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Minor League Recap: fun with MLEs

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So I decided to go and have some fun calculating equivalency lines (well letting a calculator do it more me, I'm not that keen on mathematics myself) for this recap. You can calculate them yourself by going here:

Las Vegas (won 7-4):

I've decided that I think Brett Lawrie going to be fine, after he went 1-for-4 with a home run, a walk and a strikeout yesterday. I saw him working the count on the MiLB gameday, which lead to a called strikeout, but also to the walk and a full count on which he homered. He may still have some problems with pitch recognition, as he's still taking an above average (34.8%, down from 36.4%) for a strike while now swinging at an above average number of pitches (49.6%, up from 43.3%). He has decreased the number of swings and misses though (18.1%, down from 22.2%). His stats, when put into the equivalency calculator, are estimated to be equivalent to a .272/.303/.455, with his BABIP going down to .314 and a BB/K ratio of 18/125 over 628 PA. Yes, the MLE estimates just a 2.9% walk rate for our Brett. I think it will be more as I think major league pitchers will avoid his power, just like they've not thrown a lot of strikes to Arencibia.

Eric Thames is of course next to be equivalated into a major league hitter. He only went 1-for-5 with a strikeout and a double yesterday, by the way. The calculator thinks he's looking like a .274/.323/.469 hitter, with a 5.7% walk rate. Again, I could see that being a lot higher (but the average being lower due to more strikeouts), so if the power prediction is right, he'll be a good hitter. J.P. Arencibia, btw, had a .240/.291/.474 equivalent in Vegas last year.

Brett Cecil had another good outing yesterday. He went 7 innings giving up 3 earned, walking two and striking out 5. Most encouraging was his groundball rate at 56.5%, after Cecil had been "flyballing" for most of his starts. If you use a major league equivalency spreadsheet by Dan Szymborski (creator of ZiPS), Cecil's major league equivalency comes in at between 5.19-7.06 ERA, depending on if you regress HR/BIA or not. Either way, that's not pretty. Even when he pitched in Vegas in 2009, the equivalency would be 3.37 (unregressed) or 4.52 (regressed HR/BIA). Back then his K/BB rate was less good, but he allowed less home runs because he was getting a lot of groundballs. If we use just Cecil's last three starts, however, his unregressed equivalency comes in at 5.13 ERA. If the HR numbers are regressed a bit he'll come in at around 4.56-4.80. If his last three starts are any indication, Cecil should be at least a bit better than Reyes, but it's still not the Cecil we were expecting at the beginning of the season. Wonder what Reyes' MLE over his Triple-A career looks like? 5.03 ERA.

New Hampshire (won 3-0):

McDade went 1-for-3 with a home run, so he gets to be put into equivalency mode as well. He comes out of the equivalator with a .265/.295/.385 line. Which is ok if you're a shortstop. So now all McDade's go to do is learn to play the shortstop position. Or, we could let him improve his batting prowess. Probably the latter, given that he's a first baseman and still a young guy. What does the calculator think McDade would hit in Vegas? .327/.366/.489. The calculator also opines that Moises Sierra would hit .301/.343/.438 in Vegas.

Joel Carreno finally beat the luck dragon for once, going 7 innings, striking out 7 while walking three and giving up no runs on one hit. He has struck out 25.9% of the batters he's faced, which is pretty good. Carreno's MLE (I've regressed the home runs) is 5.64. Then again, nobody would think slotting him into the rotation at this point would be a good idea. I see him more as reliever.

In other news, Gose and Hech both walked but didn't get hits (Hech also struck out). Sierra went 1-for-3 with a line drive single (predictable). Evan Crawford, a left handed reliever (24 years of age) has been dominant so far, striking out a third of the batters he's faced while getting 61% groundballs. That's a good way to put yourself on the map. His MLE (assuming 6% HR/BIA as Crawford has not given up one yet) sits at 3.89 ERA. Well, let's let him prove himself a bit more before calling him up, but that looks really nice.

Dunedin (7-1):

Dunedin's best hitter, A.J. Jimenez, didn't play, but I'm still going to ask the calculator what he'd hit in Vegas. The answer: .339/.382/.483. So the FSL is that hard to hit in huh?

Deck McGuire struck out 7 and walked 4 in 5 innings. Kept the ball on the ground decently this time, at 44.4%. McGuire has done decently in his first taste of pro-ball, but college pitchers who make it to the big leagues (as solid starters) often seem to dominate right from the start, and McGuire isn't dominant yet. He doesn't compare favorably to guys like Pomeranz, Harvey and Loux so far. Of course, all three were drafted before McGuire.

Speaking of Dunedin, remember how I talked about how dominant Nestor Molina has been? Well his MLE is, according to my spreadsheet, a 4.29 ERA. That is insane. Maybe the spreadsheet isn't quite accurate, but, boy, move him up to AA already!

In other news Ochinko hit a home run and walked twice. Brad Glenn hit his 8th homer as well as a double. Ryan Goins was 1-for-3 with a walk and has a .389 OBP over his last 10 games.

Lansing (lost 4-3):

Jake Marisnick was 0-for-4, but I wonder what happens if you convert his numbers to Dunedin, which of course would be his next stop. The answer is .288/.362/.444. Of course, the calculator doesn't regress his BABIP, so he could very well hit for a lot less exciting line.

Sean Nolin is a starter again and did well enough, striking out 4 while walking 2 in 4 innings of work, 6 of 10 balls on the ground. On the season, Nolin has gotten 41.5% groundballs, struck out 26.7% of the batters he's faced, while walking just 5%. His MLE? 5.39 ERA. Not bad for a 21 year old who was drafted from junior college in the 6th round last year and who has only just started his pro career. He has taken over from Misaul Diaz in the starting role, and I expect they'll give him more innings if he keeps this up.

Marcus Knecht and Carlos Perez defied normal BABIP laws by going 2-for-4 and 1-for-3 respectively while they both struck out twice. Michael Crouse went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and K.C. Hobson was 2-for-4 with a double (.300 average over his last 10 games).