94, but the .258 batting average really profiles him to be a Mark Reynolds-type power hitter who will strike out quite a bit. I think that the Athletics will find somewhere for him to play next season at the Majors, simply because they have so few power hitters in their lineup.

Jaff Decker (SD)

Decker did not have the greatest season, and was definitely not within what I had predicted either: .305/.395/.495, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 8 stolen bases (High-A and AA). He spent the season only at High-A, missing part of the year due to injury. The batting line was a bit lower (.262/.374/.500), but the power is better than I thought (17 HR, 58 RBI). I think he will be a bit better next season since he should have recovered from the injury, but it concerns me that the batting average was so low in the California League.

Jenrry Mejia (NYM)

The Mets really messed with his development this season, having him work out of the bullpen to start the season before finally moving him back to the minors to work as a starting pitcher. I think that he’s going to be in the rotation come 2011 for the Mets, and that he will have some control issues (16 walks in 42 minor league innings, 20 walks in 39 major league innings).

Kyle Drabek (TOR)

Drabek pitched extremely well at AA over the span of the season, going 14-9 with a 2.94 ERA and 132 strikeouts. The 68 walks in 162 innings is concerning, and much worse than I had predicted (40 walks in 145 innings). He earned himself a few starts at the Major League level at the end of the season, but I think he’s going to be in AAA next year, at least to start out with.

Brett Lawrie (MIL)

I thought that Lawrie would post this line at AA: .270/.340/.440, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 15 stolen bases. His actual line: .285/.346/.451, 8 HR, 63 RBI, 30 stolen bases. Clearly overestimated the power, and clearly underestimated the speed. It remains to be seen where Lawrie will play once he gets to the Majors, but he seems likely to be at AAA to start next year and should earn a callup if he continues to hit like he did in 2010.

Chris Withrow (LAD)

In February I wrote that I thought he would do well if he could improve his control, and predicted the following: 9-7, 3.75 ERA, 145 IP, 150 strikeouts, 55 walks. Well, it appears that he did not improve his control, as he went 4-9 with a 5.97 ERA, 129 2/3 IP, 120 strikeouts but 69 walks. I think that honestly, Withrow should repeat AA to try and get his walks better under control.

Casey Kelly (BOS)

Kelly was in his first full season of only pitching and not trying to play shortstop, and I really thought he would do well: 10-7, 3.20 ERA, 135 IP, 115 strikeouts, 25 walks. Oops. His actual line: 3-5, 5.31 ERA, 95 IP, 81 strikeouts, 35 walks. I think that the Red Sox will probably leave him in AA to start 2011, and show some solid numbers before moving him up again.

Yonder Alonso (CIN)

Alonso remains a bit blocked, despite hitting .296/.355/.470 with 12 homers, 56 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases in just 101 AAA games. Joey Votto has clearly established himself as the 1B for the team at this point, and Alonso’s future with the organization clearly lies in the outfield. Whether or not he can play the position at the Major League level will determine whether he is traded in the next year.

Jacob Turner (DET)

I came into my Turner post with no idea, and made this prediction: 10 K/9 IP, 3 BB/9 IP. What he actually did: around 9 K/9 IP, sub 2 BB/9 IP. He split the year between Low and High A, and I think that he will either start the season at High A again or could even see a promotion to AA. One of the better prospects in the minors at this point.

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – AA, High-A, and Low-A


Yesterday, I went over the prospects currently in the Majors and AAA that I reviewed back in January and how their seasons have progressed to this point. Today I’ll be focusing on the players at the levels below AAA.

Note: Each of these players are listed under the level that they are currently at, but will include their stats at all levels. All statistics are through Saturday’s games, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.

AA

Jenrry Mejia (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 2 0 0 0 2.70 3.1 5 2.400
Majors 30 0 2 0 3.25 27.2 17 1.590

Mejia was finally sent down to the minors to be lengthened out to start after his appearance on June 2oth. Of course, in standard bad luck fashion, Mejia was injured in his second start down at AA, and has been shut down from throwing with no return date set as of yet. He strained his right posterior cuff, which seems like it would be pretty bad for a pitcher. However, his name is still being mentioned in potential trade talks that the Mets are having, and I am wondering if he could still be moved despite the injury.

