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The Old Dogs Report -- 2002 Year in Review
Written November 13, 2002.
The good: Rafael Palmeiro is still Rafael Palmeiro, Adam Piatt got playoff at bats, Travis Chapman had a fantastic half-season, and Eric Dubose got to make his major league debut. The bad: Not much really, among the guys who got to play, although some of them are older than they should be for the level they're at. We'll call it a good year.
The usual disclaimer: These are all guys that I love and respect, but this is the extreme end of the talent curve we're talking about, and there's no shame in being one of the 3000 best in the world at something -- what it takes to make it to high A ball -- instead of being one of the few hundred best that it takes to get to the big leagues. This is as honest and accurate an assessment as I can make.
Dubose, Eric (1) Rochester Baltimore International AAA Dubose, Eric (2) Bowie Baltimore Eastern AA Dubose, Eric (3) Baltimore Baltimore American MLB G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Dubose(1) 1 27.0 0.1 2 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 Dubose(2) 41 2.51 64.2 21 18 66 46 21 2 5 3 3 Dubose(3) 2 4.50 2.0 1 1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0
After being all but forgotten by almost everyone in the game, Dubose turns into a potentially valuable find for the Orioles, of all teams. The AA performance was quite good, the arm strength appears to be almost all the way back, and he gets to go to spring training and fight for a job. I love it when it goes right for the good guys.
Ginter, Matt (1) Charlotte Chicago W Sox International AAA Ginter, Matt (2) Chicago W Sox Chicago W Sox American MLB G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Ginter(1) 13 3.94 16.0 8 7 9 20 10 3 1 0 0 Ginter(2) 33 4.47 54.1 34 27 37 59 21 6 1 0 1
He's still developing slowly, but at least he's still developing. According to the Baseball Prospectus metrics, he was below average as a major league reliever this year, but above replacement level. He's wandering on into "established major leaguer" territory, which can improve his job prospects quite a bit. That said, I really hope he can pick it up a notch next year.
Powell, Jay (1) Texas Texas American MLB Powell, Jay (2) Tulsa Texas Texas AA Powell, Jay (3) Oklahoma Texas Pacific Coast AAA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Powell(1) 48 3.61 47.1 26 19 32 48 22 5 3 2 0 Powell(2) 2 0.00 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 Powell(3) 8 12.3 8.0 11 11 8 14 3 2 2 0 0
This is an OK season. The aforementioned BP reliever metrics put him right around major league average, and 47 innings of average pitching has value. Unfortunately, he's an ex-World Series hero who makes $3 million a year, which may cause him some problems. He's only 30 (it only seems like he's been in the majors since 1980), so he'll hang on for a while, but the price tag may get him moved around a while and cut sooner than he would be otherwise.
Palmeiro, Rafael Texas Texas American MLB G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Palmeiro 149 .393 .581 .275 523 144 101 34 0 42 2 0 97
He was third in the AL in homers and walks, seventh in OPS, and he's two years younger than Barry Bonds. What else do you want? Admittedly, expecting him to keep this up forever is unlikely, but he's put the conditioning work in necessary to keep it up until here, and the knees seem to have healed well, so I'm actually more optimistic about 2003 than I was about 2002.
Piatt, Adam (1) Sacramento Oakland Pacific Coast AAA Piatt, Adam (2) Oakland Oakland American MLB G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Piatt(1) 62 .385 .462 .295 234 69 35 15 0 8 4 3 46 Piatt(2) 53 .313 .417 .242 132 32 12 8 0 5 2 1 18
He was 1-3 with a double in the playoffs. That sums it all up pretty well, actually; he's a viable option for the A's, but he'll only be part of their plans if some other things to be decided that have little to do with him are decided in ways favorable to him. That said, Piatt's as likely as anyone to explode in 2003 -- his health problems of 2001 are far enough behind him for a strength burst, and it will be his 27-year-old season.
Brock, Tanner GCL Reds Cincinnati Gulf Coast Rookie G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Brock 1 0.00 2.1 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
Two innings, some tendinitis, and an early retirement. Brock was considered a fairly good prospect only two years ago, so there are a lot of index cards with his name on them out there; it wouldn't shock me to see him try to come back next year, but it's a long shot overall, so he may decide to just get on with life.
Carroll, Ryan Jackson Central Indy G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Carroll 15 5.55 24.1 21 15 18 27 14 1 0 2 0
The only thing to get excited about here is that he's still playing baseball, but that's something worth getting excited over, so I hope he gets to keep doing it.
Freed, Mark West Tennessee Chicago Cubs Southern AA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Freed 29 5.16 132. 88 76 106 159 58 14 9 11 0
Not really smooth sailing this year for Freed, who probably got whiplash watching Mark Prior fly past him. He's still got the raw goods and enough past performance going for him, though, so I think he'll get another shot at this level next year.
Hooten, David West Tennessee Chicago Cubs Southern AA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Hooten 65 1.30 76.0 13 11 66 49 19 4 5 1 9
Well, he's kind of old, and he's been through enough organizations to know every small American town by name, but, my word, 1.30? WHIP of 0.89? You're the Cubs, for crying out loud; you've got to have somebody to eat up innings when Baylor has worn out the good guys. Give him a chance! He'll be a minor league free agent again this year, so who knows where the Twister spinner will end up this time, but sooner or later, somebody's got to notice the numbers.
Larson, Adam Bristol Chicago W Sox Appalachian Rookie G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Larson 25 3.15 34.1 16 12 33 34 9 0 2 1 8
It's an extremely easy level for a 22-year-old (when I'm king, we equalize at one team per organization per level, and that's that), but it's always better to do well than do poorly, no matter the level of competition. He'll get another shot next year.
