Monthly Archives: February 2021

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Wayne Terwilliger’s winding baseball career provided him brushes with the game’s all-time greats, two World Series rings as a coach with the Minnesota Twins, two stints with the Texas Rangers and a place in history with the Fort Worth Cats.

All of his accomplishments in the national pastime came after he served in the Marines in the Pacific theater in World World II, including at Iwo Jima, and he said nothing in his 62 years in baseball was more important than two years in the military.

Plagued by dementia and advanced cancer of the bladder, Terwilliger’s spectacular journey ended early Wednesday morning when he passed away after a brief time in hospice care in Weatherford.

Twig, as he was affectionately known, was 95.

His wife, Linda, said a broken hip in 2017 and subsequent surgeries derailed his active life, which included bagging groceries at age 88 a Brookshire’s grocery store in Willow Park..

Terwilliger’s final act in baseball came as the manager and first-base coach of the independent Cats. When he reached 80 in 2005, he became one of two men in professional baseball to serve as a manager in his 80s.

The other was Connie Mack, the Hall of Fame manager of the Philadelphia Athletics. (Jack McKeon became the third in 2011 when he finished out the season with the Miami Marlins.)

Born on June 27, 1926, in Clare, Michigan, Williard Wayne Terwilliger first played in the major leagues in 1949 with the Chicago Cubs. He became their regular second baseman in 1950, when he posted career-highs in at-bats (480) and home runs (10).

He was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, where he was teammates with Jackie Robinson among other Dodgers greats such as Duke Snider, Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese. He played with the Washington Senators in 1953 and 1954, the New York Giants in 1955 and 1956 with Willie Mays, and didn’t play again in the majors until 1959 with the Kansas City Athletics.

Terwilliger retired as a player in 1960 after only two games with the A’s.

Coaching was around the corner, though, and his first of seven seasons as a minor-league manager with the Senators came in 1963. He became the Senators’ third-base coach in 1969, on the staff of manager Ted Williams.

The staff remained in tact in 1972 as the Senators became the Rangers, but they were all replaced after the season. After working as the manager of Double A Columbus in 1973 in the Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys organization, Terwilliger returned to the Rangers’ system in 1975 at Class A Lynchburg.

Four seasons at Class A Asheville followed before Terwilliger was bumped to Double A Tulsa as manager. He joined the big-league staff in 1980 under manager Don Zimmer and stayed with the Rangers through 1985 on the staffs of Darrell Johnson, Doug Rader and Bobby Valentine.

The Rangers send condolences to the family of Wayne Terwilliger, who passed away early today at age 95. “Twig” played in the majors from 1949-60 and was a Rangers big league coach in 1972 and from 1981-85. He also coached for the Minnesota Twins and managed the Fort Worth Cats.

— John Blake (@RangerBlake) February 3, 2021
In 1986, Terwilliger moved to the Twins as the first-base coach for manager Tom Kelly. The Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991, and Terwilliger stayed with the Twins until 1994.

He then dived into independent ball, first as manager of the St. Paul Saints from 1995-2002 before the Cats hired him for the 2003 season. He retired as manager after guiding them to the Central Baseball League title, but stayed on as first-base coach until 2010.

We have a Cheap Texas Rangers Jerseys rumor, as Mike Foltynewicz and the team are apparently close on a one year deal, per Kiley McDaniel. The free agent righthander became a free agent after the 2020 season, having previously been waived by the Atlanta Braves and outrighted.

Foltynewicz, 29, broke in with the Houston Astros in 2014, and then was traded after the 2014 season to the Atlanta Braves in the Evan Gattis deal. He was a guy who threw hard, had command issues, and struggled to make an impact until the 2018 season, when a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts and 183 IP for the Braves led to an All Star appearance and an 8th place finish in the Cy Young balloting.

He regressed in 2019, however, putting up a 4.54 ERA and a 4.97 FIP in 21 starts, and then an awful camp followed by one awful major league appearance in 2020 led to the Braves designating him for assignment. He did not return to the majors after he was outrighted.

