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Thread: Sickels: Top 20 Twins prospects for 2014

  1. #101
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Re: Harrison & Walker.

    First, I really like both guys as players and as people. Both of them worked hard at improving their defense during the 2013 season. I suspect, however, that Harrison was being taught to play 3B as a back up plan in case Sano didn't progress at the position defensively. With Sano apparently passing that test, I'd be pretty surprised if Harrison wasn't back in a corner OF spot in 2014.

    Harrison and Walker both have very good power potential. I think the theory that Harrison, as a HS draftee, had less experience at long seasons than a college draftee like Walker has a bit of merit.

    At the same time, Harrison's superior plate awareness came back to bite him in the butt some the final month or two of the season. He got rung up on outside corner (or off-the-outside-corner) strike 3s frustratingly often late in the season. I believe some of his productivity drop is that MWL West Division opponents pounded him outside and he didn't get the pitches to pull that he did the first half of the season. It will be interesting to see whether he figures out a way to hit those pitches enough that he'll start getting some inside pitches again.

    Walker was far less selective, especially with 2 strikes, so yes his Ks were higher, walks were lower and he also didn't see his hitting stats fall off the way Harrison did because he kept putting the ball in play with about the same consistency he had earlier in the season, too.

    Regarding the question of whether Walker, et al, were being encouraged to drive runs in rather than focus on OBP, the answer is, "I hope so." Walker took a great deal of pride in his ability to drive in runs. His focus was on contributing to his team winning games, not putting a higher OBP so he'd impress a bunch of people who only have his baseball-reference.com page on which to evaluate him.

    Similarly, I don't think the Twins really cared whether promoting Walker, or anyone else, would allow "us" to have a clearer picture of where he should rank among the organization's prospects. Between Ft Myers and CR, there were 6 starting OF spots to fill and promoting Walker would have resulted in the Miracle trying to find innings and PAs for 4 guys (Buxton, Williams, Kvasnicka, Walker), while leaving CR even more shorthanded than they were already. And for what? Walker wasn't going to start 2014 at AA anyway.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
    I want the one that projects better at the MLB level. Poor plate discipline has derailed too many prospects that had great MiLB stats.
    Do and would you feel that way if Walker had a better K% than Harrison? Or is it simply OBP? You talked about plate discipline. Not balls in play right?

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Re: Harrison & Walker.

    First, I really like both guys as players and as people. Both of them worked hard at improving their defense during the 2013 season. I suspect, however, that Harrison was being taught to play 3B as a back up plan in case Sano didn't progress at the position defensively. With Sano apparently passing that test, I'd be pretty surprised if Harrison wasn't back in a corner OF spot in 2014.

    Harrison and Walker both have very good power potential. I think the theory that Harrison, as a HS draftee, had less experience at long seasons than a college draftee like Walker has a bit of merit.

    At the same time, Harrison's superior plate awareness came back to bite him in the butt some the final month or two of the season. He got rung up on outside corner (or off-the-outside-corner) strike 3s frustratingly often late in the season. I believe some of his productivity drop is that MWL West Division opponents pounded him outside and he didn't get the pitches to pull that he did the first half of the season. It will be interesting to see whether he figures out a way to hit those pitches enough that he'll start getting some inside pitches again.

    Walker was far less selective, especially with 2 strikes, so yes his Ks were higher, walks were lower and he also didn't see his hitting stats fall off the way Harrison did because he kept putting the ball in play with about the same consistency he had earlier in the season, too.

    Regarding the question of whether Walker, et al, were being encouraged to drive runs in rather than focus on OBP, the answer is, "I hope so." Walker took a great deal of pride in his ability to drive in runs. His focus was on contributing to his team winning games, not putting a higher OBP so he'd impress a bunch of people who only have his baseball-reference.com page on which to evaluate him.

    Similarly, I don't think the Twins really cared whether promoting Walker, or anyone else, would allow "us" to have a clearer picture of where he should rank among the organization's prospects. Between Ft Myers and CR, there were 6 starting OF spots to fill and promoting Walker would have resulted in the Miracle trying to find innings and PAs for 4 guys (Buxton, Williams, Kvasnicka, Walker), while leaving CR even more shorthanded than they were already. And for what? Walker wasn't going to start 2014 at AA anyway.
    .

    Well said!

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
    Do and would you feel that way if Walker had a better K% than Harrison? Or is it simply OBP? You talked about plate discipline. Not balls in play right?
    I'm talking about plate discipline and it's not just K rate. BB rate and K:BB rate are other important Harrison does K a little too much for me to really like him but he walks more than twice as often as Walker. In the majors there are even more plate discipline stats to look at. My favorite stat is swing% on ball out of the strike zone (is he looking for his pitch or helping the pitcher out) but that isn't available in the minors.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Regarding the question of whether Walker, et al, were being encouraged to drive runs in rather than focus on OBP, the answer is, "I hope so." Walker took a great deal of pride in his ability to drive in runs. His focus was on contributing to his team winning games, not putting a higher OBP so he'd impress a bunch of people who only have his baseball-reference.com page on which to evaluate him.
    This is a nice little shot at the stat geeks. Of course you want somebody up there that wants to drive in the run but Walker has a 4:1 K:BB ratio and that is showing that he is expanding the strike zone quite a bit and not making the pitcher come inside to him. I'm not sure I really want a hitter up there that is swinging at bad pitches or swinging through good pitches to hit. I will take a walk over an out.

    Like I have said before this kind of plate discipline (4:1 K:BB) does not project well especially for a college player that has played a half+ appy league season and a full low A ball season. The Twins don't need to promote him but as long as he moves slowly he will be discounted on prospect lists (not important to the Twins).
    Last edited by kab21; 10-22-2013 at 11:25 AM.

  6. #106
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Regarding the question of whether Walker, et al, were being encouraged to drive runs in rather than focus on OBP, the answer is, "I hope so." Walker took a great deal of pride in his ability to drive in runs. His focus was on contributing to his team winning games, not putting a higher OBP so he'd impress a bunch of people who only have his baseball-reference.com page on which to evaluate him.
    This strikes me as a double edge sword. I get your point about winning games and driving in runs, and if the pitcher gives him a hitable pitch, then absolutely swing away. The problem is that his underlying stats say he's swinging away too much and that pitchers (especially ones higher up the chain) are going to take advantage of the fact that he expands the zone and not give him anything worth hitting... What then?

    I get the ultimate goal is to drive in those runs, but he's not going to be doing nearly as much of that as he could if he doesn't learn to lay off bad pitches. This has nothing to do with inflating OBP and everything to do with him becoming a solid major leaguer.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    This strikes me as a double edge sword. I get your point about winning games and driving in runs, and if the pitcher gives him a hitable pitch, then absolutely swing away. The problem is that his underlying stats say he's swinging away too much
    Especially considering that 20-year-olds in Low A have historically struggled to regularly hit the strike zone. Additionally, the league HR leader generally gets pitched around, you'd think this extra likely after the promotions of Buxton and Hicks.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789 View Post
    Do and would you feel that way if Walker had a better K% than Harrison? Or is it simply OBP? You talked about plate discipline. Not balls in play right?
    Players at all levels are much more likely to succeed with a high strikeout rate than they are with a low OBP.

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