Monday, December 14, 2015

5 Sleeper Blue Jays Prospects

  A Sleeper prospect is typically one who possesses abundant natural talent, but for a myriad of reasons, is more about potential than performance when they acquire that label.  Sometimes, they figure it out:  for hitters, it can come in the form of a mechanical adjustment, giving them more time to either wait on a pitch, or to get more of the bat barrel through the hitting zone.  For pitchers, it can come in the form of mastering their mechanics, using a new arm slot, or finding a new grip on a pitch that leads to better bat-dodging movement. For some, adjusting to a new country, with a new language, currency, food, and customs takes time, while for others, pro ball gives them their first extended taste of failure; both situations take a while to adjust to.
  Whatever the case, until those discoveries occur (and more often than not, they don't), said prospect is a Sleeper:  one who faces long odds, but has shown enough glimpses of the tools in their kit to make them worth keeping an eye on.

  Before we start, here's a quick glimpse at some Sleepers I identified last spring:
Bryan Lizardo 3B - struggled big time in the GCL, which he should repeat in 2016.
Angel Perdomo LHP - pitched well at Bluefield, even better at Vancouver; at 21, there's not a lot of room left for projection, but he should make his full season debut this year.
Jordan Romano RHP - had a decent debut year in 2014, tore his UCL last March.  He should return to competition by April, but he may stay at Extended til the weather farther north warms up.
Jesus Tinoco RHP - pitched well at Lansing, skipping Vancouver, but was part of the package dealt to Colorado in exchange for Troy Tulowitzki.
Roemon Fields OF - started at Dunedin, made it as high as Buffalo.  No longer under the radar.

Kelyn Jose LHP
  Southpaw relievers who can hit 101 with their fastball tend to get your attention.
I admit to being a velo addict:  the sight of hitters flailing away futilely at high heat is one of the most impressive things in baseball.  They know it's coming, but they can't catch up to it.  Seeing a flamethrower live is a sight like few in sports - the pop of the catcher's mitt turns head all around the park.  Baseball has undergone rule changes and significant innovations since the days of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but the one constant throughout that time is that battle between the pitcher and hitter.
  However, velocity is one thing, and command is sometimes entirely another creature, and pitchers who have the former but not the latter tend to bump their heads against a AA/AAA ceiling for several seasons.
  Signed as an 18 year old out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, Jose has struck out 51 batters in 43.2 minor league innings over two seasons, the last of which was in the GCL.  Jose has also walked 35 during that time, indicating that he doesn't always know where that fastball is going.
   Fastball command is a tool that makes the other pitches in a pitcher's arsenal that much more effective.  Being able to consistently throw a fastball for strikes allows a pitcher more margin for error with those secondary pitches.  As we saw with Miguel Castro in April, however, four-seam fastballs don't tend to have a lot of movement, and if a pitcher catches too much of the strike zone with it, all the velo in the world won't matter.  Hitters will time it and tag it.
  If Jose can harness his command, and develop at least one complementary pitch, he could quickly move through the system.

Chad Girodo LHP
   I've been beating around the bushes about this, so I should just come out and say it: with the struggles of Aaron Loup last year, Girodo has a shot at unseating him for the first lefty up in the bullpen job.
   Girodo was drafted in the 9th round of 2013 out of Mississippi St, and signed for an org-guy $5000 bonus.  He pitched in relief during his college career, and the Blue Jays have kept him in that role. Girodo does not blow hitters away, relying on deception and location to induce weak contact, judging by the .221 average MiLB hitters managed against him at 3 levels this year.  The sidewinding Girodo pounds the lower part of the strike zone, and his delivery can be tough for left handed hitters to pick up.

