Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/22/11

This grainy image reveals the secret to Peter Bourjos’ defensive range.

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. Projecting: ZiPS for Los Angeles (AL)

Assorted Headlines
Baltimore Nearing Deal with Korean Reliever Chong
The Orioles are closing in on signing right-handed reliever Chong Tae-Hyon out of South Korea, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli reports. Chong, 33, has pitched in the Korea Baseball Organization since 2001 and has made appearances with the South Korean National Team. Chong posted a 39:28 K:BB in 52.2 innings in 2011, but likely generates a number of ground balls by virtue of a submarine delivery. Below is some footage of Chong against China (starting at about the 4:08 mark). Warning: dope beats included.

Spring Training Schedules Available
A number of spring-training schedules have been released in the past week-plus. To the best of my knowledge, Spring Training Online (linked above) is the best resource for that sort of thing. (Note: they pay me no money to say that, but I would gladly take any that they’re offering.)

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 FA 106 16.6% 10.4% 1.5% 1.40 1.16 -0.17 0.80 Luis Jimenez SEA 140 13.4% 17.8% 3.3% 0.75 -0.07 0.86 0.51 Luis Maza ITA* 116 14.6% 13.3% 1.1% 0.99 0.69 -0.39 0.43 Caleb Gindl MIL 123 14.3% 20.5% 3.0% 0.92 -0.50 0.73 0.38 Oscar Salazar FLA 150 11.9% 18.0% 2.9% 0.44 -0.10 0.64 0.33 Mike Wilson SEA 110 13.4% 22.0% 3.5% 0.74 -0.76 0.96 0.32 Luis Valbuena CLE 127 13.6% 16.7% 1.7% 0.78 0.12 -0.05 0.28 Justin Henry DET 132 11.3% 12.1% 1.0% 0.32 0.88 -0.45 0.25 Alexi Amarista LAA 129 10.5% 13.8% 1.7% 0.14 0.61 -0.06 0.23 Kole Calhoun LAA 117 14.1% 19.8% 2.1% 0.88 -0.40 0.18 0.22

• Free-agent utility infielder Luis Rodriguez has demonstrated the best plate discipline in the VWL by a wide margin, demonstrating regressed walk and strikeout rates that are both a standard deviation better than the VWL mean.
• Less than a week after being designated for assignment by the Indians, infielder Luis Valbuena, about to turn 26, makes his first appearance on the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the VWL.
• Detroit minor-leaguer Justin Henry is 6-foot-3 and has only home run in his last three minor-league seasons (1345 plate appearances). That seems improbable.

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% 8.4% 1.01 0.24 0.63 Renyel Pinto FA 7 7 43.2 175 24.1% 9.4% 1.16 0.02 0.59 Yusmeiro Petit MEX 8 8 53.0 215 20.5% 7.2% 0.48 0.51 0.50 Josh Wilkie WAS 15 0 14.2 60 22.1% 8.8% 0.80 0.15 0.48 Josh Schmidt NYA 6 6 32.1 135 23.1% 9.7% 0.98 -0.05 0.46 Deunte Heath CHA 7 7 35.1 151 22.5% 9.6% 0.86 -0.03 0.42 Les Walrond PHI 7 7 38.2 163 21.5% 8.8% 0.68 0.14 0.41 Sergio Perez HOU 7 7 33.0 139 22.0% 9.2% 0.77 0.05 0.41 Yohan Pino TOR 14 0 22.1 87 20.8% 8.3% 0.55 0.26 0.41 Robert Coello CHN 10 0 16.2 66 23.4% 10.5% 1.04 -0.24 0.40

• Since our most recent look at the VWL, Renyel Pinto has made two starts, to this effect: 13.1 IP, 13 K, 4 BB, 0 HR. He has a 1.40 GO/AO in his 43.2 VWL innings — i.e., approximately 44% or 45%.
• The internet reveals that 35-year-old left-hander Les Walrond has played in Japan, Korea, the independent Atlantic League, and space; however, he finished the season at Double-A Reading.

Projecting: ZiPS for Los Angeles (AL)
Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for the Los Angeles Angels. Below are some of the notable ones. (All numbers assume major league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.)

Mike Trout, CF, 20: .267/.338/.414, 39/53 SB, 106 OPS+
Accounting for both offense and defense, ZiPS regards Trout as the best player on the Angels right now.

Jeff Mathis, C, 29: .205/.258/.313, 57 OPS+
There are four catchers in the organization — Hank Conger (89 OPS+), Bobby Wilson (78), Cole Armstrong (71), and Orlando Mercado (66) — projected by ZiPS to post a higher OPS+ than Mathis.

Peter Bourjos, CF, 25: .261/.309/.412, 30/39 SB, 96 OPS+
Bourjos slashed .271/.327/.438 (.338 BABIP) in 2011, nor is this projection a great departure from that line — basically, a couple fewer hits. Bourjos is one of the few players with an EX (i.e. Excellent) defensive rating: according to Szymborski, only about 2% of the 1100 players rated in 2011 received EX defensive ratings. Bourjos has posted a 19.1 UZR/150 through 1719.0 center-field innings.

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