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The WAR Room: Lindor, Hendrix continue to impress

Middle infielders throughout the system keep putting up gaudy numbers

The WAR Room: Lindor, Hendrix continue to impress
The WAR Room (Graphic courtesy of Brittany Chay)
May 25, 2014
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The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. After looking at the pitchers last week, today we focus on the hitters. It is still early enough that there is some noise in the numbers, but at this point in the season, we are starting to see some interesting trends emerge.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. For example, a hitter who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced pitchers must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player's performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level -- otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer -- a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player's WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).

One more thing, all "+" stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any "-" stats -- when lower is better, like with ERA -- a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

Today we look at the hitters throughout the system. Next week we will do the pitchers. For the full stats, go ahead and click here. Stats are updated through Friday, May 23.

Columbus Clippers

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Roberto Perez Indians (AAA) 25 25 73 1.4 1.5 1.7
Jesus Aguilar Indians (AAA) 24 39 138 1.0 1.3 1.5
Matt Carson Indians (AAA) 32 40 130 0.9 1.1 1.4
Jose Ramirez Indians (AAA) 21 24 96 0.6 0.7 0.9
Ryan Rohlinger Indians (AAA) 30 35 120 0.5 0.7 0.9
Tim Fedroff Indians (AAA) 27 37 124 0.0 0.2 0.5
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AAA) 22 20 77 0.1 0.2 0.3
Elliot Johnson Indians (AAA) 30 11 38 0.1 0.2 0.2
Carlos Moncrief Indians (AAA) 25 43 152 -0.1 0.1 0.4
Audy Ciriaco Indians (AAA) 27 28 85 -0.1 0.1 0.3
Justin Sellers Indians (AAA) 28 37 141 -0.2 0.1 0.3
Todd Hankins Indians (AAA) 23 2 7 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jason Kipnis Indians (AAA) 27 1 2 0.0 0.0 0.0
Luke Carlin Indians (AAA) 33 11 30 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Michael Bourn Indians (AAA) 31 2 7 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Nyjer Morgan Indians (AAA) 33 15 60 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
George Kottaras Indians (AAA) 31 13 39 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
David Cooper Indians (AAA) 27 38 139 -0.7 -0.4 -0.2
Bryan LaHair Indians (AAA) 31 10 35 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4

Jose Ramirez (Photo: MiLB)The Jose Ramirez experience just keeps chugging along, as the infielder owns a 0.9 great-defense WAR in 24 Triple-A games this season. Ramirez's time up in the major leagues did not go as well (-0.3 fWAR in 11 games), though in his defense, he was not getting regular playing time up in Cleveland. This performance down in Columbus -- which grades out at an All-Star level -- is a reminder of how good Ramirez really is. He may not have a real role on the major league club right now, but the 21-year-old Ramirez certainly is someone who should figure into the big league club's plans before too long.

The results for third baseman Giovanny Urshela in Columbus have not been as good as those in Akron, but there is some good news for Urshela. Despite a seemingly low 0.3 great-defense WAR in 20 games, Urshela is playing roughly as an average player in his first exposure to Triple-A. Urshela is having some trouble getting on-base (.266 OBP, 81 OBP+), mostly a byproduct of the third baseman's 2.5 percent walk rate (27 BB%+). The power has been there for Urshela (.195 ISO, 154 ISO+), but the 22-year-old will need to start walking a little more to get his on-base percentage up.

Outfielder Matt Carson may be depth for the major league team, but while he is biding his time in Columbus, the 32-year-old is tearing up the International League. Carson's 1.1 average-defense WAR in 40 games has the outfielder as firmly above-average, an expected result for an older player in Triple-A, but an encouraging one nonetheless. Though he is helped by his .383 BABIP (124 BABIP+), Carson's strong 11.0 percent walk rate (117 BB%+) is helping support his offense. That 29.9 percent strikeout rate (147 K%+) is a little rough, but the overall package is one that is working for the Clippers this season.

