This Week in the Cards Minors– 05/26– Hitters

In this installment of our new weekly stats-based report, Leonda Markee analyzes position player performances across the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system. Possible promotions are promoted this period.

It has been a fairly quiet week in the minors.  Those players that have been dominating at their respective levels, such as Palm Beach's Allen Craig and Quad Cities' Brandon Buckman, continue to dominate.  And since April 28th, Colby Rasmus has posted a 1.136 OPS so is currently dominating at the Double-A level at the tender age of 20.  Yet, nearby promotions are intertwined with the fate of other players except in Rasmus' case. One can assume that Rasmus will dislodge any player in the minor league system when he is deemed ready for a promotion.

 

Buckman's promotion to Palm Beach would displace Mark Hamilton from the only field position he has played this season, first base.  Hamilton is a supplemental second round 2006 prospect that has done quite well offensively over the last month or so after a slow start.  However, Hamilton's promotion to Springfield would eliminate first base as a possibility for Springfield's Joe Mather and leave Mather only with the outfield.  That would restrict the available outfield slots for Cody Haerther, Jon Jay and Mather since Rasmus is going to play, regardless.  All of this begins with the premise of regular playing time for Buckman, Hamilton and Craig as a requirement for advancing.

 

Third baseman Allen Craig's possible promotion is less problematic since he would be displacing Juan Richardson.  While Richardson is having an acceptable year, .280/.352/.447/.799, he turned 28 in January so qualifies for ‘minor league veteran/roster filler' status. Richardson is expendable.  Dan Nelson has been rotated with Craig at third for Palm Beach this year so could take over those duties full-time.  Another possibility is Quad Cities' third baseman Donovan Solano.  But Solano's bat just recently started to heat up and he is young so a promotion for him in the near future is fairly remote.       

 

In the end, there are many components to consider when deciding whether to promote a player or not.  What player(s) would either see their playing time reduced or their position switched is part of that decision-making process.

 

Note:  All statistics mentioned are for the most recent two-week period unless otherwise stated.  The statistics for this report are through May 23, 2007.

 

How Are They Doing?  (Standings as of May 25, 2007)

Memphis Redbirds – 23-25, Fourth and last place, four games behind the Iowa Cubs

Springfield Cardinals – 21-22, Second place, two and one-half games behind the Tulsa Drillers (COL)

Palm Beach Cardinals – 26-21, Second place, two and one-half games behind the Brevard County Manatees (MIL)

Swing of the Quad Cities – 25-21, Third place, five games behind the Beloit Snappers (MIN)

 

Up, Down and Out

Here are the transactions for the week:

 

05/18/07 - St. Louis (Memphis) - RHP Brian Falkenborg outrighted to Triple-A Memphis (removed from the 40-man roster);  RHP Todd Wellemeyer activated on both the 40- and 25-man rosters

05/19/07 - Springfield (Palm Beach) - OF Jon Jay placed on the 7-day Disabled List (shoulder); UT Casey Rowlett called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach

05/19/07 - St. Louis (Memphis) - RHP Brian Falkenborg cleared waivers and assigned to Triple-A Memphis

05/20/07 - Quad Cities - C Omar Falcon granted his unconditional release;  CF Jim Rapoport activated from the 7-day Disabled List

05/21/07 - Memphis - OF/C Eli Marrero granted his unconditional release, OF John Rodriguez placed on the 7-day Disabled List;  OF Rick Ankiel, RHP Brian Falkenborg: activated

05/23/07 - St. Louis - RHP Mark Diapoules (21st round - June 2006 draft), RHP LaCurtis Mayes (23rd round - June 2006 draft): agreed to terms with and sent to Extended Spring Training

 

Probably the biggest news on the ‘prospect' front is the DL'ing of Springfield outfielder Jon Jay.  Jay re-injured his right shoulder during an at bat on May 17th and was DL'd the next day.  Although he missed nine straight games after initially injuring it during the second game of a May 3rd double-header, this is Jay's first official trip to the Disabled List this season.

 

The other main news of interest is the signing of 2006 ‘Draft-and-Follows' Mark Diapoules and LaCurtis Mayes.  For those interested in checking how the Draft and Follows did over the winter/spring, check out this thread from our Message Board.

