Quick Hits: Choice, Royals, Feliz, Posey, Lawrie

If you're a fan of top prospects and rookies, then this Quick Hits post is for you. Here are today's links…

  • Oakland's 2010 first rounder, Michael Choice, is wowing scouts in Arizona, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Peter Gammons of MLB Network hears from a trusted scout that Choice has the bat speed, strength and athleticism to become a "monster" (Twitter link). Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old third among Oakland's prospects heading into the season.
  • One GM says the Royals are so deep in talent that they can still be in it in 2013 if a couple of their top prospects miss, according to Gammons (on Twitter).
  • Neftali Feliz has said he's most comfortable closing games, but Rangers GM Jon Daniels says he'll continue stretching the 2010 AL Rookie of the Year out to see if he can make it as a starter, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram (on Twitter).
  • The Giants and last year's NL Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey, agreed to a one-year deal, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco ChronicleHe tweets that the deal is worth $575K.  That's about $150K more than the Giants had to give him.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos tells Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi that Brett Lawrie has looked “very good.” The Blue Jays, who acquired Lawrie for Shaun Marcum over the winter, like the infielder’s work ethic, tools and drive.


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73 Comments on "Quick Hits: Choice, Royals, Feliz, Posey, Lawrie"


wild05fan
4 years 4 months ago

If Feliz wants to close, then why mess with him? If he feels most comfortable in that situation, then that’s where they should keep him at.

dc21892
4 years 4 months ago

So Feliz is saying he’d rather close, but they’re having him start? Hope they get what they want out of him or it’s gonna be a messy situation.

4 years 4 months ago

Feliz prefers closing, makes sense considering that’s what he’s had success with. When Papelbon came up he insisted he wanted to start then changed his mind once he tried closing. If Feliz gets used to it, then the more innings he pitches for Texas the better. Let’s hold off on passing judgment on this for a month or two.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Because they face the same situation the Yankees do. They missed out on Cliff Lee and are a but suspect after the 3rd spot in the rotation.

4 years 4 months ago

i, personally, love the idea of stretching feliz out as a starter. from what ive heard he has a high ceiling at either spot. best case scenario he ends up being a shut down ace, worst case scenario he goes back to being a shutdown closer. no harm either way, he is young and why not test the waters?

55saveslives
4 years 4 months ago

Posey’s deal is 575K

vonhayesdays
4 years 4 months ago

dude is way overpaid

Wete
4 years 4 months ago

Saw Choice during Spring Training and was really impressed. He was getting solid, solid contact and has an *incredible* arm, the thing is a cannon. Anyone know much else about him?

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 4 months ago

I have said this in the past, but I’ll say it again, Texas better have a clear plan for Feliz and don’t do the whole start, relief, start, relief thing they did with Joba (the yankees that is).

4 years 4 months ago

I remember watching the draft and trying to will Oakland to pass on Choice so that he would drop down to the Jays. The Jays took Deck McGuire next, which at the time felt like a real step down. However, people seem to be viewing Deck higher and higher…so that helps. Still, wouldn’t mind having on the farm an athletic OF with the potential to be a monster.

jpkinney7
4 years 4 months ago

Peter Gammons called Bobby Crosby a “Monster” or something similar about 10 years ago. We all know how that turned out. I am an A’s Fan. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Giorgi Almonte
4 years 4 months ago

haha me too, cant wait too see feliz too, you know starting or closing, 2 great youngs!

Bust A Posey
4 years 4 months ago

Posey is one of the best pure hitters I have seen. An amazing player to watch. Giants need to sign him to a long term deal soon

Jays All The Way
4 years 4 months ago

I’m excited to see what lawrie can do din a full season and I believe that they should still try neftali at starter because you never know it will be pretty hard , but he may end up being better at starting as well the rangers are short on starters not so much on relievers

Christian Ingram
4 years 4 months ago

Because he’s worth more to Texas (or anyone) as a starter. Closer is basically an invented role. Starting pitching cannot be overrated.

inleylandwetrust
4 years 4 months ago

Because even an average starter is more valuable than an above average reliever.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 4 months ago

I think after giving up Frank Francisco the Rangers have less of a back up plan for closer if they decide to start Feliz. I just think if they really have plans on turning Feliz into a starter then it’s more likely they’ll postpone that plan until 2012.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, because the closer by committee has worked for any World Series winner… wait.

