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iowa cubs mascotAs the minor league season rolls on, and you’re evaluating prospect performances through the lens of the statistics put in front of you, you’ll often hear things like, “Yeah, but that was in the PCL, so you’ve got to adjust it down,” or, “Wow, he did that in the Florida State League?”

For those of you who don’t have context for those statements, or for those – like me – who just want to have a better appreciation for how hitter-friendly the PCL is and how pitcher-friendly the FSL is, Baseball America and MiLB.com each looked at park factors for the various minor leagues. Each piece pre-dates the 2013 season, and is well worth a read.

In reviewing the stats the two articles compiled, you start to get a pretty clear picture of each of the leagues in which Cubs prospects play.

The Pacific Coast League (AAA) – Iowa Cubs

The PCL is undoubtedly a hitter’s league, and is far more offensively-inclined than its AAA brother, the International League. Thanks to some small, elevated parks out west, the PCL saw more than 10 runs per game between 2008 and 2012, making it the second-most offensively-inclined league in the minors (non-Rookie), behind only the A-ball California League. That all said, you have to keep in mind that the half of the league in which the Iowa Cubs play is not home to the same Coors-Field-esque parks as the other half of the league, where the Cubs play a disproportionately fewer chunk of their games. In other words, while Cubs stats at the AAA level likely skew a little offensive, it probably isn’t so much that we throw the numbers out.

The Southern League (AA) – Tennessee Smokies

The Southern League, itself, is a pitcher’s league (it is one of the lowest-scoring leagues in the minors among the upper levels), but the Smokies’ home park definitely skews to the offensive side. In fact, at almost 10 runs per game, Tennessee plays its games at the most offense-heavy park in the Southern League (it sees more runs per game than Iowa, actually). Once again, balancing everything, the numbers probably don’t skew too heavily in one direction or the other for Cubs AA players.

The Florida State League (High-A) – Daytona Cubs

The FSL is the lowest-scoring league in the minors among the non-Rookie Leagues, and it pretty clearly skews pitcher-friendly. Keep that in mind this year as some of the top organizational prospects make their way through Daytona.

The Midwest League (Low-A) – Kane County Cougars

A huge league, the MWL runs the gamut from clear pitcher-friendly parks – like where the Cougars play – and clear hitter-friendly parks. As a league, it skews pitcher-friendly, though.

The Northwest League (Short-Season A) – Boise Hawks

The NWL is a touch pitcher-friendly, but is ultimately close to neutral.

It’s worth taking a look at the Baseball America piece and the MiLB piece to get a better picture of the differences in these leagues, but there’s your high-level overview. For the most part, with the exception of Daytona and Kane County, the Cubs’ minor league teams play in a largely neutral environment. At Daytona and Kane County, adjust your expectations downward for offensive statistics, and upward for pitching performances.

  • BWA

    Hey Brett,

    Great Piece, I enjoyed this one. Off topic, but lately when I open BN on my phone, I’ve been redirected to adds the first time I load up the site. The URL starts with Adtrack…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, BWA. It’s currently under investigation. Apologies for the inconvenience in the meantime.

      • BWA

        No Problem, Just wanted to let you know.

  • DarthHater
  • Grant
  • Jed

    So we should be really excited with what Soler was doing in Daytona and not to worried about Baez performance?

    • Jp3

      Baez has looked better the last few games btw. He’s had a couple doubles and a triple and only k’d once in his last 16 ABs. He’s coming around

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Or he faced a bad pitching staff that didn’t know to not throw him strikes! The one truth to “streakiness” in baseball is that there is some consistency to how pitchers on the opposing team will work batters: and that means that Saturday’s pitching often will resemble Friday’s pitching much more than it will Wednesday’s or Monday’s.

  • Jp3

    Doc I buy into your stats more often than not but I do believe Baez’s problem to start the year was he was pressing too hard and trying to hit everything 600 feet. He just needs to settle down and trust his hands. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure Luke or Brett said something similar a few games ago when he was really slumping.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      This is not a statistical argument: it’s a pure first principles baseball argument. As a position player goes up the minors, they will face more and more pitchers who are trying to get *him* out based on some scouting report rather than just trying to throw strikes. An important thing for young pitchers to demonstrate is that they can throw three non-strikes to a guy who swings at everything (like Baez) and then come back and throw strikes to the next batter (assuming that said batter has a good bating eye). In MLB, a pitcher is (now) expected to tailor his pitches to each batter he faces individually: so, the sooner that they get started, the better. That said, young pitchers are not always good at doing that: they have learning/sorting curves, too, and A+ is where we’ll begin to separate the guys who can change gears from one batter to the next and those who cannot.

