Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Player of the Month

At the conclusion of every month we name both a Player of the Month and a Pitcher of the Month in the minor leagues. Mike Wickham, our Director of Minor League Operations, sends out the ballots to both front office and field staff, and my guess is that it's usually a pretty lopsided vote. In fact, I'd be surprised if more than two players or two pitchers receive any votes at all in any given month.

This month, however, is different.

June was witness to a slew of remarkable offensive performances (as well as pitching performances) in our system. I think it's a tough call, as a number of players are deserving of the award. Therefore, I'm putting you to work. The stats are below (arranged by level and then alpha) and the poll is on the right.
  1. Kyle Blanks, AAA .370/.478/.630 in 66 pa's
  2. Craig Stansberry, AAA .330/.417/.394 in 108 pa's
  3. Brian Joynt, AA .358/.400/.593 in 88 pa's
  4. Lance Zawadzki, AA .381/.474/.567 in 114 pa's
  5. Logan Forsythe, A+/AA .345/.477/.540 in 109 pa's
  6. Danny Payne, A+ .316/.464/.605 in 97 pa's
  7. Beemer Weems, A+ .319/.479/.444 in 90 pa's
  8. Sawyer Carroll, A/A+ .344/.443/.611 in 106 pa's
  9. James Darnell, A/A+ .370/.452/.593 in 93 pa's
  10. Dan Robertson, A .358/.400/.494 in 86 pa's
  11. Blake Tekotte, A .348/.446/.609 in 107 pa's
Those are some serious numbers!

Of course, these aren't all the relevant stats, but it gives you a quick overview. I expect you to provide some reasoning in the comments section!

16 comments:

field39 said...

Paul,
Obviously a great month. As far as I can see, nothing has changed in the system, since Baseball America's farm system ratings. What is the disconnect between your view of the system and Baseball America's view.

Sean said...

Zawadzki: Middle infielder, moved up a level, playing in a run-suppressing park, wasn't old for his league. Still posted the best BA and was right with everyone in OBP and SLG. I'd say he was the most impressive this month...though it's hard to believe just how many good performances we're getting.

Peter said...

field39

Obviously, I'm not PDP but BA was full of crap for rating the Padres #29. The only reason Latos wasn't top 100 is he was injured part of '08 - reasonable. But Blanks made the list, Kulbacki was in there too I believe, and Portillo just missed it.

With the success our prospects are having this season combined with the eventual signings of Tate, Williams, and Sampson (assuming/hoping they all sign) this should be a top 15 system (easily).

David said...

4. Lance Zawadzki, AA .381/.474/.567 in 114 pa's
5. Logan Forsythe, A+/AA .345/.477/.540 in 109 pa's
9. James Darnell, A/A+ .370/.452/.593 in 93 pa's


In my mind, you can exclude four very easily: The guys who didn't get 90 PA's (Blanks, Joynt and Robertson) and, unless he hit .700, you gotta rule out a guy in the PCL with a 394 slugging percentage. (Stansbury)
I know Beemer's game isn't power, but his slg (and therefore his OPS) is so much lower than the rest, you gotta strike him.
I think you've got to give extra credit to the guys who moved up a league, so that takes Tekotte and Payne (as awesome as they were) out of it.
As great as Carroll's #s are, they're inflated by the crazy game in High Desert this week. Exclude that game and he's not quite in the same space as the other guys.

Of the remaining three, Zawadzki and Darnell's numbers are slightly better, and Zawadzki did it at a level higher. DB, Zawadzki gets it in my book.

Phillips said...

I voted for Blake Tekotte. He put up those numbers in the Midwest League (tough league to hit in) while playing center field. Plus, I really liked the pick when we took him and want to see him do well.

Jon said...

I agree with Sean - Zawadzki moved up a level and out of a hitter's league and he's adapted very well.

Dan said...

Blake Tekotte gets a vote from me. Ft. Wayne seems to REALLY suppress offense, so when he started off slow I wasn't worried. Then to put up those June numbers, that is really impressive, especially considering where he is on the defensive spectrum.

field39 said...

Peter,

There is a level of venom that can't be explained by some individual being full of it. Just recently I read this about Decker, "He's 19 years old with the body of an out-of-shape 39-year-old, and so it's hard not to question some things." That quote came out of Baseball Prospectus, so it is more than one guy, one publication. For whatever reason, there are a number of people that believe very strongly in the ineptitude, of the Padre system.

eric_ensminger said...

Lance Zawadzki: My reasoning is based on the fact that he is a shortstop, and that excites me for reasons that hopefully will play out in the future at the major league level. He also jumped from Lake Elsinore to San Antonio and didn't miss a beat. I feel that he even turned it up a notch at AA.

Peter said...

