’19 40-Man Preview Extravaganza

Jay Yencich · November 4, 2019 at 6:30 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If the Dipoto era has borne out a trend in the 40-man deadline, it’s been that there are fewer thrills and spills involved simply because picks have been added earlier. That doesn’t mean that our roster management isn’t without drama (churn, baby, churn), we just move it up in the calendar year and reserve mid-November for more-marginal-if-still-useful forms of excitement. Or not. Two years ago, we didn’t add anyone! Last year, we added the obvious in Braden Bishop and Joey Curletta (goodbye, old friend), then rounded out with a couple of minor league free agents while Rule 5’ing a guy who we didn’t manage to sign initially. Life comes at you.

This year features first eligibility for college-level picks from 2016 and international signings and high schoolers from 2015. In another space, the drama would have gone to Kyle Lewis being potentially added, but instead we’re pondering whether he might break camp as our left fielder. Much of what remains has already been added (Walton! Festa! McClain!). The 2015 high schoolers and int’l prospects may prove more thrilling, but that’s more in a “we stan” sense than “core contributor.” Who knows? The early portion of the offseason has featured a fair bit of paring down and it could well be that the organization wants to reward their own guys now, drafted and developed by Dipoto, rather than consider marginal add-ons in the minor league FA field, though a few of those names and trade acquisitions do pop in. Those will provide an interesting litmus for the “development” side and how confident we are proceeding with them.

I’m only going over five names this time, but there are more eligible than that. Notably, southpaw Ian McKinney destroyed the Cal League, but his profile is back-end and he’s only seen limited time in the high minors. Fireballer Elvis Alvarado also gets a “pass” due to wildness and the fact that high-end velo is easier to come by than it used to be. The deadline to be added is Nov. 20th, so you’ll have two+ weeks to fret about this or not.

RHP Jack Anderson, 6’3”, 210 lbs, 1/10/1994, 23rd round 2016
(AA) 4-2, 41 G, 1.50 ERA in 54.0 IP, 52 H (HR), 12 R (9 ER), 51/16 K/BB, 3 HB
Pros: Knuckle-dragger, not as wild as you’d think, nicknamed “The Creature”
Cons: Pure reliever, less admirable real name

One thing Dipoto has shown an affinity for is pitchers with funky arm angles and Anderson could easily be the first such selection to arrive in the big leagues. A Fun “Creature” Fact: Though he’d been in the system since 2016, this was the first year in which he’d ever allowed a home run. He’s averaged out to three grounders for every fly. Thus, he’s a reliable candidate for your inning-ending double play guy, but with how the game has been evolving of late, I could also see him as a rather disruptive “opener.” The limitations are clear though: He’s a solely a relief candidate and not one you expect to get multiple innings out of. Still, we’re going to have 26-man rosters soon and space has been cleared, so Anderson seems an obvious plus. Bonus Fact: If he is added, then the Mariners have consecutive 23rd-round picks on their roster, Art Warren and then Anderson.

OF Dom Thompson-Williams, L/L, 6’0”, 190 lbs, 4/21/95, 5th round 2016 (Yankees)
(AA) 115 G, 479 PA, 46 R, 101 H, 24 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 41 RBI, 15 SB, 2 CS, 152/35 K/BB, .234/.298/.391
Pros: Road splits, handedness, appeals to coveted hyphenation demographic
Cons: Not especially young, K-rate spiked, lower on depth chart, got worse

My first question with DT-W was what the similarly hyphenated Dickey-Stephens Park was doing to him. If you weren’t already aware, the Travelers play in a Texas League where park factors, normalized to 100 for average run-scoring, rate from 91 (Midland) to 126 (Amarillo). Except at home in Little Rock, where the stadium rates a 73. Thus, the stat most worth noting for establishing his value is the more normalized road sample, where he hit .277/.332/.509 with a 66/17 K/BB. His home line of .188/.261/.264 with an 86/18 K/BB only dragged him down. However, there are other telling numbers involved, such as how his OPS slipped by .063 in the second half, his especially bad home K-rate, or how fewer and fewer articles mentioned him as the season went on. He might also be less of a centerfielder than other fellas on the depth chart, including his end-of-season teammate in Jared Kelenic. The power potential may be worth protecting, but DT-W’s “development” was not the story it was expected to be this season.

RHP Ljay Newsome, 5’11”, 210 lbs, 11/8/1996, 26th round 2015
(AAA) 0-0, GS, 6.35 ERA in 5.2 IP, 5 H (HR), 4 R, 10/1 K/BB
(A+) 6-6, 18 GS, 3.75 ERA in 100.2 IP, 105 H (11 HR), 44 R (42 ER), 124/9 K/BB, 2 WP
(AA) 3-4, 9 GS, 2.77 ERA in 48.2 IP, 41 H (4 HR), 15 R, 35/7 K/BB, WP, HB
Pros: Has maximized talent thus far, workhorse type, elite locating ability
Cons: Back-end starter profile, command exceeds stuff, benefited from home parks

I stanned Erasmo Ramirez in the past as a squat dude with good control, thus I have no problem following up with Newsome. He only throws in the low-90s, but after taking to the Gas Camp work last fall, that’s considerably better than before and, most importantly, he’s still locating. If there’s one major reason for pause, it’s that in the Cal League, he had a 30.4% K-rate and that dropped as he spent time in double-A, down to 18.5% overall. That’s usually the biggest red flag you can get out of the crafty, command-based types: It stops working against more experienced competition. I would say he’s worth a flier as a developmental project that could see results in 2021 or 2022 as opposed to next year, but that could also be a reason to leave him off as he’s in a “prove it” position and he doesn’t have the flashy pitches of your usual Rule 5 selections. Moreover, he’s not the kind of piece you build around as much as a guy who helps allocate your innings as he’s ready to, much like our pal, Erasmo himself.