      Now, Baez has gotten a bit of publicity and it’s no secret: he kills strikes but he’ll swing at non-strikes a lot. This is not because he is “pressing”: he has always swung at everything. Pitchers *probably* are going to start pitching against him with that in mind.

      • Jp3

        I’m not sure but “Baez has always swung at everything” could be a bit harsh. How old is he, 20? I’m sure there is still time to correct some of his flaws (not that I think he has) but over the last 4 games 1 K is significant. I’d have a heart attack almost if Brett Jackson went 4 games and only K’d once. Also I don’t know about you but I didn’t see Soler being on the same team as Baez and Soler melting down before Baez๐Ÿ˜ƒ Baez is def the one that showed he could rub people the wrong way.

        • Kyle

          Is he young enough that it’s possible for him to make a major change to his plate discipline numbers? Sure. Is it likely? No. Guys usually end up being a better version of what they were at 20, not a different hitter entirely.

          • WGNstatic

            I am not sure I buy the argument that Baez is simply a “swing at everything guy.”

            Look at his numbers in Peoria last year, BA: 333 OBP: 383 SLG: 596

            Yes, in about 130 AB over two seasons he has struggled in Daytona. This is of course a still small sample size, but he needs to start improving/adjusting pretty soon (and it sounds like he may be). I just have a hard time pointing to a guy with a 383 OBP and slugging 596 as simply being a hacker.

            • Kyle

              There’s nothing about having high power numbers that prevent a guy from being a hacker.

              The OBP is almost entirely batting average and a surprising number of HBPs. His BB rate was abysmal and his K rate was on the high side for a player of his offensive expectations.

              For comparison’s sake, at the same age and the same league, he had a worse K-rate and worse BB-rate than Corey Patterson.

              • WGNstatic

                My point is that if a guy is getting on base at a 383 clip and slugging nearly 600, I don’t see a ton of those AB *should* have been walks.

                If a guy goes 4-4 with 4 HR in a game do you criticize him for not taking any walks? Of course not!

                • Kyle

                  So why was he striking out so much?

                  • WGNstatic

                    His K rate was 20% at Peoria, not good, but certainly tolerable for a slugging percentage of 596.

                • Kyle

                  What you are ignoring here is that we have a lot of history that tells us that certain approaches that work in the Midwest League (Even to the tune of very impressive numbers) have problems moving up the ladder).

                  Josh Vitters hit .316 .351 .535 as a 19 y/o in the Midwest League. Was everything fine with him? No, and it proved out as he moved up the ladder.

                • hansman1982

                  Kennys Vargas slugged .610 in the Midwest League last year but also posted 19 more walks than Baez over 70-ish fewer PA.

                  Guys who can walk, walk. Guys who can’t walk, won’t.

                  (FWIW, out of the MWL top-10 in slugging last year, Baez was out-walked by all of them with the next closest guy walking twice as much as Baez)

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Also, baseball is a great example of unwitting use of Occam’s Razor: until a batter shows that he is different than he appears, opposing pitchers will assume that that he’s the same guy. Baez’ BB & K rates scream “free swinger.” The scouting reports say “free swinger.” A+ is a good time for pitchers to start showing that they can take advantage of a free swinger in on BF and go back to throwing strikes in the next BF.

              Again, forget about Baez in particular for a moment and put yourself in the pitchers’ cleats. *That* is half of the equation.

              • MightyBear

                I love the fact that Doc uses Occam’s Razor. I bet half the folks on here don’t know wtf you’re talking about. Personally, I love it.

                • Bric

                  “Sounds like some bad slasher movie…”- Anybody know the quote?

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    heh, I’d not heard that one before: but that’s a good quote!

                    “Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate” is what William wrote, or at least that’s the closest thing to it in his surviving writings: never posit plurals without need.

                    • Bric

                      Thanks Doc, but I can’t take credit for it. It’s from the movie “Contact” when Jody Foster is explaining the principle to a somewhat dumbass-ish Mathew Maconahey (sp?).

                      Clearly it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to play the role but I was a little disappointed that a real movie with that name didn’t come out shortly thereafter.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          “Always” is relevant here even if it was just last year because we cannot attribute his current “swing at everything” mode to “pressing.” When your K-rate is as high and your BB-rate is as low as Javier’s are, stretches like his first week are going to be common.

