Hooray for small samples and April oddities. Craig Brown looked at some of the madness over at THT for major leaguers. Bumming his idea and applying it to minor leaguers, here's some of what we know so far from playing with the AAA leader boards at First Inning and StatCorner.
Matt Murton should be playing in the majors. Yep, his .499 wOBA is inflated by a 41.2% hit rate, but it is his plate discipline that has really caught my eye. He's struck out only twice in 65 plate appearances. His CHONE projection calls for a .296/.368/.446 line with +7 run defense in an outfield corner. Someone give this man a big league job.
Max Ramirez's plate discipline has gone to the dogs. Normally a patient hitter with a decent batting eye (13.4% walk rate throughout the minors, .66 BB/K ratio), Ramirez has struck out in 40% and walked in only 3.9% of his plate appearances. He's swinging and coming up empty 36.6% of of the time. With Saltycarmelmacchiato and Teagarden ahead of Ramirez on the depth chart, Ramirez was the center of trade rumors over the winter. It's way too early to say, but maybe Texas should've sold high while they could have.
Jake Fox is tearing the cover off the ball. He's leading the minors with a ridiculous .540 wOBA, largely inflated by an equally ridiculous .500 BABIP. Power hitters usually peak between ages 27-30, and Fox is definitely peaking. CHONE projects a .195 ISO in the majors, and so far in AAA he has a whopping .508 ISO. 28% of the balls he has hit in the air have left the yard. The barrier that keeps Fox from being the next Nelson Cruz is his shoddy plate discipline, he's pretty much your typical all or nothing player, walking in less than 5% of his plate appearances last season and just 7.7% this season.
Adam Kennedy is hitting an inordinate amount of line drives. 44% of his balls in play have been of the line drive variety. Having been cut by the Cardinals and not making the Rays out of spring training, Kennedy is apparently trying to show someone he can hit. After walking in just 6.4% of his plate appearances for St. Louis, Kennedy so far has a walk rate of 18%. He's even slugging, with 3 homers and a double. Kennedy hit a whopping 2 homers all season last year in St. Louis.
Carlos Carrasco can help the Phillies now. Phillies' starters are dead-last in the majors in FIP (6.45). Carrasco on the other hand has 20 K's to just 1 walk in 19 innings pitched and a sterling 2.01 FIP. He has the third highest in swinging strike % in the International League with 15.6%. Free Carlos Carrasco.
David Hernandez gets lots of whiffs. The unheralded O's prospect leads the International League in about every "dominance" category you can think of. He sports a nifty 39% K-rate and also leads in swinging strike percentage by a good margin at 18.8%. For a little bit of context...sorta...Harden and Santana lead the majors with a 16% swinging strike rate. Only 10.4% of his pitches are balls put in play. Hernandez doesn't get glowing reviews for his "stuff" in the scouting reports, but is said to have a deceptive delivery and has delivered results at every level. Considering the Oriole rotation has lived up to it's billing as Grade A crud, I'd like to think he'll be up soon.
Anthony Ortega isn't fooling anyone. Ortega was named the Angel's minor league pitcher of the year in 2008 thanks to 14 wins and a 3.52 ERA. His peripherals were not really outstanding and now batters are catching up with him...and how. Out of the 237 pitches he has thrown, only four have been for swinging strikes. He has a K/PA of 3%. Oh, and he has 15 earned runs in 13.2 innings. Owie.
Scott Campbell is coming up empty despite rarely coming up empty. Despite a paltry .256 wOBA, Campbell doesn't swing and miss very often -- just 7% of the time so far. An unlucky .239 BABIP is killing the Kiwi Keystoner at the moment. He lives off of contact and hit for a .302 average in AA last year.