Responding to the responses

Hey there everyone —

I just wanted to take a few minutes and get to some of the great comments people left over the past few days on various posts.

First and foremost, thanks for the kind words of support. They are truly appreciated. For the record, though, I am not the one who does the weekly roundup of Minors promotions. That is done extremely well by my colleague Ben Hill. Be sure to check his blog out at Ben’s Biz Blog. It’s a good read, I promise.

There were some interesting comments about Mike Stanton left by a couple of people. mike_stanton.JPGBothvoiced concerns about Stanton’s strikeout rate. There seems to be a worry about Stanton being a power-only guy, a guy who can’t hit for average at all, but is all-or-nothing. Yes, he strikes out quite a bit, though his K rate did go down a touch in 2009. But I think people are getting too worried about his inability to hit. Not that batting average is a great barometer, but he did hit .293 in 2008 and was hitting .294 in Jupiter before he got promoted to Double-A as a teenager. Are you really going to use that to judge whether he can hit, the fact that he hit .231 in the Southern League at age 19? I wouldn’t.

Take a look at some other indexes before you decide he can’t hit. How about the fact that his line-drive rate was almost identical between Class A Advanced Jupiter (18.4 pct) and Double-A Jacksonville (18.7). According to Fangraphs.com, Stanton had isolated power numbers that really set him apart: .318 in 2008, .283 in Jupiter and even his .224 while he “struggled” in Double-A was not bad. ISO, in a nutshell, measures a player’s ability to hit for extra bases.

I, for one, think he’s going to hit for enough average. That being said, I don’t really care what his average is if he’s making enough contact to tap into that power and he’s hitting 40+ homers and well over 100 RBIs annually. I’ll give you an example of another player, now in the big leagues, and how he performed in the minors:

First-full season: .280 AVG, 145 K
Second full season: .304 AVG, 151 K
Third full season: .291, 166 K

Yes, the average is a touch higher than what Stanton has done, but not by that much, considering all the variables that go into batting average. And there were great concerns about this hitter’s ability to make enough contact at the big-league level to get to his prodigous power. There was so much worry that he got stuck for a bit in the Minors before finally getting a shot.

By now, you may have guessed that the player in question is Ryan Howard, who’s gone on to win the Rookie of the Year, an MVP Award (he’s finished in the top 5 three times) and been chosen to go to the All-Star Game twice. Not bad for a guy who can’t hit.

Now, add in the fact that Stanton can flat out play the outfield, can run, has a strong arm, the whole nine yards, and you can see why people think he’s so special. Maybe he’s not as advanced right now as Jason Heyward. Maybe he won’t ever hit for that kind of average. I’m saying it’s not going to matter.

And don’t get me wrong. I like Logan Morrison a lot (one commenter was making a comparison of their stat lines in Jacksonville together), but keep in mind he’s two years older than Stanton. Trust me, Logan doesn’t need to hit the weight room more than he does already — he’s plenty strong enough and has great bat speed. He might be the better pure hitter. But i we’re looking at everything, from tools to upside, it’s no real contest. Both will be big leaguers — and both could be in Florida together in the near future — but it’s Stanton who has the more exciting ceiling.

Got some good stuff to talk about in the coming days. Later today or tonight (I hope), I’m going to preview some exciting books/guides on prospects that can be found all over the place. If you know of some, email me info and I’ll try to give them a plug.

I’ve got some 2010 Draft stuff to catch up on. That will probably come on Tuesday, with an update on a great Under Armour/Baseball Factory showcase from a couple weeks back to Bryce Harper’s first game to an early look at a top 20 draft prospects. So stay tuned.

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