Saturday, August 22, 2015

Minor League Saturday Stats Pack

Last week, I began a series I hope to continue next season that runs as a companion to my Saturday Stats Pack article I try to post weekly at About.com. This series looks at one player for each minor league affiliate that I find a bit interesting. Sometimes, it's less the player and more the team as the first entry will point out.

Gwinnett - Cedric Hunter

Hardly a spring chicken, Hunter was originally a third rounder in 2006 by the Tigers who appeared in the bigs in 2011 for six games. Now in his season with the Braves organization, Hunter leads the G-Braves with 11 homers. In fact, his homer output reflects a quarter of Gwinnett's homerun production this year. That's right. In 126 games, Gwinnett has hit just 44 homeruns. Ranking second behind Hunter is a three-way tie with four homers a piece. As powerless as the big league club has looked this season, they make Gwinnett look downright embarrassing. Then again, Gwinnett is ten games over .500 so...there's that.

Mississippi - Lucas Sims

It's been a tough year for the prospect. He started off poorly for Carolina, but once he started to round into form, he was involved in the bus accident. He returned in late June for a pair of rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League before looking good in two starts with Carolina, earning him a promotion to Mississippi. Just 21, Sims has struggled with his control and sometimes has looked not ready for AA as a result. He's also earned a lot of K's in a short time. In his last three starts, Sims has thrown 16.1 ING, allowed four runs, walked 11, and struck out 19. Sims gets lost in this organization due to the amount of pitching prospects, but he's still got a chance to be special.

Carolina - Jose Briceno

When the Braves acquired Briceno, he looked like a hitting catcher prospect who needed to mature behind the plate, but five months in the Carolina League have tested that observation. He's hitting .181 on the year with a miserable .474 OPS and worse, he's regressing. After entering June with an OPS in the .435 range, he hit .318 with 2 HR in June and looked like he might be getting on track. In 33 games since, he's hit .158 with an OPS around .370. At 22, Briceno is age appropriate for his league, which makes it even more difficult to search for a silver lining on what has become a completely lost season. He's likely Rule 5 vulnerable next year, though I doubt anyone will take a chance.

Rome - Alec Grosser

Also having a lost year is Grosser, who was a fifth round pick in 2013 and posted a 3.19 ERA over 93 innings in rookie ball the last two seasons. This season, however, has been ugly across the board. In 25 games, 14 as a starter, Grosser has walked 62 batters in 82 innings. He's hit an additional 15 and uncorked a gaudy 25 wild pitches. In his last four outings, which does include a start, he has pitched 4.2 innings. He's allowed 7 hits and struck out three. Here comes the hammer - 14 earned runs, 10 walks, and 3 HBP. Of the 34 batters he's face, 20 have reached base.

Danville - Matt Custred

A 31st rounder this year out of Texas Tech, Custred might be wondering when this professional baseball thing is supposed to get difficult. After a game in the Gulf Coast League, Custred moved up the chain to Danville and in 14 games, he has logged 26 innings that includes just five walks, 35 strikeouts, and only one extra base hit charged to him (he gave up a double in his last game). The 6'5" righty is a long shot, but he's likely bought himself a little time at Rome next year with this level of success.

GCL - Isranel Wilson

One of the late signing period pick-ups by the new Braves scouting staff, Wilson was born in St. Martin and decided that, rather than stay on the island and go to school, he would head to the Dominican Republic for a baseball academy. It was a good decision for the former little league star and Atlanta thought so much of the outfielder, they started him in the Gulf Coast League. He's only hit .215, but has shown great plate discipline (.340 OBP) and plus-power (8 homers in 42 games). While he signed as a shortstop, the Braves see his future in the outfield and he's racked up three outfield assists so far.

DSL - Anthony Concepcion

Though he's old for the Dominican Summer League at 20 (average hitter is 18-19), Concepcion deserves a look because he has been the lone source of power for the DSL Braves. He paces the Braves with 15 doubles and 5 HR, but he also has swiped 12 bases, posted a .411 OBP, and a team-leading .863 OPS. Again, his age keeps us from getting too excited, but it's a solid first year of his career and the 1B/LF will hopefully get a push up the ladder next year. To get a real sense of where he is, Atlanta might need to start him in Danville.

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