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The WAR Room: Naquin continues to produce in Akron

Naquin's success starting to look more sustainable

The WAR Room: Naquin continues to produce in Akron
The WAR Room (Graphic courtesy of Brittany Chay)
June 8, 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. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters 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, June 6.

Columbus Clippers

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Roberto Perez Indians (AAA) 25 31 96 1.4 1.5 1.7
Jesus Aguilar Indians (AAA) 24 42 147 0.9 1.1 1.4
Matt Carson Indians (AAA) 32 41 132 0.8 1.1 1.3
Jose Ramirez Indians (AAA) 21 37 151 0.8 1.0 1.3
Ryan Rohlinger Indians (AAA) 30 48 165 0.4 0.7 1.0
Tyler Holt Indians (AAA) 25 12 48 0.6 0.7 0.7
Audy Ciriaco Indians (AAA) 27 42 130 0.4 0.6 0.9
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AAA) 22 34 132 0.3 0.5 0.7
Elliot Johnson Indians (AAA) 30 26 95 0.3 0.5 0.6
Justin Sellers Indians (AAA) 28 45 169 0.1 0.4 0.6
Tim Fedroff Indians (AAA) 27 49 160 -0.1 0.2 0.5
Adam Abraham Indians (AAA) 27 3 11 0.1 0.2 0.2
Luke Carlin Indians (AAA) 33 20 55 0.0 0.1 0.2
Todd Hankins Indians (AAA) 23 2 7 0.0 0.0 0.0
Jason Kipnis Indians (AAA) 27 3 9 0.0 0.0 0.0
Carlos Moncrief Indians (AAA) 25 55 197 -0.4 0.0 0.3
Michael Bourn Indians (AAA) 31 2 7 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Chris Wallace Indians (AAA) 26 4 12 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Nyjer Morgan Indians (AAA) 33 15 60 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
George Kottaras Indians (AAA) 31 14 42 -0.3 -0.2 -0.2
David Cooper Indians (AAA) 27 40 143 -0.6 -0.4 -0.1
Bryan LaHair Indians (AAA) 31 10 35 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4

Roberto Perez (Photo: MiLB)Now that he is back from his hamstring injury and playing again, catcher Roberto Perez is adding to his already impressive season stats. Perez currently owns a 1.7 great-defense WAR in 31 games, which is the kind of MVP-type pace that can get a player noticed. Some of Perez's success is probably unsustainable, either due to the power bump Huntington Park gives hitters (.208 isolated power, 161 ISO+) or seeing fewer balls fall for hits (.400 BABIP, 130 BABIP+). But even with that regression, given Perez's outstanding defense and strong walk rate (14.7 percent, 160 BB%+), he is continuing to put himself in the position to get a major league shot.

After finally getting the call to Triple-A, outfielder Tyler Holt has done nothing but hit. Holt is already at a 0.7 great-defense WAR in 12 games, and while that pace will fall off, the outfielder is still making an impression with the Clippers. The outfielder's run of success is largely fueled by his plate discipline, as Holt owns a 14.0 percent strikeout and walk rate (70 K%+, 153 BB%+). Holt will never be a power hitter -- not even in Huntington Park -- but his ability to get on base and play good defense throughout the outfield gives him value.

The 2014 season continues to be a rough one for outfielder Carlos Moncrief, as the 25-year-old is only at a 0.3 great-defense WAR through 55 games. The issue for Moncrief continues to be the strikeouts and the walks, as his power and BABIP are both right around league average. Combining a league average power and BABIP with a 27.4 percent strikeout rate (137 K%+) and 5.6 percent walk rate (61 BB%+) is a bad combination, and until Moncrief can fix his plate discipline, he will likely continue to play around the Triple-A replacement level.

