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Throwing ‘em against the wall…

I took the little one swimming at Hillcrest today and couldn’t help but glancing wistfully at the Nat.  Actually, wasn’t that wistful I suppose, as the lights were on.  Which, I’m guessing, means two things.  The C’s were training today. And it was so dark in Vancouver at high noon they had to turn the fucking lights on.  Surreal.  The weather here absolutely stinks.  Let’s hope it doesn’t play out as a theme throughout the season.  Believe 2011 saw ZERO rain-outs.  I can’t envision that happening again.
I wanted to expound a bit further on what sort of players we’ll be seeing in Vancouver this year and which ones may bear further scrutiny as potential prospects.  I tweeted Bradley Ankrom who writes the excellent prospecting piece Greetings from Dunedin over at the Drunk Jays Fans blog.  I was hoping to get a feel for what age is the ‘ideal’ age for short season Class A.  Below was the response:
Bradley Ankrom @BradleyAnkrom
@CharlieCaskey “ideal” level varies from player to player, but in general you want 20y in A, 21 in A+, 22 in AA, and 23 in AAA.
Now, as he mentions, ‘ideal’ does not always apply.  This year Alex Anthopolous (here on out known by AA) drafted nothing but college seniors in rounds 6 through 10 to save himself some slot money in hopes of funneling that cash towards his more high-end, tougher to sign players he picked up in the sandwich rounds.  These college seniors have to start somewhere.
But, for now, let’s use the 20 yr old measure for A.  Next analytical tool to look at is draft round.  There is various research out there giving the percentage of those from rounds xyz who make it but I’ll use this article from Mike Rosenbaum as a proxy.  As you can see, from round 3 onwards you’re basically looking at a 1 in 3 chance or worse.  Not great odds really.
Of course, there are outliers to every statistical argument.  For example, Drew Hutchison is currently pitching in the majors as a 21 yr old after being drafted in the 15th round.  He blew through 3 levels in 2011, showing that not all prospects move according to the curve.
But, for our argument, let’s see which Canadians fall under the categories we’ve defined: Being 20 or under and having been drafted within the first 3 rounds:
…….and your winner is….. Kellen Sweeney, the 20 yr old 3rd basemen taken in the 2nd round of 2010’s draft.  Sweeney started this season in Lansing but was sent back to Extended Spring Training after posting a .504 OPS in 43 games.  The 2010 draft is interesting in that it also yielded Syndergaard, Sanchez, and Nicolino.  The 3 studs currently dominating the Midwest league.  The reason these 3 are interesting is that they all spent time in Vancouver last year with only Nicolino being there from the start.
So, what we’re saying is that despite fact it ‘seems’ there is only one real prospect worth watching, the league and Toronto’s system should mean we’ll see plenty of players come and go.  Hopefully we’re lucky enough to see high end talent like we did last year.  Including, possibly, the elusive Dan Norris.
As a final illustration.  Last year’s opening day and championship final boxes with players current teams and ages……
2011 Game 1 Roster
Vancouver Canadians
Position Players
Pos
AB
R
H
Current Team
Age
Jonathan Jones
CF
5
1
3
Dunedin
22
Bryan Kervin
2B
4
0
1
EST
27
Balbino Fuenmayor
3B
5
0
2
VAN
22
Randy Schwartz
1B
4
0
0
Released
26
Stephen McQuail
LF
3
0
1
Released
23
Pierce Rankin
C
3
0
0
New Hampshire
23
Roan Salas
DH
4
1
1
EST
22
Nicholas Baligod
RF
4
0
1
VAN
24
Shane Opitz
SS
2
1
0
Lansing
20
Vancouver Canadians
Pitchers
IP
H
R
ER
Zack Breault
4
3
2
1
VAN
24
Alesone Escalante
2
0
0
0
Dunedin
23
Taylor Cole (W, 1-0)
2
0
0
0
VAN
22
Drew Permison (S, 1)
1
1
0
0
VAN
23
2011 Northwest Championship Game 3 Roster:
Vancouver Canadians
Position Players
Pos
AB
R
H
Current Team
Age
Jonathon Berti
2B
4
1
1
Lansing
22
Kevin Pillar
CF
5
1
1
Lansing
23
Nicholas Baligod
RF
5
1
2
VAN
24
Kevin Patterson
1B
3
2
2
Lansing
23
    Randy Schwartz
1B
0
0
0
Released
26
Balbino Fuenmayor
DH
3
0
2
VAN
22
Garrett Maines
PR-DH
0
1
0
Released
25
Matt Newman
LF
3
0
0
VAN
23
Andrew Burns
3B
4
1
1
Lansing
21
Pierce Rankin
C
4
1
1
New Hampshire
23
Shane Opitz
SS
4
1
3
Lansing
20
Vancouver Canadians
Pitchers
IP
H
R
ER
Jesse Hernandez (W, 1-0)
6
3
1
1
Lansing
23
Bryan Longpre (H, 1)
2
2
1
1
Dunedin
24
Drew Permison
1
1
0
0
VAN
23

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