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Thread: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

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    Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    1. Donnie Joseph, 22, LH
    2. Jeremy Horst, 24, LH
    3. Chase Ware, 22, RH
    4. Justin Freeman, 23, RH
    5. Mace Thurman, 23, LH
    6. Joe Krebs, 25, LH
    7. El’Hajj Muhammad, 18, RH
    8. Blaine Howell, 21, LH
    9. Enerio Del Rosario, 24, RH*
    10. Eury Cantalizo, 18, RH
    11. Carlos Ramos, 19, RH
    12. Nathan Driessen, 19, LH
    13. Philippe Valiquette, 23, LH
    14. Porfirio Martinez, 20, RH
    15. Jose Amezcua, 19, RH
    16. Doug Salinas, 21, RH
    17. Jerry Gil, 27, RH
    18. Tyler Cline, 20, RH
    19. Daniel Wolford, 21, RH
    20. Ezequiel Infante, 21, LH
    21. Luca Panerati, 20, LH
    22. Josh Smith, 22, RH
    23. Alejandro Chacin, 17, RH
    24. Nick Christiani, 22, RH
    25. Kevin Arico, 21, RH
    26. Jeff Jeffords, 25, RH
    27. Drew Hayes, 22, RH
    28. Pat Doyle, 22, RH
    29. Ryan Smith, 20, RH
    30. Tzu-Kai Chiu, 22, LH
    31. Patrick Quinn, 20, RH
    32. Joel Ernst, 23, RH
    33. Jose Marizan, 22, LH
    34. Orlando Chiquin, 20, RH

    * Provided, of course, he stays with the organization.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    I just can't get ranking guys not pitching in the US over a lefty who can throw 100 MPH who is in AAA, even if his results aren't outstanding, or others who showed plenty of success in the US with solid stuff.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I just can't get ranking guys not pitching in the US over a lefty who can throw 100 MPH who is in AAA, even if his results aren't outstanding, or others who showed plenty of success in the US with solid stuff.
    So, in other words, nobody in the VSL or DSL is ever a top prospect?

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    So, in other words, nobody in the VSL or DSL is ever a top prospect?
    Do you know a single thing about their tools? If the answer is no, then absolutely not. Especially better prospects than guys we know about who are in the US and most importantly, on the Reds 40 man roster such as the case with Valiquette. The simple fact that he can throw 100 MPH as a lefty makes him a better prospect than any reliever in the Dominican or Venezuelan Leagues.

    I just can't say that a guy I know literally nothing about, is a better prospect than someone I know a lot about. In the rookie leagues and even more so, the international rookie leagues, guys without great, or even good stuff, can dominate with the ability to either throw the ball where they want it or mix pitches well. Until we know that a guy isn't a mid 80's fastball with excellent control, there is no reason that guy should be ranked ahead of a ton of guys pitching in the US for our teams.

    With that said, Ramos is a pitcher I was told to keep an eye on. So he probably doesn't fit that profile, but even if he doesn't, the fact that we know nothing about his stuff at all tells me we shouldn't be ranking him ahead of a lot of other guys at this point in time.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    I think I'd rank Vall higher just because he's a lefty pumping 96. And maybe Jeffords.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    This is a group where only the top 5 or 6 guys matter. In the majors, converted starters (converted in the high minors or majors) like Fisher, Ondrusek and Lecure end up getting those middle inning roles. Unless a guy is a back-end stud in the making who could fall back to the middle if he doesn't reach those heights, then he's probably not worth considering if he's below AA. Most teams have guys like Del Rosario who look good in the minors but really haven't got tons of value on the market, bring little return in deals and can't really push their way past the converted starters for a role in the majors. Following the minor leaguers more closely the last few years has really taught me that lesson. I was one who was excited about guys like Carlos Guevara, Calvin Medlock and a host of others who didn't do much.

    1A. Chapman (might just end up here filling Rhodes slot in 2011 and closing when Cordero's deal expires. I'd like to see him get back to the rotation, but this is a clear path that keeps him in the big leagues for good and the Reds just may not be able to resist).

