John Sickels, who is considered one of the most knowledgeable people in baseball on Minor League prospects ran a piece yesterday called Prospect Smackdown. Basically, what he does is compare two prospects that are fairly similar and looks at them to see which one he feels is in better shape for success.
This particular post compared our own Felix Pie to Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos)
Here are the comments on Felix Pie
| Facing Double-A hitters, Mark Prior allowed one hit and struck out four in four scoreless innings on Friday.
He did walk two and hit a batter, but it was a small step forward anyway. He hit 90 mph on the gun for maybe the first time this spring, though he was typically clocked at 85-88 mph with his fastball. Also, he got his curve over more often. “[My command] was better,” Prior said. “I threw a lot of [breaking pitches] for strikes. That was the goal, to locate it a little better.” The Cubs will wait to see how Prior feels tomorrow before scheduling his next outing. If he’s slated to work in another minor league game, it’d be a strong sign that the Cubs have no intention of carrying him on the active roster to begin the season.
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Background & Intangibles
Pie was signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic in 2001. He made his full-season debut in the Midwest League in ’03, and has made steady progress up the ladder in the Chicago system. He was erratic in ’06 but strong in the second half for Triple-A Iowa. Cubs officials have good things to say about his work ethic and makeup, particularly his ability to stay positive when things don’t go well.
Physicality, Health, and Tools
Pie is a 6-2, 175 pound lefthanded hitter and thrower, born February 8, 1985. Pie is an outstanding overall athlete. Like Ellsbury, his speed is a major asset on defense, but his arm is stronger (suitable for right field). He has more raw power, and more present power, than Ellsbury, but is less refined as a hitter and fielder, and needs particular work on his strike zone judgment. He missed more than half of the ’05 season due to an ankle injury, but showed no ill effects last year.
Performance & Polish
Pie hit .283/.341/.451 last year in Triple-A, his career mark now standing at .294/.353/.459. His BB/K/AB ratio not very good: 46/126/559 last year, and 164/438/.1945 in his career. His MLE OPS last year was about .810 with about 17 steals.
Some people are starting to compare Pie to Carlos Beltran. I don’t think he’ll be quite that good, but Pie (like Ellsbury) could develop into a .280-.300 hitter. He’ll have more home run power, but his OBP and strike zone judgment could be more erratic, and I think he’ll lose his speed more quickly. PECOTA upside VORP is 158.5.
I always enjoy John’s writing. It has helped me to learn a lot more about the farm systems in baseball. If you’re not a big fan of following the farm, I would urge you to reconsider that one. A good fan should at least know about some of the team’s prospects. It deepens your understanding as to why Hendry does some of the things he does. Granted, sometimes I still have no clue what he’s thinking, but overall, I can begin to piece the puzzle together and see where he is going with his plan.