Tag Archives: Jordan Lyles

Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 1


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did.

Carlos Santana (CLE)

I predicted back in January that Santana would spend the majority of the season in AAA, and would post the following line: .285/.400/.520 – 25 doubles, 25 homeruns, 95 rbi (AAA). How did his numbers end up looking? .316/.447/.597 – 13 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 RBI (AAA), and .260/.401/.467 – 13 doubles, 6 home runs, 22 rbi at the Majors. And that was only in approximately 100 games total as he suffered that season-ending knee injury blocking the plate. I think that had he stayed in AAA all year, he would have clearly blown through these numbers, and could very well have reached some of these numbers in the Majors as well.

Mike Stanton (FLA)

I thought that Stanton would spend the full season down at AA, believing that the Marlins would not rush to move Stanton too fast and start his arbitration clock too soon. I forgot that the Marlins only sort of concern themselves with the arbitration clock. They were looking for some power, and called him up straight from AA. My prediction for him back in January: .265/.355/.500, 27 hr, 90 rbi (AA). His actual AA numbers: .313/.442/.729, 21 hr, 52 rbi in just 53 games. And also .241/.317/.500, 20 hr, 51 rbi in the Majors. I think that the strikeouts remain a huge concern for Stanton, but the power is most definitely legitimate.

Shelby Miller (STL)

Miller was a very difficult prospect for me to review at the time, simply because he had hardly any innings pitched as a professional. I predicted back then that he would post the following line in the minors: 5-3, 3.50 ERA, 70 IP, 75 K, 35 BB. I didn’t predict a level, and find it a bit odd that I didn’t. His actual line at Single-A: 7-5, 3.62 ERA, 104.1 IP, 140 K, 33 BB. Clearly, both John Sickels and Baseball America knew what they were seeing with him.

Michael Pineda (SEA)

Pineda really profiled to me as a potential candidate for growth, and to me seems to be one of my best calls. I thought he would post the following: 8-5, 2.70 era, 150 k/35 bb, between High-A and AA. Much too conservative, as the Mariners started him at AA and he earned a midseason move to AAA. His AA line: 8-1, 2.22 ERA, 78 k/17 bb in 77 IP. His AAA line: 3-3, 4.76 ERA, 76 k/17 bb in 62.1 IP. I think he’s going to start next season in the Mariners’ rotation.

Buster Posey (SFG)

I thought that Posey would start the season in the Majors, and it appears that the Giants may end up regret not doing so. My prediction: .280/.370/.500 – 20 homeruns, 75 rbi. His actual numbers: .321/.369/.516, 15 homeruns, 62 rbi in 98 games. So another prediction where I was too conservative. In my opinion, Posey’s one of only two candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Jesus Montero (NYY)

I figured that Montero would start the season in AA, and eventually make his way to AAA during the season. The line to go with that: .330/.385/.530, 25 homers, 90 rbi. What actually happened was that the Yankees sent him to AAA, and while he got off to a slow start, ended up finishing his season pretty strong: .289/.353/.517, 21 homers, 75 rbi. I think that he’s likely to be with the big club next season providing he can get regular playing time at catcher.

Derek Norris (WAS)

Norris missed a lot of time this season due to a wrist injury, and clearly this prediction wasn’t going to happen as a result: .280/.410/.500, 22 homeruns, 80 RBI. The wrist injury appears to have sapped him some, as he hit .235/.419/.419 with 12 homeruns and 49 RBI. I think that next season he will start the season at AA, and it is very telling that the Nationals have already converted top pick Bryce Harper to the outfield.

Eric Hosmer (KC)

I wrote back in January that it was too early to give up on Hosmer, and that the Lasik procedure he had during the offseason could help him. Whether or not it did, my prediction ended up a bit underwhelming: .275/.380/.480, 15 homeruns, 70 rbi (A/High-A/AA) He actually hit well over .354/.429/.545 with 7 homeruns and 51 rbi at High-A, and then continued the excellent hitting at AA with a .313/.365/.615 line and 13 homeruns and 35 rbi. He seems likely to start 2011 in AAA, and could see a call up during the season at some point.

