brett jacksonWe are starting to see several minor league players creep up to and across the 25 PA line now, and that is semi-significant. It takes 100 to 120 Plate Apperances for the batting stats to stop looking like something off a video game and start resembling something we can analyze. The 25 PA line means we are about a quarter of the way to actually having fairly meaningful and useful numbers to look at it.

Fortunately, the arrival of the 100 PA threshold and the arrival of permanent warm weather tend to coincide quite nicely. By early May both of those pieces should be coming together and we should be able to enjoy good baseball weather and adequate baseball stats at the same time. Until then, just keep in mind that we are under a permanent Sample Size Alert. I’ll keep referring to the numbers, we just can’t get carried away and start drooling/sobbing over them.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa kept this one close, but they finished the game still looking for a win. The final was 4-2.
Tennessee – The Smokies had the night off. They return to action in Tennessee on Wednesday.
Daytona – Daytona fell behind early and never quite closed the gap. They lost 5-4.
Kane County – It took a ninth inning rally, but Kane County wins again. The final (in regulation, this time) was 6-5.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Two more hits, including a triple, for Brett Jackson. He has also posted four straight games with just one strikeout. That may sound sarcastic, but it really isn’t. Compared to what we were seeing last year, this is progress.
  • [Iowa] The story with Rafael Dolis has generally been a tale of great stuff but little control. He gave up just one hit in his inning of work in this game, and did not walk anyone. One data point does not make a trend, but it is still good to see.
  • [Daytona] The power in this game was supplied by Zeke DeVoss. The 2B/CF known more for his speed than his power hit the Cubs only home run of the game.
  • [Daytona] But no mention of power in Florida would be complete without checking in on Jorge Soler. The big outfielder continued to shred Florida State League pitching with two more singles and a walk. He has had two hits in four of his five games so far this season, and has been on base three times in his last three games. Through five games he has an OBP of 0.522.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli has his first stolen base of the season. And his first caught stealing. And he was picked off. The Cubs have been batting him in the middle of the order (and he has responded with a Soler-like slash line), but this guy will make his money by getting on base and stealing. He’d done quite a bit of getting on base already this year. It looks like he is starting to unleash the speed.
  • [Kane County] Six Cougars had a multi-hit game, but only Rock Shoulders homered. His solo shot was his second long ball of the year.
  • [Kane County] Back to back to back singles by Gioskar Amaya, Daniel Vogelbach, and Jeimer Candelario allowed Amaya to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The best part? We can realistically imagine those three repeating that performance in Wrigley one day. Those three are three of the best prospects on the KC roster.
  • [Kane County] Pierce Johnson‘s second start went better than his first. Johnson lasted five innings and gave up two runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. That isn’t great, but it is a step up from his opening effort.

Other News

  • I strongly suspect Javier Baez is pressing too hard in Daytona. He went 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in this game, but the one hit was a triple. That means he is striking out in over a third of his plate appearances, but three of his four hits have been for extra bases. Those numbers are symptomatic of a player who is trying to crush every pitch he sees and isn’t taking what the pitcher offers. If that is the case, then we should see his numbers take an uptick once he relaxes and starts letting his natural abilities do the crushing for him.
  • I thought sending Ben Carhart straight to Daytona was a very aggressive move by the Cubs, but so far the corner infielder has held his own. He reached base twice in this game (single and a walk) and is currently hitting an even .250 on the year.
  • BluBlud

    I stated after the Campana trade that John Andreoli is my new favorite Cub, and he is tearing up Daytona right now. This guy is probably going to need to be move to Tennessee soon. He is getting towards his maxout at the A level and needs to be challenge before he gets too confortable. I’m looking foward to seeing him as he gets closer to the Majors. This guy is better then a lot of people think.

    • #1lahairfan

      I love him too. Hope he can be our future lead off man.

      • BluBlud

        Yeah, if he keep progressing, I hope they find a way to get him the MLB lineup. Even if he only hits .275 in the Majors, his good batting eye will still allow him to get on base at at least a.350-.360 clip. If he can get on base at that clip, he will steal a lot of bases and cause a lot of damage on the basepaths.

        • Cubbie Blues

          He can also hit it out of the infield and hit the cutoff man without a crow-hop. 😛

    • MightyBear

      I too am an Andreoli fan. The Cubs have needed a leadoff hitter since 1908.

