Saturday, June 4, 2016

Minor League Stats Pack - Newcomb, Whalen, Toscano, Davidson

Here is this week's Saturday Stats Pack for the minor league Braves. Feel free to add to this post through the comment section with some interesting numbers I've missed.

Ken Lund via Flickr - Creative Commons License
Newcomb Heating Up

In a year of uneven performances, things are clicking for Sean Newcomb over his last two starts. In 11 innings, he has allowed just two runs, four walks, and 12 strikeouts. 61% of his pitches have gone for strikes during that time frame. If we can start to see more strikes out of Newcomb, the hope that he remains in the starting rotation increases. One thing's for certain - he is a weapon against lefthanders. They have managed just seven singles off the southpaw in 49 plate appearances. 35% of those appearances have ended in a strikeout.

Whalen Finding His Groove

While John Gant has already appeared in the majors out of the Juan Uribe/Kelly Johnson deal last summer, Robert Whalen was the higher-regarded prospect at the time of the trade. His work of late has shown exactly why. Over his last six starts, he has allowed an earned run or less in five of them. His average game score for those outings is 59 - which is dragged down significantly by a 34 mixed in there. Whalen might not enter any Top 10's for the system, but he's a pitcher worth watching as 2016 continues.

For Toscano, 2016 Has Not Been Worth the Wait

On one hand, it's an improvement for the Braves to even see 27 year-old Dian Toscano on the field after VISA issues wiped out his 2015 season. However, the Cuban defectee has been thoroughly underwhelming for Mississippi this year, slashing just .228/.302/.289 over 40 games. The dream was that Toscano had the upside of a second-division starter in the outfield, but the fallback of a fourth outfielder appears - for now - to be a fantasy as well.

Braxton Starting to Get It

It wouldn't be accurate to label Braxton Davidson's season anything but disappointing. Nevertheless, the 20 year-old has shown improvement after slashing .172/.245/.276 over his first 24 games. In the next batch of two-dozen games, Davidson has improved to the tune of a .253/.358/.342 slash. Now, that is hardly outstanding numbers, but we are starting to see progression, which is the most important thing for Davidson at this point. Not for nothing, but the next time Davidson faces a pitcher younger than him, it'll be the first time in two years. Remember that the next time anyone refers to the 19 year-old as a bust.

Runners of the South Atlantic League: Beware!

The duo of Lucas Herbert and Jonathan Morales have done a great job this year for Rome. One catches while the other DH's. It keeps both in the lineup almost every day. Herbert's bat hasn't been a plus this year and Morales has cooled off after a scorching beginning to the year, but even if they're not producing tremendously at the plate, they are doing the duty behind it. Herbert, who was drafted because of his work behind the plate, has not disappointed. Morales's defense has been a bit of surprise and together, both have dominated the South Atlantic League baserunners. 43% of those that have tried to steal on Herbert have been caught. For Morales, it's 20-of-41 (49%). The league average is 33% and the Rome Braves are bringing up the curve.

Minter Rolling

Limited to just 58 innings in college and no innings after being drafted last summer out of Texas A&M, A.J. Minter didn't pitch this season in a game until May 5. Since getting into game action, Minter has been on fire. After 6.2 scoreless innings with Rome to begin his professional career, he was promoted to Carolina. In two games there, Minter added 3.1 scoreless. Overall, he is up to ten innings, two hits allowed, three walks, and 11 K's. The potential bad news is that he was moved down to Danville on June 1st. This may have been an administrative move to limit his innings. There also exists the possibility that Minter is attracting trade interest and the Braves don't want to chance his health. Either way, the results on the mound have gave the Braves some validation for drafting him in the second round.

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