All Star Break(downs) – @ValleyCats Position Players Report: Outfielders

Each PDF for position players includes a hit chart, so you’re able to see the spread of the balls they’ve put into play.

I need to remind everyone that my numbers don’t sync up exactly with the official stats on the MILB site. Again, it’s very close to the official numbers, but don’t take my accounts as their official stats.

Outfielders:

#20 – Chris Epps (PDF)

  • Batting: 8 G, 29 PA, .261/.414/.391, 6 H, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K (6 swinging)
    Chris is a relatively new Cat, and I haven’t seen as much of him at the plate. He takes pitches and pieces together solid at bats, but I haven’t seen much power from him, aside from a walk-off homerun. That was the one ball I’ve seen him hit really hard so far. It looks like he’s got a tendency to pull the ball, but I’ve seen seen him slap a couple hits to left center. He’s got two multi-hit games so far, and is batting .100 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: He looks fine in the outfield, and his arm is okay. He’s already got an assist from left, and I see no reason that he shouldn’t be a fine defensive outfielder, but I feel that he’ll be pushed aside in favor of the flashier outfielders as he climbs through the system.
  • Notes: I’d say he’s got average speed on the bases, but I don’t see him get many good leads and jumps off pitchers. I don’t think I’ve seen him attempt a stolen base yet, but I think he has the tools to be able to do it. As of now, the word to sum up Epps is “average” but we’ll see how he does the rest of the season.

#16 – Justin Gominsky (PDF)

  • Batting:  50 G, 220 PA, .259/.330/.299, 51 H, 8 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 19 BB, 34 K (21 swinging)
    Justin seems like an instigator, a guy that’ll slap the ball around the field without much power. He’ll put balls in play all over the field, and he’s quick enough to get some bunt basehits, and he’s very good at getting the sac bunt down. If the ball hangs up in the air as it goes into the outfield, he’s got more than enough speed to take second base. He’s hit a few hard linedrives and a hard flyball for two bags, but he’s much more prone to just get the extra base from hustle. He hasn’t had many opportunities to drive in runners, but he seems to be able to slow down the game and make good contact when the chance arises. He’s got fourteen multi-hit games so far, and is batting .260 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: Gominsky is one of two centerfielders on this team, and he’s got the range and tracking ability you’d expect from a professional. I’ve seen him fooled twice off the bat, but he’s smooth enough to recover if he doesn’t get a good read. He’s one of those guys that you think is barely moving as you watch him run, but he covers a ton of ground. I think he’d be graceful enough to troll the big center field down in Houston, and he looks like he’ll be a durable guy. He’s definitely not one of those Ellsbury/Fuld types that throws their bodies around without any regard to longevity. Think more along the lines of how Bernie Williams or Torii Hunter used to play center. Quick reactions off the bat floating to the ball with what appears to be very little effort.
  • Notes: I’d like to see him cut down on swings at pitches out of the zone. He’s got more than enough speed to beat ground balls out, and he makes a lot of routine groundouts look closer than they should. His bunting ability is above average, and I’d expect him to be able to get ten or eleven bunt singles a year without a problem. His arm is decent, but I don’t think it’s anything exceptional, even compared to his own teammates.
#36 – Brandon Meredith (PDF)
  • Batting: 34 G, 141 PA, .250/.379/.405, 29 H, 7 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 19 BB, 28 K (19 swinging)
    Brandon’s got a quiet, level swing, and he’s able to keep his hands inside the ball well. He’s got some pop to both gaps, but as he gets older and develops some more strength I expect him to have some serious power to the deepest parts of ball parks. When he can get full extension on the ball, boy oh boy does it sound good and travel far. The biggest hole in his swing is just the inability to not recognize pitches on the outside corner. He’ll take ones that break back over, and swing at ones that drop far out of reach. Anything over the plate he sees well, and he’s got very good plate discipline for a guy at this level. He’s got nine multi-hit games so far, and is batting .158 w/RISP. This isn’t a knock at all, because his role has been more of a bottom of the order set up guy, rather than a clean up or fifth hole guy. I figure as he develops that pop in his bat some more, he’ll make a very solid five hole hitter. It always seems like he’s seeing 6+ pitches in his at bats, I’d just like to see him get more walks out of those than strikeouts.
  • Fielding: Brandon’s sneaky quick, and looking at a guy his size you’d think that he should be much slower. He reacts off the bat very well, and he gets the ball back into the infield quickly.  He’s got two assists from the outfield, and aside from an error in a spot start in right (first time at the position), he’s been fine in the outfield.
  • Notes: I’m incredibly biased toward Brandon, as he’s by far my favorite player on this team. I’d really like to see him get a better grasp of the outside corner of the plate, and I want him really develop power to drive the ball more. He’s really a guy you have to watch to understand just how fast he is, but he’ll steal bases, go first to third, and he has no problem scoring from first or second in all the appropriate situations. Dude plays hard and has enough talent to go far in this game, and I really wish the best for him. #SwagLikeWontonSoup

