Clearwater Threshers Report (5/30-6/12)

Recap:  The Threshers went 6-6 over the past two weeks, including losing the first two versus the division-leading Daytona Cubs this weekend.  Clearwater is now 38-25 and sits six games behind Daytona in the FSL North as the first half winds down.  The magic number for Daytona to eliminate Clearwater from the first half title chase is now two.

Slightly different format this week:  as the daily box scores are posted and Gregg compiles his ‘Hot or Not’ lists that summarize weekly stats, I’m moving towards just throwing the stats up, then trying my hand at some commentary on topics that don’t bubble to the surface via these other posts.  I’m starting this week with some declining walk rates among Clearwater hitters and a tip of the cap to the Threshers bullpen.  Feel free to leave any yays or nays to this format in the comments.  On to the numbers:


  • Cesar Hernandez:  12-42 (.286), 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 9 K / 1 BB, 1 SB / 1 CS, 2 E
  • Jiwan James:  12-43 (.279), 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 13 K / 2 BB, 3 SB / 0 CS, E
  • Joe Savery:  5-32 (.156), 2B, 5 RBI, 2 K / 2 BB
  • Jonathan Singleton:  10-40 (.250), 2 2B, 3 RBI, 9 K / 13 BB, 0 SB / 2 CS, E
  • Leandro Castro:  11-45 (.244), 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 4 K / 0 BB, 3 SB / 0 CS, E
  • Sebastian Valle:  15-29 (.517), 2 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 5 K / 0 BB, E, 1 return to DL
  • Jeremy Barnes:  13-47 (.277), 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 12 K / 3 BB, 0 SB / 1 CS
  • Tyson Gillies:  2-13 (.154), 2 2B, 1 K / 0 BB

Commentary:  The Threshers are mimicking the big league club in some ways, as they currently rank 3rd from the bottom in runs scored in the FSL, but are second in the league in wins, thanks in large part to a pitching staff that’s living up to the lofty expectations set before the season.  So I wanted to try to figure out why Clearwater is struggling to score.  My initial assumption was that this is a case of a bunch of young players moving into a tough pitchers league and the struggles were to be expected.  Looking through FSL team statistics, you’ll find Clearwater in the middle of the pack in extra base hits, home runs, total bases, and slugging, and they’re near the top in batting average and fewest times striking out.

But the team is second from the bottom in OBP, which, when combined with their relatively high batting average, leads us to walks as the culprit.  Clearwater is last in the FSL in walks, drawing under 2 ½ per game.  After the 2010 Lakewood team walked at an 8.0% rate, the 2011 Threshers are walking at a 6.4% rate.  Granted, the rosters are not a one-for-one match, but the bulk of the plate appearances are coming from the same guys.  Looking at the top ten players on the roster (in terms of plate appearances), you’ll see that walk rates have generally regressed.

As you can see, walk rates have declined across the board, save for Savery (whose pre-2011 consists of very limited PAs), Ruf, and Singleton.  While Cesar Hernandez’ drop can be expected given the double-jump, Valle’s is perplexing.  He’s walked just twice in 160 PAs.  It really defies all logic that he would be having a breakout season (at least in terms of batting average) while drawing so few walks.

I included K rates here as well (since I was already compiling the stats) and a few things are apparent here.  Again, Hernandez’ rate is somewhat excusable given the jump.  James’ walk rate has dropped 14% this year while his K rate has increased 20%–both big numbers in the opposite (and wrong) directions.  Singleton’s striking out 68% more frequently, but he has also managed to nudge his walk rate higher.  Perhaps most noteworthy is that Leandro Castro, with his reputation as a free swinger, is the only guy among the true prospects who has managed to lower his K rate in Clearwater.  Granted, his walk rate has plummeted as well, but for a guy who does a lot of things well (albeit without one standout tool), a sub-15% K rate could be the difference between the majors and a million-plus points in the Allentown Quality Inn Choice Privileges Program.


