WebSoulSurfer wrote a constructive comment about our Rule 5 selections, and rather than burying it at the bottom of the last entry, I figured I would respond with an additional post.
Comment from WebSoulSurfer:
Cabrera, like Deivi Cruz, is really a 2B, having played 171 of his 219 games in the minors at that position.
He hasn't played much at SS, only 45 games in his professional career, and hasn't looked good when he did.
In 3 games I saw the Tourists play against the Del Marva Shorebirds and the Charleston Riverdogs, he started one game at SS and looked lost. One throwing error and another play that should have been called an error. Yes, 3 games and just one at SS is a small sample size, but from the people that follow the Sally League and the Tourists in particular, I got that it is typical of what little time he gets at SS.
On the bright side he did steal 4 bases in the 3 games.
Maybe he will do better than Travis Denker, EGon, and Matt Antonelli to win the 2B position in Spring Training, but from what I saw and from what I was told by those who watched him play daily, he is not a SS.His .946 FP and his 9 throwing errors of 11 total errors in just 45 games at the SS position seem to bear that out as well.
And now you have a 25 man roster slot filled by someone, 2 someones actually, who have very little shot at making the team. Kind of ties your hands if you want to make trades, doesn't it?I just don't understand either of the Rule V pick ups and nothing you have said makes it any clearer why you picked these two.
It's not unusual for young middle infielders to play both 2B and SS at times. As an example, when Furcal was Cabrera's age he had played 114 games at 2B and 117 at SS (and his fielding percentage at SS was .932 - below Cabrera's) in his career. The next year he was the starting SS in Atlanta.
Sometimes playing both 2B and SS is for developmental reasons (most kids break in needing to be able to play multiple positions) and other times it's due to the presence of other players. In this case the Rockies had a young, 19 year old SS on Cabrera's team both last year and this year who was their 5th round pick in 2006. This happens more often than you might think.
In fact, it's happening right now in our system. Jorge Minyeti has been playing mainly 2B in the Dominican Republic, but we all believe he could play SS if needed. He's playing primarily 2B because Jonathan Galvez is getting most of the time at SS. In our system next year we'll have some similar decisions to make with guys like Drew Cumberland, Cole Figueroa, Beamer Weems, Lance Zawadski, Jesus Lopez, and Jeudy Valdez - every one of whom we believe has the ability to play SS.
Our scouts, including one who has seen Everth since he was an amateur in Nicaragua, believe that he has the tools to play SS, but he certainly needs more experience. Young infielders generally make errors - lots of them. I remember when I first got to Oakland, the knock on Eric Chavez was that he wasn't going to be able to stick at 3B. His BEST fielding percentage in the minors was .935, and he had made more than 50 errors in fewer than 250 minor league games. He won his first Gold Glove at the age of 23. The point is that if the player has the tools and athleticism to handle a position, they typically get much better with experience.
I'm not saying that we expect Everth to win a Gold Glove at SS, but this gets to your second question - why would we pick these guys? We picked them not solely because of what they are today, but also because of what we believe they can become.
In past years we've taken Rule 5 guys who can play a particular position or fill a certain role even though that's likely all they might ever do at the ML level. The good news is that our minor league system is now providing us with those players. This afforded us an opportunity in this year's draft, an opportunity to take a chance (or two) on players who have a higher ceiling in the future while filling a role today.
In the immediate term, Cabrera can play at least three positions (2B, SS, and CF), has impact speed, and is an excellent bunter. Most National League managers would love to have that guy available to them. Nova is a solid strikethrower, has a fastball that averages around 92-93 and flashes above average secondary pitches. Most teams won't do much better than that with the 12th pitcher on their staff.
In the longer term, Cabrera could be a leadoff-hitting middle-of-the-diamond defender with impact speed, and Nova could be a middle of the rotation starter with plus stuff. Will either player fulfill that promise? Very simply, we don't know. I wish we were that good. However, their ability to fill a role now while also projecting to more significant roles down the line made them worth the selections.
Now, of course, they actually need to make the team. We'll see how that goes come February and March, as neither one is assured of a spot.
PS The allure of Deivi Cruz was that he was an excellent defender at SS regularly posting above average fielding percentages and range factors. He played 1124 ML games at SS and just 51 at 2B.