Thursday, August 9, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Hitting Prospects

Overall state of the farm

It has mostly been a disastrous week for the Rays minor league affiliates. Especially Montgomery and the Charlotte-based teams have not seen many wins since last Friday. Especially an overall slip of the offensive production has been the reason for the negative records of those three affiliates.

OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown.

Prospects stats overview

This time I'm going to focus a bit on walk rates. While I don't think that Derek Shelton's approach works (who does?), high walk rates are a positive. At least since Moneyball, lots of Baseball fans know that. What is imperative, though, is that the walk rate shouldn't come at the cost of the batting average and high strikeouts (... Mr. Shelton). Therefore, I'm going to look at the 5 leaders in BB% (min. 100 PA's) today, by also pointing out their K% and batting average. Putting the BB% into perspective, an 8.5 BB% is about league average (the Rays minor leaguers exactly have an 8.5 BB% as well). A BB% of 12/13 or higher is very good and of 5/6 or lower is not very good.
  1. Joshua Sale (BG) ... 18 BB% (.270 AVG, 20.6 K%) ... has to be careful, not to become a power hitter with an AVG too low and a K% too high. Don't become too patient!!!
  2. Tommy Coyle (HDV) ... 15.7 % (.294 AVG, 15.7 K%) ... peripherals look solid
  3. Kevin Kiermaier (CHA/GCL) ... 13.6 % (.281 AVG, 16.5 K%) ... see above
  4. Brad Coon (MON) ... 13.5 % (.230 AVG, 17.8 K%) ... the AVG is a bit low
  5. Luke Maile (HDV) ... 13.3 % (.291 AVG, 14.5 K%) ... everything looks solid.
Kes Carter (92 PA, 15.2 BB%, 25.0 K%, .271 AVG) and Deshun Dixon (147 PA, 10.9 BB%, 29.3 K%, .209 AVG) are examples for players with a high walk rate, but also a (very) high strikeout rate while Douglas Duran (91 PA, 14.3 BB%, 24.2 K%, .189 AVG) and James Harris Jr. (137 PA, 10.2 BB%, 21.9 K%, .183 AVG) are examples of a fairly high walk rate with, both, a low AVG and a high K%.

The trailors (again min. 100 PA's) in the BB% category are:
  1. Joel Caminero (HDV/BG) ... 2.1 BB%
  2. Lucas Bailey (CHA) ... 2.6 BB%
  3. John Alexander (PRI) ... 3.5 BB%
  4. Bralin Jackson (GCL) ... 3.7 BB%
  5. Jiminson Natera (GCL) ... 3.9 BB%

Here is the data (the horizontal black line shows you where the average Rays MiL hitter would be ... sorted by wOBA). The offensive output of the system has decreased as a whole over the last two weeks. The average OPS/wOBA fell from .722/.334 to .714/.331.

The following lists are no prospect rankings. They just show which players have been hot/cold and/or show positive/negative trends over the last 2-4 weeks.

Prospects on the rise
  1. Alejandro Segovia ... I can't keep him off this list! He draws more walks than he strikes out. He shows the most power in the system (according to ISO), ahead of Andrew Toles. He nearly hits .300, has an OBP north of .400 and an OPS of 1. 
  2. Mark Thomas ... The 2nd catcher on this list. While it's only 31 PA's, he has hit to a wOBA of .482 and to an 1.099 OPS. 
  3. Andrew Toles ... He continues to shine, while even having a BABIP below .300 (which is an indicator for bad luck ... especially as he is fast on the basepaths) over his last 55 PA's.
  4. Tommy Coyle ... Another repeater on this list, and rightfully so. His last 113 PA's: .946 OPS / .448 wOBA
  5. Robi Estrada ... He is one of the only Stone Crabs' hitters with solid results over the last 2 weeks.
Honorable mentions: Justin O'Conner (solid last 2 weeks, bad before), Yoel Araujo, Benjamin Kline, Rich Thompson, Chris Gimenez, Cole Figueroa, Daryl George, Todd Glaesmann, Leopoldo Correa.

Prospects to be falling
  1. Henry Wrigley ... His seasonal numbers are still very remarkable, despite his recent cold streak (45 PA, .554 OPS, .246 wOBA).
  2. John Alexander ... Not a good first season for the first baseman. An AVG below .200, nearly no walks and only a .547 OPS.
  3. James Harris Jr. and Spencer Edwars ... Both have decent speed, but an AVG below .185, paired with limited power won't do it.
  4. Brandon Martin ... The 1st (supp) round pick from last year has been nothing but a disappointment so far, especially comparing him to Jake Hager who plays 2 levels above and is able to hold his own at the plate.
  5. Ryan Brett ... A very cold July (.567 OPS) is followed by a very cold start of August (.544 OPS).


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. his first slump of the year...and he's falling....does anyone actually know what anything on this chart means...haha...If you have time...can u post our big league counterparts numbers...alot of emphasis on walks...leadoff hitters I get it...guess iam old school