Update 2:24 PM: We have a winner. Congratulations to @matthewpgates for correctly guessing that the player discussed below is Brandon Phillips. I hope that doesn’t detract you from reading these blurbs and you should definitely come back tomorrow to see why Dat Dude BP makes such an interesting comparison to Tim Beckham.
From the 2001 BP Annual:
The (team) like to talk about their depth at shortstop, but the guys who could turn out well are both in A ball: (nobody) and (our guy). A tools guy who generates power through great bat speed, (our guy) spent most of the year hitting third in the lineup. That says a lot about the state of (team) prospectdom. Afield, he’s got decent range, good hands, and a lot of work to do…
From the 2002 BP Annual:
This is the reason teams continue to draft raw athletes. If, like (our guy) they can translate their tools into skills, it makes for a potentially dominating player. When the organization challenged (our guy) to walk more than he struck out, he made the intelligent choice — he decided to be more patient at the plate rather than cut down on his swing. Though he found Eastern League competition tougher, he followed up with a dynamite stint in the Arizona Fall League, playing mostly third base. The defensive switch was made only so that he could participate; he projects to be an above-average shortstop, with plus range, soft hands, and a strong arm. (Our guy) is coming like a freight train and could be in the (team’s) 2003 Opening Day lineup.
From the 2003 BP Annual:
The (Big League Club) sent (our guy) to the Arizona Fall League to keep working on becoming a second baseman because (established vet) is under contract for another two years. There’s no reason to believe (our guy) can’t make the switch. It may even be for the best, since he’s never been an outstanding defensive shortstop, although he has the arm for the position. However, because of his stick he’s rightly regarded as one of the top infield prospects in baseball. If he doesn’t stick at short, his value will go down a little, but the difference between a decent starting shortstop with a great stick and a good defense second baseman with a good stick isn’t that huge. The danger is more one of his risk of encountering more baserunners around the bag, because second basemen tend to have their careers altered by injury more often than shortstops. Nevertheless, his move across the keystone shouldn’t take any luster off of his rising star.
From the 2004 BP Annual:
He went from can’t miss to did, and nobody knows if the spatula has yet been made that can scrape him up from last season’s epic tumble from the heights of prospectdom. His failures were worsened by (our guy’s) reputation as a showboat; there’s a thing line between being charismatic and being a nuisance. At least (similar player) (clever punned) pitches for a season before reverting to mud-(our guy) hasn’t even done that much. He’s clearly young enough to fix his problems, but the organization has threatened him with the need to improve, and he hasn’t. They’ve already said he’s (promotion-) bound to start ’04, and it will be up to him to earn his way back.
From the 2005 BP Annual:
…(Our guy) has clearly improved his understanding of the strike zone from where it was two years ago, making far better contact and taking more walks. He’s still going to have to do a disproportionate amount of hitting ’em where they ain’t to make an impact.
From the 2006 BP Annual:
In an attempt to provide insurance for an unproven (orgmate) as the season began, the (team) moved (our guy) back to shortstop in Triple-A. That they didn’t move him back to second after (orgmate) proved he could handle the major league job suggest that Plan B was to try to trade (our guy), who is now out of options. Showcased to the majors just before the trading deadline, he made just two starts before returning to (Minor League Team), proof of a league-wide lack of interest at the price (GM) wanted for him. (Our guy) had his worst minor league seasons since first reaching Triple-A as member of the (other team’s) system in 2002. He is now firmly ensconced in the “Promising Prospects Mysteriously Gone Bad” category.
From the 2007 BP Annual:
A perfect free-talent pickup, (our guy) was obviously frustrated and spinning his wheels in the (previous team’s) organization. Given a shot at playing somewhere besides (previous AAA city), he hit more like he can. He can stand in and drive the ball, so he’s not your usual placeholding patsy, and getting power out of all eight lineup slots has its benefits, especially in (new team’s) power-friendly park. Although the (new team) flirted with the possibility of making him a shortstop again at the end of the season, he’s better off seeing if he can settle in at second, which the signing of (grizzled vet) should allow him to do. There’s potential for improvement, but he’s not that young anymore. He’ll give the (new team) a nice three- or four-year run before arbitration encourages them to make him somebody else’s second baseman.
