Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 Giants Prospects: April

OK, thought I would make use of my being sick to catch up on some stuff, and one thing I wanted to do was look over the prospects in the minors, based on the stats for April, and make comments on whatever comes to mind:

  • Fresno-hitters: Frandsen clearly don't belong in AAA. He was hitting .390/.493/.508/1.001 in 16 games, 59 ABs there, leading the team. Surprisingly, Timpner is second on the team with .423/.444/.462/.906 - he has been known more as a all glove, no bat prospect - but it is still early, a lot can still happen and he has a horrible 2 BB/12 SO ratio, so that average is not sustainable. No other hitter is doing that great. Dan Ortmeier is next in OPS with .259/.333/.494/.827, 5 HR in 81 AB, which leads the team. Schierholtz, after his hot start, has cooled off tremendously, now hitting .282/.307/.459/.766, with 3 HR in 85 AB.
  • Fresno-pitchers: You might have heard of one pitcher in particular, lately - no reason why - Tim Lincecum, who was 4-0 in April, 0.29 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 31.0 IP, only 12 hits, 1 ER, no HR, 46 K/11 BB. Matt Palmer and Matt Kinney have been doing well too, as starters, but Palmer's not on any prospect list so we'll need to see more before he gets on the radar and Kinney is a former major leaguer, so he better be good down here (only 14 K's in 25 IP though...). New guy from Ellison trade, Travis Blackley doing so-so ERA-wise, 4.74, but in 24 IP, only 17 hits, 2 HR, 20 K/9 BB, WHIP 1.05, so his periperhals look pretty good. Those look a lot better than Palmer and Kinney, who have better ERA. As I've been beating the drums, Pat Misch has a 1.66 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 21 IP, 12 hits, 5 walks, 25 K's. Scott Munter was doing well too, so was Dan Giese. Billy Sadler is doing OK, but he's given up too many walks thus far, luckily hardly any hits. Threets was blown out, and I think he's been injured. Brian Wilson has been totally wild but still striking out a lot and keeping hits down. Needs to improve control.
  • Connecticut - hitters: No big hitters but it's Dodd Stadium, killer of offensive stats (leading to offensive stats). John Bowker, who had fallen off the prospect radar, leads with .309/.347/.485/.833 and 3 HR in 68 AB (but 16 K's). Brian Horwitz leads in BA again, .365/.405/.405/.810, but, again, with no power to speak of. Our two major prospects, EME and Travis Ishikawa are totally stone cold with little power. EME is hitting .268/.325/.366/.691 with 1 HR in 71 AB, Ishikawa is hitting .140/.260/.302/.562 with 2 HR in 43 AB. Alex Requena, up from A-ball this season, has 10 SB, his forte, but is only hitting .167/.237/.204/.441, which means he got, like, one steal per time he got on base.
  • Connecticut - pitchers: Out of the starters, Chris Begg did the best, which earned him a promotion to AAA when Lincecum was called up. He was 2-0 in April, 2.10 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 4 starts, 25 IP, 26 hits, 1 HR, 1 BB, 16 K. Justin Hedrick has done great in relief, 0.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, in 7 appearances, 12 IP, 5 hits, 0 R/ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 13 K's.
  • San Jose - hitters: No one is really hitting that well, and in a hitters league. David Maroul, who Jack Hiatt (Giants farm director) said had power, is hard working, and has power to gaps, is leading in OPS with .277/.322/.506/.828, 2 HR in 83 AB. Antoan Richardson, speedster, has 15 SB and is hitting .291/.462/.342/.803 (wow, no power at all), and, more importantly, has 21 BB/18 SO, which is a great ratio. Ben Copeland is hitting .286/.356/.442/.798 with 2 HR in 77 AB. Pablo Sandoval, who was highly thought of entering the 2006 season but had a disappointing year, is shining himself up, hitting .281/.300/.491/.791 with 1 HR in 57 AB. Adam Witter is doing nicely, catcher, hitting .268/.391/.375/.766 with 1 HR in 56 AB. Disappointments include Emmanuel Burriss, hitting .212/.289/.235/.524, but 14 SB, almost 1 per time on base, but he should do better, he has 9 BB/10 SO, which is good, so the balls aren't falling in, basically. Michael Mooney is struggling too, .281/.297/.396/.693.
