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The Jays have added first baseman/DH Brian Dopirak to the 40-man roster and also acquired utility man Mike McCoy off the waiver wire from the Colorado Rockies.

McCoy comes to the Jays after getting his first taste of the big leagues this past season.  The 28 year-old right-handed hitter played 12 games with the Rockies as a September callup and there was speculation he might have been up sooner with the big club had they been able to trade the struggling Garrett Atkins McCoy made his debut September 9th against Cincinnati to fill in defensively as a second baseman.  He earned his first at-bat the next night but he wound up striking out against the Reds Kip Wells.  However, McCoy's biggest contribution to the Rockies drive to win the National League Wild Card came as a pinch-runner September 11th.  He scored his first major league run as part of a four-run ninth inning rally to help Colorado beat Cincinatti 4-1.  The 5-9, 171 pound native of San Diego is still looking for his first major league hit and walk but he did manage to collect a pair of stolen bases in pinch-running appearances.  McCoy spent most of his time as a pinch-runner/pinch-hitter but saw a bit of time on the field at second base and right field.

McCoy was selected in the 34th round of the 2002 amateur draft by St. Louis and remained in the Cardinals organization until March of 2008 when he was traded to Baltimore.  His stay with the Orioles lasted all of four months as he was traded to Colorado for infielder Juan Castro.  A career .270/.369/.360 hitter in the minors, McCoy enjoyed hitting at AAA Colorado Springs as hit .343/.391/.507 in 162 at-bats in 2008 and followed that up with a .307/.405/.400 campaign for the Sky Sox in 2009.  He's also made three appearances as a pitcher in his minor league career, including a scoreless inning with the Sky Sox this season. 

Right now, McCoy is playing for Culiacan in Mexico where he's hitting .347/.472/.472 with three doubles, two homers and four RBI.  He's also stolen eight bases in 10 tries and he continues to walk more than he has struck out with a BB-K total of 15-12.  Compared to former Atlanta Brave Mark Lemke, Colorado Springs skipper Tom Runnells says McCoy could help a major league team right now.  The Blue Jays are hoping they'll be that team.

Brian Dopirak's dream of getting to the bigs took another big  step forward as he was added to the 40-man roster.  The former Cubs prospect certainly played well enough to deserve a call up to Toronto but his only appearance on the Rogers Center turf came when he was presented with the R. Howard Webster award as the organization's top player at the AA level.  The 6-4, 230 pound first baseman put together a combined batting line of .317/.371/.549 with New Hampshire and Las Vegas while belting 42 doubles, three triples, 27 homers and 102 RBI.  

Currently, Dopirak is playing winter ball in Venezuela and is hitting .292/.389/.542 with Magallanes.  He's hit six doubles, six homers and 27 RBI while drawing 17 walks against 27 strikeouts.  Las Vegas hitting coach Ken Joyce says the right-handed hitting Dopirak "has raw power you just can't teach and there's no question he'll get to the big leagues if he continues to swing the bat the way he is".  Dopirak hopes to take the first of many swings against major league pitchers in 2010.

The Straight Dope - Jays Get A Real McCoy | 30 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Timbuck2 - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 11:14 AM EST (#208270) #
Looks like my suspicions about Dopirak finally seeing the bigs this year are coming true.  He's crushed minor league pitching for the past two years so it really should not come as a big surprise to most people here.

Yay!  I can't wait to see how well he does against ML pitching!

I know that if I was playing a baseball simulator like Baseball Mogul and saw a kid in the minors putting up the kinds of numbers he has I would be trying him out on the ML roster ASAP.  Even if he doesn't perform to your expectations he may just make good trade bait for other organizations.

JP (enough is never enough) Ricardi used to pay a lot of lip service to doing this but when push came to shove he just couldn't seem to bring himself to play kids over veterans.
Denoit - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 12:14 PM EST (#208272) #
It will be nice having a stolen base threat coming off the bench if McCoy is included on the roster. That is something this team has lacked for a while now.
Chuck - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 12:44 PM EST (#208274) #
and saw a kid in the minors

And therein lies the problem. Dopirak is no kid. He'll turn 26 next month.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 01:28 PM EST (#208276) #
I honestly think that the bias toward and undervaluation of "old" prospects is probably a current market inefficiency that moneyball-types ought to try and exploit. Players develop at different rates and given that peak performance has been shown to be later than the typically cited magic number 27:

but is instead around 29, there's no reason that Dopirak can not be a very useful major league player for as many as 4 to 6 years. Especially if playing him means freeing up millions spent on Overbay that can be better used elsewhere.

