Stephen emailed me a link to a Twitter status update this weekend that had some far-reaching implications. It was one from Dallas Keuchel, where he was being all sorts of sarcastic about the Astros plans to promote him to Corpus.
Of course, days later, Keuchel is indeed moved up a level and announced his move on Twitter. As far as I can tell, the club has yet to make the move official, but it marks a brave new world for baseball followers. See, Twitter for me took off in usefulness during the 2009 Winter Meetings. That's when most of the news and rumors was broken through it. I've been hooked ever since, following all manner of baseball people and staying just ahead of the latest news stories.
The only thing baseball on Twitter lacked were players. Sure, there were hosts of beat writers, columnists and yahoos like me on there talking baseball, but relatively few actual players. All that appears like it could drastically change in the coming years.
My jump off point was Keuchel's account, but in going back through his tweets, I found the accounts for Jay Austin, Mike Modica, my boy David Berner, Brandon Barnes and David Duncan. Who knows how many more players will begin tweeting in the minors? After all, it's a technological invention they've been using for a while now. It's just another way for them to interact with friends.
It seems like we may have an unprecedented look into these players' lives currently, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Right now, these guys don't have very many followers at all. They have maybe 10 or 20 followers right now, and are basically just talking about stuff like friends would. It feels a little weird for me to be looking in on that world and different in many regards to the Twitter presence of someone like Braves rookie Jason Heyward or A's reliever Brad Ziegler.
Still, it does provide some hilarious commentary on the minor league experience. Keuchel's tweets combined with Berner's, Barnes' and Austin's really paint a bleak picture of the town of Lancaster. It's pretty much universally disliked by these guys for one reason or another. I'm sure Keuchel couldn't wait to get to the more picturesque Corpus Christi and I was reminded on more than one occasion of Bull Durham in reading their tweets.
Following the minors has always been fun for me, but this new window into that experience has too much potential for me not to love it immediately.
Rundown of all the recent minor league moves: It was a busy week for prospect promotions, as Astros County nailed a few of them and guys got moved around or released by the droves. Let's summarize all those movements in a one, handy place:
Outfielder J.D. Martinez promoted from Lexington to Corpus Christi
Infielder Marcos Cabral placed on the inactive list
Reliever Danny Meszaros promoted from Corpus Christi to Round Rock
Reliever Arcenio Leon promoted from Lexington to Corpus Christi
Reliever Erik Stiller was released by Corpus Christi
Starter Dallas Keuchel promoted from Lancaster to Corpus Christi
Reliever Gary Majewski promoted from Round Rock to Houston
Reliever Casey Daigle designated for assignment
Reliever Brenden Stines promoted from Tri-City to Lexington
Outfielder Renzo Tello promtoed from Tri-City to Lexington
Designated hitter Rafael Valenzuela promoted from GCL Astros to Greeneville
Starter B.J. Hyatt activated from the disabled list
More notes on Valley Cats: You guys turned me onto this wonderful site on the MLBlogs network about the Tri-City ValleyCats. There's many, many posts worth of good information in here, but I thought this latest one was worth highlighting.
The thing that good scouting reports show us that other do not is stuff like "Tyler Burnett has good power to left-center field" or the absolute blasts that Chris Wallace hits. I really liked their reports on Dan Adamson, and will definitely be following him more closely, as he seems to be exactly the kind of outfielder Heck and Co. prefer.
Along those lines, I also wanted to pass along a first-hand scouting report from Greeneville by reader Wil. He emailed me these thoughts this weekend and I though them good enough to share with you.
I was really impressed with Velasquez. His motion is very smooth and with very little wasted motion... at least on his plus fastball, sinker, and slider/curve. His change is a work in progress... his mechanics are out of whack and it looks like the timing of the parts of his motion on the change are all over the place. If he learns how to throw the change with the same motion as his fastball and really learns to command/trust it, he's going to be upwardly mobile. It could be as simple as he can't quite find the release point and his arm is coming through late. From the looks of things, he's too good for this league already, since he actually got a guy out with that change, warts and all. Burlington didn't come close to hitting him on Wed.
Castillo is an arm injury waiting to happen. all arm in his motion and his lower body is going completely the wrong direction... perpendicular to the pitch. He throws hard but he'll be inconsistent and injury-prone unless they can straighten him out.
Streilein is obviously a more polished player... college guy. He seems to have a closer's mentality and that appears to be how they're going to use him in Greeneville this summer. (on Wednesday, his offense scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th, and he was miffed that he wouldn't get the save chance he wanted. "You guys are taking away the fun.", he deadpanned. I can't decide if the hitch in his motion where he holds the ball in his glove for an extra beat is deceptive or awkward. It seems to work for him but it looks like it costs him momentum to the plate. He's polished and has decent stuff; remains to be seen if he's prospect material.
By the way, Wallace hit an impressive home run to the opposite field... close to 400' the other way. Beautiful minor league ballpark... you should come and see it sometime.
Clarification on scouting methods: When I posted the link to Jiovanni Mier's scouting report over at Scouting the Sally, there were some very good comments and critiques brought up about it. That may have been one of the reasons why the site posted this FAQ-style rundown of his scouting reports.
It's an interesting insight into how he does his job and why. Does it change your take on his take on Mier? Does it provide any explanation on his views?
Evaluating Cliff Lee to the Rangers: Again, not going to spend much time on this, but I found it really interesting to read this analysis of the Cliff Lee trade using Victor Wang's research. I can't remember if I posted it here or not, but there were a series of posts over at Beyond the Box Score recently focused on tightening up Wang's research.
Basically, the premise that wins cost the same each year in free agency isn't very true, and so the authors sought to correct for these variables. They put together some good research and helped update the Trade Calculator a little. If you're interested in geeking out over trades and prospects, it's must-read stuff. I'll definitely start incorporating that into my analysis in the future.