    1. Joseph (Clear class of the group outside of Chapman)
    2. Valiquette (Prime trade bait as a high octane lefty IMO)
    3. Horst (Need a repeat at the higher levels)
    4. Krebs (Same as Horst)
    5. Thurman (Probably goes to number 2 on this list if he comes back healthy)
    6. Freeman (I'd like to know more about him but I suspect he falls in the Del Rosario, Guevara, Medlock class of pitchers)
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Do you know a single thing about their tools? If the answer is no, then absolutely not. Especially better prospects than guys we know about who are in the US and most importantly, on the Reds 40 man roster such as the case with Valiquette. The simple fact that he can throw 100 MPH as a lefty makes him a better prospect than any reliever in the Dominican or Venezuelan Leagues.

    I just can't say that a guy I know literally nothing about, is a better prospect than someone I know a lot about. In the rookie leagues and even more so, the international rookie leagues, guys without great, or even good stuff, can dominate with the ability to either throw the ball where they want it or mix pitches well. Until we know that a guy isn't a mid 80's fastball with excellent control, there is no reason that guy should be ranked ahead of a ton of guys pitching in the US for our teams.

    With that said, Ramos is a pitcher I was told to keep an eye on. So he probably doesn't fit that profile, but even if he doesn't, the fact that we know nothing about his stuff at all tells me we shouldn't be ranking him ahead of a lot of other guys at this point in time.
    Doug, we've had this conversation before. I repeat, no, I don't know what tools the foreign-leaguers (in this case, we seem to be talking about Cantalizo and Ramos, and later Chacin and a couple others) have, and I don't purport to be an authority on the subject. For that matter, I don't know much about the tools for Ware, Freeman, Thurman, Howell, Muhammad and Martinez, either. I go by their numbers, their ages, their levels, the way they're used, and whatever else I happen to pick up. If that method renders my rankings meaningless, fine--pay no attention. It's just a lark, after all. An exercise.

    I agree that a young, foreign player has very far to go to legitimize himself as a prospect. And I do tend to err on the side of players who have accomplished something at the higher levels. For instance, in the starting-pitcher rankings, I rated Jukich well ahead of Luis Gonzalez and Abel De Los Santos, among others, even though I'm much more optimistic about Gonzalez and De Los Santos as prospects. But Jukich has had success at Triple-A. So I have to ask myself, are Gonzalez and De Los Santos likely to accomplish what Jukich already has at Triple-A? And I can't say with confidence that they are; it's still too far away. So I defer to Jukich. But that's not the case with Valiquette. He has not had solid success at Triple-A. He had success last year at Double-A, but that's virtually the only sustained success he's produced in six seasons of minor-league pitching. On the other hand, he's experienced plenty of difficulty. He pitched erratically at both Billings and Dayton, for a period of four years. His career WHIP is over 1.55. And even with all that, I rated him between two younger pitchers I like very much--Nathan Driessen and Porfirio Martinez.

    You say that Ramos probably doesn't fit the profile because somebody told you to keep an eye on him. To you, that makes him the exception. To me, it confirms what I saw. And I also saw that when the DSL playoffs came around, the Reds turned from him to Cantalizo as their closer. Obviously, all of that is circumstantial evidence. But here's the thing for me: Those two have had only success. They haven't had a season that, in my view, might cast doubts upon them as good prospects. Valiquette has had four of those. Yes, he's still young, and yes, he's lefthanded, and yes, he throws hard. So I haven't given up on him. But he's given me ample reason to rein-in my enthusiasm for him when it comes to the rankings. Ramos and Cantilizo haven't.

    By your measure, was Ronald Torreyes not a good prospect when he was OPSing over 1.000 in Venezuela? Did he suddenly become a good prospect on the flight over to Arizona?

    Bottom line: If the organizations didn't think there were good prospects in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, why would they go to all the bother and expense of putting teams there?
    Last edited by mace; 09-15-2010 at 10:15 AM.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Determining how good a prospect is comes down to balancing a player's numbers with his supposed tools. There are other factors of course, but that's basically what it boils down to. When it comes to someone like Alejandro Chacin, pretty much all we know about him is his numbers. Therefore, you must make a choice: you can admit that you know almost nothing about his tools and omit him from a prospect list completely, or you can make educated guesses based on the numbers you have.

    Alejandro Chacin definitely has faults. In a league where players swing the bat very aggressively, Chacin managed to walk 3.6 batters per nine innings pitched. When you combine that with six hit-batsmen plus six wild pitches, that tells you he has a long way to go in terms of refining his control (then again, what 17-year-old doesn't?). However, the fact that he had a microscopic WHIP and ERA despite that clear fault tells you something: he must have some skill. Is he throwing with high velocity? Good movement? Deceptive delivery? We may never know, but I think we can safely say that he is doing something that sets him apart from his competition.

