The SnakePit Hatchlings Report: Prospects 31-35

After my weekend vacation in sunny, less-oven-like Coronado, California, it's back to the reality of excessive SnakePit posts, and only 18 days until I begin my trek back to the promise of classes, more than five friends, Lady SouthBend, and Stapp (the band that will be formed with my three roommates, named after Creed man/myth/legend Scott Stapp, whom we mock incessantly - watch one of Creed's music videos and you'll see why yourself).

So, on that note, it's time for another Hatchlings Report - today's prospects are LHP Scott Maine, OF Ollie Linton, 1B Bryan Byrne, C Sean Coughlin, and 3B Kyle Greene.  As usual, credit to the rankings goes to Scout.com.

#35 - LHP Scott Maine.  Born February 2, 1985.  24 years old.  Drafted in the 6th round in 2007 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 56 / K-Rating: 80 / Efficiency: 69.

2009 Stats: AA-Mobile

NOTE: Promoted to AAA-Reno today

AA-Mobile - 36 games in relief, 47.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 46 K, 15 BB (3.1:1 K/BB ratio), 8.4 K/9IP, 2.9 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 32 games in relief, 48.0 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 53 K, 21 BB (2.5:1 K/BB ratio), 9.9 K/9IP, 3.9 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Low-A Yakima

Low-A Yakima - 8 games in relief, 10.1 IP, 6.10 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 20 K, 12 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), 17.4 K/9IP, 10.5 BB/9 IP.

Uncanny timing in covering Maine tonight, seeing as how he was just promoted from AA-Mobile to AAA-Reno after plowing through Southern League batters as one of the dearth of left-handed relief arms in the system.  I anticipate that this also has something to do with the arrival of Leyson Septimo, who has yet to allow a run in 7.1 AA innings, and Roque Mercedes, from the Felipe Lopez trade, in Mobile.  Maine's numbers are intriguing though.  He had an alarmingly-high WHIP for his ERA in Mobile, has a massive backwards LHB/RHB split, with lefties hitting .348 off of Maine, while righties managed a .270 average (and .270 is not exceptionally low either).  However, most of his lumps came in a disastrous June, and Maine had a sparkling July, with only one earned run in 14 innings pitched, a 0.64 ERA, and was picked highly as a reliever out of college with a solid fastball from 88-92, and a wicked curve, likely urging the organization to try to promote him fairly quickly through the system.  But expect a few possible lumps against better hitters if luck was as significant a factor in Mobile as it seems it was.

 

#34 - OF Ollie Linton.  Born April 7, 1986.  23 years old.  Drafted in the 13th round in 2008 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 18 / Speed: 97 / Contact: 58 / Patience: 50.

2009 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 100 games, .292 BA, .393 OBP, .400 SLG, .793 OPS (average California League OPS: .756), 74 K, 51 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), .108 ISO, 17.1% K-Rate, 11.8% BB-Rate, .358 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Split between Rookie-level Missoula and Mid-A South Bend

Rookie-level Missoula -16 games, .246 BA, .325 OBP, .333 SLG, .685 OPS (average Pioneer League OPS: .777), 16 K, 6 BB (2.7:1 K/BB ratio), .087 ISO, 21.3% K-Rate, 8.0% BB-Rate, .308 BABIP.

Mid-A South Bend - 34 games, .277 BA, .381 OBP, .307 SLG, .688 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .694), 32 K, 19 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), .030 ISO, 20.5% K-Rate, 12.2% BB-Rate, .362 BABIP.

Ollie "Lightning" Linton has turned himself into a fantastic leadoff-hitter prospect with a great second season in pro ball at age 23.  His name should tell you everything there is to say about his speed - it's fantastic.  His speed has allowed him to hit 8 triples at Visalia this season, which is why he has impressive SLG and ISO for being someone so notorious for having no power, as demonstrated by his zero home runs in Mid-A and Hi-A.  Upon moving up from Mid-A to Hi-A this year, he's proceeded to improve on nearly every aspect of his game - BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, K-Rate, BB-Rate, and ISO - all while his BABIP has seen a slight drop of .004.  A .358 BABIP still seems shockingly high, but with Linton's speed, one can expect that a few more of those ground ball outs that he puts in play will end up as infield singles, making a BABIP solidly over .300 feasable, although .350 might be a bit much to ask for.  But even with a little regression, Linton's speed and improving walk-rate make him a legitimate leadoff man prospect, and give him good center field range.  He also does need to learn the skill and reads involved with stealing bases, though, as he is only 19-33 (57.6%) this season, and was 14-21 (66.7%) last season.