Travis Bergen LHP
   Bergen is one of those stories that I love as a prospect blogger.  Bergen was well-regarded by the scouting community, but his chances of making the majors as a starter were deemed to be limited, mostly because of his size (6', 200), and he didn't get a lot of love on draft day, falling close to org-guy range as a 7th rounder.
   After throwing 100 innings for Kennesaw State (Max Pentecost's alma mater), including leading them to a NCAA regional victory in their tournament debut as a sophomore, and following that up with a solid summer in the Cape Cod League meant that Bergen had thrown a lot of innings over an 18-month period, and the Blue Jays limited him to a pair of appearances totalling 5 innings for Vancouver after drafting him.
   But what a 5 innings it was.  Bergen missed a lot of bats and gave up mostly weak contact, striking out 11, giving up a pair of hits, and walking one in his two relief appearances.
   The cross-firing lefthanded Bergen can hit 94 with his fastball, but usually sits 88-92.  He has a slider that has been described as fringy, and a cutter that flashes as a plus pitch.  His delivery produces good arm-side run and sink:

    If the Blue Jays keep him in the bullpen, Bergen should experience an uptick in velocity, and given his command and lefthandedness, may move through the system very quickly.
   These are the kind of guys I love researching, allowing me to buy in on the ground floor of a player people may be asking "where did he come from?" a year from now.

Matt Smoral LHP
   And as much as I enjoy finding nuggets like Bergen, I enjoy writing about players who have lost their prospect shine like Smoral, and are trying to turn things around.
   Taken in the sandwich round in 2012, Smoral missed all of his senior year of high school with a foot injury, or he likely would have gone much higher.  Brought along slowly, he had a coming out of sorts in 2014, striking out 70 in 53 innings between Bluefield and Vancouver.
   Smoral was named the 7th best Appalachian League prospect by Baseball America that season, despite spending only half of it there.  They offered this synopsis:
Smoral has the potential to pitch in the front half of a rotation but will need to improve his control and changeup to reach his upside. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound southpaw has an extra-large frame and improved his athleticism and flexibility when he lost weight over the last year. His fastball sat 89-93 mph and touched 95 with above-average life when down in the zone. His slider was one of the best breaking balls in the Appy League and has at least plus potential, as he varies the shape of the offering.
   2015 promised to be the season Smoral made his debut at the full-season level - the Ohioan would have not minded the cold spring in the Midwestern League.  Back issues kept him at extended spring training, however, and after a couple of outings with Dunedin in June, Smoral was back in Bluefield, limited to 2-inning bullpen outings.  Results with the Appy League team were decidedly mixed, as Smoral gave up 14 walks, while fanning 16 in 10 innings.
   Smoral's season came to a screeching halt on August 23rd when he was hit on the side of his head by a line drive.  It was a scary moment, and while he tweeted a photo of himself complete with 8 stitches around his right eye, and assuring everyone that he was well, the Blue Jays shut him down for the year.
   Tall (Smoral is 6'8") lefthanders seem to take longer to develop, and such has been the case with this one. He will be 22 by the time spring training breaks, and this year will be an important one in his development.  Smoral will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if he's not placed on the 40-man roster by next November; the chances of that are probably almost as remote as a team selecting him in the Rule 5, but the club is facing decision-time with him - allow him to continue as a starter, or move him to the bullpen full time?

Reggie Pruitt OF
   The Blue Jays now find themselves with quite a stock of fleet, athletic centrefielders.  Pruitt joins Anthony Alford, Roemon Fields, and D.J Davis (you could even throw Josh Almonte in there) in a group of speedy ballhawks.
   The Jays took the Georgia native in the 24th round last June, and a $500K signing bonus dissuaded him from going the college route with Vanderbilt.  Already a premium defender, Pruitt runs a sub 6.5 60, and would likely give Fields, Davis, and Alford a run for their money in the 100m.  His glove is ahead of his bat at this point, and even though he got off to a hot start at the plate in the GCL, he wilted under the Florida heat in his first pro summer, finishing with a .223/.309/.289 line, and was 15-17 in stolen bases.
  Pruitt's approach at the plate has been termed inconsistent, which he will have to refine if he's to reach his possible top of the order projection.  His swing before the draft looked a little long, and his bat often was a bit late, which was likely a focus of instructors during Instructional League this fall.