From the 2008 BP Annual:
Someday, (some guy) is going to tell his grandkids that he was the guy who saved (our guy’) career. Once out of the (previous team’s) system, (our guy) began showing signs of the guy who was so good he was mentioned ahead of (highly touted prospect) when they were traded together to (second team). That ship has sailed-(our guy) will be 27 in June and had a 109/33 K/BB ratio last year, a regression from his first season in (third team’s city)-but as a good defensive second baseman with power and speed, he should be an asset to the organization for his three remaining team-controlled years. Lest anyone go too crazy about his 30/30 achievement, we’d suggest a moratorium on comparisons between (our guy) and Joe Morgan until (our guy) can crack a .340 OBP.
From the 2009 BP Annual:
Only (overrated manager) could look at a guy who walked in fewer than five percent of his 2007 PAs and say that the problem was that he needed to be more aggressive. (Our guy’s) bat never came back from the All-Star break; he was hitting .225/.291/.374 for the second half when a broken finger ended his season in early September. Still, the four-year contract the (new team) gave him prior to the season was a good idea– (our guy) was one of the team’s few defensive standouts…
From the 2010 BP Annual:
A fine fielder, (our guy’s) gains at the plate in 2009 were mostly due to a 15-point jump in batting average. He actually gave back some power, but it was an encouraging campaign nonetheless, as his plate approach was the best of his career. At 28, (our guy) will never generate significant value from his patience, but even some small improvement could keep him from disaster should his batting average head in the other direction. Prior to 2009, (our guy’s) K/uBB ratio was 3.4, and he drew an unintentional walk once every 20.9 plate appearances. In 2009, those numbers improved to 1.8 K/uBB and 15.7 PA/uBB. His salary jumps up to $11 million in 2011, the final non-option year of his contract, making him a player the (team) might choose to trade to suppress payroll, particularly given his trade value and emergence of (other nice player) at the keystone.
From the 2011 BP Annual:
(Our guy’s) age-26 power explosion may have created unrealistic expectations for his offensive production: the second baseman is little better than league average at the plate. His work on the basepaths generally ranks among the best on the (team), contributing a few additional runs per year despite despite his tendency to get caught stealing. Although he held on to most of his 2009 reduction in strikeout rate last season, the righty still doesn’t walk without putting up a fight, so he’s hardly Morgan-esque in the OBP department. Despite his shortcomings, (our guy’s) defensive skills make him a safe bet to furnish the (team) with three to four wins this season.
From the 2012 BP Annual:
(Our guy) balances on the edge between park-inflated star and merely good ballplayer. In a typical year, he might slug a hundred points better (at home) than on the road, but he still does enough away from his home park to help an offense. More troubling, however, is that, no matter how often he shows up on highlight reels, the various defensive metrics aren’t unanimous about his value in the field. Can he help a team win? Absolutely, but the real problem is that he’s getting paid as much as a sixth of (his team’s) payroll, and he’s simply not that critical a component to this or any team’s success…
From the 2013 BP Annual:
(Our guy’s) power has been in steady decline since he knocked 30 homers in 2007. Formerly an elite baserunner, he nows is just very good. He has never drawn 50 walks in a season. (Our guy) has a strong defensive reputation, having won three Gold Glove awards, although some metrics like his work more than others do. He plays 140-plus games every year and hasn’t been on the disabled list since 2008. Downward trends in power and plate discipline remove some of the luster of the (contract info). Still, (our guy) plays every day and should have a few good seasons left in him.
From the 2014 BP Annual:
When he wasn’t busy calling out beat writers, (our guy) was having his worst offensive season since joining (the team) in 2006. In fact, each of the three numbers in his slash line was his lowest in that time frame. So naturally, (our guy) set a career high in RBI with (large number) — hitting behind the National League’s two best on-base men surely had noooooothing to do with that. (Our guy) will turn (older than last year) before the 2014 All-Star game and second basemen don’t tend to age gracefully. (To his credit, the last time he was on the disable list, Lehman Brothers was still solvent.) He’s owed (a bunch of money) over the next four season, but if his still-strong defense starts to go the way of his baserunning and bat, (our guy) is a wrap.
Be the first to correctly tweet to @sandykazmir who this player is and receive a free copy of the 2015 BP Annual* to find out what they think of this guy this year. And stop back tomorrow to find out why this guy makes for a very interesting comparable player for Rays former number one overall draft pick Tim Beckham.
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