Another solid minor leaguer playing in Columbus is infielder Ryan Rohlinger. With a 0.7 average-defense WAR in 35 games, Rohlinger is someone who plays well and fills in solidly in the upper levels of the majors. There is nothing truly outrageous about Rohlinger's stats -- his BABIP, for instance, is a normal .297 -- but the infielder's plate discipline is his calling card. With a low 13.0 percent strikeout rate (64 K%+) to go with a high 10.9 percent walk rate (116 BB%+), Rohlinger continues to perform well and play at a high level in the Cleveland organization.

Akron RubberDucks

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Francisco Lindor Indians (AA) 20 43 167 1.3 1.5 1.8
Tyler Naquin Indians (AA) 23 44 173 0.8 1.0 1.3
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AA) 22 24 90 0.7 0.9 1.0
Tyler Holt Indians (AA) 25 37 118 0.5 0.7 1.0
Bryan LaHair Indians (AA) 31 22 84 0.5 0.6 0.8
Bryson Myles Indians (AA) 24 41 146 0.3 0.5 0.8
Tony Wolters Indians (AA) 22 40 152 0.2 0.4 0.7
Alex Lavisky Indians (AA) 23 17 57 0.3 0.4 0.5
Justin Toole Indians (AA) 27 14 34 0.2 0.3 0.4
Joe Wendle Indians (AA) 24 45 171 0.0 0.3 0.6
Jake Lowery Indians (AA) 23 11 31 0.0 0.1 0.2
Charlie Valerio Indians (AA) 23 5 14 0.0 0.0 0.0
Michael Bourn Indians (AA) 31 3 13 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Jason Giambi Indians (AA) 43 3 8 -0.2 -0.1 -0.1
Ronny Rodriguez Indians (AA) 22 35 128 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (AA) 24 12 33 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3
Jordan Smith Indians (AA) 23 40 144 -1.1 -0.9 -0.6

Francisco Lindor (Photo: MiLB)Sure, shortstop Francisco Lindor still needs to gain some consistency in his game, but what 20-year-old does not? As it is, Lindor owns a 1.8 great-defense WAR in 43 games, an astronomical rate when you think about it. For a whole season, that puts Lindor on line for 6.5 WAR, something only eight players in the majors outdid in 2013. Sure, Lindor is not a 6.5-win player at the major league level right now, but it sure looks like he will be able to help in Cleveland soon. It may not be until 2015 as Lindor puts the finishing touches on his game (and Asdrubal Cabrera continues to play well), but Lindor is continuing to show why he is so special.

Outfielder Tyler Holt continues to put work in at Akron, though the 25-year-old looks ready for a promotion to Columbus. With a 1.0 great-defense WAR in 37 games, Holt has the look of someone ready to play all three outfield positions in Columbus. Holt is likely a fourth outfielder in the major leagues, but his plus-defense, plus-plate discipline combination (16.3 percent walk rate, 191 BB%+) will give him value. The outfielder does not hit for much power (.042 isolated power, 33 ISO+), but with his other skills, Holt does not really need it to be a useful player.

Though the bat is second baseman Joe Wendle's calling card, the 24-year-old is still struggling at the plate. Wendle owns a 87 wRC+ and 0.3 average-defense WAR in 45 games, far from positive results in the second baseman's first exposure to Double-A. However, with a .246 BABIP (80 BABIP+), the offense should get some positive regression before too long. Wendle's approach at the plate seems strong, with a low 15.9 percent strikeout rate (85 K%+), though he could use a few more walks (7.4 percent walk rate, 87 BB%+). That strikeout-walk combination leaves Wendle very reliant on his BABIP, and with it coming in abnormally low so far in 2014, his offense has simply followed suit.

Another RubberDuck who normally hits but just is not in 2014 is outfielder Jordan Smith. Even giving Smith credit for great defense, the outfielder's -0.6 great-defense WAR in 40 games is just no good at all. Smith has never hit for much power -- which is no different in 2014 with his .042 isolated power (33 ISO+) -- but now he is striking out too much as well. The outfielder normally has no problem limiting strikeouts, but his 23.1 percent strikeout rate (123 K%+) is ruining Smith's offense. Almost anything can happen in 40 games, but clearly this is something Smith will need to work on to find success in Double-A and above.

