Later today, hundreds of young men will get the thrill of receiving a congratulatory phone call from a major league organization after they’ve been selected in the amateur player draft. Most of these calls will be coming from the Tampa Bay Rays, who possess 12 picks from between #24 and #89, but it is certainly a thrill for any young man and his family to be on the receiving end of that phone call whether it is from the Rays, Astros, Mariners, or Pirates.
With that in mind, today’s players in our game of, “Who Am I?” will also include their draft status. Don’t forget to tune into Kevin Goldstein’s pre-draft chat later today and check out his latest mock draft work as today’s draft picks hopefully become tomorrow’s fantasy studs.
*Statistics referenced below are as of the start of games, yesterday.
Player 1: I was undrafted because I was not eligible for the amateur draft. I am the only player in major league baseball that has yet to strikeout looking this season while Jack Cust leads all of baseball striking out looking over 13 percent of the time. Needless to say, I am not a terribly patient hitter but my current two percent walk rate is low even for me. In fact, it’s the lowest rate of my career, but that is not the only low rate in my stat line. My ISO score is 110 points lower than any other season thus far, my on base percentage is 30 points lower, and my slugging percentage is 61 points lower than my previous season low. I also have as many walks this season, five, as I do home runs. Who Am I?
Player 2: I was the 294th player selected in the 2002 draft out of St. John’s River Community College in Palatka, Florida. Currently, I am one of just 15 players in 2011 that can claim a slugging percentage of at least .500 and a batting average of at least .300 (minimum 200 PA). Unlike player one, I am setting many career highs this season. My slugging percentage is 61 points better than any previous season and my on base percentage is 38 points higher. I have also produced the highest strikeout rate of my career as I have struck out in 23 percent of my at-bats this season while never striking out in more than 19 percent in any previous season. I am 70 percent of the way to matching my 2010 home run total in one-third of the plate appearances, but a 23 percent home run to fly ball rate combined with just a 22 percent fly ball rate are warning signs that this home run binge is only temporary. Who Am I?
Player 3: I was the tenth overall pick of the 1998 amateur draft, but I am now playing for the sixth different organization of my career. This season has been a mixed bag of success for me as I am hitting just .130 with runners in scoring position but have still driven in 17 runs in those situations. Over my last 110 plate appearances, I have a strong slash line of .271/.422/.506 but a deeper look back paints a less attractive picture. Over the past calendar year, I have a .213/.349/.425 slash line and have struck out at a higher rate than any other full-time player at my position both this season and over the past calendar year. I currently have more than three times the amount of walks than I do extra base hits along with the third highest on base percentage of my career but the lowest slugging percentage of my career. At age 33, I am showing classic signs of old player skills as many sluggers before me have done. I should be able to get to 250 lifetime home runs, but it is unlikely I will have the opportunity to reach even 275 unless my recent success improves because of my impending free agency at the end of the year. Who Am I?
Player 4: I was the 124th player taken in the 2000 amateur draft out of Midland High School in Midland, Texas. Over the past month, my .622 slugging percentage trails only Jay Bruce and Mike Stanton. This season, I have already hit more home runs, scored more runs, and driven in more runs than I did in 2010 (in 43 less plate appearances). This season, I am walking just four percent of the time–matching a career low from back in 2005–while striking out 29 percent of the time, which nearly matches my 31 percent strikeout rate in the one major league season in which I amassed at least 400 plate appearances. My current ISO is 120 points higher than it was in 2010, but my BABIP is identical to last year’s score. My current power flash is a combination of two things: a career-high fly ball rate of 44 percent and a career high HR/FB rate of 23 percent. It may not last this season, but if I was drafted at all, it was in NL-Only leagues and nobody paid more than $1 for me. Who Am I?
Player 5: I was the 187th player taken in the 1999 draft out of Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. Over the past month, I have a higher strikeout rate than Michael Pineda, Anibal Sanchez, David Price, Cole Hamels, and Jon Lester. I do have the highest home run rate of my eight-year career, but I also have the lowest walk rate of my career. My 3.46 ERA is supported by a 3.60 SIERA, and I am just four starts and 17 innings from equaling my workload from the last season I pitched. In my first three starts this season, I gave up five or more earned runs but have yet to give up more than three earned runs in a start since. Additionally, six of the eight home runs I have allowed this season came in those three starts; I have given up just two home runs in my last 52 innings of work. I have made at least 25 starts in a season just three times in my career and have never thrown more than 200 innings in a season, but I am on pace to eclipse both of those totals this season. Who Am I?
Player 6: I was the 143rd pick of the 2001 draft out of Union-Endicott High School in Endicott, New York. Over the last 30 days, I have a 6.6 percent strikeout rate, zero walks, and a 1.47 FIP in just under 18 innings of work. Even though I have not picked up any saves, I have already grabbed three wins this season. My 2011 strikeout rate currently sits at 7.4, which is nearly identical to last season, and my 1.4 walk rate is half of what it was two seasons ago. In fact, my walk rate has improved each of the past four seasons from 3.7 to 3.0 to 1.7 to the 1.4 it currently is. The past two seasons my BABIP was between .300 and .345, but I am currently at .264 this season with an overall ERA of 2.84 and a FIP of 3.00. I have a 2.8 groundball-to-fly ball ratio this season with 64 percent of my balls in play resulting in groundballs, which is an important skill given my home ballpark. The closer on our team has terrible skills and the traditional setup man has a questionable health history. Frankly, my overall package of skills and results is the best thing going in our bullpen. Who Am I?