The WAR Room: Frazier hitting well in High-A

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2015 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. Though it is still early in the season, there are some interesting trends to watch and monitor as the season goes on. Join Jim Piascik as he breaks down Clint Frazier playing well, especially for his age, in High-A, Jesus Aguilar’s continued troubles, and much more as he takes you into The WAR Room.

As always, just like with scouting, it is always important to keep context in mind with these stats. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player's performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level -- otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer -- a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player's WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).

Additionally, note that pitchers have FIP-based WAR -- which is based on peripherals like strikeouts, walks, home runs, etc. -- and RA-based WAR -- which is based on runs allowed.

One more thing, all "+" stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any "-" stats -- when lower is better, like with ERA -- a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

For the full stats, go ahead and click here. Stats are updated through Saturday, June 6.

Columbus Clippers

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Toru Murata Cleveland (AAA) 30 53.3 0.6 1.0
Jhoulys Chacin Cleveland (AAA) 27 33.3 0.6 0.8
Shaun Marcum Cleveland (AAA) 33 33.0 0.4 1.6
Bruce Chen Cleveland (AAA) 38 31.0 0.3 1.4
Danny Salazar Cleveland (AAA) 25 6.0 0.3 0.5
Cody Anderson Cleveland (AAA) 24 7.0 0.3 0.4
Nick Maronde Cleveland (AAA) 25 48.0 0.2 -0.8
Jordan Cooper Cleveland (AAA) 26 28.0 0.0 0.1
Michael Roth Cleveland (AAA) 25 65.0 -0.2 1.2
T.J. House Cleveland (AAA) 25 21.0 -0.3 -0.1
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Giovanni Soto Cleveland (AAA) 24 24.0 0.4 1.0
C.C. Lee Cleveland (AAA) 28 21.7 0.4 0.4
Shawn Armstrong Cleveland (AAA) 24 18.3 0.3 0.0
Ryan Webb Cleveland (AAA) 29 8.0 0.2 0.3
Dustin Molleken Cleveland (AAA) 30 22.7 0.2 0.3
Jeff Manship Cleveland (AAA) 30 27.0 0.1 0.7
Enosil Tejeda Cleveland (AAA) 26 5.0 0.1 0.2
Austin Adams Cleveland (AAA) 28 8.3 0.1 -0.1
Anthony Swarzak Cleveland (AAA) 29 5.0 0.1 0.0
Bryan Price Cleveland (AAA) 28 4.7 0.0 0.3
Kyle Crockett Cleveland (AAA) 23 16.3 -0.2 -0.6

Minor league deals are a low-risk investment that can sometimes turn out wonderfully, and while it is too soon to know the end result for right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin, the early returns are good. Through his first 33.1 Triple-A innings in the organization, Chacin owns a solid combination of a 3.24 ERA (91 ERA-) and 3.27 FIP (92 FIP-), which could be the kind of above-average grouping that earns a major league shot. Chacin is not walking many (5.9% walk rate, 68 BB%+) which makes up for his roughly average 17.7% strikeout rate (93 K%+), making him a decent starting option, if not one that lights up the statsheet.

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Tyler Holt Cleveland (AAA) 26 44 188 1.1 1.4 1.7
Francisco Lindor Cleveland (AAA) 21 52 231 0.9 1.2 1.5
James Ramsey Cleveland (AAA) 25 53 218 0.8 1.1 1.5
Adam Moore Cleveland (AAA) 31 42 154 0.4 0.6 0.9
Jerry Sands Cleveland (AAA) 27 21 91 0.5 0.6 0.7
Michael Martinez Cleveland (AAA) 32 47 175 0.2 0.4 0.7
Giovanny Urshela Cleveland (AAA) 23 20 78 0.3 0.4 0.6
Nick Swisher Cleveland (AAA) 34 6 27 0.3 0.3 0.4
Zach Walters Cleveland (AAA) 25 29 118 0.1 0.3 0.5
Jesus Aguilar Cleveland (AAA) 25 53 223 -0.1 0.2 0.6
Carlos Moncrief Cleveland (AAA) 26 42 153 -0.1 0.1 0.4
Yan Gomes Cleveland (AAA) 27 4 15 0.1 0.1 0.1
Ryan Rohlinger Cleveland (AAA) 31 37 140 -0.3 -0.1 0.1
Alex Lavisky Cleveland (AAA) 24 14 44 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
Destin Hood Cleveland (AAA) 25 17 63 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2
Brett Hayes Cleveland (AAA) 31 7 22 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3
Audy Ciriaco Cleveland (AAA) 28 33 129 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2

