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September 11, 2009

Future Shock Blog

September 11

by Kevin Goldstein

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I'm going to do some experiments with the MLU for the rest of the year, so feedback on the different formats you'll see here and there are appreciated.

In Person Report

Tim Melville, RHP, Royals (Low-A Burlington)

Thursday's stats: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K
Background: Melville was a fourth-round pick in 2008 (DOB: 10/9/89); he signed for $1.25 million bonus. He entered spring of 2008 as one of-if not the best-high school righty in the draft, but inconsistent performance led to some concerns. Joining the Burlington rotation in late May, Melville posted a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts (97.1-89-43-96). No dramatic splits or ground-ball rate, but his strikeout rate increased throughout season.

Physical Description/Mechanics: Listed at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he might be bigger than that. He has a thick, sturdy frame with big legs and wide shoulders. Melville throws from an upright delivery with a high release point that lets him take advantage of his height; there is clean arm action, a smooth and effortless delivery. He uses his lower body well, with no obvious undue stress on the joints.

Stuff Report: His fastball sat at 92-93 mph, with plenty of 94s thrown in every inning. It has some boring action at times, coming in a bit on lefties. He has a tendency to elevate the pitch sometimes, but its velocity and movement are impressive. The curveball is a true out pitch when he commands it, coming in as a 75-78 mph big, big breaker that he froze batters with while also using it as a chase pitch. His command of the pitch came and went throughout the night, and he flattened some early in the game. As the night went on, it become harder, with more spin. He also threw a handful of 80 mph changeups; he has some feel for changing speeds, but he needs to work on his arm action.

2010 Destination: High-A

MLB ETA: 2012

Major League Ceiling: Good third starter, and maybe even a bit more.

Summary: It's really just a matter of achieving consistency. In the innings when the velocity, command, and curveball were all there, he was right up there with the best pitchers I saw in the league this year, but his performance needs to be mitigated by the fact that Kane County's lineup is just plain bad.

---

Quick Hits

Tyler Greene, SS, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, K, CS
Is this guy a sleeper of some sort? The 2005 first-round pick has had an up-and-down career and is already 26, but in just 89 Triple-A games this year, he has 15 home runs, 31 stolen bases and an 851 OPS.

Chris Carter, 1B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)

Thursday's stats: 1-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 K
Two playoff games and two home runs for Carter; I'm very interested in seeing what kind of look he gets next spring.

Wilson Ramos, C, Twins (Double-A New Britain)

Thursday's stats: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
He's had an injury-plagued season, but he hit .333/.368/.472 down the stretch once healthy. The Twins obviously don't need catching, so he could be their top trade chip.

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians (Double-A Akron)

Thursday's stats: 3-for-3, R, BB
He went 5-for-6 in two post-season games, and I have yet to find a scout who doesn't adore everything about his swing.

Jeff Bianchi, SS, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, K
Like Carter, he's hit two homers in two playoff games. He's 22 years old, and hit for .300+ averages at High- and Double-A with gap power and 22 stolen bases. He might not be a shortstop, but he's definitely some kind of prospect.

David Lough, OF, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas)

Thursday's stats: 4-for-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
Breakout confirmed...

Wynn Pelzer, RHP, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)

Thursday's stats: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K
A nice sleeper pick as an athletic right-hander who held his own in the Cal League with above-average velocity and a solid slider.

Christian Friedrich, LHP, Rockies (High-A Modesto)

Thursday's stats: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 10 K
He got hit around a bit, but Friedrich continued to miss bats at an outstanding rate; he's still one of the top lefty prospects around.

Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Rangers (High-A Bakersfield)

Thursday's stats: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 K
The second-round pick showed everything he can do in one night, delivering tons of power and an alarming strikeout rate.

Rudy Owens, LHP, Pirates (High-A Lynchburg)

Thursday's stats: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
A breakout pitcher in the Pirates' system continued to shine; his fastball and changeup are both very impressive.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Stats

30 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Jim Humdingding

Love the format for the Melville write-up, particularly the detail of the Stuff Report.

