Tag Archives: Martin Perez

Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 2


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. I posted my thoughts on the first 10 prospects yesterday, and will continue with 10 more today.

Christian Friedrich (COL)

In January, I predicted that Friedrich would start the season in AA for the Rockies, and post the following line: 9 – 5, 2.75 era, 165 innings pitched, 190 strikeouts, 55 walks. His actual line: 3-6, 5.05 era, 87 1/3 innings pitched, 78 strikeouts, 35 walks. Friedrich missed a fair amount of time during the season due to injury, which clearly nobody loves. He did average nearly a strikeout per inning, but clearly this wasn’t quite the performance the Rockies were looking for. I think that honestly he will return next season to AA to start the season.

Desmond Jennings (TAM)

Tampa Bay is notorious for taking it extremely slow with their prospects, and Jennings is no exception. He was not called up until right around September 1st, and clearly much later than the All Star break like I had thought. My prediction: .285/.365/.450, 5 homeruns, 35 rbi, 35 stolen bases (Majors – 3 months). He hit .278/.362/.393 with 3 homeruns, 36 rbi, 37 stolen bases in 109 games in the minors. He’s extremely likely to be the starting left fielder or right fielder to begin next season in Tampa, and should be a decent fantasy outfielder.

Jason Heyward (ATL)

What else is there to say about Heyward at this point? He’s going to be at worst top-2 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, and hit .285/.400/.472 with 18 homeruns, 71 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases in 133 games. I thought he would not make the team out of Spring Training, and was nearly right on with some of the numbers anyway: .285/.370/.470, 6 homeruns, 10 stolen bases in 80 games was my prediction. Heyward is going to be one of the best outfielders for years to come.

Starlin Castro (CHC)

Back in January, I figured he might get a call up to AAA after spending a majority of the year at AA. Oops, guess I didn’t know exactly what the Cubs would do. They called up their top prospect in May, and he definitely disappoint. In 116 games, he hit .304/.350/417 with 50 runs scored, 3 home runs, 41 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases. The power and fielding seem really likely to improve, and even the speed has gotten better over the length of the season.

Aaron Hicks (MIN)

Hicks came into the season as the top prospect for the Twins, and he really hasn’t done a lot to keep that ranking for next season. He posted a decent line (.279/.401/.428) with 27 doubles, 8 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases. My prediction was pretty close (.280/.360/.430, 25 doubles, 8 homeruns, 25 stolen bases), but I thought he could do that at High-A. Instead, he repeated Low-A again this season, and it concerns me that they felt no need to promote him even at the end of the season.

A.J. Pollock (ARI)

Pollock had a completely lost season, as he missed the whole season with an injury. I think that once he’s back to playing next year, the predictions I made then could very well be similar.

Martin Perez (TEX)

It was a bit of a lost season for Perez as well, but I have to remind myself he is still just 20 years old. At AA, I thought that he would post the following line: 7-7, 3.30 ERA, 140 IP, 130 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual line: 5-8, 5.96 ERA, 99 2/3 IP, 101 strikeouts, 50 walks. His FIP (4.24) indicated he pitched slightly better, but he definitely took a step back from the previous season. I think he’s very likely to start 2011 back at AA, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he still was promoted to AAA.

Brian Matusz (BAL)

With Matusz, I clearly underestimated how bad the Orioles’ offense would be this year. My prediction in January had Brian posting this line:  12-8, 3.75 ERA, 175 IP, 160 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual through late last week: 8-12, 4.59 ERA, 162 2/3 IP, 126 strikeouts, 59 walks. I was a bit optimistic on his strikeout rate, and his walks as well. But I’ll be really interested to see what he does next year with the improvement the team has shown since hiring Buck Showalter.

Domonic Brown (PHI)

I thought Brown would not be above AA this year, and would have a great line: .290/.375/.500, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 25 stolen bases. He got a call up to AAA after 65 games, and ended up with a midseason callup as well due to some injuries in the Phillies outfield. He hasn’t really gotten a lot of consistent playing time, but he’s going to be a solid outfielder for the Phillies in 2011.

Daniel Hudson (CHW/ARI)

I really think that the White Sox blew this one. Hudson has been nothing short of amazing since being slotted into the Diamondbacks rotation, and has been much better than my original prediction: 5-5, 3.85 ERA, 110 IP, 95 strikeouts, 28 walks. His actual line: 7-2, 2.49 ERA, 86.2 IP, 79 strikeouts, 25 walks. Hudson really looks like he will be a solid #2/#3 starter going forward, with the potential to be a #1 starter if everything falls right.

