Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Farm Report: July of 2007 / How the Threshers are doing... 

I thought I might direct my attention to the State of Florida and look at the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies Advanced Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League, and the Gulf Coast League Phillies, the Phillies rookie league affiliate, and talk a little about how their seasons are progressing. Today, we’ll talk about the Threshers, an impressive collection of talent, most of whom have played in the Phillies system for two or so years.

The Threshers have been playing since April 5th and have rolled up an impressive 58-41 record in the FSL. The Threshers are doing quite nicely in a number of statistical categories, but particularly with offense:

-They rank fourth of twelve teams in runs scored with 455.
-They rank sixth of twelve teams in On-Base Percentage at .330.
-They rank fourth of twelve teams in Slugging Percentage at .382.

I’ve been impressed by Jeremy Slayden. The Phillies 2005 draft pick had previously been selected by the Oakland A’s, a team that valued his ability to mash the ball and draw walks. The Phillies selected Slayden and sent him to Batavia in 2005, where he prospered. He had an impressive season in 2006 powering the core of the Lakewood Blue Claws attack, hitting ten home runs, forty-four doubles and eighty-one RBI in 107 games. Oh, and he drew 41 walks.

Confused about what I’m talking about? Here are the stats I refer to defined:
Gross Productive Average (GPA): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA. Invented by The Hardball Times Aaron Gleeman, GPA measures a players production by weighing his ability to get on base and hit with power. This is my preferred all-around stat.
Isolated Power (ISO): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.
ERA – Earned Run Average: (Earned Runs * 9) / IP = ERA
K/9 – Strikeouts per nine innings: (K * 9) / IP

Thus far this season Slayden got off to a swift start, clubbing four home runs and twenty RBIs in April. Then Slayden cooled off, hitting just two home runs and seventeen RBIs in 104 At-Bats (vis-à-vis 87 in April) in May. Slayden dropped off to two home runs and six RBIs in 60 At-Bats. The hot start helped Slayden selected to the FSL All-Star Game. At the moment, Slayden ranks fifteenth in the FSL in OBP.

Slayden’s stats show him to be a consistent power-hitting presence:

2007 / 2006 / 2005
GPA: .283 / .299 / .283
ISO: .162 / .200 / .196

I like what I see from Slayden, even though he appears to be one of those DH-type players that Davy Lopes was complaining about. He’s a slow-footed slugger who will probably never make it to Philadelphia because he’ll be swapped in a trade with an A.L. team for pitching talent. Maybe this year, maybe next.

Gregory Golson has been a surprise to me this season. After struggling his way to Clearwater in 2006 with a terrible performance in Lakewood (.199 GPA / .113 ISO), Golson has turned it on in Clearwater. In the more defensive-oriented FSL, Golson hit .264 GPA and finally displayed a little power, with a .208 ISO.

I was skeptical that a player with Golson’s uneven numbers could ever make the majors, and I remain unconvinced. Golson is doing a solid job this season. His .250 GPA is nothing spectacular, but what does impress is Golson’s speed (two triples and twenty-four steals on thirty-two attempts), as well as his power at the plate (twenty-seven doubles and ten home runs). But there is no way that Greg Golson is going to be a major leaguer when he strikes out 122 times and draws just 21 walks.

Jason Donald is a Thresher, which is a development that I am a little surprised at. Not that Donald is talented. That is a given. I am surprised to see Donald get a mid-season promotion that puts him in Advanced-A ball after being taken in last year’s draft.

Donald’s stats in Lakewood were terrific: .296 GPA, .137 ISO. He drew an impressive 29 walks and struck out 39 times. Donald earned a promotion to Clearwater and has hit well since joining the team: .304 GPA / .209 ISO. Donald has four home runs and three triples in just forty games. While his walk/strikeout ratio isn’t great (16 to 35), he appears to be pretty solid in terms of working the count and getting on base without having to utilize putting the ball into play. Good work, Jason.

Pitching-wise, the Threshers aren’t so impressive. Their team ERA is 3.73, good for just sixth in the FSL. They rank ninth in home runs allowed, seventh in strikeouts and tenth in walks allowed. Despite the struggles, the Threshers have major, major talent on their roster. I’ve written that the Phillies have a gaggle of young pitching in the pipeline and here it is:

Carlos Carrasco has been judged by many to be the best prospect in the Phillies system. After being part of an impressive triumvirate of pitchers in Lakewood that helped pitch Lakewood to the South Atlantic League title in 2006, Carrasco got promoted to Clearwater and went 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA. Carrasco’s work got him promoted to Double-A Reading, where he joins fellow Lakewood alumnus Matt Maloney.

Also on the Threshers roster is Andrew Carpenter, a terrific pitcher who got drafted by the team in 2006 and pitched well with Batavia last season. This season Carpenter is 11-5 with a 3.42 ERA and is the second-best hurler on the Threshers roster right now.

The pitcher who has really impressed me is Josh Outman. Part of the Lakewood triumvirate with Carrasco and Maloney last season, Outman is the unheralded member of the group, but he might end up being as good or better than Maloney and Carrasco. Here are Outman’s stats:

Win-Loss / ERA / K/9
2007: 10-4 / 2.45 / 8.97
2006: 14-6 / 2.95 / 9.32
2005: 2-1 / 2.76 / 9.51

Outman may not be as highly rated with the scouts as the rest of the Phillies minor league pitchers, but he ought to be. Those are terrific stats. He strikes out a batter per inning. He is difficult to hit and always keeps the Thresher in a game. Outman’s 2.45 ERA is second in the FSL, as are his 117 strikeouts. Keep an eye on Josh Outman.

That’s what is going on with the Clearwater Threshers. Tomorrow I’ll turn my attention to the Gulf Coast League Phillies, who finally have a roster and have gotten started right down the street from the Threshers.


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