Results tagged ‘ Player of the Year ’

POTY, Part Deux

It’s time to take a look at a few more Player of the Year candidates. Five were listed in yesterday’s post. Here are more for your consideration. Keep in mind, this isn’t only about prospects — it’s about best player in the Minor Leagues. But feel free to send in suggestions for candidates.

dbrown.JPGDomonic Brown, OF, Phillies: Is he a candidate more because of his prospect status? Perhaps, but the Futures Gamer is having a heckuva year. Between Double- and Triple-A, Brown has hit .325/.388/.586. He’s got 19 homers, 63 RBIs and 14 steals in 86 games. He’s among a small group of players closing in on 20-20 seasons in the Minors.

Jared Goedert, 3B, Indians: Back in his first full season (2007), Goedert began like a house on fire in Class A ball and finished the year with 20 homers and a .317/.431/.590 line. Two years of so-so to below-average production followed, with a shoulder injury playing more than a little part. He’s pain-free now and has split the year between Double- and Triple-A, hitting at both stops. He’s hitting .321/.383/.623 on the year with 23 HR and 65 RBIs in 83 games. He’s tied for fifth in homers and is sixth in SLG.

Kila Ka’aihue, 1B, Royals: What’s this guy got to do to get a
realn shot? Two years ago, he was a Player of the Year candidate when he
hit a combined .314/.456/.628 with 37 homers and 100 RBIs. He’s at it
again in 2010, hitting .307/.460/.588 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs in 81
Triple-A games. He’s fourth in OPS in the Minors and second in OBP.

Jerry Sands, 1B, Dodgers: As a 25th rounder in 2008, he’s had to prove himself every step and it looks like he might be doing it. The 22-year-old started back in the Midwest League this year, but after hitting .333/.432/.646 in 69 games, he got double-jumped to Double-A, where he’s held his own (.293/.406/.610). Combined, his 1.062 OPS is second-best in the Minors, he’s tied for second with 26 homers and he’s fourth with a .637 SLG.

Mike Trout, OF, Angels: Trout has been nothing short of fantastic in his first full season of pro ball (Come on Kevin Orris, you didn’t think I’d forget him, did you?). He won’t turn 19 until early August and he’s already been promoted to the Class A Advanced California League. So far, the jump hasn’t seemed particularly daunting, with a five-game hitting streak and a .320/.433/.600 line over seven games. His .359 combined batting average is second best in the Minors and his .452 OBP is fourth. He’s second overall with 45 steals as well.

Others worthy of consideration:
Dan Johnson, Marc Krauss, J.D. Martinez, Paul McAnulty, Matthew Rizzotti

PITY-POTY

For the uninitiated, that stands for: Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year. And of course, I’m talking about in the Minor Leagues.

We’re well into the second half of the season — there’s about six weeks of the Minor League season remaining — so I thought it’d be a good idea to look at some of the potential candidates for top oveall MiLB player and pitcher. I’m going to start with 5 position player canididates, with more to come in the coming days.

Please let me know who you’re choice would be. If you have other candidates, let me know about them as well.

Player of the Year Candidates

J.P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays: It’s been quite a bounce-back season for the 2007 first-rounder. Sure, he’s playing in Las Vegas, but it’s not nothing that he tops the Minors with 28 homers and .669 SLG. His 1.036 OPS is fifth overall, he’s hitting .316 and his 69 RBIs are good for third in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.

Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants: If you’re not familiar with him, you
should become acquainted. A fifth-rounder taken in last year’s draft out
of the University of Texas, Belt has hit better as a pro than he did
with the Longhorns. He began his first season in the California League,
but got promoted to Double-A 14 games ago. He’s raked throughout and his
.383 average and 1.129 OPS lead the Minors. He’s first with a .483 OBP
and third with his .645 SLG.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks: Yes, he’s 22 and he’s been playing in the hitter-friendly California League. But he’s tied for the Minor-League lead with 56 extra-base hits, tied for second with 26 homers, fifth with 73 RBIs while hitting .312 and slugging .605

Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds: Talk about a breakout. The 2007 first-rounder has split the year between the Class A advanced Carolina League and Double-A Southern League, not exactly known as hitting-friendly circuits. Neverthleless, the 22-year-old Mesoraco has hit a combined .319/.389/.631 in 80 games. His 1.021 OPS is good for eighth overall. He’s got 20 homers and 53 RBIs. And he’s thrown out 42 percent of would-be base stealers. Not a bad combination of skills.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals: The Futures Gamer and 2007 first-rounder just got bumped up to Triple-A and for good reason. He’s hitting .333 and his 1.050 OPS is third best in the Minors. He’s second in SLG (.652), fourth in RBIs (76) and has 21 homers. 