McDaniel says Foltynewicz is getting a guaranteed major league deal from the Rangers, and says he will be in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation. He was, by all accounts, a mess in 2020, and had a big drop in his fastball velocity. While I have said I think the Rangers needed to add another starting pitching option, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about this addition, and I’m wondering to what extent he is possibly being viewed as a starting pitcher versus as a potential multi-inning reliever. We have discussed the possibility of the Rangers using a rotation spot or two to run guys out in 2-3 inning stints versus using a traditional starter, and he could, maybe, possibly, be considered for something like that.

The Rangers have a full 40 man roster, and will have to clear a roster spot to make room for Foltynewicz, so we may be seeing Cheap Adolis Garcia Jersey on the waiver wire shortly.

Also…Foltynewicz was a first round pick of the Astros in 2010, going #19 overall. I’ve mentioned before the numerous ties the Rangers have to 2010 first rounders…they had four picks in the 50 pick first round (including supplemental round), selecting Kellin Deglan, Jake Skole, Luke Jackson and Mike Olt. They also ended up signing the #6 pick, Barret Loux, after he was declared a free agent due to a failed medical that resulted in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who selected him at #6, not wanting to sign him.

The Rangers had previously selected the #5 overall pick, Drew Pomeranz, in the 2007 draft, but didn’t sign him. The Rangers also took Anthony Ranaudo in the 2007 draft — he went at #39 in the 2010 draft to the Boston Red Sox, and then was traded to the Rangers for Robbie Ross.

Oh, and speaking of Luke Jackson and the Atlanta Braves, Tyrell Jenkins was the 50th and final pick of the 2010 draft. He was traded to the Rangers by the Braves after the 2016 season, along with Brady Feigl, for Luke Jackson. The Rangers lost Jenkins on waivers two weeks later to the Cincinnati Reds.

Foltynewicz, incidentally, wasn’t the Astros’ first first round selection in 2010 — that was Delino DeShields, who went at #8 overall to Houston, and was selected by the Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft several years later. The #10 overall pick was University of Texas at Arlington product Michael Choice, who was selected by the Oakland A’s, and traded to the Rangers along with Chris Bostick in the deal that sent Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom to Oakland.

As much as anything, the reason I thought the Rangers would end up signing Nick Castellanos (#44 overall in 2010) is because they seem intent on grabbing every 2010 first rounder at some point.

UPDATE — Ken Rosenthal says that the deal is one year, $2 million plus incentives. And as a side note, Foltynewicz would still be under team control for 2022, should he stick around all year and the Rangers be willing to go to arbitration with him after this season.

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The Mariners haven’t added much when it comes to position players this offseason, but it’s worth pointing out that they may have taken care of that part of their shopping list before the 2020 campaign ended.

Talking Mariners Podcast: Potential late adds before spring training

Seattle made a blockbuster deal headlined by catcher Austin Nola going to the San Diego Padres just days before the Sept. 1 MLB trade, and while outfield prospect Cheap Taylor Trammell Jersey caught the most attention out of the Mariners’ haul in the deal, Seattle also got itself a promising bat already at the big league level in Cheap Ty France Jersey.

The 26-year-old France has MLB experience going back to 2019, but he played just 69 games that year and 43 between the Padres and Mariners in 2020. He’s expected to get more playing time than ever in a full season this year, and he wasn’t about to contain his excitement about that prospect while on with the Mariners Hot Stove Report this week on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“I definitely am (excited) to finally get that full 162 hopefully this year,” he told hosts Aaron Goldsmith and Gary Hill, referencing MLB’s typical 162-game schedule. “Just to have that comfort of knowing this organization wants me and they want me in the lineup every day, it’s a huge boost for me. I’m definitely looking forward to this challenge.”

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto sat down for his weekly chat with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Thursday morning, and while there was no breaking news to come from the conversation, Dipoto did drop a good amount of insight on some big questions facing the M’s as they prepare to start spring training.

Scott Servais: Mariners have laid a foundation, ‘can start building upon it’

Let’s get to three items of interest I found worth noting from the show, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post.

The Weekly Jarred Kelenic Question
Of course there is the big question, the question on everyone’s mind that gets asked so often on The Jerry Dipoto Show that it probably should have a separate sponsor by now. Paul Gallant does the honors, framing the question a bit differently each week. Gallant acknowledged on Thursday that he was trying to find a way to ask it without annoying the GM and went in the direction of what Dipoto needed to see from Jarred Kelenic, who was recently ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, to know that it was time to bring him up to the big leagues.

“The same things we would be looking for from any other player in any other year,” Dipoto answered. “I absolutely understand the question, there’s been a ton of hype around Jarred and justifiably so. Incredibly talented player who we think has the chance not just to be a good major league player but to be an outstanding major league player.

“The reality is, he’s had just over 700 pro plate appearances. The easy answer to your question, what we will be looking watching for, is just him playing on the field against age-appropriate competition. We’ve not really had a chance to see that in a meaningful way in over a year now.”

While acknowledging that the Mariners feel Kelenic is incredibly close to the big leagues, Dipoto emphasized the importance that they remain measured in how they handle such a different level of talent. He also pointed to an area of development that can get overlooked when just looking at the highlights or numbers.

“There is a right and a wrong way to develop players,” he said. “Jarred’s an incredibly confident player. The only way I can envision him falling short is if that confidence takes a hit through pushing him too quick, too soon. I don’t imagine that’s easy to understand – it could be a very short period, it could be one that takes a little bit longer, but we want to be prudent in how we make that decision because we are so much more concerned with the big picture development of Jarred in his career as well as the long-term outlook for the Cheap Seattle Mariners Jerseys.”

All players fail at some point, that is a given. How they react to failure is what often determines their career path. Ideally the Mariners would like to see Kelenic go through a prolonged struggle in the minor leagues away from the spotlight and find a way to work through it. It’s not a requirement before they call him up – Kelenic may not see the competition required to best him in the minors – but they still clearly want to learn more.

Suppose Kelenic runs into a struggle similar to what we saw with Cheap Evan White Jersey in 2020. How would he react? The situation is different, two individuals with two different sets of expectations. Dipoto points to the confidence as crucial consideration in making these decisions with young players, and for Kelenic it is part of the plan.

“This is an important development for us for a lot of these young prospects,” he said. “We have seen what happens when teams exercise good judgment and the timing is right. We’ve also seen what happens when teams move too quickly and decide it’s time to come out of it because people are getting anxious. We have to calm the anxiety and exercise discipline and keep our eye on the prize that we set in the first place.”

France, who has played third base, second base and first base so far in his career, will likely find most of his playing time in 2021 at either second or as a designated hitter.

Let’s highlight a few more takeaways from France’s interview.

How do the rebuilding Mariners compare to the Padres?
The Padres are one of baseball’s fastest-rising teams, making the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006. The Mariners’ rebuild gets them compared to San Diego a lot these days, so who is a better person to weigh in on that than France, who spent time with both teams in 2020?

“Definitely, I do see similarities,” France said. “I think I’ve said this a few times, just (from) my short time in Seattle, it doesn’t feel like we’re far off. We have that good core, young group. We’re just missing a couple pieces that I think will really help that this team to the next level.

“We really aren’t far off. The Padres, they’ve done a great job from 2015 on to get to where they are now. It is pretty cool to experience the growth there, and like I said, I really don’t feel like we’re far off here in Seattle.”

Help from a star hitter
France’s time in San Diego allowed him to pick up something from a teammate that knows a few things about standing out in the big leagues. Tommy Pham, a slugging outfielder who has now played in the postseason with St. Louis, Tampa Bay and San Diego, provided France and the Padres’ hitters with valuable knowledge.

“Last year we had brought Tommy Pham over to San Diego, and what he had learned with the Rays was to be stubborn with your approach,” France said. “He came into spring training and kind of said, ‘Hey guys, this is how things are going to be over here. We’re going to be stubborn.’ I really took that to heart and really tried to implement that in my game, and I think it helped me a lot last year.”

Based on France’s statistics – he had a .305/.368/.468 slash line in 2020 – and reputation for strong pitch selection while at the plate, it seems to have been advice well worth taking.

Analytics are a one-way street with France
As a hitter, the analytically-inclined members of the baseball community find France to be an underappreciated player. Not that France pays much attention to it, which led to an entertaining exchange on the Hot Stove Report.

