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Thread: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

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    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    6-yr Min-Lg FA Lists; Reds Min-Lg Signings

    MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS

    Please see the other thread on these players for further discussion:

    http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29241

    Full list of six-year guys (take Etherton, Clark, Caraccioli, Shearn, Barreto, Kelly, Beattie, Stratton, and Rose off Reds' list):

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...028falist.html

    Now, Iíve tried to take the Redsí current organizational depth into consideration when compiling this list; for example, we know that Jesse Gutierrez will be a solid AAA 1B-DH type, so Iíve not wasted much time picking all the 30-year-old veterans who slugged .550 in the Pacific Coast League. Therefore, youíll see a preponderance of left-handed pitchers, catchers, relievers with strikeout power, and utilitymen who can hit. I didnít see much point in amassing fifth outfielders, first basemen, or slick-fielding shortstops. Originally I was going to try to knock this list down to 20 players, but I find myself stuck at 22.

    These guys arenít in any particular order.

    1. Sam McConnell, LHP (Atlanta)

    Lefty cracked the majors at 28 after back-to-back solid years at AAA. Control pitcher, born in Middletown.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe....asp?Name=GBJD

    UPDATE: Re-signed by Atlanta, 12/1.

    2. Mike Rose, C (Oakland)

    Draws a very impressive number of walks and switch-hits, but doesn't drive the ball too much. He's still one of the better AAA catchers out there, for sure.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe....asp?Name=GIDJ

    UPDATE: Signed by Los Angeles to a minor-league deal + NRI.

    3. Chip Ambres, OF (Florida)

    Has power and speed (20 HR, 26 SB), but also a pretty damn good batting eye (76 BB in 2004, 72 in 2003). He just struggles to hit for average (.253 career). He'll be 25, and has two decent seasons in AA under his belt. http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4387

    UPDATE: Signed by Boston, 12/1.

    4. Mike Nannini, RHP (Florida)

    Will be just 25, and pitches to contact quite well (2.5 walks per nine, 2.64 for his career). Gave up a ton of homers in the PCL, but did much better in 2003 in AA. He's a former first-round pick of the Astros.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6401

    UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

    5. Esteban German, 2B (Oakland)

    I've always liked German, who seemed to have D'Angelo Jimenez-type skills (minus the power), but Oakland's yo-yoed him between the big-league bench and AAA for three seasons now. He'll be 26, and if Juan Castro is (hopefully) not back and Felipe Lopez or Anderson Machado find themselves jettisoned, German would be a very useful guy to have at AAA or on the bench.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4249

    UPDATE: Signed by Texas, 11/19.

    6. Jeff Bailey, 1B (Boston)

    He was actually used primarily as a catcher in AA, although he also plays first and the outfield, and hit .294/.404/.526 at age 25.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4458

    7. Andy Dominique, C (Boston)

    Surprised the Sox let him go- he hit a very solid .267/.360/.442 in AAA last season, and has a career minor-league OPS over 800. Six-year catchers usually don't hit for crap.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=5154

    8. Oscar Alvarez, LHP (Cleveland)

    24-year-old lefty went 7-2, 3.36 as a swingman in AA, walking only 24 in 67 innings.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4382

    9. Tony Schrager, 2B (Boston)

    A utilityman with a little power and a very solid batting eye; will be 28.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6949

    UPDATE: Signed by LA, 11/17.

    10. Chris Mowday, RHP (Chicago Cubs)

    23-year-old Aussie whiffed 61 in 57 IP at High-A with a 1.89 ERA and 41 hits allowed.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6372

    11. Kevin Tolar, LHP (Chicago Cubs)

    Will be 34, but the veteran lefty has struck out 77 in 57 IP in 2004, 34 in 31.2 IP in 2003, 82 in 78 IP in 2002, and 73 in 56 IP in 2001, all in AAA. And his highest ERA in that span is 3.45.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=7628

    12. Bryant Nelson, 2B (Chicago White Sox)

    Veteran returned from Japan to hit .288/.350/.486 starting all season at second base, walking more than he struck out and stealing 13 bases to boot.. Also plays third and the outfield, and switch-hits. Has a pretty darn solid minor-league track record with the stick, too. Bryant will be 31 come 2005.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...e.asp?ID=20144

    13. Michael Bumatay, LHP (Colorado)

    Only 25, and misses bats effectively from the left side over his career, but couldn't handle the elevation in Colorado Springs.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4721

    UPDATE: Signed by Detroit. (11/19)

    14. Les Walrond, LHP (Kansas City)

    27-year-old had surprising success moving from the bullpen to the rotation at Omaha, throwing up 11 wins and a 3.06 ERA.


