Box Score Recap – 4/29/2014

Lehigh Valley was shutout over a rain-shortened five inning contest by Red Sox off-season #11 prospect (per BA) Anthony Ranaudo. Phillippe Aumont allowed just one base runner (by walk, of course) and struck out the side in his only inning, if we’re looking for things to be happy-ish about. For a guy who revamped his delivery in the off-season, I have no problem giving him a while to work it out, especially with so many questionable arms (and bats) holding roster spots that aren’t nearly as exciting as his often-filthy movement. I will not, however, refrain from making light of his bad outings with “Aumont is French For”s. I just don’t have it in me.

Cam Perkins had one hit and Ken Giles struck out the side in order in a most-decidedly non-save situation, with Reading down 10-2 in the eighth. Boston’s #7 (BA) Mookie Betts is crushing Eastern League pitching, OPSing 1.159 on the year. He tagged the Fightins with a 3-4, HR, 3RBI performance. Also his name is Mookie Betts. It’s no “Rock Shoulders“, but it’s an easy 70. Also, apparently he was a good bowler in high school. Thanks for that nugget, BA Prospect Handbook!

A thing happened in Clearwater. It resembled a sporting contest, but I don’t think anyone would confuse it with an actual contest. Chad Carman, a guy who’s usually a catcher, was the best pitcher for one side. That’s not normally a good sign.

And, what’s this? Hitting? I don’t believe it!!! Yes, Lakewood used the sticks well in their 9-4 rain-shortened affair with Lexington, pounding out 13 hits, including 8 doubles, in their seven innings at the dish. Notable were Dylan Cozens and Willians Astudillo, who each tallied two doubles, and Samuel Hiciano, Jan Hernandez, and Mitch Walding with two hits a piece, all including one for two bases. Walding is just back from rehabbing after rib-removal surgery, to get rid of the bum rib he possessed that could be broken by getting off a couch. I’m sure there’s a joke to be made there, but I’m struggling to find it. Rest assured, it wouldn’t have been that funny anyway, as most of you probably already assume with most of my material.

Here’s the affiliate Scoreboard from MiLB.

4-29-14 boxscores

31 thoughts on “Box Score Recap – 4/29/2014

  1. I have heard the argument that wins/loss are meaningless in minor leagues but I have to disagree. If your (insert age) group is going against their comparable age group and your teams losses most of time….how can that not have significance to where Phillies system is? Phillies minors don’t have a winning team this year and they might have only 1 winning team last year. Discuss?

    1. I don’t think “meaningless” is quite right, but overall a poor gauge. Reasons:

      (1) Often win loss record has as much to do with how well non-prospects (filler) are playing as how well the real prospects are playing. Clearwater, Lehigh to a lesser extent.

      (2) Different organizations are more or less aggressive in promoting prospects. A more aggressive team will suffer in terms of wins and losses (because younger prospects are playing older prospects), but that doesn’t reflect prospect value.In the past, this would have cut against the Phillies, but lately they have been much more aggressive in promoting prospects.

      (3) While this is normally a lesser factor, it is particularly salient for the Phillies this year: injuries. Obviously injuries are not good for a minor league system, but if you just look at team records, you’re placing zero value on injured players., That’s a mistake.

      That said … the performance of the minor league system has not been great, record aside. Arguably that’s just a reflection of the fact that the pre-season expert consensus of the state of the system was correct.

      Though I am starting to wonder if maybe it is time to start being at least a little worried about Franco – and given his status as one of only two potential stars in the system among position players (a couple of lottery tickets like Sandberg excepted), it would be kind of a big deal if his problems continue.

      1. On Franco … I tend to regret it when I ignore my own advice about sample sizes, and I am on board to some extent with the “he has some issues to workout so initial struggles in AAA were predictable” narrative. So take the following with some caution …

        What worries me isn’t so much the low BA which is to a large extent BABIP driven. And his BB rate is at least back up to a level consistent with long term success, though he still has a more aggressive approach than one would like to see.

        Concerning to me is is: (1) The almost complete lack of power, and (2) the increased K rate.

        It’s early, he’ll probably going to be okay, and the scouting report on his fielding that we got a week or so ago was encouraging. But for a guy who even the pessimists among us were counting on to be a decent regular (at least) as soon as 2015 … it’s a little concerning.

        1. Actually, I want to comment on this more globally. I am concerned that the Phillies are trying to have all of their young hitters become line drive hitters. A few years ago, we saw how they retooled Domonic Brown’s swing. Much of that was positive because Brown had some serious holes in his swing. The problem, however, is that Brown is looking more and more like a line-drive contact hitter and it’s almost enitrely due to a change in approach and swing plane. It’s very early with Franco, but I’m concerned they may try to do the same thing with him. Both he and Brown need to get the ball elevated as both have significant natural power (the ball positively jumps off Franco’s bat – it’s definitely not a bat speed issue).

          1. What the Phils have been focused on with their young hitters is shortening their swing, not so much changing the plane. It involves a shorter load and should make them less susceptible to becoming off balance on off-speed stuff. I have to tell you that its a huge change for some guys and some guys never feel right with it. I’m starting to become worried with Franco but I agree that its still early. As for Dom, I predicted this would happen to him this year. He doesn’t think of himself as a home run hitter and he was embarrassed by his low batting average the 2nd half of last year. He has always been a guy that hits the outside pitch to left. He just has to remember that he can turn on the inside pitch and hit it out and I think he’ll get back to that.