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Triple-A – Memphis Redbirds

League Affiliation - sixteen-team Pacific Coast League, four-team America North division

Overall Record – 23-25 

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.91, H=0.94, 2B=0.93, HR=1.08, BB=1.01, SO=1.04

 

Roster Link

Current Two-Week Hitting - .270/.344/.414/.758, .319 BABIP, 56.02 RC

Hitting Year-to-Date* – .263/.326/.420/.746, .300 BABIP, 205.19 RC

*Note:  Pitchers' offensive statistics excluded

 

Who's Hittin' Hot

Second baseman Edgar Gonzalez is tearing it up right now, .391/.462/.630/1.092. 18-for-46 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and eight runs batted in.  Gonzalez also walked (six) more than he struck out (five).  Now his BABIP is .425, but how many batters hitting nearly .400 are not getting lucky to a certain extent? 

 

Who's Hittin' Not

Third baseman Travis Hanson continues to be cold, .186/.186/.279/.465, 8-for-43, with 12 strikeouts.  He has averaged a strikeout every three and one-half at bats which puts him in the range of John Nelson, who was the recipient of last year's ‘Mr. Whiffy'.  (For newer readers, annual awards are given out and one of them is called the ‘Mr. Whiffy' and it goes to the player with the dubious distinction of leading our minors in strikeouts-per-at-bat.)  Hanson's BABIP remains low at .233 so his bat should improve.  Whether that theoretical improvement will either actually happen or be sufficient to give him a shot at the Majors remains in question.

 

Of Note –   

Here are the players receiving the most playing time in the past two weeks (listed in order of average plate appearances per game):  Rico Washington (3B), Nick Stavinoha (RF), Edgar V. Gonzalez (2B), Brendan Ryan (SS), Travis Hanson (3B), Skip Schumaker (CF) and Mike McCoy (utility/left field).  Brian Esposito is the primary catcher with Matt Pagnozzi as the back-up while Ryan Christianson is on the disabled list.

 

Prospect Watch

Memphis' roster contains few players that are ‘prospects' in the traditional sense of the word but those they do have will be listed here, in addition to those players that are not prospects but are of interest to readers. 

Rick Ankiel – spent most of the period on the disabled list with an Achilles' tendon injury and has not yet got his swing back on track

Travis Hanson – see ‘Not'

John Rodriguez – only had four at bats before going on the disabled list.  Rodriguez has had a hard time staying healthy, so far

Brendan Ryan – his two-week batting average is down from the last report (.244 versus .300), his on-base percentage is up somewhat (.333 versus .317) and his slugging has lagged slightly (378 versus .400), 11-for-45, .263 BABIP, 5.17 RC, .111 ISO, .1:7.50 K/AB, 4.3 PA/Game

Nick Stavinoha – is starting to heat up as his strikeouts decrease, .280/.321/.480/.801, 14-for-50, .275 BABIP, 7.7 RC, .200 ISO, 1:7 K/AB, 4.4 PA/Game

 

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AA – Springfield Cardinals

League Affiliation - eight-team Texas League, four-team East division

Overall Record – 21-22

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=1.03, H=1.02, 2B=0.98, HR=1.16, BB=1.02, SO=1.10

 

Roster Link

Current Two-Week Hitting - .271/.365/.402/.767, .311 BABIP, 60.08 RC

Hitting Year-to-Date* – .257/.337/.411/.748, .287 BABIP, 187.74 RC

*Note:  Pitchers' offensive statistics excluded

 

Who's Hittin' Hot

Centerfielder Colby Rasmus is ‘Hot' for the second consecutive report.  Rasmus went .350/.481/.625/1.106, 14-for-40, with two doubles and three home runs.  Rasmus, like the Memphis ‘Hot' awardee Edgar Gonzalez, walked (10) more than he struck out (eight).  Rasmus also tossed in three stolen bases in three attempts.      

 

Who's Hittin' Not

Shortstop Tyler Greene hit a sad .245/.315/.449/.764, 12-for-49, with 18 strikeouts to only four walks.  Greene struck out once every 2.7 at bats.  Even scarier is his .379 BABIP which indicates that he has been getting lucky. 