    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=7382


    15, Jesse Carlson, LHP (Houston)

    After two consecutive seasons in relief with an ERA under 2, Carlson turned in a 5.04 in his first year in AA at age 23- and got released? Huh? A 21/51 BB/K ratio in 57 innings isn't bad, either. I wonder what happened here?

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...e.asp?ID=21480

    UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

    16. P.J. Bevis, RHP (New York Mets)

    Threw flames as a 23-year-old reliever in AA in 2003, K-ing 100 in 71 innings and allowing only 55 hits. After a midseason promotion to AAA in 2004, however, Bevis walked 23 in 26.2 innings. He'll be 25 in midseason '05.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe....asp?Name=EBFJ

    UPDATE: Mysteriously appeared on the Mets' 40-man, so I guess he's re-signed. FURTHER UPDATE: I think that might be wrong.

    17. Wilton Chavez, RHP (Montreal)

    Will be just 24 in 2005, and has back-to-back seasons in the PCL under his belt; he posted ERAs of 4.24 and 4.64, and walked only 2.35 per nine in 2004.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4873

    18. Josh McKinley, C (Montreal)

    McKinley is the Expos' #1 pick from 1998 (their #1 pick from '97, 3B Scott Hodges, is also on the freebie list), and after a promising enough 2003 in AA, he fell apart after a trade to the Texas organization. Returning midway through for his third stint at AA Harrisburg, the results weren't pretty. McKinley will be 26 and has a few intriguing skills- he switch-hits, can draw walks, and plays outfield and third in addition to catcher (mostly the OF in 2004).

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6220

    UPDATE: Signed by Boston, 12/1.

    19. Pat Strange, RHP (New York Mets)

    Originally set to come to the Reds late in the 2000 season along with Alex Escobar for Barry Larkin before Carl Lindner made Barry Publishers' Clearing House's newest winner, Strange reached AAA in 2002, but has stagnated there ever since. The Mets didn't bother calling him up in 2004, either. Strange is 6-5, 247 pounds, a former second-round pick, and will be 25 in 2005. A change of scenery might do wonders.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=7155

    20. Martire Franco, RHP (Philadelphia)

    Just 23 in 2004, and put up a 3.30 ERA and 15 saves (and walking but 2.13 per nine) in the AA Reading bullpen after struggling in previous years as a starter.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=5344

    UPDATE: Re-signed by Philadelphia and given an NRI. (11/9)

    21. Jeff Urban, LHP (San Francisco)

    Ex-#1 pick (1997) out of Ball State who's held his own in the PCL three years running. 2.6 walks per nine for his career, three per nine in the PCL- not bad for a lefty.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=7298

    22. Aquilino Lopez, RHP (Toronto)

    2003 Rule 5-er triumph for the Jays fell apart in '04, grooving way too many. Only 24.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6022

    Finally, a couple of wildcards that Dan OíBrien is probably familiar with. I donít necessarily condone picking these guys up, but weíve seen from Jason Romano and Ben Kozlowski that D-Train is partial to guys he participated in drafting. Unfortunately, none of them are named Aponte or Coxstein.

    W1. Jose Morban, SS (Baltimore)

    Ex-Rule 5er (2003) that DanO should be familiar with (the O's stole him from Texas before that season), he hit under .250 at both High-A and AA. Don't be surprised.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6349

    UPDATE: Signed by Cleveland, 11/19. DanO is foiled!

