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Thread: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

  1. #106
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Disagree. Soto has not played himself off 3B, and there's always LF (where they've been willing to work out both Alonso and Francisco).

    In my view, the decision to try Soto at catcher likely reflects a couple of perspectives taking shape among the development folks: 1. Soto is blocked by better players at 3B-1B-LF. 2. There is no catching prospect to get excited about.

    Soto and Mesoraco have been playing at the same level. Mesoraco's an ex-first-rounder. To move Soto to Mesoraco's position is absolutely a commentary on how the organization views Mesoraco right now.
    Soto can't play left field. He doesn't have the wheels to do it. As for not playing his way off of third.... well, he has a fielding percentage of .895 in the minors at the position and his range is notably questionable. That sounds like a guy who has probably played their way off of the position. It has nothing to do with Mesoraco and everything to do with the skillset of Soto.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    If Mesoraco's line was 270/350/450, you really think the Reds would switch Soto to the same spot in the same league?
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    If Mesoraco's line was 270/350/450, you really think the Reds would switch Soto to the same spot in the same league?
    Switching Soto to catcher is likely gonna go hand in hand with a move down to a level somewhere under where Mes is likely to start.
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Not Dayton.
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Some info on Line Drive percentage. All Single-A teams have a scorer who calls the league statistician (Major League Baseball Advanced Media, commonly known as MLBam or just BAM). The calls are made at the end of each half inning unless there is a pitching change or discussion about a call or something else that prevents the scorer from calling and in that case, he calls and catches up when he can, sometimes 30-45 minutes in delay. There is no link by computer between the scorer and BAM, although in some press boxes, the scorer does score the game on computer for printing purposes (and in other cases, he just writes it down as it is happening and calls it in).

    I asked an Official Scorer that I know who has been scoring for 10 years and is one of the most dedicated scorers that I have seen. He told me that often, he is not even asked whether it was a liner, pop fly, etc. He said if he is asked, he will respond but it is not a point of emphasis on either end of the call. In some cases, as he is trying to get the information in before the next half inning starts, he will just say, "fly out to left", "single to left", etc. He said some of the BAM operators NEVER ask for any of this information for the games they work. In some cases, if he is behind by maybe 30 minutes from when the action took place, he will not recall the play in detail and just indidate to the person on the other end that he does not recall how hard the ball was hit. They do not make an issue of this. As you can see, this particular element of scoring is taken so casually that it is not even a concern.

    In Triple-A, or any game where you can get a "pitch by pitch" of the game on the internet, they are linked by computer and I am sure it is more of an emphasis.

    Putting a great emphasis on stats in the low minors is a losing battle. Some scorers are better than others. Some give the benefit of doubt to the hitter; others to the fielder when judging hit or error. The EXACT same ball that is scored a hit in Dayton might be an error in Fort Wayne. I have seen many scorers playing solitaire on their laptop during games, barely watching.

    Also, in some cities, the home team manager has a great amount of input. In others, he has very little. In 2008, Dayton reliever Jeff Jeffords had six runs changed from unearned to earned overnight on a request from Fort Wayne manager Doug Dascenzo (he asked that one ball be changed from an error to a hit to benefit his player's batting average). How do you think that changed Jeffords ERA? Six earned for a reliever. Donnie Scott, the Dayton manager, was furious, but there was nothing he could do.

    Also, prospects often get a huge benefit. I remember one season about six years ago, a manager with a team I worked with sent word to us that any ball hit by our second basemen, who was our top prospect, WOULD be scored a base hit if he reached. He was under pressure to develop this player, and he selfishly wanted to make sure the kid's stats reflected improvement. That is a common thing. Managers know their jobs depend on how well they develop the players that the organization has targeted as the prospects.

    The worst horror stories I have ever heard came from Birmingham in 1994 when Michael Jordan was on the team. When Jordan put a ball in play, there was no such thing as an error. According to the stories, there were balls that went through infielders' legs that were scored as hits to try to keep Jordan over .200 and keep the thing from looking like a total joke.
    Last edited by redsof72; 02-11-2010 at 12:55 PM.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    If Mesoraco's line was 270/350/450, you really think the Reds would switch Soto to the same spot in the same league?
    The move of Soto to catcher may not even happen yet. Until we see him starting games there, its just talk and experimentation in practice. With that said, I still think Mesoraco goes to Carolina to start the season.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Redsof72, all of MiLB games are kept track of in a similar fashion to that of the AA/AAA gameday games. They have the hit locations charted. They don't keep track of balls/strikes, if the play is a strikeout the player just gets 3 swinging strikes and if its a walk just 4 balls, but the hit locations are available. Milb and MLBAM don't link to the gameday for the lower levels, but if you know the formats you can get them. Here is a link to a game from the Midwest League.

