Minor League Wrap (8/29-9/5/11)

Jay Yencich · September 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners, Minor Leagues 

I couldn’t think of any special matter to cover in the final intro, especially considering that we only have one squad headed to the playoffs, so I’ll just drop the note that we had three guys named Pitcher of the Week by their respective leagues and then get to it. Some of the write-ups for certain guys this week are rather long, so break it up if you have to. I know I had to take breaks when writing it!

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (4-4 this week, 70-74 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 29th 2011
Tucson 2 (SD – 13), Tacoma 4
W: Kelley (1-0, 1.84) L: Neshek (1-2, 4.26)

Tuesday, August 30th 2011
Tucson 2 (SD – 12), Tacoma 0
W: Musgrave (2-2, 5.73) L: Ramirez (3-2, 5.60) S: Perdomo (10)

Wednesday, August 31st 2011
Tucson 1 (SD – 13), Tacoma 6
W: Robertson (6-6, 6.52) L: Deduno (4-5, 3.94)

Thursday, September 1st 2011
Tucson 3 (SD – 14), Tacoma 7
W: French (9-9, 6.27) L: Leicester (5-9, 6.50) S: Patterson (8)

Friday, September 2nd 2011
Fresno 7 (SF – 15), Tacoma 2
W: Machi (1-0, 0.00) L: Seddon (9-7, 6.27)

Saturday, September 3rd 2011
Fresno 4 (SF – 14), Tacoma 2
W: Espineli (3-5, 6.83) L: Grube (4-4, 4.95) S: Otero (12)

Sunday, September 4th 2011
Fresno 5 (SF – 15), Tacoma 7
W: Snow (1-2, 5.35) L: Machi (1-1, 9.00) S: Patterson (9)

Monday, September 5th 2011
Fresno 12 (SF – 14), Tacoma 9
W: Yourkin (10-8, 4.69) L: Robertson (6-7, 7.14)

Hitter of the Week:
LF/CF Michael Saunders, L/R, 11/19/1986
7 G, 26 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 5/3 K/BB, HBP, .269/.367/.500

For some, it probably feels as though Saunders has been in the high minors for as long as Abe Vigoda has been playing old men in movies, and yet we still find reason to talk about what he is and isn’t doing differently. Since I was in New York for a while, there are other people who have been able to watch Saunders more closely than I’ve been able to over the years, so I’ll throw Jason Churchill’s recent commentary out as a starting point and try to move from there. That he’s switched his approach to go the other way more is a good thing, because for his career because he’s always been a pretty extreme pull hitter, which has meant he’s doomed if they bust him inside. I’d add that we’ve seen a legitimate increase in walks this year, 17.5% of his PAs compared to a career mark prior to this season of 11%. But the K’s are still there, and he’s lost half his home runs and a third of his doubles over similar playing time two years back. Churchill has suggested that it’s a mental thing, and I can see that, even if that’s one of the worse diagnoses, simply because you can never figure out when or if it will be resolved. Physical talents have gotten Saunders this far and he’s come a long way from being raw product of Canadian prep baseball, and still, none of us can really say if he’ll get over that final hill and get all these things working together.

Ends Year with 30 HR, 100+ Runs, 100+ RBI, Call-Up Mention:
3B Alex Liddi, R/R, 8/14/1988
8 G, 31 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8/2 K/BB, .290/.333/.484

Not Called-Up #1 Mention:
RF/DH Mike Wilson, R/R, 6/29/1983
7 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 4/4 K/BB, .320/.413/.440

Not Called Up #2 Mention:
CF/RF Greg Halman, R/R, 8/26/1987
8 G, 36 AB, 8 R, 14 H, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, 8/1 K/BB, .389/.405/.444

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Erasmo Ramirez, 5/2/1990
0-1, 2 GS, 2.77 ERA in 13.0 IP, 8 H (HR), 4 R, 12/2 K/BB, 8/7 G/F

I’m pleased that we can get Ramirez back on here, because he’s coming off two starts when he let thirteen runs score in ten innings after nine hits, seven walks, and eight Ks. But as I was looking at those totals, something caught my eye that has to be at least partially noise because it doesn’t make sense otherwise. In home games, at the renovated Cheney Stadium, Ramirez has put up a 1.65 ERA in 27.1 innings, twenty-three hits allowed and a 26/5 K/BB. Those are impressive numbers. And then all of his bad starts hit on the road, where he has a 11.40 ERA in 15.0 IP, twenty-eight hits, and a 9/8 K/BB. Those outings came at Round Rock (in the heat), Reno (league’s top offense), and Colorado Springs (comedy). I expect Ramirez to get another stab at it to start next season and we’ll see from there what happens and whether the PCL is going to be a similarly offensive league, but seeing as how he hit 155.2 innings pitched and doesn’t officially need to be added to the 40-man until next year (and holy crap was he rushed), there was little reason to take him out for a test drive this year.