  • Brody Colvin:  12 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 0 HR, 11 K / 4 BB
  • Ebelin Lugo:  4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, HR, 3 K / 0 BB
  • Jarred Cosart:  5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, HR, 4 K / 4 BB, 1 missed start (blister)
  • Jonathan Pettibone:  15 IP, 24 H, 9 ER, HR, 11 K / 6 BB
  • Julio Rodriguez:  12 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, HR, 10 K / 6 BB
  • Trevor May:  18 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 20 K / 7 BB
  • Eric Pettis:  6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 HR, 7 K / 0 BB

Commentary:  Clearwater’s team ERA leads the FSL and is a half-run better than the second best team.  Obviously, a lot of this is being fueled by the heralded rotation which, save for Brody Colvin’s injury, is meeting or exceeding pre-season expectations.  The starters (including Tyler Cloyd) have gone 27-16, with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.  On the rate states, those six starters have combined to allow 7.2 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, and have struck out 8.3 K/9.

But the unheralded bullpen also deserves a tip of the cap.  Heading into Sunday, the bullpen has actually compiled a better ERA than the star-studded rotation (2.59).  The pen has also allowed fewer than 8 hits per 9 IP, has a nearly identical WHIP (1.16), and is striking out 7.9 hitters per 9 IP versus 2.7 walks, resulting in a K/BB ratio which is better than that of the starters (3.0 vs. 2.6).  So in an effort to give kudos to some guys whose names don’t get mentioned here too often, some highlights from the Threshers standout bullpen:

  • Ebelin Lugo:  7.3 K/B.  Been victimized a bit by the longball this year.
  • Derrick Loop:  0.92 ERA, 5.8 H/9, 6 holds
  • Justin Friend:  0.98 ERA, 5.2 H/9, 4.5 K/BB, 19 saves, FSL All-Star
  • Eric Pettis:  0.92 ERA, 5.9 H/9, 9.0 K/BB, 0.76 WHIP
  • Joe Esposito:  2.37 ERA, 7.1 H/9, 3 holds

48 thoughts on “Clearwater Threshers Report (5/30-6/12)

  1. Great job Puko. I like the format, it’s certainly more reader friendly. I also like the past year’s stats comparison. What would have taken me 30 clicks of a mouse on MiLB, an hour, and an eye-strain, you managed to reduce the effort to a single web-page. Thanks.

    There’s been some commentary re Valle’s walk-rate that has become more frequent on this forum. It’s easy to get excited when looking at his BA alone, but his stat line is unsustainable and I would expect to see a moderate increase in BB rate or a substantial decrease in BA. Still, I’d rather see him with a .350 Avg and an abnormal complimentary stat rather than a .270 Avg which would perhaps appear more appropriate.

    Great job with the new format. Works well

  2. I know that the issue of how much to value walks as a statistic is a matter of continual controversy here, and I generally tend to be of the point of view that if a prospect is hitting well you shouldn’t carp too much about plate discipline–hits are good!–but two walks on the season for Valle is a stunning number and a significant reason for concern going forward. I generally try not to read too much into it if a guy seems like he’s within one or two standard deviations, but something that far outside the norm seems like a major red flag.

    I wonder if there’s any way to drill down on those statistics any further? For instance, do we have any idea on how many pitches Valle is seeing per at-bat? I suppose it’s conceivable, though not likely, that he is running lots of deep counts and that result in hits as opposed to walks.

    1. If we had access to that data we could but I dont believe there is anywhere to get that data for the minors.

    2. I’d really go further – and I want to say this kindly, but it’s hard to avoid at least sounding at least a little bit condescending. I don’t think there is much controversy about BB among the more knowledgeable commenters on the site, or among knowledgeable fans in general. It is of course possible for players to succeed despite mediocre BB data, but (1) BB are more valuable in and of themselves than most casual fans realize*, and (2) they are – especially when coupled with contact data, a point PP has made in the past – strong indicators of future success for minor leaguers. Now, it IS true that prospects often tend to improve their BB rates as they progress, so that lousy BB data** doesn’t disqualify a young prospect – but it is ALWAYS important. With very few exceptions, prospects with a lousy BB/K ratio will succeed only if they improve that ratio.