Jordan Lyles (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 6 5 0 2.60 22 85 1.168

Lyles was recently named to Baseball America’s midseason prospect All Star team, and has pitched extremely well so far this season. Back in May I wrote that I thought he might get a cup of coffee with the Astros’ AAA affiliate at the end of the season, but I think that the prospect might be better served by staying at AA the whole season through, and starting 2011 at AAA. He won’t turn 20 years old until after the season this year, and still looks like he has a very good chance of being with the big club at the start of 2012. One of the few high level prospects in the system for the Astros.

Trevor Reckling (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 2 1 0 0 2.45 7.1 10 0.818
AAA 14 4 7 0 8.53 69.2 46 2.139

The numbers tell the story so far for Reckling, who struggled so much with the Pacific Coast League that he was sent back to AA on June 27th. I am wondering if the initial struggles led to some confidence issues for him, as his walk rate at AA ballooned completely out of control (50 walks to 46 strikeouts). While his walk rate has never been super low, this was high even for him. Hopefully he will be able to clean himself up in AA and return to AAA before the end of the season.

Christian Friedrich (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 12 1 5 0 5.34 64 57 1.531

Looking at Friedrich’s numbers, he’s been a bit homerun prone compared to his previous years, especially when you consider that he gave up only 3 in 14 starts in the hitter friendly California League, but has already given up 8 in just 12 starts in the Texas League. The strikeouts are down, but are still a very solid 8 per 9 innings. I wrote back in May that he had missed more than a month of starts with an elbow injury, so this could definitely be causing him some trouble still.

Martin Perez (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 3 4 0 5.46 64.1 68 1.617

Perez is still having a bit of a problem with the walks, as he is now at 4.81 per 9 innings for the season. Looking at his FIP (3.97) tells me that he’s probably due to get a few more breaks and overall lower some of these numbers back into the range we all expected of him during the preseason. One thing I am liking is the fact that on the season his groundball rate is at 50%, as I think that if he can translate that with his strikeout rate he will continue to excel long-term. His name has come up briefly in trade rumors for the Rangers, but I think they would be better served keeping him than moving him for a short-term rental, even if it would help them this season.

Kyle Drabek (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 17 8 8 0 3.20 107 80 1.224

Drabek is fresh off of throwing a 9 inning no-hitter for New Hampshire last week, but his ERA doesn’t tell the whole story. His FIP is at 4.19 on the season, and at least part of that is related to the 45 walks he has issued already this season. He only issued 5 more walks in 50 more innings last season, so that raises some concerns for me. He isn’t brutally far away from his career rate of 3.4 per 9 inning, but it leads me to believe that there could be a regression of sorts here. The Blue Jays have exactly no need to hurry him, so I think he’ll spend the whole season down at AA, and start next year at AAA.

Brett Lawrie (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 83 .295 .358 .473 53 6 41 22

Lawrie has hit pretty well so far, and the speed is something I really like to see out of him.  He has been making errors at 2B at around the same rate as last season, but that’s not a huge surprise considering he is still learning the position really. He’s been mentioned as a player that the Mariners would love to acquire from the Brewers, but unless the Brewers get back prospects for a different position I am not sure how exactly the Mariners are going to go get Lawrie.

Chris Withrow (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 16 3 4 0 4.69 80.2 76 1.500

Withrow’s numbers haven’t exactly been making anyone talk him up so far this season, but there is hope for the season. In June, he posted a 3.44 FIP over 29 innings with 28 strikeouts, but a disconcerting 17 walks. So far in July his FIP is 1.85 (small sample size of course). The key that I see is that his homerun rate appears to be normalizing, as his HR/FB rate is at 8.8% for the year, but was up over 12% coming into June. Look for him to be left at AA through the season, and if he pitches well in August potentially getting a call to AAA.

Casey Kelly (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 1 3 0 5.05 62.1 55 1.652

Kelly is another prospect who isn’t pitching as badly as the numbers indicate. So far, he has had BABIPs of .389 (April), .366 (May), and .379 (June), but FIPs of 2.47, 4.66, and 3.52 respectively. With the exception of the month of May (4.33 per 9), his walks have been pretty much under control, and the strikeouts remain right around 8 per 9 innings. He’s going to see some growing pains undoubtedly as he continues to adjust to only pitching, but I think he’ll be just fine by the end of the season as well. The Red Sox have no opening for him in the rotation any time soon, so I am wondering if he could be moved potentially as the key piece to acquire a short-term player.

