Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/1/11

How switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, eligible for December’s Rule 5 draft, appears to opposing batters.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Assorted Headlines
2. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
3. Prospecting: John Sickels’ Top-20 List for Toronto

Assorted Headlines
All the nerd that’s fit to print.

Some Rule 5 Eligible Players
Baseball America’s John Manuel has provided analysis of the most eligible of the Rule 5-eligible players. The piece is subscriber-only, but includes two names that ought to be familiar to FanGraphs readers: outfielder Andrew Lambo (acquired by Pittsburgh in the Octavio Dotel trade) and switch-pitched Pat Venditte (who has produced exclusively excellent numbers in the minors). Also available in the draft, which occurs December 8th, is outfielder Jiwan James, whom BA actually just named the ninth-overall prospect in the Philadelphia organization.

The Competitive Balance Lottery: An Explanation
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo gives a brief tutorial of a the Competitive Balance Lottery. In brief, teams with smaller markets and/or lower revenues have the opportunity to make an extra pick either between the first and second or second and third rounds. The teams participating in the first lottery (to take place in July, and to affect the 2013 draft) are as follows: Arizona, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Colorado, Miami (née Florida), Milwaukee, and St. Louis.

SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
Batting Leaderboard
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League (VWL). SCOUT represents an attempt to derive something meaningful from small samples and is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the VWL mean in three important (and regressed) stats: walk rate, strikeout rate, and home-run rate. (Click here for more on SCOUT.)

Name Org PA xBB% xK% xHR% BBz Kz HRz SCOUT Luis Rodriguez SEA 134 18.8% 9.1% 1.4% 1.85 1.51 -0.30 1.02 Luis Jimenez SEA 169 15.5% 18.3% 3.9% 1.17 -0.26 1.06 0.66 Alexi Amarista LAA 160 12.5% 11.9% 2.2% 0.53 0.99 0.16 0.56 Luis Maza ITA* 143 14.3% 12.1% 1.0% 0.92 0.94 -0.52 0.44 Gregor Blanco WAS 159 18.0% 18.9% 1.9% 1.69 -0.36 -0.02 0.44 Luis Valbuena CLE 152 13.9% 16.4% 2.3% 0.83 0.10 0.19 0.37 Caleb Gindl MIL 123 14.3% 20.4% 3.2% 0.92 -0.66 0.67 0.31 Oscar Salazar FLA 180 11.0% 16.7% 3.1% 0.22 0.06 0.65 0.31 Jesus Guzman SF 101 15.4% 16.2% 1.3% 1.15 0.15 -0.37 0.31 Niuman Romero NYN 120 13.0% 14.7% 1.5% 0.63 0.43 -0.25 0.27

• Newly acquired Blue Jay middle infielder Luis Valbuena has hit both his home runs since we last looked at the VWL on November 22nd. Here’s his line over those six games: ca. 29 PA, 2 HR, 3 BB, 4 K.
• SCOUT batting leader Luis Rodriguez was re-signed by the Mariners this week — a face which I believe I’ve already reported in these pages, and will also likely report again.

Pitching Leaderboard
For pitchers, SCOUT is the average of a player’s standard deviations from the VWL mean in (regressed) strikeout and walk rate.

Name Org G GS IP BF xK% xBB% Kz BBz SCOUT Dylan Owen NYN 9 7 41.2 168 23.3% 8.3% 1.18 0.27 0.73 Yohan Pino TOR 18 0 28.1 110 22.6% 8.2% 1.05 0.30 0.67 Yusmeiro Petit MEX 10 10 65.0 265 20.4% 6.5% 0.60 0.74 0.67 Enrique Gonzalez DET 17 0 18.1 74 24.1% 9.6% 1.36 -0.05 0.65 Renyel Pinto FA 8 8 49.2 199 23.2% 9.3% 1.16 0.03 0.60 Les Walrond PHI 9 9 44.2 192 21.9% 8.5% 0.91 0.23 0.57 Josh Schmidt NYA 6 6 32.1 135 23.0% 9.6% 1.14 -0.06 0.54 Mike Parisi LAN 9 8 51.2 203 19.2% 6.8% 0.37 0.66 0.51 Deunte Heath CHA 7 7 35.1 151 22.5% 9.5% 1.02 -0.04 0.49 Robert Coello CHN 13 0 19.1 81 24.0% 10.7% 1.33 -0.35 0.49

Right-hander Yohan Pino — who I’m pretty sure is a free agent after pitching in the Cleveland and Toronto orgs this season — moves from ninth on last week’s list to second on the present one. His line in the meantime: 6.0 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 1 HR. That’s over about 23 batters faced, looks like.

Prospecting: John Sickels on Toronto
John Sickels has published his preliminary top-20 list for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Here are some notes on same:

• Following a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire, 22-year-old right-hander Nestor Molina — rated second by Sickels in the organizaion — did this in five starts: 22.0 IP, 13.50 K/9, 0.82 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9, 0.47 FIP. That’s ridiculous — nor were his 108.1 innings at High-A Dunedin much worse, really: 9.55 K/9, 1.16 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9, 2.45 FIP. (His ground-ball rates were in the mid-40s last season, per StatCorner.) There are conflicting reports on the internet regarding Molina’s stuff; the

• Sickels rates outfielder Anthony Gose ninth overall, assigning him “Grade A tools [and] Grade C+ skills.” Gose batted .253/.349/.415 (.332 BABIP), 124 wRC+, this season as a 20-year-old at Double-A New Hampshire — hitting 16 homers and going 69-for-84 over 587 plate appearances — but finished second to last in the Arizona Fall League per SCOUT, striking out 41 times in ca. 133 plate appearances (30.8%).

• Outfielder Jacob Marisnick (3rd) and right-hander Andrew Hutchison (8th) are projected by OLIVER to post the highest MLE WARs in 2012 among the players on Sickels’ list — for hitters and pitchers, respectively.

Image courtesy Mic Smith, ESPN.

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