The formatting of the following list of players falls apart at Ramos, at least on Firefox. I'll assume an edit will make this comment obsolete shortly.

Sep 11, 2009 11:50 AM
rating: 1
 
joeboxr36

Love the new format. Great work!

Sep 11, 2009 12:35 PM
rating: 0
 
SC

Like the player profiles, think they might work better as a ten pack, as I love the quick hits every day on a bunch of guys.

Do you use your own radar gun when you go to games, or do you rely on a nearby scout's reading? Is there much variance in guns from scout to scout?

Sep 11, 2009 12:38 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I haven't sat in a press box for a minor league game in years, I always sit w/ the scouts and players tracking pitches -- learn way more that way. There's VERY little variance on the guns. There were four active guns last night and more than half of the time, they all matched and when they didn't, the difference was never more than +/- 1 mph.

Sep 11, 2009 13:57 PM
 
G. Guest

Personally, I like the more info about fewer players of the previous MLU format. I'm most interested in a guy's ceiling and fit in the organization. Of course, the Top 11 style Melville write up was great.

Sep 11, 2009 12:38 PM
rating: 0
 
Patrick Ferrington

Why don't you start adding these to player cards? It would be awefully cool, 10 years form now to look up Price and see your minor league analysis of him along with his big league results.

You wouldn't want to do this for every player and many times it would be outdated, but start collecting it now. I'd be happy with a last updated date and for those who don't have one a 'write up up please' button that coudl be used for the user base to offer you suggestions for future people to take a look at.

Loved the detail BTW.

Sep 11, 2009 12:44 PM
rating: 6
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Patrick -- the good news is we have already set up a system to at least collect them, now we have to get the display part going. Stay tuned.

Sep 11, 2009 13:58 PM
 
TheBunk

What's the word on owens' fastball? I've heard that his change is great but i've heard nothing on any other pitch with the exception of very good control.

Sep 11, 2009 13:12 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Owens velo is generally solid average at 89-91, but he dials it up at times to 93 or so.

Sep 11, 2009 13:59 PM
 
sbussmann

I'd like to see each player's age presented inside the parenthesis next to what level they're at.

E.g., Tim Melville, RHP, Royals (Age 19, Low-A Burlington)

Sep 11, 2009 14:01 PM
rating: 6
 
jrfukudome

Second!

Sep 15, 2009 14:13 PM
rating: 0
 
keithkowalski

Great stuff Kevin, takes a lot of work to research/write out a report like you did on Melville but I loved it.

Sep 11, 2009 14:40 PM
rating: 0
 
Deech

I'd prefer the older format.

Sep 11, 2009 14:50 PM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

I second the motion that age, or better yet, birthday, be included in the synopsis. For example, Craig Clark's numbers aren't all that much worse than Christian Friedrich, but Clark is 25 and Friedrich is 22, and that makes all the difference in the world in their upside.

Sep 11, 2009 15:16 PM
rating: 1
 
Scott D. Simon

I like the idea of an in-person report, but maybe the best place for those is Unfiltered.

I really enjoy the format of MLU as it's currently formulated and would prefer longer writeups on each player than was provided in today's quick hits.

I would also like to see more long-form writing from KG about the minor leagues in general: players moving up/down, operations, affiliations with MLB teams, organizational soldiers, etc.

Sep 11, 2009 15:26 PM
rating: 1
 
OldBean

Kevin-- more of the new format. PLEASE. I'd rather see one in depth report a day than five blurbs that don't really tell me much of anything.

Sep 11, 2009 19:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

Have to disagree. The quick hits are very interesting and helpful. I really enjoy them.

Sep 12, 2009 11:11 AM
rating: 2
 
Pat Folz

Seconded. I don't have as much time to follow MiLB as I used to, and the MLUs were indispensable for keeping up with both well-known and lesser-known prospects this year. More in-depth write-ups from time to time would be great of course, but I really don't want to lose the quick daily blurbs.

The "Quick Hits" here are nice, but IMO they are a step back from the old format since there's so much less information.

