Let’s take a break today from the Player Profiles. I enjoy them, and the response I get from folks is pretty much universally positive, but I don’t want to ever become predictable or boring, hence the rambling piece you are about to read. If based on comments I’m getting on Twitter, here are some thoughts after taking the pulse of folks.
I haven’t seen much about Yasiel Puig from people. I’m hoping against hope that is because people realize he is being overvalued by some. In reality though, the only reason I haven’t heard from people about Puig is that I haven’t released my rankings on him yet. When that happens I’m sure there will be plenty of roars from the crowd. By the by, the target date for the BaseballGuys Draft Guide is Jan 29th. It’s coming.
People seem to give many folks one chance and if they blow it they are gonzo. Take the case of Giancarlo Stanton. Last year Stanton was over-drafted. I told everyone this was the case (I repeatedly told people to draft Jay Bruce two rounds later. Few listened). This time around everyone seems to keenly remember the struggles of Stanton last year, so much to the point that when I suggested he was a top-50 player on Twitter the other day some folks questioned how that was possible. Here’s why. People’s expectations are out of control. People expect, don’t hope for but expect, young performers to get better every year, and to be elite right away. In the history of the game arch’s like that are rare, not the norm. In Stanton’s case we’re looking at a youngster who, per 550 at-bats has averaged 37 home runs. Folks, per 550 at-bats Miguel Cabrera averages 32 homers. Two main things are killing Stanton – strikeouts and health issues. Stanton is a .265 career hitter, and with his approach that is way more the type of hitter he is than the .290 he tossed up there in 2012 (which is why I told people to slow down with him last year). A 29 percent strikeout rate isn’t going to lead to a high batting average. Second, he’s played 123 and 116 games the past two seasons. Until he can consistently get out there for 145-150 games year after year he’s going to be a somewhat risky selection on draft day. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t have a huge year in 2014 though.
Masahiro Tanaka is the biggest arm left on the free agent market (the fact he hasn’t yet wrapped up a deal might explain why guys like Ubaldo and Matt Garza haven’t yet found homes). Read a very interesting piece from Jeff Passan the other day with tons of data talking about the massive a mount of pitches that he’s thrown over the years. Just one to note here (you can read the rest in the link). Tanaka threw at least 130 pitches in 15 of 123 starts the past five seasons. Every pitcher in the majors, and we’re talking 24,300 starts worth, threw a combined total of 23 outings with 130 pitches. How scary is that?
By Ray Flowers