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The WAR Room: Lindor leading the way

Lindor, Aguilar among the WAR leaders in the organization

The WAR Room: Lindor leading the way
The WAR Room (Graphic courtesy of Brittany Chay)
May 11, 2014
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For the first time this season, The WAR Room is bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. Now that we have about five weeks of the season in the books, the numbers are starting to look like something we can use.

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters much 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).

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 9.

Columbus Clippers

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR Avg D WAR Great D WAR
Jesus Aguilar Indians (AAA) 24 33 120 1.1 1.3 1.6
Roberto Perez Indians (AAA) 25 23 68 1.2 1.3 1.5
Matt Carson Indians (AAA) 32 29 92 0.7 0.9 1.1
Jose Ramirez Indians (AAA) 21 23 91 0.6 0.7 0.9
Ryan Rohlinger Indians (AAA) 30 26 89 0.6 0.7 0.9
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AAA) 22 7 25 0.5 0.6 0.6
Tim Fedroff Indians (AAA) 27 26 83 0.2 0.3 0.5
Justin Sellers Indians (AAA) 28 28 109 -0.1 0.1 0.3
Audy Ciriaco Indians (AAA) 27 18 57 0.0 0.1 0.2
Todd Hankins Indians (AAA) 23 2 7 0.0 0.0 0.0
Carlos Moncrief Indians (AAA) 25 30 106 -0.2 0.0 0.2
Luke Carlin Indians (AAA) 33 3 9 -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
David Cooper Indians (AAA) 27 26 100 -0.4 -0.2 -0.1
George Kottaras Indians (AAA) 31 9 25 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2
Bryan LaHair Indians (AAA) 31 10 35 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4

Jesus Aguilar (Photo: MiLB)First baseman Jesus Aguilar may not add much on defense, but he does not need to when he is hitting like this. Aguilar owns a 1.3 average-defense WAR in 33 games as the first baseman has taken full advantage of the friendly confines of Huntington Park. With a .242 isolated power (195 ISO+) so far in the season -- plus some strong plate discipline with a 17.9 percent strikeout rate (87 K%+) and 14.3 percent walk rate (150 BB%+) -- Aguilar is making a compelling case to bring his right-hander power to Progressive Field very soon.

While Aguilar is showing off his power, catcher Roberto Perez is actually outdoing Aguilar. Though the first baseman has more home runs (seven to five), Perez's .265 isolated power (214 ISO+) is the best among Clippers players who have significant playing time. With this power, Perez is combining his average 21.2 percent strikeout rate (103 K%+) and high walk rate (173 BB%+) into a lethal combination for the Clippers. Plus Perez is a plus defender and the catcher's 1.5 great-defense WAR in 23 games is leading the way in Columbus.

In his third season at Triple-A, outfielder Tim Fedroff is still looking to make real gains. Fedroff's offense cratered in 2013, but the outfielder is getting on-base at a healthy rate so far in 2014 (.412 on-base percentage, 126 OBP+). However, Fedroff's .024 isolated power (19 ISO+) is quite low, a fact made all the more concerning considering the power boost Huntington Park typically gives hitters. Fedroff is above-average offensively this year thanks to his ability to get a ton of singles (.277 batting average, 110 AVG+) and walks (18.6 percent BB%, 195 BB%+), but without the power, the package likely does not translate to the majors for the 27-year-old.

Another outfielder off to a slow start in Columbus is Carlos Moncrief, whose 0.2 great-defense WAR in 30 games is not what many expected following the outfielder's breakout 2013 campaign. Moncrief's improvement will not come from some simple BABIP regression -- .316 BABIP, 103 BABIP+ so far in 2014 -- and the problem is coming from Moncrief's issues with plate discipline. After seeing a jump in plate discipline in 2013 -- striking out less than the average hitter while walking more -- Moncrief has flipped that script this season. With a 22.4 percent strikeout rate (109 K%+) and 6.9 percent walk rate (72 BB%+), Moncrief needs to see an improvement in this area to turn around his season.

Akron RubberDucks

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR Avg D WAR Great D WAR
Francisco Lindor Indians (AA) 20 32 124 1.0 1.2 1.4
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AA) 22 24 90 0.7 0.9 1.0
Tyler Naquin Indians (AA) 23 32 124 0.6 0.8 1.0
Tyler Holt Indians (AA) 25 26 79 0.6 0.8 0.9
Bryson Myles Indians (AA) 24 30 104 0.4 0.6 0.8
Bryan LaHair Indians (AA) 31 11 42 0.5 0.6 0.6
Joe Wendle Indians (AA) 24 33 122 0.1 0.4 0.6
Alex Lavisky Indians (AA) 23 10 31 0.3 0.3 0.4
Tony Wolters Indians (AA) 22 28 104 0.1 0.3 0.5
Justin Toole Indians (AA) 27 7 18 0.1 0.1 0.2
Jake Lowery Indians (AA) 23 11 31 0.0 0.1 0.2
Charlie Valerio Indians (AA) 23 2 4 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
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (AA) 24 12 33 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3
Jordan Smith Indians (AA) 23 29 99 -0.7 -0.5 -0.3
Ronny Rodriguez Indians (AA) 22 23 86 -0.8 -0.7 -0.5

