Sunday, August 18, 2013

Down on the Farm: 8/18/2013

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Reno Aces 6-4:

Juan Perez(CF-RF)- 2 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .301.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .297.
Francisco Peguero(RF-LF)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .313.
Kensuke Tanaka(LF)- 2 for 2, 2B, BB.  BA= .331.
Mitch Lively(RHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.92.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(29).  ERA= 3.91.

Chris Dominguez seems to have transformed himself from one of the streakiest hitters in professional baseball to one of the most consistent.  Here are his monthly BA's:  April .276, May .269, June .313, July .307, August .317.  He's hitting .351 over his last 10 games, though.  Hembree has picked his game up a notch.  His ERA is 0.96 over his last 10 appearances with 8 K's and just 1 BB in 9.1 IP.

AA  Bowie Baysox crushed the Richmond Flying Squirrels 11-0:

Oh, man!  Nothing to see here as you might guess from the score!

High A  San Jose Giants edged out the Inland Empire 66'ers 2-1:

Chris Lofton(LF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .249.
Brock Bond(DH)- 2 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .243.
Mac Williamson(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .278.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.92.
Jeff Soptic(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.89.

Low A Game 1  Savannah Sand Gnats stung the Augusta Greenjackets 2-1:

Alberto Robles(2B)- 3 for 3, 2B.  BA= .322.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 2.91.

Okert has an ERA of 1.59 over his last 10 appearances.

Low A Game 2  Augusta Greenjackets outhit the Savannah Sand Gnats 7-6:

Ben Turner(C)- 2 for 2, BB.  BA= .250.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes erupted for a 15-5 win over the Vancouver Canadians:

Jeremy Sy(DH)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(8), BB.  BA= .285.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 6, SB(1).  BA= .271.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 3 for 6, HR(3).  BA= .303.
Ryan Jones(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .376.
Ty Ross(C)- 3 for 4, 2 2B, SF.  BA= .263.
Cameron McVey(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.76.

My man Tyler Horan is hitting .372 over his last 10 games.

Rookie AZL  Dodgers blanked the Giants 1-0:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .314.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.74.

Arroyo gets the only 2 hits in the Giants lineup.  Who is Luis Ysla and why is he doing so well?

DSL  Giants were idle.


  1. Congrats to Danny Otero, who seems to have found a home in the A's bullpen. He's putting up similar numbers as in the minors, particularly that terrific K/BB. Just 2 BB's in 25 IP!

    1. Yeah, I was shocked that the Giants let him go for nothing, loved his peripherals, was hoping he would get a chance with us. I have been rooting for him.

    2. It was an extremely small sample size but his advanced metrics in his short stint with the Giants were more in line with his minor league numbers. Maybe he deserved a longer look, but the Giants seem to have bullpen arms lined up out the door and when that fails they are generally able to find more off someone else's scrapheap so a few good ones are bound to get away.

    3. Well, I understand why they let him go: he won't strike out MLB batters at a very high rate, he didn't in his short SSS nor that well in minors either. I just loved his control, and thought that they should be able to build up some value in the majors then trade him for something.

      And to your point, they have found a lot of great option from the scrap heap, Casilla, others before, Mijares and Rosario recently, Machi has been good too. Gaudin too when he was relieving.

      Still, like to give our internal guys a chance, but I understand that level of competition at the MLB level will mean that useful guys are bound to get away at some point, like Correia, Blackley, and now Otero.

  2. Who is this Ysla character!!

    S/K squad has a lot of interesting talent. 14 games left.
    15 games left for Augusta.
    The Richmond loss just hurt their playoff chances some. Have to stay hot.

    Arroyo has had a very solid pro debut.

    1. I've been trying to think of comps for Arroyo. Is Nomar Garciaparra too much?

    2. I'm trying to think of guys who at least start out at SS, are average size and build with average tools except for the outstanding hit tool. Right now, I'm coming up with Nomar and Ryne Sandberg but there must be others.

    3. BTW. I was looking up some old minor league lines on Nomar and found this from his age 21 season with Trenton on the EL:

      .267/.338/.384, 50 BB, 42 K's.

      Now look at Joe Panik's numbers from his age 22 season in the same league:

      .262/.334/.353, 51 BB, 57 K's.

    4. Not saying Panik is the next Nomar, but people who are writing him off as a prospect based on his EL numbers this year simply do not understand the context of the league and how extreme it is as a pitcher's league.

    5. And if you look at a guy like Freddy Sanchez, he never really hit a lot of HRs in the minors, but had enough pop to keep pitchers honest, go win himself a batting title.