As down as Moncrief's season has been, first baseman David Cooper has run into even more trouble. Cooper's -0.4 average-defense WAR in 40 games is obviously not very good as the 27-year-old has struggled to find his stride in his return from all of his back trouble. Some of Cooper's issues are the result of a .248 BABIP (80 BABIP+), as the first baseman has walked significantly more than he has struck out. But it is hard to have value at first base without hitting for power and Cooper's .049 isolated power (38 ISO+) is really holding him back. Even if his BABIP regresses up, it will be hard for Cooper to do much hitting for such little power.

Akron RubberDucks

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Tyler Naquin Indians (AA) 23 57 229 1.3 1.7 2.0
Francisco Lindor Indians (AA) 20 56 219 1.2 1.5 1.9
Bryson Myles Indians (AA) 24 52 188 0.7 1.0 1.3
Giovanny Urshela Indians (AA) 22 24 90 0.7 0.9 1.0
Tyler Holt Indians (AA) 25 39 124 0.6 0.9 1.1
Joe Wendle Indians (AA) 24 58 230 0.4 0.7 1.1
Tony Wolters Indians (AA) 22 52 193 0.4 0.7 1.1
Bryan LaHair Indians (AA) 31 33 124 0.5 0.7 0.9
Alex Lavisky Indians (AA) 23 24 81 0.4 0.6 0.7
Justin Toole Indians (AA) 27 19 49 0.1 0.3 0.4
Charlie Valerio Indians (AA) 23 8 25 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Jake Lowery Indians (AA) 23 13 37 -0.1 0.0 0.1
Ollie Linton Indians (AA) 28 5 9 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Michael Bourn Indians (AA) 31 3 13 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Ronny Rodriguez Indians (AA) 22 47 174 -0.4 -0.1 0.2
Jason Giambi Indians (AA) 43 3 8 -0.2 -0.1 -0.1
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (AA) 24 12 33 -0.5 -0.4 -0.4
Jordan Smith Indians (AA) 23 52 189 -1.5 -1.2 -0.8

Tyler Naquin (Photo: MiLB)Outfielder Tyler Naquin is still benefitting from a .393 BABIP (127 BABIP+) this season en route to a 2.0 great-defense WAR in 57 games, but the outfielder's All-Star level performance is not all the byproduct of good fortune. Though Naquin is not a big-time power hitter, his .114 isolated power (88 ISO+) is solid. Plus, Naquin is still someone that strikes out a bit, but with a 21.9 strikeout rate (116 K%+) and 8.6 percent walk rate (101 BB%+) around league average, the outfielder's plate discipline is not a huge issue anymore. There will be some natural offensive regression coming for Naquin, but even when that comes, the outfielder is still a very good player.

Fellow Akron outfielder Bryson Myles is also benefitting from a high .400 BABIP (129 BABIP+), though he is only at a 1.0 average-defense WAR through 52 games. That is still a strong pace, though not as high as Naquin's due to (a) not playing center field and (b) a little worse plate discipline. Myles is still learning to control his strikeouts in his first exposure to Double-A, as the 24-year-old is at a 26.3 percent strikeout rate (139 K%+) on the season. The rest of the package is there for Myles, however, and as long as he continues to adjust to Double-A pitching, his future is still very bright.

Hitting for power continues to escape catcher Tony Wolters as he only owns a .047 isolated power (36 ISO+), but Wolters is still adding value to the RubberDucks, as you can see in his 0.7 average-defense WAR in 52 games. Wolters' solid 16.9 percent strikeout rate (90 K%+) and 9.1 percent walk rate (107 BB%+) are supporting him without the power as the soon-to-be 22-year-old continues to adjust to catching. The power will need to come eventually, but for now, Wolters is still an effective player as he keeps adjusting both behind and at the plate.

First baseman Bryan LaHair has no reason to be in Double-A, as his experience puts him far beyond the level of the normal Eastern League player. That is showing up in his 0.7 average-defense WAR in 33 games, which is a solidly above-average rate. Interestingly, while LaHair is above-average in terms of his plate discipline, the first baseman is having issues hitting for power (.121 isolated power, 94 ISO+). Some of that could be the power-suppression that is normal for Canal Park, but LaHair without his power is not nearly as valuable. Time will tell if he can get it back and maybe getting out of Canal Park and back into Huntington Park will help.