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/g...twafx_burafx_1

    If you toggle the field controls on the left sidebar you can get the hit data for hits and outs for each team.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by redsof72 View Post
    Some info on Line Drive percentage. All Single-A teams have a scorer who calls the league statistician (Major League Baseball Advanced Media, commonly known as MLBam or just BAM). The calls are made at the end of each half inning unless there is a pitching change or discussion about a call or something else that prevents the scorer from calling and in that case, he calls and catches up when he can, sometimes 30-45 minutes in delay. There is no link by computer between the scorer and BAM, although in some press boxes, the scorer does score the game on computer for printing purposes (and in other cases, he just writes it down as it is happening and calls it in).

    I asked an Official Scorer that I know who has been scoring for 10 years and is one of the most dedicated scorers that I have seen. He told me that often, he is not even asked whether it was a liner, pop fly, etc. He said if he is asked, he will respond but it is not a point of emphasis on either end of the call. In some cases, as he is trying to get the information in before the next half inning starts, he will just say, "fly out to left", "single to left", etc. He said some of the BAM operators NEVER ask for any of this information for the games they work. In some cases, if he is behind by maybe 30 minutes from when the action took place, he will not recall the play in detail and just indidate to the person on the other end that he does not recall how hard the ball was hit. They do not make an issue of this. As you can see, this particular element of scoring is taken so casually that it is not even a concern.

    In Triple-A, or any game where you can get a "pitch by pitch" of the game on the internet, they are linked by computer and I am sure it is more of an emphasis.

    Putting a great emphasis on stats in the low minors is a losing battle. Some scorers are better than others. Some give the benefit of doubt to the hitter; others to the fielder when judging hit or error. The EXACT same ball that is scored a hit in Dayton might be an error in Fort Wayne. I have seen many scorers playing solitaire on their laptop during games, barely watching.

    Also, in some cities, the home team manager has a great amount of input. In others, he has very little. In 2008, Dayton reliever Jeff Jeffords had six runs changed from unearned to earned overnight on a request from Fort Wayne manager Doug Dascenzo (he asked that one ball be changed from an error to a hit to benefit his player's batting average). How do you think that changed Jeffords ERA? Six earned for a reliever. Donnie Scott, the Dayton manager, was furious, but there was nothing he could do.

    Also, prospects often get a huge benefit. I remember one season about six years ago, a manager with a team I worked with sent word to us that any ball hit by our second basemen, who was our top prospect, WOULD be scored a base hit if he reached. He was under pressure to develop this player, and he selfishly wanted to make sure the kid's stats reflected improvement. That is a common thing. Managers know their jobs depend on how well they develop the players that the organization has targeted as the prospects.

    The worst horror stories I have ever heard came from Birmingham in 1994 when Michael Jordan was on the team. When Jordan put a ball in play, there was no such thing as an error. According to the stories, there were balls that went through infielders' legs that were scored as hits to try to keep Jordan over .200 and keep the thing from looking like a total joke.
    Well that's fair. But when I talk about the stats not lieing I mean his IsoP and IsoD which are a result of his performance and are not at the mercy of someone able to flub them up. He works a walk or he doesn't, he hits a HR or a double or he doesn't etc.
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    It has nothing to do with Mesoraco and everything to do with the skillset of Soto.
    Going to have to disagree -- if, as you note, Soto ends up catching. You just don't bury a hitting prospect behind another prospect at the same level by switching his position.

    If you are correct that Soto has played his way off 3B and can't play LF, why wouldn't they put him at 1B? Currently there's no 1B prospect behind Alonso.

    (If you think it's because they don't want him behind Alonso, who's 2 levels ahead, why would they put him behind Mesoraco, assuming Mesoraco's the quality prospect you think he is?)
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    Going to have to disagree -- if, as you note, Soto ends up catching. You just don't bury a hitting prospect behind another prospect at the same level by switching his position.

    If you are correct that Soto has played his way off 3B and can't play LF, why wouldn't they put him at 1B? Currently there's no 1B prospect behind Alonso.

