WTNYAugust 30, 2004
My Kind of Notes
By Bryan Smith

First of all, I would not suggest to any reader to buy a Dell. After ordering my computer almost a month ago, I'm expecting the computer to come any day now. Three weeks late, forcing me to use a friend's computer to stay afloat in blogdom. Yikes.

- After writing about the possibility of Stephen Drew returning to Florida State University, Baseball America reported that the Diamondbacks upped their offer for the star shortstop. My guess is that Drew will sign in the neighborhood of $5 million, meaning another victory for Scott Boras. I still don't see the advantage of signing amateurs to Major League contracts, especially due to the Wily Mo Pena factor. Oh wait, he's not a valid example anymore.

If Drew does sign, the Diamondbacks have more decision-making with their first pick next year. Upton would appear to be the logical pick, though Sergio Santos and Drew already provide a lot of shortstop depth. But because both Santos and Drew have been questioned on defense, it's still very likely that Justin Upton will be playing in Phoenix before too long.

- Here's a quick update on the top ten picks of the 2004 amateur draft:

1. Matt Bush- .181/.302/.236 in 72 AZL AB
2. Justin Verlander- Unsigned
3. Phillip Humber- Unsigned
4. Jeff Niemann- Unsigned
5. Mark Rogers- 0-3 4.73 30/26.2 34/14 (AZL)
6. Jeremy Sowers- Just Signed
7. Homer Bailey- 0-1 4.38 14/12.1 9/3 (AZL)
8. Wade Townsend- Unsigned
9. Chris Nelson- .339/.438/.492 in 124 PIO AB
10. Thomas Diamond- 1-0 1.69 12/26.2 36/6 (MID)

San Diego's justification for Matt Bush is becoming less and less credible, with Bush showing talent and character issues within two months of being drafted. Diamond looks like the best choice, and could reach the Majors by 2006 if handled correctly. But Jamey Newberg recently pointed out in e-mail that with Fuson leaving, the workload of Texas prospects has increased. That's bad news for Diamond, Danks and Hudgins.

There is a reason the four unsigned players are college pitchers: they are college pitchers. All four had hefty workloads, and as Kenny Baugh will tell you, Rice pitchers could always use the extra time off. Negotiations with these four will likely heat up in early September, so they could make stops in the Instructional League before shutting it down.

- Memo to Mets fans: keep your heads up. First, Yusmeiro Petit has shown no sign of slowing down, and has now been promoted to AA. Petit's first start looked like his Sally League lines: four hits, no walks, ten strikeouts in seven innings. Only Jose Capellan has seen a rise like Petit, moving up three levels in one season. Over at the Raindrops, Avkash posted a scouting report one of his readers gave him. Good stuff, and if minor league viewers ever want to talk about players, please let this site be your venue. With respect to Lastings Milledge, there is really no question that Petit is the Mets top player.

As if the Mets needed more reason to be happy, Scott Kazmir was lit up in his second start as a Major Leaguer. The A's had nine hits off the 20-year-old in only three innings, as Kazmir allowed five earned runs while striking out only two. His problem isn't stuff, it's location. This is why after looking at the first start of Kazmir, and the first of Jeff Francis, I had to predict more success for the latter. Kazmir's control problems continued, and again not in the form of walks, but too many pitches. Tampa's prodigy threw 71 pitches in three innings, largely because he had only 48 strikes.

And finally, as my friend breathes down my neck, is my current top 5:

1. Andy Marte
2. Felix Hernandez
3. Delmon Young
4. Dallas McPherson
5. Matt Cain



How high has Petit moved up? Other than Hernandez and Cain, is there any minor league starter you'd rather have?

Good question. It's really easy to get excited about Petit, because basically every peripheral number has been great this season. But, to keep things in perspective, he's had one start in AA. If he gets five or six in, and can keep his ERA below 3.00, then you can start to get really excited.

As for me, I have Petit currently as the fourth best pitching prospect in the minors. The edge goes to Dan Meyer, pitching well in AAA after dominating the Southern League. Meyer is left-handed, which is probably what gives him the edge. The fact that Petit is currently over Jose Capellan speaks favorably for Yusmeiro.

In 10 years, I'm going to look either ridiculously smart or ridiculously stupid when it comes to Dallas McPherson.

BA seems to consider Ian Stewart on the same level as Young. Where do you have Stewart amongst 3B and overall prospects?

Also, BA when they did their 3B prospect rankings, had Duncan at 9th or 10th. Where do you have him?

In my opinion, putting Stewart in the same pile as Young is ludicrous. There is a growing gap between the top three and everyone else, and an ever larger gap after the top five or six. I would have Stewart somewhere 8-12, recognizing a hitter's park but admitting he still has huge power potential.

As for Duncan, I have him as my sixth overall third basemen. Before him are Marte, McPherson, Stewart, Encarnacion and Jeff Baker. He doesn't get a lot of attention, which is bad for the Yankees who love to hype their prospects for trade value purposes. It will come though, believe me.