  • San Jose - pitchers: Number of pitchers doing well, starting with Dave McKae, 5 starts, 1.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 28 IP, 22 hits, 1 HR, 7 BB, 33 SO. Joe Martinez continues to do well, 5 starts, 3.14 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 28 IP, 26 hits, 1 HR, 11 BB, 27 SO. Paul Oseguera is doing well too, 5 starts, 3.08 ERA, 26 IP, 21 hits, 2 HR, 3 BB, 22 SO. All have excellent K/BB. Reliever Taylor Wilding is doing very well, 8 appearances, 0.45 ERA, 0.45 WHIP, 20 IP, 5 hits, 0 HR, 4 BB, 26 SO. Kelvin Pichardo, who we got in the Michael Tucker trade, in 9 appearances, 3.55 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 12 IP, 12 hits, 1 HR, 4 BB, 23 SO, 2 saves.
  • Augusta - hitters: Great news here as Marcus Sanders appear to be healing well from the surgery, he's hitting .294/.478/.412/.890, with 7 SB/0 CS. Still not much power though, so that doesn't appear to be improved, but 11 BB/9 SO, he could hit for a high average still and steal bases. Joe Dyche is hitting .288/.424/.404/.828. Catchers are hitting well, Henry Gutierrez-Portalatin is hitting .333/.393/.396/.789 and Dayton Buller is hitting .517/.641/.793/1.434 but only 29 AB with 1 HR. Brian Bocock is hitting .313/.380/.385/.765 with 19 SB/5 CS. Tyler Graham is doing OK too, hitting .311/.382/.361/.743 with 12 SB/2 CS. Lots of disappointing prospects though, Mike McBryde is only hitting .280/.314/.366/.680 with 6 SB/5 CS; Brett Pill is only hitting .247/.297/.371/.668 with 1 HR in 89 AB; Ryan Rohlinger is only hitting .213/.268/.337/.605 with 1 HR in 89 AB; and Sharlon Schoop, who has major league defense already, some say comparable to Vizquel, but is hitting a woeful .143/.196/.190/.386 with 2 SB/2 CS.
  • Augusta - pitchers: The staff is going crazy good! Adam Cowart is doing it again, he's like the pitching equivalent to Kevin Frandsen, no strong skills that scouts love but great makeup, 5-0, 0.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 5 starts, 30 IP, 22 hits, 0 HR, 2 BB, 18 SO. But other starters/relievers are doing very well too. Ben Synder is 3-0, 0.39 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 5 appearances, 3 starts, 23 IP, 15 hits, 0 HR, 5 BB, 30 SO (!). Henry Sosa in 5 appearances, 3 starts, 0.42 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 21 IP, 12 hits, 0 HR, 8 BB, 20 SO. Kevin Pucetas in 4 appearances, 2 starts, 0.47 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 19 IP, 15 hits, 0 HR, 1 BB, 15 SO. Clayton Tanner, who might be at the top of the list with these stats but are behind all these has in 5 appearances, 2 starts, 1.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 20 IP, 17 hits, 0 HR, 6 BB, 14 SO. Robert Grace, 4 appearances, 2 starts, 2.81 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 16 IP, 9 hits, 2 HR, 3 BB, 13 SO. Dan Griffin, a top prospect last year, slowed by injury and surgery, is 3-1, 3.13 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 5 appearances, 3 starts, 23 IP, 20 hits, 0 HR, 6 BB, 20 SO. And most of them have one save too and one has two. Even the relievers are slamming things down: Paul Lussier, 5 appearances, 0.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12 IP, 8 hits, 0 HR, 2 BB, 12 SO; Ryan Shaver, 4 appearances, 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, 8 IP, 2 hits, 0 HR, 1 BB, 7 SO; Thomas King, 4 appearances, 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 6.1 IP, 4 hits, 0 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO. And really, almost all have good ERAs.