 

#33 - 1B Bryan Byrne.  Born April 30, 1984.  25 years old.  Drafted in the 12th round in 2005 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 66 / Speed: 14 / Contact: 54 / Patience: 89.

2009 Stats: Split between AA-Mobile and AAA-Reno (Currently in AA-Mobile)

AA-Mobile - 57 games, .255 BA, .393 OBP, .370 SLG, .763 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .711), 40 K, 40 BB (1:1 K/BB ratio), .115 ISO, 17.9% K-Rate, 17.9% BB-Rate, .306 BABIP.

AAA-Reno - 35 games, .133 BA, .283 OBP, .184 SLG, .467 OPS, (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .757), 20 K, 16 BB (1.3:1 K/BB ratio), .051 ISO, 17.5% K-Rate, 14.0% BB-Rate, .162 BABIP.

2008 Stats: AA-Mobile

AA-Mobile - 121 games, .303 BA, .405 OBP, .433 SLG, .838 OPS, (average Southern League OPS: .742), 70 K, 66 BB (1.1:1 K/BB ratio), .130 ISO, 14.5% K-Rate, 13.7% BB-Rate, .349 BABIP.

2007 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 128 games, .310 BA, .397 OBP, .464 SLG, .861 OPS, (average California League OPS: .770), 70 K, 66 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .154 ISO, 14.3% K-Rate, 12.1% BB-Rate, .344 BABIP.

2006 Stats: Mid-A South Bend

Mid-A South Bend - 120 games, .286 BA, .389 OBP, .410 SLG, .799 OPS, (average Midwest League OPS: .690), 88 K, 70 BB (1.3:1 K/BB ratio), .124 ISO, 17.4% K-Rate, 13.8% BB-Rate, .332 BABIP.

2005 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula

Rookie-level Missoula - 64 games, .267 BA, .381 OBP, .398 SLG, .789 OPS, (average Pioneer League OPS: .774), 50 K, 42 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .131 ISO, 19.0% K-Rate, 16.0% BB-Rate, .329 BABIP.

Eff You, Byran Byrne.  Eff You, Sir.  Too... Many... Stats...  Ahhhhhhhhhhh... Mmk, I'm back.  Bryan Byrne came into the season as an old AA player repeating a level he probably shouldn't have been repeating due to the presence of Josh Whitesell as the everyday 1B in AAA-Reno.  He had a reputation as a walk-machine who put the ball in the play, and who could put a charge into the ball when he put it in play.  Instead of taking his low assignment personally and forcing the organization to promote him by destroying the ball, his numbers have dropped dramatically, with more than a little help from his not-so-good friend, BABIP regression.  Byrne's regression in AA, not to mention his mighty struggles in Reno, have to scare the organization, and with his age climbing to the wrong end of his 20's, this year's bad season has likely spelled his end in the Arizona farm system, especially with the acquisition of the younger, better, higher-ceiling Brandon Allen from the White Sox (a move likely brought about partially because of Byrne's struggles in AAA and the organization's loss of faith in him).  Five years in pro ball without at least putting his mark on AAA is a lot for a guy who played three seasons of college ball.  Could see him doing what Whitesell did - signing on with another organization's system, hitting his prime in AAA, and getting a few looks in the majors as a decent backup.  But with Allen, Whitesell, and Sean Coughlin (see below) around, don't expect his shot at the majors to be in the desert.

 

#32 - 1B/C Sean Coughlin.  Born May 14, 1985.  24 years old.  Drafted in the 13th round in 2007 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 95 / Speed: 1 (Hahaha!) / Contact: 41 / Patience: 88.

2009 Stats: Split between Hi-A Visalia and AA-Mobile (Currently in AA-Mobile)

Hi-A Visalia - 27 games, .260 BA, .333 OBP, .442 SLG, .775 OPS (average California League OPS: .756), 20 K, 12 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), .182 ISO, 17.2% K-Rate, 10.3% BB-Rate, .284 BABIP.

AA-Mobile - 50 games, .304 BA, .432 OBP, .484 SLG, .916 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .711), 19 K, 35 BB (1:1.8 K/BB ratio), .180 ISO, 9.7% K-Rate, 17.9% BB-Rate, .309 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Mid-A South Bend

Mid-A South Bend - 103 games, .240 BA, .341 OBP, .430 SLG, .771 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .694), 73 K, 56 BB (1.3:1 K/BB ratio), .190 ISO, 17.4% K-Rate, 13.4% BB-Rate, .251 BABIP.

2007 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula

Rookie-level Missoula - 54 games, .245 BA, .349 OBP, .397 SLG, .746 OPS (average Pioneer League OPS: .760), 52 K, 26 BB (2:1 K/BB ratio), .152 ISO, 24.8% K-Rate, 12.4% BB-Rate, .305 BABIP.

