Baseball America 3 Years On, #7-9">#4-6 Prospects 2007


=== #7 Mark Lowe ===

In 2006, had nuked AA till it glowed, and come up to Seattle, fanning 20 men in 19 innings.


Baseball America:  Always projected as a reliever ... stuff jumped when he changed to his proper role...

Fastball is 94-96 with "quality life" ... Hard slider has late, quick break and "chews up righthanders" ... changeup is also plus-plus at times.

Tons and tons of health questions... no cartilage in the elbow joint... future is uncertain...

If he regains health and stuff, will close in the majors.


Three Years On:  You don't need any help with this one.  :- )  Lowe was one of the most dazzling pitchers we'd ever seen, but also has some of the weirdest health issues we'd seen, too...

At the time, I was wondering about Lowe as a starter.  The Mariners didn't hesitate to call Lowe a reliever with a Capital R, and they were absolutely right.

I wonder if G-Money would project further arm-recovery and stuff from this milestone forward?


=== #8 Chris Tillman ===

Had thrown just a few, wild, innings in the Arizona and rookie leagues after the draft -- like 45 strikeouts and 20 walks in 31 innings.


Baseball America:  Had projected as "an early first-rounder" but an inconsistent senior season dropped him to the 2nd...

Two plus pitches, a lively fastball and slider....

Easy velocity, loose arm, clean delivery... upwardly projectable, will fill out...

Immature, not mentally tough... if he develops as hoped, the M's will have landed three 1st-round talents (Morrow, Butler, Tillman) in the 2006 draft...


Three Years On:  SSI readers are familiar with Tillman's career, and the accuracy of the above report and prediction.  The "loose arm and easy velocity" has helped Tillman move from age 18 to age 21 with no injuries.  Good show.

In 2009, Butler was very effective in AAA at the age of 21, with 9.2 strikeouts, 2.5 walks, and 0.5 homers.

Called up to Baltimore, got hit for 5.4 / 3.3 / 2.1 (!) and a 5.40 ERA.  Fangraphs had him at 92.0 average velo on his fastball, comparable to Billingsley, John Lackey and Jeremy Guthrie.


=== #9 Yung-Chi Chen, 2B ===

In 2006, had gotten 40 games in AA at the age of 24, where he hit .295/.365/.443.  Chen was popular with us locals, though D-O-V was never much of a fan.


Baseball America:  Sterling international career, very, ahem, young...

Has an innate feel for getting the barrel of the bat to the ball... Easy swing, makes hard contact at will, buggy-whip motion generates gap power...

Adjusts not only game-to-game, but pitch-to-pitch...

Adequate defender at best.

Will make AAA easily, but is blocked by Jose Lopez in Seattle.


Three Years On:  was blocked by Jose Lopez.  Was waived and picked up by the A's, but OPS'ed only 690 at the age of 25 in AAA.

Never seemed like a good age-arc spect to me.  Of course he was going to adjust well, being a grizzled international player competing against younger guys.

At long last, slot #9, Dr. D scores E on his card, Baseball America putting Chen above Carlos Triunfel in a decision that should have been easy even at the time.

Hey, 8-for-9 is .889?  Ray Allen at the free-throw line, baby.


#10-11 Prospects 2007



Just FYI, Chen had major injury issues and was never really a prospect after that.  So he's a bust in those terms, but not necessarily in the scouting.  Before getting hurt, he was generally ahead of Valbuena, who helped us get Gutierrez.  FWIW.


Matt sez...
I do find it interesting that the two guys BA put way too high (EOF and Fieirabend) I had way lower on my lists as soon as I saw them throw once.
Good sign that your feel for the game is comin' right along :- )
In fairness to BA, Feierabend did compete, and EOF is competing, creditably in the majors and that's ahead of the curve for prospects who ranked where those two did...
Feierabend might have been a 100 ERA+ guy for several years if he'd maintained arm strength ... as we all know, a #8 org ranking or whatever, isn't a prediction that a pitcher is going to win 17 games in the AL...


Ackley: Have you noticed that the Twins only got really bad long enough to draft Joe Mauer and since then they've been back in the playoffs just about every year?  Mayyyyyyybe that was Bill Bavasi's genius stroke?
LOL :- )
Supposing that Ackley hits his 75th-percentile upside Spec... what do you see from him...


Michael Pineda (maybe the tools scouts have infon on him that I do not that keeps him out of top-10 lists...everything I've heard suggests he's very intelligent on the mound and has plenty of stuff to induce very high K rates and K/BBs) - B/B
Pineda's verrry hot with us in the peanut gallery these days...
48k and 6bb with a 2+ ERA at ... wait for it ... High Desert (!?) ... would love to know the last time anybody did that...
Literally would not expect Stephen Strasburg to go 48:6, 2+ ERA at High Desert...


...Pineda is about as good a prospect as there is at the A+ ball level in all of baseball.  Literally.
I have to give that some weight.  Unless his arm is about to explode, I don't understand why he's not better thought of.


For a guy who didn't get national attention at his signing out of the D.R., he's getting about as much respect as a Mariners prospect is going to get.  A year and a half ago, scouts from other orgs were projecting Pineda as a possible TOR.
From a saber standpoint, I can't imagine how a A+ pitcher *could* do any more than Pineda just did.
It would be completely reasonable to rank Pineda as a #1 org prospect, except that Ackley's already knocking at the MLB door and Triunfel is a freak.