Brady Dragmire LHP 
  I have to admit that Dragmire was not on my radar; a guy who Florida State League batters hit at a .313 clip in his fifth year with the organization doesn't tend to pop up on it.
   The 2011 17th round choice has posted mostly decent numbers prior to his year, almost all in relief.  Still, A-ball relievers are a dime a dozen, and I was surprised when he was named to the Jays contingent that headed to the Arizona Fall League after the season.  It was an even bigger surprise when he was named to the 40-man roster last month, although this speaks to the thinned-out depth of the system as much as anything.
   When this happens, I start to scour the internet to see what I've missed.  And maybe this chart has some clues:

   Now we're getting somewhere.  This graph suggests a guy who is often around the strike zone, and when he does give up contact, it's of the groundball variety.  And those guys tend to give up some hits, and can be at the mercy of their infield defence, which could explain the 80 hits he gave up in 63 innings.  The 20 walks he gave up this year (vs 57Ks) and the 9 (yes, 9) he allowed in 77 IP with Lansing in 2014 back up the idea that he's around the plate a lot.  His 2.52 FIP, which was less than half of his ERA, also lends support to the notion that he was a bit of a victim of circumstances largely beyond his control.
   Dragmire's 2015 campaign with Dunedin was also a tale of two seasons.  He got off to a slow start, and was sent back to Extended Spring Training.  Dragmire returned a different pitcher, particularly in July, when he struck out 22 in 17 innings.
    Dragmire experienced success in a small (9 games/11IP - in fairness, he was on a 20+-man pitching staff) sample in Arizona.  His two-seam fastball hit 94, and had great movement, and he touched 95 with his four-seamer.
    Dragmire does not profile as a typical flame-throwing reliever, although he missed a fair number of bats (14Ks) in Arizona.  He does throw a lot of strikes, and pounds the bottom half of the strike zone.  The new Blue Jays are currently tip-toeing their way around the free-agent reliever market, according to new President Mark Shapiro:

“We know we’ve got to find some alternatives and we know we’ve got to play in that market,” Shapiro said. “To play in the upper ends of that market it’s a dangerous place to play. You’d better have a lot of flexibility and your threshold for risk had better be very high.”
  Reading between the lines, it would appear that the newly risk-averse Jays have found most of the free agent bullpen arms available to rich for their tastes.  They have also made noises about changing their preferences from flamethrowers who tend to have short baseball life spans to durable pitchers who can get outs, whether that be by the strikeout or weak contact.  Dragmire may fit that mold.
   The jump from A ball to AA is the biggest in the minors, and it will be interesting to see if Dragmire can carry his success from the last half of 2015 over to a higher level next year.

   Let's face it - all of the names above are still in the longshot stage as far as an MLB career is concerned.  They are all more about projection than they are about performance at the moment.  But this is one of the parts of baseball I find the most appealing - because baseball is played every day, the players at the top of the pyramid in MLB have skills that took years to hone, giving baseball the most extensive development system in all of professional sports.  One or more of these guys may figure it out this year, or maybe next year, or not at all.  They all have the physical talent - it's the mental side: learning to deal with adversity, and how to be consistent, that determines ultimately who makes the leap and who doesn't.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What (If Anything) to Expect From Joe Biagini

 With the 26th selection in the 2015 Rule 5 draft, the Blue Jays selected RHP Joe Biagini from the Giants.

  The Blue Jays have been noticeably quiet on Rule 5 day, after using it very effectively in the first years of the franchise to select players like Willie Upshaw, Jim Gott, Manuel Lee, Kelly Gruber, and one of the greatest sluggers in team history, George Bell.

  The Rule 5 draft was originally developed to keep teams from hoarding minor league talent; it essentially put a limit on the length of time a team could keep a player in the minors without placing him on their 40-man roster.  Last year's draft was one of the better loads of talent in some time, but most of the talent was gone by the time the Blue Jays turn came up.  Changes to eligiblity rules several years ago now allow teams to hang onto their talent for an extra year, so the Rule 5 lost some of its luster.  And even though it's a risk to stash a Rule 5 draftee on a big league roster for a year, teams have found value in it by changing their preference from projectable players to ones who can fill an immediate need.

  Pickings were slimmer this year, but it helped that a number of teams (15 in all) passed before the Blue Jays, meaning that Biagini was actually the 10th player picked.

  A number of other sites have weighed in on Biagini, and truth be told, there's not a lot more that I can offer.  But I'll try.

  Bay Area native Biagini was taken in the 26th round of the 2011 draft out of the University of California-Davis, by way of San Mateo Jr College.  He sat out a year between the two schools because of an apparent arm issue. A good summer in the Cape Cod League the summer before his draft year boosted his stock considerably, and he signed for a surprising $175K bonus.

  He signed too late to play in 2011, so Biagini was sent to the Northwest League the following year, and even made it as far as Low A before 2012 finished.  As one might expect with a low draft choice, he was brought along slowly after that, one step at a time.  He has been ranked in the 20s in most Giants' Top Prospects lists that I've seen.