Bright Stars

Clearly, the highlights of the system are Tim Lincecum and Kevin Frandsen. I think Pat Misch is the only other prospect worthy of distinction in Fresno. Chris Begg is the only one in Connecticut doing really well and distinguishing himself. In San Jose, there's a lot of hitters doing OK, but not really standing out, though I suppose Antoan Richardson is worthy of a shoutout, as he's mainly a speed/on-base guy, so power is not as important for him. Nice crop of starters in San Jose, Dave McKae, Joe Martinez, and Paul Oseguera, and among the relievers, Taylor Wilding and Kelvin Pichardo did well. In Augusta, the great news is that Marcus Sanders is doing well there and probably will move up to San Jose sometime this summer if he can continue it. Lots of pitchers of note in Augusta: Adam Cowart, Ben Synder, Henry Sosa, Kevin Pucetas, Clayton Tanner, Robert Grace, Dan Griffin, Paul Lussier, Ryan Shaver, and Thomas King. And Adam Cowart shines above them at the top with his great stats.

Dimming Stars

EME and Ishikawa are the most conspicuous of the prospects expected to do better this year, but at 23, they are far from losing their prospect status, but their potential is dimming with their slow/cold start. Schierholtz and Ortmeier have been disappointing in Fresno, but at least are doing OK. Same for Brian Wilson. Emmanuel Burriss has been a disappointment too, doing horribly in Advanced A-San Jose; jumping him two leagues could be too much for him, though one silver lining is that he has a high BB/SO ratio, so perhaps this is all a matter of balls not falling in for him right now, so it is too soon to say one way or the other what's happening. With all the great stuff happening in Augusta, a number of named prospects are scuffling there right now: Brett Pill, Ryan Rohlinger, and Sharlon Schoop.


  1. Why cut off stats at April when it's May 8? Nate's gone on a tear and back up to .350/.370/.577. Billy Sadler's given up a rash of hits and now has some brutal looking peripherals, etc. Don't limit yourself, Martin, get the most up to date data!

  2. Because I'm anal and had wanted to do it month by month? :^)

    Yeah, probably should have done that, wasn't thinking straight - I guess I should have taken some meds, then I would be thinking straighter...

    But Nate's never going to sustain any high batting average when he doesn't walk that much but does strike out a lot...

  3. Yeah, I was having the same argument with someone on another site about that yesterday. The org needs to get him to focus on working counts, taking pitches, and hitting deeper in counts. He's currently hitting a ridiculous .380 on BABIP which is driving his high OBP and SLG and obviously isn't sustainable. Unless he starts working counts more deliberately he's never going to unleash his full power potential and he'll probably be abused by major league pitchers much the way Linden has.

