E-MAILBAG: Ask the Reports, Wednesday May 4th

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We will be compiling a list of your questions from our e-mailbag and posting the responses on Wednesdays.


Wednesday May 4, 2011

Q:  Magglio Ordonez said today he is hitting with one leg.  The Tigers should put him on the DL. He looks horrible this year. From Garrett, Michigan

MLB reports:  No dispute from my end.  In 77 at bats this year, Ordonez is hitting .169 with a brutal .411 OPS.  No home runs and two RBIs.  Whatever the Tigers need to do to get him off the field, I say go for it.  Ordonez was coming off a decent 2010 campaign, where he hit .303, twelve home runs in 84 games with a .852 OPS.  But at 37 years old, there are few excuses for the once big time slugger who is starting to show his age and wear and tear.  Ordonez was lucky to get a contract with the Tigers for this year, who were planning to let him go after last season.  But his steady numbers warranted one more go around for them.  In my estimation, father time is calling and has Magglio’s number.  With a hurt ankle and pride still on the line, I would like to see Ordonez finish his career on a high note rather than hanging on for too long.  The DL is coming soon and retirement should not be far away from there.

Q:  Most underrated player in the AL? In your opinion?  Mine’s Maicer Izturis.  From Taryn, New Jersey

MLB reports: Izturis is a nice pick, with a .340 average, .897 OPS, 9 runs and 10 RBIs going into today’s action.  My pick is one of my favorite whipping boys, Jeff Francoeur of the Royals.  I am extremely hard on Jeff for his poor eye at the plate.  While he will never be Jose Bautista at the plate, Francouer is experiencing a career renaissance this year.  .315 average, .956 OPS, seven home runs, 23 RBIs and 19 Runs.  Francouer has seven walks to date which is on pace for a career high for him, but his twenty strikeouts are a little alarming.  Overall, Francouer has benefitted from playing with Gordon and Butler and has provided the steady veteran leadership that the team needed.  While I do not expect him to continue this pace, he is by far the most underrated player in the AL in 2011, rising from the scrap heap to glory overnight.

Q:  hows Danny Duffy been doing? What’s his chances of being brought up this year?  From Jory, Parts Unknown

MLB reports:  What a roller coaster this kid has been to-date.  From future game all-star appearance, to leaving camp to considering retirement last year to just coming off Pitcher of the Week honors in AAA.  The 3rd round pick from 2007 has been lights out this year.  In five AAA starts, Duffy is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 6/33 BB/K ratio.  Imagine, 33 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched.  Outstanding.  Duffy played in four levels last year and has risen quickly through the Royals system.  At 22 years of age, he has a career 2.51 ERA and 1.093 WHIP.  How he ever feel to the 3rd round is beyond me.  After top prospect Grant Desme left the A’s last year to enter the priesthood and the psychological issues faced by ex-Royal Zack Greinke early in his career, the Royals have to be pleased that Duffy has been so consistently solid to-date. 

Two areas of concern though exist.  Firstly, the Royals will be careful not to bring Duffy up to quickly and burn him out.  They will want to see him excel over a long period in AAA before making the call.  Secondly, he has only pitched 26 innings in five starts and will need to build up his arm strength and endurance to be ready for the majors.  At the pace that Duffy is going and the Royals sitting above .500, the Royals cannot keep Duffy down for much longer.  With Eric Hosmer tearing up AAA as well (see yesterday’s feature), I can see the two top prospects coming to Kansas City at the same time, earliest  by the end of this month and latest July.  Duffy is likely to have little prove at AAA this year and is earning his shot.  Expect him to get it soon.

Q:  With Jesus Montero’s D such an issue, why not let the kid move to DH or 1B and just let him focus on hitting? From Rick, New York

MLB reports:  A good question that many baseball analysts have asked:  What to do with Jesus Montero?  If it were up to me, I would leave at catcher for as long as possible. Here are factors to consider.  The Yankees have one of the best all around first basemen in the game right now, Mark Teixeira who is signed to a long-term deal.  Russell Martin is the current Yankees catcher, who is still young and has turned around his career.  Martin is under team control until 2012 and based on his current play, will possibly be signed to another contract by the Yankees in the future.  The Yankees have additional catching prospects in the wings, Francisco Cervelli, Gary Sanchez and Austine Romine.  With no opening at first base and a logjam at catcher, the only opening appears to be DH.  Here are my thoughts:  Installing Montero as a full-time DH is the worst case scenario.  If the Yankees keep him and do not feel that he is their best option at catcher, DH is already an option.  But to groom him at this point to be a future first baseman or DH doesn’t make sense.  Montero at 21 would have his development stunted by moving from catcher to a non-essential position.  Plus his trade value would plummet. 

The Yankees need a top starting pitcher in the worst way and Jesus Montero is their best shot at one.  Montero’s highest trade value will be at catcher and that is where the Yankees will keep him.  If the defensive position does not work out, Montero could easily transition to first or DH, as these are not difficult areas to adapt to.  But if Montero is to bring strong trade value back for the Yankees or even have a shot as their future catcher, New York must leave him as a catcher in the minors.  After 21 home runs last year in AAA, Montero is currently hitting .373 in his second go-around in AAA.  The 2/16 BB/K ratio is a concern, as his only one home run on the season.  But recall, Montero started off slowly last year and finished the year strong.  The bat was never of concern for Montero and he will continue to hit no matter where he plays defensively.  The key is to maximum his value at this moment.

Q:  Looking at Dodgers minor league players. What do you think of Rubby De La Rosa? From Larry, Laughlin

MLB reports:  We end this week’s e-mailbag with #1 fan Larry, a big Dodgers fan and his finding of Rubby De La Rosa.  The 22-year-old Dominican pitcher is the 90th ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America.  After a solid 2010 playing in 2 levels, De La Rosa is back for his first full year in AA.  The numbers are there:  2-1 record in 4 starts, 3.38 ERA and 8/29 BB/K ratio.  The 29 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings is phenomenal, although his 1.359 WHIP is a little high.  In his 5th minor league season, De La Rosa will be brought along slowly and will play most of the year at AA.  I could see him brought to AAA near the end of the year, with a chance to make the Dodgers in 2012.  The kid has a bright future, no doubt.  Baseball America ranks him high on the top prospect list for a reason.  At 6’1″ and 185 pounds, he could stand to fill out a little bit and gain better control.  The sky is the limit, as we could be seeing the next Pedro/Ramon Martinez.  The Dodgers have always been great at finding and developing Dominican pitchers.  De La Rosa should be next in line and provided he stays healthy, should see time in the majors by next year.  Great find Larry, this kid is a keeper.

Thanks for the e-mails and keep them coming!

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Posted on May 4, 2011, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Very good questions this week. Thanks for answering my question. Watched Rubby pitch the other day in a minor league game shown on TV. Kid has a great fastball. Will be another great Latin player coming up through the Dodgers minor league system. As for the Yankee’s catcher’s in the minors, I was reading someplace that they might move Jesus Montero to the outfield. That might get him to the majors faster. Thanks again for all you do.

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