The SnakePit Hatchlings Report Finale or: How I Calculated Josh Whitesell's Unending, Seven-seasons of Minor-league Statistics.

Super-witty Dr. Strangelove references left behind in the title, this is, in fact, the final Hatchlings Report, thus ending my second pet project which I have admittedly mainly composed for my own enjoyment, aside from the obvious female-comment-seeking Trent Oeltjen plug two columns ago.  After this my bet is I'll fill the time I have before school with random pithy comments on everyone else's FanPosts before going to school and writing pieces about the S.B. SilverHawks in an effort to try to convince myself that it's as enjoyable as watching the D-Backs.  Not liking those odds.

Today's Hatchlings Report is going to consist largely of the one report I've been dreading ever since I discovered very early in the beginning that it takes a fraction of the time to put down a pitcher's important stats than it does a hitter's complex sabermetric stats - the report of 1B Josh Whitesell.  Joining Whitesell in this report are OF Collin Cowgill, RHP Barry Enright, OF Gerardo Parra, and the wounded wunderkind himself, RHP Jarrod Parker.  Rankings credited to Scout.com.

#5 - 1B Josh Whitesell.  Born April 14, 1982.  27 years old.  Drafted in the 6th round in 2003 by Montreal.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 95 / Speed: 5 / Contact: 17 / Patience: 93.

2009 Stats: Split between AAA-Reno and MLB-Arizona (currently in Arizona)

AAA-Reno - 50 games, .313 BA, .422 OBP, .494 SLG, .916 OPS (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .758), 37 K, 36 BB (~1:1 K/BB ratio), .181 ISO, 17.5% K-Rate, 17.0% BB-Rate, .350 BABIP.

MLB-Arizona - 40 games, .204 BA, .366 OBP, .306 SLG, .672 OPS (average Major League OPS: .752), 28 K, 24 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .102 ISO, 19.7% K-Rate, 14.8% BB-Rate, .275 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Split between AAA-Tucson and MLB-Arizona

AAA-Tucson - 127 games, .328 BA, .425 OBP, .568 SLG, .993 OPS (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .792), 136 K, 74 BB (1.8:1 K/BB ratio), .240 ISO, 24.8% K-Rate, 13.5% BB-Rate, .411 BABIP.

MLB-Arizona - 7 games, .286 BA, .444 OBP, .714 SLG, 1.158 OPS (average Major League OPS: .749), 2 K, 1 BB (2:1 K/BB ratio), .428 ISO, 25.0% K-Rate, 12.5% BB-Rate, .250 BABIP.

2007 Stats: AA-Harrisburg

AA-Harrisburg - 119 games, .284 BA, .425 OBP, .512 SLG, .937 OPS (average Eastern League OPS: .731), 107 K, 87 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .228 ISO, 22.6% K-Rate, 18.4% BB-Rate, .340 BABIP.

2006 Stats: AA-Harrisburg

AA-Harrisburg - 127 games, .263 BA, .353 OBP, .432 SLG, .785 OPS (average Eastern League OPS: .703), 125 K, 53 BB (2.4:1 K/BB ratio), .169 ISO, 27.4% K-Rate, 11.6% BB-Rate, .333 BABIP.

2005 Stats: Hi-A Potomac

Hi-A Potomac - 113 games, .293 BA, .416 OBP, .524 SLG, .940 OPS (average Carolina League OPS: .744), 125 K, 74 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), .231 ISO, 27.0% K-Rate, 16.0% BB-Rate, .389 BABIP.

2004 Stats: Mid-A Savannah

Mid-A Savannah - 113 games, .250 BA, .351 OBP, .453 SLG, .804 OPS (average South Atlantic League OPS: .737), 91 K, 58 BB (1.6:1 K/BB raito), .203 ISO, 20.8% K-Rate, 13.2% BB-Rate, .287 BABIP.

2003 Stats: Low-A Vermont

Low-A Vermont - 49 games, .246 BA, .365 OBP, .407 SLG, .772 OPS (average New York-Pennsylvania League OPS: .670), 53 K, 28 BB (1.9:1 K/BB ratio), .161 ISO, 27.2% K-Rate, 14.4% BB-Rate, .327 BABIP.

