Interview with Astros Prospect Albert Cartwright

Albert Cartwright is one of my favorite prospects in Baseball and he is one of the best prospects in a much improved Houston Astros farm system. The speedy and versatile 5 tool player did a great job with this interview and I hope you enjoy it.

Me: Talk to me about the transition from Lancaster to Corpus Christi and what adjustments you had to make.

Albert: Lancaster was a good league with alot of good pitchers but i thought when i got to Corpus the pitcher had a better plan and didnt stray away from it until you made the adjust

 
Me: Describe what you think is the biggest part of your game and how you can improve upon it.

Albert: biggest part of my game is my speed so i try to work it into my game the best that i can meaning; taking the extra base, bunting ,tagging up when necessary anyway i can make the defense uncomfortable that’s how i try  to play this game of baseball

 
Me: You set the Cal League record for most triples in a game. Whats a record you’d like to break at the Major League level?

Albert: setting a cali league record is a big accomplishment that i cherish dearly and my biggest concern is to help a team win at the major league level but if any record stands out at me is the stolen base record

 
Me: What are some of the highlights of the ’10 season for you?

Albert: two highlights that stand out to me from 2010 is the game i set the record for most triples and the game i hit my first career walk off base hit.
i can remember coming to the plate my third at bat thinking if im going to get anything to hit and after i hit another tripple hearing the cheers from the crowd and my biggest accomplishment of 2010 is hitting a walk off to win the game bottom of the 9th at home. walking to the plate telling myself just get a good pitch over the plate and sure enough i got a curveball down the middle

 
Me: What are some things you’re doing this off-season and how can that prepare you for Spring Training and the upcoming season?

Albert: preparing my self mental and physically to endure the the long brutal season ahead of me. pushing yourself in the gym and putting time on the field and in the batting cages. putting in time gets me ready for the season

Me: You were drafted in the 36th round and are now one of the Astros better prospects. Describe the journey it’s been all the way from Polk College to where you are now and did you have to turn many heads after getting drafted much later than most?

Albert: getting drafted in later rounds is definitely harder . you dont get the chance or opportunities a early round pick would get so it puts more pressure on you to perform but i would say once you go out and do what you got to do on and off the field your chance will come where you can show your talent now once you get ya chance to show what you can do you have to run with it and i think with the opportunities i got i turn a few heads. polk community college baseball program led by former head coach Joe Arnold and assissant coach Brian Kraft  got me prepare and help shape my overall game to take it to the next level and by listen to the Houston Astros coaching staff and putting everything together help mold my game to what it is now.

 
Me: Who are some of your biggest idols and do you ever seek help from current Astros?

Albert: My biggest idols i would say is my mother Patricia Cartwright and my father Albert Cartwright. I learned early in my life just by watching them go out and handle there business waking up early in the morning before the sunrise in the morning just to provide for me and my brother Cyril and sister Amanda. my parents did what it takes just to make sure that we had anything they didn’t had as a child and i commend them for that. past two season i had the the opportunity to have the same manager Tom Lawless who i look up to and who helps me out with my overall game from hitting to defense 

 
Me: Toughest pitcher you’ve faced in college and in the minors?

Albert: toughest pitcher i faced in my short career i would say is Matt Latos when i was as at Polk and he was at Broward community college

 
Me: When going through the draft process, which team were you hoping would draft you, and was the signing process somewhat hard or lengthy?

Albert: during the draft process it was more of a wait to see who will take me more than i hope a certain team. the signing process was a bit lengthy but nothing to bad i was leaning more on going back to school and signing in 07 so after a week or two after being selected by the Astros i had a conversation with my dad Albert Cartwright and after that i decided ill sign with the Houston Astros

Me: Talk to me about your teammate, J.D. Martinez

Albert: J.D is a good friend of mine with a good work ethic and talent. the times he spend studying pitching and hitting in the cage is amazing to be on a team with him and to workout with him in off season is a privilege just to be able to learn and to know what he is thinking at times although he is still you young and has alot more baseball to play and much more to learn he is an amazing talent

 

A Royals fan from NY

                First and foremost, as most of you can imagine, right about now is the perfect time to be a fan of the Kansas City Royals. The picturesque Royal blue and gold logo is starting to look much more blue and plenty golder. Obviously, so is the future of the Kansas City Royals.