          Along those lines, having only 1 K over 4 games is far from significant: we’d expect Javier to do that about 1 time in 10 *if* pitching was random from one series to the next, and more often given that different pitching staffs will work him differently: his 22% K-rate reflects a distribution of K-rates against different pitching skills and tactics.

          The really important point here is that (nearly) half of the game is pitching: and pitchers are not just throwing balls to be hit by “clutch” guys and missed by “pressing” guys; they are trying to get every batter to swing and miss or swing and hit the ball poorly.

          • WGNstatic

            I think you need to look beyond K and BB rates in the low minors.

            Looking back at his Peoria performance. He was crushing pitches, I would not want to see a player watching pitches go by that he can hit hard.

            It is important to differentiate Baez from a guy like Vitters. Neither walk a ton, but Baez has been hitting pitches hard, Vitters simply makes contact and too often it is weak contact.

            Yes, it is clear that Baez is being challenged at A+, and how he handles that challenge will go a long way towards defining the quality of his prospect status. But, I think it is a mistake to look too much at any one stat, such as BB rate, and not consider the overall success of the player.

            • Kyle

              Just the opposite. K and BB rates are extremely predictive of a hitter’s ability to move up in the minors effectively. (And note that’s something that Baez is struggling with, still having little success at A+). Looking at OPS in a vacuum is just burying your head in the sand.

              His success at Peoria tells us about his ability to crush mediocre mistake pitches, something you see a ton of in the Midwest league. As he moves up the ladder, he’ll begin to face pitchers who can exploit his weaknesses without giving him those meatballs.

              He’s had the talent in the past to succeed at the levels he was faced with despite being a hacker. That doesn’t mean he’s not a hacker.

              • WGNstatic

                I still disagree about the Peoria #s.

                If you can crush a mistake pitch, you do. What you are suggesting is that he should have let those go by, and thus had more of his PA turn into BB, necessarily lowering the number of balls that he hit hard.

                Yes, I am concerned about the Daytona #s. At this point they are still a small sample size, but that needs to start turning around soon.

                • Kyle

                  It’s odd that you are assuming that a .383 OBP with some power is so ungodly, almighty awesome that there weren’t enough failed at-bats for him to have improved upon.

                  His approach does not lend itself well to succeeding against more advanced pitching, as we’ve seen in his actual results every time he’s had to poke his head up beyond the Midwest League in competitive play.

                  • hansman1982

                    The interesting thing, Baez was 19th in the MWL last year in terms of OBP. There was only 1 batter ahead of him who had a higher BA and the next closest had a .322 BA.

                  • WGNstatic

                    I am not saying his numbers are “ungodly” good.

                    Here is what I am saying. He has one full season of minor league ball, in which he was highly successful.

                    Yes, his approach will need to improve as he climbs the ladder. He is being tested, and thus far struggling, in his promotion to high A.

                    Here is what I fundamentally disagree with. I don’t view his numbers in one season, in which he was overall quite successful, as being the be all and end all of his game.

                    For what its worth, Peoria had a player in 2000 with the following line: BA 333, OBP 383, SLG 596, that guy turned out pretty well.

                    • Kyle

                      No one said anything about “be all and end all.” That’s just defensiveness trying to deflect away from a point you’d rather not face.

                      I can’t help but notice that 2000 Peoria Chief had 38 BBs against just 37 Ks. Hmm, almost as if a great BB/K ratio is predictive of future success…

                    • Jp3

                      I’ll bite, who was that player? I agree his stats for one full season shouldn’t be all end all stats, it’s one season.

                    • hansman1982

                      If you are talking about Albert Pujols:

                      A) You got none of his triple slash numbers right.
                      B) If Baez was only striking out 8% of the time, I wouldn’t have an issue with his 3% BB rate.
                      C) Albert Pujols has a batting eye that rivals some of the all time greats.

                    • WGNstatic

                      Yes, I am talking about Pujols, no, do not intend to compare them and I certainly am not predicting Pujols like production from Baez.

                      As for the numbers, yup, those are Pujols Peoria #s from 2000 per baseball reference.
                      http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=pujols001jos

                    • hansman1982

                      “…BA 333, OBP 383, SLG 596…”

                      Serious question, am I missing something? His line in Peoria is:

                      .324 .389 .565

                    • WGNstatic

                      Ahh fiddlesticks, those are Baez’s #s that I wrote down.