      Nomar's batting glove adjustments always drove me nuts. He's a half decent analyst, pointing out some inside the game stuff that is interesting, and he was an excellent hitter. We'd take a Nomar type with a quickness!

    6. I would also note that the average age of pitchers in Nomah's 21 YO season was 23.7 (-2.7 years) vs. Panik's 22 YO season of 24.6 (-2.6 years), so there is a difference in age/experience of roughly the same.

      To concur, not that Panik is the same as Nomar (for one thing, 117 ISOp with league 122 ISOp vs. 91 ISOp with league 133 ISOp), but when a prospect is young versus the league, you need to recognize that being much younger is a factor that needs to be acknowledged in analyzing him, that you don't write off a prospect just because he did not do well, as there are other factors, like the league context and how extreme it is, as DrB astutely noted.

  3. Hey Guys -

    Out at the Inland Empire v San Jose game last Friday, I caught Kyle Crick on the bump & wanted to give my [highly] amateur thoughts about the kid and his somewhat stellar performance.

    First off, a review of his line:
    6IP 3H 1ER 3BB 10K

    Though I wasn't about to find a guy taking radar gun measurements, what I observed was that Crick absolutely overpowered the IE hitters with his fastball. One more than one occasion, he would blow a fastball by a guy so badly that he hitter would barely be through the first half of his swing when the ball hit the catchers glove. His delivery is easy with an explosive finish, and I couldn't tell any difference between his offspeed and FB deliveries. (

    Speaking of offspeed stuff, Crick was able to throw his breaking pitches for strikes all night long. From the 1B side, I couldn't see the breaking pitches perfectly, but using what appeared to be a change up, Crick was able to further dominate the IE players. Crick recorded at least 3 of his K's on third strike swings on what I thought must have been his change up, typically keeping it down in the zone and right around the edge of the plate.

    What Crick struggled with was elevating his fastball above the strike zone. Two of his walks came in full counts, but walked them on balls that missed well outside the K zone. I will make this observation: The kid, while being absolutely dominant, really seemed to me to be a thrower more than a pitcher at this point. Honestly, that's something of a compliment; When this guy figures out how to finesse the hitters with his stuff, it's going to be pretty awesome to watch.

    Summary: Dominated the entire IE lineup with his fastball throughout the 6 innings, getting stronger as his went along. Excellent put-away breaking pitch, likely a change up from the way the IE hitters flailed at it. Was in the strike zone all night, working edges and corners, but often also missing above the K zone with the fastball. Also, the kid really still looks like a kid....he's still got a lot of filling out to come.

    A couple other notes: I really liked the way Jose Casilla threw the ball. Another very good fastball, and had an identical arm to pair with his breaking stuff, which was pretty strong. In comparison, Casilla looked like a seasoned pitcher in contrast to the Young KC.

    Lastly, while I've been a big fan of Mac Williamson in following him here, I was really not impressed with his hit tool out there on Friday. Though he's a big strong kid, when he put the ball in play there was nothing special about the sound of the ball off his bat, and he didn't get good wood on it all evening. It was certainly SSS, but I was looking for something - anything - to stand out about him.

    Anyways, final thought: Going to minor league games is GREAT. Fantastic seats & personal experience, and they do a lot to engage the fans and keep the between-innings entertaining. It was Disability Awareness Night at the park, and me and my Fiance both thought they did a great job with that event & really brought an inclusive and fun attitude to the event.

    - Rainball

    1. Thanks for the report. I saw Crick early in the season, but that was the game he left after 2 IP with an oblique strain, so I didn't get to see that much of him.

      My impression of Williamson from earlier in the season is that his swing might be a bit long and he might have some problems with getting tied up on the inside corner as we've seen from other hitters who are on the tall side. A .280 BA might not project all that well to the Eastern League. Next year will be a big year for Mac.

    2. @Rainball - Totally agree about Crick (was at Friday's game too), but disagree with you on Williamson. I've seen at least 15 SJ home games this year and when hot, he's a very dangerous hitter capable of very loud contact. He's been slumping a little lately, but his HR to left last week was pretty impressive, as was his loud double last night. Contact rate is an issue, but his pull-power is tailor-made for AT&T.

    3. If the BABIP rate is the more or less the same for all hitters, shouldn't the contact rate be too?

      After all, the contact rate or the non-contact rate is just a special case of how hard you drive the ball (e.g. how likely you get a basehit).

