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  • What is Average?

    The following data will be included in the upcoming Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2013. Check back later this week for details on how you can get a copy.

    One of the many ways to look at and find meaning in minor league statistics is to compare them to the league average. It’s just one piece to the prospect puzzle. Below you will find league average numbers, but consider the age of individuals on a team. For instance, the average age of a hitter in the Midwest League was 21.6. Then realize that Miguel Sano, who put up numbers well above league average, turned 19 years old a month into the 2012 season. The other side is someone like catcher Matt Koch who was 23 ½ years old when the season started.


    Below you will find the league averages for each of the leagues the Twins have an affiliate along with the Twins affiliates. This is shown for both hitters and pitchers. I’ll give some thoughts after each grouping but certainly welcome your additional comments, feedback and questions.

    For hitters, I’ll show, average age, BA/OBP/SLG (OPS).
    For pitchers, I’ll show, average age, ERA, WHIP.

    ROCHESTER RED WINGS


    • Int’l Hitters – 27.3, .257/.328/.389 (.717)
    • ROCH Hitters – 27.1, .251/.315/.377 (.692)

    • Int’l Pitchers – 27.1, 3.92 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
    • ROCH Pitchers – 26.1, 4.43 ERA, 1.38 WHIP

    AAA is always an interesting league when it comes to ages. For instance, the Red Wings had 24-year-olds like Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee and Brian Dozier on their roster, but they also had 32-year-old Matt Carson. The Red Wings pitchers youth compared to league average was likely brought down by 23-year-olds Liam Hendriks and Deolis Guerra.

    NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS

    • Eastern Hitters – 24.5, .260/.330/.392 (.723)
    • Rock Cats Hitters – 24.6, .262/.333/.395 (.728)

    • Eastern Pitchers – 24.7, 3.92 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
    • Rock Cats Pitchers – 24.6, 4.00 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

    As you can see, the Rock Cats ages were pretty much equal to the Eastern League average. Their performance was also right around league average as well. 28-year-old Chris Colabello’s age was evened out by some other key players on the Rock Cats roster. 22-year-old Aaron Hicks filled the stat line very well and was a terrific leadoff hitter. Minor League Hitter of the Year Oswaldo Arcia turned 21 years old just before he came up to the Rock Cats. Minor League Pitcher of the Year BJ Hermsen was 22 years old all season.

    FT. MYERS MIRACLE

    • FSL Hitters – 22.7, .255/.326/.373 (.699)
    • FM Hitters – 22.5, .250/.329/.371 (.700)

    • FSL Pitchers – 22.9, 3.86 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
    • FM Pitchers – 23.1, 4.23 ERA, 1.43 WHIP

    As you can see, the Ft. Myers hitters performed at league average. So why were the Miracle so bad? Well, their pitchers were much worse than league average. Also, as you can see, if Arcia or Hermsen has spent the full seasons at Ft. Myers, they still would have been younger than league average and yet they were both terrific at AA. The same can be said for Danny Santana who had a breakout season in 2012. And as much as Levi Michael struggled, he would still be younger than league average in 2013 if he stayed with the Miracle.

    BELOIT SNAPPERS

    • MWL Hitters – 21.6, .254/.326/.379 (.705)
    • Beloit Hitters – 22.0, .260/.349/.395 (.736)

    • MWL Pitchers – 21.9, 3.87 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
    • Beloit Pitchers – 22.1, 3.58 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

    It surprised me that the Beloit hitters were older than league average because of how young Miguel Sano is compared to league average. Eddie Rosario also did not turn 21 until after the season completed. People often wonder why I don’t have Nate Roberts ranked higher on my Twins prospect lists. He had turned 23 years old before spring training started. For him to be about league average age, he will need to skip Ft. Myers and go right to New Britain, which may be possible. Why were the Snappers so good in 2012? Well, the offense was well better than average, and their pitching was very good compared to league average. Starters like Jason Wheeler, Matt Tomshaw, David Hurlbut, and Cole Johnson were all 2011 draft picks, pitching in their first full season, but pitching very well.

    ELIZABETHTON TWINS

    • Appy Hitters – 20.2, .254/.329/.382 (.711)
    • E-Town Hitters – 20.1, .279/.360/.449 (.809)

    • Appy Pitchers – 20.6, 4.15 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
    • E-Town Pitchers – 20.5, 3.14 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

    One thing we hear all the time is that Elizabethton is always so good because their players are kept there too long. Well, based on 2012 data, the E-Twins hitters and pitchers were just slightly younger than league average. Sure, the college pitchers just drafted were about 21, but a lot of the other players, international signings such as Max Kepler or Jorge Polanco or high school picks from previous years. At the end of the day, the E-Twins are not older than other teams in the league. That said, look at the discrepancy in performance. Hitters had nearly a .100 point OPS better than league average. Pitchers’ ERA was a full run less than league average. Another tremendous job by manager Ray Smith and hitting coach Jeff Reed.

    GCL TWINS

    • GCL Hitters – 19.6, .242/.318/.338 (.656)
    • GCL Twins Hitters – 20.1, .239/.310/.338 (.647)

    • GCL Pitchers – 20.1, 3.43 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
    • GCL Twins Pitchers – 19.6, 2.75 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

    The Twins GCL hitters were a little older than average while the pitchers were a little bit younger. The pitchers did very well relative to league average while the hitters were just shy of league average.

    Again, this is one of many tools that I use to help develop prospect rankings. Does a player who is a little older than league average not have a chance to become a quality big leaguer? Of course he can. Is a player who is playing way above where his age would indicate he should be automatically going to be a solid big league performer? Of course not. Each player needs to be evaluated individually and based on his own merits. This information is just a good tool to understand where the player is age-wise relative to where he is playing.
    This article was originally published in blog: What is Average? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      OH snap. It seems like we've had this debate before!
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Nice summary - looks like the information is available on places like baseball-reference.com but pulling all the pieces together really aids the understanding, that the strength of the minor league system really is building up from the bottom and will take a while longer to help the parent club.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Good article, but I prefer median, I think, for a study like this.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I'm curious what the average ages are for the Class A short season leagues, since that's the level that the Twins (and several other teams) don't utilize. It's also interesting to me that the average ages between Elizabethton and Beloit were ~2 years. Not sure what, if anything, that means, but it's interesting.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      NY-Penn League - Hitters (21.8), Pitchers (21.2)
      Northwest League - Hitters (21.0), Pitchers (21.3)

      I would say that fits right between the Appy League and the Midwest League.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      It's hard to draw conclusions from this when so many of the players in the minor leagues are just organizational filler, and the ages only really matter for the real prospects. If one team lets some young prospects struggle at AA and adds some filler at high-A, are they really better off than a team that signs a few vets for AA and lets the propects tear up high-A?

      I think maybe a breakdown of some measure of production by age at each level would be helpful, but it would be difficult to compile and would be subject to small sample size problems. Maybe a table showing WAR (or some other aggregated stat) by each age group and then the per-team average for league for each age group would tell us something
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      Having all of this info in the book is PRIME! I had average age for league numbers penciled into my book along with some other stats, happy to have them in the book to begin with. The prospect handbook continues to evolve into a better and better tool/book.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Here's a starting point. Jeremy did a ton of work on the rosters and payrolls... http://twinsdaily.com/section/901-roster-payroll.html

      But I try not to get too into any one stat or any one prospect criteria. Have to look at it all together.

      I just think that prospects like Sano, Buxton and Arcia are few and far between.
    1. rambis26's Avatar
      rambis26 -
      How difficult would it be to compile historical averages with the current ones?
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