  Here's what Josh Norris of Baseball America had to say about Biagini prior to the Rule 5 draft:

    Following the draft, Norris called Biagini " (a) savvy righthander (who) doesn’t possess a plus pitch, but average arsenal and pitchability makes stuff tick up." calls his fastball a plus pitch, sitting from 91-94, and touching 96.  He trusts his change-up more than his curve, although the latter has been described as flashing plus.  His strikeout totals have never been high, topping out at 7.4K/9 in his first full season, but his command has improved considerably, as his walks/9 have dropped from 3.9 to 2.3 over three seasons.  Biagini does not give up a lot of home run balls, either.  One graphic kind of jumped out during the course of researching him: 

   Clearly, Biagini pitches to contact, and I would hazard a guess that his fastball is of the two-seamer variety. suggests that he has a shot at a back-of-the-rotation spot, but with that part of the Blue Jays roster more than full at the moment, perhaps the club is thinking of auditioning him in the departed Liam Hendriks' role in long relief, especially with new GM Ross Atkins expressing a preference for durable bullpen arms who can get guys out.  The 6'4", groundball-inducing Biagini fills the first role, but not necessarily the second, with the traditional bullpen arm being of the flame-throwing variety.  Pitching in relief, Hendriks experienced a bump in his fastball velocity this season, and it's likely the same could be projected for Biagini.  He already generates plenty of weak contact, so maybe this represents a bit of a paradigm shift for the Jays - K's from relievers are nice, but with the vastly improved Jays' defence, may not be a necessity.

  Whatever the case, Biagini still has to be considered a long-shot to break camp with the team next March.  They either have to keep him on the roster for the entire season, or offer him back to the Giants for half his draft price of $50 000.  The Jays could also try to work out a deal with the Giants, who currently have no room on their 40-man roster.  Just the same, the cost to bring him into Spring Training is minimal, and well worth the risk.  He sounds very much like a two-pitch guy whose change may be made even more effective by a possible bump in velo.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Boomer Collins: From Org Guy to Cricket Star?

Collins spent ten days working with Julien Fountain in a batting cage in downtown Waxahachie before hopping the pond to chase his newest dream.
Travis Rose
Great Rose (TX) Reporter

   The premise is a Hollywood (or Bollywood?) scriptwriter's dream:  young ballplayer, the quintessential All-American kid, washes out as a pro baseball player after a storied high school and college career.  As his career is waning, he is befriended by a scout for another sport in a land far away, and convinces him to give the wicket sport a try.  Player goes off to India, where he undergoes a crash course in the game, and ends up becoming a star in one of the most popular sports in the world.
    Kind of like Million Dollar Arm in reverse.

   For former Blue Jays prospect Boomer Collins, that dream may be on the way to being a reality.  Undrafted after finishing his collegiate career at Dallas Baptist, the native of Mt Pleasant, TX, was signed as a free agent in June, 2013, and sent to the Gulf Coast League.  Collins was originally meant to serve as an organization guy, a player to fill out a minor league roster, but a .305/.391/.439 season and a berth on the GCL All-Star roster gave him a chance to see what he could do at a higher level. Collins spent 2014 with Vancouver, and was given a shot at full-season ball for 2015.  He hit .285/.336/.446 at Lansing, but struggled with Dunedin, and at 26, the Blue Jays felt that he had hit his ceiling, and gave him his release in November.  As an undrafted free agent, Collins' chances of moving up in the organization were slim, unless he had a Kevin Pillar-like ascendancy.  Collins is a five-tool player - it's just that none of his tools were at an elite level, in the eyes of MLB.

  For a minor league ballplayer in Collins' situation, the options were few:  hope to catch on with another organization, maybe an independent league team, or perhaps go back to school.  The dream isn't necessarily dying, but it's on life support.  Getting the dreaded day job looms bigger on the horizon every day.

  For Collins, however, there was a glimmer of hope, one that began when he crossed paths with a former cricket and baseball player named Julien Fountain.


   In the early years of this century, the sport of Cricket was at something of a crossroads.  When most North Americans think of the sport, they think of six-day test matches played at a leisurely pace - something very much at odds with the North American lifestyle.  It turns out that the newest generation of fans in England, the birthplace of the sport, were beginning to feel that way too.

