Monday, July 19, 2004

As Expected?

At the All-Star break, I was mulling a post about how, even though the Mariners need to take a good look at some of the guys on the Farm, what we have seen thus far (and can expect to see) aren't a whole helluva lot different from what we've heard about and seen from these guys in Tacoma.  Now, I'm beginning to wonder.
 
With the pitchers, that's been mostly true.   Clint Nageotte showed pretty much what his minor league peripherals suggested -- good power pitcher with good K rate, but he would struggle with control and needs work on his change-up.  Ditto for Matt Thornton, except emphasize the part about struggling with control, and not so much about needing to work on other pitches.  If the theory holds true, this also strongly suggests that Gil Meche isn't ready to return, either.  The theory buckles a bit under the weight of the collective struggles of Travis Blackley and George Sherrill (both Blackley and Sherrill looked more ready to me than Nageotte or Thornton, though anybody who saw Blackley struggle early in the Rainiers season knows that if he can't locate and/or struggles with his change, he has trouble), but it is still early.
 
But what are we to make of Bucky Jacobsen and Justin Leone?  For both Jacobsen and Leone, the minor league numbers suggest (actually, shout) that we should expect a lot of strikeouts, to go with patience and power.  Well, OK, the strikeouts have proven true, but did anybody expect the power and patience to translate so quickly?  And in Bucky's case, the average? 
 
Cheney Stadium is the biggest pitcher's park in all of minor league baseball (in fact, all of the M's farm teams play in the best pitchers' parks in their leagues), so maybe these results shouldn't be entirely shocking.   But I think we'll see this begin to moderate.  Bucky looks to me like he has a chance to be a Buner-esque figure, both in terms of popularity and in what his stats might look like down the road, but I don't expect him to hit much more than .260/.345/.450 this year.  Mind you, that's pretty damn good.  Leone should put up pretty similar numbers -- probably a little worse for average and SLG.  Both look to be solid major leaguers, though probably not stars.  If Leone can play the outfield (as was reported to us by Bad Bob Melvin soon after he was called up -- "He's comfortable at third base, shortstop and left field, so those are good options"), he could become a semi-regular Mark McLemore-type utility guy except with some power and ability to actually pick it a bit, but that would require the M's to recognize that Willie Bloomquist just isn't that good a player, and I don't see that coming.
 
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this.  Big surprise -- Mariners minor leaguers show about as expected based on what they did in the minors.  One thing this portends that is kind of exciting, however: Jose Lopez should be pretty good when he gets the call sometime in early August.  He's not great defensively, but he'll do as well as the guys we're playing there now, and he should be able to hit .265/.325/.450, I (optimistically) think. 

1 Comments:

At July 19, 2004 at 1:46 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

It's not correct that Cheney is the most pitcher friendly park in minor league ball, it's merely the most pitcher friendly in the minors RELATIVE TO ITS LEAGUE.

I suspect you gathered that information by looking at the park factors publised at Baseball America, where Cheney does have the lowest park factor listed. But if you look at the data for each league, the average of the parks in the league is always 1000, regardless of the league. But each league has a league factor.

To compare factors across leagues, you need to weight each parks factor within it's league by the overall league.

I did that and posted the results here: http://noslenblog.blogspot.com/2004/04/more-data-on-minor-league-park-factors.html

Cheney, while still overall a pitchers park, is still a veritable hitters heaven compared with some of the parks in the Sallie and the FSL.

 

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