 

Of Note –

Infielder Juan Lucena received the majority of the playing time at second over ‘regular' second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir, 31-to-13 at bats.  Lucena made the most of his opportunity by hitting .323/.405/.323/.728, 10-for-31 but all the hits were singles.  Lucena also walked (four) more than he struck out (one) and had a .333 BABIP  Hoffpauir hit for average in limited at bats, .308/.357/.308/.665, 4-for-13, with an identical BABIP to Lucena's. 

 

Like Colby Rasmus, Bryan Anderson walked more than he struck out the past two weeks.  Check out his latest numbers in the ‘Prospect Watch'.

 

Prospect Watch

Bryan Anderson rebounded after receiving ‘Not' mention in the last report, .303/.415/.424/.839, 10-for-33, one double, one home run, seven runs batted in, seven walks, three strikeouts, .310 BABIP, 5.95 RC, .121 ISO, 1:11 K/AB, 3.4 PA/Game

Mike Ferrishis limited at bats prevented him from receiving the ‘Not' mention, .194/.219/.323/.541, one double, one home run, three runs batted in, one walk and five strikeouts, .200 BABIP, 1.88 RC, .129 ISO, 1:6.4 K/AB, 2.6 PA/Game and his strikeouts almost doubled, on a per at-bat basis

Tyler Greene – see ‘Not'

Jon Jay – re-injured his shoulder during an at bat and subsequently went on the Disabled List

Joe Mather – barely missed the ‘Not' mention due to his .270 BABIP versus Greene's .367 BABIP, .222/.340/.244/.584, 10-for-45, one double, five walks, eight strikeouts, 3.3 RC, .022 ISO, 1:5.6 K/AB, 4.4 PA/Game

Colby Rasmus – see ‘Hot', seven runs batted in, .379 BABIP, 12.79 RC, .275 ISO, 1:5 K/AB, 4.3 PA/Game

 

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A-Advanced – Palm Beach Cardinals

League Affiliation - twelve-team Florida State League, six-team East division

Overall Record – 26–21

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.89, H=0.96, 2B=1.06, HR=0.71, BB=0.97, SO=1.07

 

Roster Link

Current Two-Week Hitting - .247/.316/.354/.669, .297 BABIP, 44.33 RC

Hitting Year-to-Date – .255/.322/.362/.685, .295 BABIP, 78.53 RC

 

Who's Hittin' Hot

Designated hitter/first baseman Mark Hamilton edged third baseman Allen Craig for ‘Hot' honors due to his superior average and on-base percentage and a slightly better BABIP, .375 to .412.  Hamilton went .340/.385/.447/.831, 16-for-47, with two doubles, one home run, 11 runs batted in, four walks and six strikeouts.  He had 8.24 RC, .106 ISO, 1:7.8 K/AB and 1:4 PA/Game. 

 

Who's Hittin' Not

OF Ian Church went .211/.268/.316/.584, 8-for-38, with four doubles, six runs batted in, one walk and 10 strikeouts.  Although Jose Martinez, Nathan Southard and Brandon Yarbrough all put up lesser numbers, Church's .286 BABIP is the most in-line with his performance which got him the nod. 

 

Of Note –

Allen Craig remains among the league leaders in average (.322), slugging (548), home runs (10) and runs batted in (35).

 

Outfielder Shane Robinson went .308/.379/.577/.956, 8-for-26, with one double, two home runs, three walks, four strikeouts and was a perfect three-for-three in stolen bases.  Better yet, his BABIP was .300 and he struck out just one every six and one-half at bats.  Robinson has only 2.2 plate appearances a game.

 

Catcher Brandon Yarbrough has cooled off considerably in the past two weeks, .176/.282/.265/.547, 6-for-34, with one double, one triple, five walks and six strikeouts.  Yarbrough was pretty unlucky, though, with a .214 BABIP.  He averaged three plate appearances per game.

