Many opinions on the internet about prospects stem from their stats, and especially small sample size stats. We are all guilty of making snap judgements, but often in that moment we miss out on the bigger picture. Stats help create an objective look at what is happening in the game, but without context or proper use, they can be deceiving and lead us into opinions that may not be aligning with the truth. So with all of that being said we are going to play a game of mystery players and look at some trends that may not be showing up in the traditional triple slash lines or the box scores. Given the small sample size nature of these stat lines they are not meant to be predictive of the future, they are meant to show comparisons and past performance.
So lets start off with Player A and Player B who are showing some interesting trendings from 2013 to 2014.
In this case we see a pair of players taking a leap forward in one skill. In the case of Player A the triple slash line (.203/.245/.359 vs .250/.278/.531) shows the difference and the sample size is only 36 PA for 2014, but Sebastian Valle has hit the ball hard so far this year. I am not sure it is particularly sustainable, but it is an interesting start for a prospect who has had more downs than ups recently.
In this case Player B is more interesting because if you are only looking at the triple slash lines of .256/.280/.368 and .214/.314/.311 you are missing this development entirely. But so far in only 123 PAs in 2014 this player is only 2 away from this walk total in 2013. This player is Lehigh Valley OFer Leandro Castro. It isn’t showing up in the stats yet, but he is making incremental improvements in the right direction. He has put the ball in the air a lot more this year with a GB% that has dropped 10% and a FB% that is up 8%. He is still hitting way too many pop ups, but the walk rate is a good place to start with this year.
Lets move on to a 3 player comparison
If I told you these were all players for the Blueclaws then you could easily pick out Player E as J.P. Crawford based on the walk and strikeout rates. But this isn’t about Crawford at all, it is about Players C and D. From the batted ball data the concerning thing is that it appears more of their fly balls are in the infield, but otherwise walk rate is up and k rate is down. Now what if I told you the stat lines for Player C and D were .277/.303/.351 and .146/.222/.171 respectively. It would now look like it is all just the noise of small sample size data. That is what it looks like is actually happening here, as Player C is Carlos Tocci in April and Player D is Carlos Tocci in May. Last night’s game was the epitome of what has been happening with Tocci as he flied out to RF, flied to CF, lined out to RF, and was out on a bunt hit attempt. Another fun fact here is that facing the same defenses Crawford has 11 infield hits and Tocci only has 1, scouting the stat lines can lead you to many different conclusions.
Now lets just look at Player F across April and May.
If you been following the system closely this is very clearly Reading outfielder Cameron Perkins. After having 14 extra base hits in April he only has 1 so far in May. The biggest difference is a decline in line drive % from 27.27% to 13.89%, Perkins has stopped driving the ball as well in May. More interesting is that his walk rate went from 6.06% to 12.73% while is strikeout rate fell from 14.14% to 9.09%. He is actually walking more in May than he is striking out. There is enough small sample size here to debate how much noise is present, but it is certainly an interesting trend so far.
Here is Player G and his lefty righty splits
These numbers are really small sample size (43 and 111 PAs respectively) and they have actually to some extent reversed in May as opposed to April as the player has heated up. But both of their May HRs have come off of LHPs. I am of course referring to Lehigh Valley third baseman Maikel Franco. It is worth seeing how the splits play out over a longer period of time, because one of the concerns is how much the length of his swing affects his ability to react to different pitches. If he is losing just a little bit of time reacting to to righties vs lefties, that could be something to watch for.
In other news, Franco is actually elevating the ball more in May, but he is deriving more of his power from the pull side. So far in May he is 12-13 on balls hit to the left side of the outfield with 5 2Bs and 2 HRs, and he is 2-7 of balls hit to the right side of the outfield with no extra base hits. He is still really pull happy on the year and it will be interesting if teams shift him the major leagues if he keeps it up.