  4. Hello Martin. I, too, have been thinking about prospects, to get an idea of what we might do going forward.
    I think, to an extent, our strenght, starting pitching, is a bit overrated. We currently have 6 MLB starters. Beyond that, we have options, but not really strength. If we do end up trading one of the 6, we still have a full rotation. And we have options for an occassional start currently in the pen (Sanchez or Correia could probably give us 4 innings). These guys are also pretty high on the possible trade list. In Fresno we have other options, but these guys are not so high on the possible trade list: Kinney and Palmer, maybe even Blackely, could give a start or two. Misch, pretty much like Sanchez, has been converted to relieving and could probably only give 4 innings or so in a start. AS far as RPs, there are lots of good numbers in hitter friendly Fresno: Misch, particularly, seems # 1 on the list. Giese has put up great numbers. Rincon and Kim, both with former MLB experience are there. Wilso and Sadler trail by a bunch, but, as they have higher potential, may have higher trade value.
    So, my conclusion is IF - and it is a big if - the Giants need to trade, their most tradeable pieces are Lowry, Sanchez, Morris, in that order. Lowry and Sanchez could be packaged and of course there are a number of OFs who could be part of the package (Linden, Lewis, Schierholtz, Ortmeier, Timpner (in that order).
    The real question, I think, is: Do the Giants really need to trade? I know that picking up a piece in July is traditional, but I am not really sure that is necessary this year. I don't see that it is possible to get a "piece" that is so much better than what we have that it will propel us into the post season. The guys we have are performing more or less to the levels that should have been expected. Only Roberts is the exception and he is hurt. Our LF, RF, C, and 2b are all performing way above avg, near the top for their positions. 1b, with Aurilia + Klesko is also at least average if not above. SS is coming back to his career averages. CF is an injury question right now. 3b is also performing above average, compared to other 3Bs. In otherwords, I don't see how trading Morris, Lowry or one of them + Sanchez gets us enough improvement to be worth the cost. The fact is, our current roster is performing quite well (this is borne out be noting that we, when corrected for # of games played, lead the division in runs scored). The weak links, or inconsistent links, have been Chulk, Correia, Sanchez, who all have high promise. Before trading one of them for another RP, I would rather see one of Misch, Giese, Rincon, brought up instead.

  5. About Nate, he's been battling this for years now, kind of like how Feliz has battled it. Despite this problem, he seems able to hit relatively well for batting average despite his inability to take a walk. Hopefully he has that unique skill to do that, else, yeah, he's in trouble once he gets up here.

    Allfrank, our starting pitching strength is not overrated. How many teams have 5 pitchers who are capable of pitching like a #2 starter (under 4 ERA) or better? Zito, Cain, Lowry, Morris, and now (hopefully, probably) Lincecum. What you are downgrading is our depth, and yeah, it is pretty short, but most teams are pretty short, look at the starter study by Jeff Sackman on THT that I've linked to before, most teams have problems having a decent pitcher as their 4th starter, let along 5th starter. We have a whole rotation that can be top of rotation good right now.

    So your focus on depth, while correct, is not that germane, most teams don't have depth either.

    None of the guys you list are of much worth as trade bait except for maybe an expensive free agent to be that a team is dumping, except for the obvious ones, Sanchez, Lowry, Morris. The reason the former major leaguers are doing well are because they are former major leaguers, but their problem is that they are tweeners and baseball is filled with them, too good for AAA, too bad for MLB.

    This reminds me of an argument I had on-line one time, some hot-shot prospect "expert" made a big deal about how Brian Dallimore would be a great call-up because he hit, like, .350 the year before and was still doing well. Well, Dallimore was around 30 at that time, he better be beating up on all the young, inexperienced pitchers in the league. Same with these guys, if they were any good, the Giants would have either brought them up already or traded them off to get better position prospects. They are only there to be insurance (depth) in case of injuries to the guys we were hoping to rely on.

    The Giants don't theoretically need to trade, but they should be on the lookout for someone who can be their 1B or 3B for the next 3-4 years, someone young. Feliz isn't going to get any better and Aurilia/Klesko is NOT at least average for 1B, that is the most productive offensive position and neither of them are anywhere close to that. Fortunately, we don't need them to be, since we have Bonds and Durham supplying punch, with some from Feliz, but they are not close to being average for 1B.

    I saw a recent article that listed the cumulative batting line for each position from 2000 to today. The average first baseball has the highest OPS: .278/.361/.477/.838. That's highest BA, highest OBP, highest SLG, and thus highest OPS. Next is LF with .277/.353/.464/.817 and RF with .276/.350/.463/.813 (so Winn is not above average either, he's only .296/.331/.426/.757).