 

Prospect Watch

Isa Garciawill not hit his way into the line-up any time soon with numbers like .100/.100/.100/.200, 3-for-30, no walks, two strikeouts, .107 BABIP, 1:15 K/AB, 2.3 PA/Game

Mark Hamilton – see ‘Hot', eye-witness accounts say his best shot at the majors may come in the American League

Nathan Southard – ‘Hot' he is Not, .227/.261/.295/.556, 10-for-44, with three doubles, two walks and 10 strikeouts, .294 BABIP, 3.68 RC, .068 ISO, 1:4.4 K/AB, 3.5 PA/Game

 

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Low-A – Swing of the Quad Cities

League Affiliation - fourteen-team Midwest League, eight-team West division

Overall Record – 25–21

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.97, H=0.99, 2B=1.09, HR=0.93, BB=0.93, SO=0.98

 

Roster Link

Current Two-Week Hitting - .279/.324/.368/.692, .334 BABIP, 44.8 RC

Hitting Year-to-Date – .265/.328/.378/.706, .314 BABIP, 184.87 RC

 

Who's Hittin' Hot

Second baseman Jared Schweitzer came off the Disabled list on May 13th with a bang, going .321/.387/.571/.959, 9-for-28, with one double, two home runs, six runs batted in, two walks and five strikeouts.  He had a .333 BABIP, 5.3 RC, .250 ISO, 1:5.6 K/AB and 3.4 PA/Game.  Schweitzer, at 23, is one of the older position players on the Swing roster.

 

Who's Hittin' Not

Second baseman/designated hitter Jaime Landin is in a cold funk although he does continue to get on base.  He is also a member of the ‘Walked More Than He Struck Out' group.  Landin went .233/.343/.367/.710, 7-for-30, with one double, one home run, four runs batted in, five walks and three strikeouts.  Landin's .231 BABIP says his hitting should improve and he averaged 3.4 plate appearances a game

 

Of Note –

First baseman Brandon Buckman, Jaime Landin, designated hitter/being moved around a lot Christian Reyes, Jared Schweitzer, left fielder Mark Shorey and third baseman Donovan Solano were the Swing players to average three or more plate appearances a game over the past two weeks.

 

Christian Reyes continues to hit as he searches for a position, going .314/.368/.457/.826, 11-for-35, with two doubles, one home run, five runs batted in, three walks, 13 strikeouts, .476 BABIP, 5.9 RC, .143 ISO, 1:2.7 K/AB, 3.45 PA/Game.

 

Prospect Watch

Brandon Buckman – nearly received ‘Hot' honors for the third consecutive report, .386/.400/.477/.877, 17-for-44, with four doubles, four runs batted in, one walk, five strikeouts, .436 BABIP, 7.93 RC, .091 ISO, 1:8.8 K/AB and 4.1 PA/Game

Luke Gorsett – is currently batting .231/.286/.346/.632, 6-for-26, with three doubles, no walks, three strikeouts, two hit-by-pitches, .261 BABIP, 2.08 RC, 1:8.7 K/AB, 2.55 PA/Game

Daryl Jones .207/.258/.241/.499, 6-for-29, with one double, two walks, eight strikeouts, two stolen bases, .286 BABIP, 1.57 RC, .034 ISO, 1:3.6 K/AB, 2.9 PA/Game

Donovan Solano – had a very good two weeks, going .318/.340/.364/.704, 14-for-44, with two doubles, six runs batted in, no walks, two hit-by-pitches, two strikeouts, .333 BABIP, 5.27 RC, 0.045 ISO, 1:22 K/AB and 4.3 PA/Game.  Solano is 19 years old.

 

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NOTE:  The three sabermetric statistics being used in this report as of now are BABIP, Isolated Power and Runs Created.

 

Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) - is used mainly to measure the luckiness or unluckiness of either a pitcher or batter on those balls put into play that involve fielders.  Hence, home runs are excluded.  The standard BABIP range is .280-.310 for either pitchers or hitters so hitters with a BABIP above .310 are getting lucky while those below .280 are unlucky. 

 

Isolated Power (ISO) – is one of five primary production metrics used in identifying a hitter or pitcher's comparables. PECOTA uses a slightly modified version of Isolated Power that assigns the same value to triples as to doubles (extending a double into a triple is generally an indicator of speed, rather than additional power).'

 

Runs Created (RC) - is a statistic created by Bill James to measure a player's total offensive production? Bill James describes it by saying that scoring runs consists of two actions: first - getting on base or creating base runners and second - the advancing of those runners around the bases. The formula we used to ascertain each player's RC incorporates the stolen base element of offense.

 

 

Leonda Markee may be reached via email at uconncard@yahoo.com.

 

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