While every team wants a player like Justin Upton that can play in the majors in his teens, they're obviously rare. We all know that to outcompete the Yankees/Sox on fewer dollars the Jays need find to exploit any and all possible market inefficiencies that can be found. Not being biased against prospects that are a few (wouldn't we all be touting Dopirak if he were 23-4?) years too old might just be one step along the way. Dopirak also provides an insurance policy if the idea is to try Lind out at 1B, which doesn't hurt.

In short: his age is not the problem, using it to knock down any idea of him succeeding in the majors before he's even had a chance to fail is the problem.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 02:00 PM EST (#208278) #

Could't agree more. I don't care about age until its contract time.  But for a guys who's going to be under control for a bunch of years I care about performance and nothing else. 

FisherCat - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 02:27 PM EST (#208279) #

After reading one of the many articles about the possible destinations for our beloved Doc, I came across a phrase regarding the Phillies that struck a chord with me.  The timeline to win with their "core" is near it's end.  Core is the buzzword that AA seems to be touting and it got me to thinking that the Phillies are the EXACT model the Jays need to replicate.  (It doesn't hurt that the architect for it was one Pat Gillick!)  IIRC that franchise was in worse shape since 93 than the Jays have ever been.

Thier core is similar to what the Jays are starting with: Hill=Rollins; Snider=Howard; Lind=Utley; Romero=Hamels; Cecil=Happ.

Examining the Phils' roster further you see that they added low risk/hi upside pieces in Werth, Victorino, Lidge, Moyer when the core started to show consistency.  Then as victories started to build that is when they added the high price talent in Ibanez, Blanton & Lee.

Now I may not have the chronology correct here, but the concept is basically there to mimic what Philly did.  Am I off my rocker here...

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 02:41 PM EST (#208280) #
Here is the original Bradbury study respecting peak age.  There is a selective sampling problem with Bradbury's study, as noted by many, and here was Clay Davenport's "rebuttal".  The majority view (I believe) remains that 27 is peak age.

As for Dopirak, it's pretty clear that he has a whole whack of power and below average strike zone control.  He's a born DH.  He is very unlikely to turn into David Ortiz, as Ortiz had much better strike zone control even when he was young.  He and Snider would make a heckuva DH platoon.

Denoit - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 03:53 PM EST (#208283) #

Speaking of Werth, he is a good example of a late bloomer. Actually there are alot of similarities between Werth and Dopirak but  Dopirak has alot more raw power. Hopefully he gets his chance to show what he can do on an everyday basis.

Olerud363 - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 04:10 PM EST (#208284) #

He and Snider would make a heckuva DH platoon.

I hope not.   Snider needs 2 or 3 years of 700 plate appearances.  In 2013 if he still isn't hitting lefties but hitting righties and Jays are starting to contend then consider a platoon.

Dopirak at his age still deserves a year of 700 plate appearances.  If it doesn't work out but he mashes lefties find him a platoon partner in 2011.   Along the lines of Jeremy Hermida, or another mid to late 20s guy who hasn't quite worked out as an everyday player.

But I hope the Jays start giving young players every chance to be every day players.  Early 20 guys need to see lefties and learn to hit them, no more they don't hit lefties so they don't see lefties so they don't learn to hit lefties so they don't see lefties...

Find out what you have (which can take a few years, but that's the point of having 'building' years) then when its time to content platoon if really necessary.

Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 04:12 PM EST (#208285) #
A lot of similarities between Werth and Dopirak?  Really?  Werth was a catcher in the minor league system with a broader range of offensive talents than most catchers.  Many thought that he would end up as super-utility player (perhaps something like Tony Phillips, but playing a little third, a little RF and a little catcher). BBRef lists him at 6'5" and 190.  Dopirak has one very noticeable talent- hitting the long ball, and he has the build that you would expect with this talent. 
Magpie - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 04:15 PM EST (#208286) #
Speaking of Werth, he is a good example of a late bloomer.

Werth was 25 years old, and younger than Dopirak right now, when he posted a 115 OPS+ in the major leagues, and hit 16 HRs in 290 at bats. He was already blooming away quite nicely, but a wrist injury (courtesy A.J. Burnett) essentially cost him the next two seasons.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 04:30 PM EST (#208287) #
That too.
christaylor - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 07:37 PM EST (#208288) #
JC Bradbury's regression model has been improved since his original study. As for the selective sampling "problem" here's a quote from the 2009 article that (I think) gets at the crux of the issue:

"The study of ageing in baseball is challenging, because individuals have different skill sets and different reasons for performance changes over time. And to complicate this is the fact that determinants of when players begin and end their careers are not random. Good players begin and end their careers earlier and later than mediocre players, because improving and declining good players contribute more to winning than improving and declining marginal players.
To minimize the selection bias, this study limits the sample of players from ages 24 to 35, even though many players’ careers extend beyond this age range."

