Clearwater Threshers Report (6/13-6/26)

Recap:  The past two week period overlapped the FSL All-Star break.  During the stretch, the Threshers went 2-8, ultimately ending the first half at 39-30, 7 ½ games behind Daytona in the FSL North.  They are 1-3 in the early portion of the second half.  A few roster moves over the past fourteen days, most notably Leandro Castro and Tyson Gillies landing on the DL (Castro had been running with a noticeable limp just prior to being DL’ed, Gillies has a foot problem) and the addition of Marek Minarik and Matt Way to the official roster (even though both are DL’ed).

After the positive feedback on the format I introduced last column, I’m sticking with it, this week looking back at the first half and noting the Threshers whose stocks have risen, fallen or remained level. 


Last Two Weeks

  • Cesar Hernandez:  18 for 42 (.429), 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 10 K / 4 BB, 3 SB / 1 CS, E
  • Jiwan James:  13 for 48 (.271), 2 2B, 3B, RBI, 13 K / 4 BB, 4 SB / 1 CS, E
  • Joe Savery:  3 for 12 (.150), 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 5 K / 3 BB, one promotion to Reading
  • Jonathan Singleton:  14 for 36 (.389), 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 K / 8 BB, SB, 2 E
  • Leandro Castro:  6 for 19 (.316), 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, K
  • Sebastian Valle:  6 for 24 (.250),  2B, RBI, 9 K / 0 BB
  • Jeremy Barnes:  10 for 34 (.294), 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 10 K / 2 BB
  • Tyson Gillies:  did not play

First Half Analysis (BA/OBP/SLG/BB%/K%)

  • Singleton–.278/.394/.410/15.7%/24.0%.  Singleton’s season has been up and down.  A .304/.418/.413 April was followed by a .247/.327/.330 May, before rebounding to .306/.462/.514 June thus far.  His May dip covered as lot of the time he was recovering from a leg injury and his problems in left field.  His K rate is obviously too high, but you can’t discount the fact that he’s managed to increase his walk rate as well.  Sure, he’s hitting .180 against LHP—it’s not the end of the world.  Given his age, the pitching-friendly nature of the FSL, the position switch, and an injury, it’s tough to say he’s taken a step back.  Call it EVEN
  • Valle–.350/.365/.486/1.1%/21.5%.  Valle’s season has been interrupted by two DL stints, although it does include an FSL All-Star berth and an invite to the Futures Game.  Valle has been raking.  He’s basically been at .390 for two months and has moved himself into the discussion of the best catching prospects in baseball.  Seems like the power may come as he’s slugging at a career high rate.  Of course, he’s walking at a ridiculously low rate, and not to detract from a .350 average, but it’s hard to imagine that not catching up with him sooner or later.  I have not been a huge fan of his defense, but he’s been on a spurt that’s risen his CS% to a career-high 37%, while also on pace to lower his error and passed ball totals from last year.  UP
  • James–.259/.305/.371/5.7%/24.7%.  James is having a season somewhat similar to last year, albeit with a higher K rate.  He’s a guy who continues to perplex me.  It’s not like he’s hitting a brick wall in Clearwater, and perhaps a small step back could be expected given his relative inexperience as a hitter and the quality of pitching in the FSL.  But without a noticeable step forward, it’s tough to view him as a Top 15 or 20 guy at this point.  With the glut of toolsy outfielders in the system, James’ best contribution to the organization might be as the 2nd or 3rd piece in a deal to bring in another bat.  DOWN
  • Castro–.277/.304/.481/2.1%/13.6%.  Let me preface by saying that I’m a Leandro Castro fan.  He’s kind of like a girl who’s not ultra-busty, doesn’t have a superb ass, and doesn’t put out after two beers, but at the end of the day, you wouldn’t mind being married to her.  He’s in Clearwater at age 22 and has already equaled his career high in HRs in half as many ABs as it took him to do it previously.  He’s stealing bases at a better percentage than before and his OPS would be a career high as well.  Numerous stories throughout the season have quoted Phillies brass as saying that Castro will keep moving as long as he keeps hitting.  Is he going to be a major league all-star?  No.  But could he turn into a valuable piece as a 4th OF?  I don’t see why not.  UP
  • Hernandez–.257/.291/.330/4.7%/17.2%.  I admit—midway through May, I assumed that the equipment manager in Williamsport was already sewing “C. Hernandez” across a Crosscutters jersey.  But I suppose that’s why I write for a blog and don’t work in a player development role somewhere.  His slash lines have improved markedly every month, from .143/.186/.161 to .262/.295/.298 to .346/.379/.494.  His surprise inclusion on’s list of top 2B prospects is looking more and more legit.  Mix in ten steals and good reviews defensively, and he’s certainly justifying the double-jump.  UP
  • Barnes–.288/.349/.418/8.6%/20.9%.  Meh.  I thought that after the 38 double display in Lakewood last year that there might be some more power here.  Doesn’t look like there is.  Probably not even really a prospect any longer, but I’m holding out on a slight chance he ends up becoming Pete Orr.  DOWN


