Can't post from work anymore, so I don't get a lot of chances to do much over here. But after my podcast convo with Lonnie this week I thought I'd hop back on with more of an exploration.
Normally I wait about 3 weeks between minor league updates – 20 games is a nice number to avoid 2-game hot streaks messing with numbers too much, and for the minors it works out nicely that 20 / 40/ 60 game splits in the first half give a nice comparison to the 2nd half. You can see growth pretty easily.
But some stats through the first 2 weeks of the season are interesting to me. Thought I’d share.
====== Clinton ==========
So far, it’s a three-headed show: Landazuri, Shipers and Kohlscheen. Kohlscheen is 3 years older than Shipers and 4 years older than Landazuri, though.
Landazuri: 0.90 ERA in 15.2 IP, 6 hits, 15K / 8BB
Shipers: 1.04 ERA in 17.1 IP, 16 hits, 15K / 4BB
Kohlscheen: 0.90 ERA in 10 IP, 9 hits, 12K / 2BB
Cam Hobson, my pick for a quick mover and a good line, has been atrocious. Shows what I know. Hidalgo, foreign signee, is also very bad, and the closer Taylor has been rusty early. The offense as a whole has a .570 OPS – they make the 2010 Mariners look like thumpers. Offense is always depressed the first couple months in the Midwest League, which is a pitchers league anyway but especially so in cold months.
They’re still not good. Pity. Need some of the teens that'll hit short-season later this year to bring some Punch with em, 'cause the Judys are clogging our Midwest lineup right now.
====== High Desert ==========
# of High Desert hitters in the top-15 of the Cal League in OPS: 5
Brad Miller, Julio Morban, Stefen Romero, Jack Marder and Kevin Rivers.
It’s hard to make much of High Desert hitting lines (which is why I haven’t pasted em in) but batting eye (walks divided by strikeouts) and AB:K (at-bats divided by strikeouts) translate pretty consistently from HD to AA and can be early-warning indicators against inflated stats.
Seager had a .76 eye with 5.9 AB:K in the Desert, and .69 with 7.0 in Jackson. Translated to great success.
Liddi: .45 and 4.0 in A+, .35 and 3.5 in AA. His wind-aided BA and power fell by a bunch, but these two stayed fairly constant.
Chavez: .4 and 4.6 in A+, .4 and 4.1 in AA. OPS dropped 300 POINTS but his iffy eye stats remained steady.
So if you want to look for success or failure indicators for outsized HD stat lines, I’d look there. That said:
Batting eye and AB:K of these hitters (.5 and 4.5 are acceptable at this point, less is iffy):
Miller: .72, 3.8
Morban: .50, 7.5
Marder: .45, 6.9
Romero: .29, 8.0
Rivers: .20, 3.4
Miller is tied for 2nd in the Cal League in walks. He’s striking out a bit much, but his batting eye and walk rate are good, actually. And when he hits them, they’re going places.
Morban has had an amazing two weeks. His eye and AB:K numbers last year were and .27 and 3.0. If Morban kept this year’s numbers all season he would rocket back up the prospect charts. He just turned 20 in February and is still one of the youngest players in the Cal League.
Marder’s getting a chance behind the plate about a 50/50 share with Hicks) and he’s taking advantage. He’s hitting very well, but he’s also thrown out 3 of 4 would-be base stealers.
Romero isn’t walking, but he’s clubbing the ball so it’s hard to fault him. It’s not like he’s really striking out, ever. He swings and connects, and the ball goes palces. We’ll see if he can get more selective later.
Rivers – the batting line looks nice, but with all the Ks and the lack of walks I don’t see it lasting. He’s just had a lucky 30 ABs.
And a guy not listed here, Mike McGee, has a huge statline (1.154 OPS) but has only appeared in 7 games, with 4 walks and 4 Ks. Next update I really want to see where he's at.
Keep an eye on our HD hitters – the statlines may remain crazy for a while but if they learn how to hit while they’re there we could be in for a good run.
