Sheets Signs with Oakland

January 27, 2010

By now you’ve heard about Ben Sheets’ one-year, $10 million contract he just signed with Oakland. But what you may not know is what makes Sheets such a special pitcher. Here’s my scouting report on the right hander:


NAME: Ben Sheets
POSITION: RHP
BORN: 7/18/1978
AGE: 31
BATS: Right
THROWS: Right
COLLEGE: Northeast Louisiana
MLB DEBUT: 4/5/2001

2008 MLB STATISTICS
GM IP W-L ERA SO K/PA BsRA9
31 198.1 13-9 3.09 158 19.5% 3.56

When Ben Sheets is on the mound he’s been fantastic. The problem over his career has been keeping him healthy enough to be on the mound. Although he has missed time, the number of games has gone up each of the past three seasons. In 2006 he appeared in only 17 games, 2007 he found the mound in 24 games and a career high 31 times in 2008. So while the trend has gone up, the lingering worry still hangs over his head. Just ask the Brewers and their fans.

Although when Sheets is on the mound he’s a true ace. Sheets has a 3/4 arm slot delivery which produces an impressive fastball. The fastball sits in the low to mid-90’s with great life both up and down in the strike zone. Sheets also has the ability to locate his fastball consistently on both sides of the plate and even can add a little cut motion to it. The former Brewer also possess a huge plus-power curveball with a fantastic downward drop and a changeup with solid fading action which he disguises well with an arm speed similar to his fastball.

As you can see when Sheets is on and healthy he can be one of the best pitchers in the game. Sheets is also a great competitor and wants to win with everything he has. This makes him a great addition to any club. I’ve always enjoyed watching the righthander on the mound and I highly suggest trying to find an archived game somewhere on MLB.com or iTunes and checking him out.

[Photo courtesy of: Scott Abelman/Flickr]


Hot Stove: Moving Brett Wallace

December 15, 2009

Wallace is on the move again, this time to Toronto (mwlguide/Flickr).

So by now I’m sure you have received all the talk about the mega blockbuster trade between Philadelphia, Toronto and Seattle, but just in case your cable, internet and cell phone have all been broken over the past few days, here is a peek at what happened:

PHILLIES GET:
– Roy Halladay, RHP (from Toronto)
– Phillippe Aumont, RHP (from Seattle)
– Tyson Gillies, OF (from Seattle)
– Juan Ramirez, RHP (from Seattle)
– $6 million cash (from Toronto)

MARINERS GET:
– Cliff Lee, LHP (from Philadelphia)

BLUE JAYS GET:
– Travis d’Arnaud, C (from Philadelphia)
– Kyle Drabek, RHP (from Philadelphia)
– Brett Wallace, 1B/3B/DH (from Oakland)

A’S GET:
– Michael Taylor, OF (from Philadelphia via Toronto)

There it is in a nutshell. Like I said, you’ve probably heard all of it before. But the new pieces of the puzzle saw the Blue Jays have Kyle Drabek added as one of their players as well as turn around and send newly acquired Michael Taylor to Oakland for prospect Brett Wallace. To start, here’s a look at Kyle Drabek:

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Kyle Drabek:

Son of former Major League pitcher, Doug Drabek, Kyle may even be better than his old man. Despite a strong mid-90’s fastball, his money pitch is a devastating spike curveball that has a sharp, late drop that kills opposing hitters. Despite some off the field issues, the Phillies hope he enhances his work ethic and continues to blossom into what he is capable of.

As you can see, he was a very nice piece to have pried away from the Phillies who did not want to give him up. The second player I mentioned is a highly touted offensive prospect in Wallace. Here is my brief scouting report and a link to my long and detailed analysis of Wallace:

Diamond Cutter Scouting Report on Brett Wallace:

Wallace’s greatest asset is his approach at the plate. He has very good plate discipline considering his age as it generally takes some time to get everything in synch. But Wallace is the type of hitter who refuses to expand his strike zone and waits pitchers out, forcing them to throw him something he can make solid contact with. Wallace also does a great job in plate coverage thanks to his batting stance which crowds the plate. With his advanced approach, Wallace has the potential to translate his success to the pros and could end up being a perennial on-base machine. I project him a .280-.300 hitter, around .380-.400 OBP and a slugging percentage in the upper .500’s. Then add in his 25-30 homers and 100+ RBI and you have a pretty strong offensive weapon that Albert Pujols will love having hit behind him. With all that said, he is an average defender at third (I view him higher than most) who would be better suited to play first, but with that position locked up, he will do just fine at the hot corner (read my extended scouting report on Wallace with his “Prospect Spotlight“).

As you can see I think very high of the youngster and even ranked him at number 12 in last year’s top 25 prospect list. As I have seen more of him I’ve convinced myself that he may not be able to handle staying at third (apparently based on Oakland’s willingness to trade him they feel the same way) as he just has no range. This being said, a move to first in Toronto or preferably DH is what Wallace needs.

This trade has continued to build and become bigger and better every day.


Diamond Cutter Scouting Report: Brett Anderson

December 11, 2009

Anderson has shown signs of brilliance (Kimberly*/Flickr).

Name: Brett Anderson
Number: 49
Position: Starting Pitcher
Born: 2/1/88
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Height: 6′4″
Weight: 215
Debut: 4/10/09

Scouting Report: We have seen incredible improvement from Anderson over the past two years after showing a lot of growth on the mound. Anderson has always had superb command of his pitches and can work them on either side of the plate. His fastball saw a slight increase hitting as high as 95 mph but sitting more consistently in the low-90’s. What makes him even more effective is the fact that his secondary pitches – a curve, slider and change – can be used as both out pitches or, thanks to his confidence in them, at any point in the count. He has really developed his stuff to the point that he can be dominant on the mound.

