Stock Up/Stock Down: Minor League Report


After looking at some of the different 2011 draftees I thought it high time to do a little update on the minor leaguers. Right now Keith, Griffin, Brett and I are comparing notes and we’ll have a new mid-season Top-100 out in a few weeks.

But until then I think that it’d be fun to look at some of my notes on guys this year. Because I’m about as unoriginal as they come I thought I’d copy off of Baseball America’s format.

I did leave off some of the obvious picks Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. We’ve talked an awful lot about them and while it’s been well deserved this is an opportunity to shine the light on some of the other deserved players.

STOCK UP

Vicente Campos, SP – Everett: The best non-Walker/Paxton pitching prospect. He’s gone pretty much under the radar among for most fans but with his big fastball velocity and a nasty curve ball he’s sure to hit the big time when it comes to prospect analysis.

I expect to hear Keith Law, Jim Callis and Kevin Goldstein takes this off-season on this young man as he should make some prospect lists. Campos has just been down right dominate at times for Everett this season and I can’t wait to see him continue.

Vincent Catricala, 3B – Jackson/High Desert/Clinton: Before the season started I wrote the following 

Catricala is most likely a first basemen long term. But let’s dream for a bit. Maybe he can make some adjustments. The big guy off the island of Hawaii was taken in the 2009 draft in the 10th round by Seattle. Last year he was predominately surrounded with his share of third basemen that  relegated his time to first and left field. But maybe with Mario Martinez having a poor year last year they will have him start off the year in Clinton if only maybe to give Vinny some reps at third.

But forget the glove this kid’s got bat. The strike outs are a bit worrisome but in a pitcher dominated league and he was 4th in doubles, he was 7th in home runs, 15th in batting average and was 5th in total bases. At 21 years-old, the guy has bat.

If he goes to High Desert he’s going to destroy. Repeat with me. DESTROY IT. It’s going to be an Alderaan vs. Death Star moment and he is going to be the Death Star. Boom!

He has indeed destroyed it. Then followed a promotion to Jackson and continued to destroy it. He has been on of the THE BEST offensive surprises of this year. Not even I expected him to come out this big.

Carlos Triunfel, SS/2B – Jackson: I like Triunfel a lot. Probably a lot more than most guys around the blogosphere. I’ve seen the talent first hand and on multiple occasions. I STILL think he can still be a major league shortstop.Disagree with me if you want. I’m not saying the guy can put on a clinic or anything like that. But I don’t think he’ll kill the team either. That’s just this guy’s opinion.

The biggest difference (offensively) between last year and the improvements this year is his ability to drive the ball to all fields. He’s also taking far more pitches than he has in the past. He still maintains an solid ability to make contact.

Forrest Snow, SP – High Desert/Clinton: I was glad to see Snow get drafted by the Mariners and I thought it was a neat story. Then he got some professional coaching and hey look at what he just turned into.

There are some people that think Snow has the upside of a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. He didn’t dismiss any of those thoughts with what he did the other night against Salt Lake City.

I know he struggled briefly in High Desert but he’s not perfect and that’s an insane environment to be thrown into and takes some adjustment period. I give him a pass for his starts there.

It’ll be interesting to see after his success in AAA if the organization leaves him in AAA or moves him back to High Desert or even Jackson. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Stefen Romero, 2B/3B – Clinton: The Lumberkings offense has closely resembled their parent affiliate this season. Not too many bright offensive spots for this club. Though Romero has been one of the few.

Coming into the season I felt like Romero had a chance to open some eyes as he was hailed as having the best power coming out of the PAC-10 by perfect game. That’s some solid praise not to be taken lightly.

I thought he dropped into a good spot and the Mariners got solid value out of a guy that was more likely an early round pick but dropped due to health concerns. If Romero could return healthy the Mariners could have an interesting investment.

Romero hasn’t wow’d anyone significantly with his numbers, what he has done is solid posting  .266/.334/.441. While

He reminds me a bit of Vinny Catricala and while I don’t think he’s going to have the same explosion in HD next year. I do think that he’s got a better chance to stick at third and that he still maintains the possibility of having enough bat to play there.

STOCK DOWN

Rich Poythress, 1B – Jackson: I have to say if there was an award to give out to a specific player that disappointed me the most it was Poythress. I had seen video on him prior to see him in person. Then I saw him in person and my perspective changed greatly.

Without a doubt he has plus power. The guy’s swings are epic, bat speed and bat control are all very, very solid. But his swings are so long and his eye isn’t nearly at the quality that I thought it was. He swung at some bad pitches and maybe that’s part of being in a slump.