High-A

Derek Norris (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 43 .243 .408 .375 28 4 22 4

Norris missed substantial time with injuries early on in his season, but has not hit quite at the same level as was expected back in the preseason. The one number that really jumps off the page to me is his OBP (.408). For the season, he now has 37 walks to go against 36 strikeouts, an excellent rate. He’s going to start hitting better with a walk rate like that. It is also telling to me that the Nationals announced that Bryce Harper would start his professional career as an outfielder, and with Norris being their most advanced catching prospect essentially locked in. He probably won’t be up until 2012, but if he is a solid offensive catcher and an excellent defender, that will definitely be enough.

Eric Hosmer (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 80 .351 .428 .548 46 7 48 11

Apparently the Lasik worked. Hosmer has been hitting everything he sees, and I have to imagine that he’s going to be moved up to AA at some point in the next month. Even his walk-to-strikeout rate has improved over his previous seasons (41/33 so far). Hosmer seems likely to be much higher up in the rankings at the end of the season.

Tony Sanchez (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 59 .314 .416 .494 31 4 35 2

For some reason, I thought Sanchez would have shown more power at this point, but the batting average and on base percentage are both really nice regardless. Interestingly, his caught stealing rate is only at 15% on the season. I am wondering if that could have something to do with the idea that only the real speedsters are generally allowed to run in the minors, and as such are going to show that much more success. Overall, I think he will probably see a little bit of time at AA before the season is out, but there is no real reason for the Pirates to rush him.

Jaff Decker (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 41 .229 .315 .401 15 5 23 2

Decker missed time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury, and I am wondering if there are some other parts of that injury that may still be affecting Decker’s hitting.  He also appears to be very impatient as well, as he has struck out 49 times in only 41 games, but also only walked 18 times. He should be destroying the California League offensively, but he will probably stay down there for the rest of the season and potentially start next season there as well if his hitting doesn’t improve.

Jacob Turner (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
A 11 2 3 0 3.67 54 51 1.148
A+ 2 0 0 0 8.59 7.1 7 2.045

Turner was recently promoted to High-A, after pitching pretty well in the Midwest League. The control has been excellent, with 51 strikeouts against only 9 walks there. He is still only 19 years old, and I think he’s going to spend the rest of the season at High-A. That still seems pretty advanced to me for a player as young as him.

Low-A

Shelby Miller (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
A 13 2 3 0 4.20 49.1 65 1.338
AAA 51 .246 .283 .365 17 4 28 3

Miller has been dominating the Midwest League, striking out almost 12 batters per 9 innings. Back in May, I wrote that I thought he would spend the full season at Low A, but I think that if he continues to pitch as well as he has to this point, he’ll get a call to either High-A or AA. The interesting thing at this point is that his name is also being bandied about in trade rumors, as he is considered to be the highest upside prospect in the Cardinals’ system right now.

Aaron Hicks (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A 76 .260 .372 .407 50 5 34 11
AAA 3 2 0 0 2.37 19 26 0.842

Hicks is repeating the Midwest League, after only playing part of the season in 2009. His slugging percentage and on base are both higher than last year, but not substantially. He had a poor month of May, but both April and June have been solid months where he posted OPS higher than 800 in each of them. I’m not entirely sure what happened in May, but I want to see what he does in July before just assuming he is back.

Finally, a last word about the 30th prospect I reviewed, A.J. Pollock (Writeup) of the Diamondbacks. Here’s what I wrote back in May:

Pollock was to start the season at High-A, but injured himself trying to make a sliding catch in the outfield. The diagnosis was a fractured growth plate in his arm, and will miss at least half the season. Look for him to spend the remainder of this season at Single-A when he does return from the injury.

As of today, he still has not made his debut for the season,

How Are They Doing So Far? Part 2


Today, I’ll continue looking at the prospects I reviewed during the offseason, and how they are progressing to this point. All statistics are through Monday’s games.

AA

Mike Stanton (FLA): 28 games, .340/.481/.854, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R, 1 SB, 28 walks, 32 strikeouts

Stanton has torn up AA, and is currently leading the minor leagues in homeruns. There has been talk that with some of the outfielders in the Majors struggling, that Stanton will be called up as soon as the Super-2 date passes. Clearly, he has nothing else to prove at AA even at this point. I wrote in January that I thought he wouldn’t be up until mid-2011, but with ownership expecting this team to compete, Stanton is probably going to be up very soon. And he’ll be some fun to see when that happens.

