At the risk of jinxing him as I always seem to do, I'm going to tout the future of one Jake Lamb again after he hit a 2-out, 3-run homer in the top of the 9th inning to give Mobile a 6-4 win yesterday. Lamb has been on a steady surge of late with 9 hits in his last 21 at bats in the recent 5-game series against Jacksonville. His average is up to .270 and his OPS is up to .826. I've started researching some comps for Lamb based on his current ISO of .195 and wRC+ of 132, numbers which I think he is likely to exceed by season's end given his current form. I'll probably wait a little while before writing something up a full analysis because so far it's based on a small sample size of just 125 PAs,
The early returns are that there aren't a lot of players in recent history who have put up numbers like those. Since 2006 I could only identify 9 other 23-year-old third basemen who put up an ISO greater than 190 and a wRC+ of greater than 130 in 120 PAs or more in AA. The list gets larger if I include younger players but that list tends to grab the superstars. Lamb's not in that class. But the list is still intriguing and includes names like Mike Olt, Anthony Rendon, Chase Headley, Mark Reynolds and Allen Craig. Interestingly the comp that looks the closest to Lamb is Allen Craig, a future we would all buy into.
The biggest knock on Lamb in my view is the high strikeout rates. He has improved some in that respect this year going from 27.6% last year to a 23.7% this year. But his walk rate has plummeted from 17% last year to just 6.7% this year. Some of that is the jump in quality pitching from A+ to AA and some of it is probably small sample size. By season's end I'd like to see a BB rate around 10% and a K rate in the low 20s. In any case, he is on the right track and if he keeps this up he likely gets a September debut not unlike Chris Owings last year to show he belongs. He's still a solid step above Brandon Drury at the moment.
Note: 2011 second round pick and former Top 10 prospect RHP Anthony Meo was released by the Diamondbacks last week. After a stellar 2012 season in which he led the California League in strikeouts Meo crashed to earth in 2013 failing as both a starter and reliever. He started this year on the DL but as soon as he was activated he was released. I really thought he'd get another go-around.
3 Stars: Raul Navarro, Visalia 4 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR (2), 1 RBI, 1 CS
2 Stars: Socrates Brito, Visalia 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 SB (14)
1 Star: Jake Lamb, Mobile 1 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR (6), 3 RBI
0 Stars: Evan Marzilli, Jose Queliz, Visalia 0 for 6, 4 K
AAA: Reno - Off Day
AA: Mobile 6 @ Jacksonville 4. The Bay Bears were down to their final out trailing 4-3 with two runners on when Jake Lamb delivered a 3-run homer to give them a 6-4 lead. Jimmie Sherfy came on to record the final outs for his first save at AA in spite of walking the bases loaded with 1 out. He finished the game with a strikeout and a pop out. Michael Lee started the game and went 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits. Garrett Webber had three hits and Sean Jamieson went 2 for 5 with a solo home run. Jamieson has played great baseball ever since they acquired him from Oakland for Stephen Drew in 2012. He's already 25 which is a negative but he has just hit and hit and is an excellent defender in his own right. He's probably going to jump over Ahmed on the next version of my prospect list in spite of being a year older and a level lower. He may be exposed to the Rule V draft next off-season which may make him a candidate for the 40-man roster.
A+: Visalia 4 High Desert 1. Aaron Blair made his second start for Visalia and was removed from the game with 2 outs in the 2nd inning. Before anyone gets excited thinking the worst, rawhide announcer Donny Baarns tweeted out that it didn't appear to be injury but that he had thrown 40+ pitches in that second inning and he was removed for precautionary reasons. He allowed 2 hits including a solo home run in the 1st, walked one and struck out 3. The Visalia bullpen was magnificent pitching 7.1 shutout innings with 9 strikeouts. Cody Wheeler got the win and J.R. Bradley got the save. Raul Navarro went 4 for 4 and Socrates Brito went 3 for 5. Rudy Flores had a double and 3 RBI.
A: South Bend @ Dayton - Game suspended due to rain in the 4th inning with the score tied 2-2.