    4. BLSL- At least according to sabermetric theory(with a lot of evidence to support it), while BABIP is approximately the same across baseball, contact rate is more variable and the determining factor in overall BA. Think of what non-contact is. Non-contact leads to K's and K's are wildly different for different hitters and different pitchers. Contact rate is Total AB - K's. BIP= PA - BB - K - HR. BABIP= Singles + Doubles + Triples/BIP. BA= Hits/BIP + K's+ HR's. OBP= Hits + Walks(+HBP)/ PA's(BIP+K's+BB+HR.

    5. Thanks for all the detail Rainball - enjoyed the review.

    6. I try to see it from a different perspective.

      I see a ball and the center of gravity of that ball.

      Imagine the bat split down the center longitudinal line.

      I see BABIP as a function, more of less, of how far you place that middle line of your bat from the center of gravity of that ball.

      How fast you swing the bat, i.e. how violent you make the collision also contribute to your BABIP.

      So, if you place the middle line of your bat on the center of gravity of the ball, you are like to get the ball to rebound sharply.

      The further away you place the middle line of your bat from the center of gravity of the ball, the less sharply the ball will rebound off your bat.

      Non-contact is a reduce case. A special case of how far from the center of the ball you place your the middle line of your bat.

      If BABIP is more or less the same, what you are saying is that all swings are more or less at the same velocity, that the distribution of bat contact distance from the center of the gravity of the ball is same for all hitters, that the distribution of where the contact is make in the strike zone is more or less the same (all hitters are more or less likely to chase a 'bad pitch').

      And since non-contact rate is a special case of BABIP, it should be the same.

    7. Sounds good, but it's not the correct way to look at it because the numbers do not match the theory, because in reality there are significantly larger variations in K rates, and by extension contact rates, than in BABIP.

    8. I agree the theory must match reality.

      And I really count the non-contact rate should be more or less the same for all hitters.

      That makes me, in a round about way, suspect the theory, if there is one, behind what BABIP should be more or less the same.

      If that is the case, that brings us back to our pre-science days where we just did things without being to explain them, except maybe superstition.

    9. That should read, "I really doubt..."

    10. If you dig a little deeper into BABIP, there are some batters who seem to have a higher Line Drive % and those guys seem to be able to maintain better BABIP's.

      Groundballs tend to find their way between infielders more often than flyballs tend to drop in for hits, so GB pitchers will tend to have higher BABIP's than flyball pitchers. On the other hand, Flyball pitchers tend to give up more HR's although not as much more as you would think because most HR's come of "mistake" pitches such as hanging breaking balls or sinkers that fail to sink.

      But for general conversation, it's not a terrible starting point to say that BABIP's are close to constant across baseball. Where sabermetric novices get into trouble is when they get too dogmatic in applying it to individual performances and for failing to look behind the numbers and look for reasons why they are being generated,

    11. Yeah, it's better not to be too dogmatic.

      Whatever conclusion one wants to make about BABIP, it should be kept in mind that it is empirical much without a theory to explain it nor the anomaly that the non-contact rate is not as 'stable.'

      That's what is known as skating on thin ice.

    12. I will say this, there must be things about BABIP that we don't know because MLB pitchers obsessively talk about "pitching to contact" and trying to induce "weak contact." Now, Sabermetric enthusiasts will simply dismiss such talk as the equivalent of insisting that the Earth is flat, but I prefer to think that these pitchers and coaches are certainly aware of the numbers. If they are all still insisting that the path to long term success is "pitching to contact", then there is probably something that they know that we don't.

    13. I would note here that BLSL got the concept wrong, to clarify for those who don't know Sabermetrics.

      To DrB's point, there is a great variance among hitters' BABIP. Hitters in the aggregate is about the same BABIP, hence all the talk about pitcher's BABIP approaching the mean of .300 as the regression point. But each hitter has their own BABIP which, from the best practices I've seen, regress to their average BABIP over the past three seasons. That's because any particular player's BABIP will depend on his tendencies for grounders and flyballs, and perhaps line drives, though that is still an area of dispute.

      According to the latest by the leading analyst in this area, Russell Carleton (aka Pizza Cutter; ), BABIP for a hitter stabilizes at 820 BIP, and the average starting position player has around 300-500 BIP (obviously depends on his K and HR-rates; Pagan had 500 BIP in 2012, Pence had 448 BIP, Stanton had 316 in 2011, Dunn 321 in 2010), so that's roughly two to three seasons worth of BIP, depending on the player.