Michael Pineda (SEA): 6 starts, 32 1/3 IP, 2-0, 2.23 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 40 strikeouts, 9 walks

I reviewed Pineda mostly because I thought that he was interesting, as he put up very good statistics for a pitcher in the extremely hitter-friendly California League. Now in the Southern League, those numbers appear to not be a fluke. I wrote that I thought he would be up late in 2011 or to start 2012 most likely, and I think that’s probably still right. The Mariners have a lot of reasonably good pitching between Pineda and the Majors, and they can wait to allow him to develop. Remember he’s only 21 years old this season.

Christian Friedrich (COL): 3 starts, 16 IP, 0-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks

Friedrich picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, and is striking out a batter per inning with excellent control. Of concern is the fact that he has missed time this season, having a stint on the 7-day DL with left elbow soreness. Since he throws left handed, this could be of real concern long-term. His last start was on April 19th, almost a month ago now.

Martin Perez (TEX): 6 starts, 25 2/3 IP, 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 29 strikeouts, 15 walks

The strikeouts remain excellent, but the spike in walks is a bit worrisome to me. I think he should be able to improve on that and return to the form he has shown at previous stops. The Rangers appear committed to him being a part of their starting rotation long term, which bodes well for them. I thought back in January he wouldn’t be up until late 2011 at the soonest, and I think that’s probably still his timetable.

Domonic Brown (PHI): 25 games, .333/.388/.632, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB, 9 walks, 20 strikeouts

Widely assumed to be the replacement should Jayson Werth leave via free agency after this season, Brown has hit very well so far at AA. He spent part of last season at AA, so I could see him getting a promotion to AAA by around the All-Star break. A very solid prospect, and most of his numbers are within range of his career norms to this point.

Kyle Drabek (TOR): 7 starts, 40 IP, 4-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, 21 walks

Drabek has pitched fairly well to this point, but the walks are a concern. He had previously been posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 3, but is just under 2 so far this season. The Blue Jays will give him lots of time to develop, as they have an excessive amount of pitching at the Major League level, to the point of having starters who can’t seem to break into the rotation. I think he will probably more likely be up with the team in 2012 than 2011 at this point.

Brett Lawrie (MIL): 31 games, .256/.329/.416, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 19 R, 6 SB, 13 walks, 42 strikeouts

I have been a bit surprised by the performance of Lawrie. The speed appears to be legitimate, and I think that he could end up being a 20-20 2B in the Majors someday. The plate discipline remains a bit of a challenge, but if he can improve that somewhat I could see him getting a late-season promotion to AAA. Realistically, they should leave him in AA until he shows some of that in my opinion.

Chris Withrow (LAD): 6 starts, 27 2/3 IP, 1-2, 7.48 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 24 strikeouts, 15 walks

Withrow has not been particularly good to this point, and the control really seems to be showing as a huge problem. He’s never been a particularly accurate pitcher, generally posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 2. He’s going to need to improve on that before being considered for a promotion. I would have to think that he is going to spend the entire 2010 season at AA, and if doesn’t show improvement in his control could possibly start 2011 there as well.

Casey Kelly (BOS): 6 starts, 20 2/3 IP, 0-2, 3.48 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 21 strikeouts, 7 walks

Kelly seems to be taking to the change to pitching only, striking out a batter per inning. I think that the Red Sox leave him down at AA all season, letting him further refine his excellent skill set. I wrote that I thought he wouldn’t be up until 2012 midseason, and unless there becomes a need in the rotation, I think that will remain true. They have all 5 starters under team control until at least then: Lackey (2014), Beckett (2014), Matsuzaka (2012), Lester(2013), and Buchholz (2014) all under contract or control until then.

Yonder Alonso (CIN): 29 games, .271/.397/.417, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 19 R, 4 SB, 19 walks, 16 strikeouts

Alonso has been splitting his time between 1B and LF for the Reds AA team, and I have to imagine that at a certain point he’ll stop playing 1B entirely. The Reds have Joey Votto holding down that position in the Majors, and unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s hit well to this point, and I think he may end up getting promoted to AAA at some point during the season. The Reds have shown that they are not averse to promoting someone to the Majors if they think they are ready to contribute (Mike Leake), so when Alonso is ready, the Reds will move him up.

