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Risers and Fallers


Tyler

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Risers

 

Taylor Lindsey

Mark Sappington

Mike Morin

Zach Borenstein

Alex Yarbrough

Jeremy Berg

Eric Stamets

RJ Alvarez

Michael Fish

Eduar Lopez

Jose Rondon

 

Fallers

 

Kaleb Cowart

Randal Grichuk

CJ Cron

Travis Witherspoon

 

Overall, a very disappointing year for our 'top prospects' outside of Lindsey. On the other hand, we had some nice breakthrough seasons from Morin, Sappington, Borenstein, Alvarez, and Yarbrough.

 

This system is very dry in offensive talent, starting pitching, and catchers. There are some nice bullpen arms that can turn out to be quite nice though in Morin, Alvarez, Maronde, Chaffee, and Berg.

 

The Angels went pitching heavy in the '13 amateur draft, so hopefully a few more starting pitching prospects can come out of that class. The system is starting to show signs of heading towards more disciplined hitters and quick-rising college arms.

 

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Good list. I'd add Snyder to the Risers column. He's raked all year and definitely has plus power.

 

I'd also keep an eye on Sherman Johnson. I think he's an intriguing prospect. Doesn't have a ton of power, but he seems to have excellent plate discipline, some speed, and versatility. The fact that he can play 3B, 2B, and OF could make him rather useful to the organization.

Edited by Toby Ziegler
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Yeah...  Grichuk did a lot better than I was expecting -- I was somewhat expecting Grichuk to have a season like Cowart's.  I expected the park to factor heavily into his performance but to RG's credit his K rate basically remained static, his walk rate went up slightly -- not sure if they will have him repeat AA (wouldn't hurt him), but he's one of the best candidates to have a huge breakout next year if he goes to AAA.   He will still only be 22.

 

Travis Witherspoon was exactly the player I predicted he would be and caught grief over.  Still, to be fair.... it's safe to say the park has hurt him just as much as Grichuk, possibly more given he doesn't have RG's brute strength and he has been even more pull happy throughout his career..  His RBBIP of .264 is well below the league average of .313.   The big difference here is that Witherspoon will be 25 next year.

 

C.J. Cron, was even worse than I feared.  I comped him to Shea Hillenbrand with the upshot of Overbay..  He is looking more and more like Shea Hillenbrand every day.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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Cron is a faller, no doubt, but as far as fallers go, it isn't bad at all.  He put up a decent season and showed glimpses of brilliance, and went 2-4 in the Future's Game.  Still, did everyone NOT expect his HR's to decline in Dickey Stephens Park?  I thought he'd hit for better average and improve his plate discipline, he didn't but at the same time, he's hit for all the power I thought he would.  

 

It's simply been put on the backburner of Angels fans' minds because of the power output we've seen from Lindsey and Grichuk thus far.  Those are truly two special cases.

 

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Lindsey was the Angels starting 2B at some point next season.  It also wouldn't surprise me at all to see both Grichuk and Cron slam 30+ HR's next season in AAA Salt Lake.  Not saying it's because they'll be that great, it's simply the idea of putting a power hitter in a power friendly park in a power friendly league.

 

We see it every year, hitters open some eyes in Arizona and Orem, disappear for a year in the Midwest League, put up good numbers in the Cal League and re-emerge on everyone's prospect maps, show a mediocre or down season in AA in the Texas League and then put up some eye-opening numbers in AAA.  

 

To be honest I'm actually surprised fans haven't caught onto this trend more and put more stock in it.  It just seems like we all have short memories with prospects and just live in the now, completely disregarding the precedence set by the parks and leagues, player's previous seasons or even skill sets in favor of looking at the most recent box score as a way of evaluating prospects. 

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My observations are more than boxscore-based. Im well aware of parks, leagues, league competition, statistics, and characteristics that translate to MLB success. I dont get paid for it, but I watch, follow, and evaluate prospects and Major Leaguers on a full-time basis for 7 years now.

 

 

Likewise....   I remember being mocked by a wannabe minor league guru by the name of Stephen Smith when I suggested Troy Glaus could leapfrog everyone in the system and be in Anaheim within a year -- Tank prolly remembers that back and forth pretty well as Glaus was still playing shortstop at UCLA at the time.  I've been right on minor leagues far more often than I have been wrong.

Age Vs league, park effects...  I probably talk those issues up more than anyone....

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Very well Shane, then I ask you what is it about Jeremy Berg this season that separates him from last season and make him a riser?  Furthermore why is Grichuk considered a "faller" in your book?

 

My own observation is that his fastball is sitting around 86-87 this season and when I saw him last year he was at 88-89.  Certainly a decrease in speed hasn't made him a better pitcher?  His mechanics haven't changed much outside of the fact that his landing spot is more consistent and seems to be finishing his delivery more rather than cutting it off.  His offspeed pitch is nearly identical to what it was last season.  He isn't throwing any more strikes than before?  I guess you could cite his command and I wouldn't have an argument but at the same time do we have specific examples?

 

And Grichuk, he's done exacly what he did last season but did so with more power in an extremely harsh hitting climate against advanced pitching.  Do we not call that improvement?

 

Consider this: Grichuk is hitting .276 with 16 HR's away from that hellacious park for hitting which he plays his home games at.  Conversely, if he played anywhere outside of Little Rock, he'd probably have a .280 BA with 30 HR's this year in the Texas League.  If we're so willing to look past the home/road splits in the Cal League to justify our arguments for progression that why do we use the same ignorance to justify a lack thereof in the Texas League?

