Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Checking In With the Farm Clubs - Low Minors

Delmarva Shorebirds

Garabez Rosa - SS

When I saw Rosa back in April, he looked legit in the field with good range and a big arm. Just 20, he looked good with the glove but kind of limited with the bat and slow of foot on the basepaths. Scouts liked his bat and thought he would come around.

And that's why scouts get paid to watch baseball. Rosa has been on a tear since I saw him in mid-April and has posted a season line of .294/.329/.429 line thus far. He doesn't walk (only 5 all year) but has gap power with 17 doubles in just 46 games. Of course, while his range looks good, he does have 19 errors too. I asked Shorebirds announcer Bret Lasky about him and he said he'll look great for a week or two and then have a stretch where he makes 4 errors in 5 games.

Justin Dalles - C

Justin Dalles is my latest minor league catcher crush. Dalles was a 6th round draft pick in 2009 and looked great to me during the two games I saw him play back in April. He posted a .278/.366/.472 line in 10 games (including hitting the longest homer I've ever seen live) but got laid out during a collision at the plate, not once but twice (was only back three games before getting hit again) and hasn't played since May 6th.

Here's an interview that Delmarva Shorebirds announcer Bret Lasky conducted with Dalles during his first stint on the DL.

Stephen Bumbry - CF

Bumbry is hitting well (.272/.360/.395) but not with a lot of power. Bumbry plays a good center field and shows good on base skills. He's fast, easily able to bunt for hits but is not so good on the bases as he is only 6 for 12 on stolen base attempts.

Tyler Kolodny - 3B

Imagine Kevin Millar with more power. His overall line is impressive (.260/.358/.552) even if his batting average is not. He has a decent walk rate (10%) and has slugged 10 homers in just 41 games. He has some things to work on but has a good approach and just turned 22 in March. They probably need to find space for him in Frederick by mid-season.

edit: Evidently, Kolodny has been sent to extended Spring Training due to disciplinary reasons.

Matt Hobgood - SP

Hobgood has been wild. Great stuff but wild. 25 walks in 52.1 innings, 13 wild pitches and 5 hit batsmen against his 32 strikeouts. He has induced groundballs at a 52% rate, he's only given up three home runs and does boast a FIP of 4.60 (vs his ERA of 4.64). When he gets the ball over the plate, good things happen. But he's really going to have to work on that control if he wants to have success at any level.

Ryan Berry - SP

On the other hand, Ryan Berry has been mowing the SAL down all season. With 43 K's vs just 11 walks in 49 innings. The 2009 9th round pick out of Rice has been a bit inconsistent but the overall ERA of 3.50 (3.67 FIP) is promising.

He's now in Frederick.

Frederick Keys

LJ Hoes

While at the Orioles Minor League Spring Training Camp in Sarasota back in March, I made this observation about Xavier Avery vs. LJ Hoes during batting practice:

Avery took BP and looked how you thought he would; light-hitting, shooting flares and sharp grounders to all fields. Hoes was a different story. The ball jumped off his bat and he was showing good gap power. It was only BP but Hoes is only 20. You might want to look for increased power from him this season.

So far, that has been correct. After posting ISO's of .082 and .058 for each of the last two seasons, Hoes has an ISO of .105 for Frederick with 8 doubles, a triple and a homer in 35 games. He's not Albert Pujols or anything but is a nice development. Adding the fact that he has walked more than he has struck out (24 to 17), his .290/.413/.395 line looks like a good step forward. He's got to be the best middle infield prospect in the system.

Xavier Avery - CF

Of course, I didn't see Avery's power surge coming. Since 2007, he's gone from an ISO of .057 to .078 to .095 this season. Again, he's not exactly a slugger but it's a good development to go with his speed and defense in center. He has a slash line of .280/.338/.375 through 49 games.

Billy Rowell - 3B

I was glad that the organization decided to leave Rowell in Frederick to start 2010. Promoting someone to AA after the year Rowell had in 2009 felt like they were just giving up on him. So far, Rowell has responded well by hitting .248/.364/.372 so far. Yes, it's his third season at Frederick and he's been a little lucky with his BABIP but he's still only 21. You've already got money invested in him and he could be a late bloomer like Jayson Werth was. It's better to promote a guy when he's ready and Rowell just wasn't ready to make the leap to AA yet. Maybe they can salvage some value out of him yet, even if he won't ever be the star they envisioned when they drafted him.

Ronnie Welty - OF

Frederick's version of Tyler Kolodny, Welty has good power (ISO over .200 so far) and good strike zone control (.369 OBP for his minor league career). He's OPSing .834 for the season and he already has 9 home runs vs the 10 he hit all last season.

Nathan Nery - SP

Could this be a lefty version of Brad Bergesen? 25-year-old Nery is getting groundballs at a 57% rate and walking less than 2 per 9 innings. A 3.86 ERA makes him arguably the best starter in Frederick.

Brandon Cooney - RP

Cooney's physique makes Hobgood look slim. But he throws hard and the Keys closer is dominating the Carolina League with a 0.55 ERA and 19 Ks in 16 innings pitched. Look for a mid-season promotion to Bowie.

Jose Duran - RP

Duran was a a Rule 5 selection in the AAA phase this year. Duran is an imposing figure and has been nearly as dominant as Cooney. With a 0.94 ERA and 26 Ks in 29 innings pitched, Duran could find himself in Bowie's bullpen before season's end as well.

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