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Friday, August 18, 2006

WATCH LIST UPDATE
It's been just over three weeks since our last revisiting.

A new addition this time -- I'm linking to each player's page at Minor League Splits. They're "only" updated through August 15th, but this is still a tremendous resource, and I wonder if it isn't making this here obsolete. But here we go:

(EDIT: I realized that, as the Minor League Splits page has park adjustments, I could give OPS+ for every position player. They're a few days older than the other stats, but should be pretty accurate otherwise.)

Position Players

Erick Aybar, SS, AAA Salt Lake, BB/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 311 92 18 3 6 21 34 31 17 296 342 431 93
Then 220 69 14 3 6 22 22 22 12 314 363 486
Bad times, man.

Yeah, I don't know what happened with the walks there -- I must have had a typo last time. It looks like he's had six walks this month, if that helps.


Michael Collins, C, A Rancho Cucamonga, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 420 123 22 1 7 23 69 7 6 293 370 400 103
Then 280 83 18 1 5 13 49 5 4 296 367 421
A few interesting things in his splits -- Collins, despite being a walk-heavy non-slugger overall, is actually hitting 307/387/452 with men on base, and 259/332/340 with no one on, and in limited time has hit better while playing first base than behind the plate. Probably too early to know if any of that means anything, but it's certainly possible that he has a different approach with men on, and if that's the case, he should probably try to implement that approach as often as possible.


Nick Gorneault, OF, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 344 98 22 5 14 34 88 5 4 285 347 500 115
Then 285 79 18 4 13 30 68 3 3 277 342 505
When last we saw Nick, he was in a bit of a skid coming off the DL. As you can see, he's pretty much stabilized his performance since then.


Jeff Mathis, C, AAA Salt Lake, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 346 100 30 2 4 23 69 2 1 289 332 422 97
Then 281 86 24 2 3 17 54 1 1 306 345 438
Nothing to see here.


Sean Rodriguez, SS, A Rancho Cucamonga and AA Arkansas, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 6 4 0 0 1 1 2 0 1 667 714 1167 AA
Now 455 137 29 5 24 47 124 15 3 301 377 545 146 A
Then 383 119 24 3 20 37 109 13 3 311 382 546 A
Sean is up in AA while Brandon Wood takes a sojourn to play for the US team. It looks like he was getting back on track with the walks before leaving the Cal League. I'd assume he'll go back there, depending on when Wood returns, but either way he's made a statement in High-A that he can't be overlooked. Like many Angel prospects, he's whiffing a bit too often, but his broad base of offensive skills has covered that thus far.


Drew Toussaint, OF, A Rancho Cucamonga, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 337 82 21 1 11 30 105 1 2 243 325 409 93
Then 293 72 18 1 10 26 88 1 2 246 330 416
Toussaint, however, is doing all he can to make sure he continues to be overlooked. If you look at his splits, you see that, contra Michael Collins, Toussaint actually has been hitting much better with no runners on than with guys aboard. With men on, he walks more often and strikes out more often, which leads me to speculate that he gets pickier in such situations. Perhaps he'd be better off if he stopped thinking and went up and hit? I don't know -- I should emphasize that these are speculations based on the numbers only.


Mark Trumbo, 1B/3B, A Cedar Rapids, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 367 83 17 0 12 44 86 5 5 226 309 371 95
Then 293 67 14 0 11 38 71 4 4 229 317 389
Trumbo had been on a bit of an up-swing, but you can see that's been abated.

He is yet another guy with drastic differences in how he does with men on and not. I have no idea if that sort of thing is at all significant for minor league batters; I don't think anyone has looked at it before. You see people all the time debating whether or not there is "clutch" ability for major leaguers, and whatever your feelings on that, it doesn't follow that the same would hold for minor leaguers.

I mean, Trumbo, with guys on base, has 23 unintential walks and 28 strikeouts in 147 at-bats. Those are both reasonable numbers -- they project to 78 BB and 95 SO over 500 AB. But with no one on, he has 19 walks and 57 strikeouts in 214 at-bats, numbers that would project to 44 and 133.

Looking at the Midwest League as a whole, we see that the league does indeed hit a bit better with men on. So does every league in the world where a baserunner is allowed to take a lead off of a base before the pitch is thrown, as this makes fielders hold runners on and play and double-play depth, opening up holes for batted balls (in fact, as you can see at that link, the difference between the league's performance with runners on and not it pretty much identical to the difference in batting average on balls in play between the two situations, which is common).

The league strikes out 111 times per 500 AB with no one on, and 105 times per 500 with men on base. That's right -- with men on, Mark Trumbo actually strikes out less than the rest of his league.