Given we are already into June, the fact that first baseman Jesus Aguilar is sitting on a near-replacement level 0.2 average-defense WAR through 53 games is starting to become truly concerning. The power is still mostly there for the first baseman (.163 isolated power, 153 ISO+), but combining a high 23.3% strikeout rate (122 K%+) with a low 6.3% walk rate (72 BB%+) is leading in large part to Aguilar’s .291 on-base percentage (90 OBP+). Sure, Aguilar’s .274 BABIP (90 BABIP+) should rise in time, but since the plate discipline is the real issue here, that regression will not solve all of the first baseman’s problems.

Akron RubberDucks

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Cody Anderson Cleveland (AA) 24 48.0 1.1 2.0
Ryan Merritt Cleveland (AA) 23 63.7 1.0 0.7
Mike Clevinger Cleveland (AA) 24 57.3 0.7 1.6
Shawn Morimando Cleveland (AA) 22 61.7 0.7 1.7
Will Roberts Cleveland (AA) 24 64.0 0.5 0.8
Adam Plutko Cleveland (AA) 23 10.0 0.3 0.3
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Josh Martin Cleveland (AA) 25 31.7 0.7 0.9
Jeffrey Johnson Cleveland (AA) 25 21.0 0.6 1.0
Trey Haley Cleveland (AA) 25 22.7 0.5 0.2
Jacob Lee Cleveland (AA) 25 26.7 0.3 0.6
Enosil Tejeda Cleveland (AA) 26 16.7 0.2 0.6
Jordan Cooper Cleveland (AA) 26 5.3 0.1 0.1
Joe Colon Cleveland (AA) 25 8.3 0.1 -0.4
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (AA) 24 3.0 0.1 0.2
Benny Suarez Cleveland (AA) 23 4.3 0.0 -0.5
Louis Head Cleveland (AA) 25 24.0 -0.1 -0.1
Clayton Cook Cleveland (AA) 24 2.7 -0.1 -0.1
Steven Sides Cleveland (AA) 26 21.3 -0.3 0.0

The RubberDuck bullpen has included quite a few high-end performances, with right-hander Jeffrey Johnson’s factoring in among the rest. Coming off of missing all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, Johnson is already up to 0.6 FIP-based WAR and 1.0 RA-based WAR through 21.0 innings, which is the kind of rate only elite relievers can put up. There is some batted ball, strand, and home run rate good fortune going on here for Johnson, but thanks to his 31.6% strikeout rate (173 K%+), things are looking good for the right-hander. Plus, even though command is typically the last thing to return for Tommy John rehabbers, but Johnson already has a strong 6.6% walk rate (81 BB%+) to go with those strikeouts.

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Tyler Naquin Cleveland (AA) 24 32 153 1.2 1.4 1.6
Todd Hankins Cleveland (AA) 24 51 236 0.9 1.2 1.5
Jordan Smith Cleveland (AA) 24 49 218 0.8 1.1 1.4
Yandy Diaz Cleveland (AA) 23 52 223 0.8 1.1 1.4
Erik Gonzalez Cleveland (AA) 23 50 228 0.6 0.9 1.2
Bryson Myles Cleveland (AA) 25 28 113 0.6 0.8 1.0
Destin Hood Cleveland (AA) 25 25 99 0.4 0.6 0.7
Tony Wolters Cleveland (AA) 23 44 189 0.2 0.5 0.7
Ollie Linton Cleveland (AA) 29 16 67 0.2 0.3 0.4
Anthony Gallas Cleveland (AA) 27 41 176 -0.1 0.2 0.4
Yonathan Mendoza Cleveland (AA) 21 15 55 0.0 0.1 0.2
Alex Lavisky Cleveland (AA) 24 1 5 0.0 0.0 0.0
Justin Toole Cleveland (AA) 28 31 98 -0.4 -0.2 0.0
Jake Lowery Cleveland (AA) 24 30 121 -0.5 -0.3 -0.2
Jeremy Lucas Cleveland (AA) 24 32 132 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2

If you are a glass half-full kind of person, the fact that outfielder Bryson Myles has 0.8 average-defense WAR through 28 games is a huge encouragement. If you are a glass half-empty kind of person, however, the fact that Myles has only played in 28 games and we are already into June continues to underscore Myles’ issues with staying healthy. He is dynamic when on the field (.191 isolated power, 168 ISO+; 150 wRC+), but with only 92 and 89 games played in the past two seasons, what Myles needs more than anything is to finally have some luck with injuries and to avoid them.