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Our 2021 Community Prospect List now has members, plural, as last year’s 1st-round draft pick Tyler Soderstrom earns the second spot. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up):

Cheap A.J. Puk Jersey, LHP (+42%)
Cheap Tyler Soderstrom Jersey, C (+16%)
The Oakland A’s didn’t pick until No. 26 in the 1st round of the draft last summer, but they made the most of their low position. Other teams didn’t think they could sign the Northern California high schooler so he fell to the A’s, and for them he went pro.

What they got was one of the best bats their system has seen in recent memory. Baseball America gives him 60-grades for his Hit and Power tools, and says it’s “easy to envision 30-home run potential with loads of walks and a high OBP. Hardly an all-or-nothing slugger, Soderstrom has a polished lefthanded swing and projects to be a plus hitter.” MLB Pipeline agrees with the 60-grade Hit tool and the polished label.

On defense he’s billed as a catcher, and maybe he’ll stick there all the way to the majors. But even if he doesn’t, his bat would profile well at any position, and with a plus arm and decent athleticism it shouldn’t be hard to find another spot for him.

Soderstrom drew rave reviews for his hitting over the summer and fall since joining the organization, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him reach High-A sometime this year, at age 19. He got the attention of one national Top 100 prospect list, with Baseball America ranking him No. 92, and if he has a strong debut this summer he could rocket up those charts next year.

With A.J. Puk likely to graduate quickly in April, Soderstrom is already realistically the A’s top prospect at this point. The question is whether he can finish the year as one of the top prospects in the whole sport.

The voting process is explained below. Please take a moment to read this before participating:

Five candidates will be listed on the ballot. The voting will take place in the comments section. I will start with a comment listing all five players, and then I will respond to that with five new comments in the style of “Vote: Player Name” for each candidate. Please do not reply directly to the official “Vote” comments, so that the ballot can stay together in one group.
Choose your ONE favorite by Rec’ing the comment with his name. Please only vote for one. The player who receives the most Rec’s earns the next spot on the CPL, while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by a new nominee.
In the comments, below the official voting, the community will nominate players to be put onto the ballot for the next round. Similar to the ballot, I will start with a comment calling for nominations, which can then be made as a response to my comment. The format for your comment should be “Nomination: Player Name”.
After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec’ing his comment. The player with the most Rec’s earns the nomination for the next ballot.
If a prospect is traded, his name will be crossed out, and all other players will be moved up a space. If a prospect is acquired, a special vote will be put up to determine where that player should rank.
* * *

The new nominee is Logan Davidson. He was the A’s 1st-round pick the previous year, in 2019, out of college at No. 29 overall. He doesn’t offer the same lofty ceiling as Soderstrom, but there’s still a lot to like in a switch-hitting shortstop with power, speed, a good arm, and strong enough defense to stick at the position. His primary drawback is a below-average Hit tool, and he’ll look to overcome that this year in his first crack at full-season ball.

Hitter rates (poor/avg/great):

wRC+ (75/100/135)
BB% (5.0%/8.5%/12.0%)
K% (14%/22%/30%)
Nominees on the current ballot:

Logan Davison, SS
Expected level: High-A | Age 23

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (A-): 238 PAs, 112 wRC+, 4 HR, 13.0% BB, 23.1% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

A switch-hitting infielder, Davidson has wiry strength and a lot of raw power, with more in-game pop to come as he fills out that 6-foot-3 frame. With some length to his arms, there’s swing and miss and he does have trouble being on time at the plate. If he’s going to get to average game power, there are going to be strikeouts as well, though he does offset that with an ability to work counts and draw walks. An above-average runner who does produce plus run times occasionally, Davidson is a good baserunner able to steal a base now and again.

Though he’s a bit tall for shortstop, that speed, his overall athleticism and his strong arm should be enough to let him stay at the premium position long term. The A’s do like to move infielders around, and he could see time on both sides of second base, and even some action at the hot corner, as he begins his climb up the A’s ladder.

* * *

Cheap Nick Allen Jersey, SS
Expected level: Double-A | Age 22

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at alternate site camp)
2019 stats (A+): 328 PAs, 122 wRC+, 3 HR, 8.5% BB, 15.9% Ks

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 50

No matter how much Allen improves at the plate, there’s no question he’ll always be a defensive-minded player. He makes every play at shortstop, with plus range, hands, footwork and a plus arm that allows him to make throws from every angle and on the run. All of it plays up even more because of his outstanding instincts that give him Gold Glove potential. He also showed he can handle second base easily, sharing time at both spots with fellow prospect Jeremy Eierman, though there is no question which of the two is a full-time shortstop long term.