As I said, I don't really know if that has meaning. I don't know if it will continue. I don't know if it's a sign that he could really put things together. But I do know that, in this season, Mark Trumbo has been a vastly different hitter when he has ducks on the pond than when he doesn't.


Reggie Willits, CF/LF, AAA Salt Lake and MLB Angels, BB/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 17 4 1 0 0 2 4 1 2 235 316 294 MLB
Now 352 115 18 4 3 77 50 31 15 327 448 426 127 AAA
Then 9 3 0 0 0 1 3 1 2 333 400 333 MLB
Then 318 102 14 4 3 65 49 24 14 321 437 418 AAA
I assume you're aware of this guy.


Brandon Wood, SS, AA Arkansas, BR/TR
When    AB  H  2B  3B  HR  BB  SO  SB  CS  AVG OBP SLG OPS+
Now 453 125 42 2 25 54 149 19 3 276 355 552 122
Then 380 108 36 2 22 50 126 14 1 284 371 563
A bit of a skid, but his performance has the same shape it has all season.


Watch Out: Hank Conger, Clay Fuller, Ryan Mount, Aaron Peel, P.J. Phillips, Freddy Sandoval, Hainley Statia, Matt Sweeney, Bobby Wilson


Pitchers


Nick Adenhart, RHSP, A Rancho Cucamonga
When  W  L  SV  G  GS  IP    H  HR  SO  BB   ERA  
Now 5 2 0 9 9 52.3 51 1 46 16 3.78
Then 3 1 0 5 5 27.7 29 0 20 9 4.55
After a couple of rocky starts upon reaching the Cal League, Adenhart, as is his wont, has been turning things on.

I love the home run rate, too. Looking at his splits, you see he has 85 groundballs to 26 flyballs since joining the Quakes. An extreme groundballer with a high K rate and great control is a formidable foe.


Jose Arredondo, RHSP, AA Arkansas
When  W  L  SV  G  GS  IP    H  HR  SO  BB   ERA
Now 2 1 0 8 8 43.3 55 6 39 15 6.23
Then 2 0 0 4 4 23.0 30 1 18 8 5.09
After a few rocky starts, Arredondo has continued to have rokcy starts.


Gustavo Espinoza, LHSP
No hay Espinoza.


Stephen Marek, RHSP, A Rancho Cucamonga
When  W  L  SV  G  GS  IP    H  HR  SO  BB   ERA
Now 1 3 0 5 5 25.0 21 3 23 12 4.32
Then 1 0 0 2 2 8.0 7 2 7 3 4.50
Marek's not actually pitching too badly, but isn't getting the wins to show for it. Needs to cut down on the bases on balls, though.


Tommy Mendoza, RHSP, A Cedar Rapids
When  W  L  SV  G  GS  IP    H  HR  SO  BB   ERA
Now 10 6 0 25 25 159.7 161 15 125 32 4.34
Then 8 5 0 20 20 130.0 120 10 105 25 3.81
He had a few terrific starts in a row, but has regressed just a bit since then. I still think the best fastball in the system should be missing more bats, but this is still a solid performance.


Steve Shell, RHSP, AAA Salt Lake
When  W  L  SV  G  GS  IP    H  HR  SO  BB   ERA
Now 4 8 0 20 19 103.3 134 14 67 28 6.45
Then 3 5 0 15 14 80.0 97 10 51 21 5.63
Before freaking out too much over this, realize: he's still two-and-a-half years younger than Joe Saunders. He's still very young for his league and has time to figure out the PCL, just like he's figured out every other level.


Watch Out: David Austen, Trevor Bell, Jason Bulger, Rafael Rodriguez, Von Stertzbach, Bob Zimmerman

Comments:
Believe I mentioned this before, but one hitter to put on your list is Matt Sweeney with the AZL Angels, a high school infielder selected by the Angels in the 8th round of this year's draft. Could turn out to be a real steal -- a better hitter, perhaps, than Conger. Currently is ranked in the top five of just about every offensive category in the AZL.

http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl=502575&tm=AanAZL&bp=b
 
I believe Adenhart has only allowed two homeruns in his entire major league career. Impressive.

Also, I don't believe B. Wood will be returning to Arkansas. He'll spend the balance of his playing time this summer with the USA team.
 
Yes, you had mentioned Matt Sweeney before -- I had planned to put him on the "Watch Out" part, one step away from the real list, but totally blanked. I'll go ahead and fix that now.
 
A pitcher to consider is Richard Aldridge with Cedar Rapids. In the current addition of Baseball America, both his manager and pitching coach rave about him, saying that he sports an unhittable slider and could be the next Frankie Rodriguez. His numbers are impressive.

http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl=453519&tm=CedMDW&bp=p
 
Worth adding Terry Evans too? Doing well at Arkansas
 
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