Minors Update: Who's Performing Well

by battlingbucs | Apr 28, 2014 - 2:21 PM
I figured it was time for a minor league update with the off day and all. I'm going to look at the hitters off to a decent or better start. Below is every player with at least 50 PA and a wRC+ of 100 or better (meaning they have been at least a league average hitter). I'll also include wRC+, level and age.

Player, Pos (wRC+, Level, Age)
Erich Weiss, 2B (142, A, 22)
Justin Maffei, OF (130, A, 22)
Dan Collins, 1B/OF (123, A, 23)
Candon Myles, OF (119, A, 21)
JaCoby Jones, SS/OF (115, A, 22)

Josh Bell, OF (129, A+, 21)
Jordan Steranka, 1B/3B (117, A+, 24)
Jose Osuna, 1B (114, A+, 21)

Stetson Allie, 1B (161, AA, 23)
Elias Diaz, C (142, AA, 23)
Gift Ngoepe, 2B/SS (137, AA, 24)
Mel Rojas Jr, OF (103, AA, 24)

Gregory Polanco, OF (213, AAA, 22)
Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF (163, AAA, 25)
Chris Dickerson, OF (138, AAA, 32)
Chris McGuiness, 1B (132, AAA, 26)
Blake Davis, 2B/SS (117, AAA, 30)
Matt Hague, 1B/3B (113, AAA, 28)
Chase d'Arnaud, SS/OF (106, AAA, 27)

As a general rule of thumb I tend to cap prospects age at 22 for A ball, 23 for A+, 24 for AA and I bump it up two years to 26 for AAA. If a player is past that age unless there are extra ordinary circumstances I tend to write them off as not a prospect. Let me emphasize this players at those ages would be considered old prospects for the level.

A
Over 22: The only player above 22 off to an above average start is Dan Collins. Collins was drafted by the Pirates in the 13th round of last year's draft. He got off to a hot start in short season ball but cooled off. Originally a 1B Collins has moved to the OF this year to allow Espinal to play the position full time and because the entire regular OF ticketed for this level is injured. Collins start has done little to change his future outlook because as an advanced college bat it is expected he should be able to hold his own here. TO really get noticed he'd have to be dominating and he is far from doing that.

Age 22: Maffei, Weiss and Jones were all selected last year in the 25th, 11th and 3rd rounds respectively. Maffei and Weiss can probably both be considered borderline prospects and while its encouraging to see them hitting well it needs noted that one of the big drivers of their success has been a high walk rate. Players who rely on high walk rates... [Read More]
    4 Replies | 5,892 Views


What Happens When The #Pens Play For An Entire Game? ...

by Kipper | Apr 26, 2014 - 9:53 PM
...Dan Bylsma and his staff don't look as incompetent as they look when the players are out their skating at half speed and playing with half the energy of their opponent.

The tricky thing with coaching is that it looks great when you're winning and is easiest to blame when you lose. There's not a coach on this earth that looks like a genius when their team loses. When the Pens got bounced from the 1993 Playoffs, the great Scotty Bowman, didn't look so great anymore.

Every coach has their own mind farts during a season, during a series and during games. Despite popular beliefs, there's more in game matchups occurring than most fans realize, since most fans don't notice, or even know what to look for to begin with. It's simply more simple to say "He doesn't make adjustments", when the team looks stale and life-less for most of a game. In reality, if you put forth half of the effort.. any system, any scheme, any adjustment is going to look bad. None of them are designed to be performed half-hearted!

This should be of no surprise to most Pens fans, but it is and at a mind blowing rate! Dan Bylsma's system is an aggressive pressure based system. It needs to be performed at 90% + energy for 60 minutes or it won't be performed to maximum capacity. He also shouldn't adjust his system during a game because his players aren't putting forth the effort that is needed. They're extremely well paid athletes that should be giving it their all and energy 120% every night. There's no adjustment that can get production from players not willing to put forth the effort.

Tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets back at the Consol Energy Center, we saw that "energy". We saw a team play for 60 minutes. We saw the Pens finally match the Blue Jackets Hit for Hit in this series. They badly outshot the Blue Jackets, which is what happens when you control the possession game and win races and battles for the pucks. These are the results of the little things that occur but can only occur when you move your legs and try at least as hard as your opponent.

The Penguins put in that effort tonight.

Should they have scored more than 2 Goals (not including the Empty Net goal)? Absolutely. right now, the skilled players aren't producing and that's nobody but their faults. They've been in a position to succeed and they aren't putting pucks in the net when they have their chances...

... however, it's... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 4,603 Views


Opening Day From PNC Park Thought - Bring Bonds Back As A Hitting Coach?

by Kipper | Apr 26, 2014 - 2:24 PM
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ID:	5545As myself and Steelreign (@PSF_Stelreign), roamed the city of Pittsburgh in panic on Opening Day looking for a parking spot, the panic wasn't about food. It wasn't about missing the first pitch. The panic was seeing the Awards ceremony. It was about seeing Barry Bonds back in Pittsburgh, along side Andrew McCutchen. It was a mad dash from the old Civic Arena parking lots to PNC Park via "The T", but we got there. We made it! We saw a guy parachute down onto PNC Park... so we knew we had time... and maybe enough to get a beer while we were at it!

