The Z-Meter: 7/8/2009

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)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)
Fernando Martinez: Buffalo Bisons (AAA) to New York Mets (MLB)
Matt Wieters: Norfolk Tides (AAA) to Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Antonio Bastardo: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) to Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Andrew McCutchen: Indianapolis Indians (AAA) to Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
 
Antonio Bastardo: Reading Phillies (AA) to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA)
Justin Smoak: Frisco Rough Riders (AA) to Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)
Yonder Alonso: Sarasota Reds (A) to Carolina Mudcats (AA)
Pedro Alvarez: Lynchburg Hillcats (A) to Altoona Curve (AA)

Mauricio Robles: West Michigan Whitecaps (A) to Lakeland Flying Tigers (A+)
Josh Vitters: Peoria Chiefs (A) to Daytona Cubs (A+)

As my commentary on today’s Z-meter, I’d like to pull out some stats that might sometimes get lost in the higgledy-piggledy lines I lay out here. There are some players that register as less-than-red-hot on casual examination, but are quietly doing their best at the one thing they are great at nonetheless. Here are some examples:

Kila Kaiihue – 63 walks. It’s nice to see a slugger who is willing to take the free base when it’s offered. And it seems to be offered quite frequently. Good eye, Kila!

Carlos Carrasco – 90 strikeouts. This poor guy is having an up-and-down season, despite blowing hitters away.

Pedro Alvarez – Since his promotion to AA, he’s hitting .200, but that includes three homers in 12 at bats.

Brad Brach – The meter’s designated closer has only walked seven batters in 37 late-innings appearances, which is why he’s at the 20 save plateau already this season.

Che-Hsuan Lin – His start was disastrous as he hit well below the Mendoza line. He’s inching his way back to average, and has somehow contributed 18 steals despite his early difficulty getting base hits.

Another “Don’t Panic” award goes to Maurico Robles, who has adjusted quickly to the Florida State League. His first start yielded a 16.87 ERA. His second, 6.00 with ten strikeouts. On Independence Day, he buckled down to pitch 6.2 innings with a sterling mark of 0.00. It’s going to be tough to continue that trend.

No good deed goes unpunished. After hitting over .300 in Frisco, Rangers prospect Justin Smoak got the callup to Oklahoma City, which belonged to current major-leaguer Nelson Cruz last year. Can Smoak replicate Cruz’s feat? Not soon. He’s currently hitting .077 since making the leap.

Shooter Hunt, he of the 10.70 ERA at Beloit, is down in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on a “rehab assignment”. He’s currently 0-2  with ten walks at the kids’ table, so he might just be there for a while. If so, don’t expect him to hang around the meter much longer.

Zeke Spruill hasn’t won a game since late May, though he still sports a fairly decent 3.02 ERA. The kid’s not catching many breaks, though. He only gave up one earned run vs. Augusta, but that was enough to give him the loss. Yesterday, it was eight scoreless innings and a spotless ERA, which was only good for a no-decision.

In closing, I want to add one more player to the meter. I’m going to leave Stephen Strasburg in his honorary spot at the bottom of the meter, but I’m going to actually start tracking someone who’s picking up stats. In fact, I’m adding OMDQ’s hitting savant James McOwen, so we can continue to watch him even if his streak ends. We owe him that much.


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

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 17 Games – 8 W – 4 L – 2.84 ERA – 37 BB – 80 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .264 – 51 R – 12 HR – 35 RBI – 63 BB – 0 SB – .480 SLG – .879 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .302 – 60 R – 3 HR – 28 RBI – 23 BB – 29 SB – .428 SLG – .782 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 17 Starts – 5 W – 8 L – 5.06 ERA – 33 BB – 93 K

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .317 – 44 R – 4 HR – 32 RBI – 29 BB – 14 SB – .447 SLG – .832 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Oklahoma City RedHawks (Rangers): .077 AVG – 2 R – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 3 BB – 0 SB – .077 SLG – .327 OPS


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

 

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .262 AVG – 37 R – 8 HR – 41 RBI – 40 BB – 1 SB – .407 SLG – .764 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 16 Starts – 7 W – 6 L – 3.43 ERA – 32 BB – 80 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .266 AVG – 55 R – 14 HR – 55 RBI – 58 BB – 0 SB – .504 SLG – .900 OPS

 
Andrew Locke, OF – Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros): .324 AVG – 45 R – 11 HR – 76 RBI – 27 BB – 0 SB – .492 SLG – .863 OPS
 
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 9 Games – 8 Starts – 6 W – 1 L – 1.70 ERA – 15 BB – 43 K
 
 
Jeanmar Gomez, RHP – Akron Aeros (Indians): 12 Starts – 6 W – 2 L – 3.31 ERA – 18 BB – 58 K
 
 
Yonder Alonso, 1B (injured) – Carolina Mudcats (Reds): .246 AVG – 4 R – 1 HR – 8 RBI – 6 BB – 1 SB – .377 SLG – .686 OPS
 
Kyle Drabek, RHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 7 Games – 6 Starts – 5 W – 0 L – 2.70 ERA – 17 BB – 36 K
 
Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Altoona Curve (Pirates): .200 AVG – 8 R – 3 HR – 7 RBI – 1 BB – 0 SB – .444 SLG – .653 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): .237 AVG – 33 R – 14 HR – 37 RBI – 18 BB – 1 SB – .453 SLG – .744 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .263 AVG – 43 R – 8 HR – 44 RBI – 17 BB – 7 SB – .415 SLG – .717 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .260 AVG – 48 R – 4 HR – 32 RBI – 43 BB – 18 SB – .354 SLG – .717 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Daytona Cubs (Cubs): .194 AVG – 2 R – 0 HR – 3 RBI – 1 BB – 0 SB – .290 SLG – .509 OPS

Shooter Hunt (rehabbing in Gulf Coast League), RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF (injured) – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .277 AVG – 39 R – 6 HR – 36 RBI – 29 BB – 11 SB – .445 SLG – .819 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – Lakeland Flying Tigers (Tigers): 3 Starts – 2 W – 1 L – 5.28 ERA – 6 BB – 17 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .283 AVG – 35 R – 4 HR – 44 RBI – 21 BB – 4 SB – .417 SLG – .753 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 15 Games – 14 Starts – 7 W – 4 L – 1 SV – 3.02 ERA – 14 BB – 67 K

Brad Brach, RHP – Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres): 37 Games – 0 Starts – 1.42 ERA – 3 W – 2 L – 20 SV – 7 BB – 53 K

James McOwen, RF – High Desert Mavericks (Mariners): .353 AVG – 45 R – 5 HR – 53 RBI – 25 BB – 5 SB – .504 SLG – .914 OPS


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

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 14 Starts – 13 W – 1 L – 1.32 ERA – 19 BB – 195 K

Strasburg was the #1 pick in the college draft this season, and will join the Washington Nationals system any old day now. He remains here as an honorary member.


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

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