Golden Baseball League stats

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Aaron’s mention of Scott Spiezio signing to play in the Golden Baseball League got me curious, so here’s a look at the stats of the notable and semi-notable players participating in the league this year.
Walter Young – .329/.394/.482, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 15/5 K/BB, 0 SB in 85 AB
Hulking first baseman got a brief look with the Orioles in 2005, hitting .303/.378/.424 in 33 at-bats, but the team was never interested in giving him a real shot when they could go with over-the-hill players like Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Kevin Millar and Jeff Conine. He’s been drifting between indy leagues since 2007.
Kris Honel – 4-4, 4.30 ERA, 36 H, 45/43 K/BB in 46 IP
Honel, the 16th overall pick in the 2001 draft, was regarded as one of baseball’s top pitching prospects before blowing wrecking his arm in 2004. After Tommy John surgery at the end of 2005, he returned with decent stuff and no command in 2007. The numbers suggest that nothing has changed since.
Joey Gomes – .305/.343/.547, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 28/13 K/BB, 2 SB in 190 AB
Jonny’s older brother typically put up solid numbers, but never made it higher than Double-A after the Rays drafted him in the eighth round in 2002.
Jo Matumoto – 4-5, 4.62 ERA, 91 H, 74/25 K/BB in 78 IP
It was something of a big deal when the Jays signed Matumoto, the then 36-year-old ace of Brazil’s national team, in 2007, but mid-3.00 ERAs in both Double- and Triple-A weren’t enough to get him a look during his two years in the organization.
Jose Lima – 5-5, 2.93 ERA, 84 H, 51/10 K/BB in 83 IP
Lima will never see the majors again, but he can still get it done against lesser hitters.
Hideki Irabu – 5-3, 3.58 ERA, 62 H, 66/19 K/BB in 65 1/3 IP
Irabu was using the Golden League as a springboard for a comeback in Japan. He recently returned to his native land, though he’s pitching in a minor league at the moment.
Sergio Pedroza – .330/.443/.583, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 54/44 K/BB, 10 SB in 230 AB
It seems the scouts were right about Pedroza, who tore up A-ball pitching but flopped in Double-A last year. The 2005 third-round pick still has a career OPS of 883 in four minor league seasons, but it appears that he didn’t get any offers he liked after being let go by the Rays after last season.
Josh Karp – 0-1, 19.29 ERA, 20 H, 5/2 K/BB in 7 IP
Karp’s stay was a short one. The sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft hadn’t played in the minors since 2005 before staging his brief comeback.
Alexis Gomez – .340/.419/.698, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 8/8 K/BB, 8 SB in 53 AB
In his last major league action, Gomez hit .272/.318/.388 in 103 at-bats for the Tigers in 2006. He is still a pretty good Triple-A regular, so he’s rather overqualified for the Golden League.
Damian Jackson – .363/.412/.514, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 28/21 K/BB in 212 AB
Jackson’s 11-season major league career came to an end when he hit .198/.295/.371 for the Nationals in 2006. That said, he still might be a better player than most of the shortstops the Royals have trotted out in the three years since.
Robert Fick – .323/.378/.513, 5 HR, 38 RBI, 24/15 K/BB, 0 SB in 158 AB
Like Jackson, Fick is a former Padre playing for Phil Nevin on the Orange County squad. He last played in the majors with the Nationals in 2007.
Jonathan Rouwenhorst – 0-1, 2.13 ERA, 26 H, 23/7 K/BB in 25 1/3 IP
Rouwenhorst possesses one of my favorite deliveries in baseball, but after experiencing a great deal of success at lower levels, he stalled out in Triple-A and failed to reach the majors with the Angels or Braves.
Dustin Yount – .297/.380/.462, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 32/28 K/BB in 212 AB
Robin’s son was the Orioles’ ninth-round pick in 2001. He topped out in Double-A in 2006 and was released after hitting .228/.323/.347 in 167 at-bats at the level.
Emiliano Fruto – 0-2, 3.96 ERA, 22 H, 39/11 K/BB in 25 IP
Maybe the most talented hurler in the league, Fruto had a 4.36 ERA and a 549/299 K/BB ratio in 566 1/3 innings as a major leaguer. Last year, he fanned 102 and walked 59 in 89 innings for Triple-A Tucson. He’s still just 25 now, so odds are that he’ll return to affiliated ball at some point.
Other notables
Manny Ayala – 2-3, 8.23 ERA, 40 H, 12/20 K/BB in 27 1/3 IP
Lorenzo Barcelo – 6-5, 5.13 ERA, 97 H, 75/5 K/BB in 79 IP
Eude Brito – 3-0, 3.48 ERA, 34 H, 22/8 K/BB in 31 IP
Matt Durkin – 8-3, 3.77 ERA, 81 H, 34/46 K/BB in 83 2/3 IP
Bartolome Fortunato – 2-1, 2.63 ERA, 18 H, 33/6 K/BB in 24 IP
Mac Suzuki – 4-3, 5 Sv, 2.35 ERA, 31 H, 59/8 K/BB in 38 1/3 IP
Wayne Franklin – 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 38 H, 21/23 K/BB in 40 IP
Ismael Castro – .316/.330/.449, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 21/5 K/BB, 7 SB in 225 AB
Ben Johnson – .545/.583/1.091, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3/1 K/BB, 0 SB in 11 AB
Angel Sanchez – .266/.412/.525, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 46/37 K/BB, 3 SB in 177 AB
Juan Senreiso – .284/.386/.403, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 21/20 K/BB, 11 SB in 134 AB
Junior Spivey – .326/.436/.478, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7/9 K/BB, 0 SB in 46 AB
Ruddy Yan – .362/.438/.402, 0 HR, 30 RBI, 22/28 K/BB, 22 SB in 199 AB

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.