Re: A Look Ahead to 2016
posted at 6/16/2014 9:35 AM EDT
In response to southpaw777's comment:
Although I love the idea of a rotating DH, especially with all of the defensively-challenged plus changed-position players we should have advancing to the 25 man roster, but losing Papi's bat and leadership in crunch time will not be easy or cheap to replace.
It will be interesting to see where all these kids end up.
The jury is still out as to what position a few players will be playing. Xander Betts Middy Cecchini and Holt could end up at a couple different positions. holt could be super sub.
Workman RDLR Webster Ranaudo Barnes Owens and now Johnson, whos making some noise in AA. All within shouting distance, some closer than others, but all are close.
we have the pieces to make a huge splash if the right deal comes along.
we will have a ton of $$$ to spend
Im looking forward to the next few years for this organization.
Lester and Uehara might not be too easy or inexpensive to replace either, but the likes of the oft-injured Victorino, the streaky Napoli, the inconsistent Peavy and other roleplayers should not be too difficult to replace from within our system or through free agency or trades.
A lot of positional decisions depends on where Bogey ends up, and it's no secret I prefer to see him at 3B with a big plus defender at SS (Marrero or FA signing), so if he ends up at 3B going forward, then Cecchini has to be moved to 1B, LF or DH. I think we already have seen that the future of Betts should be the OF (CF or RF?), so those two moves really bolster our OF outlook by leaps and bounds. Add in the chances that Ramos, Brown, de la Cruz, Hassan, Brentz, Margot or some other OF'er slightly off the radar might surprise us, I think we may get lucky and solve all our OF dilemmas from within the system. JBJ is a key to this happening as well. More realistically though, we will probably have to obtain a big bat here to help make-up for the loss of Papi's bat.
The IF is not going to be easy to build. Marrero is the key to our SS decision, again assuming Bogey sticks at 3B. Pedey is struggling to regain his high OBP, and his power seems like it might be gone for good, but he still should remain a plus 2Bman in 2016 and beyond. 1B is probably the slot that is most likely to be filled by a big FA signing. I seriously doubt Middy or Travis Shaw can fill even Napoli's shoes- let alone do better to help off-set the loss of Papi. I do see a chance Cecchini ends up at 1B, but the loss of power at 1B would likely be too harmful to make up for the gains in OBP and base running with Garin.
Holt could end up being that super sub that plays nearly every day by giving several players breathers as well as allowing them to rotate through the DH slot. For example, we could see Holt doing something like this:
30 games at 3B (Bogey rests 5 games and DHs 25 games)
10 games at SS (Marrero or the FA rests)
10 games at 2B (Pedey rests or DHs)
30 games at 1B (Our 1Bman rests or DHs)
60 games in LF (Our LF'er rests, DHs or plays RF some games)
There's 140 games right there- not counting injuries to any of the 5 positions listed above.
Our catching position looks good, in terms of prospects, but both Vazquez and Swihart are still question marks, and the catching position is perhaps the hardest to project from prospect to ML level performance.
Our pitching staff might look a little light on sure-fire top prospects, but we have a high quantity of "just below" top quality pitching prospects. With just Buch and Doubie with a lot of ML experience on the books for 2015, we almost certainly will need outside help to fill one big slot in the rotation- most likely the ace slot. That will not be cheap or easy to do. I do, however, have faith that we can fill the other 4 slots competently from within the system... almost certainly 3 of them anyway. Here is a bit of an expanded list of pitchers who may win a 2016 rotation slot or at least give a good challenge for the 5th or 6th slot:
Buchholz, Doubront, Workman, de la Rosa
Ranaudo, Owens, Barnes, Johnson, Wright
Luis Diaz, Keith Couch, Mike Augiera, Corey Littrell, Pat Light, or possibly even Jamie Callahan, Cody Kukuk or Teddy Stankiewicz
Our bullpen will likely need some help from outside the system, but some starters will be converted to relievers by 2016, in all liklihood, and I'm thinking Webster is the prime candidate for that shuffle. I don't see Tazawa as a closer, but he might be able to progress into that role. I could see Doubront settling into a pen position as well. Britton and Alez Wilson could hold down key pen roles and maybe Noe Ramirez can become a significant contributor.
All in all, we have a lot of young talent that are largely question marks, but the sheer quantity of highly talented young players improves our odds of several of them being plus players at some positions by 2016.