Offseason Notes by Carson Cistulli November 10, 2010 This edition of Offseason Notes contains: 1. A list of notable minor league free agents. 2. Some notable ZiPS projections for the Texas Rangers. and 3. A diamond not quite as large as, but nearing the size of, the Ritz. Minor League Free Agents As a service to all of us, Matt Eddy of Baseball America has published a complete list of this year’s 533 minor league free agents. Also as a service, Eddy explains, quite succinctly, how a player becomes one of those things (i.e. a minor league free agent) in the first place. These are his precise words: Any player who was not on a 40-man roster on Nov. 7 qualified for free agency if he had accumulated at least six years of service time (minors and majors inclusive) while still bound by his first uniform player contract. That contract is broken if the player is released or granted free agency by other means before he logs six years. Here’s an ungainly list of notable free agents, accompanied by comments of varying utility: • Dennis Sarfate, RHP, Baltimore. He’s had luck striking people out before. • Lou Montanez, OF, Batimore. Was MVP of Double-A Eastern League in 2008. • Jason Dubois, OF, Chicago (NL). Was actual Cubs outfielder at one point, if memory serves. • Buck Coats, OF, Chicago (AL). Research indicates that we was not, in fact, a great tight end for Patriots. • Wladimir Balentien, OF, Cincinnati. Beloved by CHONE and Carson Cistulli. • Brad Eldred, OF, Colorado. Low-contact power bat that likely won’t be displacing Todd Helton. • Jeff Frazier, OF, Detroit. Is currently crushing it in Dominican Winter League, but has contact problems, too. • Gookie Dawkins, SS, Florida. He will endear himself to you, even against your will. • Brett Carroll, OF, Florida. Has posted some impressive minor league ISOs, and CHONE likes his outfield defense. Once again, contact is problem. • Chris Shelton, 1B, Houston. Appeared, for first month of 2006 season, to be best hitter. • Jai Miller, OF, Kansas City. Saw him this spring in Portland, when he was playing for Oakland Triple-A. Appears to be great athlete with little in way of baseball-specific skills. • Charlie Haeger, RHP, Los Angeles (NL). Throws knucklepiece. • Prentice Redman, OF, Los Angeles (NL). Tore up the PCL in 2009. Actually, hit pretty well in 2010, too — even after adjusting for hitting environment. CHONE thinks he’s above replacement-level. • J.R. House, C, New York (NL). Has posted some serious batting numbers in minors, although hasn’t topped .300-OBP threshold in last two seasons. Also, maybe isn’t catcher-catcher. • Justin Christian, OF, New York (AL). Currently among best hitters in Mexican Winter League. (See: “Another Country Heard From” below.) • Adam Heether, 3B, Oakland. Was mostly Brewers prospect. Put up some good minor league lines, but maybe lacks bat for third. • Brian Myrow, 1B, Pittsburgh. Always walks more than he strikes out. • Wily Mo Pena, OF, San Diego. Has .194 ISO in 1725 ML PAs. Played way out of Indy Leagues last year to bat .324/.390/.556 (.416 BABIP) with Triple-A Portland. • Tony Pena Jr., RHP, San Francisco. Yes: RHP. You read that correctly. • Jesus Guzman, 3B, San Francisco. Assumed title of Platonic Quad-A Player after Nelson Cruz made jump to excellence. • R.J. Swindle, LHP, Tampa Bay. Has thrown a ball slower than 60 mph in a major league baseball game. • Jason Lane, OF, Toronto. Have just, this second, realized that he’s not the same person as Luke Scott. H/T: Jason Collete Projections: ZiPS for Texas Beloved Pole Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for Texas. Below are some of the notable ones. (All numbers assume major league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.) Blam: • David Murphy, LF, 29: .277/.338/.446, 105 OPS+. That’s the sort of fourth outfielder a team wants. • Mitch Moreland, RF, 25: .269/.336/.433, 101 OPS+. My heart’s projection system has his OBP in the .350-.360 range. Also, my heart says that right field might not be the best place for Mr. Moreland. • Julio Borbon, CF, 25: .289/.329/.368, 84 OPS+. Defense is rated as Excellent. Also, look: despite horrid start to season, Borbon still posted 1.3 WAR in 468 PA. • Cliff Lee, LHP, 33: 3.21 ERA, 30 G, 30 GS, 213.3 IP, 17 HR, 29 BB, 174 K, 141 ERA+. The attentive reader will note that 29 walks in 30 starts equals an average of less than one walk per. • Colby Lewis, RHP, 31: 3.71 ERA, 31 G, 31 GS, 191.7 IP, 23 HR, 53 BB, 191 K, 122 ERA+. This guy looks pretty good. I’ll have to do some research on him. Another Country Heard From, Literally (Mexican League) Batting Leaderboard Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Mexican Winter League. (Click here for more on SCOUT, the metric that’s “sweeping” the “nation.”) Notes • As noted above, Christian is a free agent now. CHONE has him as a +10 fielder in the outfield with a line of .261/.311/.376. In his 106 PA, he’s got 13 BB and 5 HR versus just 2 K. Also, he’s 11-for-11 on stolen base attempts. • That guy Carlos Gastelum is a second baseman who last played in affiliated baseball in 2001, when he batted .204/.242/.267 as a 21-year-old in the High-A California League. One thing about him is, is he doesn’t strike out too much. • You might remember Marshall McDougall from Moneyball as the player traded by Billy Beane for Ricardo Rincon. Pitching Leaderboard Same as above, but for pitchers. Notes • Andy Sisco is notable for (a) being super tall and (b) striking out a batter per inning in relief for Kansas City back in 2005. • There’s no evidence that Hector Rodriguez (the one born 12/11/1984) has ever played affiliated baseball. This is very much his best season in the Mexican League. • Rolando Valdez has a history of pitching well at age-appropriate levels in the minor leagues.