    W2. Reynaldo Garcia, RHP (Boston)

    Ex-Rangers fireballin' reliever who didn't pitch in '04. Don't be surprised.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...e.asp?ID=20133

    W3. Hayden Gardner, RHP (Philadelphia)

    Another 23-year-old ex-Ranger who just started walking people in the past couple of years. Don't be surprised.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=5398

    W4. Spike Lundberg, RHP (Philadelphia)

    Ex-Ranger six-year FA who pitches to contact (2.5 walks per nine for career). He'll be 28. Don't be surprised.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=6055
    UPDATE: Signed by Toronto to a minor-league deal + NRI, 11/11.

  2. #2
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Great list. Mowday, Walrond, Strange, Urban and Lopez are all intriguing bullpenners. Maybe Bumatay too, though all I can think of when I read his name is "John Bigboo-TAY! TAY! TAY! TAY!"
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    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    A now-forgotten result of Moneyball (version 1.0) is that the system also undervalues the 25-28-year-old high-minors veterans who have fallen from or aged beyond blue-chip prospect status. Every year a couple of guys in that category break through to the shock and awe of all the Baseball America types. Rarely do they become stars, but more often than you would think do they become useful backups and bullpenners and even Cory Lidles for the major-league minimum.

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    I'd looked over the full list a few days ago, and Lopez and Urban caught my eye. You've done a great job here, Doc!

    The Reds did well 2 years ago in getting Freel from this pool.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc. Scott
    A now-forgotten result of Moneyball (version 1.0) is that the system also undervalues the 25-28-year-old high-minors veterans who have fallen from or aged beyond blue-chip prospect status. Every year a couple of guys in that category break through to the shock and awe of all the Baseball America types.
    My favorite all-time example of this is Geronimo Berroa.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/berroge01.shtml

    That guy bounced around 11 years, with six different teams, before finally sticking with Oakland as a 29 year old. He spent five years as a Toronto farmhand, got snagged by Atlanta in the rule V draft, was released two years later, signed with Seattle, was purchased by Cleveland a month later, left Cleveland as a 6 year FA after the season, signed with Cincinnati, left Cincinnati after the season as a FA, signed with Florida, left Florida after the season as a FA, signed with Oakland.

    In all that time, Geronimo was just killing minor league pitching, batting 295 with 151 career HR in the minors. Geronimo rewarded the A's with four good years including a monster 1996 campaign (290 BA, 36 HR, 106 RBI). Then, as soon as he started to get expensive, the A's deal him away to open up a spot for Ben Grieve.

    Want to hear something really scary? Berroa was traded for Jimmy Haynes, and Grieve was traded for Corey Lidle. Consiering the Reds were one of the teams that jilted Berroa, could the 2004 Reds be explained by the curse of Geronimo Berroa?

  6. #6
    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve4192
    My favorite all-time example of this is Geronimo Berroa.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/berroge01.shtml

    That guy bounced around 11 years, with six different teams, before finally sticking with Oakland as a 29 year old. He spent five years as a Toronto farmhand, got snagged by Atlanta in the rule V draft, was released two years later, signed with Seattle, was purchased by Cleveland a month later, left Cleveland as a 6 year FA after the season, signed with Cincinnati, left Cincinnati after the season as a FA, signed with Florida, left Florida after the season as a FA, signed with Oakland.

    In all that time, Geronimo was just killing minor league pitching, batting 295 with 151 career HR in the minors. Geronimo rewarded the A's with four good years including a monster 1996 campaign (290 BA, 36 HR, 106 RBI). Then, as soon as he started to get expensive, the A's deal him away to open up a spot for Ben Grieve.

    Want to hear something really scary? Berroa was traded for Jimmy Haynes, and Grieve was traded for Corey Lidle. Consiering the Reds were one of the teams that jilted Berroa, could the 2004 Reds be explained by the curse of Geronimo Berroa?
    Perhaps the finding of Ryan Freel off this very same list two years ago is the beginning of the end for Berroa's Curse, eh?

    Just keep in mind, though- even a smashing success like Berroa still had only four seasons where he was an above-average major-league player.