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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 So Far? Part 2


Today, I’ll continue looking at the prospects I reviewed during the offseason, and how they are progressing to this point. All statistics are through Monday’s games.

AA

Mike Stanton (FLA): 28 games, .340/.481/.854, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 28 R, 1 SB, 28 walks, 32 strikeouts

Stanton has torn up AA, and is currently leading the minor leagues in homeruns. There has been talk that with some of the outfielders in the Majors struggling, that Stanton will be called up as soon as the Super-2 date passes. Clearly, he has nothing else to prove at AA even at this point. I wrote in January that I thought he wouldn’t be up until mid-2011, but with ownership expecting this team to compete, Stanton is probably going to be up very soon. And he’ll be some fun to see when that happens.

Michael Pineda (SEA): 6 starts, 32 1/3 IP, 2-0, 2.23 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 40 strikeouts, 9 walks

I reviewed Pineda mostly because I thought that he was interesting, as he put up very good statistics for a pitcher in the extremely hitter-friendly California League. Now in the Southern League, those numbers appear to not be a fluke. I wrote that I thought he would be up late in 2011 or to start 2012 most likely, and I think that’s probably still right. The Mariners have a lot of reasonably good pitching between Pineda and the Majors, and they can wait to allow him to develop. Remember he’s only 21 years old this season.

Christian Friedrich (COL): 3 starts, 16 IP, 0-1, 2.81 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, 16 strikeouts, 4 walks

Friedrich picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, and is striking out a batter per inning with excellent control. Of concern is the fact that he has missed time this season, having a stint on the 7-day DL with left elbow soreness. Since he throws left handed, this could be of real concern long-term. His last start was on April 19th, almost a month ago now.

Martin Perez (TEX): 6 starts, 25 2/3 IP, 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.442 WHIP, 29 strikeouts, 15 walks

The strikeouts remain excellent, but the spike in walks is a bit worrisome to me. I think he should be able to improve on that and return to the form he has shown at previous stops. The Rangers appear committed to him being a part of their starting rotation long term, which bodes well for them. I thought back in January he wouldn’t be up until late 2011 at the soonest, and I think that’s probably still his timetable.

Domonic Brown (PHI): 25 games, .333/.388/.632, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB, 9 walks, 20 strikeouts

Widely assumed to be the replacement should Jayson Werth leave via free agency after this season, Brown has hit very well so far at AA. He spent part of last season at AA, so I could see him getting a promotion to AAA by around the All-Star break. A very solid prospect, and most of his numbers are within range of his career norms to this point.

Kyle Drabek (TOR): 7 starts, 40 IP, 4-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 41 strikeouts, 21 walks

Drabek has pitched fairly well to this point, but the walks are a concern. He had previously been posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 3, but is just under 2 so far this season. The Blue Jays will give him lots of time to develop, as they have an excessive amount of pitching at the Major League level, to the point of having starters who can’t seem to break into the rotation. I think he will probably more likely be up with the team in 2012 than 2011 at this point.

Brett Lawrie (MIL): 31 games, .256/.329/.416, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 19 R, 6 SB, 13 walks, 42 strikeouts

I have been a bit surprised by the performance of Lawrie. The speed appears to be legitimate, and I think that he could end up being a 20-20 2B in the Majors someday. The plate discipline remains a bit of a challenge, but if he can improve that somewhat I could see him getting a late-season promotion to AAA. Realistically, they should leave him in AA until he shows some of that in my opinion.

Chris Withrow (LAD): 6 starts, 27 2/3 IP, 1-2, 7.48 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 24 strikeouts, 15 walks

Withrow has not been particularly good to this point, and the control really seems to be showing as a huge problem. He’s never been a particularly accurate pitcher, generally posting strikeout-to-walk rates of around 2. He’s going to need to improve on that before being considered for a promotion. I would have to think that he is going to spend the entire 2010 season at AA, and if doesn’t show improvement in his control could possibly start 2011 there as well.