      There is definitely some things about BABIP that conventional sabermetrics has not acknowledged yet. Most well-used metrics relies on the notion that BABIP is a mean that you must regress to. But Tom Tippett (Diamond Mind creator; now Boston Red Sox defense saber in-house last I heard) in his examination of the DIPS concept about 10 years ago found that there are categories of pitchers where BABIP regression is not true, that they are capable of producing lowered BABIP, like crafty lefties and knuckle-ball artists.

      A well-known saber named Mike Fast, who was hired by Houston, recently gave an interview where he noted how much getting to work inside has helped him (Carleton also noted this, issuing a mea culpa - sort of - to Joe Morgan, though he's back on "our" side again), and what he noticed was that BABIP for prospects do not bounce around a mean of .300 - that is the minimum talent of most pitchers in the majors, but not true for pitchers in the minors - some do not have that skill/talent to keep BABIP to the league mean.

      To me, sabers can be as blinders on as they claim the scouting oriented GMs, and if they can't measure it, it don't exist. Clearly pitching to contact exists, we see two of the best around the majors, here in Cain and Zito, both have career BABIPs significantly below the .300 mean.

    14. I am not a huge believer that BABIP should be level across the board. If I were somehow get into the majors and have a full 500 ABs, there is NO WAY IN HECK that I would have a BABIP anywhere near league average. All 10 times I would be able to make contact would be either BLASTED fly outs to 2B or a SHOT grounder to the pitcher.

      If BABIPs are supposed to be essentially equal across the board, why is that pitchers have such low batting averages?

      I know I am looking at the extremes, but when you are looking at clumped numbers, extrapolating to the radical is the best way to test a theory, IMHO.

    15. Well, I haven't looked up pitcher BABIP's compared to the league, but pitchers do tend to strike out a lot.

    16. The point made by sabers is that players like you CSS would be weeded out before you reach the majors. They theorize that the level of hitting talent and pitching talent reaches that point where the mean is roughly .300 in the majors. Yes, pitchers do skew the numbers, and I have not seen an explanation of that dichotomy between the leagues, but my best guess without looking up the numbers is that pitchers do not get enough ABs to move the needle much when you got nine hitters in the AL and eight hitters from the NL, plus PH takes away at least one AB, plus ninth hitter gets less AB generally too, anyway.

  4. Found some stuff on Ysla.

    This had a comment pulled from KLaw article, "Luis Ysla – yesterday’s 21-year old lefty starter signed out of Venezuela has a floor of a lefty reliever in the MLB with a potential for more". That's old for the rookie league, so we need to temper his stats a bit.

    Wow, this guy just copied the whole article and posted it on Facebook. "... Luis Ysla, who signed last year for just $7,500 as an older free agent and is making his pro debut this year."

    I have a proposed nickname, "La Ysla Bonita".

    1. Hmm....not THAT old and you have to factor in prior experience, which we know nothing about, rather than just going by a strict age vs level criteria. Now, if he was 23, then that would be a different story!

    2. Thanks OGC. Good to know a little more about the guy. He has been performing quite stellar.

    3. Good points DrB. Still, given that anybody with any discernable talent would get signed by the time he's 16-17, that he lasted until he was 20 YO to sign has to be a red flag.

      But to your point below, you never write off anyone, but I don't think it hurts to temper one's expectations based on these factoids.

    4. ogc,

      That last point you make is a giant leap of faith assumption that I am not at all willing to make. Baseball is full of players who had breakouts in their junior year of college or their age 20 season after being drafted out of HS. Heck, I grew about 3 inches during my freshman year in college! I was just a late grower. The notion that it's impossible to find a player with talent at age 20 in Venezuela is something you just pulled out of your backside there with no basis in fact at all.

      I am also not willing to pull the age vs level card on a situation like this. If it's a college draftee from a D1 program who is 22 years old, yes, you have to think he's playing at a lower level than he did in college. Not in this situation. Again, you cannot just knee-jerk the age vs level thing. You have to look at context!

    5. I did not say he had no chance. All I said is that one should temper their expectations. I think his $7,500 bonus says volumes about the talent he was showing prior to signing with the Giants. And there is a vast difference between the opportunities for development in college versus whatever options he has playing in his native land. The development you speak of happens for players who get significant opportunities to practice against better competition and develop, who is he playing against when prospects with any good talent is signed at age 16-17 and playing in pro leagues in the DSL? I did not say he had no chance, I said we should temper our hopes, enjoy his good outings, but he will need to prove himself at the next level up.

