Saturday, December 30, 2006

Diamondbacks Prospects

Not much going on right now. The Yankees and Diamondbacks are apparently looking to finish a deal for Randy Johnson before next week, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to look at the names that are being discussed by the Daily News report. The News suggests that the Yankees are looking for 2 of the 3 following pitchers:

Dustin Nippert
Age: 25
Height/Weight: 6'8"/225
Throws: Right
Highest Level: MLB
Notes: D'Backs fans seem to like Nippert's potential a lot. He sports a low-90s fastball and a silly lollipop curve. His results at AAA and in the Majors have been shaky. He tends to give up big innings and doesn't always respond well to pressure. When his control falters he struggles. While scouts project him as a #2 or #3 starter, he hasn't shown much recently.

Micah Owings
Age: 24
Height/Weight: 6'5"/220
Throws: Right
Highest Level: AAA
Notes: This young righty features a plus fastball and slider and is of the gritty, competitive mold. Owings was very good at AAA last year. He was 10-0 with a 3.70 ERA and started the Tuscon Sidewinders' first playoff game. Owings started life as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket before transferring to Tulane. He was a power hitting first baseman that projected to the Majors either by pitching or playing the field. He's gone the pitcher route, and he looks very good. He needs to develop a little more in his arsenal to stick as a starter at the MLB level, but the potential is there. I'd work to get him in the deal, if possible.

Ross Ohlendorf
Age: 24
Height/Weight: 6'4"/235
Throws: Right
Highest Level: AAA
Notes: Ohlendorf was a standout pitcher at Princeton. He's moved up through the D'Backs system fairly quickly thanks to great control and a great GO/AO ratio. Despite his strong points, he is hittable, and has given up more hits than innings pitched. That's the price you pay if you refuse to walk batters. He isn't among the D'Backs Top 10 prospects, but he could move up if he shows continued improvement.

While this mix of players is impressive, I think we have built quite an army of right handers at the AAA level. We could certainly tack on two more in hopes of packaging them for a proven Major Leaguer, but I'd also hope that Cashman is working on getting either Chad Tracy or catching prospect Miguel Montero. Tracy is already a Major Leaguer, and has twice posted 20+ home run seasons. His 2005 was better than his 2006, but he is a legitimate talent, and fits the Yankees needs. Here's more on Montero:

Miguel Montero (catcher)
Age: 23
Height/Weight: 5'11"/195
Throws/Bats: Right/Left
Highest Level: AAA
Notes: Montero is projected as the Arizona catcher of the future. He's young, hits for power, and is above average defensively as well. He struggles against lefties and would need to improve in that regard to be a truly elite catcher. Another of the budding young prospects from Venezuela.

If I had my wish, I'd get Montero and play him behind Posada this season. I'd have Jorge mentor him the way Girardi did some years ago, and eventually have the reigns turned over completely when the time comes. Jorge could be a very good DH for years to come if we had a solid catcher to play everyday. I'd then ask the Diamondbacks for either Owings or Ohlendorf as well. Owings may or may not make it as a starter in the Majors, but could be a very good long reliever for years to come. If he gets another solid pitch, he could fit somewhere in the middle of a Major League rotation. Ohlendorf is a sleeper to me. He's been clocked at 97 MPH and threw a two hitter in the NCAA tournament some years ago. He's got very good control at a young age, and has been called a bulldog. (He also scored a 1580 on the SAT, so Moose will have someone to talk to.)

Keep your eyes and ears peeled. This could be fun.


singlessss said...

Mike - If your assessments are correct, then I want to stay away from Nippert, even if he has the most raw talent. This is where I agree will Torre and his 'belly full of guts'.

If you get intimidated, NY is not the place to play.

ARod is a super ballplayer, but his 'sensitivity' hinders him, especially under the bight lights.

You can fix mehanical problems, work out more, work on your game. But all the self-help books and couch sessions in the world have little effect.

Mike Plugh said...

That's exactly what my reaction was when I read his scouting report. D'Back fans love him though. If you look at his BR page, you'll see that he pitched 10 MLB innings last season and gave up 5 home runs. (That projects to 100 HRs over a 200 IP season!) ;)

Personally, I haven't seen any of them pitch, but I get a good vibe from the photos and articles on Ross Ohlendorf. Princeton guy...bulldog...great control....good size...

jake said...

I find it suspect when guys comment on minor leaguers "character" and "makeup". Its a whole different ballgame in the majors. Some guys learn to thrive on the pressure and the fans even if they didnt show it in the minors or even in small towns.

That wouldnt be a deal breaker for a kid. Always take a chance on talent.

brockdc said...

Thanks for the rundown, Mike. Yes, please on either Montero or Tracy.

Anonymous said...

Owings' 10-0 at AAA is extremely impressive. Nippert's 'tryout' in Arizona went very poorly, 13 er in 10 ip. Ohlendorf's 125 k/29 bb is amazing.

But the most desirable should be Montero. We need a good backup C more than anything else (yes, including 1b, where Posada could probably play).

I'd pay all of RJ's salary to get Montero and either Owings or Ohlendorf.

Anonymous said...

MVN is reporting that the deal is done, and that the yankees were getting Owings and Nippert and possibly a third player. he says his source is a Yankees official that also tipped him three days early on Andy Pettitte.

I want more. If that third is Tracy though, I am very happy.

singlessss said...

Mike - Your blog is getting better and better. You are beginning to be a 'real playa'. (Now if only you could speak english without a Japanese accent)...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jake. That's not how you look at a prospect. Giving up 5 HRs in 10 innings is not gonna tell you anything. Just look at these samples:

15 ERs in 23.2 innings 5.70 ERA
62 ERs in 86 innings 6.46 ERA

Do you think you are gonna take a chance on them if I don't tell you who they are? But if I tell you who they are, are you telling me that you are not? The first guy could have won the Rookie of the Year Award last year and the other guy should have won 3 Cy Young Awards in a row if he wasn't robbed in 2005.

Mike Plugh said...

I agree with both of you (Jake and Deric). I think he's probably very talented. I think he'd be a great addition, and the sample size of what he's done is too small to draw any conclusions.

I just reported the official scouting report on him. He is considered the D'Backs top pitching prospect for a reason, but lately his stock has dropped slightly for some bad results at the higher levels.


Mike Plugh said...

Thanks Mr. Singlesss!

I've been taking elocution lessons, but it's not working fast enough. ;)

I got your e-mail, by the way. I'll reply to you soon. Happy New Year, bro.

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