“Yeah, Daniel Ortmeier, I always knew of him because I was always in his shadow at UTA. I came right after him and played his position.”Giants Thoughts
Wow, talk about two players who could not have two much different careers in the majors, but their college performances still gave some hint of that.
Their stats in their last college season are interesting (Pence; Ortmeier):
Ortmeier in his last college season, age 21, he hit .341/.395/.644/1.039 with 13 HR in 208 AB, .347 BABIP, 84.6% contact rate, 303 ISO in 2002.
Pence in his last college season, age 21, he hit .395/.441/.616/1.057 with 8 HR in 190 AB, .414 BABIP, 87.9% contact rate, 221 ISO in 2004.
Both were amazingly similar in OPS, but the other numbers showed the difference between the two. Pence was clearly in the good contact rate, whereas Ortmeier was just short of the 85% minimum (and, of course, that is for the majors, so who knows what the minimum is for college) you want to see in the majors. Ortmeier's BABIP was so good but Pence's BABIP was just so much better, showing how he made better contact than Ortmeier, as well as making contact more often. Ortmeier was better in terms of HRs, monstrously better - 303 ISO vs. 221 ISO, which is still pretty good - but clearly, based on their careers, that didn't matter much.
From what I're read about Pence, he's kind of like in the mode of a Sandoval-type hitter, where he is very awkward, with his big body, and yet somehow he knows how to hit. Maybe that can be a good role model for Belt to observe and get comfortable with his mechanics.
Now for A Completely Different Player
Different college leagues, but thought I would throw this out as well:
Gary Brown in his last college season, age 21, he hit .438/.468/.695/1.164 with 6 HR in 210 AB, .430 BABIP, 94.3% contact rate, 257 ISO in 2010.
There are many things I still like about Brown. First and foremost has been his history of struggling in a league and figuring things out eventually. He did that in Advanced A last season, mid-season, and after struggling for most of 2012, he has been stinging the ball the past month or so. I also like the fact that he's not satisfied with just getting on base, just so that he can steal a base, he wants to hit for power as well. Obviously drank from the pool of Ted Williams Science of Hitting philosophy.
And to those who say he didn't, because of his low walks, I would note that I examined the tradeoff between his batting line in his last season in college and, instead, changing 5 PA to 5 walks, and the value of hit hitting outweighted that of the five walks, meaning that he did the correct thing of hitting when the pitches were there for him to hit it well with contact. And the ultimate thing a leadoff hitter should concentrate on is getting on base, and whether he's mastered a league or struggling mightily to buy a hit, he has always had a high OBP in any full season play, and he appears poised to do that again this year, despite his poor first two months of hitting.
I like that he is as fast as any left-handed hitter in getting to firstbase on a grounder, a testament to his speed because he is a right-handed hitter. That means he has extra speed, making him elite. I like that he took to CF easily and quickly, after playimg MI in high school, and with that speed he would be a good patroller of AT&T CF. We need a good defensive player in CF because of Death Valley, but he's also shaping up to be a good offensive player, capable of actually being a good leadoff hitter for us.
Here is his progression by month (from FirstInning):
April: .227/.330/.284/.614 .274 BABIP 57 ISO 50% GB 20% LD 30% FB .289 wOBA
May : .258/.311/.317/.629 .300 BABIP 59 ISO 51% GB 17% LD 32% FB .284 wOBA
June : .284/.355/.404/.759 .312 BABIP 120 ISO 41% GB 17% LD 42% FB .340 wOBA
July : .355/.386/.573/.959 .392 BABIP 218 ISO 37% GB 24% LD 39% FB .403 wOBA
As you can see, struggled first two months, but in June, starting hitting more flyballs than ground balls, and putting up a good month offensively, boosting his batting overall, then really started bashing the balls in July, pushing his offense into the elite range. He should make AAA next season and, if Blanco falters as the CF during the season at any point, he probably will get the call up and see how he does. Otherwise, 2014 looks like when he'll likely get elevated to the majors for extended time.