Friday, July 16, 2010

Visalia Rawhide prospects

After looking at the DSL Diamondbacks, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the Visalia Rawhide's offensive prospects. They have a quartet of solid prospects in Paul Goldschmidt, Marc Krauss, Ryan Wheeler, and Rossmel Perez. On the pitching side, the Rawhide also have some solid prospects in Chase Anderson, Taylor Sinclair, and Charles Brewer. They also had Wade Miley, Josh Collmenter, and Bryan Woodall, who have since been promoted to Mobile.

First off, there's first basemen Paul Goldschmidt. He's hitting 316/374/613 with 28 doubles, a triple, and a league leading 25 homers (2nd overall in the entire MLB minor leagues). His 297 isolated slugging percentage is more than double the league average of 146. His plate discipline may be a sign of concern, as he has drawn 35 walks, while striking out 99 times already. This is the second straight year of Goldschmidt putting up some crooked numbers. Last year in 287 abs at Missoula, Goldschmidt hit 334/408/638 with 27 doubles, 3 triples, and 18 HRs. His walk to strikeout ratio was a solid 36:74.

Then there's Marc Krauss, who I'm pretty sure at this point is the left fielder of the future. He's hitting 322/379/538 with 22 doubles, three triples, and 16 homers. His isolated slugging percentage of 216 is quite good. His plate discipline, like Goldschmidt, may be a sign of concern, as he's walked 32 times, while striking out 82 times. Also like Goldschmidt, this is the second straight year Krauss has put up excellent numbers. Last year, in 115 ABS for South Bend, Krauss hit 304/377/478 with 12 doubles, a triple, and a homer. He had a very solid 14:21 BB:K ratio.

Third baseman Ryan Wheeler had an insanely good year last year, where he hit 361/462/540 across two levels, with 21 doubles, 4 triples, and 6 hrs. He had a very impressive 42:32 BB:K ratio. This year, his numbers are a down a bit, as he's hitting 290/345/414 with 22 doubles, two triples, and seven homers. His BB:K ratio has taken a hit as well, as he's walked 29 times, but struck out 71 times. I think Wheeler's positional change from first base to third base may be having some affect his hitting numbers. Wheeler is still a very solid prospect, who has been compared to Joey Votto. I'd take that any day of the week.

(on a side note, looking at these guys K:BB ratios leads me to believe that the Cal league may inflate strikeout numbers. This area needs more research)

Rossmel Perez is a very interesting prospect. At 20 years old until late August, Rossmel is quite young for a catcher in the California league. He's got a short(5'10) and squat body type, which hasn't exactly enamored him to scouts. In addition, he has an unusual flat footed swing with almost no stride, which leads to a solid average, but very little power. Perez is praised as an excellent defensive catcher, but he's really only just now learning to hit, although he does have good plate discipline. This year Perez is hitting 263/331/350 with 10 doubles and three home runs. He has a very solid 24:32 BB:K ratio. He's thrown out 37% of base runners this year.

Chase Anderson, a ninth round pick in last years draft, started the year in South Bend, and excelled with a 2.82 ERA with 31 strikeouts, 9 walks, and one homerun allowed in 38.1 IP. Promoted to Visalia, Anderson has posted a 3.52 ERA with 50 strikeouts, 12 walks, and 3 homers in 46 innings pitched. Anderson was considered a "safe" pick when he was drafted, and he's not likely to be a star, but he does have the upside to be a solid number 2 or 3. Anderson has four solid pitches, including a deceptive change-up.

Taylor Sinclair is a left handed pitcher with a deceptive delivery, but rather mediocre stuff. He might not stick as a starter, but at the very least, he could be a useful left handed specialist. He has a 3.90 ERA with 65 strikeouts, 39 walks, and five homeruns allowed in 92.1 IP. He's been much better against lefties, with a 3.00 ERA and a .232 BAA against LHB.

Charles Brewer was one of my dark horse pitching prospects going into this year. Drafted in the 12th round out of UCLA, Brewer is a native Arizonan from Scottsdale. His career at UCLA was inconsistent, showing signs of excellence with random struggles thrown in. I've heard it suggested that he wasn't exactly a fit in the clubhouse there. Brewer began this year in South Bend, and excelled with a 1.83 ERA, 78 strikeouts, 20 walks, and 3 hrs allowed in 69 innings pitched. Promoted to Visalia, Brewer has continued to excel with a 3.16 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 4 walks, and 2 HRS allowed in 25.2 IP. His ERA would be even lower if it weren't for his poor first start with Visalia, where he allowed 6 earned runs in 3.1 IP. Take out that start, and he has a 1.22 ERA in Visalia. His numbers combined between South Bend and Visalia: 2.19 ERA, 100 strikeouts, 24 walks, and 5 HRS allowed in 94.2 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .226 off of him.

So Visalia has some very, very, solid prospects, and hopefully some future regulars. Krauss could be the left fielder of the future, Goldschmidt could be the future first basemen if Allen doesn't succeed, and Wheeler could have a future at first, third, or left field. Rossmel Perez could at the very least be a defense minded backup catcher, if he ever hits for power, he could be a lot more. Anderson and Brewer could be fixtures in the starting rotation, and Sinclair could be a future left handed specialist.

Next time, I'll take a look at the loaded team in South Bend.

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