Saturday, June 14, 2008

Scanning The System - Right Field

When I started doing these posts, I looked at where a player had played the most games and called that his position. Unfortunately, when I do this roughly once per week, things change, players get promoted, and players move positions. Two weeks ago, when I looked at left fielders, Matt Joyce was in his last days as the starting left fielder, while Brent Clevlen was splitting time between center and right in Toledo. Because of the need for a left fielder in Detroit, I counted Joyce as a left fielder, even though he had played mostly right field in the minor leagues. The same is true of Brent Clevlen, but since I haven't covered him yet, I will cover him today. I will also look at Kody Kaiser again, because he has played mostly right field of late, even though I already got him at third base.

Magglio Ordonez, 34
Actual: .311/.381/.494
Expected: .283/.356/.466

A week ago, I would have advocated exploring a trade of Magglio Ordonez. He seemed like the perfect sell high candidate, and with the bunch of corner outfielders who had the potential to cover right field, it seemed like it may have been a good opportunity to reload. Now, after a sweep of the White Sox, an easier schedule coming up, and a resurgent pitching staff, there seems to be a window to get back into this thing. If that doesn't happen, I'd at least test the waters with Magglio come july. Also, don't pay attention to the expected values. He's always had high BABIP, so it's pretty reasonable to assume continued success from him.

Brent Clevlen, 24
Actual: .176/.286/.176 (Toledo: .324/.417/.620)
Expected: .227/.238/.117 (Toledo: .272/.373/.568)

Clevlen's main problem is contact. He struggles with the whiffs, and those struggles seem to be on the brink of ending his future in Detroit. He hit very well for Toledo, but the .412 BABIP suggests that to be somewhat of a mirage. It's still enough for Jim Leyland to justify playing him, hoping he can recapture some of what he provided as Curtis Granderson's platoon partner two summers ago. There's an outfield rotation in Toledo right now, with Jackson Melian getting a lot of time in right field. I already covered him with the left fielders, and trust me, he doesn't deserve any more coverage.

Deik Scram, 24
Actual: .253/.333/.378
Expected: .184/.273/.309

Jeff Frazier, 25
Actual: .318/.369/.441
Expected: .256/.313/.379

Casper Wells, 23
Actual: .273/.333/.545 (West Michigan: .240/.351/.447)
Expected: .182/.250/.454 (West Michigan: .195/.313/.402)

Deik Scram has been overrated as a prospect, mostly because of his age. A 23 year old putting up the numbers he did in A-ball last season wasn't exactly impressive. As a college senior, he needed to move fast, and to his credit, he has. Unfortunately, he seems overmatched in Erie. Jeff Frazier's return to the organization has been a pleasant surprise, but he won't be showing up on any prospect lists anytime soon. Neither will Casper Wells, whose fast start at Erie is likely the result of a small sample size to date.

Brennan Boesch, 23
Actual: .245/.290/.382
Expected: .213/.261/.350

Luis Salas, 19
Actual: .260/.421/.467
Expected: .393/.526/.600

Boesch has been a disappointment, and probably needs to be held back a level next season. His lack of pitch recognition seems to be his downfall, and any hype resulting from his decent debut at Oneonta and big time ceiling is now overshadowed by his complete lack of offensive performance. Before you get too excited about Salas (actually a centerfielder, I just wanted to get him in today), realize it's only 19 plate appearances. Still you have to wonder how the plans may change for the young Venezuelan if he continues to excel in Lakeland.

West Michigan:
Kody Kaiser, 23
Actual: .282/.342/.441
Expected: .237/.302/.396

Cory Middleton, 22
Actual: .205/.288/.321
Expected: .205/.288/.321

Kaiser is doing well again in his Ryan Raburn role. He's probably not worth getting excited about. Now failing for the second time in West Michigan, it is hard to believe that Cory Middleton is just 22.

Victor Dionisio, 18
Actual: .238/.333/.286
Expected: .283/.333/.286

Robinson Figueroa, 18
Actual: .136/.269/.364
Expected: .181/.307/.409

There's going to be a lot more than how well they do in a few at bats that will determine if these guys can make it to the states. For perspective on the sample size limitations of looking at the numbers for a season just two weeks old, the difference between Figueroa's actual and expected line is just one single.

Avisail Garcia, 17
Actual: .247/.315/.443
Expected: .175/.250/371

Garcia just turned 17 Thursday. I'll let that sink in and consider that he has been pretty impressive for a guy who would have been playing in his junior year of high school.

Perhaps next time through, I will lump all of the outfielders together. I'm beginning to realize that may have been a more efficient and accurate way to portray the state of the system, given that outfielders tend to be somewhat interchangeable. As with most of the positions, the trend has been a solid incumbant at the top, decent reinforcement at Toledo or the Detroit bench, and various degrees of struggling prospects falling off the radar as you get further down the system. Ordonez is one of the team's best players, and barring some team knocking Dave Dombrowski's socks off in a trade offer for him, he will be for another couple of seasons. The immediate need for right field help doesn't exist, but it would still be nice if guys like Boesch would take a step forward and give the Tigers options for the early part of the next decade.

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