Lynchburg Hillcats

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Adam Plutko Cleveland (A+) 23 49.7 1.4 2.8
Luis Lugo Cleveland (A+) 21 39.3 0.9 -0.2
Dylan Baker Cleveland (A+) 23 5.0 0.3 0.4
Dace Kime Cleveland (A+) 23 25.7 0.3 0.0
Mike Rayl Cleveland (A+) 26 14.0 0.2 -0.5
Scott Peoples Cleveland (A+) 23 46.7 0.0 -1.0
Mitch Brown Cleveland (A+) 21 49.7 -0.3 -0.9
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
D.J. Brown Cleveland (A+) 24 43.3 0.5 0.1
Justin Brantley Cleveland (A+) 24 33.0 0.5 1.0
Ben Heller Cleveland (A+) 23 17.3 0.3 -0.2
Antonio Romero Cleveland (A+) 24 16.3 0.3 0.1
J.P. Feyereisen Cleveland (A+) 22 3.3 0.1 0.0
Mason Radeke Cleveland (A+) 25 4.0 0.0 0.2
Joe Sever Cleveland (A+) 24 2.7 0.0 0.0
Casey Weathers Cleveland (A+) 30 18.3 0.0 0.0
Luigi Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 22 0.7 -0.1 -0.1
Benny Suarez Cleveland (A+) 23 10.0 -0.1 0.2
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (A+) 24 9.0 -0.2 -0.4
Delvi Francisco Cleveland (A+) 22 25.3 -0.2 -0.2
Robbie Aviles Cleveland (A+) 23 25.3 -0.3 -0.9
Clayton Cook Cleveland (A+) 24 26.0 -0.3 -1.1

Splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen, right-hander D J Brown is largely unimpressive when judged by his 3.95 ERA (109 ERA-). Brown’s 2.95 FIP (81 FIP-), however, makes the case that the right-hander is throwing pretty well. With a 3.4% walk rate (41 BB%+) that is the lowest among Hillcats pitchers outside of Adam Plutko, Brown does not need many strikeouts. The right-hander’s 18.0% strikeout rate (95 K%+) is enough to get by when being so stingy with the walks, and as Brown’s .321 BABIP (108 BABIP+) and 63.8% strand rate (90 LOB%+) slide back toward the mean, his ERA should shrink down toward his FIP.

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Bradley Zimmer Cleveland (A+) 22 53 228 2.5 2.9 3.2
Luigi Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 22 50 207 1.1 1.4 1.7
Nellie Rodriguez Cleveland (A+) 21 52 216 1.1 1.4 1.7
Clint Frazier Cleveland (A+) 20 53 236 0.9 1.2 1.6
Paul Hendrix Cleveland (A+) 23 51 201 0.6 0.9 1.2
Alex Monsalve Cleveland (A+) 23 20 79 0.5 0.6 0.8
Joe Sever Cleveland (A+) 24 45 154 0.1 0.4 0.7
Eric Haase Cleveland (A+) 22 34 140 0.2 0.4 0.6
James Roberts Cleveland (A+) 23 37 138 -0.1 0.1 0.3
Ivan Castillo Cleveland (A+) 20 49 191 -0.2 0.1 0.4
Juan De La Cruz Cleveland (A+) 21 5 12 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mike Papi Cleveland (A+) 22 52 205 -0.3 0.0 0.3
Yhoxian Medina Cleveland (A+) 25 4 14 0.0 0.0 0.0
Yonathan Mendoza Cleveland (A+) 21 2 4 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1

It is not always the most outwardly impressive, but given his high prospect standing the context of his age and level, outfielder Clint Frazier is once again putting up very good numbers. As a 20-year-old in High-A, Frazier is young for his level, yet the outfielder is still posting an above-average 1.2 average-defense WAR through 53 games. The swing and miss remains in Frazier’s game (23.3% strikeout rate, 123 K%+), but the outfielder’s prodigious power has not fully manifested in 2015 (.153 isolated power, 135 ISO+) and he is still putting up good numbers. Sure, Frazier still needs to work on making more contact to allow his power to come out, but given he is already getting results despite being so young, the future still looks bright.