Baseball is still a game without a clock so you still need a guy you can count on in the 9th to get 3 outs while maintaining the lead.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

what’s your sample of closer by committee attempts look like?
the 6th 7th and sometimes 8th are run by committee, there’s no real reason that it shouldn’t work in the 9th. except that people severely overreact to blown saves in the 9th and draw conclusions too quickly

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I can’t undertand why they traded Francisco if they had thoughts of moving Feliz back to the rotation?

In theory, breaking a young pitcher in as a bullpen arm is a great idea but I am starting to question if it’s worth it? It almost always is bound to cause controversy if they thrive in that role but the team still has hopes for them as a starter.

Joba and Hughes were great examples of that. Joba should’ve been kept as a starter and ppl started the “keep Hughes in the bullpen in 2010″ campaign as well.

Almost all great closers were not heralded starters prior to becoming closers. In most cases they were just good pitching prospects that lacked a plus 2nd pitch to survive as starters. In fact, a lot just had a great fastball and a decent 2nd pitch.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

what are you basing that opinion on?

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

An above average starter helps his team win for 7 to 8 innings. A great closer helps them for 1. The difference is even greater over the course of a full season.

JayTeam
4 years 4 months ago

According to Fangraphs – Feliz was worth 1.7 WAR last year as the closer. 100 starting pitchers last year were worth 1.8 WAR or better.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Why because they throw more innings? If that’s your answer, then that makes Phil Niekro and Nolan Ryan amongst the top 5 greatest pitchers ever. Truthfully I don’t think I’d even put Nolan in the top 10, or Niekro maybe even in the top 15-20

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 4 months ago

Yeah, they are. And I can’t quote you examples, so I’m not going to bother selling my opinion as anything more than that, an opinion. I just remember watching for years while the Red Sox tried guessing who’d be the best man for the 9th while the yanks had an iceman closing out games.

Ultimately I figure it this way, if you were to rank your pitching staff then at least your second or third best pitcher should be your closer. An ace in the pen.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

more valuable than an average starter, you’re saying? obviously there are other variables, but let’s define “average starter” just so i’m clear on your view

Christian Ingram
4 years 4 months ago

LOL @ including Wilson as a “shut-down reliever”. Go look at his numbers prior to 2010. He’s been mediocre at best prior to last season.

Quality starters may exist more than quality closers, but starting pitchers pitch 3-4x more than closers which already makes them more valuable. Then factor in that a team needs FIVE of them as opposed to one closer and the choice of what to do with a talented young arm is clear.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Well put it this way. Who’s value will be more important for the Phillies to succeed in 2011. Joe Blanton (average starter) or an effective Brad Lidge?

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

why would you put it that way that doesn’t clarify anything. you took the most starting pitching-rich team possibly in the history of baseball as a model of the value of an average starter, who in this case is a distant 5th starter

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

So therefore, InLeylandWeTrust is not exactly correct then. My point was, it could depend on the team

Like for the Phillies, I’d say Ryan Madison is more valuable than Joe Blanton

For the Yankees, I’d say AJ Burnett is more valuable than Rafael Soriano

Get it? Just saying, it varies by team.

More innings don’t necessarily mean they are more valuable.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

if you thought you were wrong why would it still be your opinion =

to be clear, i’m not convinced you’re wrong because i’m not sure what exactly you’re claiming. put it this way: ceteris paribus 200 innings of 4.00 FIP ball are more valuable than 70 innings of 2.00 FIP ball

but most of the time, all other things are not equal. scarcity within the team matters

4 years 4 months ago

I’m a huge Marcum fan, and I’m also glad that Milwaukee extended Weeks, but I feel like inevitably the Brewers are going to be envious of Toronto if Lawrie lives up to the hype.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Let’s do the math (not trying to be condescending).

30 teams x 5 starters= 150 starters minimum.

30 teams x 1 closer= 30 closers minimum.

If you have an above average starter which do you think is in more demand? The very fact that good pitching is in much higher demand usually means that the talent level will be watered down.

Carlos Marmol led all relief pitchers in WAR and was 2nd in FIP. Cliff Lee was 1st in WAR and 2nd in FIP. Which won would you pick if you had the very first pick in the draft? Which one is more important?