It still confuses me that he was considered a "prospect," but, this aside, I have a very simple question when it comes to Josh Whitesell.  Did the Expos/Nationals not believe in the idea of a mid-season call-up?  In every one of his minor-league seasons in the Montreal/Washington system, Whitesell had an OPS at least sixty points above league average.  In 2005, it was almost two hundred points above league average.  He isn't in AA-Harrisburg within two months of that season beginning for what reason?  Why is he not in AAA at some point in 2006?  Why is he not an everyday AAA guy, if not an MLB backup, in 2007?  For a team running Demitri Young out there as their everyday 1B in the majors for a serious stretch of time, it's hard to imagine Josh Whitesell was too happy with his snail-like progression through the minors, despite absolutely tearing through pitching at every level.  He could have started for them last season, and he could be valuable for them right now, but they just didn't handle his progression properly.  Third round picks who start as 21-year-olds aren't meant to be handled with kid gloves, especially if they're performing.  They're meant to be pushed through the system as fast as possible to try to have a major-league impact ASAP.  Little things like this make Washington a crappy organization.  But Whitesell is in the majors, so now what?  Well, he probably is at his prime right now, and still just has an OPS of .672.  He's a supposed three-outcome (K, HR, BB) guy who hasn't hit homers, limiting his effectiveness to a solid but frustrating on-base guy at a position that is supposed to be one of the highest-producing positions on the diamond.  But he could still be a good pinch-hitter somewhere due to those on-base skills, and perhaps be the left-handed half of a platoon at 1B.  Something tells me, though, that he won't be in Arizona.  The D-Backs have to have Brandon Allen in the major-leagues, as he has nothing to prove in AAA, and with Whitesell not tearing the cover off the ball here, his presence only takes up a roster spot needed for more versatile players and takes starts away from Allen.  However, for whoever does get Whitesell, they may be in for a pleasant surprise.  A lot of the reason his production is down in the majors appears to be a factor of some serious over-regression of BABIP.  If that thing settles fifteen to twenty-five points higher next season than it has been this season, he may be up for a solid year (provided his walk rate remains constant), especially if he can get some of those homers back.


#4 (ranked #9 according to Baseball America) - OF Collin Cowgill.  Born May 22, 1986.  23 years old.  Drafted in the 5th round in 2008 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 97 / Speed: 70 / Contact: 28 / Patience: 96.

2009 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 61 games, .277 BA, .373 OBP, .445 SLG, .818 OPS (average California League OPS: .758), 49 K, 29 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), .168 ISO, 19.7% K-Rate, 11.6% BB-Rate, .325 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Split between Low-A Yakima and Mid-A South Bend

Low-A Yakima - 20 games, .304 BA, .415 OBP, .785 SLG, 1.200 OPS (average Pioneer League OPS: .715), 17 K, 12 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), .481 ISO (11 HR, 1 3B, & 3 2B in 24 H), 18.7% K-Rate, 13.1% BB-Rate, .255 BABIP.

Mid-A South Bend - 50 games, .249 BA, .346 OBP, .358 SLG, .704 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .694), 61 K, 25 BB (2.4:1 K/BB ratio), .109 ISO, 27.0% K-Rate, 11.1% BB-Rate, .216 BABIP.

Collin Cowgill has continued to drastically exceed his very recent and relatively low draft position.  He slid to the fifth round largely because of his height, 5'9", but it has far from hindered his power capabilities in the minors.  While it does probably give him a limit on his power potential in the majors, 25-30 HR is certainly not far from reach.  After having Brandon Allen-esque power output through 20 games of Yakima (11 HR in 79 ABs), he was promoted to South Bend, and saw his numbers dramatically fall, with his OPS falling to a just-above-league-average total of .704.  However, due to uber sabermetric stat-analysis, a return to former production seemed almost inevitable, as he was league-average in South Bend while also sporting a .216 BABIP.  His luck did drastically turn around, in fact, and he went to the Fall Instructional League, where he knocked 3 HRs, and earned MVP honors of the league.  He has now continued his success into this season at Visalia.  While the California League is admittedly a hitter's league, Cowgill has nontheless posted an OPS sixty points higher than league average while sporting a fairly sustainable BABIP of .325, and has kept much of his once-lost power he found in the Instructional League.  Expect good things from Cowgill, who will be entering AA next season at 25, and, if all goes well, he could find himself in Reno before next season ends (when you have a AAA hitter's league like the PCL, in contrast with the pitcher-friendly Southern League, it's a lot easier to imagine this making sense), and joining the OF frenzy around 2011 or 2012.  Were it not for the aforementioned OF frenzy, it's also feasable that  Cowgill could have been a AA-callup.

