The SnakePit Hatchlings Report: Prospects 16-20

We're steadily winding down with the Hatchlings Report - but never fear, even after #1-5, I'll do another couple of pieces on the best performers of the 2009 draft class, so we should have plenty of material to cover until the 20th, when I leave for school.  Today, we finally get into the teens and steadily closer to the guys who the organization has a great amount of hope for reaching the majors and having some sort of an impact.  Today's set of prospects are RHP Tony Barnette, C James Skelton, RHP Brooks Brown, SS Pedro Ciriaco, and RHP Wes Roemer.  Credit to Scout.com.

#20 - RHP Tony Barnette.  Born November 9, 1983.  25 years old.  Drafted in the 10th round in 2006 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 93 / K-Rating: 81 / Efficiency: 83.

2009 Stats: AAA-Reno

AAA-Reno - 22 games started, 119.1 IP, 6.41 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 87 K, 47 BB (1.9:1 K/BB ratio), 6.6 K/9IP, 3.5 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: AA-Mobile

AA-Mobile - 27 games started, 153.2 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 133 K, 42 BB (3.2:1 K/BB ratio), 7.8 K/9IP, 2.5 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Mid-A South Bend

Mid-A South Bend - 25 games started, 1 game in relief, 160 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 108 K, 28 BB (3.9:1 K/BB ratio), 6.1 K/9IP, 1.6 BB/9IP.

2006 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula

Rookie-level Missoula - 15 games started, 76.1 IP, 3.89 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 74 K, 20 BB (3.7:1 K/BB ratio), 8.7 K/9IP, 2.4 BB/9IP.

It's pretty darned simple with Tony Barnette - he was successful in his first three professional seasons because he kept his walks to a minimum and his K/BB ratio above 3:1.  Now, in 2009 with Reno, that ratio is now 1.9:1, he's handing out more free passes, isn't able to retire batters as easily, and his stats have absolutely ballooned.  Barnette is likely on shaky ground within the organization, as the D-Backs have plenty of younger, better starting pitching options in the system (Yusmeiro Petit, 24, Billy Buckner, 25, Cesar Valdez, 24, and Bryan Augenstein, 23), along with a few guys who appear ready to hit AAA next season like Matt Torra and Barry Enright.  Despite having double-digit wins this season (10-7 record), I'd be a bit surprised to see Barnette back with the organization next season.  Likely to go elsewhere as a 26-year-old FA.

 

#19 - C/Util James Skelton.  Born October 28, 1985.  23 years old.  Drafted in the 14th round in 2004 by Detroit.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 46 / Speed: 65 / Contact: 60 / Patience: 99.

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

Hi-A Visalia - 23 games, .235 BA, .351 OBP, .333 SLG, .684 OPS (average California League OPS: .756), 19 K, 15 BB (1.3:1 K/BB ratio), .098 ISO, 19.8% K-Rate, 15.6% BB-Rate, .290 BABIP.

AA Mobile - 68 games, .182 BA, .341 OBP, .238 SLG, .579 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .713), 40 K, 52 BB (1:1.3 K/BB ratio), .056 ISO, 15.0% K-Rate ,19.5% BB-Rate, .222 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Split between Hi-A Lakeland and AA-Erie

Hi-A Lakeland - 63 games, .307 BA, .468 OBP, .406 SLG, .874 OPS (average Florida State League OPS: .704), 50 K, 64 BB (1:1.3 K/BB ratio), .099 ISO, 18.1% K-Rate, 23.2% BB-Rate, .385 BABIP.

AA-Erie - 24 games, .294 BA, .425 OBP, .388 SLG, .813 OPS (average Eastern League OPS: .741), 23 K, 19 BB (1.2:1 K/BB ratio), .094 ISO, 22.1% K-Rate, 18.3% BB-Rate, .377 BABIP.

2007 Stats: Mid-A West Michigan

Mid-A West Michigan - 101 games, .309 BA, .402 OBP, .448 SLG, .850 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .696), 53 K, 55 BB (1:1.04 K/BB ratio), .139 ISO, 13.0% K-Rate, 13.5% BB-Rate, .345 BABIP.

2006 Stats: Low-A Oneonta

Low-A Oneonta - 42 games, .300 BA, .402 OBP, .400 SLG, .803 OPS (average New York-Penn League OPS: .649), 29 K, 21 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), .100 ISO, 19.2% K-Rate, 13.9% BB-Rate, .376 BABIP.

2005 Stats: Split between Rookie-level Gulf Coast Tigers and Hi-A Lakeland

Rookie-level Gulf Coast Tigers - 17 games, .182 BA, .413 OBP, .212 SLG, .625 OPS (average Gulf Coast League OPS: .696), 9 K, 13 BB (1:1.4 K/BB ratio), .040 ISO, 19.6% K-Rate, 28.3% BB-Rate, .250 BABIP.

