So somebody gave me the idea for a monthly recap a while ago, and while going over things like "Best OBP in Toledo" might be interesting to some people (it's currently Will Rhymes), it occurred to me that a better idea might be to go over the best and worst prospect performances of the month. So I present to you (10 days late) the stars and scrubs of April 2010- five notable performances and five forgettable performances by some of your favorite (or least favorite) prospects.
STAR: Giovany Soto- LHP- West Michigan
A projectable lefty, Soto had potential coming into 2010, and his April was quite amazing. A 2.97 FIP suggests present and future success, but there's no need to rely on saber statistics- he struck out 24 in 19.2 innings (!!!) with a 52.8% GB rate. AND he did it with an inflated BABIP, which was barely reflected in his ERA of 2.45. That's right, Soto is getting unlucky with his hit rate. It wasn't all perfect- he walked 3.72 per 9 innings, but his profile suggests something very special.
SCRUB: Cale Iorg- SS- Erie
It's almost too easy to poke fun at Cale "shortstop of the future" Iorg. And I do hope he proves the prospecting community wrong. But when you hit .200/.231/.320 while striking out in a third of your plate appearances- and walk in less than 4- you deserve to take some crap.
STAR: Daniel Fields- CF - Lakeland
I know, I know. You're probably asking yourself why a kid who hit .278/.357/.361 is getting labeled a "star". The reason? He's 19 and in High A ball holding his own against players much older than he is- while maintaining a walk rate of 11.9%. Sure, these are small sample sizes, but a player that finally seems to have strike zone judgment along with a whole slew of other tools? I can't wait until he goes to Connecticut or West Michigan and faces kids his own age.
SCRUB- Ryan Strieby- 1B/LF- Toledo
This one is a tad unfair. His .167/.239/.286 line is due to injury more than inability. But for the love of all that is good and holy, if you're having problems with your surgically repaired wrist, you have an obligation to the organization to freaking tell them. Strieby goes here mostly out of wrath, but partially out of performance. He'll do better once he's healthy- if he stays healthy. Lynn Henning (ugh) seems to think he's on his way back.
STAR: Jamie Johnson- CF- West Michigan
At 23 he's a tad old for A ball, but I refuse to overlook any player that walks (13) more than he strikes out (11). His slash stats of .316/.426/.405 would make him a great leadoff player on any team, and while his BABIP was .360 (meaning the batting average should regress), that walk rate makes me very very happy. Combine that with a good defensive reputation, and there's a case to be made that Johnson and Daniel Fields need to switch leagues.
SCRUB: Gustavo Nunez- SS- Lakeland
.244/.302/.295. Ladies and gentlemen, your shortstop of the future for Detroit! Seriously, they should just stop handing out that title- it's a surefire way to kill a prospect's bat. The worst part about that line is that Nunez had a BABIP of .292- but when you strike out in 15% of your plate appearances and hit a grounder in 60%, you tend to have a low batting average.
STAR: Wilkin Ramirez- CF- Erie
Okay, this one's cheating. Ramirez is repeating a level and had a slow start, but he hit .286/.353/.519 in April. The strikeout rate is high at 33.7%, which stinks, but his walk rate improved to just below 10% and Ramirez is mashing line drives and keeping the ball off the ground. He'll regress, but OPS'ing .872 is pretty impressive, especially after a slow start.
SCRUB: Jeff Larish- 1B- Toledo
Larish must be bitter at having not made the Tigers. He's better than his .211/.333/.380 line indicates, and a BABIP about 50 points lower than it should be hurts matters. But the power evaporated in April even while the plate discipline stayed (.169 ISO, 15.3 BB%). This should fix itself- the walk rate will drop a little as the ISO increases, but it was still a really bad month for Jeff.
STAR: Brayan Villareal- SP- Lakeland
Save the best for last, they say. Villareal can stake a strong claim at being the third best pitching prospect in an organization deep in pitchers (if you have an upside fetish), and with more months like April, he'll solidify that position. His 2.82 FIP was driven by a 12.34 K/9 rate (!!!) and a 1.16 BB/9 rate (!!!!!!!). That hasn't sustained itself in May, and Villareal did have a low BABIP in April, but his performance was still incredible.You can have your Brennan Boesch bandwagon, I'm starting one for Brayan today.
SCRUB: Avisail Garcia- RF- West Michigan
I really do hate putting Garcia here. He's toolsy, which is awesome, but the tools didn't translate in April. A line of .235/.253/.272 is incredibly depressing, as is the Iorgian strikeout rate (30.1). The good news is that he's just 19, which means he'll have plenty of opportunities to get off the scrub list in the future. April may have stunk, but May and beyond still looks bright.
Coming soon: reliever depth charts (God help me) and more draft coverage.