Just the links today.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • I appeared with Tyler Hissey yesterday on the “Rays Digest Podcast.” If you missed it, you can catch all the action here. [Rays Digest]
  • In a surprising turn of events, the Red Sox say they are out of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • The Charlotte Stone Crabs unveiled their new logos and uniforms. We likey. Especially the batting practice cap with the Stone Crab logo and the alternate cap that is powder blue with a navy blue brim and “C” being clawed by a Stone Crab’s claw. [Stone Crabs] [Here are the alternate caps]
  • Joe Henderson says the Rays can’t be sentimental when it comes to resigning Rocco Baldelli. [Tampa Tribune]
  • The Rays Party projects the Rays’ 25-man roster. [The Rays Party]
  • Major League Baseball has been giving away the “This Year In Baseball” awards. The awards are based on fan voting which is why we didn’t even mention when Joe Maddon and Evan Longoria took home the TYIBs for Manager and Rookie of the Year. But it is worth mentioning that Grant Balfour placed second for the 2008 Setup Man of the Year. Middle relievers rarely get recognized, and it is nice to see some people noticed how dominating Balfour was this season. One of the most dominating in history. [MLB]
  • Former major leaguer Ozzie Timmons is the new hitting coach for the Montgomery Biscuits. [Biscuit Crumbs]
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9 Comments

  1. Rays Party Chairman says:

    Thankfully Texieira won't be joining the Red Sox, but I wouldn't mind if hegoes to the Orioles or Nationals and actually draw them fans and make the game more competitive.

    Congrats to Ozzie Timmons who is moving up the system very quick for a coach. Will we see him as the Rays major league hitting coach in the next few years?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    How long before we start hearing the "Charlotte Devil Crabs" jokes?

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  3. Robert Rittner says:

    Terrific interview with Tyler Hissey. Enjoyed it greatly. A couple of points, not in disagreement but simply that occur to me.

    1. Brignac did regress significantly in 2008, although it should be noted that he continued to hit with good doubles power at Durham and his 9 home runs were about the same rate he had managed the year before.
    But I think people exaggerate his decline from A to AA ball. His line was much worse because his BA dipped so low, but he continued to hit for good power (especially for a shortstop), and perhaps more important, his BB rate and K rate both improved rather significantly. It was his regression in those 2 areas at Durham that was so disappointing.

    I have read that Brignac is an extremely intense player who works very hard. I wonder if his determination to improve his defense has had any effect on his offense. Pure speculation of course.

    2. Jaso has not hit a lot of home runs, but he has shown pretty good doubles power. If he can improve his defense and continue to get on base and get doubles, he can be very valuable even if the home run rate remains static. Big "ifs", I know, but especially for a catcher, I would not overstress home runs per se.

    3. Until 2008, Perez also hit quite a few doubles. I saw him play at Durham a couple of times, and for what it is worth (very little I expect), he did seem to sting the ball rather than hit punch and judy style.
    Anyway, great job in the interview.

    Isn't the projected 25 man roster missing 4 relievers, including Howell? I wonder who the site would have selected as that is a particularly competitive area on the team.

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  4. The Professor says:

    excellent points.

    Brignac: i agree that his dropoff into AA was not that drastic but he was pretty atrocious last year getting on base at less than a 30% clip. And what is strange is Brignac has always hit lefties very well (.376, .343 OBPs in '06 and '07) but that number fell all the way to .277 in '08. That is a pretty significant drop and I don't have an explanation. His flyball rate against lefties went up a little so maybe he was swinging for the fences a little too much. not sure.

    Jaso: I guess my only point here is that his lack of charismatic megastats (ie. home runs) keeps him from being recognized as a top catching prospect. I don't think people should worry too much about his defense because he has shown progression which suggests he will eventually at worst be an average catcher defensively. but i agree. i dont think he needs too much offensively to be a good hitting catcher.

    Perez: In 2008 his groundball rate went way up (72% from the left side) and his slugging went down. That might be by design, but he seemed to be a bit more punch-and-judy last season.

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  5. Justin says:

    Let's hope the Sox really are out of the Tex sweestakes.

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  6. Kevin Gengler says:

    In re: Jaso from a recent BA blog posting:

    John Jaso: Although his offensive performance with Double-A Montgomery in 2007 was strong, Jaso began this year back with the Biscuits because the Rays wanted him to work on his defense. Opinions on the degree to which Jaso improved his defense this year are mixed, but the scouting consensus is that he still has a ways to go behind the plate despite having 55 arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale. One AL scout who was bullish on Jaso’s ability to stick at catcher before this season came away with less conviction in that opinion after seeing Jaso play this year. "It’s his footwork and getting his arm to not make throws that tail," said the scout. "The raw arm strength is there, but his mechancis in getting everything together is not."

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  7. Robert Rittner says:

    Do you have any information on other aspects of his defense? Blocking balls, calling pitches, framing pitches and the like? I would imagine that if his footwork is poor he would have trouble blocking pitches in the dirt, for example.

    If his other catching skills are adequate, I think a team can live with a catcher who does not throw well. It's not optimal of course, but if balanced with above average offense for a catcher and decent defense otherwise, it should not be a huge impediment.

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  8. DirtbagFan says:

    RR:
    How can you go from one thread where you say that there is no correlation between position and ability to hit for power(with the exception of catcher) and then on this thread add parenthetically that Brignac hits well for power- especially for a SS?

    Make up your mind...

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  9. Robert Rittner says:

    You are misinterpreting. In the first case I am pointing out that the fact that he is a third baseman does not mean he cannot hit for power. (Actually, the contrary is true these days as third basemen are expected to hit for power.) That was Survey....'s contention, and it is flat wrong.

    In this case, I am not talking about their ABILITY to hit for power but the different value of power hitters at different positions. Shortstops are prized more for their defense than their offense, so if you have an outstanding fielder at SS who also contributes with the bat, he is more valuable to the team.

    That is why Upton is expected to be such a star. Were he a left fielder, his projected power would be ordinary, but as a center fielder, it is outstanding. That does not mean center fielders are unable to hit for power (pretty obvious, wouldn't you say?), just that those who do are especially valuable.

    There is absolutely no contradiction in what I am saying. Brignac's bat, if he can straighten out, plays very well at SS or 2B. It would be far less valuable at 3B because there are so many more power hitters available there. But obviously there have been tremendous power hitters at 2B and SS (Banks, A-Rod, Hornsby to name a few).

    By the way, I know you prefer shorter posts, but I will refer you to discussions of Jeter's near-future role on the Yankees. Many feel his glove will be such a disadvantage he will have to move, but point out his bat is not good enough to play at a corner, so the Yankees are in something of a dilemma.

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