Every year on New Year’s Day my wife and I follow our tradition of eating sauerkraut to bring good luck. In 2015 the sauerkraut must have been an off brand or too old. it didn’t work. In most respects, it was a lousy year for the two of us. We are ready to turn the page and welcome 2016. A fresh start is needed. Better luck. Exciting challenges. Good health.
The year will begin with a change in BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD. For now, this blog will be the primary communication outlet for my scouting reports and opinions on players. Beginning at the end of January I will be writing this blog with more frequency. The main focus will be scouting information on both prospect and big league players. I am grateful to MLB.com for providing me this opportunity to write on this great blog platform.
You and I will still be able to communicate via twitter @BerniePleskoff. I am committed to responding to those who take the time to ask questions or make comments. Twitter will be my primary two-way communication home.
Derek VanRiper and I will still be doing our ShortHops podcast. It will return at the end of January. The response has been fantastic and we will continue the same format. Thank you to our loyal listeners. We’ll offer more of the same in 2016.
I will still be doing my weekly radio spot with RotoWire every Wednesday on Sirius/XM Fantasy Sports radio. I’ll return at the end of January as well.
As I have done for years, I will be contributing my thoughts on players for 2016 to the annual RotoWire Baseball Preview magazine which will be available later on newsstands or by subscription to RotoWire.
While I won’t be posting weekly articles at MLB.com Pipeline, I will be attending just as many baseball games and sharing my scouting thoughts with you as I noted above.
From time to time more outlets may be added. I will share those with you if they occur.
I really think the White Sox-Reds-Dodgers trade has tremendous ramifications for the future. Especially for the White Sox.
Todd Frazier gives them an All Star third baseman with a loud power bat to fit next to Jose Abreu in the lineup. An excellent defender, Frazier gives them the third baseman they have needed for years. U.S. Cellular is made for Frazier’s right handed power.
And what did they give up to change the fortunes of their franchise?
Frankie Montas has solid upside with a fastball, slider, changeup mix. For now, however, he needs to gain confidence on the mound and throw more strikes. In the times I have seen him he has been wild and has not repeated his delivery. He has been more a thrower than a pitcher. I think the Dodgers will eventually use him in the rotation, but he has development remaining. He’s talented with a big arm, but he’s raw. He’s probably a 55 in scouting terms in my opinion.
Trayce Thompson has always been seen as a good defensive outfielder with speed. He surprised some last September with a solid bat. I’m not sure that will continue. I see him as a 4th or 5th outfielder at best or as a 4-A player. I see him as a 45.
Micah Johnson has very, very good speed. His left-handed bat can offer a solid batting average with little to no power. I think his defense is the question. Will he yield more runs than he produces? He can be an everyday player if the Dodgers are willing to concede some defense for speed and a good hitting tool. I have him at a 50.
The Reds get blazing fast Jose Peraza to team with the speedy Billy Hamilton to form a solid one-two punch of guys that can (hopefully) get on base, steal and score. They won’t just steal second. They’ll steal third. If they can get on. Peraza has a good hit tool and is a No. 1 prospect for sure. He will really help the Reds put pressure on the opposing pitcher. He was a major acquisition. I see him as a 60.
Scott Schebler has a solid bat with some power from the left side. But he has little to no speed as his defense is just meh. He may be a 4th outfielder on most clubs, but given the Reds outfield situation, I think he’ll see playing time in a platoon or as a corner outfielder full-time. For now. Players like Winker and Ervin wait in the wings.
I would put a 45 on him at present with a possibility to grow to a 50.
Brandon Dixon’s most comfortable position is second base. I haven’t seen him play and I don’t know anything about him.
I think the Reds could have gotten more for Frazier, but I wasn’t in the conversations. I think in their minds they made the best deal possible. Frazier could lead to more player movement in Chicago. They still need a shortstop until Tim Anderson arrives, probably late this year. But even if they do no more, they have jumped into contention in the AL Central. But it’s early.
With limited resources to play in the deep end of the pool, I think the Indians did very well to sign Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis and Joe Thatcher. Each can help in his own way.
Napoli can still hit the ball out of the park if his hips are healthy. Davis adds good speed and defense in center field, a team need. Thatcher adds a left-hander in the pen. If he has something left in the tank and if not overused by Terry Francona, he can be very useful.
I will transition to the New Year by taking a month away from normal life. I will be on hiatus. No blogs, no radio, not many tweets after December 20th. Discover me again on January 20th or thereabouts.
Thank you for all your wonderful support of my work. Until we meet up again, I wish you great health, great happiness, great holidays, a very Happy New Year and…..peace. Peace, please.