Monday, December 23, 2013

Daily Analysis: Rookie Ball Workhorse?

Every day I read something or hear something I want to analyze to see if my annoyance is worthwhile. It's more ofen curiosity than annoyance because I want to know whether it happens as often as I think, more often, less often, ever, in what case, when, who, why or some other thing. I often do it at a later date and don't write about it. The context is gone and I'm probably the only one who cares but I'm writing this today anyway.

I read this article on Baseball America this morning and it made me chuckle. The Twins have had the "pitch to contact" brand lately, whether they like it or not. They have went after players in the draft and in acquisitions that throw hard but have yet to hit on a big one. Maybe it's coming, I would expect that it will with Meyer and maybe Kohl Stewart and others. They are trying and I appreciate that but talking about a 22 year old reliever in rookie ball that could be a workhorse is wrong. Maybe a Low A workhorse. That context is missing. I hope Phil Miller, the author of the article is to blame not the assumption by Mike Radcliff that this is a player that is likely to succeed. I'm not familiar with Miller's work, but I just googled this article about the special power hitter, Chris Parmelee, to make sure it wasn't by the same author, whew.


Big velocity and good stuff ALWAYS does better than below average velocity and command. By always, I mean if you are actively looking to succeed, you should look at better stuff and be extremely grateful when a small investment in a control/command soft tosser works out because this is a rarity. It seems the Twins have actively pursued them lately and this article shows they still have that in their head.

I really want it to stop, for the sake of sanity of people in Minnesota. It's 11 below here today and -20's up north. Why torture us with this garbage in the summer? C'mon :)

If you need further validation: (plus innings, below average K rate and plus command) PBP: Another rare class that includes just 285 player seasons since 1961. It is even more rare recently, only occuring 27 times since 1995. Amazingly enough, 9 of those 27 have been Twins, five alone have belonged to Carlos Silva. This is a rare class that is hard to replicate succesfully, although the Twins continue to try. Bill Gullickson is the only other player to repeat this consistently in the majors. (full articleBy the way: Brad Radke only has ONE season that fits here, his rookie year.

Now for the insane analysis. There have been 38 players in advance rookie ball since 1990 to have a similar IP/G rate, BB rate and K rate. None have made it to the majors. One made it to AAA, Two to AA and 11 never got out of rookie ball, including 6'4", 240 LB Josh Keller. The only player to make it to AAA is Jose Duran at 6'1", 175 and he doesn't have the "sixth tool".

Ok, lets dream a little. Let's imagine that Mr. Mildren goes to Low A ball next year as a 23 year old. Lets say he logs 120+ innings with an average or better (but not elite) K rate and above average to elite BB rate. 115 players since 1990 have done this. Only 20% of them make it to the majors. The best player of the lot is Wandy Rodriguez, all 5'11,160 (listed) of him. But in all seriousness, the bulk of these guys are bigger. Burke Badenhop, Chad Qualls, Graham Taylor, Luke Putkonen, Ross Ohlendorf and Tim Pugh are all in the same general physical size of Mildren.

We've parsed out the data and found a large number of players that fit his mold. The odds are stacked against him. Ohlendorf threw 98 at this age and ended up with numbers you can dream Mildren could have. He doesn't throw 98. Qualls threw mid 90's with an above average slider that developed. Putkonen threw 95 with a good breaking ball. Pugh was a sidearmer if I recall. I don't know what he had for stuff. Burke Badenhop is a good match. Big, tall, similar velo. Decent change and slider. Mildren's stuff is similar. He looks good on the mound. His fastball looks like it plays up but Louisville wasn't a great hitting team this year when I watched them.

If he has the year I stated above in Low A ball, he could make a top 30 prospect list or at least be a near miss. He could be a bullpen piece who's a .5 WAR/Year guy in a few years. That's his peak but the odds are against him. He is a guy that you hope works out but you don't count on it. If you do, you are doing it wrong.

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