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

but do you really think anybody disagrees that it varies by team depending on what the team already has? it absolutely depends on the team’s current resources. dude was making a ceteris paribus or all other things be equal claim, it seemed. and we can’t figure out if he’s right by looking at an extreme situation like philly

let’s assume we know a guy can pitch to the tune of 2.00 FIP as a closer, and 3.50 as a starter. all else being equal, where do we get the most value out of him? as far as i can tell, the answer is as a starter

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

The problem is, InLeyland said Average starter, not Above Average starter. There is a difference between the 2.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

i was there for 2003 and remember all the fuss. i’d still like to see closer by committee tried more and i hope the rangers give it a go this season

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

“but do you really think anybody disagrees that it varies by team depending on what the team already has?”

No I don’t, so therefore, doesn’t it make this whole argument moot basically? Examples and numbers are needed which is what you put. I don’t use FIP, but if you change it to ERA, I’d probably take the starter and his 3.50 ERA. But again, it will depend on who your team and roster are.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

it looks like tampa bay and maybe atlanta will try it this year, too. shows how much attention i pay to closer drama

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

it definitely doesn’t make the argument moot. ask the rangers

another complicating factor is that you don’t actually know what you’re going to get. will feliz be a 4.00 FIP starter or a 3.00? 5.00? is he going to remain a lights out closer or just an above average one?

clearly the highest upside here is on the starting pitching side. add to that the volatility of all relievers, even closers, and i think you’ve got a good case for preferring the “average starter” template in general

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Fair, but I don’t think it’s a bad decision (yet) to have Feliz start. If he’s a good SP (and by good I mean above average), I’d keep him there. If he’s an average to below average starter but a lights out reliever, I’d see put him where he is his best.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

You wouldn’t out Nolan Ryan in your top 10 all-time?

2.97 FIP
5,714 KO in 5,386 IP
222 CG

5th best FIP of any pitcher from 1950-2010 w/ at least 2,000 IP right behing Koufax, Gibson, Pedro Martinez and Dean Chance………and none of them pitched more than Bob Gibson’s 3,900 IP (Ryan pitched 1,400 more than Gibson).

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

i think that’s exactly backwards, actually. the volatility in relief work (including closers) is mostly a product of standard variance in performance. but it’s amplified by comparatively small samples – 60-70 innings

so where broxton for example hits a rough patch as all players do, he ends up with a down season – because his season is relatively short. as a starter, ~50 rough innings mean maybe a third or less of your starts. you can still have a solid season

in other words you could take some of your top starters, make them closers, and you’d probably see some similar volatility across the board year over year. it’s the nature of small sample sizes, not the extreme difficulty of closing

Christian Ingram
4 years 4 months ago

ANYONE can get through 6-8 innings without problem? It’s just that pesky ninth that’s the issue? Dude, that’s a terrible argument on many, many fronts. The majority of baseball games are won and lost in those seemingly meaningless 6-8 innings rather than the ninth. Saves (and thus closers) didn’t even exist 25 years ago. Come. on.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

hey weird, we agree!

…what are we supposed to do now

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

you said FIP to MB923

earmuffs!

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Well he also ranks 16th in WAR behind several (but not all) pitchers I’d take

In no particular order (and steroids ignored), the pitchers I’d rank ahead of Ryan:

Clemens, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, Maddux, Gaylord Perry, Matthewson, Spahn, Koufax, Pedro, Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver

I”ll take back Niekro though and will put him (And Ryan) in my top 15

The Baseball Page only lists Ryan as 20th all time and Niekro 29th). Although I think several are out of order.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Give each other a Like I guess? lol

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 4 months ago

I thought the rumor was both team were planning on trying out rookies for the role.

iheartyourfart
4 years 4 months ago

not the be-all-end-all. A closer can potentially give you more value because none of those innings are throw-aways. They always come in at a high-pressure situation and the good ones deliver maximum value for each inning of work.

iheartyourfart
4 years 4 months ago

Sabean is waiting for him to turn 30 and hopefully have at least one major knee surgery

jwsox
4 years 4 months ago

Why sign him to a long term deal he cabt hit arb untill after next season

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

apparently gonzalez mentioned using both kimbrel and venters in the role this season. maddon said at the beginning of ST that they were going by committee

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

mine is broken you got a raw deal

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

I replied to Tanner’s comment. However, I think “inLeyland” is wrong too. In most cases there’s a reason why an above average closer is a closer and not a starter. If Marinao could replicate what he can do as a starter, then he would be a starter. If Carlos Marmol could dominate as a starter the same as he does as a closer then he wouldn’t be a closer.