                    • hansman1982

                      Also in seriousness, that is why once you see a specific rate somewhere, you begin to look at other things that tell you other parts of the story.

                      In Baez’s case, you look at the K rate. If that is low, that means that while he is swinging at balls, he is making contact on balls. If his K rate is high, then he is whiffing on those balls.

                      In Pujols’ case, he had a very acceptable BB rate, but he also had an exceptional K rate. This means that he wasn’t swinging at nearly as many balls as Baez AND he was making more contact.

                      Another example is Brett Jackson. He doesn’t swing at many balls (hence his high BB rate) but he doesn’t make much contact (hence the high K rate).

                      And then you have the opposite end of the spectrum in Starlin Castro. Low BB rate (he swings at everything), low K rate (he makes contact with everything).

                    • hansman1982

                      “Ahh fiddlesticks, those are Baezโ€™s #s that I wrote down.”

                      I’ve done that more than once which is why I was asking the question.

                  • WGNstatic

                    Kyle, regarding the “be all and end all” question, no, I am not being defensive.

                    I am well aware of the problems in Baez’s stats so far and that his approach will need to be adjusted as he moves up.

                    That said, I see a player with room for adjustment. He can currently recognize pitches he can drive, and, generally speaking based on his SLG and BA, the pitches he cannot drive.

                    For me, the question is whether he can adjust and lay off pitches he can’t drive as the pitching improves. If he can, then he will almost certainly end up with more walks. If he cannot, and he forces his approach that has been successful for him up to this point, his success will be diminished (and we are seeing this to some extent in Daytona).

            • Kyle

              And while it’s easy to poop on Josh Vitters, his minor league numbers last year look an awful lot like Baez’s minor league numbers last year.

          • Jp3

            I believe his hands are too fast for him not to shave that K rate down just a little bit. I seriously doubt the Cubs will never get the proper hitting coach in place to help him with some of his problems such as pitch recognition and his command of the strike zone. They can help improve that enough to make him a quality major leaguer.

            • Kyle

              The case that pitch recognition can be consistently taught is spotty at best.

              • Jp3

                I’m def not saying that teaching pitch recognition is easy but for a franchise that is going to spare no expense on player development I find it hard to believe the Cubs won’t find a hitting coach or video tech that can’t give him some pointers. P.S. I don’t believe Rob “strikeout” Deer is the answer for him. That guy never saw a pitch he didn’t like

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Actually, Deer had a very respectable 12.7% BB-rate. That indicates that it was his contact skill(s) rather than his batting eye that led to his ridiculous 31% K-rate.

                  • Jp3

                    You can have all the Ron Deers you want on your team that hit lifetime .220 and obp of .320. He K’d more than anyone in the league a few of those years. If Deer is your proof contact rates are important then we can just agree to disagree

                • hansman1982

                  The problem is, there are some things guys just are naturally not good at.

                  You could stick billions of dollars of training into making Peyton Manning fast but at the end of the day, you are just going to have a billion dollar slowpoke.

                  • WGNstatic

                    You raise an interesting and core point. Is Baez “not good” at taking a walk? Or, has he not had to take walks in the past to be highly successful?

                    Peyton Manning’s speed (while done in jest) is something of a red herring. There is of course no reason that Manning would run slowly when he could run faster.

                    If you are having the success that Baez has had to this point in his baseball life then it is less clear that he has need to have the plate patience that he will need as he moves up the competitive ladder.

                    • Kyle

                      It’s that he’s not good at it. We have plenty of history showing that hitters can be utterly dominant at that level while still taking tons of walks.

                    • Hansman1982

                      He’ll, we have plenty of data from the 2012 MWL that shows that.

                      I’d love to be able to praise up Baez. After last year I was hoping his Daytona stint was a blip but I honestly believe Baez will either be in another organiZation next year or will never provide more than Corey Patterson.

                  • WGNstatic

                    On this we will have to agree to disagree.

                    To me, one season of A ball is not enough to say that he is not good at taking walks.

                    Yes, those players who do take walks at A ball tend to continue to do so (your point). My point is that this is not necessarily fully inclusive of all players who will walk, or rather get on base, at an acceptable rate at the MLB level.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              heh, if the Cubs or any other team could find a hitting coach that could teach batting eye, then they should just open the check book to keep him/her/it.

