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Who are your surprise players thus far?


Now that we're 2 months into the season, who are your early surprise players?

 

I'll start it off with mine, there were 4 guys that really stuck out for me.

 

Good

Donovan Hand - 2.54 ERA on the season, 47 Strike Outs to 12 BBs all year, only 66 hits in 74.1 innings for a WHIP just over 1.0

Alcides Escobar - BA .300+, his SLG is higher than his OBP, and he's sporting an 800+ OPS

 

Bad

R. J. Seidel - ERA over 5, he's also given up 59 hits and 21 BB with only 30 strike outs in only 49.2 innings.

Nick Tyson - His ERA is up over 6 now, he's given up 50 hits in only 32.2 innings, and 4 HR. Only Mercedes has given up more HR at WV, there are 2 starting pitchers that have also given up 4 HRs, but obviously in almost twice as many innings (Anundson and Rivas). His K/BB ratio is still 4.0 though with 24/6, so he's still showing signs of life.

 

Edit -- Spelling in Subject

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

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Amazing:

same as uwisfan's "good" list, only add Gillespie, Brantley, and LaPorta

 

Good:

Hammond, Fryer, Lucroy, Braddock, Ramlow, Derek Miller, Rivas, Aguilar

 

disappointing:

the BC offense, Brent Brewer, Caleb Gindl (heated up lately though),

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I have a hard time with laporta in the amazing category. Call it being spoiled over an embarrassment of hitting talent in AA lately. But my expectations of a top 10 drafted hitting prospect with limited fielding capability under Jack Z is that he dominates offensively. Laporta is a college kid, older than several of the other prospects we have in AA, and not hitting at the level of some of his teammates. I'm hoping he shows enough bat to be able to adequately replace Prince eventually, but I feel his performance this year is status quo.
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I have a hard time with laporta in the amazing category. Call it being spoiled over an embarrassment of hitting talent in AA lately. But my expectations of a top 10 drafted hitting prospect with limited fielding capability under Jack Z is that he dominates offensively. Laporta is a college kid, older than several of the other prospects we have in AA, and not hitting at the level of some of his teammates. I'm hoping he shows enough bat to be able to adequately replace Prince eventually, but I feel his performance this year is status quo.

I understand LaPorta not being in the surprise category, but what he is doing at AA is outstanding. He is near the top of almost offensive stat outside of average, but I don't think he projects as a high average guy. He is not that much older than some of the guys he is playing with. I think he is only 6 months older than Gamel. If his performance is status quo you have really high expectations for him. His numbers are better than Braun's were at AA (small sample i know but it is minors it is all we have) and Prince's (yes I know the age difference is a reason too). I think LaPorta has crazy expectations because of what he has done but his numbers this year, even after a little slump the last couple weeks are amazing.

 

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well a few things on laporta and I'll leave it at that:

- he's considerably older than Fielder (20) was at AAA

- judging by teammates performances, I would think pitching in the league is a little down

- Braun had a slightly higher BA, and a slightly lower OPS, but crushed AAA (OPS-wise) at the the same age

 

Yeah I guess I'm spoiled is all.. looking at a sub-300 BA in AA. Laporta seems to be able to draw walks a little better than Braun, while Braun hits for a higher average. Laporta actually has the better OBP, while Braun is probably more athletic (as far as the rest of his game is concerned).

 

There's going to be a lot of tough decisions this offseason.

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I am a bit surprised no one has mentioned Taylor Green. His league totals are impressive.

4th in RBI

5th in Average & OBP

6th in OPS

He has accomplished this in a pitchers league and he plays on a team that provides no protection behind him in the order. In addition he has 30 walks and 31 K's. If he was viewed as a 2nd baseman rather than a 3rd baseman he would be more highly regarded.

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I expected many of the players who are performing well to do just that, so I'm not surprised and that's why they are listed. Green, Laporta, Gamel, Salome... Nelson was a guy I'm still over looking, I need to start following him again. Last year Yo wouldn't have made my list, I expected him to dominate... "surprise" means that they are doing something unexpected.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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I'm pleased with LaPorta, because he's on pace to shatter what Fielder, Hardy, Hart, Braun, etc all did in AA. Of course Brantley, Gamel, Escobar, and Salome are blowing away those numbers, too.
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For those that put either Braddock or Periard in the "Bad" category above, your expectations must have been unreasonably off-the-charts. Care to follow-up?

I had Periard in there move from the start of the season I guess. He has turned it around, but I guess pitching in the pitchers haven of Brevard County, and with all the love he got from people who follow the minors on this board I expected him to start out better. So my expectations were probably unreasonable. If I take a look at what he has done lately he impresses me again. He really struggled to start the year and I had high expectations for him, so I soured on him a bit (lack of patience I know).

 

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For those that put either Braddock or Periard in the "Bad" category above, your expectations must have been unreasonably off-the-charts.

I agree... I'm just happy if young pitchers get through A ball without injury. Results are nice, but they certainly aren't the be-all-end-all of how to judge young pitchers. There have been a few minor disappointments statistically, but I really don't get concerned about a pitcher until he struggles to get out of A ball (which is not the same thing as struggling in A ball).

 

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it's not scientific or anything on Braddock. But he had a lot of buzz coming into the year and has seemed pretty mediocre so far. It seemed every time I checked, he was getting rocked at least. One of the few players to drop in the upper echelon of the Power 50 and with the draft, he will likely fall out of the top 10 now.
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I'm just happy if young pitchers get through A ball without injury. Results are nice, but they certainly aren't the be-all-end-all of how to judge young pitchers. There have been a few minor disappointments statistically, but I really don't get concerned about a pitcher until he struggles to get out of A ball (which is not the same thing as struggling in A ball).

While health is primary concern, you won't get to AA if you don't have any success, either as a pitcher or a hitter. I also agree that success early doesn't necesarily mean that much either, many players have had their numbers slide significantly as they move up from level to level. I think most of us start getting excited about a guy when does well in AA, it's safe to say that many of us expect AA to separate out the quality players in an organization.

 

I also think your prospect status has quite a bit to do with it... some guys keep getting pushed up because of what they are, not what they have done. While many of the later picks and signings have to earn their promotions every step of the way. As far as pitchers go, I'm fine with their stats just being "OK" as they figure things out, but when transition across that fine line to where I feel they have poor results, I'm going to get concerned. Either they aren't healthy, or they simply aren't very good...

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Most have been said already - but Tyson and Bryson have been pretty big disappointments for me.

I was really hoping they would both solidify their status as legitimate prospects.

 

I am also surprised no one mentioned Jeffress as "Good". He has had his ups and downs, but he might have the highest ceiling ever for a Brewer's pitcher.

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Zach has basically had one bad inning in those bad outings if you check. This last game he struck out the side in the inning that hurt him the most, he just "lost" it in between K2 & K3...and it was about as ugly as it gets. Remember, this is typical of a "Strike-Out" type pitcher. Half of the walks probably could have been strike outs as he works around the paint. Contrary, half the K's could have been walks. You have to accept that with this kind of young pitcher. He, Periard & Jeffress are the youngest kids on that pitching staff...be patient. These three have the best numbers of Brevard's starters...give 'em time.
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I have a hard time with laporta in the amazing category. Call it being spoiled over an embarrassment of hitting talent in AA lately. But my expectations of a top 10 drafted hitting prospect with limited fielding capability under Jack Z is that he dominates offensively. Laporta is a college kid, older than several of the other prospects we have in AA, and not hitting at the level of some of his teammates. I'm hoping he shows enough bat to be able to adequately replace Prince eventually, but I feel his performance this year is status quo.

Not sure how LaPorta isn't dominating offensively. Leads the league in home runs. (By 4!) Second in the league in RBI's. (Only behind Gamel) Second in total bases. (Only behind Gamel) Second in slugging. (Only to Gamel) 4th in OPS. (Should move up to third, possibly second after tonights performance) Oh yeah, and that batting average that we are questioning...is .298, not exactly Mendoza.

 

I guess I just don't see how that isn't domination. Just because Gamel is having one of the best minor league seasons I personally have ever followed, doesn't mean LaPorta isn't dominating.
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One other H'villes guy that's really surprised me is Chris Errecart. 888 OPS? Are you kidding? I can see where that would get lost in the shuffle though. I mean check out the top hitters in the southern league:

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?t=l_bat&lid=111&sid=l111

 

When four of your teammates are 1 - 4 in BA in the league it's easy to be overshadowed.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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And pitching may be down slightly in the SL this year but not too much. Huntsville is just that much better. I mean the team batting average is 30 points higher than #2, the team OPS is 60 points better than #2, SLG is 45 points better than #2. They have just a dominating offense this year.

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?y=2008&t=l_tba&lid=111&sid=l111

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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For all the talk of LaPorta being old for that league it is interesting to note that the only guys younger than LaPorta in the top 16 of OPS in the Southern League are Huntsville guys (Gamel, Salome, Errecart, Gillespie, and Brantley) and Cameron Maybin. The other 9 guys are all older than LaPorta. His age may be a factor but maybe we focus on it too much. He is on pace for somewhere around 40 home runs. That is just crazy.

Also, who would have thought Brantley would be 16 in OPS in that league with an OPS of .841?

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