#18 – Drew Muren (PDF)

  • Batting: 53 G, 210 PA, .237/.357/.312, 41 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 27 BB, 42 K (21 swinging)
    Drew is a contact hitter. He’ll take a walk if a guy is flirting around the plate, but he’s striving to put the ball into play every time he digs in. With all of the solid bats on this team, Drew usually bats down in the seven or eight hole, and I’d like to see him get a better eye at the plate. He has a tendency to lead off a lot of innings, but he’s not very adept at getting on base in those situations. He’s much better at moving runners up and extending rallies than he is at starting them. He’ll hit to both gaps, but he’s much more of an opposite field kind of guy. I don’t know if it’s because he’s late on a lot of pitches and his hands are quick enough to make solid contact, or if it’s just what his game plan is. He keeps his head down and his hands in close to his body, so I’m inclined to say he’s just got that inside-out swing down pat and he’ll keep using it until pitchers figure out a way around it. He’s got eleven multi-hit games so far, and is batting .258 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: He’s a natural center fielder, and it took him close to three full weeks to get accustomed to right field. He struggled on balls hit directly at him through his first month, but he’s settled in and he doesn’t misread that many balls off the bat. He’s quick enough and has good enough instincts to recover when he doesn’t see the ball off the bat well, and he’s got an absolute cannon. I’d say the decision to convert him into a right fielder was the right move, and I’ve got him down for ten outfield assists. I feel like it’s low by one or two, but whatever the case, he’s got a very strong and accurate arm.
  • Notes: I’d like to see Drew get better at bunting, as he’s more than quick enough to get as many bunt singles as Gominsky or Neiko Johnson. He has to work on his plate discipline a little bit, but I wouldn’t say his eye is below average for this level.
There’s a lot of talent in this outfield, and I was sorry to see Kellen Kiilsgaard (PDF) sent down. He was clearly the odd man out, and I don’t think he was cutout to be the every day DH just yet. He’s a big guy with a little speed and some pop, he just wasn’t consistent enough to stay up with Tri-City. He’s a bit of a free swinger, and with practice he’ll get much better reading the strikezone, but he wasn’t going to get that opportunity on this squad with four solid outfielders that are more than good enough to warrant playing every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was back up here with the team next summer, and in much better shape at the plate. He plays a decent corner outfield, but I think his true potential will be with the bat as he settles into professional ball, maybe even at a corner infield spot.
Note about the breakdown series:
I was planning to break down all the pitchers as well as the position players, but my confidence in appraising pitching talent is pretty low. I figure I’ll wait until the end of the season to compile my thoughts on the pitchers, in another two – three posts over the span of a few days. I’ll take the next few weeks to get better at notating pitches, velocity and all that other good stuff. I know most of you out there are more interested in pitching than fielding/hitting, so I’ll do my best when I get to the pitchers in September.

All Star Break(downs) – @ValleyCats Position Players Report: Infielders

Each PDF for position players includes a hit chart, so you’re able to see the spread of the balls they’ve put into play.

I need to remind everyone that my numbers don’t sync up exactly with the official stats on the MILB site. Again, it’s very close to the official numbers, but don’t take my accounts as their official stats.

Infielders:

#8 – Miguel Arrendell (PDF)

  • Batting: 9 G, 34 PA, .233/.324/.267, 7 H, 1 2B, 0 3B,  0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K (5 swinging)
    Miggy hasn’t been with the squad very long, but what I’ve seen is good. He rolls over and pulls breaking pitches, but if anything is left up in the zone he’ll stay with it and drive the ball accordingly. It feels like his power is to left field, but he’ll loop some into right too. He’s quick, as middle infielders should be, and runs the bases well, already stealing three bases in his short time with the team.
  • Fielding: He’s played six games at short and another three at second. He seems to have solid range to both sides of his body, and he’s got quick hands turning double play balls. He’s not afraid to come in on the ball, and his throws are strong and accurate.
  • Notes: I see him as being a scrappy hitter; one that’ll fight off tough pitches to weed out good ones to put in play. He’ll need to get better at recognizing balls down in the zone, but I don’t have any reason to think that he won’t be able to. I see him as a strong eight or nine hole hitter, that’ll see enough pitches to get on base and turn the lineup over. He’s more than quick enough to score runs, and he can go first to third on basehits with no trouble.