    By position, Molina is above average, 1B is way below, Durham is above and should be higher, Vizquel is way below and SS is close to the lowest (C is), Feliz is below (but he's actually been above before when his OPS was .790), Bonds (no question), Roberts is below, but has been right around average and has a great SB percentage, and Winn, as noted, is below still and has been below for his career for the most part, but he's not that far behind other RF as most fans (particularly Mariners and Giants fans) think, his OPS has been in the 770-821 range during the years he has started, and 813 is the average.

    I like the team as is too, I think we can win with what we got, but I think it behooves the Giants to keep their options open in terms of trading for a good young corner infielder.

  6. Martin, regarding 1b and Winn, I make my conclusions differently. While this may not be the best statistical model, here is how I do it:
    For 1b, as of 5-9, there were 23 Nat'l league 1bs with over 25 ABs. Klesko ranked 3rd (AB), 5th (OBP, and 11th (SLG), which is way above average. I also give him a slight + for D. Aurilia ranked 10th (AB), 15th (OBP), and 13th (SLG), which is about average. For OF, there were 73 OFs with more than 25 ABs. Winn ranked 22nd (BA), 44th (OBP), and 36th (SLG), which is a bit above average. I concede I lump in CFs as I don't have access to stats more specific than just "OF." But, a few days ago, when I wrote this, Winn was higher than he is today. My main point with all four positions (CF, RF, 1B, 3B) is I think it would be extremely difficult to get significantly better production. And my fear is any increase in O is likely to bring a corresponding decrease in D. I think, by and large, the position players, with the exception of the injured Roberts, are producing about as expected (near their carrer averages). And, particularly, if you subtract out the first nine games, but even if you don't, they are - and are showing, they can score about 5 runs a game. They are also, as of yesterday, (and correcting for games played) leading the NL West in runs scored - while still being a very good defensive team (todays ninth inning debacle excluded).

  7. Allfrank, good process but poor in execution. I'm sure you limited it to 25 ABs for some reason, but you don't really want to be comparing Klesko and Aurilia with part-time 1Bmens because many of those are not starters, either now or at the beginning of the season. You should want to be comparing them with starters, as that is what we're talking about, that's the higher standard that they should be measured against.

    One easy way of doing that is to include only qualified players, i.e. players who would qualify for the batting title, which would be 3.1 AB per game his team has played. By that measure, if you include Klesko, there are 16 1Bmen ranked. Klesko ranked 7th OBP, 8th SLG, 10th OPS. Aurilia ranked 12th OBP, 8th SLG, 11th OPS without Klesko, down one with Klesko (13th, 9th, 12th respectively). Given that Aurilia got more of the ABs at 1B and he's bringing down the mean, overall the Giants 1Bmen are below average, which is still good for 1B, particularly compared to our 1Bmen from last season, just not against other starting NL 1Bmen.

    Oh, just to be clear, I just discovered that Yahoo took the easy way out and presented overall data when cutting by 1B data, so the data there is not necessarily all 1B production for those who play more than one position. However, just a handful do that, so it is not a huge deal normally.

    Aurilia has been hitting much better as a 1Bman, he would move up to 8th in OPS had they only counted 1B production (but that won't last, as Albert Pujols only has a .806 OPS, or lower than Aurilia's .809, how long do you think that will last? Not very long... Plus Ryan Howard is behind too at .774 and Nomar, Delgado, and LaRoche are way under too; don't expect Aurilia to outhit all of them for the rest of the season)

    So, thus far, you could push it a bit and say that they are hitting about what the average 1B is hitting this season, but as the list of elite hitters who have lower OPS portends, they will be pushed way south of average by a number of these players, you cannot keep all of them down in production all season, unless there's an injury or something.

    I just realized that you can boost all of the ranks up by one and reduce the total to 15, because Yahoo included Chris Duncan ahead of them, but he's been mainly an OF, not 1B. Can reduce the count to 14 because Wes Helms has been included as well, though he's lower than the Giants so he doesn't affect their ranking, just the total.



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