Jordan Lyles (HOU)

After reviewing Lyles during the offseason, I really, really liked what I saw out of him. My prediction: 9 – 6, 3.40 ERA, 150 IP, 165 K, 40 BB (Split between High-A and AA). He did end up splitting time between AA and AAA this season, posting a 7-12 record with a 3.57 ERA, 158.2 IP, 137 K, 46 BB. Clearly a more impressive performance than I had originally envisioned. I think he will spend a majority of 2011 at AAA, as the Astros are really unlikely to compete significantly next year.

Trevor Reckling (LAA)

I really thought Reckling would do better than he did, but I did mention that the control issues concerned me. My prediction initially: 11 – 8, 3.35 era, 170 innings pitched, 155 strikeouts, 55 walks. His actual numbers: 7-13, 6.42 era, 148 2/3 innings pitched, 108 strikeouts, 85 walks. He started the season at AAA, and was actually demoted to AA to finish the season. This was a completely lost season for Reckling, and until he can prove he won’t walk so many batters, he’ll probably remain at AA.

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – AA, High-A, and Low-A


Yesterday, I went over the prospects currently in the Majors and AAA that I reviewed back in January and how their seasons have progressed to this point. Today I’ll be focusing on the players at the levels below AAA.

Note: Each of these players are listed under the level that they are currently at, but will include their stats at all levels. All statistics are through Saturday’s games, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.

AA

Jenrry Mejia (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 2 0 0 0 2.70 3.1 5 2.400
Majors 30 0 2 0 3.25 27.2 17 1.590

Mejia was finally sent down to the minors to be lengthened out to start after his appearance on June 2oth. Of course, in standard bad luck fashion, Mejia was injured in his second start down at AA, and has been shut down from throwing with no return date set as of yet. He strained his right posterior cuff, which seems like it would be pretty bad for a pitcher. However, his name is still being mentioned in potential trade talks that the Mets are having, and I am wondering if he could still be moved despite the injury.

Jordan Lyles (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 6 5 0 2.60 22 85 1.168

Lyles was recently named to Baseball America’s midseason prospect All Star team, and has pitched extremely well so far this season. Back in May I wrote that I thought he might get a cup of coffee with the Astros’ AAA affiliate at the end of the season, but I think that the prospect might be better served by staying at AA the whole season through, and starting 2011 at AAA. He won’t turn 20 years old until after the season this year, and still looks like he has a very good chance of being with the big club at the start of 2012. One of the few high level prospects in the system for the Astros.

Trevor Reckling (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 2 1 0 0 2.45 7.1 10 0.818
AAA 14 4 7 0 8.53 69.2 46 2.139

The numbers tell the story so far for Reckling, who struggled so much with the Pacific Coast League that he was sent back to AA on June 27th. I am wondering if the initial struggles led to some confidence issues for him, as his walk rate at AA ballooned completely out of control (50 walks to 46 strikeouts). While his walk rate has never been super low, this was high even for him. Hopefully he will be able to clean himself up in AA and return to AAA before the end of the season.

Christian Friedrich (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 12 1 5 0 5.34 64 57 1.531

Looking at Friedrich’s numbers, he’s been a bit homerun prone compared to his previous years, especially when you consider that he gave up only 3 in 14 starts in the hitter friendly California League, but has already given up 8 in just 12 starts in the Texas League. The strikeouts are down, but are still a very solid 8 per 9 innings. I wrote back in May that he had missed more than a month of starts with an elbow injury, so this could definitely be causing him some trouble still.

Martin Perez (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 3 4 0 5.46 64.1 68 1.617

Perez is still having a bit of a problem with the walks, as he is now at 4.81 per 9 innings for the season. Looking at his FIP (3.97) tells me that he’s probably due to get a few more breaks and overall lower some of these numbers back into the range we all expected of him during the preseason. One thing I am liking is the fact that on the season his groundball rate is at 50%, as I think that if he can translate that with his strikeout rate he will continue to excel long-term. His name has come up briefly in trade rumors for the Rangers, but I think they would be better served keeping him than moving him for a short-term rental, even if it would help them this season.

Kyle Drabek (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 17 8 8 0 3.20 107 80 1.224

Drabek is fresh off of throwing a 9 inning no-hitter for New Hampshire last week, but his ERA doesn’t tell the whole story. His FIP is at 4.19 on the season, and at least part of that is related to the 45 walks he has issued already this season. He only issued 5 more walks in 50 more innings last season, so that raises some concerns for me. He isn’t brutally far away from his career rate of 3.4 per 9 inning, but it leads me to believe that there could be a regression of sorts here. The Blue Jays have exactly no need to hurry him, so I think he’ll spend the whole season down at AA, and start next year at AAA.