              • Jp3

                WTF do you think that hitting coaches do? I personally think they’re overated but to think they don’t help with players approach at the plate is just incorrect. In the lower leagues in the minors what I mentioned is exactly what they work on with the hitters. Granted in the majors they probably just go over what they should expect to see from the pitchers they face day in and day out but the minors they’re there to help develope them.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Hitting coaches work largely on contact skills and maximizing power. That’s half of batting, after all. They can preach selective aggression: but that assumes some level of pitch recognition. Teaching pitch recognition would basically require telepathy or something: how do you describe how to recognize what a pitch will do after a 10th of a second?

                  At any rate, if you know of a hitting coach who can actually teach pitch recognition, then I can think of about 30 MLB organizations who would love to hire this person.

                  • Jp3

                    They work on contact skills??? Boy I wish I started this conversation on Baez could get some help from hitting coaches on things such as him making more contact… Oh wait that’s what I said to start with!! C’mon Doc that’s exactly the point I was making is that the cubs will have someone at some level help cut his K rate down…I.e. make more contact๐Ÿ˜€

                    • Kyle

                      You mentioned making more contact, commanding the strike zone and pitch recognition. Those aren’t all the same things.

                    • cubchymyst

                      Your missing a key aspect of what is being talked about. Their statement is pitchers are throwing Baez pitches out of the zone (ones that he will not make contact with or weak contract on because they are to far away) because his low walk rate shows that he swings at those pitches. Players with good walk rates force pitches to throw pitches in the strike zone or walk them. That is what Baez has yet to show with his high K rate and low walk rate. I don’t know if a hitting coach can improve a batters pitch selection (Doc is arguing that they can’t not help much), but my guess is that it takes lots of at bats at a certain level for it to improve. Maybe a virtual reality simulator is need where the batter can just see tons of different pitches from different pitchers.

                    • Jp3

                      My apologies Doc I mainly meant I believe Baez can trim his K’s down with time and coaching of some sort and you were saying that A+ they start game planning to not to throw him shit to hit until he can prove he can lay off garbage which this season he has not proven yet.

                  • leo l

                    I think your point is well taken but also hitting the ball takes hand eye coordination. A skill not everyone has. yet there is still hitting coaches as you have pointed out. and they are teaching contact skills. I guess my point is the coach is tere to maximize their skill. if their pitch recognition is not the best they still need to learn skills the maximize their potential. some just have better potential than others

  • Jp3

    Well I don’t want him to be a different hitter entirely. I just don’t want him to K 200 times a season, I think he can be better than that. Unlike Brett Jackson his 150 K’s may not be as bad if he hits 35-40 HRs and drives in 140 runs. BJax problem is he’ll K 150+ and not hit more than 18 HRs. People on this site think he can tinker with his swing and he’s much older than Baez

    • hansman1982

      He won’t. Assuming he get’s a full season in the majors he should K roughly, 140-160 times. At his peak, he may walk 40-50 times. His early BB and K rates suggest there isn’t much margin for error in him producing more than a WAR or two in MLB.

  • Joe_Smith

    Brett, whatever happened to those two Cubans, the shortstop and outfielder I believe. There was all kinds of stuff about them and then they just disappeared. Where they signed elsewhere or what happened? I really wanted the Cubs to go after one or both,

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing new as far as I know – the age issue bit the shortstop (who was the better prospect), and I don’t think it’s been sorted out yet.

  • MightyBear

    Great information. Thanks Brett.

  • Mike

    Speaking of the minors, Ian Stewart continues his torrid pace at AAA by having a robust .000 batting average. Fortunately, Barney looks good in his rehab assignment, and Sweeney and Bogusevic continue to hit.

    • willis

      Ha, I was coming on here to post the same, but got caught up in the Baez argument. Ian Stewart continues to be bad at baseball. I think that’s just the way it is and going to be.

  • Zachary

    I have watch Baez recently and he looks awful. He swings at the worst pitches. He refuses to take a walk. He might be Corey Patterson who plays the infield

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      I have him closer to Felix pie than Corey. Almora reminds me of Corey. Solar reminds me of a chef from mcdonalds

      • Tim

        Westbound you seem to despise everything about the Cubs. The other day you were on here talking about how Theo was all hype and no results, now bashing Baez, and Soler? What’s the deal? Do you even like the Cubs?

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          Just stating my observations. You must of missed my posts where I praised a number of cubs. If a guy is batting .180 or the top guy just oversaw a 100 loss team on the verge of another 100 loss season did you want me to praise this guy?

          I thought I saw the Epstein plan possibly working but now I’m 92 percent it won’t work.

