Friday, April 18, 2008

Scanning the System: Catchers

Once every week or so, I plan to keep an eye on the minor league system on a position by position basis. Each player will have their BA/OBP/SLG split shown, as well as their expected BA/OBP/SLG split. The "expected" value is derived from analysis by Baseball Prospectus's Mark Normandin that shows that given normal luck with balls in play, a player's batting average on balls in play will be equal to his line drive rate plus .120. What I've done is take the difference, figure out how many extra singles they should have hit so far and added to their stats. All singles are rounded to the nearest integer so some players' numbers will be identical. The intent of this is to try and weed out flukes and guys who have benefited from good luck and those who have suffered from bad luck. It's important to point out that when you are dealing with such small samples that conclusions are very hard to come to at this point. Starting with catchers:

Ivan Rodriguez, 36
Actual: .189/.246/.321
Expected: .183/.333/.415

Pudge has a BABIP of only .214 this season, and according to the data, has been hitting the ball reasonably well. It's way too soon to panic, as he should be fine as soon as balls start finding holes. I don't have Inge in my system as a catcher, even though he's technically the backup.

Dane Sardinha, 28
Actual: .250/.306/.375
Expected: .250/.306/.375

Nick Trzesniak, 27
Actual: .077/.143/.077
Expected: .143/.214/.143

It's way too early, as I said.

Dusty Ryan, 23
Actual: .286/.375/.689
Expected: .286/.375/.689

Max St. Pierre, 28
Actual: .333/.389/.515
Expected: .272/.333/.454

Is it too early to jump back on the Dusty Ryan bandwagon? Probably. A lot of catchers, though, are late bloomers with the bat. If he keeps up this offensive performance over the course of the season, he may be for real. Then again, we are talking about 32 plate appearances.

James Skelton, 22
Actual: .321/.441/.321
Expected: .285/.412/.285

Jeff Kunkel, 25
Actual: .286/.318/.333
Expected: .191/.227/.242

Skelton's never really hit for much power, and has yet to have an extra-base hit this year. Jeff Kunkel is a defense first guy, so he isn't expected to hit. Don't expect his numbers to stay decent.

West Michigan:
Jordan Newton, 22
Actual: .387/.424/.484
Expected .322/.363/.419

Joe Bowen, 19
Actual: .111/.238/.167
Expected: .167/.286/.223

Adrian Casanova, 24
Actual: .000/.333/.000

Bowen was placed on the disabled list this week with a hyper-extended elbow, and replaced by Casanova, who has only put one ball in play in his three plate appearances. Even without this excercise, you could probably see that Newton's numbers were batting average driven. He's still been solid this season, a refreshing turnaround from his first two seasons. I did see first hand this week why there are doubts about his ability to stay behind the plate, as he two-hopped a ball to the shortstop side on a steal attempt.


Teclado e Mouse said...
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Mark A. said...

Ryan is an interesting case, Ed. I was on his bandwagon quickly in 2004, after a strong showing at Oneonta, and he promptly became overwhelmed by the full-season leagues. There's been little doubting his tools all along, but they had failed to continue translating. I'll be curious when I speak with Brookens and others throughout the Eastern League in the coming weeks, if they're seeing something different with his approach, or if they believe its just a hot streak....

Eddie B said...
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Eddie B said...

Interesting is an understatement when it comes to Ryan. It was easy to get caught up in his 2004 season, but the further away it gets, the more it looks like a fluke. Obviously it's more than a three week streak at this point, as he must have had a strong spring to earn a starting job at Erie.