 

#3 (ranked #10 according to Baseball America in 2008) - RHP Barry Enright.  Born March 30, 1986.  23 years old.  Drafted in the 2nd round in 2007 by Arizona.  the Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 99 / K-Rating: 42 / Efficiency: 88.

2009 Stats: AA-Mobile

AA-Mobile - 22 games started, 129.0 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 78 K, 27 BB (2.9:1 K/BB ratio), 5.4 K/9IP, 1.9 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 29 games started, 164.1 IP, 4.44 ERa, 1.34 WHIP, 143 K, 35 BB (4.1:1 K/BB ratio), 7.8 K/9IP, 1.9 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Split between Low-A Yakima, Mid-A South Bend, and Hi-A Visalia (and one final stop, Pepperdine University)

Low-A Yakima - 5 games in relief, 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 0.88 WHIP, 12 K, 3 BB (4:1 K/BB ratio), 13.5 K/9IP, 3.4 BB/9IP.

Mid-A South Bend - 1 game in relief, 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0.50 WHIP, 1 K, 0 BB (RatioFail), 4.5 K/9IP, 0.0 BB/9IP.

Hi-A Visalia - 4 games in relief, 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1.00 WHIP, 4 K, 2 BB (2:1 K/BB ratio), 7.2 K/9IP, 3.6 K/9IP.

Barry Enright doesn't have top-level stuff, mostly relying on his command and pitching smarts to retire batters.  He mainly pitches with an average fastball which can touch 93 MPH if he really rares back and throws, but mostly is 89-92 MPH, and an average slider.  But he puts these pitches exactly where he wants them, and is effective by keeping walks to a minimum.  After making the transition from the hitter-friendly California League to the more pitcher-oriented Southern League, a nonetheless difficult jump due to the transition from A-ball to AA-ball, Enright's numbers have actually improved, although one has to believe that luck has something to do with this, as his K-Rate has dropped, while his H/9IP, HR/9IP, and BB/9IP are all identical, and his WHIP is .01 below last year's mark, and he's not a huge ground-ball pitcher (.93 GO/AO).  The biggest concern with Enright is whether or not he'll be able to get by on his fringy stuff in the majors strictly through command.  A good role model for him would be our very own Jon Garland, a guy who uses decent stuff, relies on fly balls, and frankly needs to be a little lucky to be average, but yet can eat innings at the back of a rotation.  Enright won't ever be a staff ace, but he could develop into that kind of innings-eater.  It'll be interesting to see how he handled AAA next season, and the PCL's hitter's haven.

 

#2 (ranked #5 in 2008 and #2 in 2009 according to Baseball America) - OF Gerardo Parra.  Born May 6, 1987.*  22 years old.*  Not Drafted - Signed out of Venezuela in 2004 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 42 / Speed: 87 / Contact: 84 / Patience: 33.

*Age not certain with Venezuelan prospects - D.O.B. is according to Venezuelan papers.

2009 Stats: Split between AA-Mobile and MLB-Arizona (currently in Arizona)

AA-Mobile - 29 games, .361 BA, .469 OBP, .491 SLG, .960 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .716), 13 K, 22 BB (1:1.7 K/BB ratio), .108 ISO, 10.0% K-Rate, 16.9% BB-Rate, .391 BABIP.

