He is a reliever parish...had something like 9 saves last year with a mid 3 ERA in around 65 innings or so...a terrific K to BB ratio, but I don't remember the numbers.
He certainly is another of our good kids, but #4 sounds pretty high with Davies, Lerew, McBride, Stevens, Boyer, James etc. in the same organization and probably much more advanced.
LOL, maybe it's some media guy who took a chance on a high rating and is hoping to be able to say "I told you so" someday.
Good kid, but it sounds rather inflated to me.
I agree with your theory on why someone else rated him so highly. I put more stock in what I see at "No Pepper," anyway.
Glad to know someone else is interested in the development of our younger players. Of course, I always knew you were.
LOL, by coincidence I am sitting here with a Braves minor league shirt that identifies all the minor league teams and their locations...this one is pre M-Braves, and Nanny assures me she'll get me another one.
I am at least as passionate about the minors as I am the big club, and in some cases perhaps even more so.
Still talking the kids, are you?
Vets do have some rights you know. :(
Hah!!...it must be that time of year again.
Vets might have some rights, but that doesn't count for old pitchers who can't throw anymore...or old position players that can't hit or run either! ;)
LOL, besides that, the kids don't make as much $$$$!
John Sickels who until very recently wrote the "Down on the Farm" pieces for ESPN was interviewed by No Pepper. Here's what he had to say about how he evaluates prospects:
"When I’m being casual and just looking over some baseball cards or stats, I look at batting average first just like everyone else. If I’m being analytical, I look at plate discipline, as shown by the ratio of walks and strikeouts, in relation to plate appearances, and to each other. Then I look at power production and on-base percentage. For pitchers, when doing analysis and projections I look at K/IP, K/BB, and H/IP. Also home run rates.
When scouting a pitcher in person, I look for velocity and movement. I also pay close attention to mechanical consistency. Does the pitcher repeat his delivery well? Does he “telegraph” his pitches and tip off his curve or something? Does he look confident and in command? Does he slow down the pace too much with runners on base? That sort of thing."
The thing with this Ascanio kid that you mentioned parish is that he's a reliever/closer. Which means he's got a much faster route to the majors than a lot of those starters in AAA and AA. I think we only have Kolb for one or two years, and I think we all agree that Reitsma is not closer material. It'd be nice to have a homegrown closer that we didn't have to pay very much. The Braves just have too much young pitching talent to go out and pay $5 to 10 million for closer after Kolb.
Now, if only we could find a way to make our starting pitchers into good relievers...then we'd be set. Who was our last good homegrown reliver and/or starter converted to a reliever? Litenberg and maybe Cunnane?
You make a good point. Wasn't Spooneybarger touted to be an up-and-coming closer before we traded him? What happened to that guy? I assume he is still with the Fish, but injured or something.
I can think of three guys that are realistically in training for the Atlanta bullpen in our system: Macay McBride, Buddy Hernandez, and Ascanio.
I also suspect that's where Jose Capellan would have ended up.
Anybody else expected to make an impact as a reliever?
<Anybody else expected to make an impact as a reliever?>
I thought Billy Sylvester actually had a shot, but it ended up with his being another "cuddabeen". Just some names without looking at any info, and assuming that Colon remains in the mix...McBride, Barry, Aquillar (was messing around with a knuckle ball for a while...I'll have to find out where that stands), Curtis, Coenen, and Digby are some that come to mind...sorry if I duplicated, but I couldn't remember who all you had talked about.
No editorial comment on any of these guys, other than that right now they are probably "couldbe's"...just names to think about...but Dan Curtis did have a pretty decent winter ball season.
As I'm sure you know, Dan was a FA and was re-signed rather quickly for us...I believe it was early November.
He spent time this winter in the D.R, eventually playing with the team in that Carribean series that Raffy was on.
Regular series he was around 3-3, 3.45 in close to 40 innings...his Achilles heel once again was the K/BB which was almost equal in numbers...I don't remember his series numbers, other than that the ERA was slightly higher than the regular season.
LOL, I'm going to have to learn to look and read before I sign on from now on...ya' caught me off guard on this one, and any time I go by memory it's a dangerous thing! :)
A little something to chew on over the weekend. It's from WTNY about a month ago. It's an article about the status of our minor leagues after the departures of Meyer and Capellan.
The Hotbed Down South
Last week, I spoke about the slew of Billy Beane moves in the past weeks, and what it has done to shape the future in Bayside California. Today I want to talk about the Atlanta Braves, looking both at their system and trying to shape what’s on tap for their top prospects.
