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More draft prep: Organizational reset

The purpose here is two-fold, to review the assets the organization has, from the major league club and down, and to reset how the farm system looks about a third of the way through the season and heading into the draft.

Here are the major league contracts (source:

On last year of deal, FA to be:
Eric Gagne
Kenny Lofton
Ron Mahay
Sammy Sosa
Brad Wilkerson

On a deal with multiple years left:
Hank Blalock: signed through 2008, club option for 2009
Vicente Padilla: signed through 2009, club option for 2010
Frank Catalanotto: signed through 2009, club option for 2010
Kevin Millwood: signed through 2010 (2010 could still be voidable)
Michael Young: signed through 2013

Arbitration players this offseason:
Joaquin Benoit: arb through 2008
Mark Teixeira: arb through 2008
Akinori Otsuka: arb through 2009
Marlon Byrd: arb through 2010
Frank Francisco: arb through 2010
Gerald Laird: arb through 2010

Pre-arbitration major league players (of any significance):
Brandon McCarthy - disappointing beginning with some promising starts mixed in, now blister problems
Kam Loe - looking more and more like a middle reliever
Ian Kinsler - very tough May, still a big asset
Rob Tejeda - inconsistent but looks to me like a rotation cog of some kind
Nelson Cruz - very disappointing .203/.264/.331 line but has shown recent signs of life...not looking like a starting future OF
CJ Wilson - fans requests that he get a starting look are gathering steam...he's definitely a staff cog though, one of the bright spots
Victor Diaz - outperforming Cruz but that 0/17 BB/SO ratio just won't cut it, nor will the accompanying sub-.300 OBP
Wes Littleton - Washington doesn't seem to like him, but he's a pen guy for the future
Chris Stewart - not a huge factor but holding up okay as a backup catcher
Scott Feldman - has taken a step back with tough spring and needs to regroup
John Koronka - one so-so start but we'll see more of him, really pitching pretty poorly in AAA

AAA Oklahoma Redhawks:
Jason Botts - very slow start but red hot at the moment, should see him before too long
Josh Rupe - pretty mediocre in rotation but not horrible, now has gone down with "elbow soreness"
Tug Hulett - started lights out and has faded some, still having a really nice first AAA season
Kevin Mahar - promoted after some time in AA, then got the call to the majors briefly and showed he wasn't to a good start in AAA and still hold promise of possibly a reserve OF
Freddie Guzman - disappointing offensive season, doesn't look like a serious prospect right now
Nate Gold - not the 2007 that some of his fans were expecting, looks like mostly a career minor leaguer
Francisco Cruceta - mediocre then suspended
Ezequiel Astacio - dominant in the pen but club insists on starting him
Drew Meyer - bleh
Joaquin Arias - injured all season, pretty disappointing
Thomas Diamond - TJ, gone until sometime in `08

AA Frisco Roughriders:
Eric Hurley - more greatness, has to be looking at AAA soon...detractors point to low K-rates
Edinson Volquez - back up to AA, we'll just have to see...
German Duran - showing even more power with double figure HR already, looks like an offensive prospect
Emerson Frostad - having a decent but unspectacular first AA season...positional switch to 1B hurts prospect status
Travis Metcalf - got a big club look because of defense but also having a nice bounceback season offensively
Steve Murphy - nice start but has gone into steady fade...nice baseball player but not looking like a prospect right now
Anthony Webster - frustrating player has regressed in some areas and is stuck back in AA
Jake Blalock - struggled in AA last year, excelled in HA, now struggling again for Frisco
Brandon Boggs - another disappointment
Doug Mathis - starter with varied stuff has seen a velocity jump and solid but not flashy AA numbers, really struggled after being rushed to AAA early
Armando Galarraga - another disappointing year, healthy at least but not distinguishing himself
Jesse Ingram - good secondary numbers but just kind of surviving AA as a closer
Daniel Herrera -just getting going, we'll learn a lot the rest of the way
Ben Harrison - just about ready to debut, a guy to watch

High A Bakersfield Blaze:
Taylor Teagarden - spectacular start, only elbow soreness takes the edge off excitement over him
Chris Davis - plate control is by no means there, but for a JC player skipping low A you really have to be happy with him...3B project could be big if it works out, does have the arm for it for sure
John Mayberry Jr - you wish he weren't hitting .236, but not a total disaster...doesn't have vastly improved plate control but not totally discouraging either
Michael Schlact - disappointing year to me, you would have hoped for more out of a repeat
Glenn Swanson - don't know too much about him and he's really old (just turned 24) but nice numbers for the lefty so far
Kendy Batista - reclamation guy putting up nice numbers overall, just in an inconsistent fashion

Low A Clinton Lumberkings:
Kasey Kiker - total dominance in first two starts, secondary stuff apparently really coming prospect in the making
Omar Poveda - didn't really see the point in repeating him, other than his age, and especially don't see one now after he's dominated for ten starts...move him up
Johnny Whittleman - has cooled a bit with a .252 BA in his last ten and getting up to 12 errors pretty quickly, but a breakout spring, just hope he keeps it up either here or in Bakersfield
K.C. Herren - also a breakout spring, though it's needed at this point...keeping his prospect status alive and maybe earning a promotion before too long
Chad Tracy - playing some catcher, some elsewhere...OBP is a little disappointing for a major college player at this level but I'm hoping for a big summer
Marcus Lemon - pretty disappointing offensively because of BA down in the .220's
Zach Phillips - finally performing up to hopes, someone to watch
Jose Vallejo - similarly disappointing to Whittleman in '06, started like him in '07 but fading pretty fast...still someone to pay attention to
Craig Gentry - top defender and base-stealer not hitting much
Manuel Pina - ace defensive catcher not even close to ready for MWL offensively
David Paisano - just getting started, early returns suggest that the teenager is either not quite ready for this level or needs an adjustment period...still promising though

Key guys to watch for as short-season leagues begin:
Fabio Castillo - upside is way up there with big body, mid-upper 90's heat and developing secondary pitches...everyone is dying to see what he'll do
Cristian Santana - haven't heard a peep about him but has always been considered a jewel, could really emerge if healthy
Johan Yan - talented member of this trio who has the most experience in US of the three...hopes are that he takes a big jump forward in his second try, as he's still only 18...haven't heard a peep about him either
Jake Brigham - draft pick from last season with a promising arm who didn't make Clinton, will presumably be in Spokane rotation
Manny Solis - a top player from highly regarded '06 Latin haul, got pro debut with DSL club last summer and struggled, may be ready to see the AZL as an 18 year old

I would guess that the top prospects among guys who have played so far are Hurley, Teagarden, Kiker and Whittleman, in that order, with maybe Poveda, Volquez, Botts, Mayberry, Davis, Duran, Metcalf, and maybe Mathis behind them, with guys like Arias, Harrison and Diamond being out but still figuring prominently. At the moment, you may have the system moving from late 20's to the early 20's range among major league organizations. If those short season guys and draftees live up to expectations, this will look like a much more talented organization come August than it did going into this season, maybe middle-of-the-pack or a tad better, though it would get a downgrade for the majority of the key talent being at lower levels.

On the big picture (big league club included), I'll let you draw the conclusions I guess. My only additional ones would probably be that there is a fair amount of talent on the major league roster that needs to be sorted out during the rest of this season so that you know what you have in guys like Diaz, Botts, Laird, Cruz, Littleton, Francisco, Loe, and, health providing, Tejeda and McCarthy, but that if you're looking to the system for quick fixes, you're going to be disappointed. Aside from Hurley, there probably won't be any major impacts on the big league roster this or next season. Possible trades of expiring contracts and offseason moves are the primary options there.