I don't see this selection as a problem. I see the selective sampling a solving a problem present in the data of the "histogram of WARP3" rebuttal of Davenport. As for the majority view... well... in science, as in politics, as in life, a majority can easily be wrong. Sure, Bradbury is out of step at the moment, but after reading his paper, I found it pretty convincing. If anyone doesn't have access to the journal (academic journals are ludicrously expensive) but would like a pdf of the article I'd be happy to send it your way.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 08:46 PM EST (#208289) #
Here is a list of every player who debuted at age 26 and put up an OPS+ of 110 or higher and qualified for the batting title.  It doesn't happen often.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 10 2009 @ 08:59 PM EST (#208290) #
So, for fun, I ran a Play Index for 29 and 4th year.  You do find a bunch of players who came up at age 26 who were of Dopirak's general type and had success later- Gus Zernial, Dolph Camilli, George Altman.  Camilli would be a particularly encouraging case- he led the league in strikeouts at age 27 and 28 with poor W/K rates for the time and then spectacularly improved in this regard at age 29. 

Maybe there is something to Bradbury's research.  I'll have to take a closer look.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 09:20 AM EST (#208301) #

If drafted as a High School Prospect, you can be 17 - 19 years old.  You might not start playing in the minors until the year after your draft year (18-20).   Fast movers can be in AAA in 3 years (20-23).  Slower movers may take 2-4 years more (22-27).   High School Picks take 3 - 7 years to make it.

If drafted as a College/University Prospect, did you finish or just only 1,2 or 3 years, not 4?  You might be 18 - 23 years old.  You might not start playing in the minors until the year after your draft year (19-24).  Fast movers can be in AAA in 2 years (21-26).  Slower movers may take 1-3 years more (22-29).   College/University Picks take 2-5 years to make it. 

So please tell me when a prospect isn't a prospect, using the above criteria.  All I want to know is can he play?  The other thing I'M asking is who made you the judge?

MatO - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 09:43 AM EST (#208302) #
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 10:10 AM EST (#208303) #
I have the germ of a theory about peak patterns; average peak is not solely dependent on age, but rather on both age and years of major league experience.  The factors seem to be:

1. speed and hand-eye co-ordination deteriorate slowly from an early age (perhaps 19 or 20 on average),
2. strength increases to age 27 (on average),
3. knowledge from experience increases fairly quickly over 5 years and then more slowly over the next 10 (on average), and
4. wear on the body affects everyone, with position and total innings played being key (hence Marco Scutaro's peak year not really being a surprise)

When I think about it this way, it would shock me if a player entering the majors at age 20 would on average have the same age peak as a player entering the majors at age 26. 

Olerud363 - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 11:15 AM EST (#208307) #

I've always thought wear on the body affects everyone.   I don't think Cal Ripken avoided injuries as much as he played through injuries.  Actually as a hitter Vernon Wells is similar to Ripken.  Wells good years look exactly like a good Cal Ripken year and believe it or not Ripken had years very similar to Vernon's bad ones.  Both I believe were playing through injuries.  Which gives us hope if Vernon can stay healthy.  Not just stay in the lineup, but really stay healthy.

I always thought Cito should develop a system where the core guys play 145-150 games and split the other games among the bench players.  Instead of strictly platooning Overbay and Snider, they are semi platooned, and Wells, Hill, Lind are also given regular days off.   Guys would get regular rest and the club house would be better as players wouldn't feel they were being made into platoon guys, instead everybody would get regular rest to stay fresh.  The bench players also get enough playing time in this system.  

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 11:49 AM EST (#208308) #
Wow, it's hard to measure peak.  Take Vic Davalillo.  He comes up at age 26 and hits .292/.321/.384 with a 16/41 K/W in 394 PAs. His OPS+ is 108.  He has OPS+ of  85 and 103 in full-time play at age 27 and 28.  He later puts up an OPS+ of 123 with a 26/44 K/W in 407 PAs at age 35.  If you dig deeper, you'll see that he had a full-time job at age 26 (having been called up in the middle of the season) whereas he was platooned at age 35.  At age 26, he had struggled against lefties.

FWIW, most sophisticated measures will have Davalillo's age 35 season (1972) as easily his best offensive one.  It isn't simply an OPS+ problem. 

One thing I have noticed is there are remarkably few players who have come up at age 26 and delivered decent offensive performance and played regularly (80 OPS+ for middle infielders, 85 OPS+ for third basemen and centerfielders and 95 OPS+ for corner OFs and first baseman).  Many of them do seem to have been good players for many years (Eckstein, Stanky, Huggins, Altman, Sabo, Roy Johnson, Fain, Bing Miller...). 

