Dylan Thomas, the chronically depressed Welsh poet, wrote “Light breaks, where no sun shines.”
Satchel Paige the eternally ebullient, nonpareil pitcher advised: “Don’t look back.”
In that spirit, let’s look beyond our recent nightmare and do some daydreaming about the 2013 and 2014 Red Sox.
Let’s assume that the Sox will spend a large chunk of their new-found budget boon savings to fill their Ace hole, or obtain one by trading Ellsbury. [Felix Hernandez for Ellsbury and prospects?]
Also, unless Cherington signs a FA SS, the Sox will continue with an admixture of Aviles, Ciriaco and Iglesias [as a late innings D replacement.] in 2013 and that Garin Cecchini will be the next Rico Petrocelli in 2014. Xander Bogaerts will outgrow SS and move to the OF, or, if they start making the transition now, 1b.
By 2014, Blake Swihart may be ready to backup either Salty or Lavarnway, when one moves to DH, or they share it.
Closer? Bailey in 2013 and, maybe, 2014. Tazawa as set-up or sleeper closer.
ACE [Felix Hernandez by trade, or FA purchase]
ACE [Felix Hernandez by trade, or FA purchase]
DH Ortiz/ Saltalamacchia/Lavarnway
Yes, Bradley could be ready as soon as next year, but certainly by 2014. With Bradley taking over CF, we obtain Felix Hernandez: trading Ellsbury and prospects to Seattle.
Another Ellsbury trade option could involve the Cardinals and future ace Shelby Miller and pitching prospects in return.
Miller is seen as a future #1 SP by most prospect sources [see reports below], although Jayson Stark, on July 30, 2012 said:
• The Cardinals have never been more open to dealing their onetime top prospect, Shelby Miller. But his stock has plummeted dramatically. “We’ve lost interest. I know that,” said one NL executive. “The stuff coming out of his hand isn’t as good. And the body doesn’t look good. He’s gotten a little heavy, and he’s not the same guy.” http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8214694/five-teams-watch-trade-deadline-approached
However, recent report s are more encouraging:
Encouraged by pitching coach Blaise Ilsley to return to a more upright posture within his delivery, Miller gradually returned to the mechanics that worked for him before this season. He began to eat four times daily while working smarter in the weight room. He regained the lost weight and velocity followed.
We could imagine the Cardinals willing to trade Shelby and two other pitching prospects for Ellsbury.
Carolos Martinez, RHP, ETA 2013
“An undersized right-hander who gets compared to Pedro Martinez, he has the stuff to match the comparison. Martinez can reach the upper 90s, even triple digits at times. To complement his plus fastball, he throws an outstanding changeup and a decent curve.”
Michael Wacha, RHP, ETA 2015
“He has the chance to be a big, durable big league starter, and it may not take him long to get there.”
If the Sox have accurately evaluated their future talent and acquire an Ace for the rotation, via trade or FA route, there is reason for Sox fans to make an effort to survive another winter of discontent.
Hope dies last. [Anonymous, or maybe Bobby Valentine.]
SHELBY MILLER EVALUATIONS:
Notable 2011 Stats: 2.89 ERA, 1.82 FIP, 2 HRA, 20 BB, 81 K, and 35% GB% in 53 IP with Palm Beach (High-A);
2.70 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 2 HRA, 33 BB, 89 K, and 42% GB% in 86 2/3 IP with Springfield (AA);
2.77 ERA, 2.38 FIP, 4 HRA, 53 BB, 170 K, and 40% GB% in 139 2/3 IP total
Why He’s This High: Miller followed up an excellent 2010 season with a truly dominating performance in High-A as a 20-year-old, striking out a whopping 13.75 batters per nine innings. He then moved up to Double-A for the majority of the year, where he continued to strike out over a batter per inning and held his walk rate steady at 3.4 BB/9. He also allowed just four home runs all season, an impressive feat; his Double-A home park is probably the most hitter-friendly stadium at that level.
More than any sort of statistical dominance, Miller’s always been known for having a very powerful right arm. He whips fastballs in the 93-96 range with excellent riding life up in the zone, and he backs it up with a solid curveball and a workable changeup. His delivery is extremely simple and effortless, so he isn’t sacrificing durability for the sake of velocity. At 6’3″ and a sturdy 200 lbs. he’s built to pitch deep into games.
Why He’s This Low: Miller could stand to tighten up his secondary offerings and his command somewhat–it’s not easy to be an elite MLB pitcher with a walk rate around 3.5 BB/9. The usual pitcher attrition possibilities apply, and Miller’s been brought along slowly when it comes to workload–his 139 2/3 IP in 2011 followed 104 2/3 in 2010.
In particular, the spotlight will be on his changeup.
Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller was ranked fourth overall among all prospects by our Marc Hulet on his preseason top-100 list and within the top 10 on most other lists of that sort. Despite a poor start to his season at Triple-A Memphis, Miller was excellent over his last 10 starts there, posting a 70:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 59 innings. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/shelby-millers-debut-animated/
Baseball Prospect Nation:
Summation: Nearly big league ready. Two plus-plus pitches with desire to put hitters away. Attacks early and challenges hitters with his best stuff. True power pitcher with the mentality to match. Has good understanding of fielding position and holding runners. Moves well off the mound. If command or change-up develops more than expected, still has shot to make himself a number one starter, but should easily be a very good number two that can dominate for extended stretches.
Player Comparison: Matt Cain- Miller is like Cain in a lot of ways, aside from just his plus-fastball. Once Miller is comfortable with his off-speed pitches and can throw them in any count, he will have three plus-pitches to attack hitters with. He also, at this point in his career, has demonstrated the same attacking mentality and mental toughness that Cain has thrived on in the Majors. To say that he will post the same résumé of Cain is a massive stretch, but not implausible as long as he continues to improve each season, as he has so far.
6) Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
7) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
8) Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore Orioles
9) Jesus Montero, C, Seattle Mariners
10) Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves