Because of my job (despite working in sports) and where I live (the epicenter of MLB blackout bizarreness), I get to actually watch very little baseball. It is one of the reasons I post mainly in the minor league forum, because a far smaller number get to see those with regularity. Following the sport I grew up obsessed with simply from box scores and statistics has given me an eye for oddities.
The Brewers' best ACL hitter?
When you look at the Brewers' ACL squads, among players with at least 50 plate appearances, the top three in wRC+ are Jace Avina, Jadher Areinamo and Luis Castillo. All obvious, all promoted.
So who does that leave atop the leaderboard of current Brewers ACL players? A catcher with a .205 average and two extra-base hits on the season.
Those who have noticed my mild obsession with his stat line can probably guess this is a Jhonnys Cabrera entry, and there is one thing that Jhonnys Cabrera has done consistently this year, and that is walk. His stat line has probably gotten less interesting in recent weeks, despite still putting the ball in play in fewer than half his plate appearances, he is no longer flirting with coupling a .500 on base percentage with a .100 batting average. That is to be expected. Even in the ACL that wasn't sustainable. And it is probably a good thing for Jhonnys' prospects as well. A .500 OBP sounds great, but until you show the ability to consistently put the ball in play, no one is going to see how it can translate moving up the ladder.
The case of the disappearing line drives
One of the things I've touted when discussing Jadher Areinamo's stat line is that he has shown a combination of patience (>10% walk rate), contact skills (<15% strikeout rate) and at least some power (>.1) that is fairly rare. Indeed, only 10 players across the complex leagues hit all three marks. Areinamo, however, is not the only Brewer in the ACL on that list.
And you'd never guess who it is.
For the second time in as many items, an ACL catcher features prominently. This time, however, it is Blayberg Diaz, who despite a 12.3% walk rate and three home runs under his belt this season has an OPS of only .593, largely thanks to a .169 BABIP. There might well be some bad luck in there, but I think I found another culprit.
Blayberg Diaz, at least this year's version, does not hit line drives.
Diaz's 5.6% line drive rate makes him the only player in the Brewer system below 9% on this stat.
The thing is, this is new for Diaz. When he posted a far more respectable .770 OPS in the complex league last year, he was above 17% for a line drive rate. That might not be stellar, but it is a lot better than 5.6.
The stats make it tough to justify giving him a full-season gig next year, especially with the JUCO kids likely taking two catching spots in Carolina, but at the same time, some of his underlying numbers make me wonder if he ends up becoming one of those catchers where the offense (at least, good enough for a catcher offense) just suddenly seems to click in out of nowhere. Martin Maldonado didn't look like he'd hit enough to stick around long even at AAA until he was in his final season before minor league free agency.
This is why I like that the Brewers have the two ACL teams and why I hope they continue it. When the kids are that young and still in the process of becoming who they will be as ballplayers, having that extra roster spot or playing time could pay dividends down the road.
No Small issue
Want to know the difference between Ethan Small's stellar, from an ERA perspective at least, April versus the rest of his season thus far?
In April, Small was a master at maneuvering his way out of self-created jams. The rest of the season, not so much.
Small's ERA in innings in which he walked a hitter was 0.00 in April. In the months since, it is almost 9.00.
Hopefully those walks start coming down so even if the ERA stays the same, the number of innings it applies to will be less.