Brett Lawrie (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 83 .295 .358 .473 53 6 41 22

Lawrie has hit pretty well so far, and the speed is something I really like to see out of him.  He has been making errors at 2B at around the same rate as last season, but that’s not a huge surprise considering he is still learning the position really. He’s been mentioned as a player that the Mariners would love to acquire from the Brewers, but unless the Brewers get back prospects for a different position I am not sure how exactly the Mariners are going to go get Lawrie.

Chris Withrow (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 16 3 4 0 4.69 80.2 76 1.500

Withrow’s numbers haven’t exactly been making anyone talk him up so far this season, but there is hope for the season. In June, he posted a 3.44 FIP over 29 innings with 28 strikeouts, but a disconcerting 17 walks. So far in July his FIP is 1.85 (small sample size of course). The key that I see is that his homerun rate appears to be normalizing, as his HR/FB rate is at 8.8% for the year, but was up over 12% coming into June. Look for him to be left at AA through the season, and if he pitches well in August potentially getting a call to AAA.

Casey Kelly (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 15 1 3 0 5.05 62.1 55 1.652

Kelly is another prospect who isn’t pitching as badly as the numbers indicate. So far, he has had BABIPs of .389 (April), .366 (May), and .379 (June), but FIPs of 2.47, 4.66, and 3.52 respectively. With the exception of the month of May (4.33 per 9), his walks have been pretty much under control, and the strikeouts remain right around 8 per 9 innings. He’s going to see some growing pains undoubtedly as he continues to adjust to only pitching, but I think he’ll be just fine by the end of the season as well. The Red Sox have no opening for him in the rotation any time soon, so I am wondering if he could be moved potentially as the key piece to acquire a short-term player.

High-A

Derek Norris (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 43 .243 .408 .375 28 4 22 4

Norris missed substantial time with injuries early on in his season, but has not hit quite at the same level as was expected back in the preseason. The one number that really jumps off the page to me is his OBP (.408). For the season, he now has 37 walks to go against 36 strikeouts, an excellent rate. He’s going to start hitting better with a walk rate like that. It is also telling to me that the Nationals announced that Bryce Harper would start his professional career as an outfielder, and with Norris being their most advanced catching prospect essentially locked in. He probably won’t be up until 2012, but if he is a solid offensive catcher and an excellent defender, that will definitely be enough.

Eric Hosmer (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 80 .351 .428 .548 46 7 48 11

Apparently the Lasik worked. Hosmer has been hitting everything he sees, and I have to imagine that he’s going to be moved up to AA at some point in the next month. Even his walk-to-strikeout rate has improved over his previous seasons (41/33 so far). Hosmer seems likely to be much higher up in the rankings at the end of the season.

Tony Sanchez (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 59 .314 .416 .494 31 4 35 2

For some reason, I thought Sanchez would have shown more power at this point, but the batting average and on base percentage are both really nice regardless. Interestingly, his caught stealing rate is only at 15% on the season. I am wondering if that could have something to do with the idea that only the real speedsters are generally allowed to run in the minors, and as such are going to show that much more success. Overall, I think he will probably see a little bit of time at AA before the season is out, but there is no real reason for the Pirates to rush him.

Jaff Decker (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A+ 41 .229 .315 .401 15 5 23 2

Decker missed time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury, and I am wondering if there are some other parts of that injury that may still be affecting Decker’s hitting.  He also appears to be very impatient as well, as he has struck out 49 times in only 41 games, but also only walked 18 times. He should be destroying the California League offensively, but he will probably stay down there for the rest of the season and potentially start next season there as well if his hitting doesn’t improve.

Jacob Turner (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
A 11 2 3 0 3.67 54 51 1.148
A+ 2 0 0 0 8.59 7.1 7 2.045

Turner was recently promoted to High-A, after pitching pretty well in the Midwest League. The control has been excellent, with 51 strikeouts against only 9 walks there. He is still only 19 years old, and I think he’s going to spend the rest of the season at High-A. That still seems pretty advanced to me for a player as young as him.