Francisco Lindor (Photo: MiLB)Top prospect Francisco Lindor is simply tearing it up in Akron, posting a 1.4 great-defense WAR in 32 games thanks to his plus defense and well above-average offense. At just 20 years old, Lindor is above-average in the Eastern League in all offensive statistics, including power, strikeout rate, and walk rate. With only 54 games above High-A, it could behoove Lindor to get some more experience before coming up to Cleveland, but he is doing everything possible to accelerate that timeline. Lindor only spent 83 games in High-A; will the organization employ a similar plan if the shortstop keeps playing this well?

One RubberDuck who already found his way to Columbus is third baseman Giovanny Urshela. Urshela's 1.0 great-defense WAR in 24 games was a result of his power jump, as the third baseman posted a .267 isolated power (211 ISO+) in pitcher-friendly Canal Park. Though that number would have regressed at least a little bit, but the jump was due to Urshela making the adjustment to start swinging at more pitches he can do something with. Urshela took that approach with him to Columbus, where he is already turning heads in the early going.

Outfielder Tyler Naquin has put up some big numbers so far in 2014 -- posting a 1.0 great-defense WAR in just 32 games -- but how well the outfielder can sustain it remains to be seen. Naquin's .391 BABIP (127 BABIP+) is making up for a lot of ills right now, including Naquin's 24.1 percent strikeout rate (127 K%+) and .105 isolated power (83 ISO+). The 23-year-old outfielder is far from a failure -- and is doing really well this year -- but in order to make it last, Naquin will need to adjust to make better contact, because making better contact could both limit those strikeouts and allow him to hit for more power.

Making his first appearance at Double-A, outfielder Bryson Myles is doing well, posting a 0.6 average-defense WAR in 30 games. Myles has not quite shown off the speed part of his game -- he is four for seven in steal attempts -- but the power is there (.163 isolated power, 129 ISO+) even though the outfielder plays his home games in Canal Park. The outfielder's 22.7 percent strikeout rate (119 K%+) and 7.6 percent walk rate (89 BB%+) do leave something to be desired and Myles' could see his offense dip as his BABIP normalizes (.382 BABIP, 125 BABIP+). But like Naquin, the talent is there for Myles. Now he just needs to find a way to sustain it.

Carolina Mudcats

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR Avg D WAR Great D WAR
Jeremy Lucas Indians (A+) 23 29 110 0.8 1.0 1.2
Anthony Gallas Indians (A+) 26 29 112 0.7 0.9 1.1
Erik Gonzalez Indians (A+) 22 30 124 0.5 0.6 0.8
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (A+) 24 10 38 0.4 0.4 0.5
Ollie Linton Indians (A+) 28 20 65 0.3 0.4 0.5
James Roberts Indians (A+) 22 28 91 0.1 0.3 0.5
LeVon Washington Indians (A+) 22 8 26 0.2 0.3 0.3
Luigi Rodriguez Indians (A+) 21 13 46 0.1 0.2 0.3
Charlie Valerio Indians (A+) 23 17 53 0.1 0.2 0.3
Todd Hankins Indians (A+) 23 23 86 -0.1 0.1 0.2
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
Yhoxian Medina Indians (A+) 24 6 21 0.0 0.0 0.0
Logan Vick Indians (A+) 23 25 81 -0.2 0.0 0.1
Alex Monsalve Indians (A+) 22 25 94 -0.3 -0.1 0.0
Torsten Boss Indians (A+)/O 23 16 57 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A+) 22 4 10 -0.2 -0.2 -0.1

Jeremy Lucas (Photo: MiLB)Even though Jeremy Lucas does not have the best reputation on defense, his poor-defense 0.8 WAR in 29 games is one of the best on the Mudcats roster. Lucas is getting it done with his offense so far in 2014, which is impressive considering he is right at league-average with his .303 BABIP (100 BABIP+). Thanks to his 12.0 percent walk rate (137 BB%+) walking almost as much as he strikes out, Lucas getting on base a ton for the Mudcats. Plus, the catcher is showing some nice power (.200 isolated power, 160 ISO+) in the pitcher's haven that is the Carolina League. All in all, the organization is swimming in catching prospects and the 23-year-old Lucas is one of them.

We all know that outfielder Anthony Gallas' performance in Carolina this year would be more impressive if he was not 26 years old, but it is not Gallas' fault he was assigned to the Mudcats. Gallas is making the most of his time, putting up a 0.9 average-defense WAR in 29 games and hitting for the best power on the Carolina roster (.214 isolated power, 171 ISO+). Sure, the 23.5 percent strikeout rate (114 K%+) is not good and the .380 BABIP (125 BABIP+) will fall, but Gallas is still hitting well overall and showing that intriguing power. Hopefully he gets a chance in Double-A to show that he is not just an older bat beating up on High-A competition.

