One of the most valuable words they teach in you J-School is “allege,” which has been twisted by pop culture such that people think it’s merely a word that defense attorneys use at press conferences.
It means to assert without proof.
Allegedly, the signing of Oliver Perez won’t cost any prospects any innings. Yet he’s reportedly going to start the season at AAA. Both statements cannot be true, so let me explain why. In other words, I’m going to present some proof.
As we discussed yesterday, it appears that option status is going to send a few pitchers to Syracuse. Two of those pitchers are starters. One of them is Yunesky Maya, considered the #11 prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. The other is Ross Detwiler, a former prospect by the definition of him no longer having rookie status, but a promising young pitcher nevertheless.
Would it be unfair to assume those two are in the Syracuse starting rotation? I think not.
A favorite here, and the Nationals Minor League pitcher of the year for 2010, is Tom Milone. The 24-year-old lefty is also the #16 man in the Nats org, according to BA. Ten and eleven spots back of him are Ryan Tatusko and Brad Meyers. While both do turn 26 this year, they are still prospects.
Thus, before you even cross into AAAA territory, you’ve got a full rotation on Opening Day with four of the Nats Top 30 prospects. And even when you do cross that prospect/4A border, each of these men is younger than Oliver Perez, who turns 30 in August. Here’s a look at them listed from youngest (turning 24 a week from yesterday) to oldest (turning 28 in June)
And that’s not even including two organizational guys (Erik Arnesen and Jeff Mandel) that could conceivably lose their jobs or go back to Harrisburg, a place that’s expected to host BA-ranked prospects Danny Rosenbaum and Trevor Holder at the outset and Sammy Solis by midseason, joining the #10 man Brad Peacock.
If Perez is assigned to Syracuse, he’s going to cost one of those six men playing time, if not a job.
So does that mean Perez is going to become a reliever? Even if that were true, here’s a peek at some of the names we may see to start the season in Syracuse.
And that’s not including either of the MLB-phase Rule 5 pickups or Harrisburg relievers such as Rafael Martin and Hassan Pena, who was the #30 guy on the BA list and was said to have picked up his fastball in the Puerto Rican winter leagues this past offseason. Not to mention, the likes of Tim Wood, Lee Hyde, Harvey Garcia, or Adam Olbrychowski. While it’s doubtful that at least two of those last three names will be sent down, it could send the third down or out.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, but the point I am trying to make here still remains… signing Oliver Perez and assigning him to a full-season affiliate to start 2011 is going to cost a prospect somehow, some way. It may be merely innings, it may be taking a step back in the chain, or it could mean a release. But to claim otherwise is simply foolish.