Archive for June 5th, 2008

The Z-Meter 6/5/2008: Homer’s Odyssey

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.


Evan Longoria, 3B, Durham (AAA) to Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
Luke Hochevar, RHP, Omaha (AAA) to Kansas City Royals (MLB)

Max Scherzer, RHP, Tucson (AAA) to Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Jacksonville (AA) to Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
Jay Bruce, OF, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Homer Bailey, RHP, Louisville (AAA) to Cincinnati Reds (MLB)
Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Springs (AAA) to Colorado Rockies (MLB)

Justin Masterson, RHP, Portland (AA) to Pawtucket (AAA)

Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Clearwater (A) to Reading (AA)

Travis Snider, OF, Dunedin (A-Advanced) to New Hampshire (AA)

Josh Vitters, 3B, Boise (Short A) to Peoria (A)

As OMDQ pointed out yesterday, Homer Bailey was just brought up to the big leagues for the second time in his career, though to less fanfare than his outfielder buddy Jay Bruce. With him gone, I’ll be looking for someone new to add, and I have a guy I like on two grounds – he plays for a Royals affiliate (my hometown club) and he has an awesome Hawaiian name. Kila Kaaihue, this is everyone. Everyone, this is Kila.

Colorado’s Joe Koshansky hit for the cycle a couple of days ago, so he’s hot again. June been berry, berry good to Cameron Maybin, as he has hit .616 since turning the page on his calendar. Jhoulys Chacin only had one K in his last start, but still notched his 9th win against only one loss.

Let’s see who else is hot this week:

The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, and ready for the call that will change their lives.

Chase Headley, LF – Portland Beavers (San Diego): .301 – 41R – 10HR – 30RBI – 0SB – 22BB – .522 SLG – .891 OPS

Andrew McCutchen, CF (Reserve List) – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .282 – 36R – 7HR – 24RBI – 17SB – .441 SLG – .814 OPS

Carlos Gonzalez, RF – Sacramento River Cats (Athletics): .293 – 23R – 4HR – 25RBI – 14BB – 1SB – .439 SLG – .790 OPS

Joe Koshansky, 1B – Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Rockies): .307 – 39R – 13HR – 22BB – 55RBI – 0SB – .615 SLG – .996 OPS

Colby Rasmus, LF – Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals): .225 – 34R – 8HR – 24RBI – 7SB – .367 SLG – .690 OPS

Nelson Cruz, RF – Oklahoma Redhawks (Rangers): .335 – 48R – 18HR – 45RBI – 14SB – .708 SLG – 1.157 OPS

Justin Masterson, RHP – Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox): 1GS – 1W – 0L – 1.50 ERA – 1BB – 4K

These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but are more likely to get promoted to the top of this meter first.

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals): .292 – 21R – 11HR – 37RBI – 1SB – .555 SLG – .985 OPS

Fernando Martinez, CF (injured) – Binghamton Mets (Mets): .280 – 19R – 3HR – 16RBI – 3SB – .408 SLG – .721 OPS

Jacob McGee, LHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 11GS – 5W – 3L – 3.77 ERA – 24BB – 58K

Cameron Maybin, CF – Carolina Mudcats (Marlins): .267 – 41R – 10HR – 24RBI – 13SB – .481 SLG – .850 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Montgomery Biscuits (Rays): 12GS – 6W – 3L – 3.15 ERA – 27BB – 52K

Elvis Andrus, SS – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .268 – 31R – 0HR – 19RBI – 12BB – 19SB – .316 SLG – .638 OPS

Jeff Samardzija, P – Tennessee Smokies (Cubs): 12GS – 3W – 5L – 5.34 ERA – 33BB – 37K

Luke Montz, C – Harrisburg Senators (Nationals): .353 – 25R – 11HR – 44RBI – 18BB – 0SB – .662 SLG – 1.085 OPS

Travis Snider, RF – New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays): .235 – 24R – 8HR – 31RBI – 0SB – .425 SLG – .765 OPS

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 6GS – 2W – 2L – 4.09 ERA – 19BB – 26K