   When a sponsorship deal ended for a popular one-day competition ended in 2002, the governing body of English Cricket decided to try a new version of the sport - one that was faster paced, and much shorter in duration - to try to attract younger fans.  Twenty20 Cricket was born, featuring a single innings, and a maximum of 20 overs (an over is a succession of six balls delivered from one of the pitch).  Games were reduced from days to just under 3 hours, and the experiment proved to be wildly successful.

   The T20 format quickly spread across the world, and the first world championship tournament was held in 2007.  Because T20 is a faster-paced, more explosive and less staid version of the sport, the need for an athlete who had those skills quickly developed.  The T20 player must be faster, stronger, and fitter than the regular Cricketer.  Bowlers have had to develop more deception in their deliveries to upset the timing of the higher-skilled batsmen.  A Cricket blogger observed:

Fielding has also improved dramatically. Fielders are doing things that at one time seemed near impossible; throwing their bodies around and cutting off balls that seemed destined for the boundaries. We see fielders demonstrating incredible agility to pull off amazing catches and hitting the stumps with throws from the outfield more frequently than ever before
   The effect on regular Cricket has been profound, too, as the scoring at many Test matches has reduced them to 3 or 4 days.  Purists might scoff at the new kid on the block, but T20 was clearly here to stay.


   Fountain grew up in Shoreham-by-Sea, on the English Channel, and like most English boys, began playing Cricket from an early age.  He was described as a "medium pace all rounder,' but switched to wicket-keeper because of his defensive skills.  Kind of like a finesse pitcher who gets converted to Catcher.  At 15, he was good enough as a youth player to play for the Somerset U19 team.

   Looking for a new challenge, Fountain was mesmerized as a teenager by the excellent Twins-Cardinals 1987 World Series:
I was lucky enough to watch that series LIVE on TV in the UK. I found I was staying up into the early hours and was fascinated at the similarities with cricket. I was sure that the two games had similar skill sets, so I would be able to play baseball. That proved to be correct. However I always felt that guys coming the other way would probably find it easier ! 

 He quickly switched to the diamond game, and moved up the British baseball development ladder quickly, pitching for his country at numerous international competitions.  Fountain even had tryouts with the Mets, Royals, and Red Sox, before giving up the game to attend university in London.  After graduation, Fountain returned to his hometown, and soon founding himself coaching youth Cricketers.  He was deluged with questions about how baseball skills could transfer to Cricket, and his many baseball-based fielding drills won him considerable praise.
   Fountain eventually started to work with national team players, and soon came into demand as a fielding specialist and T20 coach in England and abroad, joining the coaching staffs of teams from the West Indies, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, as well as helping to establish high performance centres in Ireland, Canada, Bermuda, and Trinidad.  Well known as an innovator and progressive thinker, Fountain created Switch Hit 20, a program designed to assist pro baseball players with their transition to cricket.


   Collins grew up in Waxahachie, TX, a town of 30 000 just south of the Dallas suburbs.  Football is close to a religion in that part of America, and the teenaged Boomer was the star quarterback of the local high school football team, and a center fielder on its state runner-up baseball team.  His skills on the diamond landed him a scholarship at the University of Nebraska.

   It was with the Cornhuskers that Collins came face-to-face with adversity for the first time in his athletic career.  He played sparingly in his first two seasons with the team, and transferred to Dallas Baptist before his junior year.  Collins had to sit out a year due to the transfer, but the move proved to be a wise one, as he put up two of the best offensive seasons in school history.  It wasn't enough to draw huge attention from MLB scouts, and he went undrafted following his senior year in 2013.  The Blue Jays offered him a contract (without a bonus), and Collins eagerly signed and was shipped off to the sweltering heat of the Gulf Coast League to start his MLB career.  