Carolina Mudcats

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Anthony Gallas Indians (A+) 26 43 163 1.1 1.4 1.6
Jeremy Lucas Indians (A+) 23 41 152 0.8 1.1 1.3
Erik Gonzalez Indians (A+) 22 35 149 0.8 1.0 1.2
Todd Hankins Indians (A+) 23 34 128 0.6 0.8 1.0
James Roberts Indians (A+) 22 41 128 0.5 0.8 1.0
LeVon Washington Indians (A+) 22 13 42 0.5 0.6 0.6
Ollie Linton Indians (A+) 28 21 67 0.3 0.4 0.6
Logan Vick Indians (A+) 23 35 116 0.1 0.3 0.5
Charlie Valerio Indians (A+) 23 17 53 0.1 0.2 0.3
Luigi Rodriguez Indians (A+) 21 25 90 0.0 0.2 0.3
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A+) 22 8 21 0.1 0.1 0.2
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (A+) 24 23 87 0.0 0.1 0.3
Joe Sever Indians (A+) 23 1 3 0.0 0.0 0.0
Yandy Diaz Indians (A+) 22 1 1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Torsten Boss Indians (A+)/O 23 25 88 -0.2 -0.1 0.1
Yhoxian Medina Indians (A+) 24 20 73 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
Alex Monsalve Indians (A+) 22 29 107 -0.4 -0.2 0.0

Todd Hankins (Photo: MiLB)Second baseman Todd Hankins is not a high-priority prospect, but with a 0.8 average-defense WAR in 34 games, he is doing his best to change that. The key in 2014 for Hankins has been a newfound power surge, as the 23-year-old's .203 isolated power (164 ISO+) is giving Hankins extra value despite an average on-base percentage. Hankins has never hit for power like this before, raising the question of whether he can keep this up, but if the second baseman has truly found another gear, he could quickly make a name for himself in the organization.

Healthy again, outfielder LeVon Washington picked right up where he left off. Though he has only played in 13 games, Washington owns a 0.6 average-defense WAR, good for sixth among the Mudcats' hitters. Of course, everything still comes down to health for Washington, as he cannot produce if he is on the bench, but that talent still bears paying attention to. Washington always makes noise and puts up gaudy stats when he is healthy and right now he is.

The start of outfielder Luigi Rodriguez's season has not been perfect as the 21-year-old only has a 0.2 average-defense WAR in 25 games. Of course, after missing so much of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the bigger key is seeing Rodriguez healthy and on the field again. Even better for Rodriguez, despite some pedestrian offensive numbers, the outfielder's approach is pretty solid -- he owns a 21.0 percent strikeout rate (104 K%+) and a 11.4 percent walk rate (132 BB%+) -- and his .269 BABIP (88 BABIP+) should regress up. Youth is still on Rodriguez's side and his stats should pick up in the coming weeks.

First baseman Jerrud Sabourin has put up league-average offensive statistics since being sent down from Akron, but unfortunately for the Sabour-Tooth Tiger, league-average offense does not really play at first base. That high offensive standard for first baseman knocks Sabourin's value down as the 24-year-old owns a 0.3 great-defense WAR in 23 games. While that is average for the Carolina League, an average performance does not translate well back up to Double-A. Sabourin is a great guy to have around, but unless he starts hitting for more power (.092 isolated power, 74 ISO+), he may be heading toward the end of his ride up through the system.