Hi-A Lakeland - 1 game, 0-1 w/ 1 K, 0 BB.

2004 Stats: Rookie-level Gulf Coast Tigers

Rookie-level Gulf Coast Tigers - 23 games, .140 BA, .260 OBP, .163 SLG, .423 OPS (average Gulf Coast League OPS: .672), 11 K, 7 BB (1.6:1 K/BB ratio), .023 ISO, 22% K-Rate, 14% BB-Rate, .188 BABIP.

With his production in Mobile and now Visalia this season, it's hard to believe that this guy merited our Rule 5 draft selection, and then a subsequent trade to keep him in the desert.  But it's hard to really fault the D-Backs acquiring him based on his production and astounding on-base skills in the Detroit system the last three seasons, even in AA at age 22.  Why that hasn't translated into the Arizona system is another question, although he got absolutely shafted by BABIP (.222!? - especially when it had been around or above .350 conistently in his minor-league career, suggesting that it wasn't completely a fluke), and at least the on-base skills are still there (significantly more walks than strikeouts in AA this season).  Nevertheless, he is 23 and was demoted to Hi-A.  He needs to recover those SLG numbers around .400 (at least around .325 or .350 with his OBP above .400) from his Detroit system days or he'll flame out by 2011.  He'll start out in AA again next season (because any chances of him having MLB impact hinge on this), and will need to show that he can produce at that level before hopefully getting to Reno by the end of next season or in 2011.  If he can do this, his on-base skills could make him a valueable major-league catcher, and also a very good pinch-hitter.  If he can't do that though, he'll probably hit free agency as a 26-year-old and be out of the system, if not outright released before then.  A gigantic disappointment so far, especially since good catchers are abound in the system and extremely valuable, and having yet another would have allowed us to make one or two of them into major trade chips.  On a loosely-related note, his 2008 Hi-A team with Detroit was called the Lakeland Flying Tigers.  Most awesome mascot in sports?  Yes - barely edging out the Fighting Artichokes.  Flying Tigers = Armageddon.

 

#18 - RHP Brooks Brown.  Born June 20, 1985.  24 years old.  Drafted in the Sandwich round (34th overall) in 2006 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 41 / K-Rating: 87 / Efficiency: 47.

NOTE: Diamondbacks traded Brown after Spring Training to the Tigers in order for the ability to retain Rule 5 Draft selection C James Skelton without keeping him on the 25-man Roster for 2009.

2009 Stats: Split between AA-Erie and AAA-Toledo (Currently in AAA-Toledo)

AA-Erie - 6 games started, 36.2 IP, 2.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 13 K, 8 BB (1.6:1 K/BB ratio), 3.2 K/9IP, 2.0 BB/9IP.

AAA-Toledo - 14 games started, 83.0 IP, 4.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 40 K, 36 BB (1.1:1 K/BB ratio), 4.3 K/9IP, 3.9 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: AA-Mobile

AA-Mobile - 26 games started, 144.1 IP, 4.18 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 112 K, 67 BB (1.7:1 K/BB ratio), 7.0 K/9IP, 4.2 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Split between Hi-A Visalia and AA-Mobile

Hi-A Visalia - 14 games started, 80.0 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 74 K, 23 BB (3.2:1 K/BB ratio), 8.3 K/9IP, 2.6 BB/9IP.

AA-Mobile - 12 games started, 66.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 54 K, 36 BB (1.5:1 K/BB ratio), 7.3 K/9IP, 4.9 BB/9IP.

2006 Stats: Low-A Yakima

Low-A Yakima - 1 game started, 12 games in relief, 23.2 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 30 K, 12 BB (2.5:1 K/BB ratio), 11.4 K/9IP, 4.6 BB/9IP.

Well, that trade already appears to have worked out horrendously.  Not that you can blame the D-Backs, as Brown was shelled in AA-Mobile last season due to the death of his GO/AO ratio and a 2-3 MPH decrease on his sinker velocity, after being a top-5 prospect and having the best sinker in the system in 2007.  Also, Skelton had raked in 2008, not to mention the fact that both were in AA at the end of last season and Skelton was 22 while Brown was 23, with Skelton having the better numbers at the same level.  However, Shelton's sudden utter collapse and demotion to Hi-A, combined with Brown's resurgence in AA-Erie this season before a promotion to AAA-Toledo (AAA affiliate of Lady SouthBend), seem to have swayed this deal in the wrong direction for the D-Backs.  He still has yet to fully regain his GO/AO ratio from his '07 numbers of 1.75 in Visalia and 1.45 in Mobile, with a 1.14 ratio in a short time in Erie and 1.36 in Toledo, but they're headed in the right direction from 1.28 in a full season of Mobile last year.  He'll likely need another full year in Toledo to recover more of his sinker's mojo to strike batters out and get a few more ground-outs, as well as to lower his walk-rate a bit, but he could have some major-league value for the Tigers soon.  Skelton needs to make some remarkably quick adjustments to do so for the D-Backs.