                Being someone who can’t locally celebrate the debuts of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Wil Myers (unless they are in debuting in NY), it’s just amazing to feel the fact that we are finally going to be relevant among those who only have bad things to say about the Royals who have obviously not been an exciting Major League team over the past 20 years. Now, can any of you think about 5 other Baseball topics that are more exciting than the Royals future?

                In my opinion, the big trade of Yuniesky Betancourt over the weekend (joking, we will miss you Zack) added to the future. I’m not going to say that the 4 newest Royals youngsters are better than the Royals top 5, because they are not, but we’re looking at 4 tremendously exciting young players who will certainly have an impact on the potential winning teams of the future Royals. Not only that, but we got 4 great guys.

                Again, as Greg pointed out on his radio show earlier, in which he did a great job doing, me being in NY I could obviously choose to like the Yankees who exemplify winning (not in the prettiest of ways) or even the Washington Nationals who showed some promise by signing a big time free agent this off-season. I could even like the Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Tigers, or Mets; 5 teams with exciting players and are much more “local” than my favorite team of them all, the Kansas City Royals. And for that exact reason; It’s the love and hope of what will eventually come to be winning Baseball and much more than that at the very least.

                Of course I get made fun and viewed strangely when stating my opinion on my favorite team, but to encourage and promise everyone that the Royals are and will be relevant is something I love to do! I was in school today, and my science class was watching Chicken Run. So while they were focused on that, I was putting together my Royals top 40 prospect list. When I came to 40, I said to myself: “wait a second, that can’t be right? I left off so many prospects. So then I expanded it to a top 50 and after that, I still forgot Elisaul Pimentel and other exciting young Royals who may definitely have a major impact on the Kansas City Royals future.

                And even with the top 10 prospects. You hear everyone saying “oh well the Royals 2011 season is for not they aren’t going to do anything.” Well theres a chance the season doesn’t finish with the Royals over .500, but how great and exciting will it be to see the debuts of Mike Moustakas, Tim Collins, Danny Duffy, and possibly Eric Hosmer! It’s going to be amazing and I certainly can not wait!

My top 10:

Eric Hosmer

Mike Moustakas

Wil Myers

Mike Montgomery

John Lamb

Jeremy Jeffress

Chris Dwyer

Christian Colon

Danny Duffy

Jake Odorizzi

               

Should the A’s try to lock up Josh Willingham? What will it cost?

Billy Beane has done his best to add power to an A’s lineup that was nearly worst in the American League each of the past three seasons. And today, he not only acquired a power hitter in Josh Willingham, but an on-base machine as well. As we’ve witnessed nearly every off-season when it comes to the A’s, it’s been a huge struggle attracting big name free agents to the Bay Area, or at least one side of the Bay Area. And as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweeted today, a contract extension may very well be possible. Thus, my question is, can the A’s lock up Josh Wilingham after acquiring him in the same off-season a la Dan Uggla? If so, what will it cost the A’s?

Willingham has made nearly $10MM in his Major League career. The most he was paid in a season was obviously in ’10, $4.6MM. The career .265 hitter has a .378 on base percentage over the past two seasons, his two years on the Washington Nationals and although his UZR is -10.0 over the last two seasons, he can boast about a 5.2 WAR over his aforementioned cup of tea with the Nats. 

There’s one close to perfect comparison for Willingham. That would be Corey Hart.

Corey is perhaps the best comparable for Willingham. Both are very similar players and Hart is being paid $6.5MM in ’11, $9MM in ’12, and $10MM in ’13. That’s exactly what I would pay Josh Willingham over the next 3 years. Willingham gets on base more than Hart, but both have very similar power and are both equally not so spectacular defenders, as their respective UZR’s over the past two years would suggest. Josh Willingham has hit .264 over the past two years while Hart has hit a very similar .262. With all of that said, Willingham has a higher runs created and weighted on base average during his Nationals stint, something that Billy Beane surely has in mind. Both strike out the same amount (JW 23% and CH 22.9%) and are equally slow, hence their lousy play in the outfield.

Here’s a WAR Graph comparing the duo’s cumulative WAR by age, courtesy of Fangraphs.

 

 


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Furthermore, what will an extension for the A’s newly acquired left fielder cost? He is three years older than Hart, but continues to outplay the Brewers slugger.