    (If you think it's because they don't want him behind Alonso, who's 2 levels ahead, why would they put him behind Mesoraco, assuming Mesoraco's the quality prospect you think he is?)
    Well where are you burying Soto deeper.... behind Joey Votto, Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco, or behind Devin Mesoraco and Kevin Coddington? Plus, putting him at 1B wastes his arm and unlike Francisco who has an even stronger arm, isn't hypothetically knocking on the MLB doorstep and doesn't have the options of learning to catch.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    I think we're forgetting the numbers Soto himself put up offensively last year at Sarasota. (And I recognize that's a tough pitcher's league, tough ballpark etc.) They aren't the numbers of a guy who projects as a corner outfielder or a first baseman, and they aren't the numbers of a third baseman unless the guy is extraordinarily good defensively, which Soto is not going to be. What's left? Catching.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Well where are you burying Soto deeper.... behind Joey Votto, Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco, or behind Devin Mesoraco and Kevin Coddington? Plus, putting him at 1B wastes his arm and unlike Francisco who has an even stronger arm, isn't hypothetically knocking on the MLB doorstep and doesn't have the options of learning to catch.
    You're burying him deeper behind Mesoraco -- if you believe Mesoraco is a valued prospect who will be given every chance to succeed -- because Mesoraco will remain cheap at the major league level a lot longer than the first basemen will (counting Francisco as a 1B is pure conjecture at this point). It makes abundant sense for the organization to develop a 1B prospect a couple-3 years behind Votto/Alonso for financial reasons. It makes less sense to stick Soto behind Mesoraco -- again, if you think Mesoraco is a valued prospect who will be given every chance to succeed -- because they would project to hit the majors no more than a year apart.

    It seems plain as day to me -- if Soto moves to catcher it betrays a level of skepticism about Mesoraco that is meaningful. While we shouldn't take prospect lists too seriously, the ranking of Mesoraco at #30 by Baseball America, as Redsof72 has pointed out, is also meaningful. It's the forest, not the trees.
    Last edited by lollipopcurve; 02-11-2010 at 01:38 PM.
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    I think we're forgetting the numbers Soto himself put up offensively last year at Sarasota. (And I recognize that's a tough pitcher's league, tough ballpark etc.) They aren't the numbers of a guy who projects as a corner outfielder or a first baseman, and they aren't the numbers of a third baseman unless the guy is extraordinarily good defensively, which Soto is not going to be. What's left? Catching.
    It's one year, and it's the FSL. He's still quite young. While I think there is some merit in this argument, it's my contention that a one year drop in Soto's offensive numbers, especially in the FSL, wouldn't be enough to ask him to take on the imense challenge of learning to catch unless they felt there was no other catching prospect at more or less his level worth getting excited about.
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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve View Post
    You're burying him deeper behind Mesoraco -- if you believe Mesoraco is a valued prospect who will be given every chance to succeed -- because Mesoraco will remain cheap at the major league level a lot longer than the first basemen will (counting Francisco as a 1B is pure conjecture at this point). It makes abundant sense for the organization to develop a 1B prospect a couple-3 years behind Votto/Alonso for financial reasons. It makes less sense to stick Soto behind Mesoraco -- again, if you think Mesoraco is a valued prospect who will be given every chance to succeed -- because they would project to hit the majors no more than a year apart.

    It seems plain as day to me -- if Soto moves to catcher it betrays a level of skepticism about Mesoraco that is meaningful. While we shouldn't take prospect lists too seriously, the ranking of Mesoraco at #30 by Baseball America, as Redsof72 has pointed out, is also meaningful. It's the forest, not the trees.
    Baseball America felt so inclined to list Francisco as a first baseman in the most recent handbook. I don't think I am stretching much by agreeing with them. Catchers who play 140 games a season aren't readily available. Even if Mesoraco were the best catching prospect in baseball it still makes sense to have another abled guy back there because odds are someone is only getting 130 starts at catcher anyways (days off - DH in interleague play for ones that can hit).

    Soto to catcher is because of his skillset and trying to make the most of it. He has a strong arm and an intriguing bat that needs a few more season in the minors to develop properly. He has time to use up those seasons too. I think you are just reading too much into the situation. I mean heck, wasn't Joey Votto a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball and hitting .303/.364/.538 as a Major Leaguer when the Reds drafted Yonder Alonso? It had nothing to do with Votto and everything to do with Alonso. I think you are just reading too much into it.

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    Re: Neftali Soto - Catcher?

    Doug, I did not intend to indicate that the hit locations were not reported correctly. Each play is called in (ie: single to left, ground out to short, etc.) at the end of each half inning or inning. But as far as line drives vs. routine fly balls and such, the official scorer told me that it is often not reported with that much detail. Maybe I misunderstood what was being suggested. If you are suggesting that one Single-A player hits more line drives than another guy, I would say that is impossible to know. All we know is the direction the ball was hit and the result of the play.


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