As you know, Lance Berkman will be out for at least 6 months, and we may not be able to resign Carlos Beltran. The good news is that Jason Lane will finally be freed. The bad news is that not only will we be stuck with Craig Biggio and his horrible defense, we will need a right fielder. I’ve spent the past week looking at our AAA and AA teams to see what we might could have, and believe me, it’s not good news. No glove guys, and definitely, no bat to replace a guy who has been in the top 10 in OPS and RCAA for the past 4 years.
AAA New Orleans is mostly career minor leaguers – only 2 players had an OPS over 750
-Ryan Thompson, OF, age 35, several MLB callups, not very good
-Kyle Logan OF, age 29, career OPS 650
-Phil Hyatt, OF, age 35, career minor leaguer
-Mike Hill, OF, age 28, first year at AAA, OPS 726, no power
-Mike Coolbaugh, age 32, 3B, several brief callups, career minor leaguer
-Emil Brown, age 29, hits well in AAA (940 OPS,) hasn’t hit well in 3 MLB callups (ave .210, with Pitt)
-Alex Eckleman, age 30, 2B but can play 3rd and OF
-Royce Huffman, age 27, 1B – (unfortunately for him) – OPS 843 with a .393 OBP, 32 2B, 10 HR, 71 BB, 94 K – and he’s a Houston boy, too (and we sure do love our homies.) Too bad he can’t play the OF because he’s just had his second year in AAA and he looks decent.
And a couple possibles -
-Jason Alfaro, age 26, IF (bad glove, just what we don’t need) hit .325, 363 OBP, 840 OPS, 32 2B, 13 HR 26 BB, 58 K, 3 SB, 6 CS – don’t know if he can play OF..
-Eric Bruntlett age 26, who already has seen MLB playing time, mostly at SS, good basestealer with an OK glove (maybe he can be a utility guy to replace Vizcaino) and bat kinda the usual for a middle infielder. Don’t know if he can play OF.
-Tommy Whiteman, age 25, who was just called up to AAA this year, had 98 AB and hit .276 – nothing special\
AA Round Rock has a few possibilities -
-Charlton Jimerson (was supposed to be the next great thing 2 years ago) age 25, OF, just finished first year in AA – didn’t do so well – 704 OPS,22 doubles, 18 HR, 31BB, 163 K – so forget it…you can only get away with that many Ks if you hit a LOT of HR. Don’t know about his glove.
-Todd Self, age 25, OF, also first year AA – 880 OPS with a 420 OBP!!!, 89 BB, 95 K, 34 2B and 11 HR- looks as if he already has decent plate discipline, so why do we never hear about THIS guy? I guess he’s too old. or something – wonder how his glove is
-Mike Rodriguez, OF, age 23, was 2nd round in 2001 – was supposed to be another next big thing – he spent some time in the indys this year- don’t know why, but in AA, he had a 728 OPS, 39 BB and 59 K in 250 AB…
-Willy Taveras, OF, age 23,who we got from the Indians for Jeriome Robertson, hit 335 with a 788 OPS, 13 2B, 2 HR, 38 BB and 76 K in 409 AB. From what I’ve seen of him, he definitely needs more time in the minors. Definitely.
-Luke Scott, OF, age 26, first year in AA – got a late start in OB because he didn’t finish college until age 23, and was also out a year with TJ surgery - but he sure is doing well – in 208 AB, he has a 1055 OPS and a 401 OBP.
I don’t have any information about their fielding, but Todd Self and Luke Scott look like they might could be something. They probably won’t get much of a chance because of the age discrimination problems – it’s incredibly hard to get promoted to the majors if you’re over like 26. Why they prefer some guy who is already there who sucks instead of taking a chance on someone “too old” who doesn’t, I don’t know… And I wish I knew exactly why a certain player gets “the next big thing” label when other guys look better…
But this is it. IT. So we have NO major league OF waiting in AAA and who knows if the AA guys could make it. This means either we have to sign some FA to be a 1 year guy while waiting for Lance to be ready, or go with some guy from AA, and if we do, just forget resigning Carlos. Not that anyone except Peter Gammons thinks we have any chance of doing it…..
Oh, forget Alfaro – he just signed with the Blue Jays. They can DH him and his bad glove won’t matter….