          • BT

            Well you did give Epstien an entire year and 10 games, and Baez does have 46 whole plate appearances this year, so clearly you’ve given each of them ample time to prove themselves to you Willie. I can see why you are perplexed as why anyone would question your judgement.

            • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

              It’s not just the period of time that theo has been here. It’s the trend that is clearly being shown here. I just don’t understand all these garbage moves that are being made. Counting on the minor leagues is a crapshoot as well.

              • BT

                What’s not to understand? It is without a doubt the most easily understood plan a front office has undertaken in our lifetime. Not only have they consistently spelled it out, but they have done exactly what they said they would. The fact that things have become much worse before they are going to get better is the least surprising development since the plot of the last Katherine Hiegl movie. You may not like it, you may not agree with it, but I don’t see how in the world you don’t understand it.

                • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                  I don’t understand all the garbage signings like these last two, loe and the other idiot. I understand the concept of rebuilding. Any moron can talk about rebuilding and another moron can easily understand it. It’s the executing that plan that will be nearly impossible moving forward. The cba has changed, there are caps on international and draft picks. The whole way of putting a team together has changed.

                  The most glaring thing is that there is not any pitching. How long do we have to hear about dillon maples?

                  • Hansman1982

                    If the way that you can put a team together has completely changed…then why do the same thing you used to do?

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Almora and Patterson have very little in common. Baez and Patterson, on the other hand, have quite a bit in common.

    • Kyle

      The Corey Patterson comps are just screaming at me.

      Take his scouting report. Flip his batting hand. Add 10 points of power, take away 10 points of fielding.

      Boom. identical.

  • AB

    Westbound Willie reminds me of the know-it-all regular at the local tavern who everyone treats nice out of pity for him having no friends outside of his circle of inebriated savants

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      I don’t drink. Other than that your post was right on the money, junior.

      Next

    • DarthHater

      Not true. Nobody’s particularly nice to Willie. :-P

  • Zachary

    It might be 46 ab but I have seen 20 and 90% have been UGLY. Westbound is crazy if he thinks Almora reminds him of Patterson. Almora is a contact hitter while we all know Patterson was never s contact hitter

    • Jp3

      Not to mention Almora hasn’t played enough to know who to compare him to

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        Actually the Almora kid was head and shoulders above every other kid his age because of his hard work as a kid. Had a batting cage in his back yard.

        Other players are going to catch up to him as the playing field becomes level. He reminds me of Rex gross man of the bears back in the day.

        • Jimmy James

          Plenty of kids round my area had cages in their yard…none went anywhere. You crazy if you think all these kids don’t put in work. Sure Almora may have put in more but these other guys all play year round so they are not exactly slouches

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, Corey did have some pretty amazing contact skills: I mean, not many guys can homer on a pitch that’s at their shoulders, and Corey does (did) it once every couple of years. The flip-side is that 99% of MLBers have good enough batting eyes to swing at such bad pitches.

      But this gets back to the two fundamentally distinct skills that you are uniting when you bat: pitch recognition (10′ from the pitcher’s had: where will be ball be 45+’ later?) and contact (I’m trying to put the barrel of the bat, say, exactly 2′ away from my body and 1″ below my belt). Guys like Patterson & Baez probably would do better than Joe Baseball making consistent contact if baseball was nothing but fastballs over the plate. However, a lot of Joe Baseballs do a much better job of recognizing at Step 1 that the ball is going to be 8 inches outside of the plate and 3 inches below their knees and do not attempt contact then, where as Corey and Javier swing away.

      Almora is a different sort of beast. When you unite low walks and low K’s, then you are dealing with a guy who has great contact (and thus a huge red zone) with a good batting eye (anything in the huge red zone gets attacked, anything outside doesn’t). And yet a different sort of beast is the high walk, high K guys with great batting eyes, but reduced contact skills. That’s a common outcome of “selective aggression.”

      The high walk, low K guys are really rare in modern baseball. Brett Butler leaps to mind, but there probably has been someone like that since him.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That should read “good enough batting eyes to NOT swing at such bad pitches” in the first paragraph.

        • Jp3

          Whatever Doc, you can have a mishap from time to time… After all guess who was the big asshole today after Baez swung at everything and went 0-5 with 2 K’s???๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘ˆ. MEEEEE!! Not that 1 game means much but he looked terrible today.

      • Kyle

        A lot of the truly great sluggers are high BB, low K. We were talking about Pujols earlier.

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