 


Marlins_Josh_Willingham463.JPGPersonally, I think a 3 year deal worth $28MM would be fair. Being paid $6MM in ’11, $9MM in ’12, and $13MM in ’13. Willingham has shown tremendous improvement since being traded from the Marlins along with Scott Olsen in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers. Even if an extension doesn’t go through or get decided upon, the A’s have a much improved lineup for the 2011 season headlined by new acquisitions David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui. Not to mention another year of experience for Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden to go along with a fantastic bullpen which is highlighted by Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, and Brad Ziegler. Continuing, I really like the A’s chances in 2011 and most of my confidence in their chances to win the division come from the new acquisition and this entry’s centric, Josh Willingham.

 

 

How can Rich Harden be Rich Harden again?

If anybody has heard yet, that Cliff Lee guy signed with the Phillies. The Rangers, who had hoped the ace left hander would stay in the Lone Star State, chose otherwise, leaving a big hole in the Texas rotation. So there has been plenty of talk about signing Rafael Soriano and pitching him in the 9th thus sending Neftali Feliz to the rotation. Like Rich Harden, who is the centric of this entry, Feliz has tremendous stuff. Would it really make sense to put a closer who was dominant through 70-80 innings in a rotation where he would pitch 200 innings and have all of the opposing hitters get used to his fastball and curve? Or does it make sense to keep him in the closer role where he can empty everything out in one inning?

Well Rich Harden is apparently in talks with his former team, the Swingin’ A’s on what would most likely be a one year deal with plenty of incentives. The real question is, will he be starting or relieving?

Personally, Rich Harden is one of my favorite pitchers. He can’t stay healthy, but when he is healthy, he’s sometimes unhitable. Other times, he doesn’t miss bats and gets in to lots of trouble with opposing hitters. So like someone like Clay Hensley for example, does moving to the pen take pressure off of not only you, but your manager, and your teamates. I could see Harden succeeding in the 5th spot in the A’s rotation, but there are definetly some pros about possibly setting up for Andrew Bailey. In fact, say the aformentioned Feliz pitched in the rotation this year and pitches quite well, can Harden join a teams rotation in ’12 after expierence in the pen and pitch a decent 180 innings? I’m not sure, but the problem again for Harden has not been the fact that he can’t pitch well, it’s about staying healthy. In 2008, he was dominant. It would be great to see him get back to that form, but for now, I think a place like Oakland, even though things didn’t end well, would be a fine fit for him unlike Colorado or any other team in the west. I thought a la Clay Hensley, the Marlins would be a great fit on a minor league deal and a chance to make the rotation, but it looks like he’s close to a deal with the A’s. Let’s just hope that Rich Harden can be Rich Harden again. 

Zack Greinke’s Trade Value

By Dave Gershman

There has been a ton of talk about Greinke this off-season, and there has been even more talk about the kind of return he’d demand. Well a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber is likely to bring back several potential superstars in return. Personally, I think he’d bring back at least two top 50 prospects, and two more top 100 prospects. From talking to scouts, writers, and other experts, that is very in line with Dayton Moore’s fruitful beliefs in what he’d get from other teams for the young ace.

Something that many don’t realize, Zack Greinke had a fine season in 2010, despite a 10-14 record and an ERA over 4. Also keep in mind, that many internet junkies will suggest that Chris Narveson had a better season based on wins than the Greinkmeister, but not exactly. Zack was extremely unlucky this year. The Royals defense and offense on Greinke’s starts were horrid. He was 11th in MLB among pitchers in WAR this year (5.2) and was 20th among qualified pitchers in FIP (3.34). His slider and change up were also extremely effective in ’10.

So what will Zack Greinke bring back you ask? Well here’s what I expect. From looking at the returns of Roy Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez who were under contract for one season at the time of their trade, their respective teams acquired Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis D’Arnaud and Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, and Reymond Fuentes. Both of those are somewhat even in my opinion. So would it make sense to say that a Zack Greinke return would require that, plus a prospect and a half in terms of value? Say Casey Kelly and co. were still on the Red Sox. I guess what I am refering to as equal value for Greinke would be the afformentioned A-Gon return, plus either Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Rice or Jose Iglesias and Ryan Kalish. Again, just using that as an example. So what would that translate to?

