Bulls for the ‘Pen: Oakland Athletics

Athletics' LHP Prospect Jeff Urlaub (Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com)

Athletics’ LHP Prospect Jeff Urlaub
(Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!) that will henceforth be published twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday, We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Oakland Athletics and Jeff Urlaub.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays RHP Prospect John Stilson (Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com)

Toronto Blue Jays RHP Prospect John Stilson
(Photo Courtesy: MiLB.com)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!) that will henceforth be published twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday, We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Toronto Blue Jays and John Stilson.

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The Crest of the Nats’ Wave: RHP Lucas Giolito

Nationals top prospect RHP Lucas Giolito (Photo Courtesy: Alex Brandon/AP)

Nationals top prospect RHP Lucas Giolito
(Photo Courtesy: Alex Brandon/AP)

In 2009 the Washington Nationals drafted Stephen Strasburg first overall in the first-year player draft, and with the tenth overall pick they took Drew Storen as compensation for failing to sign 2008 first-rounder Aaron Crow. The next year, they surprised no-one by taking Bryce Harper first overall. The following year Anthony Rendon, considered some to be the top offensive talent in the draft, fell to the Nats with the sixth overall pick. With a compensation pick received from the White Sox by way of voodoo magic, they also took RHP Alex Meyer with the 23rd overall pick and then used their own supplemental pick to take Brian Goodwin with the 34th pick. With the signing of Raphael Soriano to be their closer in 2013 costing them their first-round pick, the Nationals ended up having one last first-rounder in 2012 that should bear it’s fruit on the tail end of the Nationals quest to becoming great; They took RHP Lucas Giolito.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Arizona Diamondbacks

Newcomer to the D'Backs RHP Matt Stites will be pressing a crowded 2014 bullpen for a spot. (Photo: Stacie Scott/azcentral sports)

Newcomer to the D’Backs RHP Matt Stites will be pressing a crowded 2014 bullpen for a spot.
(Photo: Stacie Scott/azcentral sports)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!), We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Kansas City Royals

Royals LHP Donnie Joseph made it count in 5.2 MLB innings in 2013. Can he crack the tightly woven Royals 'pen in 2014? (Photo: Competeeveryday.com)

Royals LHP Donnie Joseph made it count in 5.2 MLB innings in 2013; Can he crack the tightly woven Royals ‘pen in 2014?
(Photo: Competeeveryday.com)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!), We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Kansas City Royals.

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LHP Tim Cooney: Yet Another Cardinals Success Story

Cardinals LHP Prospect Tim Cooney led the hitter-friendly Texas League in FIP in 2013. Will he rise up the Cards' top prospect lists? (Photo: MiLB.com)

Cardinals LHP Prospect Tim Cooney led the hitter-friendly Texas League in FIP in 2013. Will he rise up the Cards’ top prospect lists?
(Photo: MiLB.com)

At this point it may feel like you’ve had enough. For fans of organizations that are not in St. Louis, it can be tough to look yourself in the mirror; knowing you’re a fan of an inferior product, that somewhere out there is a team that’s run the right way. The prospect pipeline bubbles and froths with new talent, forcing you to make tough decisions about letting your star players sign elsewhere rather than scrambling to retain them into their declines. St Louis and it’s Cardinals seem idyllic, their franchise bolstered by the fruits of it’s labors. Strong development begets strong play, and strong play begets winning records. If it seems like the guys who fail to make the Cards’ top prospect lists would be good enough to take top spots in weaker systems, that’s because it’s true. One such case in that regard is Tim Cooney, not even mentioned amongst St Louis’ top prospects to start the year had little to do with his substantial talent and more to do with the fact that too many guys had been afforded more time to put on a show for the brass and the prospect-hawks. After dominating the hitter-friendly Texas league this year with a 2.57 FIP over 118 IP (20 starts), and a slew of promotions for the Cardinals’ top prospects in 2013, I would expect that Cooney’s is a name we’ll be hearing a lot more coverage on going into the spring.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Los Angeles Dodgers

We look at a pair of young arms impressing their way into Brandon League's job. (Photo: Getty Images)

We look at a pair of young arms impressing their way into Brandon League’s job.
(Photo: Getty Images)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!), We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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No Time to be a Prospect: 2B Alexander Guerrero

Cuban Defector 2B Alexander Guerrero looks to make another big jump, from the Cuban Serie Nacionale to the MLB in 2014. (Photo taken from Peter Gammons Daily, source unknown)

Cuban Defector 2B Alexander Guerrero looks to make yet another big jump in 2014; from the Cuban Serie Nacionale to the MLB.
(Photo: Peter Gammons Daily, source unknown)

The L.A. Dodgers figured they’d try their luck again. After signing sensation Yasiel Puig to a then-record deal for a Cuban defector and having it work out fairly well for them, the Dodgers have gone back to their Cuban well in hopes they’ve unearthed another gem. They snapped up Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero late in the season on a 4 year 28 million dollar deal, so while they clearly didn’t have the same desire to keep Guerrero in the fold as long as they did Puig, the blue team’s scouts must see something special in the 26 year old, as he’ll be making a million more per year than Puig will, based on AAV. The Dodger’s roster moves since the signing further confirm a rather high amount of faith in the unproven shortstop and his expected move to second-base in the majors, as they declined 2B Mark Ellis‘ 5.75 million dollar option in favor of a one million dollar buyout, leaving them with effectively only Guerrero to man the keystone at the highest level in 2014. Scouts are split on whether his bat will translate and the fact that he’s not going to be given the chance to stick at short on the transition could be viewed as a negative critique of his defense if Hanley Ramirez‘ stubborn refusal to move off short were not a complicating factor. Guerrero profiles as a power hitter with good on-base skills, and as such profiles a bit like a 2B that most any team would be glad to add in Chase Utley. I will also look at how he stacks up against another Cuban defector with some similar peripherals in Alexei Ramirez.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Atlanta Braves

LHP Alex Wood was a beacon of light and a huge reason for the Braves' bullpen success in 2013. Who is behind him on the depth chart for '14? (Photo: Getty Images)

LHP Alex Wood was a beacon of light and a huge reason for the Braves’ bullpen success in 2013. Who is behind him on the depth chart for ’14?
(Photo: Getty Images)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!), We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Atlanta Braves.

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Bulls for the ‘Pen: Baltimore Orioles

LHP Mike Belfiore aims to crack the O's 2014 roster. (Photo: Getty Images)

LHP Mike Belfiore aims to crack the O’s 2014 roster after posting good numbers in AAA.
(Photo: Getty Images)

In the latest in a thirty-part series (yeesh!), We will be looking around baseball at potential bullpen vacancies and the internal candidates that each organization has in the upper levels of their systems to fill those vacancies. We’re hoping to expose some fresh faces that should see plenty of action in 2014 barring injuries or roster screwery and in doing so provide a bit of a relief summary for each organization’s upper minors. Without further ado, we’ll get moving onto the Baltimore Orioles.

Read the rest of this entry

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