But he has some holes in his swing and the changes that Cory Snyder has tried to make haven’t taken or haven’t provided the expected results. Maybe he’s better than what I saw. I only had the opportunity to really watch him for about a dozen at bats and while he had some positive results he struggled against the better pitchers.

Yoervis Medina, SP – High Desert:

I had high hopes for Medina and while I believe that a lot of his down fall this season is his surroundings (FB% 35.2%, HR/FB 11.11%, BABIP .363). But, he’s not missing as many as bats as I had thought or had hoped. So it’s kind of a break even thing for me.

I think he’ll be fine in the long run but being that he’s on the 40-man roster and already 22 I really don’t like the lack of progression. I really thought that we’d be seeing him in Tacoma this year.

 

Roman Morla, 3B – Clinton/Everett: With all the hype coming in on Morla this off-season I thought he would do well. Not really in the power department but I thought he’d drive the ball hard and have above-average periphels. Not so.

His swings-and-misses were brutal and he didn’t take a lot of pitches either. His defense didn’t get many good reviews either and he’s lost a lot of that shine that he had pre-season. He’s already 21 and turns 22 in November. Like Medina I had hopes of him being able to get a mid-season promotion.

Instead he’s down in Everett working things out and while he’s had success, all be it extremely limited, he needs to make progress at an more age appropriate level.

 

Luke French, SP – Tacoma: I am a big Luke French fan. Maybe, I should say was a big French fan. Before I come down on him here are some positives to take away from a pretty bitter season. He’s posting decent swing and miss rates (though still short of that solid 2009 campaign)… and that’s about that.

French is a pitch to contact guy… what can you say. He’s going to go through some rough times. His BABIP isn’t substantially high and he’s consistently been hit hard so it’s hard to say that it’s all been bad luck.

What you can say is that he’s a product of his environment much in the same way that Medina has been with an elevated HR/FB ratio. The PCL is rough on fly ball pitchers and I still think that given a chance in Seattle he could prove to be a decent although not great 5th starter.

Dan Cortes  RP – Tacoma:

Control.Problems.

I mean some people just don’t know how to control what they through. I thought that at this point if the Mariners were in a position to trade League or Aardsma they would by far be in one of the best position in baseball with Cortes being a solid option to be taking the ball in the 8th and possibly the 9th inning.

Unfortunately something happened in Venezuela in the off season and it’s just stuck with him all season. Don’t get me wrong he’s still got FILTHY stuff. In my mind, if he figures out how to consistently throw strikes, he’s the better option over Lueke to being the 9th inning guy. But, that’s the problem. He lets too many runners on base and it’s just an eventuality that those runners score. Though he has run some bad luck with an LOB% of only 67% and a BABIP of .412.

It’ll be interesting to see if we see any type of improvement the rest of the year.

WAIT AND SEE

Johermyn Chavez, RF – Jackson: Chavez is an engima to me and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I’ve polled a couple people in the scouting community and they kind of shrugged it off in the sense that he is what he is. A bit of a hacker who has to develop a better approach to the plate and is currently being exploited.

I think that’s fair right now. I noticed he’s been changing up his stance a few times over the course of the season. Now in July he’s posting a wOBA of .343 an ISO of .237 and a BB% over 15% in 90 Plate Appereances. That’s what we call progress.

He’s in a better position in my opinoin than that of Poythress right now. Not to mention the fact that Chavez in right field is a plus defender. He’s got one of the best arms in the organization and while he doesn’t take the best routes he has some speed that helps make up for his below average reads.

I still like Chavez and am willing to give him a chance.

Mauricio Robles, SP – Tacoma:  There is no statistical data that we can use for Robles right now. I don’t believe that any of his starts are really indicitive of him being “back” or not from his surgery.

It’s purely about him getting the opportunity to throw, get healthy and acclimated back to being on a mound. I’m going to give him about 5 starts in Tacoma before I really even look at his data.

I’m more interesting in what he’s topping out at, how many pitches he throws and which pitches he’s using right now.

I’m very concerned with Robles as I like him a lot. I still am holding out on the chance that Robles can turn into a somewhat productive better than normal back-of-the-rotation arm. Maybe he is what everyone thinks he is in a reliever. Time will only tell.

 

Mario Martinez, 3B – High Desert: Everyone always has like one or two guys that they like for really no other reason than they just grow attached to them. I have more than just two guys like that for me but Martinez is one of them.