Overall, this is not an organization that shies away from prospects, with a lot of their best players containing roots stemming from Atlanta. Braves brass has been amazing at not just keeping a winner on the Major League level, but also keeping a host of good minor leaguers below. Say what you will about their supposed “Scout the South,” high school-first philosophy, but it has worked.
Simply put, no organization can lose the likes of Jose Capellan and Dan Meyer, and not be hurt from a top prospect, or prospect depth perspective. On the other hand, no GM was more prepared to trade two fantastic prospects for two important Major League pieces than John Schuerholz. The truck has not been backed up because of these deals, it just merely has been dented. That’s because before these deals, Capellan and Meyer fell below two prospects, and immediately in front of a few more. Atlanta’s rotation will end up being a bit older than anticipated, but there are still arms that could be of some help soon.
On the mound, the Braves still have some very good arms. I read that Scheurholz was refusing to trade Kyle Davies in the past few weeks, which is high praise considering who actually was dealt. Davies did not dominate in Myrtle Beach like the upmost echelon should, but he appears to have the ceiling of a Kevin Millwood type, considered an ace by some, but best suited in the three spot.
The problem with being so loaded from bottom to top is that it makes for hard decisions on when to cut bait or trade certain players. Davies was once fourth on the depth chart for the Braves fifth starter spot (Horacio Ramirez, Capellan, Meyer), but the Braves’ surely calculated risk moved him up to second. He’ll begin the season in AA, but if Meyer or Capellan are any indication, he could be next in line for starts should injuries arise.
Farther down the line, but immediately after Davies comes Jake Stevens. Chosen in the third round of the 2003 draft, Stevens was sensational in his first full season in low-A. The southpaw had an extremely long scoreless innings streak that extended from May to July, showing the potential he has to dominate on the mound. Also dominating was Chuck James, a fellow leftie, though he was 22 in the South Atlantic League last season. His ceiling - mostly due to age - is not quite as high as that of Stevens, but he does keep defying the odds.
The Braves also have quite a bit of depth at the position, though I’m not sold on most of them. You’ll hear the knuckleball obsessors talk about Anthony Lerew, who had a solid season (surely helped by the giant park) at high-A Myrtle Beach. Macay McBride was as highly thought of as anyone entering the season, but had an extremely large slip-up before salvaging his pride in the AFL. Others include Blaine Boyer, Zach Miner, and Matt Wright. I don’t expect any of the latter three (or McBride for that matter) to ever be much of a help in a starting role, but depth is quite useful when on the phone with other GMs.
Offensively, the Braves are not quite as deep, though their top prospects are sensational. Andy Marte is one of my favorite prospects, a player waiting for explosion, and should be reaching the Majors soon. Unfortunately, Scheurholz hinted in a recent article (can’t find the link), that it might be Marte and not Chipper Jones moving to the outfield when he’s ready. I think this would be a colossal mistake, as simply following the path of Miguel Cabrera is not the right attitude to have. My hope is that minds are changed early in the season, and the Braves start 2006 with an outfield of Jones-Jones-Francoeur.
There really isn’t a lot standing in the way of Jeff Francoeur, other than himself. His final at-bats in AA, and his AFL stint, showed that he still is quite raw considering the amount of talent he has. The Braves need to preach patience with Francoeur, who at this pace, could never really eclipse a .350 OBP in the Majors. He is a fantastic talent, but will not be ready as quick as Marte, another Scheurholz quoteable. Think mid-2006 right now, though he wouldn’t be the first Brave prospect to surprise me.
Atlanta’s most confusing position will soon be behind the plate, now that Johnny Estrada was everything the Braves thought and tons more last season. I do not believe Estrada can stay at such a level, giving way to the Majors second best catching prospect, Brian McCann. He’s a player hurt a bit by his park environment, but someone I truly believe can be a force in the Majors. He’ll join Francoeur in AA next year, and should force the Braves hand a bit in 2006. And don’t forget Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a player scouts love, that held his own being quite young for the Sally League.
Hopefully, this article made you realize that the Braves will move on easily despite losing Capellan and Meyer, something the Cardinals organization can’t say after trading Daric Barton. The system should start to provide the Braves with useful, cheap parts soon, almost surely allowing the re-signing of newfound hero Tim Hudson. Look for Smoltz and Hudson to lead this rotation in the coming years, but with noteable help from the likes of LaRoche, Francoeur, Marte, McCann and Davies.
