Joshua Fields's MLBA available here. Their first six M's prospects being:

  • 1 Ackley, cf/1b :- )
  • 2 Triunfel, ss
  • 3 Liddi, 3b
  • 4 Morban, cf
  • 5 Pineda, sp
  • 6 Moore, c

We've covered 1-5, I think.  Did we do #7?  Quick recap:


=== 7 Greg Halman, 9E ===

#1 in Baseball America's list last year, Halman clocks in at a lofty #19 on Sickels' list this year.  Baseball America demoted Halman to #8 after the M's landed seven prospects better than him... :- ) no, it's fair for BBA to reconsider after Halman's results disappointed in 2009.

Halman smoked A+ ball for a .572 SLG in 2008 at the age of 20, and then was promoted to AA halfway through the season.  He hit 277/323/481 there, and the tools-oriented BBA went ga-ga.

Unfortunately, in 2009, Halman went right back to AA West Tenn and hit 210/257/420.  His strikeout rate zoomed from 28% to 40% and his EYE plummeted to a scary 0.16.

We covered Halman earlier.  HQ has the simple recommendation for Halman to shorten his swing.  Presumably if he does, he'll still hit the ball out of the park.


With athletic freaks like Halman -- we loved hearing about his oversized hands, maybe my favorite physical attribute in a hitter -- early results aren't as important as they would be for a hand-eye ar-teest.


=== 14 Josh Fields, 8D ===

A kid has to have some kind of talent to go first round as a college reliever.

Fields, at the time of the draft, was reputed to have a Bryan Harvey breaking pitch and a 92 fastball, which would have made him Tom Gordon.  Tom Gordon, had a better career than will 80% of all first-round draft picks.

Later, Fields was accused of a 95 fastball to go with his lethal breaking pitch, which would (if true) have made him Bryan Harvey or Francisco Rodriguez.

A short time later, Fields was reputed to throw upper 90's...


HQ sez:

  • Had dead arm at AA (so don't take results too hard)
  • Should move quickly through minors (i.e. Safeco appearance might not take long)
  • 89-95 fastball is plus
  • 81-83 "hard curve" (this describes Tom Gordon's overhand curve - DrD)
  • Durability still a problem due to lightweight chassis
  • Must work on delivery and learn to spot FB

They've got him for a 30% shot at becoming a legit ML closer.  I think Geoff Baker has him for a 98% chance of being traded, in view of the dispositions of the Aumont, Morrow and Clement lotto tickets.

Just to pick two names, Jered Weaver (who of course has a similar body) came right out of college and excelled as a pro starter.  Jon Papelbon was given more time, but threw strikes right off the bat.

The fact that Fields was given the light duty of relieving, and still walked 6 guys a game -- with a dead arm, dubious delivery and no control -- suggests to me that the M's fell too much in love with a game-breaking yakker. 

Fields right now doesn't look like a 1st-round talent.  They've got their choice of a LOT of guys in the first round.  Apparently, all Fields had was that yellow hammer.  Must be some pitch, eh?  To go get one pitch, from all the way across the other corner of the country?


With a fresh arm, he's got some shot of coming to spring training and pulling a Rafael Soriano.  But he keeps struggling in 2010, it calls into question the 1st-round pick.  A first round, 2-pitch reliever ought to be able to toss them both into the strike zone fairly quickly out of college.

2010 will be a "Watch" year for Fields; if he is a 1st-rounder, he ought to be able to show some of it out of the bullpen in 2010.


Dr D


RockiesJeff's picture

Thanks for the update.  Doc, do you think Mr. Fields will break through?  I didn't realize that his junior year was so average.  Does he throw knuckle curve ala Burt Hooton?
I was surprised that Z finally got him signed.  I hope that can step up this year, if at least for good trade bait.
Enjoy your weekend!!


As you can see, it's a Bert Blyleven-, Aaron Sele-style overhand yakker that goes bill-of-cap to shoetops.  A very unusual pitch for a closer.  Even Gordon, known for his SP-style 12-6 curve, didn't have the huge break that Fields does.  Control is a serious issue for that kind of pitch.
He obviously gets on top of the FB very well, throws downhill, and threw the ball right by college hitters almost in Strasburg fashion (note the 25 K's in 11 IP graphic on the vid -- he was doing this 18K/game with the FASTBALL mostly).
The head moves around, tilts back, the arm-splay and CG acceleration is rushed and shrill, etc etc.  Has work to do but could jell at any time and give you a star reliever.  Whether he will or not ... My guess is pretty much where HQ is, 30-50% chance of it...
You have a good weekend too bro' :- )