Apparently Sean Coughlin found something in the water in Mobile that turned him into the white, AA-version of Victor Martinez, because his promotion from Visalia came with a boost in OPS of 141 points, and not through completely unsustainable means.  He dropped his K-Rate, upped his BB-Rate, started making more contact, kept up his raw power numbers, and utilized only a small bonus of BABIP, one that doesn't suggest a significant drop-off is coming.  We don't know if he can keep up the K/BB ratio, but if he can improve it from its already solid 1.7:1 ratio from Hi-A next year or later this year in a likely promotion to Reno, he could be on pace to be a solid major-league player.  These are, of course, significant assumptions, as the Mobile sample size is only 50 games, and he hasn't played since July 11, as he has been hurt.  Not insignificant, but not the only numbers you're going to use as a measuring stick for his future.  A younger first-baseman prospect than the aforementioned Byrne, and is producing better than Byrne when healthy, all the more reason Byrne may be on his way out of the organization.  If he can catch, his bat is all the better.

 

#31 - 3B Kyle Greene.  Born May 26, 1986.  23 years old.  Drafted in the 11th round in 2008 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube (Awkward) ratings - Power: No Rating / Speed: 7 / Contact: 11 / Patience: 6.

2009 Stats: Split between Hi-A Visalia and AAA-Reno (Currently in Hi-A Visalia)

Hi-A Visalia - 95 games, .229 BA, .297 OBP, .359 SLG, .656 OPS (average California League OPS: .756), 119 K, 29 BB (4.1:1 K/BB ratio), .130 ISO, 31.1% K-Rate, 7.6% BB-Rate, .316 BABIP.

AAA-Reno - 3 games, .500 BA, .429 OBP, 1.000 SLG, 1.429 OPS (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .757), 0 K, 0 BB (.... yeah), .500 ISO, 0% K-Rate, 0% BB-Rate, .333 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula

Rookie-level Missoula - 52 games, .302 BA, .351 OBP, .439 SLG, (average Pioneer League OPS: .777), 59 K, 10 BB (5.9:1 K/BB ratio), .137 ISO, 26.6% K-Rate, 4.5% BB-Rate, .393 BABIP.

Don't get too excited by the mention of AAA-Reno in his second year of professional baseball at age 23, it was a brief cameo, which I'm assuming was to fill in for an injury.  It's certainly nice to see that he destroyed the ball at that level in his brief appearance (better than choking on a fat one), but three games of good play in AAA don't outweigh 95 games of poor play in Hi-A.  Random note though, the BA/OBP numbers for that level isn't mis-printed, he had a sacrifice fly and no walks while in AAA, so the sac fly counted against his OBP, but didn't count against his BA, making the BA higher, something I've never seen.  Back to relevant things, Greene was given an aggressive promotion to Hi-A as a 23-year-old in his second season of professional baseball after a good Rookie-level campaign.  However, he has since fallen meteorically in Hi-A, including an OBP below .300, one of those figures that makes you cringe.  The raw power is there, but Greene just can't make contact with the ball,  and the K's have built up to excessive proportions - a 31.1% K-Rate.  Greene has struck out nearly one out of three plate appearances.  That's not being aggressive or free-swinging (especially with his BA/OBP), that's being fooled.  He'll likely repeat Hi-A again next year at age 24, and if he doesn't figure things out quickly and play himself to AA, he may be well on his way out of professional baseball.

 

This is a totally un-related note to any of these players, but 2009 first-round pick A.J. Pollock is not on the Scout.com list because he was just picked, and is one of our Top-10 prospects, so I felt I'd add a little encouraging factoid here - he is currently on a seven-game hitting streak for Mid-A South Bend, hitting 11-27 (.407) with two doubles, a triple, 4 RBI, 5 runs scored, a stolen base, two walks, and just two strikeouts.  Just thought the masses might be intrigued.  Know that the new rookie class will not be neglected - I'll do a couple piece on our picks from the first five or so rounds of 2009 when I'm done with the top fifty veteran prospects.

 

So, overall, mostly good news from the Hatchlings front tonight.  The only catastrophic disappointment was Byrne, and after the Allen trade, it frankly didn't matter how well Byrne was playing, as he was now older and a level below our 2010-and-beyond starting 1B.  The other minor disappointment, Greene needs to have a good season next year or he'll join Byrne.  But Maine, Linton, and Coughlin have all risen up the prospect rankings for the organization, a surprisingly-good turnout for the mid-30's on the organizational list.

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