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The SnakePit Hatchlings Report: Kevin Mulvey & Tony Abreu

Yes, I know I'm very drastically jumping to conclusions by including Abreu in this column as the Dodgers' PTBNL, but what else do I have to do with my time? It's 2:13 on a South Bend Thursday (at the time of starting the column), and I have literally one Accountancy problem (which will take all of five minutes) due tomorrow that I haven't finished. It seems like it's going to be a pretty good year, Business Law excepted. So, since we've continued to add prospects to the minor-league system for veterans before the August 31 deadline for newly-acquired players to be eligible for playoff rosters, it's time to check out just what kind of a haul we may have gotten here, and time for what I presume will finally be the final SnakePit Hatchlings Report of 2009.

RHP Kevin Mulvey (Acquired in a waiver trade from the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations as a separate but coinciding deal to the trade that sent Jon Rauch to the Twins for a player to be named later - to complete the Rauch trade, the Twins sent cash considerations to the Diamondbacks). Ranked #6 prospect in Mets' system in 2007, #4 prospect in Mets' system in 2008, and #8 prospect in Twins' system in 2009 (all rankings according to Baseball America). Born May 26, 1985. 24 years old. Drafted in the second round in 2006 by the New York Mets. The Baseball Cube ratings - Control: 71 / K-Rating: 71 / Efficiency: 76.

2009 Stats: Split between AAA-Rochester and MLB-Minnesota (currently with MLB-Arizona)

AAA-Rochester - 24 games started, 149.0 IP, 3.93 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 113 K, 54 BB (2.1:1 K/BB ratio), 6.8 K/9IP, 3.3 BB/9IP.

MLB-Minnesota - 2 games in relief, 1.1 IP, 27.00 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 0 K, 0 BB (Err...), 0 K/9IP, 0 BB/9IP.

2008 Stats: AAA-Rochester

Note: Acquired by Twins as part of the Johan Santana trade in offseason of '07-'08.

AAA-Rochester - 27 games started, 148.0 IP, 3.77 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 121 K, 48 BB (2.5:1 K/BB ratio), 7.4 K/9IP, 2.9 BB/9IP.

2007 Stats: Split between AA-Binghamton and AAA-New Orleans

AA-Binghamton - 26 games started, 151.2 IP, 3.32 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 110 K, 43 BB (2.6:1 K/BB ratio), 6.5 K/9IP, 2.6 BB/9IP.

AAA-New Orleans - 1 game started, 6.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 3 K, 0 BB (Umm...), 4.5 K/9IP, 0.0 BB/9IP.

2006 Stats: Split between Rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets and AA-Binghamton

Rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets - 1 game started, 2.0 IP, 0.50 WHIP, 1 K, 0 BB (Ehh...), 4.5 K/9IP, 0.0 BB/9IP.

AA-Binghamton - 3 games started, 13.1 IP, 1.35 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 K. 5 BB (2:1 K/BB ratio), 6.8 K/9IP, 3.4 BB/9IP.

Mulvey really doesn't have a lot of stats from professional ball, so I suppose it's worth noting a few college stats:

2006 @ Villanova - 14 games started, 92.1 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 88 K, 23 BB (3.8:1 K/BB ratio), 8.6 K/9IP, 2.2 BB/9IP.

2005 @ Villanova -12 games started, 71.2 IP, 4.65 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 73 K, 28 BB (2.6:1 K/BB ratio), 9.2 K/9IP, 3.5 BB/9IP.

2004 @ Villanova - 15 games started, 80.0 IP, 5.29 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 61 K, 45 BB (1.4:1 K/BB ratio), 6.9 K/9IP, 5.1 BB/9IP.

Alrighty, that's a little better. Clearly Mulvey has come a long way in terms of his control since his freshman year of college, even just during the three years he spent at Villanova. His progress at Villanova is pretty much hi-lighted by the fact that he was able to go straight from college to AA-ball after just two innings of rookie-level dominance. Not something you see everyday, but clearly in Mulvey's case it was a merited decision, because he put up a great three-start stretch in '06, then returned to Binghamton in '07 with an absolute vengeance, dominating the Eastern League, and was then considered to be the best pitching piece given to the Twins by the Mets as a part of the Johan Santana trade that off-season. Since arriving in Minnesota, he put up a solid year in AAA in '08, but then leveled off in '09. It's concerning, especially since the causes of it (slight rise in BB/9IP and fairly significant dip in K/9IP) are so obvious and threatening. Then again, he's also a 24-year-old who is major-league ready repeating AAA after dominating it the year before, so if there's a little bit of frustration from Mulvey's side over being stuck in Rochester, that's fairly understandable. Will be in the bullpen for the rest of this season, and will be plugged into one of the back-end spots in our rotation starting in 2010, and then for many seasons to come. According to a write-up, Mulvey possesses four pitches, five if you count his 4-seam and 2-seam fastballs as separate pitches, as well as a slider, curveball, and changeup. The fastball sits high-80's to low-90's, touching 94, the slider is a plus out-pitch, a "very good" curveball, and a changeup he can put in the strike zone, and he has good enough stuff to be a major-league starter. A good return for 14 months of Jon Rauch, and further evidence that the Twins have been struggling with trades in recent years. Rauch is good, but remember what happened last season after he was dealt mid-year? Orlando Cabrera has been miserable since arriving in the Twin Cities. And let's not go into more depth on the Santana deal, much less mention the Matt Garza trade.