Whew!!

As we made our way in, they were starting the Awards ceremony, so we found the nearest rotunda to get a glimpse of the scoreboard. There was Jim Leyland presenting to Clint Hurdle. The ovation Leyland got was excellent as expected!

..but what would Bonds get?

A guy that Pittsburgher's never forgave for leaving despite ownership deciding to not extend him. Despite the rumors that Leyland and him didn't get along that forced that decision. Nobody forgave Bonds for being the Grade A ****** that he was, but Pittsburgher's have forgiven others for the same reasons (how long did Terry Bradshaw dump on Pittsburgh?).

Barry Bonds' name was announced and it was a pretty even mixture of Boo's and Cheers, maybe even more Boo's.

I was shocked!

Click image for larger version. 

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I figured Bonds would get more cheers than he did.... [Read More]
    5 Replies | 5,537 Views


Pittsburgh Sports Fans Have A Blaming Problem

by Kipper | Apr 24, 2014 - 8:47 AM
After the Pittsburgh Penguins surrendered an early 3 goal lead to an inferior team talent wise, only to lose in Over Time, the blame game settled in. The fingers started pointing, Social Media was abuzz with who to blame and who to defend. It's moments like this that you can easily distinguish who the "Fan Boys" and "Fan Girls" are and who has a particular bias against particular player(s).

This isn't just a Pittsburgh Penguins fan issue either, this is an issue the stretches across the board to all 3 sports teams. I've witnessed them for years. The pure number of people out there who absolutely refuse to blame Ben Roethlisberger for a bad game that costs the Steelers is alarming and ridiculous. If he has a bad game, it's the Defenses fault for not shutting out the other team. It's the Offensive Line's fault. The Wide Receivers didn't create enough separation to get open...

It wasn't, "The Steelers could've won Super Bowl 45 if Ben Roethlisberger had played as well as Aaron Rogers",

It was "The Steelers Defense didn't do enough to help out Ben".

The truth is always somewhere in the middle?

Everyone is largely 50% correct.

In the case of that last example, the Steelers Defense didn't do enough to stop the Packers and help out their struggling QB and their Franchise QB, was outplayed by his counterpart on the field.

Placing blame in multiple places however, appears to be a task that eludes the sports fan and at times the media itself.

Last night the Pittsburgh Penguins stopped playing after they scored their 3rd goal in the 1st Period. This was evident to anyone watching the game. At one point the Columbus Blue Jackets had a 28-8 Shots On Goal advantage after the Pens scored their 3rd goal. When that happens, the entire team is to blame. Marc-Andre Fleury was peppered with shots from everywhere. When you are allowing as many Shots On Goals as the Pens were, you aren't play the game enough in the other teams zone.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were largely and have been largely invisible offensively this series. There's been times like last night where Malkin was giving up his body to block shots and backcheck, but other than that, the Pens top stars haven't made a dent in this series. There's simply not enough blame being place on Evegni Malkin and Sidney Crosby and Crosby should get far more blame because he's the Captain and Leader of... [Read More]
    17 Replies | 5,147 Views


All I Am Saying.. Is Give Snider A Chance

by Kipper | Apr 06, 2014 - 5:11 PM


Every Pittsburgh Pirates fan from one side of the bandwagon to the other want either an RF with All-Star credentials or Top Prospect - Gregory Polanco in the lineup yesterday. While Gregory Polanco is most likely a mid-season call up away, people shouldn't be giving up on Travis Snider either.

Travis Snider?

Lunchbox Hero?

Yes, that Travis Snider, who went 0-3 in the Opener and 1-8 in the first 2 games prompting every fan from Pacific to Atlantic Ocean to claim him as a massive failure. A failure who shouldn't start on a Minor League field let alone a Major League one. Yet, after those first couple games, all Travis Snider has done is taken his Batting Avg. to .316. Yes, his power numbers are on the sad side of putrid, however on a team not hitting much at all, a .316 Avg. is nothing to sneeze at.

Last season Travis Snider got off to a great start, batting .300 with a .799 OPS largely hitting from the #2 spot where getting on base for Andrew McCutchen is the name of the game. In that game he had an excellent OBP of .382.

Then a nagging left foot injury escalated and Travis Snider's season went downhill along with any faith that a fan might have had in him. That injury has since been corrected with surgery which has left Travis Snider one of the Pirates most interesting players.

When the Pirates traded reliever Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider in 2012, Pirates fans were irate that we gave up a failed top prospect with the ceiling of "Set-Up Man" for a guy that was project. It was a low risk/high reward trade. Toronto Blue Jays fans hated it. They were giving up on a budding prospect that had been developed poorly who could reach his potential late for an ordinary reliever.

Enter the 2014 season, Travis Snider is healthy. He can plant his foot when he swings, he can twist it when he needs to. At the age of 26, he's coming into those prime years when players start to "get it" mentally and the mind catches up to the physical ability. That potential that the Blue Jays fans didn't want to get rid of, could start to see the light of day. Afterall, when he's been fairly healthy the last 2 seasons, he's hitting .300 or better.

So, why all the vitriol? The kid is hitting. We as fans should want that! His long term future isn't with the Pirates due to Gregory Polanco, but... [Read More]
    6 Replies | 9,177 Views


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