Fringe 40-Man Candidate Mention:
RHP Jarrrett Grube, 11/5/1981
0-1, 2 GS, 3.75 ERA in 12.0 IP, 8 H (HR), 14/5 K/BB, 9/6 G/F

Best Start in Over a Month Mention:
LHP Luke French, 9/13/1985
1-0, GS, 3.86 ERA in 7.0 IP, 6 H (HR), 3 R, 7/1 K/BB, 5/6 G/F

Fewer Ks than Jimenez? Mention:
LHP Fabio Castro, 1/20/1985
0-0, 3 G, 1.42 ERA in 6.1 IP, 2 H (HR), R, 7/2 K/BB, 6/5 G/F

From The Training Room:
Lopez’ presence was pointing in this direction anyway, but 2B Matt Tuiasosopo hit the DL on Monday. That was also the day 1B Justin Smoak was assigned to do his rehab thing… Peguero hit .278/.381/.722 and K’d ten times in the final five games. He just came off the DL, so whatever… Robles was the end of season DL representative. Robles who was shut down in August having pitched a little over thirty innings at three levels in a month and a half.

Strange Happenings:
Dave’s recent Alex Liddi post is worth dropping again under the “Strange Happenings” tag because he’s talking about prospects and I agree with him. I’d probably put more emphasis on Liddi’s age/experience relative to the other players averaging that .807 OPS, but that’s fine… Robertson did the final Jekyll Start, Hyde Start of the season, throwing eight innings on Wednesday with no earned runs, five hits, a walk, and five Ks, and then letting nine score through three and two-thirds on Monday, with three of the eight hits leaving the park, a couple of hit batters and a couple of walks, and no Ks… The Rainiers have set a new season attendance record in three consecutive seasons. The team itself also set records for hits, total bases, runs scored, RBI, and yes, worst ERA… In “things you didn’t want to know”, Liddi made five errors in the last week.

Jackson Generals (2-5 this week, 30-40 in second half, 68-72 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 29th 2011
Huntsville 6 (MIL – 13), Jackson 4
W: Merklinger (9-8, 3.97) L: Hensley (3-8, 4.89) S: Manzanillo (6)

Tuesday, August 30th 2011
Huntsville 6 (MIL – 12), Jackson 3
W: Sanchez (4-7, 4.91) L: Paredes (1-3, 5.28) S: Wooten (7)

Wednesday, August 31st 2011
Off day

Thursday, September 1st 2011
Jackson 6, Jacksonville 7 (FLA – 4)
W: Kaminska (2-1, 3.71) L: LaFromboise (3-4, 3.32) S: Marinez (2)

Friday, September 2nd 2011
Jackson 3, Jacksonville 4 (FLA – 3)
W: Evans (3-1, 3.38) L: Kasparek (5-5, 4.50) S: Marinez (3)

Saturday, September 3rd 2011
Jackson 6, Jacksonville 0 (FLA – 4)
W: Gillheeney (1-3, 5.49) L: Alvarez (2-6, 5.35)

Sunday, September 4th 2011
Jackson 5, Jacksonville 2 (FLA – 5)
W: Hensley (4-8, 4.61) L: Korpi (0-2, 2.25) S: Cooper (1)

Monday, September 5th 2011
Jackson 4, Jacksonville 8 (FLA – 4)
W: Taylor (3-5, 4.09) L: Medina (0-1, 4.68)

Hitter of the Week:
LF Vinnie Catricala, R/R, 10/31/1988
7 G, 25 AB, 8 R, 9 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, SB, 4/3 K/BB, HBP, .360/.433/.840

Catricala ends the season riding a ten-game hit streak and posting two months and change of 1.000 OPSs, which I guess would mean that his wOBA has been around .460 or so for the duration. His bRAA is over 75% of what every other positive contributor has combined, and Cat needed fewer than 300 ABs to do that. This is all kinds of crazy. I promised that I’d talk about his left/right splits if it came to it, but really, there aren’t any. Against southpaws, he’s .347/.425/.627, and against right-handers, he’s .348/.418/.634. Basically, he’s the same hitter, and the eye numbers are close enough to each other as well. For a prospect watcher who has spent a long time explaining how this or that corner outfielder has horrific or at the very least noticeable splits, it is really refreshing. The rational end of my brain is trying to tell me not to get too excited because Pringles Park slightly favors hitters, as does the Southern League as a whole, but it’s still not enough to diminish what Catricala has accomplished at this level. All we could ask of him is to pick up 2012 about where he left off this year and also figure out where the devil he’s supposed to be playing on the field.

