Monday, April 23, 2007
Concern About Chris?
Good morning! If you missed it, and based on the number of e-mails and Comments you did, I posted several updates throughout the weekend, so be sure to check all of those out.
While watching the minor league box scores yesterday, I noticed something that was somewhat alarming to me. It made me think of previous prospects, so I thought I would do a little research and see what I found out.
On Sunday, Twins 2006 First-Round Pick Chris Parmalee struck out in his first three at bats. At that time, it meant that he had 21 strikeouts in his first 40 at bats this season. He then proceeded to hit a big home run in his next at bat and single the following time up. But, that is a lot of strikeouts. Likewise, 2006 2nd round pick Joe Benson has struck out 16 times in 44 at bats.
In 2005, the Twins took big, burly, powerful right handed first baseman Henry Sanchez with a Supplemental First-Round pick. He signed, and then got a few at bats that year for the GCL Twins. In 2006, he began the year at Beloit. I remember that he struck out a lot, way too much, and when the short-season Elizabethton team started playing, he went down there and played some before his season ended with a broken hamate bone.
It made me want to look at Parmalee's and Benson's numbers so far and compare then to Sanchez's Low A numbers from a year ago. Then I got to thinking that the Twins have a history of sending the high round draft pick hitters out of high school to Low A ball in their first full season. So, I thought it would be interesting to see how they fared in their first seasons.
So, here are the Twins 1st or 2nd round draft picks from the last ten years (plus Torii Hunter) that were hitters taken out of high school, along with their Low A ball stats:
|Chris Parmalee||2006 - 1 (20)||43||4||21||2.24||.256||.319||.512||.831|
|Joe Benson||2006 - 2 (64)||44||4||16||3.00||.159||.255||.205||.460|
|Henry Sanchez||2005 - 1S (39)||168||13||69||2.62||.202||.272||.345||.617|
|Paul Kelly||2005 - 2 (54)||378||32||60||6.83||.280||.352||.384||.736|
|Drew Thompson||2005 - 2S (80)||283||22||59||5.17||.261||.321||.382||.703|
|Trevor Plouffe||2004 - 1 (20)||466||50||78||6.62||.223||.300||.345||.645|
|Matt Moses||2003 - 1 (21)||112||12||25||4.96||.223||.304||.366||.670|
|Denard Span||2002 - 1 (20)||240||34||49||5.59||.267||.363||.308||.671|
|Joe Mauer||2001 - 1 (1)||411||61||42||11.24||.302||.393||.392||.785|
|BJ Garbe||1999 - 1 (5)||476||63||91||5.92||.233||.333||.303||.636|
|Michael Cuddyer||1997 - 1 (9)||497||61||107||5.21||.276||.364||.451||.815|
|Torii Hunter||1994 - 1 (20)||335||25||80||4.50||.293||.358||.439||.797|
So, what does this show us? I'm sure we can all find some interesting things in these numbers. Here are some of my thoughts:
Joe Mauer is pretty good. He was pretty good right away.
In each of these cases (with the exception of Sanchez), all of these guys spent the whole year learning in Low A ball. In other words, Benson and Parmalee can both just play, knowing that they will remain with the team the full season. They can work on adjustments and such. No matter how well they play, they will probably not move up to Ft. Myers this year.
Chris Parmalee by far strikes out most frequently, even more than Henry Sanchez. The difference is the power and extra base numbers that he is putting up is right up there with what Michael Cuddyer did nine years ago. If you were to take away all of his strikeouts, which I know serves no purpose, he would be 11-21. He would be hitting .523. His slugging percentage would be 1.048. So, when he puts the ball in play, something big usually happens.
Joe Benson is also striking out a lot. Because he has not shown the power numbers yet, his numbers actually look worse. I do like his Isolated Discipline though. However, I think that his athleticism and strength will allow him to quickly make adjustments. He already has four stolen bases. Remember that he signed a National Letter of Intent to play Big 10 football, so he is just now playing baseball full time. Secondly, he was primarily a catcher in high school, and now he is strictly an OF, primarily in CF, which means a lot of learning and adjusting too.
The numbers for both Parmalee and Benson are just too small of a sample size to really look at too much. This is a key point. We are 45-50 plate appearances into their seasons. We should review this again when they both have 450-500 plate appearances.
Again, stressing how early the season is, Parmalee's slugging percentage is best on this list, even ahead of Cuddyer and Hunter.
Remember that these kids are either 18 or 19 years old. They are very young, even for the Midwest League (Low A). If you look at the current Beloit roster, there are four nineteen year olds (Parmalee, Benson, Allan de San Miguel and Alex Burnett), three 20 year olds, three 21 year olds, thirteen 22 year olds, four 23 year olds and one 24 year old. I don't care how good and how talented these guys are, they simply do not have the experience that these other players have already had. Most guys their age are sitting in Extended Spring Training waiting for the Elizabethton season to get started.
Trevor Plouffe has typically started seasons really poorly and that affects his year end numbers. But he always seems to make some adjustments and improves over the course of the season. That is what I expect from the young guys. There is a diary on Trevor Plouffe over at John Sickels' site.
Even based on the short list of nine others, it is impossible to make any judgments or determinations at this point. Sanchez, Kelly and Thompson are all hurt and still just 20 or 21 years old. The jury is definitely still out on Plouffe, Moses and Span while Mauer, Cuddyer and Hunter hit in the middle of the Twins batting order as now proven big leaguers. BJ Garbe is the only one that we officially know will not make it.
So, I thought this would be an interesting subject for discussion. Personally, I believe that we will see both Chris Parmalee and Joe Benson in Twins uniforms. It may be four or five years, but I do think that each will have a very big impact for the team. Any thoughts on either prospect?|
Back to Archives Home