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The Nightcap! (TGI Cistulli Edition)

Read This, Ya Dope

If you've read the last three or four Nightcaps I've submitted to these pages, you're aware that, at this time of season, Carson Cistulli is way less concerned with a 3-for-4 night from an established hitter and way MORE interested in, like, the dude who finished fourth in Isolated Power (ISO) the Southern League. (It's Brandon Guyer. Look him up!)

What can I say? It's just how my mother raised me.

Anyway, with that in mind, I'd like to start off this edition of the Nightcap by discussing six players (three starting pitchers, three batters) who I've recently added (or, at least, desparately tried to add) in a keeper league. Don't worry: I still bring all the usual magic of the Nigthcaps you've grown to know and love; there's just EVEN MORE MAGIC in this particular edish.

Three Batters

Player:Daniel Descalso, 2B, St. Louis
Credentials: Descalso is the exact type of player who falls through the cracks in prospect evaluation, as he doesn't have one great tool. Still, he plays second base and slashed .281/.349/.420 with a .294 BABIP at Triple-A this year. His 105 wOBA+ suggests that he wasn't unduly aided by park factors or anything.
Outlook: Will be in second base mix for Cards next year. Watch your back, Schumaker.

Player:Brent Morel, 3B, Chicago (AL)
Credentials: He's still learning the strike zone (only 13 BB in 324 Triple-A PA), but Morel plays solid third base (meaning he'll stick there) and has shown good power. He's not a slam dunk prospect, but any player who's 23 (he is) and makes contact at an above-average rate (he does) is someone who merits attention.
Outlook: Third base. Has better than 50|PERCENT| chance of starting season there.

Player:Nick Weglarz, COF, Cleveland
Credentials: Scouts and nerds agree: Weglarz has as good a control of the strike zone as any minor league batter. This year, after being promoted there, he slashed .286/.392/.497 (.344 BABIP) in 209 Triple-A PAs. Posted wOBA+s of 116 at Double-A and then 119 at Triple-A. On the downside, he's physically inert. Woops!
Outlook: Left field. Maybe he doesn't start the season in the majors. But he's too good a hitter not to play soon.

Three Pitchers

Player:James McDonald, RHP, Pittsburgh
Credentials: McDonald was one of the players – along with Andrew Lambo – that came to Pittsburgh in the Octavio Dotel deal earlier this season. It's hard to see why the Dodgers gave him up, as he was pitching pretty well in Triple-A in a pretty challenging pitching environment. Anyway, here's what he's done through 9 GS with the Pirates: 54.0 IP, 8.33 K/9, 3.67 BB/9, 29.9|PERCENT| GB.
Outlook: Starter.

Player:Esmil Rogers, RHP, Colorado
Credentials: Rogers actually profiles a bit like Ubaldo Jimenez, Jr. Consider Jimenez' line this season: 8.62 K/9, 3.75 BB/9, 48.4|PERCENT| GB. Now use your eyes to look Rogers' line: 8.16 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 50.7|PERCENT| GB. Rogers doesn't have quite the velocity that Jimenez does, sitting somehwere in the 93-95 range, but he
Outlook: Starter.

Player:Mark Rogers, RHP, Milwaukee
Credentials: Almost definitely NOT related to Esmil Rogers, Mark was actually drafted in the first round back in 2004, but missed all of 2007 AND 2008 with consecutive arm surgeries. He actually made his first ever major league start tonight. Voila: 3.0 IP, 12 TBF, 4 K, 2 BB, 3 GB on 5 BIP (60|PERCENT|). He was on a pitch limit of 60, but that's not bad. One thing to watch: his control. Rogers walked 5.56 per nine this year in Double-A.
Outlook: Starter. Possible injury concern.

The Young and Potentially Restless

Allen Craig played right field and jacked a donger for the Cardinals. He batted .320 .389 .549 (.351 BABIP) at Triple-A this year. He posted a 119 wOBA+ there, too. (wOBA+ is basically how well he batted, adjusted for park, relative to league average. Above 100 is good. Craig's 119 wOBA+ means he batted 19|PERCENT| better than the league-average hitter. That's pretty good.)

• Rookie Casper Wells may or may not be good, but he definitely has the first name Casper. Also, he went 2-for-3 tonight with a 3B and HR. Also, probably don't pick him up: his contact rates are too low.


• Woah, Justin Verlander: 9.0 IP, 32 TBF, 11 K, 0 BB, 14 GB on 21 BIP (67|PERCENT|). That's better than most no-hitters.

Jayson Nix hit 2 HR. Unfortunately, his OBP is unlikely to top .300.

Andy Pettitte got waxed: 3.1 IP, 20 TBF, 1 K, 0 BB, 8 GB on 19 BIP (42.1|PERCENT|). It's hard to pitch real well when you're striking out only 5|PERCENT| of opposing batters. In this case, the Red Sox scored 7 R (6 ER) in those 3.1 IP.

• Is Jose Bautista hitting 2 HR notable? Because he did that. That's 52 now.

• Baltimore's Nolan Reimold is back – and he went 3-for-5 tonight.

Tim Lincecum's velo is down once again this year. But also he did this tonight: 8.0 IP, 26 TBF, 9 K, 0 BB, 12 GB on 17 BIP (70.6|PERCENT|). Against a team that needed desparately to win, features one of the NL's best offenses, and was playing in its hitter-friendly park.

• He didn't, but how about we all PRETEND that Milwaukee's Lorenzo Cain went like 5-for-5 tonight with 7 SB.

Jeremy Hermida went 4-for-4 for A's, who've also recently acquired Akinori Iwamura. Both are what you'd call post-post-post-post-post-hype sleepers.

• Cincy's Drew Stubbs hit his 21st homer of the year. He strike out quite a bit, so the batting average will always be depressed, but he also appears to be a legit 20-20 guy.

Stolen Bases

Chone Figgins (41), B.J. Upton (41), Alexis Rios (34) Andrew McCutchen (32), Will Venable (28), Denard Span (24), Bobby Abreu (23), Franklin Gutierrez (23), Shin-Soo Choo (21), Howie Kendrick (14),  Albert Pujols (13), Alexei Ramirez (13), Sean Rodriguez (12), Peter Bourjos (8, 9), Cameron Maybin (8), Brennan Boesch (7), Mark Ellis (6), Travis Hafner (2), Aaron Hill (2), Miguel Tejada (2).

Caught Stealing

Peter Bourjos (2).

Kinda Weird Save Chances

Jesse Carlson, converted (1). It's only his third career save and not a sign of things to come, probably. Really, he came in to face Matt Wieters right after Kevin Gregg gave up a doub-piece to Corey Patterson.

Kenley Jansen, converted (2). Sources say he throws a 171 mph fastball. Sources are also totally drunk.

Mostly Normal Save Chances

Brandon Lyon, converted (19). Good for you, if you own him. Otherwise, though, there's something super sad about Lyon and his 19 saves.

Jonathan Papelbon, converted (37). Mark Teixeira hit a two-out homer off him. Still, the Sox won by 2 R. But also, Daniel Bard is probably a better pitcher than him.

Brad Lidge, converted (27). He's found his old slider; it was stuck in his soul patch.

Rafael Soriano, converted (44). Whatever, it shouldn't even count against the Mariners.

Brian Wilson, converted (45). An actual, real-live save for a team that needed to win!

Heath Bell, converted (44).

Other Closer Appearances

Billy Wagner had 3 K in 5 TBF. His Braves were down 3-8 at the time.

Fernando Rodney entered a 1-1 game in the 9th inning and gave up a run for the L.

Neftali Feliz threw 1 IP with his team up 10-3. Just for work, looks like.