      There are a number of reasons why that is true. But to address specifically your “hits are good,” point, I would put it this way: a hit is better than a BB, but a BB is BETTER – a lot better – than putting the ball in play. Even if a player gets hits on 1/3 of his BIP, hits are nowhere near 3 times as valuable as a BB.

      Think about it – in those very rare situations where a BB is worse (from the perspective of the hitter) than putting the ball in play, the pitcher can control the situation by issuing an IBB. By definition, unless the pitcher avoids an IBB when he should issue one, in EVERY situation where the batter has a choice, a BB is preferable to swinging away.

      Of course aside from all of that, a player that swings at everything will stop getting good pitches to hit once he starts facing advanced pitching.

      *A BB, all else being equal, is worth about 70% as much as a single. That will vary depending upon the men on base status; e.g., with no one on base, a BB is as good as a single, while with men on 2nd and 3rd, obviously a single is significantly more valuable.

      **Again, contact rate is a factor here – a player who makes good contact (few K) can afford a lower BB rate.

      1. Yes, you’re right, it is hard to correct someone’s assumed ignorance without sounding a little bit condescending! That said, I think it’s an interesting argument that you make, and I will try to address it with the limited faculties at my disposal. (Tongue firmly in cheek there–I realize you mean well.) But I think even a “casual” fan would concede your point that a taking a certain base, in the form of a walk, is better than putting a ball in play, which will result in an out most of the time. That’s a bit of a straw man argument though–if a batter knew for certain that he’d draw a walk in any given at bat, he’d never swing, and every game would look like one long Oliver Perez outing, with hitters advancing one grimly determined base at a time, all night long. Of course, that’s not how it works in reality, which is where the other half of the equation you mention comes in, the contact data. A hitter’s ability to put the ball in play affects the quality of the pitches he receives–a pitcher who is hitting .097 is going to see a lot more pitches in the strike zone than the league leader in hitting is, which is why Valle’s low walk total is so alarming. My larger point, which I think perhaps you misconstrued a bit, wasn’t that walks are an unimportant stat in assessing prospects; it’s that, like all statistical measures, it’s very useful at the margins and less so as you move into the thick of the statistical distribution. A player who has plate discipline that’s one standard deviation below the mean can make up for it by hitting for a lot of power, and so on. Any assessment system which takes into account only one factor is going to be crude and unsophisticated. Which seems pretty self-evident to me: maybe we can agree on that, even if we can’t agree that hits are good.

        1. Well I think we may be more in agreement than not – it’s hard to tell for certain without talking about specific players. There ARE people around her who seem to virtually ignore the BB data – which is a mistake – but you clearly aren’t one of them. But let me ask you this: can we at least agree that, even for prospects that aren’t at the margins, BB rates (or, perhaps more accurately, BB/K ratio) are an important factor, if less so than for players at the extremes? A player with plate discipline one standard deviation below the mean can succeed – but is less likely to succeed, all else being equal, than a player with normal or even somewhat above average plate discipline. To bring this back to something topical, Singleton remains the best position player prospect in the system for a lot of reasons, but his excellent BB rate (couple with a contact rate that, aside from some adjustment issues in A+ that seem to be behind him, is decent though not spectacular) is a big part of the reason for that.

          I think also part of the equation is that I’m often a little more skeptical of minor leaguers hit totals/BA, for a variety of reasons, BABIP data only being one of them. Not, of course, that we should ignore that (or any) data, but I really tend to focus on the fundamentals – BB/K/power data – in evaluating prospects. Probably more so than many people on this site, I admit.