Last Two Weeks

  • Brody Colvin:  17 IP, 21 H, 10 ER, 10 K / 8 BB, HR
  • Ebelin Lugo:  4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 7 K / 3 BB, HR, 2 SV
  • Jarred Cosart:  14.2 IP, 14 H, 8 ER, 12 K / 8 BB, HR
  • Jonathan Pettibone:  7 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5 K / 2 BB
  • Julio Rodriguez:  11 IP, 11 H, 11 ER, 12 K / 9 BB, 3 HR
  • Trevor May:  7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 14 K / 2 BB
  • Eric Pettis:  7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 8 K / 1 BB

First Half Analysis (ERA/WHIP/Hper9/BBper9/Kper9)

  • Colvin—4.47/1.45/9.3/3.8/6.4.  Tough to get a good read on Colvin, as he spent most of April on the DL and hasn’t seemed to regain his form.  His numbers aren’t tremendously different from last year, as he’s giving up hits and home runs and the same rate, but has lost a point in the wrong direction on both his K rate and BB rate.  Most likely the result of working through the rust after the downtime.  Nonetheless, after establishing himself as the organization’s top pitching prospect last year, the injuries and inconsistency have taken a little bit of the polish off.  DOWN
  • Cosart—3.15/1.20/7.1/3.7/7.1.  Cosart has done the most important thing he needed to do, and that was to remain healthy.  Already at a career high in innings pitched, I’d suspect that he is closely managed the rest of the year.  He, too, has seen his strikeout rate and walk rate both move in the wrong direction, and he’s thrown 10 wild pitches.  On the plus side, he has inched his hit rate down slightly.  EVEN
  • May—3.23/1.21/6.6/4.3/11.8.  The return to Clearwater has gone much better, and it’s not a stretch to say that May has surpassed both Colvin and Cosart in the pecking order.  Sure, he walks too many guys, but that’s offset by a very low hit rate.  He’s been among the minor league leaders in Ks all season and has had several dominating performances, including three double-digit strikeout / one earned run or fewer start among his last seven.  UP
  • Pettibone—2.80/1.20/8.6/2.2/6.8.  Probably the system’s breakout player of the first half, although his June has not been stellar.  He’s managed to increase his strikeout rate and decrease his walk rate, although he is giving up more hits than last year.  He’s jumped onto the radar in a big way, but it will be interesting to see if his June is just an aberration.  UP
  • Rodriguez—3.33/1.16/6.2/4.3/8.0.  His June has been brutal, mainly because he’s started giving up home runs and walking guys at a higher rate.  The numbers seem to spell out every scout’s fear that older players will not chase the looping breaking ball as often.  So we’re seeing an increased walk rate and a decreased strikeout rate.  The 6.2 hits per 9 is encouraging.  He’s actually the guy I’d most like to see promoted to Reading, just to see how his stuff plays at a higher level.  He has a pretty significant platoon split, so he could end up having a career as a bullpen arm.  DOWN

27 thoughts on “Clearwater Threshers Report (6/13-6/26)

  1. “He’s kind of like a girl who’s not ultra-busty, doesn’t have a superb ass, and doesn’t put out after two beers, but at the end of the day, you wouldn’t mind being married to her.”

    My vote for the minor league analysis of the year.

