Rookies


Eyeing Max Scherzer

Alright, it's officially time to get excited about Max Scherzer as the "next big thing."  Here are the numbers on the 23 year-old starter:

3 starts (Triple A)
17 innings
0.00 ERA
0.59 WHIP
15.35 K/9
1.59 BB/9
3.71 H/9
0.00 HR/9
2.00 Groundball/flyball ratio

Those are video game numbers.  Admittedly it's just three starts, but this reminds me of the way Tim Lincecum kicked off his '07 season.  Actually, Scherzer's been better.

I was recently asked which waiver wire pickups could net decent strikeouts for your team.  Scherzer is officially #1 on that list, when he comes up.  At this rate he could force his way into the picture before June.  There are many scenarios I can envision where Arizona needs a starter.

Some scouts see Scherzer as a future closer rather than a starter, just like many folks thought Lincecum was better suited for the pen.  Scherzer is best known for his high-velocity heater with sinking action, followed by a pretty good slider.



Evan Longoria Arrives

Top third base prospect Evan Longoria is up in the bigs, and probably to stay.  So much for the Rays' cost-saving plan.   Other third base prospects like Andy LaRoche, Chase Headley, and Neil Walker may spend time in the Majors this year, but Longoria is easily the best of the four.

Longoria is as close to a sure thing as a prospect gets (although we said that about Alex Gordon a year ago probably).  The 22 year-old Longoria started slow in Durham, for what it's worth. He hit .262/.407/.595 with three homers and two steals in 42 spring ABs.

Assuming all third basemen will receive 500 additional ABs this year (for the sake of comparison), I have Longoria ranked 11th (after Ryan Zimmerman and before Mark Reynolds).  For the 500 ABs I have Longoria at .270-23-81-83-4. 

Though I have Longoria technically outranking Reynolds, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Alex Gordon, and Adrian Beltre, I wouldn't drop/trade any of them to accomodate him. These four are all off to decent-to-great starts and have a big league track record.  And some of them can steal bases.  I am on the fence with Edwin Encarnacion - I like him more than Longoria this year, but I'm not sure if Dusty will let him play through his slump.  Hank Blalock is another borderline call; I'd probably stick with him.

Here are some third basemen I would drop/trade to accomodate Longoria: Josh Fields, Troy GlausTy Wigginton, Mike Lowell, Scott Rolen, Casey Blake, and Melvin Mora.  You probably didn't need me to tell you most of those.  Aubrey Huff and Joe Crede give me pause, but...yes, I'd cut them for Longoria.  An arguable suggestion given their strong starts, but hey, that's my opinion. 

I'd also move the following first baseman to use Longoria in my CI slot: Joey Votto, Jason Giambi, Adam LaRoche, Kevin Youkilis, Casey Kotchman, and Richie Sexson.



Cueto Trivia

Does this mean anything? 

Using Baseball-Reference's Play Index, I determined that Johnny Cueto was the first pitcher in the history of baseball to debut with at ten or more strikeouts and no walks.

I stretched the search to see if anyone did it within their first five games.  Mixed bag - Kerry Wood's 20 K game and a bunch of 10 K/0 BB efforts:

  • Johnny Cueto (2008)
  • Kerry Wood (1998)
  • Andy Sonnanstine (2007 vs. Marlins; a lot of guys abused them for Ks last year)
  • Randy Wolf (1999)
  • Frank DiPino (1982) - had some good years but switched to the pen after his rookie season
  • Dennis Ribant (1964) - didn't amount to much



Cueto Dominant In Debut

I wrote about Johnny Cueto a few weeks ago.  The projection systems said he wouldn't contribute in mixed leagues this year, while the scouts disagreed.   I wrote that I was leaning toward the scouts.  Young pitchers seem more apt to blow away projections than do young hitters.  A dominant Double or Triple A starter with nasty stuff can probably get big league hitters out.  Cueto's debut this afternoon was dazzling, with ten Ks and one hit against the D'Backs.

Cueto's available in Yahoo leagues today, and many are wondering whether to use a high waiver claim on him.  The answer is yes.  Don't hold out for a question mark like Clayton Kershaw or Jay Bruce.  Cueto has the talent and opportunity, right now.

Who should you cut for Cueto?  That is difficult to answer except on a case by case basis.  Feel free to leave your drop candidate in the comments and I'll try to answer.  Here are a few answers to the "should I drop him for Cueto" question:

  • McGowan: No
  • Gallardo: No
  • Volquez: Yes
  • Harden: Yes 



A Look At Johnny Cueto

New Reds manager Dusty Baker is quite impressed with 22 year-old righty Johnny Cueto, maybe even enough to put him in the team's rotation to begin the season.  Let's take a look at the diminutive flamethrower.

Last year Cueto pitched at High A, Double A, and Triple A.  He whiffed 170 in 161.3 innings across the three levels.  The Major League Equivalent of his work: a 3.41 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.

Projections?  A 4.75 ERA and 1.42 WHIP according to Baseball Prospectus.  CHONE: 5.03 and 1.52.  ZiPS: 4.97 and 1.38.  The computers say to avoid Cueto in mixed leagues.

The scouts love him - mid 90s heater, good slider and changeup, good makeup.  Keep an eye on this one.  My opinion of him leans towards the scouts rather than the computers. 





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