          1. Yes, absolutely, K/BB ratio is important–even Joe Morgan (#5 on baseball’s all-time walk list!) would probably say it’s a vital measure for assessing a prospect, although the traditionalist “I played the game” type would probably put it in fuzzier terms of “seeing the ball” and having a “sense of the strike zone” or somesuch. And I agree, to take your example, that it’s a good thing that Jonathan Singleton is still taking a lot of walks and showing patience despite his struggles in other areas this year. That said, walks are about the only thing that have improved about his game this year, and I don’t feel quite so untroubled as you sound about his performance. Even discounting the sharp drop in batting average, which I realize can be a function of luck, his strikeouts are up and his home runs are way, way down. That’s two of three true outcomes that are trending negatively,. Add that to the lower batting and slugging percentages and I think I’m growing moderately concerned. That said, he’s young, he’s been injured, it’s a pitcher’s league, and there’s no reason to think he won’t pull it together. And if he does, I’ll be very comforted down the line to know that he won’t panic and lost his plate discipline the next time he struggles.

            1. Well actually we seem to analyze players similarly, so not much disagreement. I am less concerned about Singleton because I put a little more weight on the youth/injury/pitchers’ league factors than you do. And I’d also note that his K numbers have turned around – he’s been much better of late in that regard, see above – so at this point the only remaining concern is power, and as I said I’m not really worried about that.

    3. This is tangential, but it wasn’t all that long ago that ballplayers, particularly Latin ballplayers, believed and were taught that the way to the majors and out of poverty was to swing the bat. Aggressiveness was encouraged; drawing walks wasn’t. I don’t know how much of that attitude has carried over to the present.

      This is one more reason why comparing ballplayers from different eras is difficult or judging players by current standards can be unfair. I believe it’s Keith Law who doesn’t think Andre Dawson should be a HOFer because of his terribly low OBP. At the very least, Law should acknowledge changes that have occurred in the game.

  3. I’ve noticed that sometimes hitters will have a low walk rate when they have a high BABIP, but it will come up again as BABIP drops (i.e. the Phils early in the season). If you’re locked in and hitting line drives all over the place, you swing at more close pitches. When you’re not as locked in, you lay off those pitches or foul them off. Just something I’ve noticed.

    Valle’s walk rate is scary low, but I’m going to withhold judgment until his BABIP comes down to earth and we see how he responds.

    1. Can someone please tell me what BABIP means? I have never seen the acronym until about week or two ago. I have posted this question two or three times in the pst, And as far as I know I haven’t received an explanation. Please help a dummy! TboneCFP

      1. If you don’t understand the importance of bb% (see rant below) in projecting a young player, BABIP will really be meaningless.
        Batting Average on Balls put In Play.

      2. It’s in the site glossary, but it is Batting Average on Balls in Play. It’s the best measure of “luck” we have currently. The formula is (Hits – Home Runs)/(AtBats – Home Runs – Strikeouts + SacFlies) = BABIP.

        Why is it important? The average major league BABIP is approximately .300 – if a pitcher’s BABIP against is substantially lower, we can project more batted balls to fall in going forward, and his BABIP against, BA against, and ERA to rise. On the flip side, if a pitcher’s BABIP against is well above .300, we project that his luck will regress to the mean in the future and his run prevention will improve.

        For hitters, it’s a bit different. Every player has a unique individual BABIP depending on his batted ball profile and speed profile. Speedy players who slap many ground balls tend to have higher BABIP, sluggers who hit many fly balls tend to have lower BABIP. For major league hitters, it’s best to compare the current BABIP to career numbers when projecting forward.

        With minor-league data, BABIP is more fickle. Defense and pitching are lacking (relatively speaking) so comically high BABIPs, especially for good prospects, are not unusual. Dom Brown consistently posted BABIP north of .330 in the minors. Some of that can be attributed to Brown (and other top hitting prospects) hitting more line drives than they will be able to at the major-league level. Since line drives typically have a BABIP of .700 or so, it follows their overall BABIP will be inflated by this.