More to come…

One more on Player of the Year

Last one, I promise. But I couldn’t resist based on the comments left here from yesterday’s post. In case you didn’t see it, someone (Christian G., I’m guessing by the username) wrote this:

My reading comprehension skills may have failed me. I was unaware
that your “POY” excluded a players actual prospect status (re:
Clemens). I was also unaware that your “POY” award excluded defensive
contributions (re: Carter vs Jennings, one guy is is destined for 1b/DH
while the other is a plus CF’er.) So if you’re looking for offensive
stats, and prospect status is eliminated, these guys belong in the
conversation:

Mitch Jones
Randy Ruiz
Kyle Russell
Drew Locke

I love it when someone goes to an extreme to make a point. But I’m calling this out for a few reasons, partially because of the absurdity and partially because there’s a valid point in there. Let’s start with the absurd.

Now, I’ll admit I purposefully put Koby Clemens on the “candidate” list in the hopes of getting a response. As I’ve said, I can be fairly confident in telling you he won’t be the Player of the Year. Yes, he played in Lancaster. Yes, he played in the California League. Yes his K/BB rate is a little concerning. But to compare a 22-year-old to Mitch Jones (31 in AAA, hit .297/.400/.651) or Randy Ruiz (hit .320/.351/.531 at age 31 in AAA) in terms of non-prospectness is just silly. I’m not saying Clemens is a big prospect now; all I’m claiming is that it’s now worth watching to see what he does next year. It’s also worth mentioning that it was Clemens’ first try at that level, as opposed to the 30-somethings above who have spent multiple years in Triple-A.

Kyle Russell’s numbers don’t even come close to Clemens’s, I don’t think. And since he’s actually older than Clemens and played a level lower, he shouldn’t even been mentioned. Hurts your argument. Locke’s numbers are indeed pretty good (.323/.389/.531). At 25 in Double-A, he’s not a prospect, but he’s a better example for you to use in your debating the issue. Still, he’s 3 years older than Clemens.

OK, enough on Clemens. He’s just an interesting side discussion when you really think about it. I think the better point made by the commenter is about how defense should figure into any discussion about Player of the Year talk, whether you’re thinking prospect or not.

I’ll be the first to admit that discussions we have about this do lean heavily toward offensive performance. Much of that is out of necessity. It’s a lot easier to look at a player’s numbers at the plate on paper than evaluate defense. We don’t get to see most of these guys with any consistency, so any look at defense would have to rely on what others see. Thanks to another commenter to including a link to ProjectProspect’s scouting report on Chris Carter. They do good work over there.

Keep in mind, though, that that report is just one scout’s perspective. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that two scouts can see the same player and see different things. Yes, he still strikes out a bit. But his K rate went down and his BB rate went up this year, all while he moved up a level and faced presumably better pitching overall. I’ve had people tell me that he’s made many more adjustments than people thought he could and he has the chance to be more than just a three true outcome kind of guy.

The report also only touches briefly on his defense, saying he’ll be limited to 1B/DH, as the first commenter believed as well. That very well may be true. But I have to throw out there that there are those who felt he looked fairly comfortable in a corner outfield spot. He’s never going to be a gold glover, but I wouldn’t peg him as a liability just yet.

Defensive stats in the Minors aren’t all that available, so I can only throw out what I can find. Range Factor for a first baseman isn’t all that telling, but I’ll use it as one example. There were 24 first basemen (thanks to our stats guru Cory Schwartz for the info) who played 100 games or more at the position at one level. Carter’s 9.65 RF in Double-A put him 13th. Not great, but not terrible. Firmly middle of the road (In 7 Triple-A games at first, he had a 10.16 RF — meaningless stat for you). His RF for the season was 9.68, keeping him in that same overall place.

Some claim that assists are a better indicator for a first baseman’s range. Carter doesn’t fare as well there. His assists per game ratio in Double-A was 21st among those 24 first basemen. Obviously, this isn’t weighting anything toward league or level or if a player’s pitching staff was more groundball or flyball oriented, so take it for what it’s worth.