  • AA Correspondent

    Happy to report that after a long winter BASEBALL IS BACK in Tennessee!!

    Tonight is the Smokies home opener as the Chattanooga Lookouts come to town for a 5 game set. Looking forward to seeing Yasiel Puig (Dodgers uber-prospect) in person as well as many of the returning Smokies players from last year’s roster as well as the new comers. My sense is that the Smokies have a veteran team that should contend for a 1st half title. The 2nd half is hopefully going to be bolstered by the arrival of some of our Daytona prospects (Baez and Soler). We shall see. I am expecting a lot of excitement at Smokies Park this season for sure.

    I am looking forward to providing “morning after” reports on most Smokies home games throughout the season as well as my observations of the lineup and other tidbits.


    • Grant

      Brandon –

      I’m thinking of catching a Smokies game sometime after Soler or Baez get a call-up from Daytona. However, Knoxville is a bit too far from Atlanta to make the drive home after the game, so I’m thinking about Chattanooga or Birmingham (or anything else that isn’t too far away). Any recommendations?

      • AA Correspondent


        If you come to a game, you might as well spend the night right here in Kodak next to the park. There are (3) hotels walking distance from the ballpark, which is right off the interstate (I40 Exit 407). Atlanta is 3-4 hour drive, and Chattanooga is about half way. many of the Smokies players live in the hotels (Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express).
        My recommendation is the Hampton Inn as it is literally right next door from the ballpark.

    • Luke

      I was hoping you’d be back this year. Looking forward to your reports.

    • Spriggs

      Looking forward to your reports, Brandon.

    • Brett


  • ETS

    I can’t remember if it was BN where I first saw this or somewhere else, but here’s a decentish article on sample size

  • Die hard

    Seems to be a lack of long ball power in Cubs minor league system

  • preacherman86

    random waiver update in case anyone missed it. Whitenack was optioned and taken off the 40 man by Cleveland…so it was clearly a stash pickup, and clearly no one else in baseball thought he was worth a 40 man spot either…even cleveland

  • Grant

    I realize it’s early in the season, but is there any sense of Vogelbach’s going to be able to stick at 1B, or if he’s pretty much just DH fodder?

    • Luke

      He can stick at 1B. He’s not going to be a great defender, but he should be able to hold that position.

      • Jp3

        SSS but Vogulbach is tearing it up in Kane County, they have a DH and I was curious if you know how many of our minor league teams have a standard DH position in the every day lineup? I just figured since 1B can be a bit crowded on some teams this would help make sure everyone keeps getting their ABs.

        • Kyle

          IIRC, all of them, right?

          I was thinking the NL is the only pro league that doesn’t DH.

          • BluBlud

            Which is why the NL is the best league in pro baseball.

            • Jp3

              I love watching pitchers hit… I know if there are 2 outs and they come up I can get a longer bathroom break knowing the outcome already. It’s almost like you don’t miss anything

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Yeah, it’s sort of like amateur night at the comedy club: it’s funny not because it’s funny, but because it’s a joke.

                • ETS

                  I would think the “sabermetrically inclined” would love nixing the DH. Suddenly, there are way more decisions about is his bat enough of an asset to offset his glove as a liability or what’s the optimal way to utilize a pitcher given that his batting will be limited. Isn’t that what you guys are all about?

                • Jp3

                  Yeah I grew up a Cubs fan and I don’t tune in everyday to watch a pitcher come up and K 3 times a game as well as because I love watching the managers execute the old double switch.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Not really: the sabremetrically inclined realized a long time ago that it’s really tough for a good glove to offset a bad bat or vice versa. After all, it was Earl Weaver (who, in some ways, helped invent sabermetrics) who induced the extinction of the all-glove, no-hit players.

                  My objections come more from my evolutionary biological side. Batters make MLB based on intense selection for one set of athletic tools. PItchers make MLB based on intense selection for a completely different of tools. And by “completely,” I mean just that: there is not a single athletic tool that helps you be a good pitcher AND helps you be a good batter. Adding someone with no tools need to be a good scientist to my department doesn’t make it better somehow: so, why does it make baseball better?

                  Moreover, people forget that other parts of tactics get altered by having pitchers bat. For example, I keep reading that having pitchers bat means we see more bunting. True. But in which league is there more “tactical” bunting: that is, bunting by guys who are batters position players and thus there because they can hit?