Carolina Mudcats

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Jeremy Lucas Indians (A+) 23 53 194 0.9 1.3 1.6
Anthony Gallas Indians (A+) 26 55 208 0.9 1.2 1.6
Erik Gonzalez Indians (A+) 22 44 186 0.9 1.2 1.5
Todd Hankins Indians (A+) 23 47 179 0.8 1.0 1.3
James Roberts Indians (A+) 22 53 169 0.6 0.9 1.2
LeVon Washington Indians (A+) 22 23 83 0.5 0.7 0.8
Ollie Linton Indians (A+) 28 21 67 0.3 0.4 0.6
Jerrud Sabourin Indians (A+) 24 34 127 0.1 0.3 0.5
Yhoxian Medina Indians (A+) 24 33 123 0.1 0.3 0.5
Charlie Valerio Indians (A+) 23 17 53 0.1 0.2 0.3
Luigi Rodriguez Indians (A+) 21 33 115 0.0 0.2 0.4
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A+) 22 11 33 0.1 0.2 0.2
Joe Sever Indians (A+) 23 3 11 0.0 0.0 0.0
Logan Vick Indians (A+)/O 23 41 135 -0.2 0.0 0.3
Yandy Diaz Indians (A+) 22 3 8 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Torsten Boss Indians (A+)/O 23 28 99 -0.2 -0.1 0.1
Alex Monsalve Indians (A+) 22 40 150 -0.5 -0.2 0.0

Jeremy Lucas (Photo: MiLB)Catcher/first baseman Jeremy Lucas is still not a great defender, but even with that, Lucas has been very valuable in 2014. Lucas is currently at a 0.9 poor-defense WAR in 53 games as he is above-average in all of the important offensive statistics. The 23-year-old owns a .170 isolated power (138 ISO+), a 15.6 percent strikeout rate (77 K%+), and a 12.9 percent walk rate (150 BB%+). There is still work to be done on the defensive end, but the hitting ability Lucas is showing should give him a long leash to see if he can get that defense up.

Another Mudcat hitting well is outfielder Anthony Gallas, who is up to a 1.2 average-defense WAR in 55 games. Gallas is hitting for some real power in the normally pitcher-friendly Carolina League, putting up a .202 isolated power (164 ISO+). There are some plate discipline issues with Gallas' slightly elevated strikeout rate and lower 7.1 percent walk rate (82 BB%+), but given his level of production so far in 2014, it would be nice to get the 26-year-old Gallas a shot in Double-A.

Shortstop Erik Gonzalez is also putting up big offensive numbers with a 1.2 average-defense WAR in 44 games. Gonzalez's 20.3 percent strikeout rate is right at the Carolina League average (100 K%+), but his walks are still catching up (5.1 percent walk rate, 59 BB%+). That low walk rate is why Gonzalez has a .306 batting average (122 AVG+) but only a .342 on-base percentage (106 OBP+), but he is still hitting well. Gonzalez's .386 BABIP (126 BABIP+) is helping keep the shortstop's batting average and on-base percentage up, which is why it is so critical for the 22-year-old to improve his walk rate.

Whereas Lucas is having a big year, the other high-profile catcher on the Carolina roster is not. Alex Monsalve is in the midst of a down year with a -0.2 average defense WAR in 40 games. There is some hope for Monsalve, as a slightly low .275 BABIP (89 BABIP+) can be blamed for some of the catcher's offensive issues, but the lack of power (.073 isolated power, 59 ISO+) and walks (6.1 percent walk rate, 71 BB%+) are hurting Monsalve even more. Monsalve is still young enough at just over 22 years old that it is not time to jump ship, but there is still plenty of work ahead for the catcher to get back to his successful ways.