It’s two different jobs. It’s almost like saying a field goal kicker is more important that a QB, RB, WR or offensive line. He wouldn’t have a chance to do his job if all others didn’t do there’s. So what does a team need more? A good QB or a good field goal kicker. The kicker will win games for them but he’s probably not going to have as much of an effect on the team than the QB (and others).

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

closers are overrated

170 innings @ 3.50 era <<<<<< 70 innings @ 2.50 era

4 years 4 months ago

I agree, maybe they are trying to make him a quality starter to increase trade value?

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

marcum is going to have his best year in 2011.

Guest
4 years 4 months ago

Agreed but Feliz was rock solid on a championship club. Closers only really matter when the playoffs start.

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

you said that like you thought WAR didn’t account for leveraged innings. it does

4 years 4 months ago

I love how he won a World Series and everyone STILL rips on Sabean. It really shows just how important the supporting cast (scouts, talent directors) are because Sabean is really a below average GM.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

It’s really too hard to compare guys who played in the early 1900’s so I didn’t even bother. Totally different animals and you can’t comapre them to any other generation. No one has come close to throwing 400 innings or starting 50 games.

But I can easily make an arguement as to why Ryan is better than almost all those you mentioned.

He won 324 games. He had a lifetime FIP of 2.97. Imagine Felix Hernandez pitching for the M’s in 2010. Now replicate the results for a decade.

From 1972 to 1981 an avg of..

2.89 FIP…34 starts….256 IP……275 ko……16 CG…..but only an avg 16-14 record per year to show for it.

From 1987 to 1993 (ages 40-46) avg..

2.86 FIP…..28 starts…..182 IP….205 K….2 CG…and only a 10-9 record avg per year to show for it.

You put Nolan on some of those Yankee, Royals, Orioles teams of the 70’s or 80’s and he wins 400-450 games easy. He had 5 seasons where he had an FIP under 3.00 and still lost more than 15 games those seasons.

vonhayesdays
4 years 4 months ago

thats as small as ive seen it get

55saveslives
4 years 4 months ago

Last season was an amazing year for the future of baseball!!

Posey
Feliz
Heyward
Stanton
Strasburg
Gaby Sanchez

I know I’m missing a couple!

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

“I’ll take things said by your wife last night for $1,000 Alex”.

sry….you served that joke up too nicely to pass up.

YanksFanSince78
4 years 4 months ago

Because he won almost despite of some very bad free agent deals. If it wasn’t for the farm, which he does get some credit for, where would the Giants be?

vonhayesdays
4 years 4 months ago

yeah that was funny, cant believe i served up that dish

4 years 4 months ago

The sad part is that it’s true, but the stupid Toronto media won’t make the connection about pitching in the AL East vs the NL Central, and they’ll place all kinds of crazy pressure on Lawrie and start to complain about the trade.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Fair points. I will agree and say he’s probably the best pitcher from the 70’s – 80’s without a doubt. I wasn’t using W-L whatsoever

FanGraphs doesn’t have WAR for older players. B-R does and it in fact does compare it and it can mix Silver Era, Golden Era, and “Steroid” Era fairly well. It lists Walter Johnson number 1 all time (completely agree), and Roger Clemens number 2.

Niekro is tied for 8th with Maddux (fair I suppose, I’ll have to look at Niekro’s stats deeper), and Ryan is ranked at 16th.

Again, perhaps I’ll put him in the top 10-15 overall, but of the past 30-40 or so years, I think I can eaisly put him in the top 5 or so.

MB923
4 years 4 months ago

Keep em on. Excuse me for not liking a stat which doesn’t penalize a pitcher for something more often than not, that he is responsible for.

4 years 4 months ago

Jaime Garcia and Austin Jackson.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
4 years 4 months ago

Austin Jackson and his .400 BABIP

4 years 4 months ago

Yeah, clearly no GM would say this to Gammons. A clear-cut, open-and-shut case of fraudulent tweeting if I ever saw one.

Jason_F
4 years 4 months ago

Does 2009 fall into the “numbers prior to 2010″ category? If so, check his numbers for that season:

2nd among NL Relievers in WAR (2.4)
T-4th among NL Relievers in FIP (2.50)
3.08 K/BB ratio
10.33 K/9
.218 BAA

If that is mediocre, then I’ll take eight 2009 Brian Wilsons in my bullpen any day of the week. Wilson has improved every year at the big league level to the point where he is now, being a shutdown reliever.