                  The AL, and by a wide margin. The *minimum* SH by non-pitchers on AL teams last year was 25. The *average* SH by non-pitchers on NL teams last year was 27. In other words, without having an automatic out, managers actually get to be tactical about their tactics. (Yes, a few AL teams had inflated SH from guys bunting for hits but getting credited with SH: but the same is true for the NL teams on the high end; indeed, the variance is much greater in the NL than in the AL, and eye-balling the teams suggest that is the reason.)

                  • ETS

                    I’m not going to argue that good batters can/can’t be good pitchers or vise versa. What about this compromise, just don’t have pitchers bat?

                    My problems with the DH are 2 fold –

                    1) I don’t like watching some out of shape, beer league, over the hill (cough david ortiz) guy batting till he is 45 – okay, so I’m guilty of hyperbole but you get my point. I realize that the “true DH” is a dying breed and Eric Hosner and Billy butler both take time in the field, but part of the reason they both do is so they are ready for interleague! Plus you have stories like Ty Cobb who is the all time outfield error leader and probably always will be. I like that struggle of “is this guy worth the poor defense”. I can see where most Sabermetric guys just default to “the bat always wins” but I think that’s overstated to a degree and there’s only so many spots in the field that can afford liabilities – given them a “free pass” kinda ruins it for me. FIP and other stats have shown that fielding does make a big impact on how productive your pitching is.

                    2) There most definitely is a strategy component that gets lost with the DH. I understand where you are coming from with the idea that you have have to be smart with your pitchers knowing that you don’t have that automatic out in the 9 spot, but that amount of strategy really isn’t as interesting as the NL dilemma in my mind. For one thing, not getting that free out just means you leave your starter in until he shows he is losing production then you bring in your next reliever and leave him in until he loses production, etc. I like the added element of having to keep track of who is due up next inning. I like double switches! I like playing along in your head with the game, trying to guess when the manager’s next moves. If the moves are just leave in your best bats and leave in your best pitchers that’s not so fun.

                    I think the DH will be everywhere and I think the MLBPA will be the catalyst, but I will never like it.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      I did not write that they “cannot” be good batters or “cannot” be good pitchers: to conclude that would be a logical fallacy. Instead, I wrote that batters and pitchers make MLB on fundamentally different tools, and thus there is no reason to expect them to possess the other tools. Batters succeed based on two tools: the ability to judge where a ball will be ~60′ later within a fraction of a second, and the ability to position one’s hands so that they can get a bat on it). Pitchers make MLB based on a completely different set of tools: the abilities to throw a baseball to a very exact spot ~60′ away. You can be completely incompetent at one and quite competent at the other.

                      Here is where it becomes a probabilistic argument: given that the vast majority of people are completely unable to do either, it’s improbable that someone possessing one of these tool sets will possess the other, even after we allow for the fact that most athletes have a higher probability of possessing any athletic tool than normal people. We expect baseball batters to be as good at pitching as we expect basketball players or football players (with the possible exceptions of quarterbacks) to be.

                      At any rate, it comes down to this: if a guy won’t be sent to the minors for failing OR if he won’t be considered a great example of his type for succeeding, then I do not want to see him doing it. I do not really enjoy watching batters pitch: so, why should I enjoy watching pitchers bat?

                      Oh, and I love watching Papi hit: he works pitchers as well as any batter in the game. When he’s batting, I don’t give a rat’s patooky how well he pitches or fields.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Edit: I realize that you were not arguing along these lines, but I wanted to clarify that I was not, either!

                    • ETS

                      Well, I knew you weren’t arguing along those lines but those are the points that are important to me.

                  • Leo L

                    “At any rate, it comes down to this: if a guy won’t be sent to the minors for failing OR if he won’t be considered a great example of his type for succeeding, then I do not want to see him doing it. I do not really enjoy watching batters pitch: so, why should I enjoy watching pitchers bat?”

                    In the end of all the arguments I think this is the most important. It is not that i enjoy watching pitchers pitch (sometimes i do) but i like the way it affect the strategy of the game. when to pinch hit. what it does to the bench. what is the manager going to do?

                    what is the manger going to do? that is what some people enjoy. it can sometiemes even be affected by the prevoius game. what relevers are avialble. is the bullpen spent?