#40 – Matt Duffy (PDF)

  • Batting: 54 G, 230 PA, .300/.374/.425, 60 H, 17 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 32 RBI, 13 BB, 36 K (23 swinging)
    This dude can flat out hit. He’s got a calm, level swing and he’ll use all parts of the field, with signs of power to both gaps. When he gets full extension on the ball it travels a long way. I don’t know if he’s got a swing conducive to becoming a home run hitter, but he’s got potential to be a really solid doubles guy. It feels as though he’s got a strong grasp of the strikezone, and he rarely chases bad pitches. He can be beaten on high cheese, and he doesn’t get good reads on curveballs (typical of most batters at this level, so nothing that I’m worried about). He’s had fifteen multi-hit games this year, and is batting .333 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: He’s an average third baseman, and he’s quieted down his throwing errors substantially. Early on he wasn’t trusting his arm and rushed throws, pulling Zach off the base a lot. Everyone in the infield took about three weeks to settle in and know that they’re good enough to take their time and make accurate throws. He doesn’t have the best range to his left, and plays closer to the line most of the time, but he’ll come in on the ball very well. He’s not afraid to use his bare hand to scoop and throw, either.
  • Notes: Dude is easily in the slowest three of the team, maybe just the flat out slowest, behind two catchers. He can’t go first to third or score from second on average basehits. He’ll need to develop some pop if he’s going to be a big league corner infielder, but it shouldn’t be too hard to develop that. He’s got a quiet swing, and it won’t take much adjustment to tap into his legs for some more power.

#5 – Jacke Healey (PDF)

  • Batting: 34 G, 116 PA, .101/.224/.192, 10 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 16 BB, 30 K (19 swinging)
    I hate to say this, but I think Jacke just has terrible luck at the plate. He makes solid contact, but it feels like he always hits it to a fielder. Lately, he’s been seeing the ball well and taking pitches, but for the first seven weeks of the season you could just tell he had absolutely no confidence at the plate. He jumped on early pitches in the count, and he looked like he was just waiting for bad things to happen to him. A few times I’ve felt like Jacke was on the precipice of breaking out, but all it takes is for him to hit the ball on the screws for an out and he’s right back to square one. Jacke’s had only one multi-hit game, and is batting an abysmal .067 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: Jacke’s as smooth as glass at short. He’s got great range to both sides, and he’s quick enough to get balls that eke past the mound and convert them into outs at first. I can see why the Astros are holding out on him for his bat to come around, I just don’t know how long they’re going to be patient.
  • Notes: I really like Jacke personally. I’ve spoken to him a few times last year and this year, and he’s always in great spirits. I want so badly for him to figure things out at the plate and advance. One thing I’ll say, though, is that he never takes his hitting into the field with him. He’s made four errors –two balls got through him when he was trying to throw it before he gloved it– and a couple throwing. I want him to bust out and move on.

#4 – John Hinson (PDF)

  • Batting: 43 G, 182 PA, .284/.348/.389, 46 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 17 BB, 26 K (19 swinging)
    John’s a guy that likes to use the entire field, and he’s got some pop to the opposite field (both homers were to right-center). He makes solid contact and he’s quick enough to beat out balls on the ground in the infield. He sees a lot of pitches and was doing well as the lead-off guy before getting hurt. John has fourteen multi-hit games, batting .182 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: Early in the year, John would hang back on ground balls and let the ball come to him. He’d get the ball and realize the runner was closer to the bag than he expected, and he’d rush a throw forcing an error. Stubby said that it was because he was a college player, and was used to how quick the ball got to him off aluminum bats. I’d say it took a full month to adjust to the wooden bat, and he’s been a fine second baseman.
  • Notes: He’s got a history of back injury (sat out all of 2009 after getting back surgery), and he’s hurt his right wrist (maybe, I can’t find out what his exact injury is, but his right forearm is in a cast) this year. He’s a quick runner and he can handle the bat well, we’ll just have to see how durable of a player he is. If he’s going to be a top-of-the-order kind of guy, which I’ve definitely potential for, he’ll need that durability.

#3 – Neiko Johnson (PDF)

  • Batting: 41 G, 174 PA, .262/.427/.300, 34 H, 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 15 RBI, 35 BB, 21 K (15 swinging)
    Neiko’s a prototypical lead off guy, and I love watching him hit. He sees a ton of pitches, goes with the ball and puts it into play, and never shies away from taking a walk. He’s got a great eye and he’s incredibly smart when he runs the bases. He’ll steal off anybody at any time, and he goes first to third better than anyone else on the team. I’ve seen him score from first at least twice this year, and he’s definitely got potential to go far in this game. Neiko’s got eight multi-hit games, batting .375 w/RISP. Most of that average came when he was batting further down in the lineup, but he’s versatile enough to be the lead off guy moving forward in his career.
  • Fielding: Neiko’s had ten errors this year, but I’ve got him down for eleven appearances at second, one at third, fifteen at short, ten in left and two in right. When you move around that much, you’re going to have adjustment periods. His arm is strong, his feet and legs are quick, and his arm is more than accurate enough to be an outfielder. When I look at the lineup and see where he’s playing, I know that he’s going to do just fine wherever he’s been asked to take the field.
  • Notes: Dude’s electric and a total utility player. He’ll play wherever he needs to help the team out, and he always has an impact on the game. Neiko’s a contact hitter with great speed, and he’s full of energy. He’s going to make a great big leaguer someday. He played college ball with Dat Dude BP, Brandon Phillips, and I see a lot of common ground in their personalities. Always smiling, always making everyone else smile. Such a fun guy to watch. I really want him to make it.

#32 – Zach Johnson (PDF)

  • Batting: 54 G,  236 PA, .262/.340/.369, 54 H, 11 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 19 BB, 34 K (22 swinging)
    Zach’s got a solid bat, even if his power numbers from college haven’t carried over to professional baseball yet. He’s got solid power to both corners, though he pulls the ball more often than not. He has a level swing, and his hands are quick through the zone. I’ve seen him pull his hands in and stay with slow breaking pitches, which I know is not easy to do, and he’ll slap his fair share of offspeed balls to the opposite field. He’s not a base stealer, but he’s got solid instincts when running the bases. He’s had 17 multi-hit games, and is batting .295 w/RISP.
  • Fielding: He doesn’t have the best footwork of the first basemen I’ve seen, but he has shown progress over the last few weeks. He’s got solid range to his right, and has good instincts on when to get back to the bag on bunts to the right side. I think his footwork caused some throwing errors on his teammates in the early part of the year, but he’s been much better at scooping balls out of the dirt and stretching for balls in August.
  • Notes: He’s a decent all around player, and I think if his power translates to the wooden bat he’ll be a fine first baseman. As it stands, his fielding needs some work, and he doesn’t have nearly enough pop to make an impact at his position.

#34 – Rafael Valenzuela (PDF)

  • Batting: 14 G, 55 PA, .388/.418/.673, 19 H, 8 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K (4 swinging)
    Wow! What a bat this kid has! He’s very rarely fooled by pitches, and he’ll even put solid wood on some really good pitches. I’m not saying he’s a free swinger like Vlad Guerrero, but he’ll selectively leave the strikezone if he thinks he can get a good swing on the ball, and he’s very rarely wrong. In fourteen games so far, he’s hit safely in thirteen, with four multi-hit games. He’s got pop to all parts of the field, but he’s got some really nice pull power to right. He’s been on an absolute tear since being promoted to Tri-City, and he’s going to have a huge impact on this team for the remaining games of the season. He’s hitting .500 w/RISP so far.
  • Fielding: This Cat can play a solid corner infield, and he’s quick enough to handle the corner outfield spots. I think he’s a natural first baseman, but he’s got very strong instincts that help him out at third as well.
  • Notes: He could very well be a big impact player with power at a corner spot (infield or out), and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite Cats. He always runs hard, has great at bats and contributes with the glove. You cannot ask for more than that out of a player, and he brings it all every single day. Oh, and he’s incredibly humble, which I love.

The other two infielders that I could write about, Hector Rodriguez and Chase Davidson, will be skipped. Hector was advanced quickly and Chase hasn’t appeared in a game yet. I liked Hector’s intensity while he was filling in for Jacke at short earlier in the summer, and I think he has the tools to be a very good utility infielder. I see that he hasn’t had much playing time since being promoted, but he’s moved three levels this summer (A-, A, A+), regardless of some wimpy offensive numbers. I’m going to keep an eye on him, as he’s a really fun guy to watch play.

All Star Break(downs) – @ValleyCats Position Players Report: Catchers

I’ve been keeping track of the Cats through the iScore app on my Droid 2 this season, and one of the really cool things about it is how it lets me keep accumulative stats for all the guys. This is the first of four planned posts where I’ll be sharing the PDF exports of the players stored in my phone, and my little scouting reports on each of the guys. Each PDF for position players includes a hit chart, so you’re able to see the spread of the balls they’ve put into play.