Lake County Captains

Name Team Age G PA Poor D WAR WAR Great D WAR
Paul Hendrix Indians (A) 22 47 166 1.9 2.2 2.5
Eric Haase Indians (A) 21 38 147 1.4 1.6 1.9
Grant Fink Indians (A) 23 55 192 0.6 1.0 1.3
Clint Frazier Indians (A) 19 46 184 0.5 0.8 1.1
Claudio Bautista Indians (A) 20 54 207 0.1 0.4 0.8
Nellie Rodriguez Indians (A) 20 57 206 -0.1 0.2 0.6
Logan Vick Indians (A) 23 2 7 0.1 0.1 0.1
Cody Ferrell Indians (A) 24 42 133 -0.2 0.1 0.3
Torsten Boss Indians (A) 23 7 22 -0.1 0.0 0.0
Shane Rowland Indians (A) 22 3 10 -0.1 -0.1 0.0
Ryan Battaglia Indians (A) 22 1 3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Dorssys Paulino Indians (A) 19 43 170 -0.4 -0.1 0.1
Richard Stock Indians (A) 23 22 78 -0.3 -0.2 0.0
Jorge Martinez Indians (A) 21 11 34 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2
Brian Ruiz Indians (A) 21 40 136 -0.5 -0.3 0.0
Ivan Castillo Indians (A) 19 18 56 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3
Josh McAdams Indians (A) 20 28 101 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4
Anthony Santander Indians (A) 19 43 163 -1.1 -0.9 -0.6

Eric Haase (Photo: MiLB)Now that catcher Eric Haase's BABIP regressed up to a normal level (.300 BABIP, 96 BABIP+), we are seeing the full level of his capabilities. Haase is still hitting for massive power (.293 isolated power, 251 ISO+), which combined with a normal BABIP has the 21-year-old up to a 1.4 poor-defense WAR in 38 games. The catcher still has work to do on defense and in cutting down his strikeouts (28.3 percent strikeout rate, 140 K%+), but now that he has over 140 games under his belt in Lake County, he should be ready for the challenge of High-A in the near future.

Second baseman Claudio Bautista is still adjusting to Low-A, as evidenced by his 0.4 average-defense WAR in 54 games, but there are some positive signs for the 20-year-old. Bautista is showing some good power with the Captains (.159 isolated power, 136 ISO+) and is not striking out all that much (21.4 percent strikeout rate, 106 K%+), though his rock-bottom 3.6 percent walk rate (40 BB%+) needs some improvement. Still, Bautista is showing some positive steps in his first full season in Low-A and should keep improving with more playing time.

First baseman Nellie Rodriguez is nearly 20 years old, and just like Bautista, Rodriguez has some positives and negatives to go with his 0.2 average-defense WAR through 57 games. Rodriguez is still hitting for power (.170 isolated power, 145 ISO+) and walking (11.4 percent walk rate, 127 BB%+), though the strikeouts continue to rack up (26.2 percent strikeout rate, 130 K%+). A .266 BABIP (85 BABIP+) is hurting Rodriguez, though a simple BABIP regression is not all that Rodriguez needs to improve upon to conquer Low-A.

Now an outfielder, Dorssys Paulino is looking to get his -0.4 poor-defense WAR in 43 games back on track. Paulino's bat is what makes him special as a prospect, which is why seeing him struggle for the second-straight year is problematic. The 19-year-old's .320 BABIP (102 BABIP+) is not the problem; his .094 isolated power (80 ISO+), 24.3 percent strikeout rate (120 K%+), and 7.0 percent walk rate (78 BB%+) are, however. Paulino is young and talented enough that he should keep getting the chance to put it all together, but right now things are clearly not there just yet.

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

Ryan
June 9, 2014 - 3:57 PM EDT
A platoon of Myles and Naquin in 2016 for RF should be a good one. Both of them have awesome numbers against opposite handed pitchers.
Holt making a push for the UOF spot in 2015, Raburn to be cut?

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