Lake County Captains

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Paul Hendrix Indians (A) 22 37 131 1.6 1.8 2.0
Eric Haase Indians (A) 21 31 121 1.0 1.2 1.4
Grant Fink Indians (A) 23 43 152 0.7 1.0 1.3
Clint Frazier Indians (A) 19 34 137 0.4 0.6 0.8
Nellie Rodriguez Indians (A) 20 46 163 0.2 0.5 0.8
Cody Ferrell Indians (A) 24 41 132 -0.2 0.1 0.4
Claudio Bautista Indians (A) 20 42 161 -0.2 0.1 0.3
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A) 22 1 3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Richard Stock Indians (A) 23 17 61 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
Ivan Castillo Indians (A) 19 8 26 -0.2 -0.2 -0.1
Brian Ruiz Indians (A) 21 32 112 -0.4 -0.2 0.0
Dorssys Paulino Indians (A) 19 31 127 -0.4 -0.2 0.0
Jorge Martinez Indians (A) 21 11 34 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2
Anthony Santander Indians (A) 19 36 137 -0.8 -0.6 -0.3
Josh Mcadams Indians (A) 20 28 101 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4

Paul Hendrix (Photo: MiLB)Shortstop Paul Hendrix just continues to hit, as the 22-year-old is now up to a 1.8 average-defense WAR in 37 games. Hendrix is still the beneficiary of a high BABIP in 2014, as that .443 mark (142 BABIP+) will not last, but he does not have to hit this well to have value. As long as Hendrix keeps hitting for power (.221 isolated power, 192 ISO+) and walking (14.1 percent walk rate, 154 BB%+), the shortstop will be able to survive that BABIP regression and any issues that arise from his 30.1 percent strikeout rate (147 K%+). It is not a perfect combination just yet, but the 18th round pick in 2013 is still having a successful first full professional season.

Much like Hendrix, third baseman Grant Fink is making a high-strikeout approach work in 2014. Fink owns a 1.0 average-defense WAR in 43 games despite a 34.1 percent strikeout rate (166 K%+), largely thanks to a 16.5 percent walk rate (16.5 BB%+). Of course, a .384 BABIP helps (123 BABIP+), but Fink is walking a ton to go with those strikeouts. The approach needs some refinement, but the 23rd round pick in 2013 is also putting up good numbers in his first full professional season.

Cleveland's first round pick in 2013, center fielder Clint Frazier is not lighting up the Midwest League, but he is playing well. A 0.6 average-defense WAR in 34 games is above-average and a good result for Frazier's first exposure to a full season league. Continuing the theme at Lake County, Frazier is striking out a lot (30.4 percent strikeout rate, 148 K%+), but he is walking 13.0 percent of the time (142 BB%+) and putting up average offensive numbers. Despite playing in a hitter's park, Frazier's natural power has not come through yet (.109 isolated power, 95 ISO+), but this is still a good result to date for the center fielder in 2014.

One outfielder without good results to date is Josh McAdams as the 20-year-old owns a -0.6 average-defense WAR through 28 games. Unlike Hendrix, Fink, and Frazier, McAdams struck out even more (39.4 percent strikeout rate, 192 K%+) without making up for it in the walk department (5.5 percent walk rate, 6.6 BB%+). McAdams still has plenty of talent that came through from time to time, but the 20-year-old just is not at the point in his development to find success in a full season league. There is still plenty of upside for McAdams, however, and he will look to fulfill it in Mahoning Valley after recently being sent down.

If you want to follow Jim on Twitter, he’s @JimPiascik. If you want to e-mail him, you can do so at jpiasci1@gmail.com. If you want to read his Master's thesis on college athletes and Twitter, you can do so here.

User Comments

Jim Piascik
May 26, 2014 - 12:45 PM EDT
Thanks Thiago! Glad to hear it!
Thiago
May 26, 2014 - 9:29 AM EDT
Thanks! That's a really nice piece of work, glad I could finish reading it!
Jim Piascik
May 25, 2014 - 8:21 PM EDT
Yes it was. That was really weird. It was certainly all in there earlier... Huh.

Well, should all be there now. At least until all the old stuff reappears and it gets all screwed up again. Haha
Thiago
May 25, 2014 - 8:10 PM EDT
Hey Jim, looks like the text is interrupted.

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