  The 24-year-old Collins was a dominant player in a league filled mostly with 19-year-old high school graduates, and 17-year-old international players getting their first taste of stateside playing experience.  He was named a GCL All-Star, but that did not accelerate his timetable.  Playing against higher calibre and more experienced competition in the Northwest League the following year with Vancouver, Collins struggled at the plate.  Sent to Lansing in April for his first year of full-season ball,  Lugnuts broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler became an instant fan:
He's affable, engaging, and -- considering the multitude of offseason jobs he's worked while pursuing his passion for athletics -- uncommonly determined. I admire his energy and perseverance.
He split his season between Lansing and High A Dunedin, and posted a decent .261/.304/.395 line, but at 26, his time had run out, and the Blue Jays released him in early November.  Collins knew his chances of making it to the big time were slim, however, and he had already been exploring his options for almost a year prior to his release.  Dating back to last January, he and Fountain had been discussing a possible switch from cricket to baseball - Collins was concerned that the Blue Jays might not look favourably upon this, so he did his best to keep the talks secret.  According to Fountain, after the Blue Jays let him go, he quickly and fully committed himself to SH20:

His release by the Blue Jays has spurred him on even further toward pursuing cricket as a possible career. He has made incredible progress in the last 3 weeks since picking up a cricket bat. He has coped wit some really extreme changes in tactics and technique, whilst maintaining his "Baseball Power & Athleticism"
 Fountain's project may seem like a bit of a pipe dream, but for a lot of Minor Leaguers, many of whom have played for wages less than that of an American fast-food worker , this may seem like a golden opportunity.


   What does the future hold for Collins and Fountain's SH20 Project?   That's hard to say.  After several training sessions in Collins' hometown, Fountain invited him to India, where he could further his cricket education, and get exposure to scouts.  Fountain, as you might expect, is an unabashed fan of both T20, and the conversion of MLB players (putting up $10 000 USD of his own money to start it, and trying to secure investors for more growth):

(T20 is) action packed, high paced, long balls, extreme bare handed catching & fielding. Imagine NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB  all combined into one sport . . . . thats T20. Baseball appears quite boring and slow compared to T20.

   Looking to expand, the International Cricket Council hopes to hold a T20 World Cup in America in the next decade, on the heels of a successful three-match exhibition series in Houston and New York, drawing 80 000 fans.  The US market is estimated to have about 10.5 million fans.  Cricket Australia is reportedly interested in bringing test matches to America as well.  


   5-tool, MLB players, according to Fountain, are a perfect fit for T20, where patience and strategy take a backseat to swing-from-the-heels batting, and diving catches.  Every over in T20 is precious. Because of the premium placed on skills on both sides of the ball, one-dimensional players need not apply.  He thinks this is the perfect forum for players who may not have been considered MLB prospects to showcase their skills:

I have always maintained that baseball players could be great cricket players, but the formats of cricket did not suit a baseball players mentality. However with the advent of T20, a much shorter format of cricket, which focuses on power and athleticism, there was now an avenue into the game that would suit baseball players. T20 cricket has very short seasons. each season is between 3 - 8 weeks. This means players can hop from country to country, playing in multiple competitions earning really good salaries. 

   Collins, for his part, acknowledges the learning curve ahead of him:  " (The) toughest part has to be changing from the ball coming in the air to bouncing and balls being able to hit you and you still have to swing." Video from a Texas training session shows he's starting to get the hang of it:

Collins, for his part, is willing to wait and see what the future holds. He has been signed up for a draft list for a T20 tournament in the Pakistan Super League, but Fountain told Collins' hometown paper that he may have to come back to the U.S. to play amateur cricket to further his training. Collins has already been signed to an endorsement deal with the Cricket Store Online. He admits that he is excited about the opportunity, but doesn't know what his future path will be. Unless he gets picked up by a team in India or Pakistan, he likely will be heading home before Christmas to continue his training in Texas.


December 10th, 2015.

Boomer Collins, Minor League baseball player trying to convert to cricket, is on the PSL "silver" list.
  According to Collins, the gold, silver, and bronze brackets are salary tiers - meaning, presumably, that he's a mid-level prospect.  Not bad for someone who just took up the game.

   I also spoke to a good source, David Polkinghorne of the Canberra Times, what he thought about the conversion of baseball players to cricket:
  Biggest problems would be the ball bounces before it gets to the batsman, shots range the full 360 degrees and not just the 90 or whatever it is in baseball, and you don't have a glove in the field. But they would have the obvious hand eye coordination required and should be good throws. I think the transition might be easier from baseball to cricket. But back before cricket became a year round sport lots of top aussie cricketers played baseball in the winter - Ian Chappell, Alan border and John Dyson to name a few - so the skill sets obviously complement each other.