There are a lot of ways to view data when it comes to evaluating prospects. The easiest (and usually the best) way would focus on season numbers. Season numbers give us the largest sample size and the smallest margin for error, and those are important factors.
However, season numbers can ignore in-season adjustments. The point of the minor leagues is for prospects to improve, and it can be hard to see those in-season adjustments and improvements if we look just at the season line. One way to combat this to monitor the delta, the rate and direction of change, of that season line. If we see numbers trending in a positive direction, that can be a good sign (even if the season numbers are still lackluster). Numbers trending in a negative direction can be a sign of trouble.
One good recent example of the benefits of looking at in-season trend data is Albert Almora. Almora’s second half surge in 2015 is what led to us studying the tape, spotting the improvements in his swing, and buying into his offensive capabilities before the 2016 season started (and he began putting to rest any lingering questions about his bat).
An even more recent example might be Gleyber Torres. I don’t want to draw conclusions on Torres too quickly, but the numbers are moving in the right direction. His brutal start to the season led to a line of .113/.266/.226 as recently as April 21, but since then things have been different. Since that day Torres has hit in eight of nine games (including a pair of doubles, a triple, and a homer) and has raised his line to .198/.303/.349.
It is much too soon to say that Torres has solved High A pitching, but it does look like things are moving in the right direction.
- Ryan Williams: 6 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 4 K.
- Carl Edwards Jr.: 1 IP, 2 K
- Arismendy Alcantara: 1 for 4, HR, SB. That’s two homers for Alcantara.
- Albert Almora: 0 for 4, SB
Double A: Tennessee Smokies
The Smokies had the day off.
- Jonathan Martinez: 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Rashad Crawford: 2 for 3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB
- Gleyber Torres: 2 for 4, HR, BB (video of the homer below)
- Jason Vosler: 2 for 5, 2B
- Shawon Dunston, Jr.: 3 for 4, 2 2B, 3B, BB
- Charcer Burks: 2 for 5, 2B, SB
- Ryan Kellogg: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 K
- P.J. Higgins: 2 for 4, 2B
- Eloy Jimenez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Eddy Martinez: 1 for 3, BB, SB
- Matt Rose: 1 for 4, HR
- They key to Ryan Williams having success, as he did last night, is his ability to get groundballs. In holding Nashville to a single run through six innings his groundout to flyout ratio was 10 to 2. That is very good. The fact he walked no one helped as well.
- Kellogg was one of the pitchers to watch as a possible breakout candidate this season, and so far things are looking good. His ERA is now sitting at 2.30, and he has shown an ability to induce plenty of grounders. He may yet emerge as another in a line of back of the rotation candidate ground ball specialists in the Cubs system.
- That Gleyber Torres homer: