Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 6, 2007
BASEBALL: Not The Year of the Rookie, Part II

Yesterday, I ran through the rookie crop in the NL. Today, the AL - where, I must admit, the field is stronger the more I look at it, though still weak compared to last season.

Success Stories

Batters

PLAYERAgePosTeamABAVGSLGOBPOther
Travis Buck23OFOAK131.252.504.35922 BB, 4 3B
Dustin Pedroia232BBOS140.329.464.40917 BB, 10 K
Reggie Willits26OFLAA148.324.378.42014 SB, 28 BB, 26 K
Akinori Iwamura283BTB73.370.507.48316 BB, 11 K, 3 SB, 3 CS
Brendan Harris26SSTB166.301.416.35212 BB, 30 K

While the AL has its share of struggling rookies, these five are not a bad foundation at all, albeit Harris is more of a journeyman than a prospect. I don't know if a guy with Willits' extreme lack of power can keep his OBP above .400, but if he can stay in that neighborhood he could be a heck of a player for the next 5 years or so. Iwamura's injury means that we haven't gotten a real chance to assess him yet.

Pitchers

PLAYERAgePosTeamIPERABB/IPK/IPOther
Hideki Okajima31RPBOS28.11.272.228.8926 G, 4 SV, 16 H, 1 HR
Jeremy Guthrie28SPBAL58.22.761.535.523-1, 4 HR
Dustin Mosely25RPLAA31.01.451.453.774-0, 1 HR, 15 G, 2 GS
Joakim Soria23RPKC22.23.574.379.930 HR, 10 SV
Brian Burres26SPBAL43.22.895.157.011 HR
Brandon Morrow22RPSEA21.21.667.899.970 HR, 12 H
Adam Loewen23SPBAL30.13.567.716.532-0, 1 HR
Eric O'Flaherty22RPSEA18.12.953.444.911 HR
Boone Logan22RPCHW16.03.381.695.631 HR
Tyler Clippard22SPNYY20.03.604.956.303-1
Philip Hughes21SPNYY10.23.383.389.281-1

As you can see, while there have been a bunch of successful young pitchers thus far - particularly Leo Mazzone's charges - many of them need to get their strikeouts up or walks down if they are going to last the season. Then again, Mazzone's guys may be specifically concentrating on keeping the ball in the park (0.41 HR/9 between them). Huges and Loewen are supposed to be the highest-ceiling guys in this batch, although for the short term Okajima is providing the most value.

Showing Promise

Batters

PLAYERAgePosTeamABAVGSLGOBPOther
Elijah Dukes23OFTB165.200.424.31410 HR, 26 BB, 42 K
Adam Lind23OFTOR145.248.428.295
Mike Rabelo27CDET51.275.353.296

It's this category that is weakest in the AL - I'm especially stretching to include Lind, who has shown a tiny bit of power, and Rabelo, who has hit for a decent average as a backup catcher but little else. Dukes, of course, may yet eliminate his opportunity to develop his promising talents, if he can't control his rage.

Pitchers

PLAYERAgePosTeamIPERABB/IPK/IPOther
Daisuke Matsuzaka26SPBOS79.24.632.608.597-4
John Danks22SPCHW56.04.343.546.433-5, 10 HR
Darrell Rasner26SPNYY24.74.012.924.011-3
Glen Perkins24RPMIN23.23.804.566.08
Juan Salas28RPTB13.23.956.597.90

Matsuzaka obviously has star-quality tools and has pitched some wonderful games, but he has yet to find his consistency as a front-of-the-rotation major league starter. Rasner has been one of the brighter spots among the Yankees' emergency-starter crew.

Struggling or Outright Failing

Batters

PLAYERAgePosTeamABAVGSLGOBPOther
Delmon Young21OFTB217.249.396.28912 BB, 45 K
Alex Gordon233BKC180.172.278.2878 RBI, 9 HBP, 20 BB, 54 K
Erick Aybar232BLAA130.246.269.290
Billy Butler21DHKC37.243.297.256
Ryan Sweeney22OFCHW45.200.333.265
Brandon Wood22SSLAA11.091.091.091

Wood, obviously, got only the briefest cup of coffee. I still expect Gordon to be a star, but he really has been horrendous - like Angel Berroa, all he seems able to do right is get drilled by pitches. The man's in the everyday lineup and has driven in 8 runs.

Pitchers

PLAYERAgePosTeamIPERABB/IPK/IPOther
Kei Igawa27SPNYY30.27.634.116.162-1, 8 HR
Nick Masset25RPCHW25.17.115.684.62
Matt DeSalvo26SPNYY23.05.876.262.351-3
Brian Stokes27RPTB24.16.662.225.9239 H
Jay Marshall24RPOAK22.25.163.183.57
Jae Kuk Ryu24RPTB21.15.063.804.641 HR
Dallas Braden23RPOAK19.26.412.756.86
Jesse Litsch22SPTOR17.26.623.571.531-2, 4 HR
Sean Henn26RPNYY17.15.195.715.71
Ryan Braun26RPKC13.27.245.935.93
Chase Wright24SPNYY8.07.886.756.751-0, 5 HR
Jeff Karstens24SPNYY4.114.544.152.08

Like I said yesterday - rookie pitchers will break your heart. With apologies to David Pinto, Roger Clemens could out-pitch most of these Yankee rookies with one groin tied behind his back. There is a reason why the Yanks' staff has struck out 278 batters while every other major league team is at 314 or better. Granted, guys like Karstens didn't exactly have the luxury of a long look.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:30 PM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Folks in keeper leagues should be looking to steal players currently labeled as failures. A lot of players struggle initially in the major leagues and then blossom once they get some confidence that they belong.

Posted by: largebill at June 6, 2007 2:20 PM

Gordon is a real mystery. Last nights game with the Tribe is a great example of his season and why I have stated before that he does not seem overmatched. Late in the game he was up with runners in scoring position and hit a bullet, just foul. then struck out. I have seen him repeat this same pattern over and over. At some point those hits are going to start falling in. In the mean time I think they should send him to AAA for about 2 weeks and let him rip the cover off the ball.

Posted by: maddirishman at June 7, 2007 9:56 AM

I'm not sure if you can consider Brendan Harris or Darrell Rasner rookies, since they both put in notable innings for the Nationals last season. Granted, you could make the argument that the 2006 Nats, save for Soriano and Zimmerman, were the equivalent of a Quadruple-A club, but I don't think either of them would be considered a lost "prospect" by Nats fans today.

Posted by: Riley at June 8, 2007 3:35 PM

I'm not sure if you can consider Brendan Harris or Darrell Rasner rookies, since they both put in notable innings for the Nationals last season. Granted, you could make the argument that the 2006 Nats, save for Soriano and Zimmerman, were the equivalent of a Quadruple-A club, but I don't think either of them would be considered a lost "prospect" by Nats fans today.

Posted by: Riley at June 8, 2007 3:35 PM
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