I don’t know about you, but the lack of baseball books is bringing me down. I’m used to having my STATS trifecta by now, but this year there’s nothing. Ah well.
Our old (well, not that old — he’s only 25) friend is back in the USA: There’s no place like home for Buddy Carlyle (Bellevue Leader). Carlyle couldn’t have picked a better team with which to resurrect his career than the Royals, who are pretty desperate for pitching. I’ve long thought he had a future in the big leagues, and it’s good to see him get another shot.
Guess who was activated for the Mexican Pacific League playoffs? Guess who probably will start 2003 at Portland if he pitches this month? Sigh. Perez activated for winter ball playoffs, to Padres’ chagrin (NC Times).
It ain’t over, folks. The most notable Padre discrepancy is one of my personal faves, Pedro de los Santos. Turns out he’s 22 and his name is Freddy Guzman. Still exciting to watch but probably not much of a prospect. The full story is at the U-T.
Other Items of Note
- The 2003 Free Agent Market (Baseball Prospectus)
- Breaking Balls: Three Cheers for New Ownership (Baseball Prospectus)
- Arrested Development (ESPN)
Sickels 1996 and Win Shares
Next I asked the following question: Are there any shared characteristics of players who have become big-league stars (regardless of their ranking as prospects?). In attempt to answer this, I looked at the hitters with the 10 most win shares among the entire group. They are listed below, along with their minor-league totals (once again, to save space, only rate numbers are given; the complete list is also available):
hitters Player BA OBP SLG BB/PA K/PA BB/K ISO XB/H D.Jeter .306 .383 .413 .104 .135 .769 .107 .233 S.Rolen .294 .376 .460 .107 .162 .661 .166 .333 A.Jones .281 .371 .481 .109 .191 .572 .200 .417 Guerrer .328 .379 .548 .068 .105 .651 .220 .372 Garcipr .272 .341 .390 .088 .071 1.250 .118 .274 B.Giles .306 .396 .429 .129 .111 1.160 .123 .238 B.Abreu .295 .371 .456 .109 .181 .605 .161 .325 Kendall .301 .377 .398 .093 .058 1.588 .097 .223 J.Damon .318 .402 .480 .117 .107 1.088 .162 .299 Aurilia .289 .378 .409 .128 .112 1.137 .120 .258 Note. PA is AB + BB.
In terms of progress, Garciaparra’s was the most dramatic. Of the statistics examined, he showed significant improvement at the big-league level in all but BB/PA and BB/K:
BA OBP SLG BB/PA K/PA BB/K ISO XB/H Minors .272 .341 .390 .088 .071 1.250 .118 .274 Majors .332 .381 .570 .070 .098 .718 .238 .394
Overall, these guys controlled the strike zone reasonably well. Most didn’t display overwhelming power numbers. The ones who displayed comparatively raw approaches at the plate (Jones, Guerrero) made up for it by showing good pop at a young age. The two prospects who were not part of the A or A- group (Giles, Aurilia) were older and had a more refined approach at the plate.
It’s hard to nail down any one common characteristic shared among these prospects, but 7 of the 10 either walked more than they struck out or had an ISO of .200 or better. Of those who did not, Jeter showed decent plate discipline, while Rolen and Abreu displayed a good mixture of batting eye and power. As a quick and dirty measure, I multiplied BB/K by ISO to get sort of a meta-ratio. It’s ugly and it doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, but eyeSO as I obnoxiously like to call it can provide some indication of how well a player does at both skills. It’s a freak stat, like power/speed number, but it does have its uses.
Damon .176 Kendall .154 Garciaparra .148 Guerrero .143 Giles .143 Aurilia .136 Jones .114 Rolen .110 Abreu .097 average .085 Jeter .082
Only Jeter was below average in our combined statistic. But he was very young for his league (almost made a Yogian slip there and said “age”), had terrific pedigree, and played a difficult defensive position (a fact which in itself has led to a legendary debate, but that’s another story). The point is, we can cut him some slack.
And although this combination of youth, plate discipline, and power doesn’t necessarily ensure a prospect’s future success (I haven’t had a chance to search for guys who exhibit similar characteristics and failed), it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t hurt.
Tomorrow we’ll take a break from all this and look at some Padre prospects. Thursday we’ll come back and examine the most successful big-league pitchers in the study.