Team Preview – Toronto Blue Jays


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C John Buck SP 1 Ricky Romero
1B Lyle Overbay SP 2 Brett Cecil
2B Aaron Hill SP 3 Marc Rzepcynski
3B Edwin Encarnacion SP 4 Shaun Marcum
SS Alex Gonzalez SP 5 Brandon Morrow
LF Travis Snider Bullpen
CF Vernon Wells CL Jason Frasor
RF Adam Lind RP Jeremy Accardo
DH Randy Ruiz RP Jesse Carlson
Bench RP Kevin Gregg
OF Jeremy Reed RP Brian Tallet
OF Jose Bautista RP David Purcey

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Brandon Morrow Trade (SEA) SP Roy Halladay Trade (PHI)
C John Buck Free Agency RP Brandon League Trade (SEA)
RP Kevin Gregg Free Agency SS Marco Scutaro Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brett Wallace (3B), Kyle Drabek (P), Zack Stewart (P)

2009 Review

The Blue Jays always seem to be not quite close enough to competing. They finished 2009 with a 75-87 campaign, which led to the firing of general manager J.P. Ricciardi after 8 seasons. Ricciardi and the Blue Jays spent most of the season listening to trade rumors surrounding SP Roy Halladay, which appeared to be a distraction overall. But the team definitely had some bright spots. 2B Aaron Hill lead the team with 36 HR, as he was healthy for the full season for the first time in a while. RF Adam Lind finally developed into a good middle-of-the-order hitter, powering 35 HR and a team-leading 114 RBI to go with a .305 batting average. SP Roy Halladay went 17-10 with a 2.79 era, leading a very young, but potentially very good pitching staff.

Injuries played a major part in the Blue Jays season, with 2 starting pitchers missing the entire season (Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan). However, rookies Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepcynski, and Ricky Romero all came up and stepped right into the rotation. Perhaps the most unusual moment came in August when RF Alex Rios, placed on waivers like nearly everyone else on the roster (as is standard at the time of year), was claimed by the White Sox. The Blue Jays took that opportunity to rid themselves of a rather large contract, and got just the relief from Rios’ salary in return.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Blue Jays are always going to be a second-tier team in comparison to the Yankees and Red Sox, but they have done well to position themselves in terms of the future. The Halladay trade netted them an excellent pitching prospect in Kyle Drabek, a high-level 3B prospect in Brett Wallace, a solid catching prospect in Travis d’Arnaud, and also acquired another good young arm in Brandon Morrow in a separate trade. This is in addition to the already good young arms of Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan. While the team no longer has a bona fide #1 starter in Halladay, they did well to get as good of a return as they did considering he was only under contract for 1 season and had a full no-trade clause.

The Blue Jays should be helped with full seasons from OF Travis Snider, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, and SP Brett Cecil. However, they did lose a large amount of offense from SS Marco Scutaro and C Rod Barajas that wasn’t particularly replaced in the lineup. I think this is a team that will continue to develop this season, and unfortunately will not really be in the AL East race for very long. They simply don’t have enough offense from this lineup to compete with the top hitting teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers), and don’t have enough top-tier pitching to compete with the top pitching teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners, Tigers).

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

2B Aaron Hill and RF Adam Lind are really the cream of this crop, as the Blue Jays have quite a few players who are better real-life players than fantasy players. I don’t expect Hill to repeat the home run total he had last season, but 2B is still very shallow and Hill is a definite starter in all leagues. Nearly all of their starting pitchers are high-risk, high-reward types due to the fact that they are all very young still. If I were to pick one out of the group, it would probably be Ricky Romero, as he’s shown the most success while with the big club to this point.

Prediction for 2010

The Blue Jays are in a semi-rebuilding mode at this point, as they have quite a few young players at the Major League level. I don’t believe that they will compete for the AL East crown this season, and could potentially see more movement if they can get a good return on players like Lyle Overbay, Jason Frasor, and Jeremy Accardo. But watch out for them in the coming seasons as they should improve under new general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

77-85, 4th in the AL East

Prospect Review – Kyle Drabek – P – TOR


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (#18 overall) of the 2006 Amateur Draft by the Phillies
Age: 22

Statistics

2009 – Clearwater (Florida State League – Phillies High-A) – 9 starts

  • 4-1, 2.48 ERA, 61 2/3 IP
  • 74 strikeouts, 19 walks
  • 1.82 FIP

2009 – Reading (Eastern League – Phillies AA) – 14 starts

  • 8-2, 3.64 ERA, 96 1/3 IP
  • 76 strikeouts, 31 walks
  • 3.83 FIP

2009 Totals (2 Levels)

  • 12-3, 3.19 ERA, 158 IP
  • 150 strikeouts, 50 walks

Rankings
Baseball America – #2 (PHI – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (TOR – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #3 (TOR – 2010) – B+