I Hope That He Will Walk Again Someday Mention:
3B Francisco Martinez, R/R, 9/1/1990
7 G, 29 AB, 9 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, SB, 4/0 K/BB, .345/.333/.724

Power May Be Returning, Still Not Reconciled With Walks Mention:
1B Rich Poythress, R/R, 8/11/1987
7 G, 26 AB, 3 R, 9 H, 2 2B, HR, 7 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .346/.379/.538

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP James Gillheeney, 11/8/1987
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5/4 K/BB, 4/7 G/F

If not for the hit allowed by Penney in the eighth inning, Gillheeney would have done most of the work in a no-hit effort by the Generals. As it stands, it’s just a darned impressive rebound from a previous outing that had him give up six runs on six hits (HR), three walks, and two Ks through four frames. That’s been the rub on Gillheeney since he’s come up to double-A: his command has rapidly gone in the other direction. In High Desert, he walked 5.9% of the batters he faced. For Jackson, it’s 11.4%. As a Maverick, he struck out 22.9% of batters. As a General, it’s 13.3%. We can expect some of this because, as I’ve said countless times before and will say countless more times in the future, double-A is where you start to see both legitimate prospects hanging around, and quad-A types who have years of experience under their belts. This is especially hard on left-handers who are used to blowing by hitters with mid-range stuff and a good change. Gillheeney falls under this header. Still, better for him to get a taste of it and spend the offseason reflecting than to dump him in there at the beginning of the season and hope that he stays afloat.

AFL, Ahoy Mention:
RHP Steven Hensley, 12/27/1986
1-1, 2 GS, 3.77 ERA in 14.1 IP, 13 H (3 HR), 7 R, (6 ER), 6/3 K/BB, 18/15 G/F

From the Training Room:
Nothing doing. I don’t anticipate any call-ups from this level either. For the DL end of the season roundup, we have LHP Nick Hill, IF Edilio Colina, 1B/OF Eddy Martinez Esteve, and 3B/LF Nate Tenbrink. Neither Colina nor Hill played this season.

Strange Happenings:
Naturally, Gillheeney had a feature on MiLB.com following the no-hitter. It reads about the same as you’d expect any “pitcher has good outing” article to read… Matt Toth was named Southern League Trainer of the Year by a group of his peers. He’s an org guy and did time with High Desert and Wisconsin before this. He’s also an Oregon native.

High Desert Mavericks (3-5 this week, 27-43 in second half, 59-81 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 29th 2011
Bakersfield 6 (CIN – 7), High Desert 7
W: Hesketh (2-2, 7.39) L: Manno (0-1, 0.60) S: Kesler (10)

Tuesday, August 30th 2011
Rancho Cucamonga 12 (LA + 10), High Desert 11 (eleven innings)
W: Magill (10-5, 4.18) L: Hudson (4-5, 5.38)

Wednesday, August 31st 2011
Rancho Cucamonga 8 (LA + 11), High Desert 7
W: Santiago (8-5, 4.82) L: Stanton (3-5, 6.33) S: Smith (9)

Thursday, September 1st 2011
Rancho Cucamonga 13 (LA + 12), High Desert 11
W: Ozoria (7-5, 5.40) L: Zablan (0-1, 11.02) S: Bawcom (11)

Friday, September 2nd 2011
High Desert 4, Bakersfield 2 (CIN – 9)
W: Hesketh (3-2, 6.55) L: Sulbaran (9-6, 4.60) S: Kesler (11)

Saturday, September 3rd 2011
High Desert 1, Bakersfield 5 (CIN – 8 )
W: Walczak (1-0, 5.33) L: Sorce (8-12, 5.07)

Sunday, September 4th 2011
High Desert 4, Bakersfield 5 (CIN – 7)
W: Salinas (5-2, 4.47) L: Kesler (5-3, 3.12)

Monday, September 5th 2011
High Desert 10, Bakersfield 0 (CIN – 8 )
W: Stanton (4-5, 5.65) L: Fairel (0-6, 12.09)

Hitter of the Week:
LF Daniel Carroll, R/R, 1/6/1989
6 G, 19 AB, 12 R, 7 H, 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB, 4/7 K/BB, HBP, .368/.556/.789

The end of the season is as good a time as any for me to try to give a context to Carroll’s season. First, the good: by playing in forty-one more games than he had in any previous season, he logged 232 more plate appearances over his previous record and ended with nearly 600. He moved away from haphazardly getting plunked, down to fourteen, whereas that same season that held his previous record of 362 PAs, he got hit eighteen times. This contributed to fewer DL stints. What was most impressive to me, was the patience he showed at times, drawing walks in 14.8% of his PAs and nearly doubled his career walk totals. His previous rate was about 7%. The stolen bases are nice too, but I view them as an extension of logging so much playing time, because even though he hit sixty-two this year, he would have hit the same mark in similar playing time in 2008. Now, for the bad news. Strikeouts in 26.4% of plate appearances, yes, plate appearances, would top the list. That’s pretty close to his career mark there, and bad for a guy who typically has an extra-base hit every fourth at-bat, or 30% of the time this season. That brings in the park context. Carroll hit .337/.350/.537 at home and .256/.383/.410 in away games. Between the strikeouts and everything else, that means his BABIP was .470 at home and .333 in away games. Even though the power drop presented itself entirely in double and triples, I would say that his away stats are closer to the truth than the home ones. He had a great run in the second half and is now on the radar in some small way, but he’s not a player that excites me yet.