With a 0.8 great-defense WAR through 30 games, shortstop Erik Gonzalez is showing why he was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. Gonzalez has been slightly above-average on offense in 2014 (104 wRC+), a perfectly cromulent result for a shortstop. The shortstop's strikeout rate is 19.7 percent, though that is slightly below the Carolina League average (95 K%+) for what it's worth. That 5.3 percent walk rate could use some growth, however, and if Gonzalez can find a way to embiggen his walk totals, he has a shot to get even better than he already is.

Much like Fedroff, third baseman James Roberts is not fitting into the traditional mold for a corner player, posting a meager .022 isolated power (18 ISO+) through 28 games. Of course, Roberts does get a ton of hits, as evidenced by his .286 batting average (115 AVG+), which is allowing the third baseman to get to a 98 wRC+ and 0.3 average-defense WAR. Roberts does not strikeout or walk very much -- leaving him very dependent on getting hits -- and though the third baseman has made the heavy-singles process work so far, things would be much better and easier with a little more power.

Lake County Captains

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR Avg D WAR Great D WAR
Paul Hendrix Indians (A) 22 24 79 0.9 1.1 1.2
Eric Haase Indians (A) 21 25 98 0.7 0.8 1.0
Grant Fink Indians (A) 23 32 115 0.5 0.7 0.9
Clint Frazier Indians (A) 19 22 91 0.4 0.6 0.7
Nellie Rodriguez Indians (A) 20 33 114 0.3 0.5 0.7
Cody Ferrell Indians (A) 24 31 97 0.1 0.3 0.5
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A) 22 1 3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Ivan Castillo Indians (A) 19 3 11 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Richard Stock Indians (A) 23 10 38 -0.2 -0.1 0.0
Brian Ruiz Indians (A) 21 25 87 -0.3 -0.1 0.0
Dorssys Paulino Indians (A) 19 26 105 -0.3 -0.1 0.0
Jorge Martinez Indians (A) 21 11 34 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2
Claudio Bautista Indians (A) 20 30 115 -0.5 -0.3 -0.1
Anthony Santander Indians (A) 19 25 97 -0.6 -0.4 -0.3
Josh McAdams Indians (A) 20 23 83 -0.6 -0.4 -0.3

Paul Hendrix (Photo: MiLB)Paul Hendrix bounced around between second base, third base, and shortstop this year, yet that has not hurt the infielder as he is leading the Captains with a 1.1 average-defense WAR through 24 games. Like Gallas, Hendrix is old for the Midwest League, but all that means is he is doing what he is supposed to while in Low-A. Hendrix is not known for swinging a big stick, yet the infielder owns a .228 isolated power (196 ISO+) this season, the second-best on the team. Combining that power with patience at the plate -- Hendrix has a 17.3 percent walk rate (185 BB%+) this season -- and is someone who will be interesting to see get a chance in Carolina in the near future.

The only Captain hitting for more power than Hendrix is catcher Eric Haase, as the catcher has put up a .286 isolated power (246 ISO+) through 25 games this season. Haase's 0.7 poor-defense WAR is impressive, especially considering the catcher owns a rock-bottom .222 BABIP (71 BABIP+) to date this season. The 21-year-old Haase could use a shot up in High-A -- as he spent all of last year in Lake County -- but the catching logjam ahead of him is keeping him down. Haase could use the time to improve his defense and his plate discipline, as lowering his 25.2 percent strikeout rate (123 K%+).

It is weird that Hendrix and Haase are leading the Captains when it comes to power considering that center fielder Clint Frazier and first baseman Nellie Rodriguez are on the team. Frazier, making his full-season league debut this season, has put up a strong 0.6 average-defense WAR in 22 games. Though he is only slightly above-average from a power perspective so far with a .121 isolated power (104 ISO+), Frazier has shown a great ability to draw walks, posting a 13.1 percent walk rate (140 BB%+). That walk rate, plus some help from a .365 BABIP (116 BABIP+), allowed the center fielder to be above-average so far, a positive result as the 19-year-old in his first taste of Lake County.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, has been great when it comes to power, posting a .184 isolated power (158 ISO+) in his second turn at Lake County. That power carried Rodriguez to a 0.5 average-defense WAR in 33 games, a roughly average mark that really underscores how high the bar is for offense at first base. Rodriguez still strikes out a lot, though his 26.1 percent strikeout rate (128 K%+) is more than balanced out by his 15.9 walk rate (170 BB%+). The combination is working for the 20-year-old, and if he can find a way to see his .293 BABIP (93 BABIP+) rise a little bit toward league-average, the first baseman could improve even more upon his already solid 121 wRC+.

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

User Comments

Canadian Joe
May 11, 2014 - 7:22 PM EDT
Great to see ! Hope he can do it and make it all the way back. Would be great to see. A good outing to start.
Jim Piascik
May 11, 2014 - 5:10 PM EDT
It is the Adam Miller in Akron today. Working his way back up through the system.
Canadian Joe
May 11, 2014 - 4:47 PM EDT
Is that THE Adam Miller in Akron today ?

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