                    It is a difference in preference. I think in the end the DH want is going to out number the no DH want. action will usually outwin strategy, rarely after basketball games or football games do people talk about the the coaches stategy for that game. people usually talk about the play that was exciting. yeah maybe if the manager changed the pticher ( a nonmove) the player would not have the home run. some people will talk about that. but it will the homerun everyrone talks about.

                    that said i still like the startegy part of it.

                  • davidalanu

                    “After all, it was Earl Weaver (who, in some ways, helped invent sabermetrics) who induced the extinction of the all-glove, no-hit players.”

                    Earl Weaver employed the walking, talking epitome of all glove, no hit for nearly his entire Baltimore career in Mark Belanger. (He of the .580 career ops)

            • hansman1982

              Sometimes, when you stand in the middle of a field, all alone. You aren’t the smartest man alive.

    • Kyle

      He can probably stick at first as long as he doesn’t get any less mobile. He’s got no margin for error, but right now he looks like he can get there.

      • Grant

        Since he seems to be getting in better shape as time goes on, any reason to think he’ll get less mobile rather than more?

        • Kyle

          Because that tends to happen. Few of us are as limber as we were at 19.

  • SirCub

    Actually, BB and K rates tend to stabilize in less than 40 PA’s, so we’ve almost got a meaningful sample size already! We can almost start analyzing our prospects again, how exciting!

    Unfortunately, the one thing that we can reliably measure (BB% and K%), are pretty ugly already for the usual suspects.

    Jackson: 0% and 31%
    Baez: 0% and 35%

    Soler looks great though! (13% and 13%)

    • Luke

      True, but I maintain you’ve got to get player a little time to get acclimated to what is often a new city, clubhouse, routine, coaches, etc., and to shake off the season opening jitters.

    • Kyle

      Yeah. 40 PAs isn’t a ton even for strikeouts and BBs, but it’s getting there quickly. I think a lot of times people who grew up in the early sabermetric revolution (OPS! ERA+!) underestimate how quickly the underlying stats stabilize. The purer you get down into them, the faster they becoming meaningful. Things like swing% have already begun to have meaningful samples.

      With BB and K rate, it’s too early to draw conclusions, but it’s not too early to begin to notice things that are worth following up on. Maybe they wash out in another 50 PAs, maybe they don’t.

      Soler’s dominance is obviously one that excites me. When your HR, BB and K totals are all even, the pitchers at your level probably aren’t challenging you significantly.

      On the flip side, I’m a bit concerned that Vogelbach, Baez and Jackson have combined for 20 Ks and 0 BBs so far. They all have slightly different stories (Vogelbach is showing he can hit the level, so no big deal. Baez is doing his “fantastic power but nothing else” routine, and Jackson we have to assume hasn’t completely forgotten how to walk), but that’s not an inspiring ratio.

      • SirCub

        Yea, no doubt. I don’t think those numbers are really reflective of true talent level at all. Jackson’s gonna walk. Baez isn’t gonna strikeout that much. But I do think that with these numbers, you’re probably not just seeing random error. Like Luke said, there are other things going on here, as the players make adjustments and settle into the new season.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, yes and no. At 40 PAs, 50% of guy with “true” rates of 0.10 will have 2-5 K’s (ƒ = 0.05 – 0.125); 25% will have higher or lower frequencies. 50% of guys with “true” rates of 0.15 will have 4-7 K’s (ƒ = 0.10 – 0.175). And 50% of guys with “true” K-rates of 0.20 will have 6-9 K’s (ƒ = 0.15 – 0.225). So, we see some clear separation between 0.10 and 0.20 rates, but even then we expect 10-15% of players from one rate class to be showing K’s in the other rate class.

        The bigger problem with choosing the first 40 (or any string of 40) is that you are not getting a good sample of the league’s pitching: you probably are talking about 2 staffs. A guy’s K-rate (or BB-rate) will have an average, but it really is part of a distribution affected by the distribution of pitchers on other teams. So, that’s the other part of small sample sizes: it’s possible that the two series will not really reflect what league-average is.

    • cubchymyst

      I’m surprised Jackson doesn’t have a walk yet,

    • hansman1982

      I’m gonna have to see your work on the 40 PA mark. At that point, a chance call from an Ump or facing John Axford/Carlos Marmol and the rest of the league doesn’t means a 2.5 percentage point swing in BB and K rates.