I’m starting with the position players, and I need to remind everyone that my numbers don’t sync up exactly with the official stats on the MILB site. I’m relatively certain that all of the discrepancies come from my accounts of home games, where I score things as I see them, rather than entering them as the official recap of the game has them laid out. I’m not saying that I have guys hitting .400 and the official stats have him at .168, it’s more like I have a guy at .268 instead of .263. I don’t have enough time to sit down and go through all of the games to this point and verify all of the data, so I have to go with what I’ve got. Again, it’s very close to the official numbers, but don’t take my accounts as their official stats.

For the position players, I’ll be showcasing their important batting stats (games, plate appearances, slash line, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, BB, K), talk about their defense a little, and share any notes I have about them.

Catchers:

#27 – Miles Hamblin (PDF)

  • Batting: 45 G, 174 PA, .263/.343/.368, 40 H, 10 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 17 BB, 31 K (21 swinging)
    Miles is a straight pull hitter. He has a typical lefty swing, liking the ball down and in. He’ll make solid contact and go up the middle occasionally, but his forte is hitting into the right-center gap. He’s not quick, but is good enough on the bases to go from first to third. He’s easy to double off on ground balls in the infield, but always runs out balls in play.
  • Fielding: Miles has caught 32 games, and I have him down for four errors, 13 passed balls and catching 3 out of 46 stolen base attempts. He does not look comfortable behind the plate, and is often hung up between if he should stab at the ball with his glove, or lunge to dampen the ball with his chest. He is sluggish moving to his right and left from the crouch, and I don’t feel confident in his ability to handle breaking balls in the dirt. When he throws to second, he doesn’t square his front shoulder and he doesn’t follow through either. His left shoulder flies open, and the ball just about always sails up and away from second, making it difficult to nab guys trying to advance. Of the three catchers, I see Miles looking into the dugout the most, but I wouldn’t say they call every pitch.
  • Notes: Miles is a gamer, and I’ve seen him playing hard with some injuries. He’s a solid line drive hitter to right-center, but often chases breaking balls that result in ground outs to the second baseman. If he develops a little more pop, I can see him transitioning away from being a catcher, as his defense will definitely be a liability as he climbs higher into the system.

#2 – Ryan McCurdy (PDF)

  • Batting: 23 G, 81 PA, .320/.358/.373, 24 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 0 BB, 10 K (6 swinging)
    Ryan was with the squad last year, but he didn’t really get a big sampling of games. After batting .150 in 40 games last year, he’s sitting at .316 through 24 games with 13 RBIs. He’s one of the most clutch hitters out of the guys on the team this year, batting .333 with runners in scoring position. I know catchers hate hearing that they’re fast for catchers, but it’s true with Ryan.
  • Fielding: Ryan has caught in 20 games this year, and he’s the best of the three catchers defensively. He’s not afraid to adjust the gameplan on the fly, and is the only one out of the bunch that’ll exploit the umpire’s strikezones. If they’re calling low strikes, he’ll call more breaking pitches. If they’re calling outside pitches, he’ll set up off the plate to see how far he can go and still get strikes. He’s a little guy, and he sets up low. We’re not talking Tony Pena low, but he’s good at keeping the ball in front of him. He’s better at throwing to the bases than Miles, but he’s nothing spectacular. I have him as catching 5 out of 36 attempts.
  • Notes: Super clutch, has quick hands on inside pitches, and he’s not afraid to block the plate.

#23 – Bubby Williams (PDF)

  • Batting: 27 G, 105 PA, .212/.229/.374, 21 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 3 BB, 31 K (23 swinging)
    Bubby’s a guy that doesn’t get cheated with his swings. He’ll miss frequently on pitches in on his hands, and he doesn’t have any recognition of balls off the plate. If you want to beat Bubby, drill a couple fastballs in on his hands, then drop a slider four or five inches off the outside corner. He’s a straight pull hitter, and he’s got some solid pop when he makes contact, twice hitting balls off the scoreboard in left.
  • Fielding: Bubby has spent most of his time as a DH, but has caught in eight games and played first in two more. I’d say he’s an average catcher and below-average first baseman, but he gives it his all when he’s in the field. He looks comfortable behind the plate, but he has some funky footwork when he’s at first, something I’m sure he could improve with more practice and playing time.
  • Notes: Bubby’s a great guy, and he’s always one of the first few Cats to step out onto the field before warm ups. He’s always talking to fans down the third baseline, and he’s always smiling. I’d say he reminds me a lot of Mark Reynolds; he’ll swing at everything hard, and he’ll drive a few out of the park when he makes contact. Past that, he’ll strike out a lot until he gets his plate discipline down, and patches the hole in his swing in on his hands. I’m not sure where he’ll fit in defensively as he climbs through the system, but he’ll probably tell you that he wants to catch.
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