    6. Baseball is full of players who got $7500 bonuses who were successful. As for expectations, once again you assume that people who read this site and comment on prospects in the AZL are ignorant. Nobody is expecting anything from this kid. He's somebody who we've never heard of before who is doing some interesting things. That's all!! He does happen to be one of a very small number of pitchers who the Giants are giving starting slots and multiple innings per appearance to which I think says something about how THEY view him, don't you think?

      I am simply reacting, once again, to your indiscriminate invocation of age vs level to say we should discount an individual players performance. That is a misuse of the age vs level principle as I explained over the course of 5 or 6 posts over the All-Star break. To say that a 20 year-old's performance should be discounted when it wouldn't be if he was 19 is just wrong! If you want to stubbornly continue to misuse it, then maybe you should do it on your blog instead of here.

      Sorry to get frustrated there, but I really am getting tired of having to correct this point seemingly every time an interesting prospect is discussed.

    7. I would assume everybody knows as much as you do until questions are asked. People don't find this blog by accident, its a very targeted audience. And further, its for refuges from the various lowbrow forums that I won't list. Also its relatively free of saber snark. Actually what the aim is (in my mind at least) combining scouting and advanced statistical analysis while discussing our favorite team... And that's kind of what the Gigantes do btw. What I've found is scouting is hugely more important than stat analysis, which is mainly a reporting function. But stats do drive baseball, and they're important, so they definitely shouldn't be disregarded.

    8. I'm with you, Doc. Baseball is a very different game in so many ways. Just one them is how differently players can blossom, both in the tool category and the age at which it occurs. That same pitcher could actually have just figured out what works for him within the last year, and exactly who he is out there on the hill.

      Further, it's completely within the realm of possibility that the Giants promote him a couple levels within the year, and he continues to excel, and so on. Suddenly, he's not so far off the curve any more, and becomes a real prospect. Obviously not the mean here, but you get my drift. Immediately assigning a negative flag due to the age/level thing is just a 'glass half empty' approach, a knee-jerk dismissal of performance based solely on a kid's age. I say, let's just sit back and see how this kid does with a much larger sampling and a promotion or two, then hazard some meaningful projections.

      Another aspect of this is that anyone analyzing a player only has his numbers to work from. Yet, none of these kids is a machine, but is a person with a back story, one that can include incredibly good or bad luck. And all of it has shaped their personal path to professional baseball, and the success they ultimately experience.

      I speak from direct experience on this, as I've read theories regarding someone I know very well, and why he's done this or that, or will end up doing this or that, and I'm left chuckling at the so-called 'informed analyzing'. Mostly because it's so often off the mark that it reaffirms my own belief that the business of scouting baseball talent leaves plenty to be desired.

      For the record, Doc, I enjoyed your analysis of the age/level argument, and am fully on board with your thoughts on the subject. One thing I notice about your approach to prospect watching is that you temper it with a dose of what I'll call the 'human factor' (whether or not you even realized it). :)


  5. Bummer about RICH losing for the2nd game in a row....They had been playing really good ball in a race for the POs...Was only a matter of time before they lost a few...Hopefully they recover in a home stand...

    Again, two guys not really seen as prospects by many, but I still think there is something there with both LIVELY and Austin Fleet...Fllet has had a string of fairly dominat starts in the hard to pitch AAA where he seems to be giving up like 2-3 hits per 6-7 innings..Must have decent stuff..

    And whether it be in High A San Jose or AAA Fresno, Fleet has fared very well as a starter with maybe 2 bad games all year.....Some of these guys--Surkamp, Kickham, Lively, Fleet along with BOTH Hembree and Hall may be part of the 2014 in-season bridge to the 2015 and beyond era where the talent really starts to hit...


    1. The thing impressive about professions like our management is that they can tell whether an AA guy will make it or not without a full season.

      If I recall correctly, Romo, Panda, Hector - they were all like that and made it without much time in either Richmond or Fresno.

      Then you have Surkamp, Kickham, Heston, et al - they had great successes and that's good for the minor franchises. They could use Pacific Coast League MVPs for promotions. (That's why I asked about if anyone would this year's Bowker or Linden, without inferring that would be something to get excited about as far as helping the parent team was concerned). Some of these guys can still make it and I believe the team is open to being impressed.

    2. I agree with this. There is no single path to the major leagues and prospects should be written off with great care, but the guys who impress the scouts and coaches tend to move faster and have a higher success rate and that does not always show up in the stat lines.

    3. I've said this a few times - the most important thing for a minor league player isn't his stat line, its the daily phone call from the manager on up the chain of command. Stats paint the picture pretty well, but there are a lot of things only the Giants know, including when to disregard cold streak bad stats. Inside info baby.