    Will Gillies ever have a healthy year? I was pretty excited by his game when we traded for him, but it seems with one thing or another, he’ll never get to play enough to justify anything.

    I am still excited about May’s outing. I think he should start in place of Halladay… OK, maybe I should temper this a bit.

    I still can’t believe a man with a 1.1 BB% has an OBP of .360+. It looks like some kind of typo. If he can stick as a catcher, he can play evern with a shoddy BB rate like that, but if he ever learns to take a walk…. Well, if he hits like that as a catcher and improves his walk rate to respectable levels, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he might become the best prospect in our system.

    1. Is there a stat available for how many pitches Valle will see at a plate appearance? I am curious yellow, is he swinging early in the count, maybe lots of first-pitch hitting?

    2. ” If he can stick as a catcher, he can play evern with a shoddy BB rate like that”

      No, he can’t. The hope for Valle is that he can manage at least a tolerable BB %. His current rate is about 1/5 of tolerable.

      IMO he can and most likely will manage to bring his BB% back up to at least a tolerable rate, but Freddie Galvis has a greater chance to break the career HR record than does Valle (or any player) have to succeed as a majoe league player if he maintains a 1% BB%.

    3. Won’t know if Valle’s BB rate is an issue until he quits getting pitches to hit. That’s part of the problem with over analyzing minor league stats. Is Valle BB % low because he swings at everything or is it low because he’s killing pitches in the strikezone?

      Without seeing his approach or having some additional info on % of strikes seen/taken the answer to the question is a guess. As he moves through the system and the pitching gets better, his BB rate will either increase or he will quickly become a .220 hitter in AA ball.

    4. I thought it was a funny comment but offensive and not appropriate for a website that positions itself as open to all comers.

      That said, I think puko does a great job on this site.

      1. **I thought it was a funny comment but offensive and not appropriate for a website that positions itself as open to all comers.**

        Seriously lighten up dude. Life isn’t that serious.

      2. I ‘ll go with that, they should leave all the slippin’ in dirty words, Snickerin’ and nudgin’ in the ribs stuff, for the Joke Blogs like “That Ball’s Outa’ Here” and “The Good Phight” and like that.

        1. I humbly apologize for my use of….well, I’m not sure what dirty words I used. But rest assured, the next column will be chock full of biblical analogies and Disney references.

  2. Should the pitcher’s categories read—ERA/WHIP/Hper9/BBper9/Kper9 in leau of ERA/WHIP/Hper9/Kper9/BBper9?

  3. Are we actually going to see Minarik in Clearwater this year? It seems very unlike the Phillies to send a foreign 18-year-old directly to A+ when he hits the US.

    1. Perhaps because people seem to have left off the fact that Minarik was immediately placed on the Disabled List in Clearwater may have skewed the perceptions a bit.

      1. I still think it’s strange that he’s on Clearwater’s DL and not Williamsport’s or the GCL one. But I suppose it’s irrelevant until he actually plays somewhere.

  4. Much better format, and great read. I’m not at all discouraged by Singleton’s start, even when excluding his past week. I’d be curious to know how many pitches per AB he’s seeing. With those K and BB ratios, I suspect he’s with the league leaders in pitches seen. Exactly what I want to see from a young kid at advance A. This kid is going to be good and there’s nothing I’ve seen this year which would lead me to believe otherwise.

    I liked May ahead of Colvin going into the season. Hard not to like guys who consistently miss bats. Here’s hoping he can carry his momentum into the 2nd half.

    If I had to go in another direction for any of the players, I would probably say ‘even’ for Barnes. Slugging is down a bit but nothing a good month couldn’t fix. Otherwise his line is somewhat likeable considering the jump to Hi-A. Reading will be a big test for him next season

    Great job man. Becoming one of my favorite columns. Although I’m sure the loaded Thresher’s roster may have something to do with it as well. : )

    1. Can’t imagine he gets promoted during the season. Hasn’t been the M.O. of the development staff (Jaramillo, d’Arnaud, and Marson all went level by level for the most part). I also think they like him working with this staff and you’re not sure if switching catchers midstream would impede any of the pitchers’ progress.