1) Getting the umpire to call a strike with it (moving that much, the catcher often receives the darne dthing near the ground after it crosses the plate at the bottom of the strike zone and if you can't get the ump to call close pitches, hitters will just read the upward motion at release and never swing
2) Commanding it at all.  Pitches that move that much are notoriously difficult to throw within 12 inches of your target
3) Gopheritis.  If you miss up with a curveball, a hitter can play to the natural over-spin and create some monster HRs
4) Arm injuries - especially to young pitchers.  To get that much movement, you really have to snap it off hard core.  His elbow is at serious risk

RockiesJeff's picture

Doc, thanks for the info.  Those hitters on the video didn’t even blink at Field’s fastball.  Impressive BUT, at the next level?  I hope he can be effective.  Matt, great points.  I have really enjoyed both of your comments and analysis for months.  Many more things could be said but, Matt, after reading your 4 excellent points, I thought of the difficulty to repeat Field's form over the long haul.  Do you remember watching Jamaal Wilkes, mostly known for his shooting with the Lakers?  He waived the basketball over his head when he shot.  Not what you wanted to imitate or teach.  But the guy could shoot!  Sometimes a guy is so good it doesn't matter exactly how.  But those are very rare.
Good point about Fields and umps.  In basketball you just get the ball through the net.  In baseball, you might get the guy who says it was really an airball.
Would it surprise any of you if Fields is traded once he shows any promise?


If there's one thing Zduriencik is good's trading Bavasi prospects with high upside and extremely high risk.
Z seems to prefer a different kind of prospect than the Fields/Morrow/Aumont types.

RockiesJeff's picture

Big broom Z keeps under that desk! 

NyMariner05's picture

I still have no idea why Jack decided to agree to a deal with Fields. There were a number of quality starting pitching prospects he could have taken with that pick.  Our draft would have looked a lot nicer if we had Eric Arnett or even went another position player like Mike Trout. Both guys went right before out 27th pick, but we could have gotten either if we let Fields walk. Very disappointed with that decision.


I think, however, that Fields got signed to keep Boras happy.  The new guy on the block doesn't want to immediately tick off the uber-agent when he's got free agent targets he wants to look at and some of his own players were Boras clients.

RockiesJeff's picture

Agreed.  I am sure that most on here wanted Z to pick his own player with that one.  It was a perfect time for Z to let it drift away as it was not his potential mistake.  Maybe he was the new kid on the block and there was some pressure from above?  Or maybe he wanted to get off to a good start with everyone's favorite agent, Boras?  Or his scouts see something in Fields that they didn't in Lowe, etc?  Or he got up on the wrong side of the bed like the rest of us?

NyMariner05's picture

I don't want to belabor the point because you don't know what is going on behind the scenes with scouting or the draft budget. But how nice would it be if we had walked away with Dustin Ackley, Eric Arnett, Nick Franklin, Rex Brothers, and Rich Poythress?
For a system deprived of legit starting pitching prospects, you could have had two very good college starters if you passed on Fields and Baron.
Of course this is second guessing in some way, but I recall many M's fans puzzled over Jack signing Fields, and I don't think Ive spoken to anybody who liked Baron. I've also read Churchill state that the M's wanted Arnett, but Milkwaukee snatched him right before we picked at #27.
Anyway, no use getting too upset at this point, but given our lack of a first rounder this year, it is a little bothersome that we couldn't get more (at least on paper) out of last year's draft, particularly in regards to Arnett, because he's going to be pretty good and reports are we really liked him.

okdan's picture

I remember a question similar to this coming up in the latest LL/USSM meetup with Jack Z, Blengino, McNamara, Kingston. It was phrased more in the way of, "Are you just trying to get rid of Bavasi's picks" rather than being specifically about Fields, but I think the answer is relevant here.
Jack gave a someone expected answer at first, saying "No of course not, we don't get rid of good players just because somone else picked them.", but he elaborated on that. He said one thing he takes into account is the opinions of his scouts. A lot of men spent a lot of time and effort scouting these players, and to disregard them or write them off would be kind of like a slap in the face.
So, while I don't necessarily think that signing Field was Z's #1 choice, he saw it as a showing a sign of respect to his scouts that this was a guy worth picking #1, etc. I think that must have been part of the decision. And as a former scout himself, I'm sure he has a fair bit of insight into how it would feel.


I wouldn't be too upset if he were part of an AGone package, to say the least.
Ackley, being a wunderkind, should be ready at the deadline to take over for Jose.  All things being equal, I'd like to keep Jose, but if A Gone could be obtained for Lopez, Fields, Trunifel, + then I'd be all over that.
I'm only slightly TIC here about Ackley being ready at the deadline to step up.

RockiesJeff's picture

Ask for a Mulligan?  It would be great to have those guys but what a change from two years ago! 

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