DBack To The Future - A Minor League Report

As you take your time recovering from an amazing double header (hey, at least you didn't stay up all night to watch it), I'm pleased to bring you a minor league report. It's been a while since the last one, but the minors aren't that interesting when most of your best prospects are already playing in the bigs. In light of that, this might be a bit shorter than usual (on second thought, no it won't). In order to be as short as possible, I'll be using wOBA+ and tRA+ a lot. Basically, they are good true talent measures, and they are normalized (tRA+ and wOBA+ of 100 is league average, 150 is 50% better than league average, etc.). If you need more info, I'll get into it in the comments. I'll start with Reno.

Reno

The Aces are struggling. They are 2-10 in their last 12 games, and 15-24 overall, good for last place. The runs have dried since Whitesell got called up and Murillo got banned for using steroids, and the Aces have scored 5 runs in their last 4 games. Well, Whitesell should be back tonight, hopefully not for long, as I'm sure he can hit major league pitching, 26 at-bats with a BABIP of .150 notwithstanding.

 

At the plate:

  • Alex Romero is hitting .318/.387/.450 for a wOBA+ of 111 and I wouldn't mind seeing him come up for a bit. Even if he's as poor as he was for us last year, it'll be a big upgrade over Chris Young.
  • Chris Roberson is hitting .262/.330/.456 (wOBA+ of 107) and leads the team with 4 home runs.
  • Luke Carlin (104), John Hester (103), Trent Oeltjen (101), Ruben Gotay (99), Brandon Watson (97) and Rusty Ryal (97) have all been close to league average in wOBA.

On the mound:

  • Billy Buckner, who will get called up to start for the DBacks tomorrow, has pitched well in his last three starts, allowing 3 earned runs in 16.1 innings with 16 strikeouts and 7 walks to lower his ERA to 3.81 on the year. His tRA+ as a starter is 129, good for 12th in the PCL. Incidentally, the best tRA+ in the league belongs to Evan MacLane, who we traded earlier this season. Let's hope we don't get to regret this.
  • After a terrible start to the year, our reigning minor league pitcher of the year, Cesar Valdez, was good in his last two starts, allowing 2 earned runs over 11.1 innings. His 5.45 ERA is nothing to write home about, but in an extreme hitters league, he is above average, as his tRA+ (104) shows.
  • LHP Travis Blackley is showing signs of life since he was shifted to the bullpen, allowing 4 runs in 12 innings, with 12 strikeouts and only two walks.
  • Tony Barnette (tRA+ of 95), Hector Ambriz (77) and Seth Etherton (68) complete the Reno rotation.
  • Bobby Korecky (151) and Doug Slaten (147) rank among the league leading bullpen arms in tRA.
  • Jose Marte (86), Josh Ellis (68), Jon Coutlangus (41) and Abe Woody (35) are varying degrees of terrible.

Mobile

Things are not looking any better in Mobile. Since Parra and Augenstein got promoted, they had a six game losing streak, and their record stands at 22-18, 5 games back of first place. The pitching is still a strength, and as you're about to see, Hankerd is a one man wrecking crew.

At the plate:

  • OF Cyle Hankerd is not showing any signs of letting up, hitting .358/.429/.533 and his wOBA+ of 129 is 7th in the league and a little bit better than what Parra was doing before his callup. He might actually be the best choice should we send Young down, considering how well Parra has adjusted.
  • C Orlando Mercado is hitting .307/.386/.427 with a wOBA+ of 113, second in the league among catchers.
  • 3B Ricardo Sosa (109) and OF Chris Rahl (107) have been productive, while James Skelton (93), Evan Frey (92), Mark Hallberg (82), Yunesky Sanchez (81), Pedro Ciriaco (75) and Peter Clifford (64) have been disappointing.