  4. Agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the format. It is a slightly different (and more detailed) review of what’s happened.

    Is it time to consider Pettis the next in line bullpen piece after DeFratus and Aumont? The dominance is there, the K’s are there…is he carrying an insanely low BABIP (a la one JA Happ) that is making his current stats unsustainable? I know he dominated Low A earlier this year in the same fashion but that could be drawn up to sample size and/or the men amongst boys supposition…

  5. Thanks Dave. This is a very good segment. The relievers are pretty good because most of them are older. Loop, Friend and Esposito have been around the block a time or two. I’d expect them to dominate at A+. But Lugo is pretty young. Lugo, like most of those vaunted starters, is born in 1990 (May was born in 1989). His last outing was horrendous giving up 6 ERs in 2/3 inning. Without that, he has a 1.38 ERA and that is pretty darn good. Pettis is older by 2 years byut has been nearly unhittable. Here are a couple of relievers pushing some very good relievers from behind. Relievers like DeFratus, Rosenberg (although now doing a little starting), Schwim, Mathieson, Zagurski and those guys who are already in Philly. Relief pitching seems to be a giant strength in the organization. And I don’t know of any team that wouldn’t mind having the starting pitchers that CLW has. A lot of teams might have 1 or 2 really good starters but having 5 that can go out and do the job nearly everyday, that’s special. I’m cautiously optimistic that each of these guys can succeed as they move up to AA. That will be the true test. I don’t know if any of them will move to Reading before next year but I’d like to see at least one of them move up sometime this year. We might be able to gauge how well the rest might do.

    1. Oops,forgot to mention Aumont. It wasn’t intentional. There are just so many good relief arms in the organization.

  6. I have been struggling to look for a silver lining in Valles performance, but IMO there is cause for concern. I was trying to convince myself, hey its ok to not walk if you are a really good contact hitter. I chose a guy like polanco who has a career walk rate of 5.8%. Now Valles 1.2% BB rate can easily move up to near 6%, but what scares me is the 20% K rate to Pollys career 6.6%. Now factor in all pollys stats are in the majors, while Valle is only in A ball and I, usually not someone to jump to crazy conclusions, is starting to worry alittle. I do realize there are better ways to evaluate players, and there is so much time on Valles side, but i would love to see more patience from Valle.

    1. Even as someone who has been going on at boring length about how important BB/K ratio is … I’m still not quite as worried about Valle as you seem to be. His prior BB data is much better (if still not great), and he has plenty of time to improve. Moreover, as much as I’d like him to be more patient even now while hitting so well, there probably is some truth to the notion that his BB rate will increase when his hitting cools off.

      But the BB data is why all the talk about him being our best prospect is quite premature.

      1. It could simply be their coaches philosphy to have them being more aggressive. I’ve once heard you can’t walk your way to the big leagues son but you can certainly hit your way there.

        Not saying that is a good approach to the craft of hitting but a possible theory. That is if you wanted to look for a possible reason other than moving up a level. In addition to that we or should I say not many of us get to see these games and how other teams are pitching these guys.

        Our guys may being seeing a greater percentage of strikes. Wouldn’t you need to put these stats side by side with the rest of the league prospects to see how they rank?

      2. i wouldn’t even say i am overly worried. I guess the best way to describe it is i am starting to get concerned. Lets be honest, time is on Valles side. Overall i try to temper expectations and be reasonable with progression. The best bet is to check back in august or even wait until the Phils assign promotions for next season. If he goes to AA, then obviously the Phils brass likes his progression. As with all players we discuss, you just cant get to high or low.

        1. I am not overly worried, because he is due for some extreme regression. There’s no way his actual natural BB rate is less than 2%, especially after looking at his prior years’ stats. It’s definitely something to monitor going forward, but I believe it is more likely a statistical fluctuation due to a small sample size. With a large enough population in the minor leagues, somebody gets unlucky and ends up a few sigma below their actual BB rate mean.

          Check back in at the end of the season.