Analysis

Drabek spent part of 2008 recovering from Tommy John surgery,  but was able to have a very productive 2009 campaign, split between Clearwater and Reading. He was dominant at Clearwater, posting a 1.82 FIP and 74 strikeouts to only 19 walks in 61 2/3 IP. He was promoted to Reading (AA) in June, but saw a bit of a dropoff in his control. He still posted a very respectable 3.83 FIP, but had 31 walks in 96 1/3 IP. The increased walk total towards the end of the season is a small concern, but this could be attributable to the jump in innings to 158, and tiring as a result.

Drabek was one of the key pieces to the trade that brought Roy Halladay to Philadelphia, and had been discussed during the season for that same purpose as well. Considered to be the top pitching prospect in the Phillies system, it was no surprise that any trade that included Halladay would also require Drabek going the other direction.

Drabek throws from a 3/4 arm slot, with a high leg kick when pitching out of the windup.

From MLBFantasyProspects.Com’s profile: Drabek has a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a nasty curve with horizontal-like action, and a developing change. Now, some have suggested Drabek’s upside is limited because he only has two-plus pitches (fastball and curve). Don’t believe the nega-hype. Drabek didn’t start using a change until he reached the professional ranks. Further, his signature pitches are so filthy that he will turn out just fine even if his change tops out as average.

Outlook

Drabek will be given plenty of time to develop in the Blue Jays system, as there are still quite a few young pitchers that are either at the Major League level, or very close to it. I can foresee him starting the season back at AA, and being promoted to AAA if he pitches well. Based on the scouting report above, I can see him being a #2 starter potentially, assuming he can improve his control from the end of the 2009 season.

Prediction for 2010

11-8, 3.50 ERA, 165 IP, 145 strikeouts, 40 walks

Expected ETA

Midseason 2011, with the possibility of 2012 if the Blue Jays do not need him at the Major League level until then.

Tomorrow’s prospect for Review: Brett Lawrie (2B) of the Milwaukee Brewers

Trade Review – PHI/SEA/TOR/OAK


Philadelphia Phillies receive SP Roy Halladay (TOR), RP Philippe Aumont (SEA), P Juan Ramirez (SEA), OF Tyson Gillies (SEA), and $6,000,000 (TOR)

Seattle Mariners receive SP Cliff Lee (PHI)

Toronto Blue Jays receive C Travis D’Arnaud (PHI), SP Kyle Drabek (PHI), and 1B/3B Brett Wallace (OAK)

Oakland Athletics receive OF Michael Taylor (PHI)

The Phillies
At first, these trades seemed odd to me. They went and got Halladay, whom they had coveted for quite a while. I had visions of how tough a rotation that would be throughout the year – Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Happ, and Blanton. And then the other shoe fell and they moved Lee as well. The prospects they received are interesting, but I’m not 100% sure that the return they got for Lee was similar to the package that they gave up to get him initially.

What is there to be said about Roy Halladay, really? He has won 16 games or more each of the last 4 seasons. He won 20 last year. He has posted a sub-3.20 era 4 of the last 5 seasons. He struck out 200 batters the last 2 seasons. He won the 2003 Cy Young Award. He has established himself as one of the most durable, and best pitchers in the majors. While it isn’t a huge upgrade for this year between Lee and Halladay, the fact that they are getting him signed to an extension (sounds like it will be 3 yrs, $60 million at the moment) is critical to this trade being a success for the Phillies. That new extension will take him through the age of 36. So the Phillies are getting some of his best potential years to come, and not signing him to a ridiculously long extension.

Aumont has been working as a reliever exclusively, splitting time between High-A and AA. He posted a respectable line of 3.88 with 16 saves and 59 strikeouts in 51 innings between the two stops. Aumont finished last season as the #3 prospect according to John Sickels, and was generally considered to be a high-end pitching prospect. I think that Aumont would be a lot more interesting as a starting pitcher, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Phillies will convert him back or not.

