We have almost daily diaries about minor league happenings, with lots of interesting info added to game reports. But I wanted to take a step back from the day to day stuff and look at all of April level by level. I want to know more about some of these guys and I'm hoping that some of you will fill in what I don't list here, or offer insights to illuminate the numbers. If my schedule permits I'll follow up with Bakersfield and Frisco in the next couple of days.
The Clinton Lumberkings are 18-5, in 1st place by 2 games. The team offense leads the Midwest League in OBP (.353), SLG (.428), and are 2nd in AVG. (.284). The pitching is also good, 2nd in ERA (2.79), 1st in WHIP (1.07) and the staff has a K/BB ratio of 2.56. Even the defense ranks highly, not bad for the 2nd youngest team in the league. This team is stacked with prospects.
Yeah, yeah, small sample size and all that. Please add what you know about these (listed in no particular order) and others.
- Ian Gac 1B .395/.485/.802. He's cooled off a bit this week (3 for his last 16). Last year I never even thought about this guy. He was not even mediocre up until 2007 saw a significant uptick in his power and plate discipline. This year that trend has continued, with higher walk rates, less K's, and a .427 ISOP. There's probably a little bit of luck here, but even if he cools off I'm guessing that the improvement is real and meaningful for the long term. He'll be 23 in August, so we need to see what he can do at higher levels soon.
- Jose Felix C .333/.383/.444. Does the org. have yet another catching prospect? We don't know much about this guy, but he played passably well in the Mexican League last year at 19 (some equate the league to AAA). Bears watching.
- Christian Santana OF/DH/C? .274/.349/.466. Is he still a catcher? He's DH'ed 11 times and played OF 8 (RF 5, LF 3). He is striking out a ton (nearly 40% of PA's).
- Engel Beltre OF .247/.291/.371. He's holding his own for an 18-yr. old. His K rate is improving, but he has only 3 walks. 2 of those have come in the last 4 games, though, and he seems to be hitting a little better lately.
- Jonathan Green 3B .214/.309.329. For no good reason I took a liking to this 2007 draft pick, so I've been disappointed he hasn't gotten off to a better start. His BABIP (.239) and walk rate tell me he'll probably be fine, though. He caught 45 games last summer, but has played only at 3B this year.
- Mitch Moreland 1B .357/.386/476. Another 2007 draftee, off to a decent start.
- Tim Smith OF .342/.396/.494. Continuing to show good plate discipline (9 BB, 10K). 8 doubles, 0 HRs, but he's hitting the ball in the air, wouldn't be surprise to see some HRs soon.
- Derek Holland. 1-0, 2.79. Does anyone know why he skipped a start last week? 1st start was terrific (9K, 0 BB, 1H), but middling since with too many walks.
- Kennil Gomez. 4-0, 1.55. 20-yr. old Dominican has 23 K's, just 2 BB's in 29 IP. 65% ground balls. Righties are hitting .226, lefties .119. Just 3 extra-base hits. A lot to like.
- Fabio Castillo. 1-0, 5.00. Better than that era indicates. Lefties are hitting .433, righties, just .108. 19 Ks in 18 IP.
- Neftali Feliz. 2-1, 4.64. Inconsistent like Castillo, but damn brilliant at times. 26 Ks in 21.1 IP, and holding the league to a .200 avg. 58% ground balls.
- Jorge Quintero. 2-0, 3.52. Peripherals are worse than these numbers, has had some luck. Ground ball rates look good.
- Beavan. You know what he did on Tuesday night. Nice beginning.