He is sporting a very BABIP (.369) influenced line of .283/.312/.443 not to mention it’s High Desert so what the heck he could really not be much of anything besides a glove. But he’s hitting the ball harder and being a potential plus glove at third base or even in the out field he’s an intriguing guy.

If only he’d walk! He’s only had three of those so called “free passes” in the past two months. Which scares me greatly. He also still strikes out swinging way too much. But, there is still hope there for him. He is only 21 and maybe, just maybe a few Carlos Triunfel-like tweaks can turn him into a moderately interesting player.

 

Phillip Castillo, OF – Arizona League:

THE very LEAST talked about guy that should be getting a ton of recognition. He would have made my “stock raising portion” but he’s only 17 so it’s hard to say what exactly is for real with this guy and what’s not.

But right now that 17-year old is hitting .326/.388/.483. Yes, he’s striking out over 34% of the time and he has 0 home runs with a BABIP north of .500…

okay so you see why he’s at this portion of this list.

He may or may not be real but he’s been killing the ball and for all the talk about Alfredo Morales, Castillo has been nearly as good. It’ll be interesting to see him continue to grow as a hitter.

 

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Tags: Alfredo Morales Carlos Triunfel Dan Cortes Forrest Snow Johermyn Chavez Luke French Mario Martinez Mauricio Robles Phillip Castillo Rich Poythress Roman Morla Stefen Romero Vicente Campos Vinny Catricala Yoervis Medina

  • lonnie.mathis

    There are a few other guys that are playing at a high rate that might be worthy of mention, but you did a good job of hitting the right ones (true prospects). The only guy that I might add to your list of those whose stock is rising is Andy Carraway.

    A short list of the guys who really aren’t prospects who are having a good season would be:

    Kuo Hui Lo

    Jake Shaffer

    Danny Carroll

    Gabby Noriega

    Lonnie

  • Harrison_Crow

    There were about another dozen guys I wanted to add to the list but with time constraints I with held. Shaffer, Carrol and Carraway are exactly on that list.

    Noriega is a sure shortstop. But his line is nothing to write home about .256/.292/.349. If he could hit just a bit I’m sure he could become a Brendan Ryan type player with a solid glove and a toy bat. Yes, he’s had a wOBA of .353 but he needs to show me more than that at this stage.

    A couple other guys that fell short of the cut. Jamal Austin, Alfredo Morales, Mike McGee, Jabari Blash, Jharmidy De Jesus, Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, Tyler Burgoon. Maybe there are a couple that I missed but that’s who was on my mind.

  • lonnie.mathis

    @Harrison_Crow What are your thoughts on James Jones? He’s pulling the same thing that he did last year with Clinton when he struggled for the first half and then came on like gangbusters in the second half. Over the last month or so he has really started to hit and I predict that he continues to do so through the end of the season.

    Lonnie

  • Harrison_Crow

    @lonnie.mathis Yeah, I’m not entirely sure what’s going with Jones on when it comes to how his timing works and getting all up to speed at each new level.

    It was kind of predicable. But, at least he’s coming around, same with Kevin Rivers.

    I was a little worried about the both of them and this year hasn’t exactly gone really well for a lot of the position players.

  • maqman

    I’m of a similar persuasion of most of the guys you and Lonnie mentioned. I too am a Mario Martinez fan and for the same non-reasons. I’m in on Cat the Bat but Conor Dowley feels that is his only attraction. I respect Conor’s judgement but I hope he’s off on this one. I have to rain on Snow’s parade, I don’t see so much. Austin and Morales are interesting but I don’t see any love for Pimentel, I’m in on him for sure. I’d almost forgotten about Jones, he kind of fell off the radar. I still find Jake Shaffer appealing, his bat not his looks. Campos is posting some decent numbers. There’s a lot to like on the farm. I hope they get the big buck boys signed soon so there is even more to drool over.

  • Harrison_Crow

    @maqman I think Conor is on the mark with Catricala. His bat is really his only endearing quality. But that said there are plenty of guys in major league baseball that are bat only guys. The question really remains can Catricala be valueable enough to be a bat only guy.

    I think it’s a fair question.

    As for Guerillmo Pimentel, I should have added him to the Walker/Paxton exemption list. He just has had a lot of people talk about him that people know he’s had a good season. This was for some of the lesser talked about guys that are also having good season.

    I really like Pimentel, but I’m not as high on him as I was say two or three weeks ago. Nothing to do with skill, I’m worried about a De Jesus/Triunfel attitude factor.