MLB-Arizona - 77 games, .298 BA, .335 OBP, .436 SLG, .771 OPS (average Major League OPS: .752), 60 K, 18 BB (3.3:1 K/BB ratio), .138 ISO, 18.2% K-Rate, 5.5% BB-Rate, .352 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Split between Hi-A Visalia and AA-Mobile

Hi-A Visalia - 50 games, .301 BA, .381 OBP, .413 SLG, .794 OPS (average California League OPS: .752), 31 K, 23 BB (1.3:1 K/BB ratio), .112 ISO, 14.2% K-Rate, 10.5% BB-Rate, .348 BABIP.

AA-Mobile - 73 games, .275 BA, .341 OBP, .419 SLG, .760 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .742), 34 K, 24 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), .144 ISO, 11.8% K-Rate, 8.3% BB-Rate, .297 BABIP.

2007 Stats: Split between Mid-A South Bend and Hi-A Visalia

Mid-A South Bend - 110 games, .320 BA, .370 OBP, .435 SLG, .805 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .696), 51 K, 30 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), .115 ISO, 10.8% K-Rate, 6.3% BB-Rate, .347 BABIP.

Hi-A Visalia - 24 games, .284 BA, .303 OBP, .382 SLG, .685 OPS (average California League OPS: .770), 17 K, 4 BB (4.3:1 K/BB ratio), .098 ISO, 16.0% K-Rate, 3.8% BB-Rate, .314 BABIP.

2006 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula (stats glitch on The Baseball Cube - stats according to Scout.com)

Rookie-level Missoula - (?) games, .328 BA, .386 OBP, .469 SLG, .855 OPS (average Pioneer League OPS: .738), 30 K, 25 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .141 ISO, 10.1% K-Rate, 8.4% BB-Rate, .359 BABIP (sacrifice flies not included in BABIP calculation).

2005 Stats: Boca Chica (in the Dominican Republic) (stats according to Scout.com)

Boca Chica - (?) games, .384 BA, .444 OBP, .561 SLG, 1.005 OPS (average League OPS unknown), 25 K, 22 BB (1.1:1 K/BB ratio), .177 ISO, 9.7% K-Rate, 8.5% BB-Rate, .413 BABIP (sacrifice flies not included in BABIP calculation).

Once again it's worth noting that Parra's age is more than likely correct, due to his time spent with the team and the fact that he's a high-profile prospect, so the team would want to be very sure of just how old he is given how far he'd risen through the system.  And another point worth noting, if you feel those BABIP's are high, just remember that your BABIP has to be higher than your BA (or identical to if you never strike out...), and if you're hitting .361 in AA, then you're going to have a really high BABIP.  The biggest thing that is a concern for his production in the majors is the fact that he went from walking almost twice as much as he struck out in AA to striking out over three times as often as he walked.  However, this can also obviously be attributed to the fact that he's 22 years old and playing in the major-leagues.  Patience and place-discipline will come later for the kid, especially given that he displayed some decent K/BB rates/ratios in the minors.  Given his age, it's absolutely ridiculous that he's already hitting near-.300, and only shows that there are some great things to come from this kid.  For everyone saying that Conor Jackson will start in left field over Parra, consider this: in 2008, Jackson's last season, his OPS was .822.  This season, Gerardo Parra has an OPS of .771.  Jackson has spent the last season getting over pneumonia, Parra has spent the last season developing as a 22-year-old in the major leagues, and has appeared to handle every new adjustment made against him perfectly fine.  Parra plays significantly better (and more aesthetically comforting) defense in left field than Jackson.  Who says Parra doesn't play over Co-Jack?  Just another twist in Mr. McLennan's "Seven OFs, Three Cups" saga (apologies for the tastelessness of the preceeding joke, I felt it too funny to pass over).

 

#1 (ranked #46 in MLB and #2 for ARI in 2008, ranked #1 for ARI in 2009) - RHP Jarrod Parker.  Born November 24, 1988.  20 years old.  Drafted in the 1st round (9th overall) in 2007 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 88 / K-Rating: 93 / Efficiency: 91.

2009 Stats: Split between Hi-A Visalia and AA-Mobile (currently in Mobile - shut down for rest of season)

Hi-A Visalia - 4 games started, 19.0 IP (an average of fewer than 5 IP per start due to organizational innings limits), 0.95 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 21 K, 4 BB (5.3:1 K/BB ratio), 9.9 K/9IP, 1.9 BB/9IP.