Medders, Brandon Lancaster Arizona California High A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Medders 43 5.38 98.2 73 59 104 111 36 9 4 8 15
After last year's great start, this has to be a bit of a letdown, but he's still young for the level, so I think he's still in solid shape career-wise. Next year is probably a make-or-break season; he needs to get out of Lancaster before the year's over.
Reinike, Chris * Kinston Cleveland Carolina High A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Reinike 1 0.00 2.0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
The asterisk means he was hurt (like you couldn't have figured that out from the only one appearance). He also didn't get younger this year (knew that part already too, I'm guessing). Keep your fingers crossed here; Dubose shows that it's never really over, but Reinike needs to get moving again.
Thoms, Hank (1) Kinston Cleveland Carolina High A Thoms, Hank (2) Buffalo Cleveland International AAA G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Thoms(1) 17 2.43 63.0 25 17 50 57 15 6 5 2 0 Thoms(2) 1 5.40 5.0 5 3 2 7 1 0 0 1 0
Well, he got to see Buffalo, and he didn't embarass himself in High A ball. Unfortunately, I expected him to spend the year in between the two in AA, so he didn't really make much progress organizationally this year. He'll be back, though, so I'm still cautiously optimistic.
Young, Chris Tri-City Colorado Northwest SS A G ERA IP R ER SO H BB HR W L SV Young 17 2.34 61.2 20 16 47 45 23 1 5 5 0
Not bad at all. There's a joke in there somewhere about struggling just for a chance to pitch in Denver, but Jason Jennings kind of dulled that this year. Young will get a pretty good shot at High A in spring training, I suspect.
Chapman, Travis Reading Philadelphia Eastern AA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Chapman 136 .388 .473 .301 478 144 54 35 1 15 3 1 64
At the 70-game mark, he was sitting at .367/.453/.579. That's the only context in which .301/.388/.473 can be considered disappointing; nagging injuries mean that he's now got a half-season of good-but-not-great performance freshest in his bosses' minds. Still, he'll get a shot at AAA next year, where he spent the playoffs, and he has a really good chance to be the Phillies' third baseman of the future starting in 2004 if Chase Utley can't improve his defense. One hidden bonus is that Reading is a fairly severe pitcher's park -- even though he was low or missing on the leaders' board on straight stats by the end of the year, he was still second in the league in the Baseball Prospectus EqA stat, which is park-adjusted.
Curry, Chris (1) Daytona Chicago Cubs Florida State High A Curry, Chris (2) Iowa Chicago Cubs Pacific Coast AAA Curry, Chris (3) West Tennessee Chicago Cubs Southern AA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Curry(1) 44 .310 .323 .245 155 38 15 12 0 0 2 0 16 Curry(2) 7 .190 .158 .105 19 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 Curry(3) 12 .216 .229 .171 35 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 4
Wouldn't this make for the coolest "What I Did This Summer" report ever? I'm not going to track the schedules for when he was on each team, but Curry has to have seen a good chunk of the country this year while serving as an organizational backup catcher this year.
Henry, Chad Joliet Northern Indy G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Henry 59 .336 .317 .261 199 52 22 6 1 1 3 3 15
The Northern League is probably the best of the independent leagues, which means that these numbers are better than they look, but there's no reason to think they'll draw much interest from organized baseball.
Knott, Jon (1) Fort Wayne San Diego Midwest Low A Knott, Jon (2) Lake Elsinore San Diego California High A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Knott(1) 37 .411 .548 .333 126 42 17 12 3 3 2 1 19 Knott(2) 93 .414 .540 .341 367 125 46 33 8 8 5 4 55
The .341 led the California League in batting average. He's a year behind normal developmental ages for High A. You (and the Padres) get to decide which is more important; I'm not sure. I do know that he gets to try again next year; he's the right age to be Ryan Klesko's understudy when Klesko starts to slip if one of the Padres' multitude of third base prospects doesn't slip over to first.
Martin, Ty (1) Charlotte Texas Florida State High A Martin, Ty (2) Tulsa Texas Texas AA G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Martin(1) 115 .394 .475 .272 375 102 70 20 4 16 7 4 61 Martin(2) 4 .143 .308 .077 13 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1
Those are respectable numbers this year, and he'll certainly get a shot in spring training to make it to Tulsa. He'd be better off if he could get away from first, since his numbers are borderline there.
Obradovich, Mark Michigan Houston Midwest Low A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Obradovich 108 .331 .298 .225 356 80 55 15 1 3 8 7 43
I can't find any reference to how his defense is perceived; that's the piece that he really needs at this point. Those numbers will keep him in the game if his defense is strong and won't if it's not.
Wiese, Brian * Sarasota Boston Florida State High A G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R
Injured but on the roster all year.
Willingham, Philip Richmond Frontier Indy G OBP SLG AVG AB H BB 2B 3B HR SB CS R Willingham 83 .394 .580 .360 364 131 22 19 8 15 36 6 75
As far as I know, no Frontier League player has ever gone on to the major leagues. However, as I said earlier, it's always better to succeed where you are than to fail where you are, once you're there. For whatever it's worth, EqA, which is also league-adjusted, treats him kindly; those numbers translate to a worth-while High A first baseman, which is where he should be age-wise. Hopefully, he can catch on somewhere with more future next year based on this performance.
Players who played in 2001 and not in 2002:
Brantley, Jeff Texas Texas American MLB Loewer, Carlton San Diego San Diego National MLB Polk, Scott St. Lucie New York Mets Florida State High A Rock, Jamie Asheville Colorado South Atlantic Low A Shave, Jon Pawtucket Boston International AAA Wren, Cliff Canton Frontier Indy
I wouldn't necessarily consider Loewer done, but everyone else most likely is.
And one I don't know anything else about:
Rath, Gary Doosan Bears Korean Baseball Organization
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