Lake County Captains

Name Team Age IP SP FIP WAR SP RA WAR
Justus Sheffield Cleveland (A) 19 51.7 1.4 0.3
Anderson Polanco Cleveland (A) 22 53.0 0.9 0.5
Dace Kime Cleveland (A) 23 35.0 0.6 0.3
Sean Brady Cleveland (A) 21 53.7 0.5 0.6
Thomas Pannone Cleveland (A) 21 45.3 0.5 0.9
TJ House Cleveland (A) 25 3.0 0.2 0.2
Jordan Milbrath Cleveland (A) 23 47.7 -0.1 -0.7
           
Name Team Age IP RP FIP WAR RP RA WAR
Julian Merryweather Cleveland (A) 23 21.3 0.5 0.0
Cameron Hill Cleveland (A) 21 24.0 0.4 0.9
Nicholas Pasquale Cleveland (A) 24 21.7 0.4 1.0
J.P. Feyereisen Cleveland (A) 22 16.7 0.3 0.7
David Speer Cleveland (A) 22 31.3 0.1 -0.2
Caleb Hamrick Cleveland (A) 21 8.0 0.1 0.5
Luke Eubank Cleveland (A) 21 19.7 0.1 0.0
Justin Garcia Cleveland (A) 22 15.3 0.0 0.4
David Armendariz Cleveland (A) 23 1.0 -0.1 -0.1
Dominic Demasi Cleveland (A) 22 3.3 -0.1 -0.3
Jordan Carter Cleveland (A) 23 30.0 -0.2 -0.8

Making his full-season debut at an age-appropriate 21 years old, left-handed starter Thomas Pannone is holding his own in the Lake County rotation. Pannone’s 0.5 FIP-based WAR and 0.9 RA-based WAR in 45.1 innings paint the picture of an above-average pitcher with some decent potential going forward. The left-hander is getting strikeouts (27.5% strikeout rate, 132 K%+) and doing a decent job of limiting walks (8.2% walk rate (98 BB%+), but those peripherals are being dragged down in the results due to a 1.0 HR/9 (206 HR/9+). Those home runs were not there last year while pitching in the homer-friendly Arizona League and it is unlikely Pannone’s true-talent level in home run suppression is 106% worse than the league-average. The home run rate is likely to fall off in time, and when it does, Pannone’s results should be even better.

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Claudio Bautista Cleveland (A) 21 50 216 1.7 2.0 2.3
Greg Allen Cleveland (A) 22 50 222 0.8 1.1 1.4
Taylor Murphy Cleveland (A) 22 43 180 0.8 1.0 1.3
Francisco Mejia Cleveland (A) 19 45 180 0.6 0.9 1.1
Yu-Cheng Chang Cleveland (A) 19 52 225 0.5 0.8 1.2
Bobby Bradley Cleveland (A) 19 31 131 0.6 0.8 1.0
Ordomar Valdez Cleveland (A) 21 29 100 0.3 0.5 0.7
Dorssys Paulino Cleveland (A) 20 52 217 -0.1 0.2 0.5
Yan Gomes Cleveland (A) 27 2 5 0.1 0.1 0.1
Martin Cervenka Cleveland (A) 22 23 92 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Sicnarf Loopstok Cleveland (A) 22 14 48 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
David Armendariz Cleveland (A) 23 33 119 -0.4 -0.2 0.0
Bobby Ison Cleveland (A) 21 49 201 -0.5 -0.2 0.1
Grant Fink Cleveland (A) 24 37 132 -0.5 -0.3 -0.1

It has not been the best first full professional season on the surface for outfielder Greg Allen, but overall, his 1.4 great-defense WAR in 50 games is actually quite good. The outfielder’s .245 batting average is unsightly -- especially for a contact-oriented hitter like Allen -- but it is actually very close to the Midwest League average (98 AVG+). Plus, Allen is putting together some good quality of contact (.112 isolated power, 105 ISO+), rarely strikes out (11.7% strikeout rate, 56 K%+), and draws quite a few walks (9.5% walk rate, 114 BB%+). All of that combines to give Allen a ton of value, all with a low .264 BABIP (85 BABIP+) that looks entirely unsustainable given what we know about regression and the results players with Allen’s skillset get in the batted balls in play department.

#Cleveland Indians

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

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