Going from full season A to advanced A seems to be a particularly difficult adjustment for non-college hitters. Mature college hitters like Kyle Isbel, Jarren Duran and Steven Kwan are more used to a higher level of competition, so the adjustment is much smaller.
Pitchers don't seem to struggle nearly as much when getting promoted. Hans Crouse or Greyson Rodriguez may not dominate in advanced A like they are in Sally League but there stuff is so good that, I think they would be fine if they were in the Carolina League. On the other hand,without getting hitting reps in full season ball, top prospects like Tyler Freeman and Triston Casas would be lost in the Carolina League.
There are six highly regarded non-college position prospects making their High A debut in the Carolina League in 2019 that I will be focusing on in coming weeks. All are now 20 years old. Several of these prospects are highly rated due to their defense and overall athleticism. All except Miguel Amaya had some swing and miss issues in full season A in 2018.
It has been a difficult first ten days in the Carolina League for these six young bucks. Bubba Thompson was the one player whose assignment to the Carolina League was in question. There will be better days ahead for these six.
|Players||Team||Highest Pre-Season Ranking||K%||BB%||OPS|
|Bubba Thompson||Down East||48 by Baseball Prospectus||29.70%||8.10%||0.366|
|Tristen Lutz||Carolina||159 by Imaginary Brick Wall||29.40%||8.80%||0.367|
|Nick Pratto||Wilmington||67 by Rotowire||35.10%||10.80%||0.399|
|MJ Melendez||Wilmington||67 by Baseball Prospectus||52%||12%||0.513|
|Miguel Amaya||Myrtle Beach||73 by Fangraphs||27.80%||11.10%||0.693|
|Seuly Matias||Wilmington||52 by Baseball Prospectus||40.60%||6.30%||0.517|
Pitches Per Out
Pitches per out is a crude measurement for how efficient a pitcher is. I think it is useful in measuring how advanced a pitcher is at this level and will be tracking it every week. These are the pitches per out for a select group of Carolina League pitchers who have made at least two starts.
|Pitcher||Team||Pitches Per Out|
|Tyler Philips||Down East||3.61|
|Jean Carlos Mejia||Lynchburg||4.27|
|Kyle Kubat||Winston Salem||4.82|
|Reid Anderson||Down East||5.89|
|Paul Richan||Myrtle Beach||6.04|
Phillips is one of the most underrated prospects in baseball. Baseball America named Phillips the pitcher with the best control in minors. Phillips walked 16 in 133 innings in 2018 and has yet to walk a batter in 2019.
Phillips was not an early draft pick (16th round) nor did he get off to a quick start career. However, he made big strides last year and is still only 21. Phillips has excellent size with good extension and throws downhill. He is not a flame thrower, but not a soft tosser either. Phillips has an effective curveball and changeup.
Feel Good Stories
- Former first round pick, Cody Sedlock looked like a different pitcher on Monday. Sedlock says he is healthy for the first time in a couple years.
- Salem shortstop, Ryan Fitzgerald was undrafted when he graduated from Creighton in 2016. He was playing independent ball when the Red Sox signed him last year. Through 10 games, Fitzgerald is hitting .429/.436/1.122.
Michael Baumann is another Frederick Keys pitcher who looked like a different guy when he made his 2019 debut. Baumann had some success in 2018 at Delmarva but struggled when promoted to Frederick. He was far too hittable (59 strikeouts in 92 innings).
However on Wednesday he threw 5 dominant innings striking out 10 with no walks only allowing on hit. Baumann may be benefiting from the organizational changes under Michael Elias.
Too Advanced for the Carolina League?
I did not include Eli Morgan or Anderson Tejeda in the team previews because the assumption was they would begin the year in AA. Both have been playing like they belong at a higher level.
Robert has gotten off to a fantastic start for Winston Salem. The only concern is that he has not walked since his first at bat of the season.
The Carolina Mudcats pitching staff has been a pleasant surprise. They are primarily made up of late round college arms including two from the Ivy League. Noah Zavolas is the best bet to emerge as a legitimate prospect.
|Nelson Hernandez||3/13/1997||2013 international signing|
|Noah Zavolas||5/11/1996||2018 18 round draft pick (Harvard)by Seattle part of Domingo Santana trade|
|Dylan File||6/4/1996||21st round of 2017 draft (Dixie St))|
|Bowden Francis||4/22/1996||7th round of 2017 draft (Chipola JC)|
|Matt Smith||8/27/1993||34th round of 2016 draft (Georgetown)|
|Christian Taugner||5/14/1995||37th round of 2017 draft (Brown)|
|Cody Beckman||11/1/1994||30th round of 2017 draft|
|Matt Hardy||7/15/1995||undrafted free agent signed in 2017|
|Michael Petersen||5/16/1994||17th round of 2015 draft (Riverside City College)|
|J.T. Hintzen||6/1/1996||10th round of 2018 draft (Florida Southern)|
|Rodrigo Benoit||2/23/1994||2013 international signing|
|Christian Meister||10/29/1993||29th round in 2015 draft by Cleveland|
|Chris Dula||8/6/1992||25th round in 2013 draft by Texas|