Did Not Play All Nine Positions in the Final Game Mention:
UT Leury Bonilla, R/R, 2/8/1985
8 G, 33 AB, 11 R, 13 H, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, CS, 6/2 K/BB, .394/.429/.606

About that Plate Discipline Mention:
OF James McOwen, L/R, 9/26/1985
8 G, 33 AB, 4 R, 13 H, 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4/0 K/BB, .394/.371/.697

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Jonathan Hesketh, 6/3/1986
2-0, 2 G (GS), 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, R, 7/0 K/BB, 4/6 G/F

While I usually write these team-by-team things in a random order, Mavericks pitching usually comes close to last because I find it depressing. So, by the time I decided on this one, the league office already named Hesketh, by way of which I learned of Hesketh’s thumb injury, and in the greater scheme of things that’s one of the better injuries you could have. With a sampling of 45.0 innings this season, thirty-three of those in High Desert, the conclusions I could make from this would feel specious. In 60.2 innings with the Mavs last year, he walked 11.1% of his batters and in his time this year, that dropped to 6%. His command had been really bad in Clinton, but a huge portion of that could easily be the whole thumb thing. Hesketh had a really great walk rate in 2009 when he debuted (4.7%), one that was less impressive given his margin of error last year, and had times this year where he looked all right and times that he didn’t. Since he’s one of numerous southpaw, junkball pitchers in the system, the easiest way for him to keep ahead of the pack is to not walk anyone. I’m glad I got to end this season by citing obvious tropes.

Maybe He’ll Stay Healthy For A While! Mention:
RHP Stephen Kahn, 12/14/1983
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4/2 K/BB, 3/6 G/F

From the Training Room:
Tuesday was a busy day for the Mavs, as 3B Mario Martinez was brought off the inactive list, C Steve Baron went on the DL again, C Jack Marder came off it, and RHP Trevor Miller landed on the DL, possibly due to psychological trauma after being called up from Arizona to pitch in Adelanto… The season end DL list has RHPs Tim Boyce, Brandon Maurer, Trevor Miller, and Alfredo Venegas, who did not pitch all season, Cs Steve Baron and Andrew Giobbi, 1B Dennis Raben, SS Jake Schlander, and OF James Jones.

Strange Happenings:
Marder hit .333/.375/.571 in the five games he played, which was all he got to play, and that would be great except for the 7/1 K/BB… Stanton gave up eight runs on fifteen hits (2 HR) and two walks on the 31st, but still pitched 6.2 innings. Recently, nothing seems to deter him from hitting a particular inning minimum… In the final week, sometimes the defense was good, and sometimes it really wasn’t. On the final day of the season, two outfield assists and three double plays. On the penultimate day, three errors, one double play, and three wild pitches. Or on Tuesday, six errors (two by Coleman, three by Bonilla) and two double plays. Or on the previous Monday, four errors and a passed ball, but three double plays. Fun.

Clinton Lumberkings (2-5 this week, 39-30 in second half, 63-76 overall)

The Week in Review:
Monday, August 29th 2011
Beloit 6 (MIN – 7), Clinton 3
W: Achter (5-7, 4.66) L: Fernandez (7-4, 2.80) S: Gonzalez (13)

Tuesday, August 30th 2011

Wednesday, August 31st 2011
Clinton 10, Quad Cities 21 (STL + 12)
W: Maness (1-0, 2.25) L: Elias (3-2, 6.32)

Thursday, September 1st 2011
Clinton 5, Quad Cities 8 (STL + 13)
W: Whiting (5-2, 2.41) L: Capps (1-1, 6.00) S: Lucas (11)

Friday, September 2nd 2011
Clinton 1, Quad Cities 4 (STL + 14)
W: Whiting (5-2, 2.41) L: Capps (1-1, 6.00) S: Lucas (11)

Saturday, September 3rd 2011
Clinton 6, Kane County 1 (KC + 4)
W: Kohlscheen (5-3, 4.44) L: Adam (6-9, 4.23) S: Nava (4)