And because it deserves a mention: James (Jimmy) Gillheeney, lefty starter with a pretty good fastball who got CRUSHED by the long ball in HD last year, started off better so far. 3 starts, 1.15 ERA in 15.2 IP, 18K / 4 BB, 1 HR. Now, he started off last year like this too (9 K/ 2.5 BB, 3 HR in 55ish IP) before burning the house to the ground to end the season.
Better luck the second time around.
======= Jackson ==========
Hultzen: 2.87 ERA in 16 IP, 6 hits, 20K / 8 BB. And all 5 of those earned runs were in 1 game.
Paxton: 1.20 ERA in 15 IP, 8 hits, 21K / 9 BB. And 8 of those walks were in 1 game.
Walker: 1.64 ERA in 11 IP, 6 hits, 15 K / 2BB. Sore neck pushed back a start.
Carraway: 2.00 ERA in 18 IP, 14 hits, 13K/3BB. And 10 of those hits were in 1 game.
Maurer is not in the same class as those 4, and has some work to do on recovering some nastiness to his stuff. Looks a little rusty so far and hittable, but he’s still scraping by with a decent ERA.
Capps: Zero ERA in 7.2 IP, 8 hits, 11K / 2 BB
Pryor: 2.35 ERA in 7.2 IP, 3 hits, 10K / 1 BB
LaFromboise: 2.00 ERA in 9 IP, 8 hits, 11K / 3BB
Moran: Zero ERA in 6 IP, 5 hits, 4K / 2BB
Hensley: 2.25 ERA in 8 IP, 7 hits, 8K / 3BB
LaFromboise is really getting some mileage out of changing his armslot last year, and is performing well. Hensley, after a year and a half of begging from me, has finally been moved to the pen and is doing well himself. There’s really only one notable pen member having any difficulty.
Yoervis Medina is like Noesi, except without notable success. He’s on our 40-man, but I dunno for how much longer. His ERA is excreble and he’s being hit around the park right now, hard. The K’s are there, but that’s not enough. He’s gotta get better. He and Maurer are both good arms, but they’re absolutely getting lost in the shuffle during the first two weeks – or standing out for the wrong reasons.
All in all, one of the best minor league pitching staffs I’ve ever seen in our system, probably THE best.
For comparable talent, 2003 San Antonio comes to mind – they won the AA title for us. It included reigning minor-league strikeout king Clint Nageotte (214 in 164.2 IP), 20 year old crewball-changeup artist Travis Blackley, angry Native American Bobby Madritsch, current Mariner George Sherrill, White Sox pen staple Matt Thornton, pre-personal-meltdown Rett Johnson, and arrow-fastball maven Cha-Seung Baek.
The team ERA was 3.03 that year, and AS A TEAM they posted a 7.8 H / 3.6 BB / 8.2 K line. From one guy that would be a good prospect. From all of em? Yowza. I expected great things from that collection of talent. The tally went “blown arm, blown arm, blown arm, traded, traded, quit suddenly, never recovered from blown arm.” Here’s hoping for much better from these guys, who are more talented that that crew, but need to have better luck as well.
BTW, first two weeks for the staff: 2.34 ERA, 6.7 H / 3.3 B / 9.2 K. Before today's gem by Hultzen that I included in his above statline. Not bad…
We won’t talk about the bats. Nothing to see here, move along…
======= Tacoma ==========
Ugh. That is all.
Okay, fine, Chiang is making contact even if the ball doesn’t go very far, Snow just had his first decent outing of the year, Catricala and Trayvon still can’t hit anything, Ruffin and Kelley are trying to climb back to the big club as 6th inning men, and I just ran out of players to talk about.
Tacoma is, unfortunately, an unappealing prom date at this point. Save your cash and buy a beer keg instead. She can sit on her front step and wait for some other sucker.
Mauricio "Shogun" Robles- serious arm injuries have a way of derailing careers.
Ji-Man Choi, Korean 1B who was 4th in the MWL in OPS. Just needs to stay healthy.
Thanks for everything Dave.