Monday, April 23, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Hitting Prospects

The new season has started and lots of the hitting prospects have 40 or more PA's under their belt. This means, that it's time to look at their stats for the first time. Don't forget, though, that the sample sizes are extremely small. Therefore, I'm also only talking about prospects who at least have had 40 PA's so far.

Overall, the hitting prospects are doing much, much better than the pitching prospects. With the exeption of Bowling Green, every pitching staff is ranked in the bottom 4th of all teams in their leagues. The Rays prospects are doing better on the other side of the ball. The Bulls are below average, though, while having been one of the best offenses over the last couple of years. The Biscuits are about league average while the Stone Crabs' offense is below average. The Hot Rods, on the other side, boost the 2nd best offense in the young season. They have 9 players with a wOBA higher than .350 (min. 25 PA's) and with Tyler Goeddel the 4th best offensive player (according to wOBA; min. 30 PA's) in the Midwest League.

Durham Bulls: 6-11 | .678 OPS (9th of 14) | 5.98 ERA (14th of 14)
Montgomery Biscuits: 8-9 | .691 OPS (6th of 10) | 4.27 ERA (10th of 10)
Charlotte Stone Crabs: 7-8 | .644 OPS (8th of 12) | 3.80 ERA (9th of 12)
Bowling Green Hot Rods: 11-5 | .752 OPS (2nd of 16) | 2.63 ERA (2nd of 16)

Prospects stats overview
Some prospects look like superstars right now, while some look like total busts. That is what small sample sizes do to player analysis. Nevertheless, some trends can and should be recognized ... and they all open up some questions: Should Brandon Guyer, Henry Wrigley and Cole Figueroa have started into the season one level higher? Can most of the younger prospects in Bowling Green even improve upon their promising starts when the season goes on (Tyler Goeddel, Ryan Brett, Juniel Querecuto, Drew Vettleson)? Are Mike Sheridan (shows some power and contact) and Henry Wrigley (where does this plate discipline come from?) putting it together? Can Hak-Ju Lee, Mikie Mahtook and Tim Beckham improve upon their rough starts?
(click on the image for a better view)

Prospects on the rise
  1. Tyler Goeddel ... 19 years young. No pro experience before this season. And while the BABIP is very high, the BB/K ratio (0.15) is very low and the sample size is very small, he does look promising.
  2. Henry Wrigley ... The plate discipline is much, much better than in recent years (16.4 BB% in '12 vs. 4.6BB% in '11). And his BABIP even indicates that he hasn't been lucky so far, either. If he keeps this pace up, he has to be moved to Durham within the next one or two months.
  3. Cole Figueroa ... He shows that he should've been assigned to AAA at the beginning of the season.

Prospects to be falling
  1. Hak-Ju Lee ... While it's too early to panic, his very low contact rate is very alarming.
  2. Mark Thomas ... Bad plate discipline. Doesn't put the ball in play. Lets hope he hasn't hit the AA wall.


All of the stats provided above are excluding the stats from the previous day. I preferrably use FanGraphs as source for the stats. Click on each stat for its explanation:


  1. Hard to believe there haven't been any comments from the "regulars" or the Wrigley fan club.

  2. In Baseball America's chat with Jim Callis today,Callis compared Tyler Goeddel to 3B-Nick Castellanos of the Lakeland Tigers, who is in Baseball America's Top 50,both in body type and skill set.