I had a little something more to share. I saw the latest copy of Lindy's Baseball. It grades the minor league systems from A to F based on talent. Once again, the Braves organization was ranked as one of the top three farm systems, as it was one of only three to get a grade of "A."
The other "A" quality organizations belonged to the Dodgers (no surprise there) and the Anaheim Angels. The Angels and the Twins (the only "A-" system) are more highly regarded than the A's (a "B+") system, apparently, by Lindy's.
As for the rest of our Division, no one gets a grade above "C," and the Philies are the only ones with that. Someone earlier in this thread was telling us that the Mets had a deeper farm system than Atlanta, but they, along with the Marlins garnered "D's." The Nationals got an "F."
Incidentally, this favorable view of the Braves' minor leagues must have a lot to do with the quantity of talent, as the top individuals within the organization don't as highly as I've seen them rank in other sources. Marte is only number 6 among the hitters and Francoeur, # 11. The Braves don't have a single prospect among the top 20 pitchers. Lindy's considers the recently traded Dan Meyer the third best pitcher and Capellan # 11.
The web blog Raysbaseball produced a feature on the age of the 3rd basemen, proclaiming that much like the 90's was the golden era of the shortstop, we are entering a similar period for the hot corner.
These are the young guys coming up that add to a strong crew already in the Majors:
The Young Un's:David Wright (22) - Maybe the next superstar. Some were skeptical of his '03 season in the FSL. But after duplicating even improving, on his performance in '04, Wright made a huge splash during the last two months of the season in New York. He is thought to be a solid defensive player with plenty of power and great plate discipline.
Andy Marte (21) - John Sickels' top rated hitting prospect in baseball, this guy is almost ready. What that means for Chipper, who knows? He hit for a low BA last year, but has a great walk rate and IsoSlg. Plus his defense was said to be much improved (both Sickels and BPro agrees on this).
Dallas McPherson (24) - Actually older than Blalock, McPherson is expected to start on opening day for the Angels and start hitting from the get-go. The last two seasons he's had over a 1000 OPS at 3 minor-league levels. A front-runner for the 2005 AL ROTY.
Ian Stewart (20) - Like McPherson, Stewart is a LH masher. Unlike McPherson, he isn't quite ready. In fact it might be another two years until he makes the Coors Field jump. But Stewart isn't expected to need much home-field advantage. Some expect him to put up Helton-like numbers at the hot corner. His defense was said to be much better than expected last season.
Joel Guzman (20) - The top SS prospect now that Upton has lost his prospect status, Guzman jumped up two inches in the last couple of years and now stands at 6'6. That would make him the tallest SS (minimum of 30 games) according to Baseball Prospectus. So there is a chance he moves over to the hot corner. He is an imposing figure with immense power potential.
There is also this note on Chipper Jones being on the decline:
Fading into the Twilight:Chipper Jones (33) - It's almost enough to make me cry when I think about Chipper Jones being 33. He never should have been moved from 3rd in 2002. His numbers have dropped each of the last three seasons, and he's no longer one of the better hitters in the NL. Still should have a few good seasons left, maybe even an MVP-type season. But he's clearly on the downside.
Great article from the Rome News-Tribune about the Rome Braves and some of the players that have passed through:
One of the most enjoyable aspects of chatting with Dayton Moore is that the “Oh, really?” factor is always sky-high throughout the conversation.
Whereas most of his colleagues just rattle off bland rhetoric, Moore, the Atlanta Braves director of player personnel, speaks candidly on most issues pertaining to the players and teams in Atlanta’s minor league system.
As a result, Moore always makes for a good interview, delivering at least one or two surprising bits of information.
Moore was at it again during a recent conversation with the Rome News-Tribune, when he revealed several facts that might classify as stunning — or at least highly intriguing — to Rome Braves fans.
For instance, when asked which players from last year’s Rome club might be back this season, Moore brought up two unanticipated names:
“(Jarrod) Saltalamacchia and (Diory) Hernandez are two of the better pure prospects from last year’s team that may be returning,” Moore said.
“We’ve got to make decisions on those two, whether it’s better for them to stay in Rome for part of this season or move on to (high-Class A) Myrtle Beach.”
Many such decisions will be made during spring training, which begins this week for most major league teams. The Atlanta Braves’ pitchers and catchers report to camp in Kissimmee, Fla. on Thursday, while most of the minor leaguers in the Atlanta system will report in two to three weeks.
Saltalamacchia and Hernandez each had productive seasons in Rome last year, and most fans assumed they’d be promoted.
Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitting catcher and the No. 9 prospect in the Braves’ minor league system according to Baseball America, batted .272 with 10 homers and 51 RBI in 91 games. Hernandez, a smooth-fielding shortstop, batted .271 in 90 games.
However, both players are young — Saltalamacchia won’t turn 20 until May, and Hernandez won’t turn 21 until April — which may affect Moore’s decision.
“We’ll see how it transpires,” he said. “Some of these questions will be answered in spring training.”
Later in the interview, Moore also dropped this interesting assessment: He said last year’s Rome team, which finished 70-70 and missed the playoffs, was more gifted than the 2003 team, which won the South Atlantic League title.
“Top to bottom, I felt like there was more talent on the (2004 team),” said Moore. “And I thought last year’s club would outperform the previous team.
“But sometimes it just doesn’t happen for whatever reason,” he added. “The pitching was a little inconsistent, and that happens at this level.”
Having said that, Moore switched his focus to the future Rome Braves. And not surprisingly, he said something surprising:
“The pitching staff you will have here in Rome this season will potentially be —I don’t know how they’ll perform — but potentially, just from an evaluation standpoint, as quality as any group we’ve had in the organization in a long, long time.”
That statement takes on a huge amount of significance when you consider the level of talent that has come through Rome the past two seasons.
Rome’s 2003 staff contained Jose Capellan, Matt Merricks, Dan Meyer, Kyle Davies, Blaine Boyer and Anthony Lerew. Two of those pitchers have already reached the major leagues, and the other four appear to be on the fast track, too.
Capellan and Meyer made their major league debuts for Atlanta last September before being traded in the off-season. Both are expected to challenge for spots in the rotation with their new teams — Capellan with the Milwaukee Brewers, and Meyer with the Oakland A’s.
Davies, meanwhile, might make it to Atlanta as early as this season, while Boyer and Lerew could make it the following season.
Last year’s Rome staff was solid, too. The rotation consisted of Chuck James, Jake Stevens, Gonzalo Lopez, Charlie Morton and Stephen Russell — all of whom were ranked among the top 25 prospects in the Atlanta system by Baseball America.
Still, Moore believes this year’s staff could be just as good, if not better — a huge statement indeed.
“We’re really excited about the pitching that will be here,” he said. “It will be comprised mostly of the players that were in Danville last season, and you know what kind of success that team had. (The D-Braves came within one out of winning the Appalachian League title).”
The list of pitchers that Moore said he’s anticipating being in Rome this season includes right-handers Luis Atilano, Chris Vines and Paul Bacot, along with left-handers Kelvin Villa and Matt Harrison.
All of those pitchers were in Danville last season under pitching coach Jim Czajkowski, who has joined the Rome coaching staff for the 2005 season.
Moore also mentioned several position players that are candidates to be in Rome, saying it will be “a solid group of core players.”
One of the more notable names was highly-heralded outfielder Matt Lodenthal, who hit .307 with five homers and 32 RBI in 64 games at Danville last season.
Johan Silva (who played briefly in Rome at the end of last season), Van Pope and Cole Armstrong were also named as potential Rome Braves in 2005.
Moore did not mention J.C. Holt, who hit .321 for Danville last year, although that was likely just an oversight. Most publications say Holt will be in Rome next year.
Eric Campbell, the Braves’ top pick in last June’s amateur draft who spent the final two weeks of the season in Rome, might not be in Rome at the start of this season, Moore said.
“The one thing we have to be careful of with our young players,” Moore said, “is making 100 percent certain that they’re ready to perform at a (particular) level. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to promote them. There’s no use rushing any player.”
Moore said that although there’s still plenty of evaluating to be done, he has a good feel for who will make the Rome club.
“Yeah, we could probably predict within one or two … well, let’s just say we could predict most of the club, anyway,” he said. “Right now, we are formulating a plan of how we expect things to come together. But you can never predict exactly what’s going to take place, because most of the time, it changes. You just never know what will happen.”
The same can be said of having a conversation with Dayton Moore.
Hey old boy, we'll find out starting today if those old washed up pitchers can throw. It's been a decent two weeks, but now we start for real. You might be surprised what some of those old washed up pitchers can do.
Here we go again. I'm more excited about this season than I've ever been.
Keep in touch.
I know who John Sickles is, and he's one who can normally be considered to be pretty fair in his reporting. I'm also familar with No Pepper, which does a good job of getting information out about the Braves. They are one of the better and more reliable organizations out there.
Those are some of the same criteria that the scouts use to evaluate talent. All of them are something that can make or break a pitcher, and spring training will be a time where a lot of those things are being worked on.