AA-Mobile - 16 games started, 78.1 IP (again, an average of fewer than 5 IP per start due to organizational innings limits), 3.68 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 74 K, 34 BB (2.2:1 K/BB ratio), 8.5 K/9IP, 3.9 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: Mid-A South Bend

Mid-A South Bend - 24 games started, 117.2 IP (again, an average of fewer than 5 IP per start due to organizational innings limits),  3.44 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 117 K, 33 BB (3.5:1 K/BB ratio), 8.9 K/9IP, 2.5 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Not allowed to pitch by organization - held back until the Arizona Fall League

Well, it's easy to understand why everyone loves Jarrod Parker so much.  The kid's fastball is absolutely toxic, he's a legitimate starter (I'm looking at YOU, Mr. Scherzer), and his only minor hiccups have come due to his slight jump in walk-rate at Mobile this season, although not by a concerning enough figure to warrant any real concern.  Of course, as well all know, the huge concern now rests in his "elbow tightness."  He visited Dr. James Andrews, never a good sign to be honest, but was told to avoid Tommy John surgery for the time being.  While we've all heard that enough as of late to automatically revert to cynic mode, isn't it time we were really rewarded for our faith by actually having someone pull through an issue like this with just rehab?  The good news behind the possibility of surgery is the fact that he'd be back and pitching in AA again at age 22, and would have a chance to possess the same electric stuff as he does now, or perhaps be even better.  Of course, though, we would love to have Parker available for us next season as a sixth starter option from Reno for the occasional start or two in case of injuries before we shut him down again due to a necessary innings cap.  You just never feel completely at ease when a 20-year-old super-prospect of your favorite team's farm system is having their throwing elbow operated on.  Come on Baseball Gods, we deserve this one.  After a full year of Brandon Webb-related misery, we really, honestly do.

 

So that's all for the countdown of the Hatchling Reports, there will be more to come though, mostly on the prospects we picked in the 2009 draft and how they're faring, as well as whatever other requests some of you may have.

 

Hatchling Bites:

AAA-Reno: Day off.

AA-Mobile: Wes Roemer threw seven shutout innings as the BayBears beat up on Huntsville 7-1.  The one run was allowed by Leyson Septimo in his one inning of work.  Lots of good offensive games.  Mark Hallberg was 2-2 with a walk and two runs scored.  Pedro Ciriaco (now hitting third) was 2-4 with a run and an RBI.  Ricardo Sosa was 2-4 with a double, three RBI, and a run scored. Bryan Byrne was 1-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Hi-A Visalia: The Rawhide beat Stockton 8-3 behind a great start from Pat McAnaney, who allowed one unearned run through seven innings, striking out eight, walking two, and giving up just three hits.  Conor Jackson went 0-3 with a GIDP, an RBI, and a run scored.  Ollie Linton went 2-4 with a home run, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.  Ed Easley went 1-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI, and two runs scored.  Kyle Greene also had 2 RBI.

Mid-A South Bend: After a poor showing from starter Randy Rodriguez, who gave up four earned over four innings, the SilverHawks' bullpen shut down Lansing as South Bend rallied to beat the Lugnuts off of Clayton Conner's walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth.  Yonata Ortega, Bayron Zepeda, and Justin Mace each pitched two scoreless innings of relief apiece.  Alfredo Marte had a three-run homer, and A.J. Pollock, Reynaldo Navarro, and Justin Parker each had two hits.

Low-A Yakima: Despite a quality start from Andrew Wolcott (6 IP, 3 ER), the Bears were shut out by four Tri-City pitchers, losing by a final score of 3-0.  Brent Greer had a good game, going 3-4, but the other nine Bears to bat only mustered the same number of hits combined.

Rookie-level Missoula: The Osprey were swept by the Orem Owlz, as starter Miguel Pena coughed up 5 earned runs in 3.1 IP.  Adonys Canelo had three hits, including a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  David Nick went 2-5 with 2 RBI and a run scored.  Paul Goldschmidt went 1-3 and had yet another RBI.

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