Sunday, September 4th 2011
Clinton 1, Kane County 3 (KC + 3)
W: Perez (8-13, 3.41) L: Kiel (0-2, 3.54) S: Rogers (9)

Monday, September 5th 2011
Clinton 9, Kane County 3 (KC + 2)
W: Elias (4-2, 5.45) L: Mitchell (3-1, 2.11) S: Versnik (1)

Hitter of the Week:
SS Brad Miller, L/R, 10/18/1989
6 G, 25 AB, 5 R, 13 H, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB, 3/2 K/BB, .520/.556/.640

I sometimes think that the selection of Miller has been underrated by some. This is a strange remark to make considering we’re talking about the ACC Player of the Year, a first-team All-American by Baseball America and by the American Baseball Coaches Association, the Brooks Wallace Shortstop-of-the-Year, and a member of the All-ACC Academic Team for two years running, but given the talent and depth of the draft, most seemed to regard Miller as a player who would come in around slot (750k was still the second-highest bonus the M’s gave out) and had a reputation in part for the peculiarity of his batting stance. To be fair to the doubters, there was likely better talent still on the board, Miller’s defensive inconsistencies have led some to push for a move to second, and he’s not much of a slugger, with roughly a quarter of his hits going for extras his junior year and a little better than that in his Lumberking tenure. However, he did show a solid batting eye in his college days and I think that the glovework, being skill related (throwing mechanics) and not tools related, is fixable, plus I’m also not one to dog a guy for using a weird approach if it works for him. He’s one player I’ll be watching closely to start next season.

The Best of the Remainders Mention:
2B/DH Stefen Romero, R/R, 10/17/1988
6 G, 23 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 3/2 K/BB, .348/.400/.391

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Stephen Kohlscheen, 9/20/1988
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 5 H, R, 4/2 K/BB, 7/4 G/F, 2 WP

When Kohlscheen won on Saturday, it was the first game that the Lumberkings had won since the last game Kohlscheen started, having spent a three-game stretch getting crushed by Quad Cities, the team they’ll face in the first round of the playoffs. I would figure Kohlscheen to be one of the starters in that series as well, which speaks to some of the improvements he made as the season went on. In the first half, he ran a 45/19 K/BB in 38.0 IP, but the overall numbers were soured by a high home run rate (1.66 per nine) and a .291 average against. As he moved into the rotation full time in the second half, we saw the strikeouts drop precipitously to leave him with a 26/14 K/BB in 35.0 IP, but the hits also came down and he ran a .238 average against. From where I sit, this looks more like a change in approach than anything else, one that could benefit him in the long-term. That said, the strikeouts are just above “worry” levels, and though he had a 2.03 ERA as a starter and a 7.36 ERA in relief, tRA seems to think that his starting sample was a lot worse than we thought (4.81) and that his relief was a bit better (5.43). Something to chew on before you start penciling him in for anything.

Settling in as a Long Reliever Mention:
RHP Jessie Nava, 9/18/1987
0-0, 2 G, SV, 1.69 ERA in 5.1 IP, 4 H, R, 10/1 K/BB, 2/2 G/F, WP

Made Three Errors, So the Unearned Runs are His Fault Mention:
LHP Anthony Fernandez, 6/8/1990
0-1, GS, 1.59 ERA in 5.2 IP, 8 H (HR), 5 R (ER), 9/1 K/BB, 6/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
I didn’t see anything, but that doesn’t mean that the Lumberkings won’t make any moves in advance of the playoffs. IF Cesar Fuentes, RHPs Tyler Burgoon, Fray Martinez, and George Mieses, and LHP Edlando Seco end the year on the DL. Fuentes didn’t play at all and Martinez barely played.

Strange Happenings:
Miller and Menchaca were both ejected in the sixth inning on Sunday while arguing balls and strikes. That was Menchaca’s third ejection this season and the tenth overall… This was something that I stumbled on in looking up Nava’s stats. First half: 12/11 K/BB in 13.0 IP. Second half: 38/14 K/BB in 36.1 IP. Nice improvement there… Speaking of command, starting outfielder Robbie Anston took the mound on Wednesday and pitched a frame, letting a run score without any hits because he walked three and hit one… Hick didn’t get the playing time to quality, but in the final week, he was 4-for-14 with three walks. Sometimes I get the impression that players actually read these…. So the playoffs start today, with Tony Butler getting the start at home a 4:00 pm our time. He’ll be followed by Anthony Fernandez and Stephen Kohlscheen with games played at Quad Cities.