Sep 13, 2009 17:59 PM
rating: 0
 
twinkies25

Are Ben Revere or Aaron Hicks better options at center field for the Twins in the next few years than Gomez? Gomez is crazy with the glove, but he can't really hit. I hear good things defensively for both, with Revere being the better pure hitter (I like him better than Hicks as the Twinkies future at center, with Aaron Hicks in right, Denard in left, and Gomez, Delmon, and Cuddy (no matter how much I'll remember him for waving at me once) long gone. Do you agree?

Oh, and I LOVE this new format. One suggestion, do the same format you did with Melville with all the players in your update. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I'd love to get a glimpse at the future of the best sport in the world.
Also, do you think you could have video scouting reports for Minor League players, so I don't have to watch MLB stuff about them. Your better than them anyway.

Sep 12, 2009 12:35 PM
rating: 0
 
steveomd

I really liked the in-person report, KG! Both that and the quick hits are insightful, IMO...

Sep 14, 2009 09:06 AM
rating: 0
 
PeterBNYC

Kevin: Thanks for another real innovation. As much sas I would like to see every player report as detailed as today's on Melville,I realize that ain't happening, but more frequent reports of this type on the more intriguing prospects you see would be very welcome. BP just keeps working harder to produce better stuff for us, and I appreciate it. Love my BP!

Sep 14, 2009 14:29 PM
rating: 0
 
mrenick

here's a vote for the old format with the occasional in depth review thrown in. Thanks for all the effort.

Sep 14, 2009 17:55 PM
rating: 1
 
JoshC77

Love the Melville write-up.

Regarding your comment on Ramos, why don't the Twins need a catcher? Yes, I know they have Mauer, but given his production with the bat and his history of health issues, is he really going to stick behind the plate long-term?

Sep 15, 2009 04:59 AM
rating: 0
 
Cris E

Jose Morales spent the year at AAA with a few appearances in MIN where he hit very well. He's not an outstanding defensive catcher, but if you want to sit/DH Mauer 40-50 times a season Morales is a good option to get the starts and PH a lot. And I think Ramos has the better trade value due to his better D and big upside.

The converse of this is Ramos has a better defensive rep in an org that truly values D. And given the fact that Mauer may catch less than other top shelf catchers, the team may opt for a little more glove back there. It's even easier to see given how well Ramos hits too.

Ramos is still couple years away, and by then Morales may have turned into a pumpkin or Mauer may be a Padre or Ramos could go Teagarten and stop hitting. I think they hang onto him, not just until Joe is signed, but until he's completely ripe and they have a quandary on their hands.

Oct 01, 2009 08:01 AM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

In-person report kicks ass...would love to see more of that. Then again, I love it all...great work Kevin.

Sep 15, 2009 12:03 PM
rating: 0
 
jrfukudome

Thanks, Kevin, for all you do!

Sep 15, 2009 14:15 PM
rating: 0
 
Joe

i like an update every day, even if it has to be less substantive. the melville thing is cool, but i'd prefer for that kind of thing to be in a 10-pack or future shock and still have the MLUs every day.

Sep 16, 2009 09:51 AM
rating: 0
 
keeperleaguegm

Not sure if you're still cycling through comments, but I loved the 20-80 explanation a few articles ago and would hope you would add that along with the commentary.

Sep 16, 2009 15:21 PM
rating: 0
 
Sharky

What happened to "the rest of the year"? Haven't seen anything in a while. The minor league season is over; so if that's the reason Kevin's updates have stopped, please say so. It's a total bummer!

Sep 20, 2009 18:19 PM
rating: 0
 
toni

Not sure if it's to late to comment, but I really liked the In Person Report, especially the "stuff" section. For hitters I would love to see a defensive metric in there. Also, if you could add their age (however it's calculated for baseball) and the average age for that league to compare. I personally perfer the more indepth analysis... I mean really how many ways can you say Chris Carter is awesome? (kidding, though he did have an amazing year).

Sep 22, 2009 12:21 PM
rating: 0
 
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