      1. Jaramillo might not be the best comparison since he can’t play at all. But you do make a good point.

        Maybe they want to rethink in this case however since Valle is tearing it up?

        1. Just using guys they’ve projected as legit big league prospects regardless of outcome. Not sure why they’d rush him–there’s no immediate need for him to get to Philly in the next two years and he’s likely to do a full season at Reading anyway next year.

  5. Great summary. I am disappointed in the team performance as a whole. With all these top prospects Clearwater should be winning the division.

    Valle is all BA right now. Rizzotti had incredible BA (and power and BB rate) and that was obviously unsustainable through a second season. I doubt Valle’s BB will remain this incredibly low. But if he is a .300 25HR catcher in the bigs he can walk once a year and be ‘successful’. If he cannot be a big league C, his value plummets pretty fast though. He is still very young and should not be promoted.

    Hernandez is showing the kind of unexpected breakout (still low BB) that I expect J.James will have someday. I am not a J.James fan but his potential is still occasionally on display and I think his power will come. Because of 40-man roster implications, I would like to trade him but doing so now is probably at a discount.
    I also wonder what the value of Pettibone and Rodriguez are in trades. Is there a team that might overvalue them? Or because of them can the Phillies trade one of the big 3 (May, Cosart, Colvin)?

  6. PhxPhilly says: “But if he is a .300 25HR catcher in the bigs he can walk once a year and be ‘successful’.”

    But there’s the rub. He can’t be a .300 25HR catcher in the bigs if he walk once a year. Those things might go together during a hot stretch in A+, but won’t work in the majors or high minors. If he does not become selective when he cools off, he will have serious adjustment problems. And the solution will be to become more selective and thus walk more.

    1. Agreed, it would be nearly impossible. As others (certainly not me) have researched, no player in recent baseball history has had ‘success’ with such a low BB rate in the majors. Very unlikely he beats that history. Also somewhat unlikely his BB rate stays that low. Where he ends up is certainly fun trying to predict.

      1. To be precise, going all the way back to 1920, the lowest BB% of any player with any real kind of career is Alvero Espinosa at 2.9%, still about double Valle’s rate even after this month’s BB tonight. Moreover, the relatively few players who have been able to maintain a rate under 5% are almost all contact hitters with low K%. And even those guys also tended not to be able to maintain decent BA (except for some of the extreme contact hitters who were also very fast, e.g., Jesus Alou) or decent HR totals (with again one or two exceptions).

        A better way to look at it is to look at BB/K ratios. Again going all the way back to 1920, a .20 ratio is just about the limit, and most of the guys under .30 had pretty sketchy careers. Though .20 represents the break point below which we can say “impossible” as opposed to “extremely unlikely.” Valle this year is at .068.

        Which again isn’t meant to knock Valle, except to the very limited extent of deflating some of the over the top excitement regarding this year’s performance. He is a very good prospect who IMO probably at some point will get his BB% (or BB/K ratio) back into an acceptable range. But no, one BB per month won’t cut it.

  7. Gillies is a huge disappointment to me. The fact that he can’t stay healthy is painful. I’m sure it is to him also. When we do our late July top 30, it’s going to be very hard to slot him. His potential is huge but two years without any significant ABs slides him down, down, down. When does he have to be put on the 40 man roster? Would any team take a chance on him? Everyone said that no team would take George Bell but Toronto did and the rest was history. Can you imagine if the Phils kept Bell and Sandberg through the 80’s and into the early 90’s? And the Phils could have traded Bell for Sammy Sosa during the ‘roid years (90’s) and imagine that! If I remember correctly, Bell had a horrific knee injury when Toronto picked him up as a rule 5. They kept him on the roster all season.

    1. I got Gillies as Rule 5 eligible this offseason. Upcoming schedule of Rule 5 has the College Draftees and above a certain HS draftees of ’08 eligible. The HS draftees of ’07 also come up. The HS draftees of ’07 began play in ’07. Gillies was actually drafted in ’06 draft out of JC, but did not sign til ’07 and began play in ’07, so his numbers up.

  8. How far is Valle from qualifying for the FSL batting title? He would be right up there with enough PA. I know he had the two DL stints which is the reason, just want to see his name with the BA leaders.

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