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The Baby 'Backs Report: May 7

Sorry if I get this up late, everybody, and sorrier if it's a lame report.  Been busy with finals preparation (and, more accurately, putting off finals preparation).  One test Monday - Accounting - and two tests Tuesday - Algebra (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!) & Investment Theory - make me an unhappy college student at the moment.  Thankfully, my Junior year ends after that third final, then I have a week and a half to bum around the campus before I'm being kicked out.  And, of course, to bum around the Snake Pit.

Paul Goldschmidt:

Hopes were high for Goldy when he had 8 home runs in a mere 15 games at the time of my first report two weeks ago. However, in the ten games that followed, he managed just a single additional bomb, and anybody feeling particularly negative could have foretold the coming of a freight train of regression after a blazing start. Then the last two nights happened, and the sunshine, flowers, bunnies, and rainbows returned to Goldyland. Two more homers (and five total hits) in ten at-bats, and Goldschmidt now has 11 homers in 27 games, still an absolutely blistering season pace.

If one went looking for negatives, it could be pointed out that Goldschmidt has struck out three times in those last two games, but he still carries an incredible 18:27 K:BB ratio on the year. According to StatCorner, Goldschmidt's K-Rate is still a solid 14.8% (as a percentage of plate appearances - his K-Rate as a percentage of at-bats is 19.1%), and his BB-Rate is an incredible 22.2%. I still want to see what happens over the next month and a half, but the longer Goldschmidt continues to hit this well, the harder it becomes to resist joining the hype train.

The overall numbers still speak for themselves: .351/.492/.755, a 1.247 OPS. Reasonable .333 BABIP. wOBA* of .500, wOBA+ of 146. 1.9 "WAR" (compared to Double-A replacement level, I guess). September is looking like a very realistic call-up date.


Double-A Mobile:

Lion-O: I have serious doubts about his ability to succeed as anything but a middle reliever in the big leagues, but I've got to give credit where credit is due. Wes Roemer has been awesome at Double-A. A 19:1 K:BB ratio in 14 innings over his last two starts? Yeah, I'll take that. But, well, we knew that Roemer could dominate Double-A, because he did it a year ago, earning a promotion to Reno after just eight starts for the BayBears in 2010. Additionally, Roemer coughed up a pair of homers in his most recent outing, so the homer-woes that killed him at Reno are being seen even at the Double-A level.  He's already 24 years old, so he's going to need to prove his worth at Triple-A before he can be taken too seriously as a prospect again.

Mumm-Ra: It's unfortunate to see a top prospect here, but A.J. Pollock has been absolutely devoid of power as of late.  Yesterday's 3-5, one-double, one-homer outing is the only game in his last ten in which Pollock recorded even one extra-base hit.  He'll probably hit more than .239 with regression and his solid hit tool, but he doesn't draw a ton of walks.  So if he can't display the gap/doubles power that he's supposed to have, his value starts to seriously decline.  The usual chants of "small sample size" need to be applied, and Pollock has a passable number of extra-base hits on the year (11), but it's been a rough two weeks for the young center fielder. (Dis)Honorable Mentions: Marc Krauss has also been struggling, with a .205 average and .721 OPS over his last ten games.

Thundercats: Top prospect Jarrod Parker has perhaps started to turn things around, with more strikeouts than walks over the last two weeks, headlined by a five-inning, 6:3 K:BB, one-run performance on the 29th of April.  While he did follow that up with a 4:5 K:BB ratio in six innings on May 4, any positive signs are worth being encouraged about with Parker, as a scattered good outing here and there is simply the first part of the process.

Right-hander Charles Brewer returned from concussion-like symptoms yesterday, throwing three scoreless innings for the BayBears. He struck out three, walked one, and gave up just one hit before being replaced by Bryan Henry. The team undoubtedly was looking to limit his workload in his return from an injury as scary as a brain bruise, so I see no reason to be too worried about Brewer going forward.


Low-A South Bend:

He-Man: Yazy Arbelo has had a ridiculous, though effective, line in the past ten games. He has just seven hits, but five of those are homers, to go with a double. Add seven walks to the mix, and you have a .206/.386/.676 line in his last ten games, for a 1.063 OPS. Just the idea of an OPS over 1.000 with a batting average six points above the Uecker Line is amazing to me. I still struggle to see a particularly bright future for Arbelo with his fastball-reliant approach, but I'm more than willing to be proven wrong.

Skeletor: After a hot, BABIP-heavy start to the year that took him into the cleanup spot in the order, third baseman Matt Helm hasn't taken much time to fall back to earth. Helm has struck out 12 times in the last ten games, and collected just six hits, though they include two doubles and a triple.  With five walks, his OBP-BA is at an acceptable level, but he needs to put the ball in play more often and muster more than 4 extra bases in 36 at-bats.  His .167/.286/.278 line in his last ten games is atrocious, and has brought down his season line in a hurry, to .241/.308/.313.  Not what we want to see with our $500,000 investment in Helm. (Dis)Honrable Mention: Patrick Schuster still has just 11 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings, and an unsettling three strikeouts in 8 innings over his last two starts. 

She-Ra & Prince Adam: Welcome back to South Bend, Ender Inciarte. No, he won't hit .458 forever, and he hasn't shown much power, and it's obviously a mere six games since he was called up to replace Keon Broxton. But he's only struck out twice in that span, and if he can continue something like that, he'd be a welcome addition to a stumbling South Bend offense. He's merely 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop, and is actually a tad young for the league. After a disappointing full-season debut a year ago, this year's start at least creates a little intrigue.

Left-hander Daniel Taylor doesn't belong at Low-A. With a 9:2 K:BB over 7.1 innings in the last two weeks, his season line is now 14 1/3 IP, 19:2 K:BB, 1 ER, 0.63 ERA.  His change-up is disgusting, and I don't see why he's working as a reliever after showing the ability to handle nearly 150 innings a year ago with good peripherals.  His delivery has some violence, but it's nothing close to the kind of violence seen in someone like Max Scherzer.  Why not give Taylor every chance to make it as a starter?

You really have to feel for lefty David Holmberg. He had a 12:1 K:BB over seven innings and gave up no earned runs on April 25, but was tagged with a loss due to a pair of unearned runs. On the year, Holmberg has a 37:11 K:BB ratio in 32 innings of work, but has been the victim of an absurd number of hits - 35 - and unbelievable 18 earned runs allowed. His 5.06 ERA is nearly criminal for how well he's pitched this year.