Saturday, December 27, 2008

Looking at Our Hitters: 2008 Durham Bulls (AAA)

Durham BullsThe next team in our look at batters-by-level from last year is the Durham Bulls. First, here are the definitions of the stats used from the StatCorner Glossary:

PA: Plate Appearances. This is how much they hit.

wOBA: "wOBA or weighted on base average is a statistic developed by and used with the permission of Tom Tango. In a nutshell, wOBA uses linear weights on certain batting events to come up with a metric that is more statistically sound than OPS and is scaled onto an OBP scale. According to Tango "An average hitter is around 0.340 or so, a great hitter is 0.400 or higher, and a poor hitter would be under 0.300." This is how well they hit.

bRAA: "Stands for batting runs above average. It is computed by taking the hitter's RV/PA (Run value per PA above average = (wOBA for player - wOBA for league) / 1.15.) and multiplying by the number of plate appearances he has had that season." This is how much 'value' they added (or cost) their team based on the quality and quantity of their hitting.

Durham Bulls (AAA)
Johnson, Dan29.3AAA484.42738.4
Richard, Chris34.5AAA539.39527.7
Ruggiano, Justin26.7AAA287.39915.8
Zobrist, Ben27.5AAA88.4538.9
Weber, Jon30.9AAA439.3526.2
Perez, Fernando25.6AAA578.3475.4
Jaso, John25.3AAA118.3703.5
Nowak, Chris25.8AAA61.3601.3
Johnson, Elliot24.8AAA427.3391.1
Guzman, Joel24.0AAA463.327-3.4
Brignac, Reid22.9AAA386.315-7.0
Gimenez, Hector26.2AAA156.276-8.0
Haynes, Nathan29.3AAA296.289-11.8

Comments: Dan Johnson simply dominated AAA pitching last year and has been sold to the Yokohama BayStars of Japan’s Central League (Jonathan Papelbon fist pumps). Richard, who became a minor league free agent after the season, has re-signed with the Rays and should be at 1B for the Bulls next year. Ruggiano continued to hit AAA pitching but doesn't seem destined for the big leagues with the Rays, for whatever reason. Zobrist was surprisingly productive with the bat at both AAA and MLB last year and will once again provide middle infield insurance. Weber is a minor league free agent.

Perez (7th round 2004) and Jaso (12th round 2003) each could make the Rays out of spring training or return to AAA. Nowak continues to hit minor league pitching and should be Durham's regular 3B in '09. Elliot Johnson provides insurance at 2B and probably spends the majority of next year with the Bulls. Guzman became a minor league free agent after the season and has signed with the Washington Nationals. Brignac (2nd round 2004) has the glove and is still young, but he needs a solid offensive year after two disappointing seasons. Expect him to repeat AAA in '09. Gimenez is a minor league free agent.

Notes: Age is as of today. Hitters are listed by level, so some appear in other posts. I only included those who had many plate appearances or are high profile (top prospect, ex-prospect, in the news lately). StatCorner only covers down to full-season A ball, so no Hudson Valley, Princeton, DSL or VSL players are included in these summaries.


  1. I think I repeat this every time I see the comment that Brignac has now had two straight disappointing offensive seasons. Certainly 2008 was very disappointing, and 2007 was not as good as we might have hoped. But I think it is an overstatement to call 2007 disappointing or a poor season.

    His BA was low at Montgomery, but other indicators were actually as good or better than his big campaign the year before. In a pitchers' park in a pitchers' league, he still showed solid power. More important, his BB rate improved rather dramatically from the previous year, and his K rate got better as well. I think it is true (but am not certain) that after an early season slump, his offense kept improving as the year progressed (in 2007 at Montgomery).

    If the standard we use is his Pacific Coast league line, it looks like regression, but if we are looking at peripherals, it appears at least as good and probably suggests growth.

  2. The term "disappointing" is subjective by definition. My point was that given the expectations Reid created with his 2006 performance, 2007 and 2008 were disappointing. You do make a good point that our expectations may have been too high given the environment he played in in 2006. Note: it was the California League (A+), not the Pacific Coast League (AAA).

    Here are Brignac's PA, OPS, and the league OPS (the league he played in obviously):
    A+ = 455/.939/.764
    AA = 121/.828/.701
    AA = 596/.761/.735
    AAA= 386/.711/.738

    So in '07 he was still above league average, but not as good as '06 (even at the same level, AA).

    The trends don't look good (BA/OBP/SLG):
    06 A+ = .326/.382/.557
    06 AA = .300/.355/.473
    07 AA = .260/.328/.433
    08 AAA= .250/.299/.412

    Everything is headed down, and a .299 OBP is unacceptable. He's been young for each level (which contributed to the expectations), so there is still hope he can bounce back. I think 2009 will be key since he'll be repeating AAA and won't be considered especially young for the level.

    Kevin or Andy will be posting a complete profile of Brignac in the future.