Low-A

Shelby Miller (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
A 13 2 3 0 4.20 49.1 65 1.338
AAA 51 .246 .283 .365 17 4 28 3

Miller has been dominating the Midwest League, striking out almost 12 batters per 9 innings. Back in May, I wrote that I thought he would spend the full season at Low A, but I think that if he continues to pitch as well as he has to this point, he’ll get a call to either High-A or AA. The interesting thing at this point is that his name is also being bandied about in trade rumors, as he is considered to be the highest upside prospect in the Cardinals’ system right now.

Aaron Hicks (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
A 76 .260 .372 .407 50 5 34 11
AAA 3 2 0 0 2.37 19 26 0.842

Hicks is repeating the Midwest League, after only playing part of the season in 2009. His slugging percentage and on base are both higher than last year, but not substantially. He had a poor month of May, but both April and June have been solid months where he posted OPS higher than 800 in each of them. I’m not entirely sure what happened in May, but I want to see what he does in July before just assuming he is back.

Finally, a last word about the 30th prospect I reviewed, A.J. Pollock (Writeup) of the Diamondbacks. Here’s what I wrote back in May:

Pollock was to start the season at High-A, but injured himself trying to make a sliding catch in the outfield. The diagnosis was a fractured growth plate in his arm, and will miss at least half the season. Look for him to spend the remainder of this season at Single-A when he does return from the injury.

As of today, he still has not made his debut for the season,

How Are They Doing? Part 3


Today I’m covering the last of the offseason prospect reviews, and see how they are doing so far this season. These stats are through Monday’s games

High-A

Eric Hosmer (KCR): 31 games, .409/.492/.582, HR, 21 RBI, 17 R, 4 SB, 19 walks, 4 strikeouts

I wrote back in January that he would hopefully improve after having Lasik surgery towards the end of last season. To this point, that appears to have been a major portion of what was causing him problems. I think that if he continues at a rate close to where he has been so far this season, he could see a promotion to AA before the end of this season.

Jordan Lyles (HOU): 6 starts, 35 IP, 2-2, 2.83 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 31 strikeouts, 9 walks

[update] As the commenter below noted, he’s actually in AA, and has been all season. Actually makes me think better of him already, as he could potentially see a cup of coffee at AAA this season.

Lyles has continued his strong 2009 season with a strong showing so far at High-A. I think he’s probably going to be promoted to AA by midseason at the latest. He is still fairly young for his level, but I think that he’s unlikely to struggle, at least initially. The Astros are going to be extremely happy with him if he keeps this up.

Tony Sanchez (PIT): 27 games, .306/.417/.510, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 19 R, 17 walks, 26 strikeouts

Sanchez was widely viewed as an overdraft last year by the Pirates, a pick based more on signability than necessarily talent level. Sanchez is playing well to this point, but the only concern I have at this point is that he may be a little old for the level. He’s 21 this year, and after going to college it seems like he probably should be at AA. If he continues like this, I think he’ll be there shortly though.

Derek Norris (WAS): 1 game, 0-2

Norris has missed all but one game due to injury so far, and until he plays again, I’m not entirely sure what to make of him. Of some concern is the fact that the Nationals are extremely likely to draft top prospect Bryce Harper in the June draft, and worry that Norris could end up losing his path to the Majors. If he hits, they’ll find somewhere for him, and realistically Harper will probably not be ready to be in the Majors until 2013 at the soonest. Norris will need to show that he can improve to keep moving forward.

Single-A

Jacob Turner (DET): 4 starts, 16 2/3 IP, 0-0, .378 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 strikeouts, 3 walks

So far so good for Turner, as he has posted an excellent strikeout rate and walk rate in his 4 starts this season. I think he’s going to be in Single-A for the majority of the season, and potentially might get a late-season promotion to the Tigers’ High-A affiliate. He is still only 19, so I could see it being potentially good for his development to let him adjust to the travel and lifestyle of the minors as well.

Shelby Miller (STL): 6 starts, 23 2/3 IP, 0-2, 5.32 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, 9 walks

Miller has been a bit of a mixed bag so far, as he’s allowed a LOT of hits so far but also struck out a ton of hitter as well. I think he probably spends all season at Single-A while he works on both his hit rat and his walk rate. But the strikeouts are a good sign for the future.