        1. I can not believe we have a catche in Valle, who has some pop in his bat and is hitting .357 among, if not at the top of the league leaders, and all everyone wants to talk about is his lack of walks. Who FREAKING cares? If he walks 10 times per year, but hits .357, and knocks in 75 to 80 runs and hits 12 to 15 dingers, are we really going to e concerned about his lack of BBs? Get over it. So he goes a few months of the season with two walks. I wish Ryan Howard had two walks and was hitting .357, he’d have about 75 RBIs. Let’s dwell on the positive, we have a young power hitting catcher, who hits for average. Let’s hope that he keeps it up!!

          1. I feel that … we really would be doing you a service to explain the problems with your way of thinking. But I’m tired of being the one to do it. Can someone else do it this time?

            (Again making it clear that Valle is indeed an exciting prospect, despite the fact that his BA is unsustainable, and his BB rate is not compatible with any sort of long term success.)

  7. I tend to think that OBP is important, but not as important as average. Particularly if that hitter hits for power. Which is one of the points that was left out of this discussion. If your XBH % is low, then a walk is nearly equally important, but if you hit a home run every 15 at bats and over 40 doubles a year your walks become dramatically less significant… (the arguement being the quality of result from making contact is much higher, think compairing ryan howard to freddy glavis haha)…

    Regarding Valle, in the last two years he has averaged a BB% around 6%. This isn’t stellar by any means, but is not out of the realm of being able to suceed because of it. This year is, at this point, a statistical anomoly and it is more likely he will end up with a walk rate around 4%, perhaps it has less to do with his ability to recognise pitches, and more to do with the fact that he’s hitting the cover off the ball… I presume most of you have played baseball, I know I did for over 10 years, and what I can say is when I was hitting well, I was much more abt to take a poke at a ball slightly outside the zone just on the basis that odds were good i’d get a hit. I recognise everyone is cautiously optimistic, and I do think walks can be indicators, but so long as valle is hitting over .330, I could really careless about the number of walks he takes. (A major leaguer hitting .330 for his career with some power will go to the HOF, even without a single walk). His BA will likely come down (and if it doesn’t that’s fine), at which point, I full expect him to take more walks.

    Guys, lets just be happy that we have a top catching prospect in the minors who happens to be lighting it up on the reg. There are worse things to have. If his average starts really dropping and we don’t see walks even then, it will be time for concern.

    1. There’s a lot here I would at least partially disagree with, while at the same time conceding that Valle could certainly succeed in the long run even with a 6% BB rate (partly because the offensive demands of a catcher are so much less than say an OF; a corner OF really needs to have plus plus power and/or an extremely good contact rate to excel in the long run with a 6% BB rate).

      But rather than a possibly tedious detailed response, let me focus on one thing:

      “what I can say is when I was hitting well, I was much more abt to take a poke at a ball slightly outside the zone just on the basis that odds were good i’d get a hit. ”

      True enough. However, IMO a large part of becoming a successful player – and certainly a successful major league player – is fighting this tendency. I think it’s much, much less true of major leaguers than minor leaguers or people who never even got to that level. That said, I do think it is likely that that is part of what is going on with Valle. Again, I’m still optimistic about him as a prospect. I just think it’s silly that a couple months of unsustainably high BA and genuinely encouraging power, coupled with a crazy low BB rate, has convinced a significant portion of the readership here that he is all of the sudden the team’s best prospect.

    2. Okay, I can’t resist. First paragraph, which goes to the intrinsic value of a BB, as opposed to the value in projecting prospect development. The truth is that plenty of research – in terms of regression analysis of the influence of various factors on run scoring on a team basis, as well as line up studies – have determined pretty conclusively that OBP is much more strongly correlated with scoring that BA, and somewhat more correlated with scoring that SLG%. The dynamic is somewhat different for sluggers (but sluggers also tend to have worse contact rates, which cuts the other way), but for players of ALL types more walks are always better. Player A is much more productive than player C, and even player B is more productive than player C:

      A 600 500 150 28 250 100 .300 .417 .500
      B 600 500 137 25 220 100 .274 .395 .440
      C 600 550 165 33 275 50 .300 .333 .500

      (Player B is identical to player C, except for 50 more BB and proportionately less of everything else. Player B is proportionately WORSE at BA and power, but with 50 more BB than player C in the same number of PA.)