    A guy like Lidle, same thing- signed as an undrafted free agent by Minnesota in 1990; contract sold to Milwaukee in 1993; traded to the Mets in January 1996 for Kelly Stinnett; did well in the Mets system, got promoted, and had a decent season as a reliever (1997); was claimed by Arizona in the expansion draft; got hurt and missed almost all of 1998; claimed on waivers by Tampa, missed most of 1999; put in a mediocre 2000 season as a swingman; traded in the three-way deal that sent him to Oakland (and sent Grieve to Tampa, Angel Berroa to KC, and Johnny Damon to Oakland); had two decent seasons at the end of the Oakland rotation; traded to Toronto for two minor-leaguers (one of whom was Chris Mowday from my list); got lit up in Toronto in 2003 before coming to the Reds as a free agent; got lit up again in Cincinnati, traded to Philadelphia; did okay, now again a free agent.

    Point: in general, guys that bounce around like this have a tough time sustaining success.

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc. Scott
    Point: in general, guys that bounce around like this have a tough time sustaining success.
    You are absolutely right.

    A big part of the reason they have trouble sustaining their success is that they are already pushing 30 by the time they get their big break. Within 3-4 years, age related decline starts to catch up to them. However, for a small market team, that window is perfect. Use 'em up for 3-4 years, and trade 'em when they start to get expensive.

    Oakland did a masterful job with Berroa, getting great production out him while he was cheap and then dealing him for a stud SP prospect when he got expensive. The fact that the stud prospect turned into Jimmy Haynes tarnishes it a bit, but without the benefit of hindsight, it was a masterful move.

  8. #8
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    I hope they sign that Bevis kid.



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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Great research! I'd add Shane Bazzell, OAK, RHP to this list. Bazzell went 15-3 with a 3.08 ERA in AA in 2004, and at 26 years of age has upside. He swings between starting and relieving.

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    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Quote Originally Posted by dougflynn23
    Great research! I'd add Shane Bazzell, OAK, RHP to this list. Bazzell went 15-3 with a 3.08 ERA in AA in 2004, and at 26 years of age has upside. He swings between starting and relieving.
    I did see Shane on the list. 15 wins in 119 innings (14 starts, 20 relief appearances) definitely takes a lot of Bankheadian luck, though, and his other numbers outside of a repeat year in High-A ball are mediocre. But here's his link.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/playe...le.asp?ID=4526

  11. #11
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Doc, send your resume to DanO. That's an impressive piece of work there.

    And you make an excellent point. As glaring as some of our needs are, we should look hard at this list.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

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    Lover of Trivialities Doc. Scott's Avatar
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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Well, I am an OU guy. Although I've never been to Texas. And I may talk too fast for him to understand me.

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Great list. Some real finds there. These are the ones from you list I like and think could fit.

    Mike Rose, C (Oakland)
    Chip Ambres, OF (Florida)
    Mike Nannini, RHP (Florida)
    Esteban German, 2B (Oakland)
    Jeff Bailey, 1B (Boston)
    Andy Dominique, C (Boston)
    Oscar Alvarez, LHP (Cleveland)
    Chris Mowday, RHP (Chicago Cubs)
    Michael Bumatay, LHP (Colorado)
    Jesse Carlson, LHP (Houston)
    P.J. Bevis, RHP (New York Mets)
    Wilton Chavez, RHP (Montreal)
    Josh McKinley, C (Montreal)
    Pat Strange, RHP (New York Mets)
    Martire Franco, RHP (Philadelphia)
    Aquilino Lopez, RHP (Toronto)
    Reynaldo Garcia, RHP (Boston)
    Hayden Gardner, RHP (Philadelphia)

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    If Bailey can play catcher at all, he would be my first pick out of this litter. With Corky gone, the Reds are depending on another scrap heap catcher like Valentin (blech!) or Sardinha (double blech!) as the second in line behind Larue. I highly doubt that Jason will be on the 2005 Reds whether through trade or non-tender.

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    Re: Six-Year Minor-League Free Agent Rundown (Long)

    Why would Bailey need to play catcher? With a 97 mph fastball I think I would leave him as a pitcher. :MandJ: Or were you talking about Jeff and Not Homer :dflynn:


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