Field39,

Yeah, I saw that... Look again at the scout's quote. He never says Decker isn't a prospect, he just didn't trust Decker's ability to stay fit enough to be a significant contributor. I actually think that's a fair point. The scout goes on to praise Decker's performance.

info said...

Zawadzki is the winner!! Hey Paul, I have been observing the Padre farm system with much detail for the last 7 years and for the most part noticed something: Our top prospects offensive production really fades when they get to AAA. The last few years we have had a host of prospects [presented as future major leaguers] who busted out at A+ and AA only to really slip at AAA. [Antonnelli, Hoffman, Venable to name a few] I am wondering who the batting coach and or instructor is at Portland. How long has this person or persons been at that post? Whomever worked with our players during the instructional period over the winter ought to work at Portland year round with those players. The guys on the MLB roster ought to take extra instruction from those guys as well. The PCL is noted to be an offensive league and our hitters for the most part are sputtering there. There have been a huge number of hitters who have responded to this expert instruction in AA and below.

Sean said...

i think that the "out-of-shape-39-year-old" comment is a bit misguided. He's a barrel-chested kid who plays like an athlete (playing a good outfield, stealing some bases). There have been plenty of great players out of that mold - Kirby Puckett comes to mind.

Paul DePodesta said...

I can understand the love for Zawadzki - great month.

How would you feel if you were Danny Payne? The guy had .464 obp and a .605 slg (1.069 ops) and he has 1% of the vote. 1%!

And then there's Sawyer Carroll with a .443 obp and a .611 slg (1.054 ops) and he has 3% of the vote.

Those are absolutely monster months.

Paul DePodesta said...

Phillips,

I like Tekotte, too. Both he and Zawadzki put up big numbers in tough hitting environment while playing middle of the diamond defense. I really thought it was going to be a tight race between those two with Carroll and Payne getting some recognition as well.

ChrisV82 said...

Went with Lance Zawadzki - he put up great numbers and sustained them for over 100 PAs (roughly a solid month of playing ball).

DSCopperTop said...

***Re-posting Entry***
***Previously Written on Wrong Thread***

I used fangraphs.com to drive my analysis, so thanks to them. Unfortunately, the stats I used (game logs) did not include Sac Flies or Sac Bunts on a game-by-game basis, so I backfilled them from minorleaguesplits.com (thanks again) as a month end number, to adjust the appropriate metrics.

My criteria were based on a simple premise. I'm sure it's not new, but I think it makes the most sense to determine an offensive player's value by asking the question: How many runs did he create? Obviously, there could be disagreement on what this actually means (e.g. whether sac bunts should be factored in somehow), but again, I wanted to keep it simple.

The formula I used was: R+RBI-HR (so as not to double count the single run created by a HR). Then I analyzed this both on a per-game and per-PA basis. I also excluded players with 90 or fewer PA's (a bit arbitrary, but I had to draw the line somewhere).

The stats proved that my instincts do get it right sometimes: At first glance, Zawadzki led the pack with an impressive 0.333 Runs Created per Plate Appearance, as well as 1.41 Runs Created per Game. One out of every three times he went to bat for his team, he created a run!

Carroll, Darnell, Payne, and Tekotte all were competitive with Zawadzki's ratios:

Player, RCPA, RCG
Carroll, .318, 1.36
Darnell, .309, 1.32
Payne, .299, 1.21
Tekotte, .281, 1.33

The deciding factors for me were that, not only did Zawadzki have the best ratios, but he also played at least two more games than anyone else, and in an environment that Paul recently pointed out was one of the less hitter-friendly environments in our minor league system. He led all hitters with 38 runs created, 4 more than anyone else.

There were some inconsistencies between my PA numbers and yours, Paul, which seem attributable to my inclusion of HBP, SF, and SH. I'd be curious to hear if you intentionally excluded them, and if so, why.

After I realized the discrepancies between our PA numbers, I realized that a couple of guys actually made the arbitrary cut line I established (91+ PA's): Robertson and Weems. So I went back and analyzed those two in the name of fairness.

Weems had an impressive .323 RCPA, good enough to follow Zawadzki's numbers.

But the best came last. Robertson just barely made the cut at 91 PA's, but had an excellent .352 RCPA using my PA calc, and the highest using Paul's PA number as well, at .372.

So the final chart reads:

Player, RCPA, RCG
Robertson, .352, 1.45
Zawadzki, .333, 1.41
Weems, .323, 1.41
Carroll, .318, 1.36
Darnell, .309, 1.32
Payne, .299, 1.21
Tekotte, .281, 1.33

Despite Robertson's efficacy, I still feel that Zawadzki's overall production (he maintained his rates over 27 games, vs. only 20 games where Robertson had 2 or more PA's) warrants the POM award. Robertson definitely gets my honorable mention nod, however.