  8. Savery has really nice looking K and BB rates and certainly the best of the players indicated. It’s a shame he’s tapered off here. Would like to see a bit more in the slugging department as well.

    1. At the beginning of the season, when he tearing the cover off the ball, we were all having the exact same walks/hits argument about Savery that we’re now having about Valle. At that time, I felt like we shouldn’t be too critical of the guy because he was hitting like .460. Of course, that was unsustainable and he’s since come down a lot. He’s also proven that he can take a walk, so I guess we could say that his increasing selectivity indicates a more polished approach at the plate, etc. But we’ve all stopped talking about him because he’s no longer got this ridiculous batting average. This is one thing that it seems like a purely sabermetric approach misses–in the minor leagues, the incentive structure is built in such a way that it rewards players that have gaudy traditional stats. Players know they have to put up numbers to impress, and you’re not going to do that with your bat on your shoulder. I’m not saying that’s how it should be, I just think it’s human psychology.

      1. Is that really true though? I mean, Matt Rizzotti puts up big numbers at Reading and he stays put. Kyle Kendrick was respectable but not spectacular in Reading and he’s double jumped to the majors. The incentive structure in the minors favors the scouts’ approach. Analysts use sabermetrics and review players, but they are generally not the decision makers.

      2. I disagree that a player in the minors needs to have guady stats of any kind. The hole in the sabermetrics approach to the minors is that player evaluation/advancement is often based on the teams’ evaluation of things that cannot always be measured. How is a guy’s approach at the plate, is a pitcher showing command in the strikezone, does a players skill project at the next level, etc.

        A pitcher putting up incredible numbers in A-ball because he has a quality breaking ball but throws 85 doesn’t usually succeed at higher levels against more advanced hitters. Same with a hitter who kills fastballs but can’t hit the slider (Mayberry) can put up stats at one level that don’t translate higher. This is why everyone wonders why a guy hitting .250 gets a promotion while a guy hitting .350 doesn’t or why Dane Sardhina gets promoted over an Eric Kratz.

        Obviously over the long-term, a guy needs to produce but decisions are often made at the minor league level for reasons unrelated to the numbers.

      3. I disagree with your gaudy stats argument. Cesar Hernandez’s sabermetric stats (BB% and K%) are undoubtedly what got him double jumped. He wasn’t the only minor leaguer who hit over .320 last year.

        1. You guys are right–all these counter-examples are correct. I guess I was thinking more about Savery’s specific case, where his task was to prove he could hit. But it was not generalizable.

        2. Actually your example of Cesar Hernandez supports the point. As you say, he wasn’t the only guy who hit over .320 last year nor did he have the best sabermetric stats.

          No doubt the Phillies though he had the mental make-up and other intangibles to indicate he could handle the jump and possible struggles.

  9. Hey guys,

    Don’t know were to post this so I’ll post it here. If you had to name the top 5 fastest( I guess 1st to 3rd would be a good gauge). Who would they be. All levels including the majors.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. In our system or all of the majors? In all the majors my vote goes to Billy Hamilton in the Reds’ system. 50 steals in 60 games played, despite a .291 OBP.

    1. I honestly have no idea, but guys who appear to be fast based on comments and scouting reports: Rich Thompson, Scott Podsednik, Tyson Gillies (we’ll see), Derrick Mitchell, Jiwan James, D’Arby Myers, Zach Collier, Aaron Altherr and Kyrell Hudson. Please correct me if I’m wrong or if I missed anyone. I suppose Victorino is no slouch on the ML team.

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