2B Tony Abreu (Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, completing the Jon Garland trade). Ranked #9 prospect in Dodgers' system in 2006, #5 prospect in Dodgers' system in 2007. Born November 13, 1984. 24 years old. Not Drafted - Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Dodgers in 2002. The Baseball Cube ratings - Power: 48 / Speed: 64 / Contact: 67 / Patience: 7.

2009 Stats: Split between AA-Chattanooga, AAA-Albuquerque, and MLB-L.A. Dodgers (currently with AAA-Albuquerque)

AA-Chattanooga - 23 games, .292 BA, .300 OBP, .360 SLG, .660 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .711), 12 K, 1 BB (12:1 K/BB ratio), .068 ISO, 13.3% K-Rate, 1.1% BB-Rate, .338 BABIP.

AAA-Albuquerque - 49 games, .351 BA, .382 OBP, .609 SLG, .991 OPS (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .759), 31 K, 11 BB (2.8:1 K/BB ratio), .258 ISO, 14.6% K-Rate, 5.2% BB-Rate, .372 BABIP.

MLB-L.A. Dodgers - 6 games, .250 BA, .455 OBP, .250 SLG, .705 OPS (average Major League OPS: .753), 2 K, 3 BB (1:1.5 K/BB ratio), .000 ISO, 18.2% K-Rate, 27.3% BB-Rate, .400 BABIP.

2008 Stats: Missed entire season due to Sports Hernia surgery.

2007 Stats: Split between AAA-Las Vegas and MLB-L.A. Dodgers

AAA-Las Vegas -54 games, .355 BA, .399 OBP, .517 SLG, .916 OPS (average Pacific Coast League OPS: .783), 34 K, 14 BB (2.4:1 K/BB ratio), .162 ISO, 13.7% K-Rate, 5.6% BB-Rate, .407 BABIP.

MLB-L.A. Dodgers - 59 games, .271 BA, .309 OBP, .404 SLG, .713 OPS (average Major League OPS: .758), 21 K, 7 BB (3:1 K/BB ratio), .133 ISO, 12.1% K-Rate, 4.0% BB-Rate, .297 BABIP.

2006 Stats: AA-Jacksonville

AA-Jacksonville - 118 games, .289 BA, .345 OBP, .394 SLG, .739 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .690), 69 K, 33 BB (2.1:1 K/BB ratio), .105 ISO, 14.1% K-Rate, 6.7% BB-Rate, .325 BABIP.

2005 Stats: Split between Hi-A Vero Beach and AA-Jacksonville

Hi-A Vero Beach - 96 games, .327 BA, .356 OBP, .452 SLG, .808 OPS (average Florida State Leage OPS: .715), 56 K, 15 BB (3.7:1 K/BB ratio), .125 ISO, 13.7% K-Rate, 3.7% BB-Rate, .370 BABIP.

AA-Jacksonville - 24 games, .250 BA, .284 OBP, .323 SLG, .607 OPS (average Southern League OPS: .733), 21 K, 4 BB (5.3:1 K/BB ratio), .073 ISO, 21.0% K-Rate, 4.0% BB-Rate, .316 BABIP.

2004 Stats: Split between Mid-A Columbus and Hi-A Vero Beach

Mid-A Columbus - 104 games, .301 BA, .326 OBP, .471 SLG, .797 OPS (average South Atlantic League OPS: .737), 59 K, 8 BB (7.4:1 K/BB ratio), .170 ISO, 16.1% K-Rate, 2.2% BB-Rate, .339 BABIP.

Hi-A Vero Beach - 11 games, .419 BA, .435 OBP, .535 SLG, .970 OPS (average Florida State League OPS: .703), 8 K, 1 BB (8:1 K/BB ratio), .118 ISO, 18.2% K-Rate, 2.3% BB-Rate, .500 BABIP.

2003 Stats: Split between Rookie-level Gulf Coast Dodgers and Hi-A Vero Beach

Rookie-level Gulf Coast Dodgers - 44 games, .294 BA, .358 OBP, .399 SLG, .757 OPS (average Gulf Coast League OPS: .672), 24 K, 11 BB (2.2:1 K/BB ratio), .105 ISO, 13.8% K-Rate, 6.3% BB-Rate, .345 BABIP.

Hi-A Vero Beach - 3 games, .000 BA, .091 OBP, .000 SLG, .091 OPS (average Florida State League OPS: .675), 2 K, 1 BB (2:1 K/BB ratio), .000 ISO, 18.2% K-Rate, 9.1% BB-Rate, .000 BABIP.

