Archive for May 4th, 2009

The Z-Meter: 5/4/2009

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)

As OMDQ was kind enough to inform us, Matt LaPorta’s star has continued to rise. The former Brewers prospect was swapped to the Cleveland organization as the key to the C.C. Sabathia trade, which pretty much guaranteed that, barring a catastrophe, we’d be seeing him in the majors this season. Matt hit .333 with 5 homers in 75 triple-A at bats, and the call came. I’m very glad I got a chance to see him play in a double-A Akron Aeros uniform last season, because he’s unlikely to be nearly as accessible now that he’s in the show. Congrats, Matt!

That leaves a gap in our meter, which I’ve chosen to fill with a young A-ball phenom by the name of Mauricio Robles. The Venezuelan import pitches in the Detroit organization for the West Michigan Whitecaps. If you wonder why I chose him, just look at the dude’s walk/strikeout ratio. Cha. Ching.

The Mets’ Fernando Martinez has shaken off a slow April with a red-hot start to May. He’s hitting .542 with two home runs over the first four games he’s played this month. Reading’s Antonio Bastardo continues to yo-yo between the starting lineup and the bullpen, but his most recent start led to a 6.75 ERA and a loss, so relief might be his strong suit. Where there’s (Justin) Smoak, there’s fire. Sorry, had to be done. Red Sox prospect Che-Hsuan Lin had a long six-game hitless streak recently, but is starting to come back, having hit .667 over the past two games in Salem.
gac
And, finally, look at the official photo of Ian Gac here on the right. I thought the poor guy had some rare syndrome that caused him to look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but I finally realized that he was unfortunately placed in front of some sort of logo on the wall that made him look like his earlobes hung down to his shoulders. The uniform line through the cinder blocks eventually tipped me off to the reality of the situation. I’m sure if gills and flippers helped a guy break out of a hitting slump, Ian would seriously consider getting a little genetic modification done.


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .261 AVG – 18 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 6 BB – 4 SB – .466 SLG – .774 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 5 Games – 3W – 0L – 3.09 ERA – 14 BB – 17 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .224 – 16 R – 3 HR – 11 RBI – 24 BB – 0 SB – .448 SLG – .867 OPS

Mat Gamel, 3B – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .385 AVG – 18 R – 7 HR – 27 RBI – 15 BB – 0 SB – .756 SLG – 1.231 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .269 – 15 R – 2 HR – 7 RBI – 6 BB – 11 SB – .387 SLG – .707 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 5 Starts – 0 W – 2 L – 4.50 ERA – 4 BB – 31 K

Ramiro Pena, SS – Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees: .313 – 2 R – 0 HR – 4 RBI – 3 BB – 1 SB – .344 SLG – .715 OPS

Matt Wieters, C – Norfolk Tides (Orioles): .270 AVG – 7 R – 1 HR – 6 RBI – 11 BB – 0 SB – .365 SLG – .738 OPS

Fernando Martinez, CF – Buffalo Bisons (Mets): .287 AVG – 9 R – 3 HR – 13 RBI – 5 BB – 0 SB – .529 SLG – .859 OPS

Daniel Bard, RHP – Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox): 9 Games – 1W – 0L – 4 SV – 1.32 ERA – 4 BB – 23 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .389 – 17 R – 0 HR – 12 RBI – 9 BB – 7 SB – .486 SLG – .950 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 6 Games – 2 Starts – 1 W – 1 L – 2 SV – 2.20 ERA – 3 BB – 15 K

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .277 AVG – 11 R – 2 HR – 14 RBI – 7 BB – 0 SB – .434 SLG – .763 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 5 Starts – 2 W – 3 L – 4.15 ERA – 9 BB – 19 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .250 AVG – 16 R – 6 HR – 19 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .574 SLG – .978 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .358 AVG – 12 R – 4 HR – 16 RBI – 18 BB – 0 SB – .580 SLG – 1.055 OPS

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .200 AVG – 4 R – 1 HR – 11 RBI – 5 BB – 0 SB – .308 SLG – .561 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .275 AVG – 18 R – 4 HR – 18 RBI – 6 BB – 1 SB – .500 SLG – .822 OPS

Madison Bumgarner, LHP – San Jose Giants (Giants): 4 Starts – 3 W – 0 L – 1.40 ERA – 3 BB – 19 K

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .212 AVG – 13 R – 5 HR – 21 RBI – 16 BB – 0 SB – .412 SLG – .739 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .176 AVG – 9 R – 0 HR – 5 RBI – 8 BB – 3 SB – .221 SLG – .486 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .316 AVG – 10 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 2 BB – 0 SB – .421 SLG – .775 OPS

Shooter Hunt, RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 5 Start – 0 W – 1 L – 10.43 ERA – 29 BB – 14 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .310 AVG – 21 R – 4 HR – 18 RBI – 12 BB – 3 SB – .583 SLG – .993 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 5 Starts – 2 W – 1 L – 3.04 ERA – 9 BB – 40 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 10 Starts – 10W – 0L – 1.38 ERA – 15 BB – 147 K

Visit SDSU’s Strasburg Central for more.


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

Now Batting For The Cleveland Indians…

Highly touted prospect Matt LaPorta was called up by the Indians on Friday.  He made his major league debut on Sunday, batting eighth and playing rightfield in Cleveland’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers.

It did not go exceptionally well.  LaPorta, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Justin Verlander.  He stranded four runners, leaving the bases loaded in the seventh, and popped out to end the game.

LaPorta struggled after coming to the Indians organization in the C.C. Sabathia trade last season, but was off to an excellent start with AAA Columbus in 2009, hitting .333 with 5 homeruns, 14 RBI, and a 1.054 OPS in 21 games for the Clippers.  According to Baseball America, scouts graded his power at a 70 on a scale of 20-80.

As luck would have it, two of the E-migos with whom I correspond most often are Andrew of The Grand National Championships and Myth of the Next and Jacob of Vegas Watch and FanHouse.  They are fans of the Brewers and Indians, respectively, so naturally I asked their opinions on him.

Though both noted that LaPorta was the centerpiece of the Sabathia deal, they arrived at different conclusions about his longterm impact.  Jacob noted that he is a “good hit, no field” type of player who will probably see time at first base and leftfield and whose minor league success this year has probably caused expectations to be unreasonably high.  Andrew, on the other hand, pointed out that LaPorta is replacing the 2009 version of Travis Hafner and thinks he will soon prove that long-term, the Brewers were on the losing end of the Sabathia deal.  He figures LaPorta will “get out of bed and go .285/30/100.”

As always, it will be interesting to see who comes closer to the truth: is LaPorta overhyped, or will he make Tribe fans forget about Pronk?