Everett Aquasox (2-3 this week, 21-17 in second half, 37-39 overall)

Monday, August 29th 2011
Off day

Tuesday, August 30th 2011
Everett 9, Spokane 4 (TEX – 10)
W: Landazuri (5-4, 4.35) L: Matthews (0-3, 3.24) S: Griffin (6)

Wednesday, August 31st 2011
Everett 1, Spokane 3 (TEX – 9)
W: Perez (6-4, 4.15) L: Campos (5-5, 2.32) S: West (8)

Thursday, September 1st 2011
Everett 0, Spokane 3 (TEX – 8 )
W: Hanna (4-2, 2.58) L: Pries (4-3, 3.71) S: West (9)

Friday, September 2nd 2011
Everett 7, Spokane 5 (TEX – 9)
W: Hobson (4-2, 2.89) L: Melo (1-1, 8.27) S: Griffin (7)

Saturday, September 3rd 2011
Everett 2, Spokane 4 (TEX – 8 )
W: Claudio (1-0, 0.00) L: DiRocco (1-3, 5.13) S: Eickhoff (2)

Hitter of the Week:
LF/RF Jabari Blash, R/R, 7/4/1989
5 G, 16 AB, 2 R, 5 H, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB, 7/4 K/BB, HBP, .313/.454/.625

A few people who have attended Aquasox games this year have come back to tell that Blash was the best player they saw on the roster. My own metrics would seem to support this as I continually find myself highlighting his fascinating and flawed outings. But have we seen any kind of improvement in his approach as the season has gone on? I think that we actually have, which is something that I didn’t necessarily expect to see overall. In July, he ran a .909 OPS in sixty-seven ABs, thanks to the boost from his peripherals (he only hit .254), and he struck out in 35.8% of those at-bats. In August and September, he had an OPS close to 1.000 in 101 at-bats and struck out in 30.6% of his ABs. Now here comes the obvious complaint: I can’t speak too positively about his walks because he only improved by about one percent from one month to the next, and that includes the 5/3 K/BB in September. We’re still not seeing the Clinton-level of walks from him, when he managed to walk ten more times than he did in Everett despite playing fifteen fewer games. However, if the walks are passable, the Ks are reduced, and the power is still showing well, that’s not so bad a player.

No Home Runs For the Season Mention:
RF/CF Mario Yepez, S/R, 6/15/1988
5 G, 22 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 3B, 3 RBI, 2/0 K/BB, .364/.364/.454

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Steve Landazuri, 1/6/1992
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, 7/3 K/BB, HB

Looking over the last ten starts or so from Landazuri, I’m struggling to figure out how to evaluate his season. He does provide a nice example of the drawbacks of ERA, at least. In July, his totals were thirty-three hits (three dingers) and a 33/12 K/BB in 29.1 IP. This led to nineteen earned runs scoring against him, a 5.83 ERA. In August, he had twenty-nine hits and a 27/11 K/BB in 28.0 IP. His ERA was 3.21 and only ten earned runs and thirteen overall scored against him. His command seems to be here and there overall, and two consecutive July starts against the league-leading offense in Salem-Keizer helped to prove that. First time around, he was out after three with six earned runs scoring on four hits, five walks, and three Ks, and the very next outing, he got five innings in, only allowing a run to score on a solo shot, gave up four other hits, walked one, and struck out five. There are real positives in his year: he was just outside the top ten in innings pitched, averaging five+ innings each time out, and went from striking out 13.8% of his batters faced in the AZL to 22.9% in the Northwest League. I could see him in Clinton next year, where I hope he’ll manage to scale back the walks.

Closer Mention:
RHP Tim Griffin, 3/1/1988
0-0, 3 G, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3/0 K/BB, 4/3 G/F

One Earned Run All Season Mention:
RHP Joshua Corrales, 5/25/1990
0-0, 2 G, 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP, 2 H, 3/0 K/BB, 7/0 G/F

From the Training Room:
As Pulaski’s season ended, the Aquasox picked up star reliever RHP Joshua Corrales to do some bullpen work for them. I suppose that Shipers was officially on the DL because he never did start again.

Strange Happenings:
This is going to hurt, but it seems unavoidable. The Aquasox went 2-3 against Spokane in the final series of the year. Spokane ended the year with a 15-23 record. The previous week they lost five consecutive games, four of them to Yakima, a team that finished with a 20-18 record. The Aquasox missed the playoffs by a single game… Littlewood had six walks this week and didn’t have a single hit in seventeen at-bats. He also K’d seven times. He’s been interesting but not for the ideal reasons… What’s a Jabari Blash mention without some other fun names to talk about? CapSea broke down the top minor league systems by awesome names and we’re number one and way better than anyone else in the division!

Pulaski Mariners (4-3 this week, 30-36 overall)

Monday, August 29th 2011
Pulaski 4, Greeneville 0 (HOU – 17)
W: Reeder (1-1, 4.56) L: Perez (2-5, 5.07)

Tuesday, August 30th 2011
Pulaski 3, Greeneville 1 (HOU – 18)
W: Cornwell (1-2, 3.25) L: Lee (1-5, 5.18) S: Kim (2)

From the Training Room:
Corrales went west. I don’t have anything DL-related because, as I’ve said, they don’t keep good tabs on that.