Tony Abreu has some scary walk-rates from earlier in his career, and although they've more than doubled from 2004 to 2009, that really doesn't mean much. However, the bottom line with Abreu is that he has also managed to limit his strikeouts throughout most of his career, and his strikeout-rate and walk-rate are each heading in the right directions. That, and the fact that he's only 24 and major-league ready. Were it not for a sports hernia that sidelined him for all of 2008, he would probably be starting everyday for the Dodgers instead of Orlando Hudson, and O-Dog might have had to stay in the desert for lack of any other options. Frankly, though, I'd much rather have a rising 24-year-old with some surprising power despite his size (you don't have to be big to hit the ball hard, people) than an aging former-defensive-wizard who has tried to reinvent himself as an offensive second baseman, but doesn't have the bat to do it anymore. The kid was in the majors at age 22 for 59 games with a good team - he's pretty solid. Really, he only found himself getting dealt because he got in Joe Torre's doghouse because a) he's a young player, so Torre naturally has to hate him, and b) because Torre thought he was faking/exaggerating an injury in Spring Training of '08. That turned out to be the sports hernia that he needed to have surgery for. Keep in mind also, we've given up on 2010 as a competing year. The Rauch trade was concession of that, because while Mulvey will be in our rotation next year, Rauch will be more valuable than Mulvey in 2010. So, because we had no intention of trying to piece together a contender for next season, we weren't going to pick up Jon Garland's option due to its high cost. Thus, we traded two months of a decent, but not spectacular, veteran starter for another piece that will be ready for at least a platoon role next season, and who has far more upside than either Rusty Ryal or Ryan Roberts.

So, overall, GM Josh Byrnes turned two months of Garland, three months of Felipe Lopez, fourteen months of Rauch, and 27 months (IIRC) of Tony Pena for a second-baseman of the future in Abreu, a highly-regarded relief pitching prospect in Roque Mercedes, a potential 2010 fourth or fifth OF in Cole Gillespie, a back-of-the-rotation starter with a lot of control in Mulvey, and a first-baseman of the future in Brandon Allen, when we were going nowhere this season. No complaints from me.

Hatchling Bites:


Daniel Cabrera put in another solid start, going five innings and allowing two earned runs. Since his one-inning, 6-earned-run debut, he has pitched 13.2 innings and allowed 4 earned runs, for a 2.63 ERA.

Taylor Harbin has been promoted to Reno, despite a shaky .259/.305/.401 line in the hitter-friendly Hi-A California Leauge. I imagine this is a temporary fill-in situation. If the Aces needed a second-baseman for a long assignment, I'd imagine the guy would be Mark Hallberg or Pedro Ciriaco from Mobile.


Leyson Septimo continues to struggle with his walks. He appeared in Mobile's loss on Tuesday and walked four batters in one inning of work, giving up two earned runs. In his last five appearances, he's given up 11 earned runs in 3.1 innings, a historically-bad 31.94 ERA in that span, with just one strikeout and eight free passes. So much for him rising quickly through the system. Looks like he'll spend a good portion of next season at Mobile.

Hi-A Visalia

Ollie Linton returned to the lineup for Visalia, five days after his crash with the wall in center field. Since his return, he has picked up right where he left off, on an absolute tear. He has hit 7-17 in four games a triple, a stolen base, and four runs scored.

Tuesday's game between Visalia and Rancho Cucamonga was a hit parade, with Visalia collecting 11 runs on 18 hits, while the Quakes had just two batters cross the plate, despite collecting 10 hits of their own. Linton had two hits, James Skelton had two hits (both of them home runs), Kyle Green had three hits including two doubles, Andrew Fie had two hits, Ryne White smacked four singles, David Cooper had two hits, and the only Rawhide players who played in the game without getting a hit were the four pitchers used.

Mid-A South Bend

Keny Sosa continues to tear through the Midwest League. He went six innings in his last start, giving up two runs (just one earned) and striking out six, while allowing just three hits (only one for extra bases, a double) and a walk. His ERA in South Bend is now down to 2.19 through seven starts and 37.0 IP, after having an ERA of 5.31 in eight Missoula starts.

Low-A Yakima

Not much of note happening in Yakima. That's what happens when you only have one regular player batting over .300 in your lineup (Brent Greer) and your pitching pretty much stinks aside from stud Dan Taylor.

Rookie-level Missoula

Bobby Borchering is now hitting sixth-to-seventh in the Missoula lineup, and batting .220. The good news? He still has an OPS of .698, surprising considering his low BA and equally low OBP of .278, but 7 of his 11 hits are for extra bases, including a triple and a homer.

Michael Belfiore continues to dominate. Through 13 games (10 starts), he has pitched 53.1 innings, and maintained an ERA of just 1.86. In his most recent start, he allowed just one hit and one walk through six innings of work, while striking out 8, although the bullpen blew the game for him.