            1. Murray – thank you for the explanation, that makes sense and is very helpful! Maybe they could let Dom put back a little extra movement or implement a swing trigger, because he looks like he now has practically no load at all and it’s robbing him of a significant amount of power and just look at him – he’s all filled out and buff – he should be hitting the ball with more authority. Maybe it’s all part of a long gradual process with Brown – I don’t know, but I do know that he’s one player who seems to work extremely hard to implement what they instruct him to do, whether it’s at the plate, in the field or on the bases. He seems like a very coachable player who is eager to improve.

            2. Years back many predicted on this site Dom Brown eventually as a 18/20 HR guy. Perhaps 27 last year was a a bad thing.

    2. The big thing is that not all teams in a league are actually in the same age group (some teams are more prospect heavy, college heavy, youth heavy, etc.). Additionally, players are not necessarily working on winning as the primary outcome. Winning is always nice, and I think it helps reinforce positive skills, but winning is not the goal.

    3. 70% of the players in the minors are non-prospects. And the age groups are often not comparable.

      Yes, it’s kind of a bad sign, in the sense that if the one and only thing you know about a company is they currently aren’t turning a profit, you might not want to buy stock. But to make an informed appraisal about the long term, you have to look a lot closer.

  2. From the Lakewood play by play:
    “Dylan Cozens doubles (6) on a pop up to second baseman Ramon Torres. Jan Hernandez scores. P. Crawford to 3rd.”

    Just a reminder that not all doubles are created equal.

    1. Watching the game recap, it was a shallow popup that dropped between CF, SS, and 2B. Cozens ran the whole way and took second with no one covering the bag.

  3. So LHV, Reading and CWater lost by a combined 38-2 score yest. Wow!!! That looks like the 1st half of a college football score when Florida St plays
    Troy or something.
    On a better note I heard Jordan during delay of Phils game yest. He said Joseph should be ready to play this weekend. I guess it was a precautionary move.

    1. I hope they limit Joseph’s catching for awhile when he does come back..He needs the PAs more then the squat time.

    1. It is not like we have anyone better in AAA. Might as well give him one more chance until someone from Reading is ready to move up. Look at Clete Thomas’ major league stats from last year to see the competition (597 OPS in 300+ plate appearances). Thomas is nice emergency depth, but does not have Gillies’ potential.

      1. I think the ship containing Gillies’ “potential” has long since sailed. Time to cut bait and try someone who actually has potential, as he clearly has none.

        1. Gillies may be no more than org filler, but he’s not blocking anyone or taking a spot from anybody with real upside. Feel free to skip his name in the box scores. I do.

  4. Based on the team batting average at Clearwater, I would say that someone needs to be pointing a finger at the batting coordinator. He’s trying to convert everyone’s swing to what HE thinks it should be instead of just trying to perfect each individual swing. Teams with an instructor who think there’s only one proper way to swing a bat typically don’t do well offensively. They need someone that has a more open minded approach.

    1. It could also be the team lacks hitting talent. I don’t want to be too negative on the Clearwater team, but in reality, most of the team is just not good and is only playing because injuries have forced them from depth to starting roles.

  5. Seems like Arteaga did alright in his start: only 2 ER. That would give him 2 solid or better starts to go with 3 bad ones. He turns 20 years old today.

  6. A baseball swing is like a golf swing….they all have one common goal, but the actual swing itself differs from player to player. Someone who tries to make everyone swing the same exact way is hurting probably 7 of the 9 guys going to the plate. Just my opinion.

  7. I would like to address a misconception here when talking about a “long” swing. the length of ones swing has to do with the path the bat head travels to contact and has nothing to do with the machinations before the swing. Now said machinations can cause ones swing to become long but almost every player gets to the same spot and bat angle (the launch point) no matter what they did pre-swing .

    Short swings take a direct path to the ball in almost a straight line. When ones swing gets “long” the bat head takes a curved approach to the ball which loses the majority of the bat speed generated when/if contact is made.

    Now what is being talked about above to me is more of a slap approach which is something picked up at a young age and i have never seen taught in my life. Also HRs come as putting backspin on the ball by swinging down through it and not swinging up. Swinging up causes top spin and forces the ball to drop faster. Now there are exceptions as always but the majority have a similer bat path.

    1. I wouldn’t say they necessarily lose their bat speed. My example is Maikel Franco. Franco’s pre-swing movement ends with him drawn back far from the plate. The bat actually has incredible speed by the time he makes contact with the ball (hence the power). The length is the sheer distance the bat head travels before it gets into the hitting zone.

      Otherwise I agree with everything, I just disagree the bat speed is lost. The thing with length is it makes the decision point to swing or not earlier in the process. It gives the batter less time to identify a breaking ball. Additionally the swing path of long swings can make them non-conducive to making mid-swing adjustments on a pitch to make contact.

      1. Franco has a good swing path his hands just get too deep, which leads to other issues. When the bat head takes a circuitous route….blah blah blah Simply put you lose some of the energy put into the swing if you do not take the direct path. Franco’s deeper hands have led to him being late in getting to his launch point which will hurt when trying to adjust to offspeed stuff because he is selling out to catch up leaving a fraction less time to recognize pitches. Now if they can get him to a better/more traditional launch point he can then use that incredible bat speed to sit back on pitches just a fraction more to determine if they are hittable pitches.

  8. Perkins keeps hitting with a pair of doubles.
    Severino Gonzalez pitched well
    And Giles with a workman like save.
    Bright spots for Reading..

    1. I saw some of Gonzalez’s start. The stats were a little deceptive – many outs were hard hit and were nearly extra base hits. Also, as described, Gonzalez has only acceptable velocity, but he does see to throw a lot of pitches, some of which have good breaking action. Also, on the plus side, he did not appear to be as slightly built as perhaps he once was. He seems to have a strong lower half – he’s built a little like Gio Gonzalez. That was encouraging to see.

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