Strange Happenings:
Cornwell gets some credit for a final outing that saw him go seven innings and allow just four hits and a walk while striking out five and running a 8/5 G/F. I like that. I can easily see him at Clinton or above to start next season. But the pitching was also pretty good on Monday. Raga had four innings with three hits, five Ks, and a 5/1 G/F, Reeder struck out two and walked one on two innings, Sabala just had a hit and a walk in his two frames (meh), and Corrales rung up a pair in the ninth… Nothing much going on for the offense by comparison, but Paolini picked up two doubles over the final two games and Morales was 4-for-8 with a double and a walk. Nunez tripled. Marlette doubled and went 3-for-8. Good news, though small.

Dispatches from the Land of Rehabbers and Teens:
IF Yidid Batista: 42 G, 144 AB, 26 R, 44 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 18 RBI, 13 SB, 7 CS, 18/19 K/BB, .306/.406/.354
2B Felipe Burin: 41 G, 163 AB, 13 R, 52 H, 12 2B, 22 RBI, 3 SB, 3 CS, 39/19 K/BB, .319/.391/.393
OF Phillips Castillo: 48 G, 170 AB, 36 R, 51 H, 18 2B, 5 3B, HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB, 5 CS, 61/15 K/BB, .300/.366/.482
RHP Min-sih Chen: 5-4, 12 G (11 GS), 6.08 ERA in 53.1 IP, 62 H (4 HR), 44 R (36 ER), 39/25 K/BB, 7 HB
C Luke Guarnaccia: 13 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 5 H, 2 SB, CS, 8/7 K/BB, .200/.375/.200
RHP David Holman: 2-1, 16 G (GS), 5.04 ERA in 30.1 IP, 36 H (4 HR), 29 R (17 ER), 19/7 K/BB, 6 HB
RHP Lars Huijer: 0-0, 5 G (3 GS), 5.40 ERA in 15.0 IP, 19 H (2 HR), 9 R, 9/2 K/BB
RHP Charles Kaalekahi: 3-4, 12 G (7 GS), 5.24 ERA in 55.0 IP, 69 H (5 HR), 42 R (32 ER), 44/17 K/BB, 4 HB
OF Reggie Lawson: 42 G, 159 AB, 16 R, 36 H, 4 2B, 3 3B, HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB, 4 CS, 43/5 K/BB, .226/.266/.308
RHP Jochi Ogando: 1-4, 8 G (5 GS), 5.84 ERA in 24.2 IP, 23 H (HR), 19 R (16 ER), 15/25 K/BB, 2 HB
SS Esteilon Peguero: 43 G, 165 AB, 23 R, 46 H, 12 2B, 3B, HR, 25 RBI, 17 SB, 5 CS, 22/6 K/BB, .279/.309/.382
LHP Scott Ronnenbergh: 1-0, 16 G (GS), 5.90 ERA in 29.0 IP, 42 H (2 HR), 24 R (19 ER), 23/13 K/BB
C Angel Salome: 17 G, 65 AB, 14 R, 23 H, 9 2B, 9 RBI, SB, 14/3 K/BB, .354/.387/.492
RHP Gabe Saquilon: 0-2, 9 G (3 GS), 22.0 IP, 27 H, 13 R, 19/10 K/BB
RHP Alex Sunderland: 0-2, 17 G, 3 SV, 4.91 ERA in 22.0 IP, 23 H (4 HR), 15 R (12 ER), 22/13 K/BB
LHP Nick Valenza: 0-2, 11 G (4 GS), 7.90 ERA in 27.1 IP, 29 H (2 HR), 27 R (24 ER), 20/28 K/BB
RHP Richard White: 0-0, 5 G (2 GS), 4.09 ERA in 11.0 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 13/7 K/BB, 2 HB
CF James Zamarripa: 35 G, 139 AB, 22 R, 37 H, 5 2B, 2 3B, 13 RBI, 6 SB, 3 CS, 38/13 K/BB, .266/.329/.331


14 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (8/29-9/5/11)”

  1. Badbadger on September 7th, 2011 3:41 pm

    How does Francisco Martinez have a lower OBP than batting average? Does he sometimes get a hit but refuse to go to first base?

  2. whittier ms fan on September 7th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Say a batter were to hit a ball to the gap and is thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple.

    The batter is credited for the double, raising his BA – would that count as an 0 for 1 towards his OBP?

  3. Westside guy on September 7th, 2011 3:54 pm

    If the guy never walks and has hit a few sac flies, that’d do it.

