by Eric Garfield
I was asked to somehow analyze the low minors arms for speculative purposes based on what I saw last season and didn’t have enough to go on. Since then I’ve combed through some stats and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Briefly, and without the standards of comparing to years past, the arms currently rostered at Aberdeen and the Gulf Coast Orioles have some better than average walk rates or only have base on ball issues to work on to potentially break through. If I’m a pitching coordinator and looking at some of these numbers as pitchers start their careers, then I realize that’s there is something significant to work with.
I’ve said it before-the GCL O’s starting staff was so solid and consistent that nobody stood out for doing too good or too bad. Alan Mills sent out a starter, they did their job and the team usually won. I can only imagine how that would feel at the big league level…..1971 anyone?
So ordered by current rosters here’s those low minor arms and what I see when I look at numbers only:
Adam Stauffer-2017+2018 had a handful of substandard innings and then boom 2019 he had ridiculous stats…29 k in 25 IP at Aberdeen as a starter with WHIP under .9! Overall his WHIP was .93 in 44 IP and batters got him for a .143 avg. A few less walks and his name will ring out. Not only good solid numbers, but an improvement all around from his debut.
Houston Roth-he’s not my favorite Roth in the system but it’s hard to ignore the good in his profile. Size, youth and SEC pedigree before anything else. Houston will turn 22 during Spring Training but he made the most of his age 21 innings at Aberdeen making folks take notice. 31.2 IP and a WHIP of 1.01. Again, great whip with a less than stellar percentage of walks, 13 in those 31 innings. He started 4 times in his 10 games so to extrapolate his swingman workload over a full season campaign I’d prefer a number like 6,7, or 8 walks per 30 IP, maybe less? Nitpicking I know but there has to be something for a guy who went 4-0 with a 1.42 with 40 K in 31.2 innings to work on.
Marlon Constante-Take notice of the fact that he’ll turn 24 this season and is in short season ball. Also observe that in his several year career he only has 34 bases on balls in 181 IP. Not too shabby. He faded a bit down the stretch which isn’t the best considering the season’s lack of length and gave up a .292 in August. He could be a depth piece but a manager can call on him and not panic if he gets to a 3 ball count. Interestingly, he’s also 25-33 in career save chances and a has huge difference between Runs and Earned Runs, 75 and 46 respectively! Looking at his page, this is someone who I’d love to have pitch data on to form a whole snapshot because his numbers paint an intriguing picture, I want to know/see more.
Connor Gillispie-This is one where the sample size is small but promising. Used late in games he had 5 save chances, converting 4 in 20.1 IP. We’d like to see high K, low walk and he obliged with 21 on the good side and only 5 BB. Not super young, not super sized and not pro experienced as of yet, but why look past a solid start? WHIP under .9 and an Avg against at less than .200 is what draws my eyes toward a guy. From what I’ve read his stuff and spin rate have opened eyes so let’s see where he goes.
At this point, hopefully you realize there is talent and depth. I’m not done or particularly close.
Shelton Perkins-First of all let’s wish him a happy birthday (1/28) as he turned 23. So not too young, and not too many innings-17.2. However he was close to dominant against swingers in the limited time, his AVG against was a microscopic .070! His WHIP was all walks-an unfortunate 10 but it was still under .8. You can’t get off to a better start despite being old and college experienced but when I see this I think that walk elimination is his only objective. He’s one of those guys I mentioned initially that’s solid, but walks are in the way and that solid could be a better adjective a few innings in the future.
Jake Prizina-All of his counting stats and metrics look pretty solid, 26 base runners in 39 innings is all around good. However he turned 23 last week and although everything I have to say about him is very positive one thing stood out a bit. He walked out to pitch 11 times last year, 5 as a starter. It’s not a lot but when you look at his WHIP and make it a WHApp, he’s only allowing 2.36 runners per APPEARANCE. As a starter, that’s outstanding and as a reliever it’s substandard but I’ll be looking at that this year. I want a better picture of his statistical profile despite seeing him often and despite his age am optimistic. His teammates cheers loudly for him and he had a mean mug on the mound. How he’s used will answer some of that for me. But he’s one guy I’m curious about in terms of his next few seasons as he approaches his peak.