    The tough thing is to say exactly how much of a prospect that makes him. In my eyes, Valiquette isn't much more than a quad-A LOOGY prospect, which doesn't hold much value. Chacin, on the other hand, is a 17-year-old with a good-sized frame and dominated a league where he's one of its youngest players. I'm not saying Chacin is a better prospect than Valiquette, but to completely write him off and/or claim he couldn't possibly be a better prospect than Valiquette--who has had a WHIP of under 1.50 only twice in his six-year career--makes absolutely no sense to me.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    Determining how good a prospect is comes down to balancing a player's numbers with his supposed tools. There are other factors of course, but that's basically what it boils down to. When it comes to someone like Alejandro Chacin, pretty much all we know about him is his numbers. Therefore, you must make a choice: you can admit that you know almost nothing about his tools and omit him from a prospect list completely, or you can make educated guesses based on the numbers you have.

    Alejandro Chacin definitely has faults. In a league where players swing the bat very aggressively, Chacin managed to walk 3.6 batters per nine innings pitched. When you combine that with six hit-batsmen plus six wild pitches, that tells you he has a long way to go in terms of refining his control (then again, what 17-year-old doesn't?). However, the fact that he had a microscopic WHIP and ERA despite that clear fault tells you something: he must have some skill. Is he throwing with high velocity? Good movement? Deceptive delivery? We may never know, but I think we can safely say that he is doing something that sets him apart from his competition.

    The tough thing is to say exactly how much of a prospect that makes him. In my eyes, Valiquette isn't much more than a quad-A LOOGY prospect, which doesn't hold much value. Chacin, on the other hand, is a 17-year-old with a good-sized frame and dominated a league where he's one of its youngest players. I'm not saying Chacin is a better prospect than Valiquette, but to completely write him off and/or claim he couldn't possibly be a better prospect than Valiquette--who has had a WHIP of under 1.50 only twice in his six-year career--makes absolutely no sense to me.
    Chacin was the other guy I was told to watch for, FTR. It isn't completely writing him off by saying he isn't a better prospect than Valiquette, but to say that he is a better prospect than Valiquette is a bit of a stretch when all that you have on him are numbers. Numbers alone aren't going to tell you if he is going to be a better major leaguer than Valiquette is, and that is what we are trying to determine.

    Here is what we know about each guy: Valiquette can throw 100 MPH. Chacin.... well someone in the Reds organization told me to keep an eye on him and before I posted this, I am willing to wager it is more than anyone else knew about him. Valiquette most certainly has his issues that he needs to work on (like finding a second pitch that can be average), but he is also a guy who held his own in AAA who has a plus plus tool to his name. There just isn't any logical reason to rank someone who isn't even playing in the United States as a pro (not counting Japanese Leagues of course as that is an entirely different animal) ahead of him that we literally know nothing about in terms of his stuff or mechanics. It is just a giant stretch to make that statement when the information we have on him is absolutely nothing.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    By your measure, was Ronald Torreyes not a good prospect when he was OPSing over 1.000 in Venezuela? Did he suddenly become a good prospect on the flight over to Arizona?
    It doesn't mean he wasn't a good prospect, it meant it was a giant gamble to suggest how good of a prospect he was because we simply didn't know a thing about him. When he got to Arizona and we began to get reports on him and understand what he was actually able to do, then we were better able to understand what type of prospect he was. Yes, his talent level did not change, but our understanding of his ability 100% did change because we went from no information whatsoever on him to quite a bit more than that. Heck, some of us even got to watch him play. That is a giant difference.

    Bottom line: If the organizations didn't think there were good prospects in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, why would they go to all the bother and expense of putting teams there?
    They do think they have a chance to be a pro player, but there is a reason 90% of the guys never make it to the United States that sign down there. They are signed because of the tools that they have and what they may be one day. Sometimes those tools don't turn into skills.

    At the end of this all, all I am saying is that I feel you are taking a gigantic shot in the dark based on very little information when ranking guys you know next to nothing about in terms of their stuff.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Chacin was the other guy I was told to watch for, FTR. It isn't completely writing him off by saying he isn't a better prospect than Valiquette, but to say that he is a better prospect than Valiquette is a bit of a stretch when all that you have on him are numbers. Numbers alone aren't going to tell you if he is going to be a better major leaguer than Valiquette is, and that is what we are trying to determine.