  4. Mike Snow on September 7th, 2011 3:56 pm

    Now that would be an interesting way to calculate it, if you got dinged for getting thrown out trying to take an extra base. But then maybe you would also have to start giving credit for reaching base on an error.

    The sacrifice flies explanation is the correct one, though. They are not counted as at-bats, but those plate appearances are still factored in for on-base percentage.

  5. Jay Yencich on September 7th, 2011 4:11 pm

    But sacrifice bunts aren’t counted against OBP because that would ruin the integrity of the game.

    McOwen had two sac flies and Martinez only had one, but everyone’s fixated on him.

  6. henryv on September 7th, 2011 8:01 pm

    I’m always entertained by stats that a player accumulates because of the success or failure of others.

    Sure, there are RBI and runs that usually require someone else to do something, but there are other fun ones, too.

    For instance, imagine being a guy like Mike Carp on base and Willy Mo Pena at bat. And standing at first, you get the sign that it’s going to be a hit-and-run. Well, at that point it’s about a 70% chance you’re going to get hung with a “CS” because the manager has just hung out out to dry.

    I would like for there to be a stat called “I got screwed” or IGSs. Those are plays like hit-and-run caught stealing, or standing on 3rd for 3 outs as your teammates can’t drive you in.

    I think Ichiro would probably lead the universe in IGSs, seeing as how he has spent 2004-2010 standing on third watching people pop up to the catcher.

  7. Rick L on September 7th, 2011 8:47 pm

    Too bad there is no game thread tonight. This is one hell of a pitcher’s duel.

  8. CapSea on September 8th, 2011 2:43 am

    I love you, Jay.

  9. HighBrie on September 8th, 2011 5:08 am

    I dig these write-ups, and I’m interested in your take on Miller. I’ll be curious to see how his development is evaluated in comparison with that of Franklin. Do you see them both as major league shortstops? Will there be AFL reports as well? Finally, I just wanted to clarify a minor point. Am I correct in understanding that the problem with Saunders’ previous approach (and swing) was that he was pull-happy, and thus was vulnerable to being pounded outside (rather than inside)?

  10. G-Bo on September 8th, 2011 9:11 am

    Is Abe Vigoda still alive?

  11. maqman on September 8th, 2011 11:06 am

    Abe lives! The question should be is Figgins still alive?

  12. Westside guy on September 8th, 2011 11:43 am

    G-Bo, you forgot the link.

  13. Jay Yencich on September 8th, 2011 12:45 pm

    I dig these write-ups, and I’m interested in your take on Miller. I’ll be curious to see how his development is evaluated in comparison with that of Franklin. Do you see them both as major league shortstops?

    I would say that we’re in an era right now where it’s difficult to look over scouting reports and determine whether or not a guy will stick because people are actively looking for any possible reason that he can’t. For Franklin his first year or so, it was inferior range to one side (which I think has been since fixed) and a less than ideal arm, which is harder to work around. I think that both Franklin and Miller can play the position, though not at Brendan Ryan levels.

    Will there be AFL reports as well?

    I can see it happening a few times. I might throw up some reports on Hultzen’s starts and make note if any of the hitters, particularly Nick Franklin, are doing well. But I’m not planning on making a weekly thing of it in this style. The AFL just doesn’t have enough going on and the environment is too chaotic.

    Finally, I just wanted to clarify a minor point. Am I correct in understanding that the problem with Saunders’ previous approach (and swing) was that he was pull-happy, and thus was vulnerable to being pounded outside (rather than inside)?

    Uh, I think it was inside, or at least that’s what I said above.

    I don’t have any stats on this for the 2011 season because Minor League Splits is gone now and its absence is eating away at my very soul, but basically, as a general rule, you can expect about 7.3% pop ups by the average batter in any given league. Saunders’ pop up rates were 11.3% in 2008 (southpaws killed him), 8.5% in 2009 (lots better), and for some reason back up to 14.3% in limited time last year. The 2011 figures, as I said, I don’t have anything on, so unfortunately we can’t try to figure out any changes from where we sit now.

    Now, mind you, he didn’t have any issues in the low minors with that kind of thing (like 3% rates) because pitchers can’t throw inside as well, but once he got further up, he was being jammed all the time. I’m thinking this was exacerbated by the approach he had, what with the pull consciousness.

  14. Mike Snow on September 8th, 2011 1:28 pm

    Pull-happy hitters get pounded inside because the only thing their swing will do is pull the pitch foul, or miss. As long as the pitcher can put the ball where he wants, it’s a risk-free strategy. The outside edge can be used to induce contact that is more likely to be in fair territory, but hopefully weak (Jose Lopez grounders to short). Contact that is not weak, often because the pitch was too centered rather than painting the outside corner, can be yanked fair, and potentially over the fence.

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