Matt LaPorta, CF – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .293 – 43R – 15HR – 50RBI – 1SB – .600 SLG – 1.002 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Huntsville Stars (Brewers): .384 – 56R – 13HR – 51RBI – 4SB – .671 SLG – 1.120 OPS

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Clinton LumberKings (Rangers): .328 – 42R – 16HR – 49RBI – 30BB – 1SB – .672 SLG – 1.114 OPS

Lars Anderson, 1B (injured) – Lancaster JetHawks (Red Sox): .280 – 30R – 7HR – 26RBI – 0SB – .488 SLG – .872 OPS

Rick Porcello, RHP – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Detroit): 12GS – 3W – 6L – 2.87 ERA – 17BB – 36K

Matt Wieters, C – Frederick Keys (Orioles): .324 – 37R – 12HR – 33RBI – 29BB – 1SB – .566 SLG -.987 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Burlington Bees (Royals): .241 – 25R – 8HR – 27RBI – 4SB – .410 SLG – .706 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Asheville Tourists (Rockies): 12 GS – 9W – 1L – 1.84 ERA – 23BB – 74K

Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and my own irrational sense of whimsy.

The Price Is Right

We’ve tried hard to ignore the facts here at Bus Leagues, but it can’t be overlooked anymore: Jay Bruce, our first blog-crush, is gone for good, never to return.  And while we couldn’t be happier to observe his early success in The Show from afar, his career growth has left an obvious void in our lives. 

Who will we discuss in hushed tones over Gmail Chat?  Whose name will grow exponentially in the tag cloud as we pen seven posts a week about his most recent exploits?  Which top prospect will become our new blog-crush?

I’ve thought about it for a couple days now, and while I can’t speak for my man Extra P, I think I’ve found the new object of my blogging affection: Rays lefthander David Price.

Price missed the first several weeks of the season while recovering from a muscle strain in his left elbow, but has dominated since, striking out 19 and walking only two in 18 innings for Vero Beach (High A – Florida State League).  In his second start, he squared off against Pedro Martinez, in town for a rehab assignment before heading back to the Mets.  And after the game, Petey – a guy who never got enough credit for the mental side of his pitching – had the highest praise for the 23-year-old Price:

“That kid did a hell of a job of throwing first-pitch strikes and pounding the strike zone and jamming hitters…I was watching that. He did it like a big leaguer. He had such a command. Right there, I’m challenging you. I’m going to do what I gotta do without any fear. That’s the kind of talent you love to see.”

Oddly enough, one of the knocks on Price has been that he doesn’t command his pitches well in the strike zone.  Obviously, Martinez saw something different, which either means he doesn’t have a future as a scout or he looks from things from a perspective no one else can see.

Though Price should receive a promotion at some point – as a college-tested pitcher, he was probably too good for High A ball without the elbow injury – I never expected him to make an appearance in Tampa Bay in 2008…until this item at the top of an mailbag on Tuesday:

Now that [Rays prospect] David Price has finally pitched for the first time in almost a year, how long do you think it will take him to reach the Majors? Do you think the Rays will let him develop? Does he even need that much developing?
— Curtis S., Lake Placid, Fla.

Based on what I saw during Spring Training — including his stuff and composure — and how he’s pitched thus far, I think he has a good chance to be with the team in the second half of the season. He came to the Rays well-polished, so I think the Rays are receptive to the idea that he doesn’t need a lot of seasoning before putting on a Major League uniform.

I’m not a trained professional sportswriter, but my gut tells me that the Rays won’t rush Price along if they don’t feel it is necessary.  Barring injury, the current rotation is solid, featuring James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, and Matt Garza (none of whom is older than 26).  Of course, they could always throw him in the bullpen, a la Jonathan Papelbon or Joba Chamberlain, especially if the Rays stick around in the race and make a run at the East divsion title.  Still seems a bit early to make predictions like that, though, considering he has three career professional games under his belt.

It is so totally NOT early, however, to begin following the big guy’s progress through the minor leagues.  I think 18 consecutive scoreless innings at the start of a career is reason enough.