Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Final Changes to the OTF Top 30 List

I know prospect lists should be final, but I had to make a final tweak to the rankings. With Angel Villalona's visa being delayed, the possibility of him not playing another year is very real (though I do think he'll get here at some point). The main reason for the delay allegedly is that he is applying for a visa meant for athletes and apparently his physical shape didn't check out with those dispersing visas for such athletes. That report scares me and makes me less optimistic that he'll recapture the potential he had when he was playing in the minors as recently as 2009.

So, I added two others at the No. 30 spot, since I felt they were both deserving. I added pitcher Chris Marlowe and outfielder Roger Kieschnick. Marlowe is a relief pitcher out of Oklahoma State whose frame and strikeout ability has gotten Tim Lincecum-comparisons, while Kieschnick is a bit of a tumbler but did post solid power numbers in the Eastern League a year ago.

This should be the last change and I apologize for all the flip-flopping. I just want to get these rankings as accurate as possible and the later rankings are always the toughest.


  1. Frankly, if you are going to go with a tie at #30, you may as well as left Villalona in there, then there's no flip flopping, per se, since Angel's still in there, just acknowledging that there are two prospects you wanted to highlight (and that's what these lists are really for, highlighting and discussing, except for those in the business of selling such lists).

    We don't know what's happening with Villalona.

    We don't know if he (or the Giants) are being shaked down by the local power-mad local official who wants a little something something on the side, since Angel was doling out dough (allegedly) to the murder victim's family.

    Or maybe someone who thinks Angel's guilty and getting away with murder wants to throw an obstacle in front of Angel, making his comeback more problematic.

    Or maybe that official happens to come from the same neighborhood and happens to be friends with the deceased family and/or part of that social circle.

    We don't know if he's really in that bad a physical shape (the only report previously suggested that he was in good shape - for him) such that he could be kept out (then again, Ponson never had any problems...)

    Maybe he has high blood pressure or even high cholesterol, part of the reporting on that noted that it might be related to a medical condition, as the official language was something about him not being an elite athlete, due to physical and/or medical condition, from what I recall. It could be a relatively minor medical issue that an official decided would keep him out (but this would tie in with the above "keep the murderer out of U.S." theory).

    I think that Angel will eventually make it into the U.S. He'll probably miss most of spring training, because, as you saw with the trial, the government can and will move slowly when it feels like it. But evenutally it does.

    I don't think it matters that much, he was probably going into instructional league even if he made it to spring training, and the Giants probably acclimate further with SS Salem-Keizer to assess where to put him next, Augusta or SJ.

    This season is about getting back into the system, getting him back into baseball shape, and assessing where he is developmentally. If he can produce somewhere, great, but the most I was hoping to get was just him re-starting his career. Then we'll see where he goes.

  2. That's a good point. At the same time though, I do feel like at this point, it's probably more optimistic to think that Marlowe and Kieschnick have a shot at a future in baseball, let alone the Giants. It's hard to say that for Villalona with the way things just appear. Hence, I don't feel it would be right to say he's among the Giants' 30 most promising players in the minor leagues when I'm not very optimistic myself that he'll ever see a Giants uniform from the way his career has gone these past few seasons. I am not giving up on him by any means, but to rank him over Marlowe and Kieschnick I think is a bit of a stretch at this point. Maybe if he does play this year and shows some promise, he'll rank ahead of those guys because he has (or had) so much talent. But as of now, I have to give Marlowe and Kieschnick the benefit of the doubt.

    As for Villalona himself, I am going to go over this in a specific post, but I think you're absolutely right about next year. As long as he isn't going hitless over an entire season stretch, him showing anything will probably be viewed as progress. I think a lot of Giants fans were probably thinking that signing bonus he signed as a 16 year old was a sunk cost at this point, especially with how slowly the court case moved in the D/R. I hope the visa issue works out better, but as you said, it most likely won't.

    I am hoping for Augusta or SJ, but SK along with some extended Spring Training seems like the best landing spot for Villalona this year. Not necessarily a bad thing, simply because as you said, it's not really about him progressing his career but rather re-starting it. Better off to start at a level where his chances of success and gaining confidence are high, and that would be in a lower level like SK or Augusta (though I would balk from Augusta simply not to rush him back)