2011 Draft – Rounds 6-10 wrapup: Trevor Gretzky to the Cubs

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The Cubs picked one of the draft’s biggest names in the seventh, grabbing Wayne Gretzky’s son, Trevor, a high school first baseman.

Trevor Gretzky, who was the backup quarterback to Nick Montana (Joe’s son) on his Oaks Christian high school football team, is thought to be on his way to San Diego State.  At 6’4″ and 190 pounds, he’s thought to have pretty good power potential.  Still, most didn’t believe he’d go this high.  Bloodlines probably played a role in his selection, but given that very few players outside of the first few rounds go on to make the majors, one can’t blame the Cubs for wagering a seventh-round selection on the Great One’s progeny.

Other notes:

Four rounds after taking Vandy’s Jason Esposito, the Orioles picked another highly regarded third baseman, high scholer Nick Delmonico, in the sixth.  Back problems apparently scared some teams off.  He’s also committed to Georgia and may opt for school after getting drafted so much lower than expected.  He was viewed as a catcher by some, but the Orioles are going to see if he can make it at the hot corner.  His left-handed bat promises 20-homer power, and he’s quite discliplined for a high school product.

– The Padres went for Kyle Gaedele in the sixth.  He’s the great-nephew of tiny major leaguer Eddie Gaedel and a pretty fine prospect with ample power.  For thos curious, he stands 6’3″ and weighs 220 pounds.

– One pick later, the Rangers chose Derek Fisher at No. 204.  He’ll be an expensive sign if the team is going to lure him away from the University of Virginia, but he projects as a power-hitting left fielder.

– And one pick after that, Reds scouting director Chris Buckley chose his son, third baseman Sean Buckley.  It was actually something of a surprise he waited until round six to do so.  Sean was being looked at as a fourth or fifth rounder by teams other than Cincinnati.

– Oregon State’s Josh Osich, who missed the 2010 season following Tommy John surgery, was viewed by some as the top pitcher left on the board after rounds four and five.  The Giants grabbed him at No. 207.  He may have a future as an eighth-inning guy.

– Ivan Rodriguez’s son — also named Ivan, but who goes by Dereck — was picked by the Twins in round six.  He might have been a better prospect as a pitcher, but he wants to stick in the outfield.

– The Cards picked Kansas State outfielder Nick Martini in the seventh.  He hit just one homer in 221 at-bats this season, but he had a .503 OBP as a sophomore and a .442 mark this season.  At one point, he reached base in 93 straight games.  Unfortunately, he figures to move to left field in the pros and he’s going to have to show some power if he’s going to be a success there.

– The Pirates made another nice upside pick to begin the ninth round, selecting right-hander Clay Holmes.  The Auburn commit touches 95 mph with his fastball and has a promising curve.

– Milwaukee went with Dustin Houle in the eighth and will give him a look as a catcher.  The native of Canada was primarily a third baseman in high school.

– The Red Sox are going to see if Travis Shaw’s bat translates to wood after selecting him in the ninth.  The Kent State product hit .307/.405/.553 with 14 homers this season.  He’s sure-handed at third, but he lacks range.

– I haven’t written much about the Diamondbacks, but I do believe they’ve had a really good draft.  In the 10th, they took a flier on Kyle Winkler, a teammate of Matt Purke’s at TCU and another anticipated tough sign.   Baseball America rated him the draft’s No. 43 prospect.

A scout thinks the Astros strike out too much. The Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball.

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Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”

Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.

This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.

The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.

This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.