On the mound:

  • Jarrod Parker has no problems with AA hitters, with a 2.66 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 20.1 IP. His tRA+ of 131 is among the league leaders.
  • Wes Roemer, who replaced Augenstein in the rotation, has a 2.45 ERA after two starts and a shiny 138 tRA+.
  • Matt Torra (88), Barry Enright (86) and Cody Evans (52) complete the rotation. Enright actually has an ERA of 3.82, but he's allowed 8 home runs already.
  • The monster bullpen is led by Dan Stange, who has a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 IP, with 16 K and only 3 BB. His tRA+ of 145 is good for 5th in the league among qualified relievers. Also performing well are Jason Urquidez (3.15 ERA, 20K:6BB in 20 IP, 141 tRA+), Clay Zavada (2.60 ERA, 18K:7BB in 17.1 IP, 128 tRA+) and Scott Maine (2.41 ERA, 20K:6BB in 18.2 IP, 113 tRA+). Dan Schlereth leads the bullpen in ERA with 1.76, but that masks some serious problems with command (10 walks in 15 innings) and his tRA+ is only 99.

Visalia

The Rawhide cooled off significantly after the 10-0, but they still lead the league with a 26-14 record.

At the plate:

  • Leadoff man Ollie Linton is putting together a good season, hitting .315/.436/.397. He is second in the league with 27 walks and 11th with a 117 wOBA+.
  • 1B/LF Ryne White is hitting .307/.422/.378 with a 114 wOBA+. He also displayed a good eye (22 walks) but has no homers in a power position.
  • Colin Cowgill leads the team with 5 home runs, and his line is .299/.393/.503 with a 112 wOBA+.
  • After a slow start to the season, 3B Kyle Greene found his stroke, and he's on a 7 game hitting streak, to push his line to .271/.338/.421 and a wOBA+ of 107.
  • C/1B Sean Coughlin (.260/.333/.442, wOBA+ of 107) was promoted to AA last week.
  • Taylor Harbin (wOBA+ of 101), Ed Easley (99), Konrad Schmidt (93) have been close to average, while Elijah Rumler (80) has been poor.

On the mound:

  • Josh Collmenter somehow has an ERA of 4.58, even though he struck out 37 batters in 37.1 IP, walking only 6. His tRA+ of 143 is second in the league among qualified pitchers.
  • Pat McAnaney is an interesting case. His ERA (3.82) and FIP (3.54) are good, but his tRA+ is only 94, which suggests he's giving up a lot of well hit balls and benefits from defense and luck.
  • The rotation is completed by Bryan Shaw (tRA+ of 102) and newcomers Trevor Harden (76) and Cristian Beltre (64), who have made slow starts to their high A campaigns.
  • The bullpen has been very good, anchored by Jordan Norberto (1.93 ERA, 27K, 9BB in 23.1 IP) who is second in the league with a 170 tRA+. Bryan Henry is 6th in the league with a 139 tRA+ (2.73 ERA, 18:2 K:BB in 26.1 IP). Jorge Perez (113 tRA+), Jeff Dietz (107), Chase Christianson (106) and Leyson Septimo (106) have all performed well in relief.

South Bend

The Hawks are on a five game losing streak that dropped them to 18-20. They lie in fourth position, 8.5 back of the division lead. The pitching is a strong point, and the hitting, well, not so much.

At the plate:

  • CF Brendan Duffy is hitting really well, his line is .331/.428/.419 and his wOBA+ of 122 is good for 12th in the league for batters with more than 100 PA.
  • 2B Jake Elmore's line is .252/.366/.423 and he leads the team with 20 walks. His wOBA+ is 116.
  • Jarrod Parker's older brother Justin is hitting .316/.386/.444 with a 115 wOBA+. He hit 3 doubles in a game on Tuesday.
  • Rossmel Perez (wOBA+ of 108), Alfredo Marte (103), Victor Estevez (98), Reynaldo Navarro (93), Isaias Asencio (88) and Alberto Diaz (87) complete the lineup.

On the mound:

  • Wade Miley is pitching well, with a 3.92 ERA and 31:7 K:BB in 41.1 IP. He leads the team with a 127 tRA+.
  • Ryan Cook has not allowed more than 3 runs all year, thanks to a power sinker that gets him a ton of groundballs. He is 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA and a 105 tRA+.
  • Brett Moorhouse (tRA+ of 90, ERA of 3.77), Sean Morgan (72, 3.42) and Taylor Sinclair (58, 4.22) complete the rotation
  • The bullpen is led by Terry Hose (tRA+ of 109, ERA of 1.15), Justin Mace (116, 4.15) and Bryan Woodall (112, 5.89)

 

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