I've spent too much time on that question than I'd like to admit, but when you look at LH guys who are really tough to strike out, crank out doubles and hit HR in the teens, I come up with this guy:
or this guy:
But you've got to add speed to those equations.
If he gets bigger and stronger and develops more power (and gives up the ultra-low K rate as a result) then I see:'neipa01.shtml
As I've said, if he totally maxes out, then he loooks like the younger, slimmer, base-swiping Tony Gwynn but mixed with a bit more of a George Brett classic #3 hitter  -- but I'm not going there yet.


One of my fave players when I was a kid. 
Still, I'll go my own way here and opine that Ackley has a fair distance to go, powerwise, to hurdle that one.  Staub was actually a #3-4 hitter, pretty well into power territory, in my day.  20 homers back then meant something different...
Still, great visual.
The Tony Gwynn / Wade Boggs / Pete Rose template is definitely available to Ackley in the dream scenario.  He doesn't have to get stronger to do that.
I have a real inkling for that Harold Baines comp...


Don't forget that the 1970's were different.  :- )
Charlie Hustle was in the top-10 in walks, seven times.  If Ackley manages that I think I'll take it, LOL.
1,566 career walks vs 1,143 strikeouts, I see...
Hard for Gen X or Y or whatever to relate to Rose.  As a leadoff hitter, he got serious MVP consideration every year.  He was a "superstar" when the term meant something, a recognized on-base, start-the-rally guy before OBP was called that...


Going back to the Great Depression and WWII, I see... very Jamesian of you...
What a player that guy was, a lefty 3B/1B who posted high OBP's with gap power... when the rest of the boys went off to war, he went all Jeff Kemp-to-Steve Largent on the fillins...
Great, great comp for Ackley's hoped-for peak.


So I look way back for good comps when I think of them.  Hack was also FAST too...he played in a 0-steal era, but he led his league in steals 3 times and was perennially in the top three-five.
Another potentially comparable player from the way-back machine: - Now in the 20s, having excessive walk rates was rare, but his 3 BB/K was just plain GOOFY good plate skill.  I don't think Ackley has quite THAT much speed, but he's a legit 20-30 SB threat if he gets smart on the bases (see: Jeter, Derek...who, BTW, is another Ackley comp).
That're right about Rose...he was more patient than I'm giving him credit for.  I always think of him as one of the great consummate HITTERS of all time...he didn't walk enough to prevent himself from logging oodles and boodles of 200 hit seasons - not that walking a lot was common in the 70s.  Just saying...he wasn't as patient as (say) his teammate Joe Morgan.


Was a guy who (1) won the MVPs, and (2) at the very moment he was winning MVP's, nobody had any idea how good he was (pre-sabermetrics).   See how many guys in baseball history fit those two criteria...
We all kind of figured, he's the most all-around player in the greatest post-1945 lineup, so give him the MVP...
Nobody had any idea at all what the 120 walks meant, the 170-190 OPS+ while serving as the best defensive MI in baseball...
Morgan was also an Ichiro-smart player, a true team leader in the sense that Ichiro is in the WBC ... the other team would call for a pitchout and Morgan would be sauntering back to 1B, hands on hips... Bill James opined that other teams would call pitchouts just for the joy of watching Morgan decipher it...
Pound-for-pound, maybe the most nature-perfect ballplayer who ever lived.
Picture Ichiro with -- era-adjusted -- 140 walks, 25 homers, winning the gold glove at SS.  Joe Morgan was a man-among-boys even on his own Reds teams.


without clicking over there, thought I remembered him as a HOF'er...
This might be the Ichiro-type route, great legs, 120 OPS+ ...

Anonymous's picture

when he got to Seattle. He had two bad starts. His last four outings, he was lights out with 30 strikeouts to 10 walks. Allowed 4 runs in 26 innings and threw a ton of groundballs.


What are you amigos talking about?
Oh, when he got to High Desert?  Thought I'd missed more late-September baseball than I thought :- )
Ya, nothing discouraging about Robles' gig in the Cali league.  Nothing signal about it, either.  Best thing about Robles is that G-Money likes him.


Or not.
Staub was a slugger only in his age 25 and 26 seasons.  After age 27 he never had a SLG higher than .480 and almost always had HR in the teens.  And at age 23, he had 44 doubles and only 10 HR -- the kind of line we might be anticpating from our man Dusty at that age.
Baines, on the other hand, was verrrry consistently a 16-25 HR guy from age 23 right up to age 40, and his career SLG is 35 points higher than Le Grande Orange (.465 to .431).
Baines, with speed and defense (of which he had neither), is HOF hands down, no?
Anyway, the most relevant numbers are these, from Ackley playing in the same league, same parks, many of the same pitchers:
Fr. 296 AB, 119 H, 20 2b, 3 3b, 10 HR, .591 SLG, 30 BB, 21 K
Soph. 278 AB, 116 H, 21 2b, 4 3b, 7 HR, .597 SLG, 53 BB, 27 K
Jr. 266 AB, 111 H, 18 2b, 4 3b, 22 HR, .763 SLG, 50 BB, 34 K
One of those numbers is not like the others.

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