Friday Links (29 Jan 10)

Don’t waste your links or links will waste you…

  • The nickname game: all nicknames all the time (Hardball Times). I don’t recall ever hearing Mike Cameron referred to as “The Black Cat” in his two years with the Padres. I still have a soft spot for two other ex-Padres, Milton “Jenga” Bradley and Kevin “Mashin’ Macedonian” Kouzmanoff.
  • Headley at hot corner a heated decision (U-T). Tim Sullivan talks about the Padres’ decision to return Chase Headley to his natural position. Quoth former Padres GM Kevin Towers: “I’d keep Kouz and trade Headley. But DePo (Paul DePodesta) has always been a huge Headley fan.” First off, why is anyone soliciting Kevin Towers’ opinion at this point? Second, Sullivan goes on to mention that “…the Padres prefer to think Headley’s third-base sample is too small to extrapolate.” A less biased and more accurate version would remove the first five words from that passage (Headley has played 40 big-league games at third base). Then again, maybe less bias and more accuracy isn’t everyone’s bag.
  • Prospects abound in Padres pipeline (U-T). Bill Center gives his top 15 Padres prospects. I’m not sure about Simon Castro in the top spot (I’d probably go with Jaff Decker or Donavan Tate), and he’s got Cory Luebke way too high (#5), but this isn’t a bad list. I’ve made no secret of being a huge fan of Edinson Rincon, who shows up at #12. Oh, and Jonathan Galvez should be on here, too — probably around where Rymer Liriano is (#10).
  • RJ’s Fro Exclusive Interview with Aaron Cunningham (RJ’s Fro). The story about selling a car to Ice-T is classic. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
  • Mark Loretta announces retirement after 15-year playing career (Padres.com). The best second baseman currently in the organization “will join the Padres front office as Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.” [h/t Gaslamp Ball]
  • Wonder Hamster, professional hitter (Sacrifice Bunt). I love Matt Stairs. He should prove a worthy successor to Tony Clark and Cliff Floyd in the “What the heck is he doing here?” department.
  • Introducing the 5 Tool Analyzer (Hardball Times). Kevin Dame’s latest graphical tool “maps a player’s skill (relative to his peers) across 5 offensive and defensive measures.” Pretty slick.
  • 2010 Top 50 Prospects (MLB.com) The Padres’ Jaff Decker checks in at #50. [h/t Gaslamp Ball]

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4 Responses »

  1. Regarding the ranking of Padres prospects, one guy I’ve seen whose bat dazzled me is never on anybody’s list: Dan Robertson. He’s got a very quick bat and looks like he’ll hit for average, and I’ve never seen Baseball Cube rate a guy at 93 for contact. He looks like an ideal #2 hitter, especially with the speed to prevent a DP on a ground ball.

    I’m far less impressed with his outfield work, though. He doesn’t have the power for the corners, doesn’t have the arm for center and his glove looks suspect everywhere. Could that be the reason scouts/experts don’t mention him, despite his bat, or is it that he’s too low in the minors to be noticed yet?

    I’ve heard that the position a player plays has a lot to do with his rating, and with his Everth Cabrera size, he looks like he’d be better off at second base. If he were an average fielder at second, would that make him look more like a prospect? That bat speed AND contact rate are a hot combo, and I fear the Padres will give up on his fielding and give away his bat in a trade.

  2. Larry, thanks for commenting. I think you’re right that Robertson’s size works against him. There aren’t a lot of 5’8″ corner outfielders in the big leagues. Former Padres farmhand Warren Newson, who had a decent if brief career in the early-’90s is the rare exception that comes to mind (actually, come to think of it, Matt Stairs is 5’9″).

    The other issue with Robertson is his age. He put up good, but not great, numbers in the Midwest League as a 23-year-old. Top prospects typically play two or three levels higher than Low-A ball at that age.

    Still, Robertson has shown solid on-base skills. If he maintains that as he moves up the ladder, he could have a career, although it almost certainly would be as a reserve.

  3. GY: Yeah, but Stairs is (or was, pre-Nutrisystem) 5’9″ in all 3 dimensions.

    Thanks to Larry for the first-hand scouting report. That’s the first I’ve heard about Robertson’s defense being so questionable in center. That would push him to a reserve role, probably all the way to 5th outfielder, because teams usually want their primary reserve OF to play a decent CF.

    He’s a hard player for the sabremetrically inclined to judge. Cedric Hunter-type contact skills, but better walkability, colored by his age, as GY says. Without more power a trade probably wouldn’t bite us, but he’s almost surely not the kind of player other teams are asking about, anyway. If he keeps his slash stats up through AA, then he might attract some notice from trade partners. Right now you don’t have to worry about losing him because he’s not that interesting at this point in time.

  4. Keith Law, in his “Top 100 prospects for 2010″ at espn.com (insider sub required) has Jaff Decker as his #27 prospect and Simon Castro at #46.
    Here’s the link:

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=4856310