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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The WAR Room: 2014 Lake County hitters season in review (9.28.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons at an end, we continue bringing you seasons in review, with today’s featuring the 2014 Lake County Captains. After focusing on the Captains’ pitchers last week, this week we focus on their hitters, including Eric HaaseNellie Rodriguez, and Clint Frazier.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. 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).

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.

Today we finish our look at the Lake County Captains Next week we will move to the Akron RubberDucks. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Notable Catcher

It took a little longer than expected, but catcher Eric Haase’s 2.7 poor-defense WAR in 77 games eventually earned him a late-season look in Carolina. Haase is still striking out quite a bit (25.6 percent strikeout rate, 122 K%+), but pairing an average 8.5 percent walk rate (103 BB%+) with amazing power (.243 isolated power, 205 ISO+) more than made up for the whiffs. The 21-year-old is still far from a finished product and is still improving his defense behind the plate, but right now, it looks like his bat will play going forward. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 28, 2014

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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The WAR Room: 2014 Lake County pitchers season in review (9.21.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons at an end, we continue bringing you seasons in review, with today’s featuring the 2014 Lake County Captains. This week, we focus on the Captains’ pitchers, including their strong trio of starting pitchers in Mitch BrownAdam Plutko, and Luis Lugo.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. 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 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.

Today we look at the 2014 Lake County pitchers. Next week we will move to their hitters. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

It did not start out that way, but by the end of the season, right-hander Mitch Brown found his stride and began to rebuild his prospect value. The 2012 second round pick had a rough go of things last year, but this season, he rebounded for a 2.1 FIP-based WAR and 2.8 RA-based WAR in 138.2 innings. There is still plenty of work ahead for Brown, especially considering his value was driven in part by a probably unsustainable 0.39 HR/9 (65 HR/9+). Pairing a roughly average 22.2 percent strikeout rate (106 K%+) with a high 9.6 percent walk rate (116 BB%+) will not work long term, but for now, the fact that the 20-year-old Brown is getting good results for the first time in his professional career is a great first step. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 21, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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The WAR Room: 2014 Carolina Mudcats hitters season in review (9.14.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons coming to an end, today we start bringing you seasons in review, starting with the 2014 Carolina Mudcats. This week we will focus on the Mudcats’ hitters before moving to the Lake County Captains next week.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. 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).

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.

Today we look at the 2014 Carolina Mudcats hitters. Next week we will move to the Lake County Captains. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Notable Catcher

Though injury cut catcher Jeremy Lucas’ season a little short, he still managed to lead Mudcats position players in average-defense WAR with 3.0. In addition to getting a bump from spending so much behind the plate, Lucas also added value with his power (.175 isolated power, 142 ISO+) and plate discipline (15.7 percent strikeout rate, 80 K%+; 11.8 percent walk rate, 137 BB%+). Nothing about Lucas’ 2014 season sticks out as wildly unsustainable, yielding hope the 23-year-old will be able to replicate it in 2015. Lucas still needs work on being better defensively behind the plate and is a little old to have not yet logged significant time in Double-A, but this season is encouraging nonetheless. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 14, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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Around the Farm: September 11, 2014 (9.12.14)

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. 

Jordan Milbrath (SP, Lake County): L (0-1), 2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 WP

Though essentially everything went wrong for the Lake County Captains in their 6-0 loss Thursday, another rough outing from a starting pitcher is the main reason they are down 2-0 to the Kane County Cougars and facing elimination in the Midwest League finals. Following Mitch Brown‘s two-inning, four-run outing on Wednesday, Milbrath was not much better and left the Captains down quickly. Bad outings happen — and Lake County would not have made the finals without the contributions of players like Brown and Milbrath — but the timing of these outings is obviously less than ideal. The Captains will hope their losing stays on the road as they bring the playoff action to Classic Park on Saturday. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 12, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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Around the Farm: September 10, 2014 (9.11.14)

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Cleveland prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Bradley Zimmer (RF, Lake County): 2-for-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 SB, 1 HBP

The Lake County Captains fell to the Kane County Cougars 4-3 in Game #1 of the Midwest League finals Wednesday night, though Zimmer did everything in his power to avoid that result. The 2014 first round pick reached base every time he went to the plate Wednesday and stole two bases, improving his playoff performance to 8-for-18 with two doubles, a triple, two walks, and two steals in five games. This hot streak comes on the heels of Zimmer’s strong three-game regular season callup to Lake County (3-for-11 with a double, two home runs, two walks, and a steal) and an .865 OPS with 11 steals in 45 games with Mahoning Valley. Whether the 21-year-old starts 2015 in Carolina (where he would likely split time in center field with Clint Frazier), begins the season with some time in Lake County (considering he has only played eight games at the Low-A level), or makes the jump all the way to Akron is still to be decided, but Zimmer is clearly putting together some strong performances in his first exposure to professional baseball. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 11, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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Coaches Corner ’14: RubberDucks manager Dave Wallace (9.9.14)

In today’s Coach’s Corner, Jim Piascik brings you his recent Q&A with Double-A Akron RubberDucks manager Dave Wallace.

This is a regular in-season and off-season premium piece on the site where Tony Lastoria or I sit down with a coach in the Cleveland minor league system and really break down and discuss several players on the roster and talk about some of the philosophies surrounding the development of players.

In my talk with Wallace, we discussed the atmosphere in Akron down the stretch, Wallace’s assignment to the Arizona Fall League, which players stood out to him in 2014, and, of course, Francisco Lindor.

Note that the interview took place before the start of the Eastern League playoffs and the RubberDucks’ elimination on Saturday, September 6.

As always, these pieces are in a Q&A format in order to provide the raw, uncut comments from the manager or coach.

Q: So just to start off, getting down into it, playoff race, what’s the atmosphere been like here over the last couple weeks, month or so, heading into September?

Dave Wallace (DW): We’re excited, we like the position that we’re in, got a little bit of work left to do, but we’re confident despite not playing our best baseball lately. In fact, we’re probably more confident because of that, that we’re able to be in this spot without playing our best ball, so we know when it starts to click, we’ll be in real good position heading into potential playoffs. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 9, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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The WAR Room: The 2014 Carolina Mudcats season in review (9.7.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons coming to an end, today we start bringing you seasons in review, starting with the 2014 Carolina Mudcats. This week we will focus on the Mudcats’ pitchers before recapping the hitters next week.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. 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 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.

Today we look at the 2014 Carolina Mudcats pitchers. Next week we will do the hitters. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Notable Starters

The top Mudcat pitcher in 2014 was left-hander Ryan Merritt, who was also named the top pitcher in the league by the Carolina League. Merritt’s 3.0 FIP-based WAR in 160.1 innings rates him as a good starter, but where the 22-year-old really stands out is in his 5.0 RA-based WAR. Based on his 2.58 ERA (66 ERA-), Merritt put up an MVP-level season as he established himself as a priority guy going forward. Merritt may not be a big strikeout guy (20.1 percent strikeout rate, 102 K%+), but his command-control approach and 4.0 percent walk rate (47 BB%+) should play well going forward as he looks to make the jump to Double-A in 2015. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, September 7, 2014

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in ZT. September 2014

 

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