Then there’s Jennings, a “plus CFer,” according to our commenter. Jennings played 113 total games across two levels in center field. There were a total of 31 players who played 100 games or more at that position in 2009. Again using the less than perfect range factor, Jennings’s 2.83 combined puts him 7th. Now, obviously, a center fielder ranking that highly gives more value to a team than a 1B, especially one who’s middle of the road. So score one for Mr. commenter. (By the way, it might make a good case for Jason Heyward, who — without doing the math — seemed to do well at all three outfield positions in 2009).

But here’s the thing, and the question I throw to you. What does all of this mean? Is Range Factor a worthwhile enough index to measure a Minor Leaguer? I like the idea of including defense in this discussion, I’m just not sure how to do it since we don’t have the same kind of data we’ve grown to trust more on the hitting side.

Of course, as I’m looking at our Awards page from last year, I’m remembering (or being reminded) that we call the award Best Overall Hitter. So for the purposes of deciding that, this long, drawn out blog post is moot. But for us and this debate, we can consider it.

So comment away if you’d like. Tomorrow I’ll get to pitchers, I promise and we can come back to this conversation if necessary.

Player of the Year Reaction

Before I get to the best choices for Minor League Pitcher of the Year tomorrow, I want to take a second to respond to the comments for my Player of the Year post. First, what’s with both commenters starting with “Uhh?” Is it so hard to gather your thoughts that you have to use a filler while writing. Come on people!

Now, on to the content. First of all, I want to remind everyone that when we hand out our awards, it’s for “Player of the Year” and not necessarily “Prospect of the Year.” Yes, age at a level and upside sometimes does figure into the discussion, but unlike other places (and this is not meant as a condemnation of them at all, just point out that we do things a bit differently here), prospect status isn’t the be-all end all.

So, you won’t get an argument from me that Jason Heyward is the best prospect in the game right now. In fact, he was atop the list we posted in July. And don’t get me wrong, he had an outstanding season, even getting up to Triple-A and playing most of the year at age 19. But, if looking at best player, does his .323, 17 HR, 63 RBIs to go along with a .408 OBP and .555 SLG. Yes, he missed some time, but I have to say just from a numbers perspective (and remember, this is my opinion and not the site’s — that discussion has yet to take place), he’s not the PLAYER of the year.

You can ridicule Clemens being on the list of candidates all you want. Yes, he was in Lancaster and the California League. I’m pretty sure that will mean he won’t get the award. That being said, I don’t care what level you’re in, when you finish fourth in average, 1st in RBIs and in the top three of a few other offensive categories, you need at least to be mentioned. And he’s still only 22, so it’s not like he’s old for the level. Sure, he needs to prove he can do it at higher levels, but for this topic, he belongs in the conversation.

Let’s compare 2 players, looking at stats and levels and not where they are on that overall leaderboard or among their respective league leaders

Player A:  22 years old, played in Double-A Texas League and Triple-A PCL
Double-A: .337, 24 HR, 101 RBI, 13 SB, .435 OBP, .576 SLG, 1.011 OPS in 490 AB
Triple-A: .259, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .293 OBP, .519 SLG, .812 OPS in 54 AB
Totals: .329, 28 HR, 115 RBI, 13 SB, .422 OBP, .570 SLG, .992 OPS

Player B: 22 years old, layed in Double-A Southern League and Triple-A IL
Double-A: .316, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 37 SB, .395 OBP, .486 SLG, .881 OPS in 383 AB
Triple-A: .325, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 15 SB, .419 OBP, .491 SLG, .910 OPS in 114 AB
Totals: .318, 11 HR, 62 RBI, 52 SB, .401 OBP, .487 SLG, .888 OPS in 497 AB

OK, what’s your take here? Here’s what I see. While it’s obvious we’re looking at two different kinds of players here, Player A beats Player B in every category other than stolen bases. Player B did have more success upon his promotion to Triple-A, though I’d maintain Player A’s sample size at that level is too small and it could be noted that Player A homered four times in seven playoff games in the PCL.

Player A is Chris Carter. Player B is Desmond Jennings, the pick by one of the commenters. Again, I love Jennings and think he’s a tremendous prospect. But to me, Carter wins that argument hands down.

Keep the comments coming. It makes for a fun debate.

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