 

#17 - SS/2B Pedro Ciriaco.  Born September 27, 1985.*  23 years old*.  Not Drafted - Signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 by Arizona.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 16 / Speed: 88 / Contact: 52 / Patience: 5.

* Age not certain as with all Dominican prospects - D.O.B. is according to Dominican papers.

2009 Stats: AA-Mobile

AA-Mobile - 92 games, .290 BA, .312 OBP, .366 SLG, .678 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .713), 54 K, 10 BB (5.4:1 K/BB ratio), .076 ISO, 14.9% K-Rate, 2.8% BB-Rate, .329 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 124 games, .310 BA, .333 OBP, .408 SLG, .741 OPS (average California League OPS: .752), 89 K, 18 BB (4.9:1 K/BB ratio), .098 ISO, 16.5% K-Rate, 3.3% BB-Rate, .357 BABIP.

2007 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 119 games, .251 BA, .286 OBP, .322 SLG, .608 OPS (average California League OPS: .770), 81 K, 20 BB (4.1:1 K/BB ratio), .065 ISO, 16.8% K-Rate, 4.1% BB-Rate, .256 BABIP.

2006 Stats: Mid-A South Bend

Mid-A South Bend - 128 games, .264 BA, .308 OBP, .320 SLG, .628 OPS (average Midwest League OPS: .690), 96 K, 32 BB (3:1 K/BB ratio), .056 ISO, 16.5% K-Rate, 5.5% BB-Rate, .314 BABIP.

2005 Stats: Rookie-level Missoula

Rookie-level Missoula - 69 games, .240 BA, .264 OBP, .331 SLG, .595 OPS (average Pioneer League OPS:.774), 50 K, 7 BB (7.1:1 K/BB ratio), .091 ISO, 19.2% K-Rate, 2.7% BB-Rate, .289 BABIP.

Everyone who has heard of or read about Pedro Ciriaco knows about the defense.  The guy is a wizard in the middle infield, but to be honest, he isn't too shabby with the bat either.  His biggest problem is his inability to draw walks, which really hampers his ability to utilize his base-stealing ability (40-49 in Visalia in 2008, currently 27-35 in Mobile).  He seemed to make an improvement in Mid-A in '06, but ever since then has been declining in his plate discipline.  This could spell trouble for Ciriaco in the upper levels as pitchers start to show more advanced secondary pitches which he may not be able to lay off of.  However, one also has to believe that pitchers are careful to not walk Ciriaco due to his speed, so he just may not be getting many balls to lay off of.  Ciriaco fell off the radar a bit with a dismal '07 season, but repeated Visalia in '08 and shined, putting him back on pace as a major prospect.  Ciriaco has been hitting very well as of late in Mobile, going 12-33 (.364) in his last ten games, and his BABIP on the season doesn't suggest that it's unsustainable.  Ciriaco will start in AAA next season, and if he puts up big numbers in Reno, we could see him in the starting lineup in 2011.  However, don't expect him to be in the majors next season unless it's as a September call-up.  Having a .678 OPS in AA, despite the steals, isn't going to get your manager to pencil you in the lineup on Opening Day.

 

#16 - RHP Wes Roemer.  Born October 7, 1986.  22 years old.  Drafted in the Sandwich round (50th overall) in 2007.  The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 100 / K-Rating: 83 / Efficiency: 98.

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

Hi-A Visalia - 6 games started, 30.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, 18 K, 13 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), 5.3 K/9IP, 3.8 BB/9IP.

AA-Mobile - 16 games started, 97.0 IP, 4.08 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 68 K, 21 BB (3.2:1 K/BB ratio), 6.3 K/9IP, 2.9 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: Hi-A Visalia

Hi-A Visalia - 28 games started, 162.2 IP, 4.59 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 122 K, 33 BB (3.7:1 K/BB ratio), 6.7 K/9IP, 1.8 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Low-A Yakima

Low-A Yakima - 8 games in relief, 12.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 18 K, 2 BB (9:1 K/BB ratio), 13.5 K/9IP, 1.5 BB/9IP.

Roemer is a control artist whose limited struggles in his professional career have stemmed mostly from his inability to keep the ball within the park.  In 2008 with Visalia, he allowed 25 HR, a rate of 1.4 per 9IP, and this season gave up none in Visalia, but has given up eleven in Mobile, a rate of 1 per 9IP.  The good news is that the rate has fallen, even across the hardest promotion in the system (Hi-A to AA), so it appears as if Roemer is making progress on keeping the ball in the park.  As a result of this improvement, his ERA is down .51 across the level jump from Visalia '08 to Mobile '09, and at just 22 years old, he appears to be aiming for an arrival in the majors in his mid-20's, perhaps in 2012 at age 25 or 2013 at age 26.

 

And there ends another Hatchlings report, bleak news on the first three prospects capped off by two very promising players at Mobile.

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