Edited by ScottyA_MWAH
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Admittedly, I've never seen Berg pitch, but I think the fact that he has thrived in the PCL this year makes him a riser. He struggled a bit in AAA last year and in 2011. It's difficult to extrapolate with relief pitchers because of the sample size, but his numbers this year are hard to ignore. Nice K/BB ratio, and his .292 BABIP suggests that he hasn't really gotten lucky. The 81% strand rate is somewhat high, but good relief pitchers always have high strand rates.

Edited by Toby Ziegler
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Very well Shane, then I ask you what is it about Jeremy Berg this season that separates him from last season and make him a riser?  Furthermore why is Grichuk considered a "faller" in your book?

 

My own observation is that his fastball is sitting around 86-87 this season and when I saw him last year he was at 88-89.  Certainly a decrease in speed hasn't made him a better pitcher?  His mechanics haven't changed much outside of the fact that his landing spot is more consistent and seems to be finishing his delivery more rather than cutting it off.  His offspeed pitch is nearly identical to what it was last season.  He isn't throwing any more strikes than before?  I guess you could cite his command and I wouldn't have an argument but at the same time do we have specific examples?

 

I'm not sure what you have against me putting Berg in the stock rising column. Would you have preferred a 'back to back good seasons at high levels to prove his value' category?

 

 

And Grichuk, he's done exacly what he did last season but did so with more power in an extremely harsh hitting climate against advanced pitching.  Do we not call that improvement?

 

Consider this: Grichuk is hitting .276 with 16 HR's away from that hellacious park for hitting which he plays his home games at.  Conversely, if he played anywhere outside of Little Rock, he'd probably have a .280 BA with 30 HR's this year in the Texas League.  If we're so willing to look past the home/road splits in the Cal League to justify our arguments for progression that why do we use the same ignorance to justify a lack thereof in the Texas League?

 

 

I understood my listing of Grichuk in stock falling category would be controversial, but it's because I'm not too fond of his long-term plate discipline improving. The power is obviously nice given his age, but I don't see him ever walking 8% of the time. These types of players will go into slumps too often in the future and will affect their consistency and league life.

Edited by Shane
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And Grichuk, he's done exacly what he did last season but did so with more power in an extremely harsh hitting climate against advanced pitching.  Do we not call that improvement?

 

Consider this: Grichuk is hitting .276 with 16 HR's away from that hellacious park for hitting which he plays his home games at.  Conversely, if he played anywhere outside of Little Rock, he'd probably have a .280 BA with 30 HR's this year in the Texas League.  If we're so willing to look past the home/road splits in the Cal League to justify our arguments for progression that why do we use the same ignorance to justify a lack thereof in the Texas League?

 

Grichuk's ISO has gone up a bit in a pitcher's league, so that's promising. His walk rate has mildly improved, going from a dismal 4% to 5.2%. His strikeout rate remains pretty good at 16.9%. His .270 BABIP suggests he's gotten a little unlucky. His .255 BA is slightly above league average (.252), and his .305 OBP is well below league average (.320). If he's improved at all, it's only ever so slightly.

 

Zach's home/road splits aren't all that extreme. He has a .939 OPS at San Manuel Stadium, and his last 2 HRs were crushed in a pitcher's park. I'm sure the altitude and wind patterns are much different at Dickey-Stephens, but it is not a big park.

 

332 down the left field line, 330 down the right field line, 375 to right-center, 360 to left-center, 400 to center. If anything, it looks tougher on lefties than righties.

 

I don't foresee Zach posting a .699 OPS there like Grichuk has. It hasn't affected Cron all that much. He's actually been better at home than he has been on the road. He has a .790 OPS at home and a .718 OPS on the road. On the other hand, Lindsey has struggled mightily at home, posting a .704 OPS and an .857 OPS on the road.

Edited by Toby Ziegler
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Shane,

 

I understand not particularly seeing a great future in a prospect, but what does that have to do with his stock falling when his numbers have actually improved?  

 

Also, as far as Berg goes, I totally understand if you're calling Berg a riser based off of his box score, but you said you've been following the minors for seven years, which naturally makes me trust you a bit more but you didn't offer any empirical evidence or scouting to suggest he's improved, just that his ERA is better.  Don't get me wrong, I feel like the Angels bullpen has been so terribly inconsistent that promoting Berg wouldn't be a terrible idea at this point, I'm just not sure whether he's progressed or not and am wondering where you got it from.  

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http://www.angelswin-forum.com/forums/topic/7207-the-angels-should-promote-jeremy-berg-this-september/

 

Since he's a sidearm pitcher who relies on his arm slot, junk, and deception I fail to see why him losing a little velo is relevant. He's been a beast against righties. He's not nearly as effective against lefties, but at least he's passable against them.

 

This is what he's done against righties:

 

.229 BAA, 10.9 K/9 (54 Ks in 44 2/3 innings), 6.00 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP

Edited by Toby Ziegler
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Because he is a free-swinger who only improved his power numbers?

 

We're talking about Grichuk right? Not only did his power numbers improve, but his BB rate improved as well. He's still a "free swinger" but he has shown improvement in that regard.

 

I see absolutely no reason whatsoever for him to be on your "fallers" list, other than his AVG being lower, but that is stupid.

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