At this point last season it was difficult to project where he would fall in the rotation. Originally he looked to be a middle of the rotation guy, but thanks to his improvement in his fastball (and his command being his greatest asset) he now projects as a top of the rotation starter that the Oakland A’s have been looking for.


Red Holliday

June 27, 2009
What color jersey would Holliday look best in? (Maegs/Flickr)

What color jersey would Holliday look best in? (Maegs/Flickr)

While the trade deadline is still over a month away, teams with holes to fill are already starting to sniff around some of the remains of teams that have all but fallen out of the race.

The names of the impact bats that may be available this summer are beginning to dwindle due to injuries which will end up making the cost of the ones remaining climb.

With the injury to Xavier Nady looking more grim the Yankees now can’t afford to part with a Nick Swisher and with the inevitable need for surgery for Adrian Beltre (bone spurs in his shoulder) along with a big price tag, teams will most likely be hesitant to pull the trigger and part with prospects. So who is it that teams are coveting?

(click here to continue reading this article on Baseball Daily Digest…)

Matthew Whipps is a writer for Baseball Daily Digest. If you would like to contact him via email you can reach him at whipps15[at]gmail.com.


News and Notes: “Mannything Else in the News?”

March 7, 2009
Baker has developed into a true ace for the Twins (San Diego Shooter/Flickr).

Baker has developed into a true ace for the Twins (San Diego Shooter/Flickr).

We haven’t had too much in the way of updates around here lately as I’ve been working on some big projects as well as preparing for The Diamond Cutter‘s big move to their new home on the Bloguin network. More on this coming soon. But for now, on to the news!

• I’m not sure if you heard or not, but apparently Manny Ramirez signed with the Dodgers. Strange, I wasn’t aware he was a free agent. Go figure.

• The Twins closed the deal on a four year, $15.25 million deal with young stud pitcher Scott Baker. Not only is this great that they have locked him in for four years, but they did it relatively cheap. Baker was 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA last season with the Twins as he assumed the role of ace when the Twins needed one most. Look for more big things heading into 2009.

• Fragile shortstop Bobby Crosby has requested the A’s trade him since the signing of Orlando Cabrera. Apparently he wants to be traded to a club that needs a starting shortstop. My question is what team would want to invest in Crosby who a.) can’t stay healthy and b.) when he is healthy has put up horrible numbers? He has a career line of .239/.306/.380 and finally was able to play more than 100 games last season for the first time in four years. Can you imagine trying to sell that to your fan base? I just don’t know of a team that would sabotage themselves enough to trade for Crosby. Well except for the Pirates.

• I’m happy to see the Baltimore Orioles and Brian Roberts are working with Adam Jones on his base stealing abilities. I really see Jones as a huge breakout star this season as I think he’s right on the cusp of getting it. I see a .290/.360/.490 line with 20 homers, 80 RBI and 20 stolen bases. While those aren’t superstar numbers, I think it is a giant steps towards better things for Jones as well as the future of the Orioles.

Other than the WBC (which frankly bores me) and A-Rod’s injury (which bores me more and couldn’t happen to a better guy or team) that’s about all the news going on right now. This week we will begin the divisional previews as we grow closer and closer to the start of the 2009 season!

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
diamondcutter@columnist.com

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Top Prospect #17: Trevor Cahill

January 26, 2009

17
NAME: Trevor Cahill
POSITION: Pitcher
AGE: 20 | BATS: R | THROWS: R
ORGANIZATION: Oakland Athletics

2008 STATISTICS
LVL G IP W-L ERA SO GO/AO
MiLB 21 124.1 11-5 2.61 136 2.43

Scouting Report: Cahill is a very talented athlete (former shortstop) who has a lot going for him on the mound. He has plus makeup, plus stuff and plus mound presence which all goes into making him as dominating as he is. A large part of that domination comes from his plus-fastball which has mind-blowing sink to it. It is incredibly heavy and causes most hitters to swing right over it. He counters his fastball with a slider, curve and change. While Cahill doesn’t have the best control or feel for any of these pitches, he has vastly improved on them, particularly his change. Cahill is a workhorse and I project him to be better than his counterpart, Brett Anderson, and should be a top of the rotation pitcher very soon for the Athletics.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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Top Prospect #18: Brett Anderson

January 25, 2009

18
NAME: Brett Anderson
POSITION: Pitcher
AGE: 20 | BATS: L | THROWS: L
ORGANIZATION: Oakland Athletics

2008 STATISTICS
LVL G IP W-L ERA SO GO/AO
MiLB 20 105.0 11-5 3.69 118 1.92

Scouting Report: We saw an incredible improvement from Anderson from a year ago after showing a lot of growth on the mound. Anderson has always had superb command of his pitches and can work them on either side of the plate. His fastball saw a slight increase hitting as high as 95 mph but sitting more consistently in the low-90’s. What makes him even more effective is the fact that his secondary pitches – a curve, slider and change – can be used as both out pitches or thanks to his confidence in them, at any point in the count. At this point in time it’s difficult to project where he will fall in the rotation. Originally he looked to be a middle of the rotation guy, but thanks to his improvement in his fastball (and his command being his greatest asset) he is able reach higher as a top of the rotation starter.

By Matthew Whipps
The Diamond Cutter
Major & Minor League Baseball Columnist
mlbdiamondcutter@gmail.com | Facebook

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