Before the injury, Allen was executing his offensive game plan better than he had previously, showing an advanced approach at the plate and using his line-drive swing well, though he never got his timing back when he returned from injury in the AFL. He can get caught buying into the launch angle game a bit too much and that’s never going to be part of his game. At the very least, Allen looks like a No. 8 or 9 hitter as a big league regular. If his offensive gains before he got hurt are real, that plus his defensive profile point to a much larger impact.

* * *

Robert Puason, SS
Expected level: Rookie League | Age 18

2020 stats: DID NOT PLAY (but was at A’s alternate site camp)

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 65 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50

Puason is lean and wiry, with a frame that should add strength, and a body type that reminds some of former All-Star shortstop Tony Fernandez. He has a smooth stroke from both sides of the plate with the ability to barrel up the baseball consistently and spray line drives to all fields. As he matures and grows into his 6-foot-3 frame, there’s sure to be power to come. How much remains to be seen, but a floor of 15 homers annually seems more than reasonable given his long levers and some leverage to his swing.

A plus runner, there’s no question about Puason’s ability to play shortstop. He can really pick it and throw it, with fluid actions, good footwork and plus range to go along with a very strong arm. He’s already displaying solid instincts as well and will get to show off his tools in earnest this summer.

* * *

Cheap Daulton Jefferies Jersey, RHP
Expected level: MLB | Age 25

2020 stats (MLB): 1 start, 2 ip, 5 runs, 1 K, 2 BB, 2 HR
2019 stats (A+): 2.40 ERA, 15 ip, 21 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HR, 2.13 FIP
2019 stats (AA): 3.66 ERA, 64 ip, 72 Ks, 7 BB, 7 HR, 3.19 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 50

Not only did Jefferies stay healthy in 2019 as the A’s closely monitored his workload, his stuff and command came back, allowing him to post a ridiculous 93/9 K/BB ratio over 79 innings of work. He’s likely going to work with a low-90s fastball, around 91-93 mph, though he can reach back for a 94 now and again and it plays up because of his ability to command it so well. He complements it with a plus changeup that he sells really well with his arm action and good tunneling with excellent fade that drops off the table right at the end.

He’s never had a great breaking ball and he’s experimented with different pitches and grips. He didn’t throw it a lot in 2019 and it was inconsistent, looking like a slider-cutter hybrid more often than not. If he can commit to a breaking ball to give him a third average offering, he has the chance to be a No. 4 type starter in short order, a kind of Kyle Hendricks type with a bit more velocity.

* * *

JCheap James Kaprielian Jersey, RHP
Expected level: MLB | Age 27

2020 stats: 2 games, 3⅔ ip, 3 runs, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 2 HR
2019 stats (A+): 4.46 ERA, 36⅓ ip, 43 Ks, 8 BB, 6 HR, 4.43 FIP
2019 stats (AA): 1.63 ERA, 27⅔ ip, 26 Ks, 8 BB, 2 HR, 3.60 FIP
2019 stats (AAA): 2.25 ERA, 4 ip, 6 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HR, 0.80 FIP

MLB Pipeline grades and scouting report (note that the info about his velocity is out of date, and he topped out at 97 mph in the majors in 2020):

Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45

No one has worked harder than Kaprielian to get back on the mound and start moving towards the big leagues. If his 2019 is any indication, he’s not going to be the guy who was pumping mid-90s heat with potentially plus secondary stuff back in college. Instead, he’s learning to pitch at 91-93 mph while occasionally touching 95, commanding the pitch very well. Because of his injury history, Kaprielian was a little tentative in throwing his secondary stuff. He still throws a curve and a slider, with the latter being a bit better, but they do blend into each other at times and neither were better than average last year. He does show a solid changeup with fade at times.

While Kaprielian is a physical pitcher, kind of in the mold of a Kevin Brown type, he’s going to have to be more of a finesse and command type and he did fill up the strike zone consistently in 2019. There’s a chance his stuff snaps back a bit the further removed from injury he gets, but he looks more like a back-end starter than the potential frontline one he projected to be coming out of college.