RHP Nabil Crismatt, 6’1”, 215 lbs, 12/25/1994, Int’l FA Colombia (Mets)
(AA) 4-5, 14 G (13 GS), 1.94 ERA in 83.2 IP, 57 H (6 HR), 22 R (18 ER), 89/11 K/BB, 3 HB, 11 WP
(AAA) 0-5, 13 G (8 GS), 9.06 ERA in 46.2 IP, 67 H (15 HR), 51 R (47 ER), 68/20 K/BB, HB
Pros: Relatively young, posted best statistical season, that name + DOB combo
Cons: What is the PCL, even?

The past few years, the Mariners have had success rescuing talented players from organizations using them poorly and Crismatt is the latest castoff to make a good impression. He’s shown good command in the past, but never for a stretch as extended as this year, nor at so high a level. The numbers he did on the Texas League were silly at times, and while he was the obvious beneficiary of a .140 average against at home (?!?), he was still respectable on the road at .252. If you want clear signs of a change, you’d also want month-to-month improvement and Crismatt plainly had that with Arkansas. The downside is that he regressed in Tacoma, where his command against PCL opponents represented the other extreme of his track record. With the MLB ball moving down to triple-A and yielding bizarre results, I can say right now that I know no more how to adjust for pitchers there than I do in the Arizona League. The organization will have a better sense themselves than I do.

OF/1B Eric Filia, L/R, 6’0”, 190 lbs, 7/6/92, 20th round 2016

(AAA) 35 G, 151 PA, 24 R, 40 H, 13 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 15/25 K/BB, .331/.450/.488
Pros: Elite batting eye, “The Shimmy,” gets him out of the drug of abuse testing he keeps failing
Cons: Limited defensively and on depth chart, older, Reefer Madness

It seems like we’ve been talking about Filia forever, but this is indeed his first year of eligibility. He’s been on the cusp before thanks to some incredible hitting performances, only to disappear each time due to a failed marijuana test. The org still liked him enough to ship him off to the Dominican Winter League for additional reps, but the returns thus far have not been much to write home about. Dipoto has been willing to play around with defensively limited hitters on the roster, yet Filia’s situation is complicated by Nola / White on the depth charts at first and nearly all of our up-and-coming prospects being outfielders. DH isn’t an immediate fit either because of Vogelbach. If he is added, it’s a pretty small window he has to prove himself valuable.


4 Responses to “’19 40-Man Preview Extravaganza”

  1. 11records on November 4th, 2019 3:59 pm

    I love the JY content when we can get it!

    RE Filia, I’m a well known Filia fan. This year was such a drag because if not suspended he could have gotten so many of those ABs that went to infielders playing the OF and to Ryan Court and Mac Williamson, and it would be easier to evaluate his worth going forward. His August in AAA was bananas.

    With the LIDOM stats, does anyone hit in the league? It seems like all of their games are 2-1. Bad lights? Crafty pitching? He is getting on a base a lot there, but not exactly tearing it up.

  2. Jay Yencich on November 4th, 2019 4:39 pm

    With the LIDOM stats, does anyone hit in the league? It seems like all of their games are 2-1. Bad lights? Crafty pitching? He is getting on a base a lot there, but not exactly tearing it up.

    A good and valid question! To be honest, it’s been many years since I’ve paid all that close attention to the LIDOM, and never much did as we rarely had representatives there. I pulled up some league stats from 2018 and it looks as if the Toros, who led the league in OPS, clocked in at .639 while the worst team, the Licey Tigres, was at .608. This year has seen more of a spread through eighteen games, ranging from .677 to .569, so in context, Filia with a .699 OPS is doing just fine, and better than Nola is doing for the same team (Sorry, Nola).

    To bring back some of the sample weirdness, through fifteen games, perpetual 40-man also-ran Luis Liberato is batting .340/.377/.560.

  3. bookbook on November 20th, 2019 4:46 pm

    ….and the Mariners protect no one. Does Dipoto really need 5 40-man roster slots right now? Are they all not good enough to get selected? Or does he just feel that none of these guys will provide enough value to bother?

    Very interesting.

  4. globalalpha on November 22nd, 2019 11:47 am

    Yes, a little surprising — I guess the feeling is that these guys are unlikely to stick in the majors for a full year. (Even with the 26th roster spot?) And the risk of adding right now is that they get DFA’ed down the road and then scooped up for free, without the Rule 5 constraints. So, a tradeoff of risks to consider.

    And hey, Evan White gets a contract! I like it. Six years of Evan locked up for the same price as one year of Cano.

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