Griffin McLarty-Here we go again, more good numbers to examine. Low IP total but he maximized them allowing 24 total base runners in his 22.2, only 5 were walks. I saw the 7 ER and thought maybe a few guys went deep on him and was wrong, he gave up no HR. Then I noticed he also had no starts so only out of the pen. Does that make his 25k or his .238 against look better? Not for me to judge so early on, I’ll focus on the fact that he could have started his career poorly and he certainly didn’t, giving him and the organization something to build on. For a college guy he doesn’t turn 22 until the season’s second half so he could end up on one of a few rosters if he takes a step forward. Color me watching.
Kevin Magee-Drafted two years ago and already 24 years old, the traditional developmental timeline is not on his side. However, ignore the fact that he went from 10 walks in 38 2018 innings to a shinier 13 walks in 70 last season and you could be missing him altogether. The ability to improve and focus on a specific area seems to have paid off for him, personally I love to see things like that. His skill relative to league is not in question with .220 avg against and a WHIP of 1 in his first 100 career innings. He’s allowed lefties to a .150 and then a .186 last year. Another guy that despite the little I know, I’m dying for more based on the year to year improvement with walks.
Dan Hammer-O’s fans have expressed some optimism over him and I think I know why. Started 6 times, converted his 1 save chance and was touched up to a low .153 average and .9 WHIP. Again it’s made up of too many walks, 13, as he only gave up 18 hits in his 35 innings. The periphery numbers are good but from what I’ve seen of him, I’d bet on improvement. Let’s see if he can maximize some in 3 ball counts and not give in. Again, so much to work with for a developmental staff.
Jake Lyons-At first glance this former Big 12 OK Stater lost 5 games and didn’t pitch 38 innings so ouch but look a little further and it’s not too touch to see some positives and narrow in on the issue/problem. Firstly he is not small by any standards as he’s 6-5, wide legged and his listed weight is 285. Strikeouts are 39 in 37.1 IP so a check there, and hits too as he gave up 32. Walks are more than what anyone would like but not entirely, he gave up 10. So what’s the deal?
He gave up a .270 to leadoff hitters and had poor totals with guy son base. There’s our answer. Rallies, and especially ones he started from the jump hold him back. Now, even with the poor timing working against him he was a 1.12 WHIP and 2.87 ERA. Don’t forget about this huge Texan. If he goes in a positive direction I have a feeling he’d be worth following.
That’s Aberdeen’s guys here are a few from the Gulf Coast O’s:
Jose Alejandro-This is a much more interesting case the deeper I look. Being 24 and with his 6th season approaching, rookie league is not where he’d want to be admittedly. But if there is any pitcher who is already good and being held back by walks, it’s him. I can’t project him due to factors like age, but I can’t ignore that he
has 126 career innings (as high as Delmarva) but a whopping 98 walks. Eek. 10-11 in career save chances and 139 career K’s screams look at me, but the 1.35 WHIP says look away. He is yet to have a campaign with a better than bad walk rate. Maybe it’s getting late for him. Maybe he’ll finally fix it. I remember seeing him at the end of the season and thinking good things as far as control, but his stats told me a different story and I can’t determine which is closer to actual.
Jensen Elliott-Mostly a starter but very small sample size with only 25.2 IP. Jensen is also from OK State and also big about 6-5 and over 225 lbs. He seems a Brad Penny type in build if that’s your thing and likes to work fast and control the pace. I love that! If you go ahead and extrapolate his innings and walks for a starter’s workload it’ll be 70BB in 175 innings. That’s too much and like many others I’ve mentioned the rest looks better than good. His WHIP was a tidy 1 and his average against .178 despite the free passes. Also, when determining his role going forward, I’ll not look past his 6.35 ERA and 5 walks as a reliever. The trend should be clear. Good start, too many walks.