      Even in the bigs, there are still 40 PA guys who have some wacky rates going on.

      I could see 40 PA as the starting point of nomalization.

      • SirCub

        Yea, I made a small mistake in my translation. Those are the number of PA’s it takes for a large sample of players’ numbers to stabilize. For individual players the BB and K rates take more along 150-200 PA’s to stabilize. Dang! We’ll have to keep waiting!

        SW% and contact rate stabilizes a lot faster, but I don’t know where you can find that data for minor leaguers :(

        Pizza Cutter!.

        • SirCub
        • hansman1982

 has some info for AA and AAA. Other than that…

        • DocPeterWimsey

          You probably can find binomial error bar estimators on line. Just give it K’s (or BB) and PA, and you’ll get the most likely rate plus some upper/lower bounds (50%, 95%) on rates that could produce those results.

          If you know how to use R, then you can construct a routine using the pbinom function, where you look at log(pbinom(K,PA,X)) over a range of X that gives you a result within 2.0 of the peak (where X-K/PA). That will at least give you an idea as to whether a guy might be showing unusually high/low numbers of K’s, BB’s, etc.

  • Koyie Hill Sucks

    Jackson has struck out every game he has played in and at least twice in half of the games he has played, I wouldn’t call that progress…

  • Cedlandrum

    The guy who is jumping out at me with his SO’s is Amaya. 9 times in 26 ab’s that isn’t Rick Ankiel ugly but it isn’t good either. There has been a widespread lack of patience all through the system for guys who have exhibited it in the past: Jackson, Vogelbach and Amaya have zero walks between them.

    • BluBlud

      Where do you get that Vogelbach has exibited a lack of patience in the past. The guy has a walk rate over 10% for his career. Not a long track record, but not exactly a track record of showing a lack of patience either.

      • BluBlud


        • #1lahairfan

          Vogelbach is great at the plate. He’s a true hitter.

      • Cedlandrum

        “There has been a widespread lack of patience all through the system for guys who have exhibited it in the past” Maybe that isn’t worded the best, but I am implying in fact that Vogelbach has been patient in the past and isn’t so far this year. Same for Amaya and Jackson.

  • Rebuilding

    The thing that worries me about Jackson’s bb% is that you could see a total focus on not striking out hurting every other aspect that made him exciting as a hitting prospect. If he is going up to the plate hacking so he doesn’t k he’s actully a worse hitter

  • Rebuilding

    Also, count me as a little concerned that Baez’s selectivity is going to be a problem. Yes, it’s a small sample size this year, but he struggled mightily at Daytona last year too. I know all of the usual caveats about rainouts, etc. but in 109 at bats at A+ his bb/k is 5/29 with 1 HR. I thought at the time that the 4 HRs on spring training meatballs might hurt his devlopment a little because the hype it created

  • another JP

    Soler is looking like a guy who could make the Cubs roster out of ST in 2014. Would also like to see Andreoli aggressively along with Bruno… at their age they could fit in nicely at Tennessee right now. Bruno’s hitting is really impressive and for all the love Almora gets this guy looks like he can help in a year two.

  • someday…2015?

    Luke, I have been thinking since last year that maybe Baez is pressing playing in his home state. Do you see that or do you think it’s really just his plate discipline that’s hurting him right now?

  • TC

    Pierce Johnson was much better than his line looked yesterday. His velocity was up from the very beginning of the game, and he held it through 5 innings (compared to his first start, when he only hit 90-92 early in the game and lower in the next two innings). Two of his hits should’ve been outs, and only 2-3 balls were hit really well. He looked really good. (I’ll have video from his start for you tomorrow, I’ll post it on the message board.)

    Source: I was at the game yesterday and sat directly behind the scouts, so the velocity readings were legit.

    Also Jeimer Candelario’s game winning hit would’ve been an easy flyout if the outfielders weren’t playing so far in because of the game situation.

  • Nike Free Run +3
  • Beats By Dre Studio Special Edition

    self-belief sooner or later for Tasmanian tourist,Centimeter he said.
    Beats By Dre Studio Special Edition

  • nate robinson beats

    When you performed NAS examining a number of us chosen typically the Thecus N5550 NAS Server having firmware versus 2.Next month.’08. Any Netgear WNDR4500 N900 mobile hub was developed the fact that can handle gigabit ethernet.
    nate robinson beats