    Here is what we know about each guy: Valiquette can throw 100 MPH. Chacin.... well someone in the Reds organization told me to keep an eye on him and before I posted this, I am willing to wager it is more than anyone else knew about him. Valiquette most certainly has his issues that he needs to work on (like finding a second pitch that can be average), but he is also a guy who held his own in AAA who has a plus plus tool to his name. There just isn't any logical reason to rank someone who isn't even playing in the United States as a pro (not counting Japanese Leagues of course as that is an entirely different animal) ahead of him that we literally know nothing about in terms of his stuff or mechanics. It is just a giant stretch to make that statement when the information we have on him is absolutely nothing.
    What if a talent evaluator is convinced that Valiquette will never have any success at the Major League level? And what if that same evaluator says Chacin has a decent chance of being better than that? That in itself says Chacin is theoretically the better prospect. As I said before, I'm not making the argument that Chacin is the better prospect, but I don't think it's a stretch at all to believe so.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    What if a talent evaluator is convinced that Valiquette will never have any success at the Major League level? And what if that same evaluator says Chacin has a decent chance of being better than that? That in itself says Chacin is theoretically the better prospect. As I said before, I'm not making the argument that Chacin is the better prospect, but I don't think it's a stretch at all to believe so.
    In that scenario, the talent evaluator has more information than numbers and in that case, its perfectly reasonable to say it. But when you don't have that info, it just doesn't make sense to me.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    It doesn't mean he wasn't a good prospect, it meant it was a giant gamble to suggest how good of a prospect he was because we simply didn't know a thing about him. When he got to Arizona and we began to get reports on him and understand what he was actually able to do, then we were better able to understand what type of prospect he was. Yes, his talent level did not change, but our understanding of his ability 100% did change because we went from no information whatsoever on him to quite a bit more than that. Heck, some of us even got to watch him play. That is a giant difference.

    At the end of this all, all I am saying is that I feel you are taking a gigantic shot in the dark based on very little information when ranking guys you know next to nothing about in terms of their stuff.
    Sure, it's a gamble. Not only because of the dearth of information, but also because these guys are so dang young. Things happen. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the evidence. Granted, we should certainly be wary of it. On the other hand, the greater abundance of information on the older guys may well work to their disadvantage. In Valiquette's case, for instance, they tell us--over a six-year period--that he can't seem to keep runners off base. Doug, you're a guy who places a premium on on-base percentage. Shouldn't there also be a premium, then, on a pitcher's on-base-against? Do we ignore that little problem because, after all, he's made it to AAA, and we have confirmed readings of the radar gun? As much as the fine rookie seasons of Ramos, Cantalizo and Chacin elevate their rankings, this is a case of Valiquette's continued struggles lowering his. At least, in my view.

    You refer to the rating of foreign-league players as shots in the dark. I'd prefer to call them longshots. The percentages seem far, far too high for shots in the dark. To wit, two of the three foreign-league players that I placed in the top 30 on this list (Ramos and Chacin) happen to also have recently been touted to you by your sources. Earlier in the season, I was talking-up Jonathan Correa's remarkable K:BB rate and sparkling ERA when he was with the AZL Reds--a carryover from his days with the DSL Reds. Shortly thereafter, a couple scouting reports spoke glowingly of him, and suddenly he was legitimate. At the same time, several of us were touting the crazy hitting of Ronald Torreyes in Venezuela, and before long that was validated by his stint in Arizona.

    You study all of this more thoroughly and formally than the rest of us. You have sources that we don't. All of that is to the great benefit of this board (and your excellent website). The rest of us have to do what we can without the input of the scouts and professionals. But the fact is, we're not doing all that badly. To a significant extent, the guys we identify seem to be the same guys that the scouts and professionals identify three months later.

    Plus, it makes it a lot more fun if you can spot the prospects before they reach the mainstream.

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Doug, what do you hear about Muhammad and Howell?

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    Re: Ranking by Position Group: Relief Pitchers

    Quote Originally Posted by mace View Post
    Doug, what do you hear about Muhammad and Howell?
    Muhammad has surprised the Reds quite a bit. Better stuff than you would have expected from a 49th round pick. Howell, I don't have much on at all.


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