Quick Hits: Int’l Scouting, Morales, Olt, Taveras, Pitching Tandems

Scouting pitching in the Dominican is a challenging endeavor on many levels, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America. Players are incented to light up radar guns (or, for hitters, launch home runs) in non-game situations due to a “showcase mindset” that pervades the baseball environment. Here are more notes from around the game:

  • Baseball executives believe it an increasing likelihood that Kendrys Morales will wait to sign until after the June 5-7 amateur draft, reports CBSSports.com’s  Jon Heyman. If he does so, then a signing club would not lose a draft pick and his former club (the Mariners) would not gain a compensatory choice. Morales has had discussions since the start of the season — Heyman says the Orioles are believed to have had “serious talks” — but apparently nothing is close. In addition to Baltimore and Seattle, says Heyman, possible landing spots could hypothetically include the Brewers and even the Athletics.
  • Cubs third baseman Mike Olt, 25, has done enough in the early going to earn a chance at additional playing time, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Though his on-base and strikeout numbers are less than promising, Olt has blasted four home runs in 48 plate appearances. Olt, of course, came over in last year’s Matt Garza trade as something of a buy-low prospect, after eye issues contributed to a rough season at Triple-A in 2013 (.201/.303/.381, with 15 home runs and 132 strikeouts, in 432 plate appearances).
  • Outfielder Willy Taveras is eyeing a comeback, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The 32-year-old, who last played in the bigs in 2010, is playing in Mexico at present. Best known for his wheels — he led the league in stolen bases (68) in 2008 — Taveras has swiped seven bags in seven attempts in his first 18 games in the Mexican League, Rosenthal notes. In 279 plate appearances at Triple-A last year with the Royals, Taveras slashed .239/.308/.340 and stole 11 bases.
  • With a young staff, the Astros have made the league’s most extensive use of true long relief, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. GM Jeff Luhnow says that the club’s minor league use of a true tandem system is “more of a development thing,” with the big league club’s employment of long men more a “cousin” deployed for “high-pitch count guys.” Looking ahead, though, Luhnow says he “would not be surprised if clubs started to think about some unique solutions to help prevent injuries” noting that “we’re certainly one of them.” Notably, given his organization’s upper-minor tandems, Luhnow observed:“you do it at Triple-A — what’s the difference doing it at the big leagues?” Athletics assistant GM Farhan Zaidi was even more bullish on the possibility of tandem starters appearing in MLB. “I can absolutely see it happening,” he said. “We actually talked about doing it a few years ago when we had pitching depth that wasn’t unlike what the Astros have now. The reason I think it could still happen is overwhelming evidence that limiting the exposure of pitchers to a third time through the lineup is really advantageous.” The full piece includes many more interesting observations from these executives, and is well worth a read.

13 Responses to Quick Hits: Int’l Scouting, Morales, Olt, Taveras, Pitching Tandems Leave a Reply

  1. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    It’s going to be hilarious when Morales and Drew suddenly have teams in a bidding war for their services post-June draft. It’ll highlight how silly the compensation system is when paired with GMs who severely overvalue draft picks.

    • dwarfstar 1 year ago

      In Kendrys Morales case why would not accept 14.1MM when you have never made over 5.25MM in your career stupid move on his part. In Stephen Drew case in final year of 7/28MM contract so 4MM AVP why you not take 14.1MM stupid move on his part also. In my opinion you have to do what is right for you, no matter what your agent says, he will still get paid no matter you sign for?

  2. Hills of Glenallen 1 year ago

    I think the Cubs would be okay with Olt if he ended up a Mark Trumbo like guy.

    • jb226 1 year ago

      I would only be okay with that if that outcome also came with Kevin Towers to fleece in a trade.

      • sourbob 1 year ago

        I don’t think Kevin Towers is going to have a job to pull trades from by June.

    • schaddy24 1 year ago

      With the potential lineup that the Cubs could have in 2 or 3 years, Olt could be hitting 7th or 8th. I’ll take a guy with legit pop at that spot in the order, even if his avg. and OBP aren’t great. He will see more pitches to hit too once Baez/Bryant/Almora/etc are up.

      • Hills of Glenallen 1 year ago

        Agreed. It’s nice to see a masher in the linueup again. Reminds me of someone…hmmmmmmm……..

  3. Manfrenjensen 1 year ago

    Ask the Rockies how well the “tandem” system works at the major league level.

    • Pete Harnisch 1 year ago

      The funny thing is, Zaidi says the A’s thought about the tandem system when they had pitching depth. Last season, the Rockies tried this system when they completely lacked pitching depth.

      The Rockies FO is like a bunch of outcast kids on the school playground, who overhear things the cool kids (the A’s FO) are doing, try to mimic the cool kids, but fail miserably.

      • Seamaholic 1 year ago

        Are you suggesting that the 2014 Astros have more pitching depth than the 2012 Rockies? Yeesh. The major league ready pitchers available to the Astros this year are just about the most pathetic bunch in baseball history. The Rockies did that experiment in 2012 because of the unique problem of pitching at altitude (they had been toying with the idea for many years), and the fact that literally their entire starting rotation was at one point injured. It was an injury-prevention scheme, and it’s quite likely that the A’s got the idea from them.

        • Pete Harnisch 1 year ago

          No I am not suggesting that – my comment compares the Rockies strategy to the A’s strategy.

          And Zaidi says they thought about the tandem system a few years ago, which was before 2012.

        • Pete Harnisch 1 year ago

          Regardless, the Rockies tried to implement the piggy back system at the major league level without much implementation (that I know of) in the minor leagues. At least the Astros are doing it throughout the organization, and not just at one level.

  4. liberalconservative 1 year ago

    Morales is just what the A’s need since they need a 1st baseman other than Barton.

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