Denoit - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 12:27 PM EST (#208309) #

Werth was 25 years old, and younger than Dopirak right now, when he posted a 115 OPS+ in the major leagues, and hit 16 HRs in 290 at bats. He was already blooming away quite nicely, but a wrist injury (courtesy A.J. Burnett) essentially cost him the next two seasons.

So Dopiraks broken foot in 2006 doesn't count? He missed half a season and had to have follow up surgury. Now that didn't affect his 2005 season that was bad, but you could argue it did prevent him from having any kind comeback season untill 2008.  Im just saying they are similiar offensivly maybe thats my fault for not stating the obvious in they play different positions. Injuries or not Werth didnt establish himself as a Major League regular untill he was 29. I have never watched Dopirak play, and he may very well never become much of a player, but their Minor League stats are somewhat similar.


christaylor - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 01:35 PM EST (#208317) #
"One thing I have noticed is there are remarkably few players who have come up at age 26 and delivered decent offensive performance and played regularly"

I definitely agree from playing with BR's PI as well it jumps out that the number of players who've come up at 26 and played regularly and had decent seasons is small, suspiciously so...

One possible explanation (probably the default one) is that anyone who hasn't made the majors by 26, probably can not play to the level of major league ball. That makes sense, but it is difficult to dissociate that idea from the idea that the system of player evaluation is biased against those who show promise to play in the majors at 26 or later (the dreaded AAAA player label).

It would be nice to see the data on a number of players in AA-AAA who are 25 (or older) and put up numbers that when translated to major league stats that would work out to an above average OPS. I suspect that this number is much larger than the number of players who've been given the shot to play. The relative number of these players to those who've been given a chance to play would help in disassociating the two ideas above that try to explain the lack of older prospects playing regularly/having success.
Magpie - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 08:32 PM EST (#208329) #
When Jayson Werth was 25, he was demonstrating that he could hit major league pitching. When Brian Dopirak was 25, he was demonstrating that he could tear up the Pacific Coast League. It's two different things. Which doesn't mean Dopirak won't prove to be a useful major league hitter.
ayjackson - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 10:06 PM EST (#208332) #

Dopirak doesn't turn 26 until December 20th.  So when he was 25 he was putting up a 920+ OPS at AA/AAA compared to Werth's .830 at MLB.  It's not such a stretch as you describe, Magpie.  It's not unreasonable to think that, given a callup, Dopirak might have put up an .800 OPS over a couple of months and then tanked next year like Werth did.

(I'm not saying they are at all comparable as prospects from an athlete/tools perspective.)

ayjackson - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 10:11 PM EST (#208334) #

Somewhere along the thread I must have assumed an assertion that Dopirak was 26.

Regardless, both players had some good and bad seasons along a long and winding road to the majors.

Ryan Day - Wednesday, November 11 2009 @ 11:56 PM EST (#208336) #
There are probably worse comparisons for Dopirak than Josh Hamilton: Great prospect loses it, spends a few years getting things together, then resurrects his career and makes a solid MLB debut at 26. Different reasons, of course, but Hamilton was also out of baseball completely for several years, making his comeback even less likely.

Or Jack Cust, maybe - certainly a better, more consisent hitter in the minors, but his performance dropped off considerably from ages 24-26 (particularly for a guy with zero defensive or baserunning value) before putting it back together at 27 and then finally getting a chance to stick in the majors at 28.

Casey Blake might be a middle-of-the-road comparison: Got  handful of at-bats over a few years, had an okay debut at 29 and a very good season at age 30. Not a star by any stretch, but definitely a useful player to have for 3-4 years while he's dirt cheap.

I don't know how good Dopirak will be, but he doesn't have to be a star if he can provide some right-handed power at a low cost, particularly in the absence of any other clearly superior options.
Mylegacy - Thursday, November 12 2009 @ 01:04 AM EST (#208337) #
I wouldn't mention Dopirak in any comparison to Josh Hamilton. Dopirak is a SERIOUS prospect - no question. However, Josh was a wonder of nature - a can't miss ubber-prospect until he decided to let his demons lead him on a multi-year decent into hell. Josh could well be losing it now - after all his body has been abused in some pretty massive ways - but in his youth the boy/man was a once in a generation prospect - a real "Natural." What a freakin' waste.
cybercavalier - Thursday, November 12 2009 @ 04:54 PM EST (#208348) #

Will McCoy and Hoffpauir be a good middle infielder combo at AAA and possibly for the Jays? What about Angel Sanchez?

ayjackson - Thursday, November 12 2009 @ 05:41 PM EST (#208351) #
The presence of McCoy, Sanchez and possibly McDonald leads me to believe that AA will let Scutaro walk and take the picks.  They represent a fallback position if a SS of the future can't be acquired by trade.
The Straight Dope - Jays Get A Real McCoy | 30 comments | Create New Account
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