Aaron Hicks (MIN): 28 games, .294/.421/.441, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 23 R, 5 SB, 23 walks, 28 strikeouts

Another good young player being developed by the Twins, I think that he will probably get a promotion to High-A or even AA before the season is over. Probably around midseason if he continues to hit and walk at the rate he has been to this point I imagine.

A.J. Pollock (ARI): Has not played yet

Pollock was to start the season at High-A, but injured himself trying to make a sliding catch in the outfield. The diagnosis was a fractured growth plate in his arm, and will miss at least half the season. Look for him to spend the remainder of this season at Single-A when he does return from the injury.

Jaff Decker (SD): Has not played yet

The only information I can find so far is that Decker was in extended spring training as of April 12th, dealing with a minor hamstring injury. Beyond that, I’m not sure what is happening with him at the moment. A hamstring injury is probably a bad thing to hear for the potential of Decker to steal bases.

Prospect Review – Jordan Lyles – P – HOU


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted in the supplemental 1st round (#38) of the 2008 amateur draft
Age: 19

Statistics

2008 – Greeneville (Appalachian League – Astros Rookie Ball) – 13 starts

  • 3-3, 3.99 ERA, 49 2/3 IP
  • 64 K, 10 BB
  • .345 BABIP, 2.45 FIP, 1.087 WHIP

2008 – Tri-City (New York-Penn League – Astros Short Season A) – 2 starts

  • 6.35 ERA, 5 2/3 IP
  • 4 K, 7 BB
  • .294 BABIP, 10.08 FIP, 2.471 WHIP

2008 Totals (2 levels) – 15 starts

  • 3-3, 4.23 ERA, 55 1/3 IP
  • 68 K, 17 BB

2009 – Lexington (Sally League – Astros Single A) – 26 starts

  • 7-11, 3.24 ERA, 144 2/3 IP
  • 167 K, 38 BB
  • .247 BAA, .349 BABIP, 2.42 FIP, 1.19 WHIP

Rankings
Baseball America – #3 (HOU – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #3 (HOU – 2009) – 3 star
Project Prospect – Unranked (Pitchers – 10/2009)
John Sickels – #2 (HOU – 2010) – B+, #4 (HOU – 2009) – B-

Analysis

Lyles was drafted in 2008 straight out of high school, and has really done well in his brief time so far as a professional. He struck out 68 against 17 walks in 55 1/3 innings combined between 2 levels in 2008, and followed it up with 167 strikeouts to 38 walks in 144 2/3 innings at Single-A in 2009. His BABIP actually shows that there could be some improvement to some of his other peripheral stats, as he had a BABIP of .349 for the season.

Lyles throws a low 90′s fastball, and also has a curveball and changeup that he appears to command fairly well also. His delivery appears to be very smooth and easy, which should be another positive in his favor.

Of some concern to me would be his increased innings total in 2009, as he easily had a big jump from the total he threw in 2008. However, if the Astros are slightly conservative with the young right-hander in 2010, they should be able to help him to increase his innings without too many setbacks.

Outlook

I am really looking forward to seeing what Lyles can do next season. I believe he is likely to start the season at High-A, and could very well see an early promotion to AA if he pitches well to start the season. His low walk totals, coupled with those high strikeout numbers, bode well for Lyles to continue his success in 2010. It’s hard to remember that in spite of those numbers, Lyles is still only going to be 19 coming into the 2010 season.

The Astros have never really struck me as a team that is really that concerned about developing players in their minor league system. The only players that I can recall them developing recently that have stuck for any length of time have been Bud Norris (who debuted last year), and Wandy Rodriguez (who came up in 2005, but didn’t really see a lot of success until 2008). With that said, the fact that the Astros do generally like to go sign free agents (most recently Brett Myers), I believe that they will allow Lyles to develop of his own accord. This would be the ideal for his development anyway.

Projection for 2010

9 – 6, 3.40 ERA, 150 IP, 165 K, 40 BB (Split between High-A and AA)

Expected ETA

2012 at the soonest. I could see a mid-season call up that year potentially, with an outside chance to make the team out of Spring Training.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review: Trevor Reckling (P) of the Los Angeles Angels