Cubs: Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Hak-Ju Lee, and Chris Archer

Dodgers: Dee Gordon, Trayvon Robinson, Allen Webster, and Kenley Jansen

Rangers: Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Jurrickson Profar

Some who I’ve approached about those potential offers have said the Royals would need more in return, and some have said that would be an overpayment. The former are the majority. I guess the big question is, with Greinke’s mental state, would a new team motivate him 80% more than the 2010 Royals did? I certainly think so. According to Rany Jazayerli, a Royals expert, In Greinke’s magical 2009 campaign, he got off to a great start large in part because of his fellow teamates, who were exceptional throughout the first month and a half of the season. Then the Royals started to play as well as an under-12 softball team, and Greinke was underperforming a great deal. And then in mid-august when he realized that he was in the Cy Young mix, he stepped it up enough to compile the best September ERA in Baseball. So I do think motivation plays a factor when it comes to teams banking on his mental state to be much better on a new team; I think he will perform fine and feel much more comfortable.

The rumors are still dwindling and Cliff Lee is still on the market. As long as he is still a free agent, Zack Greinke is still a Kansas City Royal. There are strong indications that Greinke will be traded very soon, thus to add to the flux of impressive minor league talent in the higher levels of the organization. No doubt about it, the ongoing Greinke rumors and potential trade of Zack, will be extremely exciting.

SPANdemonium Ranked 7th In Month of November!

This is what the memo said by the MLBlogosphere

“The first month of the offseason was an eventful one for the Latest Leaders. We saw big jumps from SPANdemonium and White Elephant Parade into the Top 20, while Hands off my Pirates Booty and Blogging Dodgers and Baseball made their comebacks. There also were debuts by the likes of baseballqueen and This is a very simple game…

Here are your Novembe 2010 Latest Leaders, based on traffic from November 1-30:

FANS
1. Confessions of a She-Fan
2. Rays Renegade
3. Red State Blue State
4. Rockpile Rant
5. Unfinished Business
6. The Future Blog of the Red Sox
7. SPANdemonium
8. Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
9. Yankee Yapping
10. The Closer
11. Yankees Chick
12. Phillies Phollowers
13. Random Thoughts About the San Francisco Giants
14. Julia’s Rants
15. Hands off my Pirates Booty
16. I’m Not A Headline Guy…
17. Blogging Dodgers and Baseball
18. Cook & Son Bats’ Blog
19. The Pittsburgh Peas
20. White Elephant Parade
21. Amazine
22. Well Played Mauer
23. FutureAngels.com
24. Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World
25. Baseball Canadiana
26. Counting Baseballs
27. Live, Eat, and Breathe Yankees
28. The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived
29. Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts
30. The Love of The Game
31. Fear the Blog
32. West Coast Fan[girl]
33. Linea de Primera
34. The Phanatic Addict
35. Sports Propaganda
36. The Cub Den
37. Perpetual Padres Saga
38. Baseball, Apple Pie, and Lobster
39. Art of the Pale Hose
40. Breakin Down the Braves
41. Strictly Cubs Baseball
42. This is a very simple game…
43. Bjarkman’s Latino and Cuban League Baseball History Page
44. La Pagina de Tony Menendez
45. (:> Bird Brained
46. The Yankee Dinosaur
47. Phillies Outside
48. The Official Scorer
49. baseballqueen
50. Homer, Blue Jays and MLB”

 

Thanks you everybody for the support and keep reading!

Should the Mets sign Jesse Crain?

The off-season is still really in it’s early stages, but the Mets have been connected to pretty much every relief pitcher on the market. They signed D.J. Carrasco which I think will turn out to be a tremendoud signing; Mets relievers did a horrible job in the middle to late innings in ’10.

I’m thinking the Mets should consider Jesse Crain for the later innings on a multi-year deal. Not only is there not much to lose, but if Crain continues to dwindle on the market due to being a Type A, his price will eventually come down as we soon approach the magical day of the first day of Spring Training.

Among other choices, are Grant Balfour and our good friend Pedro Feliciano. But I think Crain fits the bill. A big ballpark for a strikeout and fly ball pitcher will do the Mets wonders as they attemp to patch up the later innings and not blow a win for Johan, Pelf, or Niese.

Keep in mind, he won’t be any less effective than Joaquin Beniot over his respective three years.

Just a thought, but I’d like the to see if the Mets will consider Crain, who is a great guy and a tremendous hard throwing late inning reliever.