Casey Kelly (BOS): 6 starts, 20 2/3 IP, 0-2, 3.48 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 21 strikeouts, 7 walks

Kelly seems to be taking to the change to pitching only, striking out a batter per inning. I think that the Red Sox leave him down at AA all season, letting him further refine his excellent skill set. I wrote that I thought he wouldn’t be up until 2012 midseason, and unless there becomes a need in the rotation, I think that will remain true. They have all 5 starters under team control until at least then: Lackey (2014), Beckett (2014), Matsuzaka (2012), Lester(2013), and Buchholz (2014) all under contract or control until then.

Yonder Alonso (CIN): 29 games, .271/.397/.417, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 19 R, 4 SB, 19 walks, 16 strikeouts

Alonso has been splitting his time between 1B and LF for the Reds AA team, and I have to imagine that at a certain point he’ll stop playing 1B entirely. The Reds have Joey Votto holding down that position in the Majors, and unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. He’s hit well to this point, and I think he may end up getting promoted to AAA at some point during the season. The Reds have shown that they are not averse to promoting someone to the Majors if they think they are ready to contribute (Mike Leake), so when Alonso is ready, the Reds will move him up.

Prospect Review – Martin Perez – P – TEX


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile
RealGM Profile

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
How Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent
Age: 19

Statistics

2008 – Spokane (Northwest League – Rangers Short-Season A) – 15 starts

  • 1-2, 3.65 ERA, 61 2/3 IP
  • 53 strikeouts, 28 walks
  • .343 BABIP, 3.57 FIP

2009 – Hickory (Sally League – Rangers A) – 14 starts, 8 relief outings

  • 5-5, 2.31 ERA, 93 2/3 IP
  • 105 strikeouts, 33 walks
  • .332 BABIP, 2.46 FIP

2009 – Frisco (Texas League – Rangers AA) – 5 starts

  • 1-3, 5.57 ERA, 21 IP
  • 14 strikeouts, 5 walks
  • .374 BABIP, 3.82 FIP

2009 Totals (2 levels)

  • 6-8, 2.90 ERA, 114 2/3 IP
  • 119 strikeouts, 38 walks

Rankings
Baseball America – #3 (TEX – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #2 (TEX – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #3 (TEX – 2010) – A-

Analysis

Perez has only been in the Rangers system for 2 years, but is already lighting the system up. He posted back-to-back excellent seasons, first with Spokane, and then in Hickory in the Sally League. The part that I keep coming back to about Perez is not the numbers he posted, but the age at which he posted them. Perez was only 18 years old throughout the 2009 season at Hickory and Frisco. But the majority of the players in the Sally League would have been 19-21, or potentially even older. So Perez faced tougher competition for his age, and performed very well in spite of this.

Perez has a very smooth 3/4 arm angle throwing motion, and throws a solid fastball, a very good curveball, and good changeup. Real GM believes he will more likely be in the mold of a finesse pitcher as he progresses through the minors.

The thing about Perez that I keep coming back to is how young he still is. He will most likely start the 2010 season at AA Frisco, and so I wondered who might be considered a good comparison for Perez and his progression. Two players came to mind for me: Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.

Hernandez was slightly more advanced than Perez at the age, as Hernandez spent the majority of his 18 year-old season at AA. Hernandez also appeared to be more dominant, posting 172 strikeouts against 47 walks in 149 2/3 IP. Hernandez was sent to AAA the following season, and was in the Majors before the end of his 19-year old season

Bumgarner spent his 18-year old season in the Sally League as well, posting 164 strikeouts against 21 walks in 141 2/3 IP. As a 19 year old, he spent the majority of his time at AA Connecticut, before getting a cup of coffee with the Giants in September. The jury is still out on this one, as he’s probably going to start the season with AAA Fresno I imagine.

Both Hernandez and Bumgarner appear as reasonable comps to me, if only for their similar ages and minor league levels. I think that the Rangers are going to take it more slowly with Perez than the Mariners or Giants did with their respective players.

Outlook

I have to imagine that the Rangers are going to be conservative when it comes to promoting Perez. He will only be 19 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and only pitched briefly at AA. I believe that the Rangers will start him back at Frisco, with the possibility for a promotion to AAA by mid-season depending on his performance. Perez really looks like he’s going to be an excellent pitcher, especially if he can trim down his walks just a little bit.

Prediction for 2010

7-7, 3.30 ERA, 140 IP, 130 strikeouts, 45 walks

Expected ETA

Either 2011 late in the season, or most likely 2012 out of Spring Training

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review – Brian Matusz (P) of the Baltimore Orioles