Garrett Farmer-Farmer was a swing guy. 11 appearances, 2 starts, 0 save opps. He went to college, is 22 until mid May and did well in his first 22 innings, timing his appearances to 5 decisions-3 of them wins. Not bad. His WHIP and average against are .85 and .205-again not bad. Farmer has a solid ground ball rate too, working with the defense to keep the game moving. I can’t say that walks are hurting him, or even showing up as he has 2 in his brief career. Hard to get a read on him however he laid a positive foundation and I remember him having a deliberate pace. Deep breath, hands together, windup, repeat. Looked the part.
JJ Montgomery-Someone who at 22, was helping the GCL O’s win average age but off to an ok start instead of a bad one so he gets on the good list. Don’t want to sound critical, I’m actually positively inclined to follow as my impressions are very positive but his 22 walks in 36.1 2019 innings smells a little bit like his debut 10 walks in 13.1. This is a guy who the team was pumped for and held the most rhythm, maybe higher rotation spot traits. 7/13, 7/19 and 7/24 he had a 2/5 w 3K’s then a 6/5 w 4K’s and finally a 4/4 w 7K’s(!) and 38 pitches. That’s rookie level good and I barely remember his walks, but they’re there. If he’s going to be a guy that’s still taking risks at ball 3, then I can’t chart him for working out of those risks, but cut the walk rate by chunks and at the very least, fan will like watching him work. He really looks like a smooth athlete and doesn’t generate a ton of wasted motion so the watching him work part applies even when he’s off. These stats make me sense control rooted detail being necessary, but of the starters he had the smoothest release and workup to release. If he’s the athlete I think, maybe a drastic change is possible. I’ll root for that to happen.
Clayton McGinniss-this is not someone who had walks weigh him down, he only had 3 in his debut 21 innings. 18 hits, 2-2 in save chances and a 2.08 ERA nothing to ignore either. 24 of his outs by strikeout represent a decent k rate for a closer. He’s 23 and went to college as well but a somewhat interesting split. He’s righty, yet righties lit him up at .279 and on the other side left handed hitters only managed a .163 and gave him 63% of his K’s. I’ll try notice his usage and his splits on the way up and maybe see if it meant anything at all and applies to his profile. Another guy whose experience made him look a bit non-rookie ish compared to some of his opponents.
Not done we’re going even further down. The Dominican Summer League Orioles-1.
There are two teams at the academy in DR and I’m learning a little bit more everyday about the players and the philosophy and how it fits into what is happening here. Not to get into it but these efforts are so ridiculously crucial to sustained success and I would think that priorities of every type are reflective of this. Here’s two arms that stood out looking at career start/walks/standout splits:
Carlos Delrosario-48.1 innings at 20 years of age is quite a total as is the 60K’s. But 36 walks is giving the pitching coaches work to do-not a bad thing as I see it. My brain is thrown for a loop when I see .186 avg against next to 1.39 WHIP. Or 31 hits vs those 36 walks. I want to think something, but really I want to see it in person to paint a picture. I’ll just say that I didn’t hate Daniel Cabrera as much as most O’s fans. To say that walks got in the way of success there is clear. This guy does happen to be 6-5 and has heat. Not a good comp.
Pablo Falconett-He is only 19 and has a pair of seasons already being used as a reliever; also 5-7 in save opportunities. Counting stats all worth a glance and he shows a statistical profile of controlling right handed at bats. Still good. To repeat, very small sample size but he had 9 walks in his debut 24 innings which improved to 4 walks after an innings increase, although slight-up to 33.2. The improvement is incremental yet caught my attention. He has 70K in the 57.2 innings and 1.02 WHIP so another pitcher starting his pro career doing well.