Juan Ramirez looks like a solid starting pitching prospect. In the California League in 2009, he posted an 8-10 record with a 5.12 era,  111 strikeouts and 53 walks in 153 innings. I am more interested in his 2008 numbers, due to their being accomplished in the Midwest League. His line that year: 6-9, 4.14 era, 113 strikeouts, and 38 walks in 124 innings pitched. John Sickels had him at #4 in the Mariners system at the end of the 2008 season.


Gillies appears to be a very good speedster out in the outfield. He posted a .341/.430/.486 line with 9 homers and 44 steals. While these numbers are a bit inflated due to his playing the full season in the California League (known for its offense numbers), he also posted similar numbers in 2008 in the Northwest League (.313/.439/.427). He doesn’t appear that he has a lot of power, but its possible he could grow into that as he gets older. He will be only 21 when the 2010 season begins.

The Mariners
I think that the Mariners did really well here. They gave up a prospect whose luster had faded (Aumont), and two young prospects who are realistically unlikely to help the Major League team in the next 3 years. They turned those players into another ace for the top of their pitching staff. The combination of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee at the top of their rotation really solidifies the Mariners’ chances to win their division next year. When you add in the fact that the Angels have lost 2 major players on their team (Lackey, Figgins), and replaced them with very little as of yet, I really like the Mariners to win this division as of right now.

The Blue Jays
The Jays really felt like they had to move Halladay, or potentially lose him to free agency for just some draft picks. The return they got, in my opinion, is fair. Not a slam dunk, but fair. Wallace becomes the heir apparent to first base in my opinion, and speculation is already out there that the Jays could move Lyle Overbay. Wallace had a very good year between AA Springfield, AAA Memphis, and AAA Sacramento, posting a .293/.367/.455 line with 20 homers and 63 rbi. He appears to be a solid prospect, and should turn out to be a solid major league starter.

Kyle Drabek ended this season as probably the top pitching prospect in the Phillies organization. He finished 12-3, with a 3.19 era. He finished with 150 strikeouts against 50 walks in 158 innings pitched. He pitched in AA last season, and is likely to start the season in AAA. The Blue Jays realistically, don’t need him to hit the majors for at least another season, with all the excellent starting pitchers that are already at or near the majors (Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum, Marc Rzepcynski, Jesse Litsch, Scott Richmond, David Purcey, Robert Ray). So it really just increases their depth in pitching.

Travis D’Arnaud is a very young catcher who spent the season at Single-A Lakewood. He posted a .255/.319/.419 line with 13 homers, 71 rbi, and 8 steals. I actually am not too familiar with him, so I went looking for a good profile of him, and found it here. After reading it, it appears he is considered to be a solid defensive catcher who is likely to stick at the position long term. A solid catching prospect overall.

Overall, I think that the Blue Jays did manage to address some specific positional needs in trading Halladay, and while this return isn’t necessarily as high as it would have been had he been moved in July, they did well to get some solid prospects here.


The Athletics
For my hometown A’s, I really like this trade. This makes me believe that the A’s do not believe that Wallace could stick at 3B, where they really needed him. So they turn him into a top-tier outfield prospect. While I would normally be concerned about the fact that they already have a ton of outfielders at or near the major league level (Rajai Davis, Travis Buck, Aaron Cunningham, Ryan Sweeney all come to mind), I am inclined to believe that Taylor is better than most, if not all, of these players. The Athletics are always seeming to be short of power hitters, and Taylor definitely fits the bill. He posted a .320/.395/.544 line between AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley for the Phillies last year, along with 20 homers and 21 stolen bases. The movement of Wallace also makes Jake Fox (recently acquired from the Cubs) to be the main option at 3B besides the permanently injured (sad, sad I know) Eric Chavez. I am amazed that Billy Beane managed to make his way into this trade, and gave up a solid prospect for a better one in my opinion.

Overall Review
I think that overall, each team did well with this trade. The Mariners appear to be making at least a partial push to win now. The A’s get a power bat that they desperately need. The Blue Jays get 3 solid prospects that will help their team to rebuild their farm system. The Phillies get an even better ace for the top of their pitching staff, and 3 high-end prospects as well. And somehow they got the Phillies to kick in $6 million bucks! It remains to be seen exactly how the prospects involved are going to turn out, and whether or not Halladay can stay healthy for the length of his new extension. But after trying to make sense of this for the past 24 hours, I can safely say that each team has improved themselves in at least some small manner.

CURRENT WINNER: Seattle Mariners

LONG-TERM WINNER: Philadelphia Phillies