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six-hopper

The 2018 minor league performance of the guys we got for J.D. Martinez

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49 minutes ago, six-hopper said:

It is not uncommon for power to develop fairly late.  In his Age 20-24 seasons, Lou Whitaker's respective annual home run totals were 0, 3, 3, 1, and 5.  In his Age 25 season, he hit 15 homers.  And he was in double-digits every year for the next eleven, and for 13 out of the next 14, with a single-season high of 28.   (In the one off year he played just 119 games and hit nine jacks.).  He wound up with a career total of 244 home runs, one of which cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium.

Whitaker's doubles totals also increased considerably as he moved from his early years into his prime.

Alan Trammell had a somewhat similar progression.

So a guy who shows no power at 22 can become a serious extra-base and long-ball threat down the road.  Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that Sergio Alacantara will do that.

Agreed, it is common for power to develop later in the developmental cycle for many players, but I don't consider that to substantially be the function of physical strength gains at that stage of development. Instead, I find it more common the emergence of power later in the development cycle is a function of the development of other tools; namely the hit tool and overall offensive approach. Players that see power develop at that stage are often seeing the benefit of improved pitch recognition, strike zone knowledge, understanding what pitchers are trying to do against them in a given situation, learning which pitches they can impact and which they can just make contact with, etc.

While Alcantara's development is certainly not complete, many of those attributes I mentioned above are nearing complete development. Dramatic development -- at this stage -- of his pitch recognition, strike zone knowledge, etc., is unlikely. When coupled with the fact he lacks present strength or substantive projection to add strength, there's little reason to believe he's going to develop much more than occasional doubles power.

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13 minutes ago, Microline133 said:

While Alcantara's development is certainly not complete, many of those attributes I mentioned above are nearing complete development. Dramatic development -- at this stage -- of his pitch recognition, strike zone knowledge, etc., is unlikely. When coupled with the fact he lacks present strength or substantive projection to add strength, there's little reason to believe he's going to develop much more than occasional doubles power.

With a 70 arm, good speed and excellent fielding skills what do you think he has to slash to make a starting MLB SS?    

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47 minutes ago, LooseGoose said:

With a 70 arm, good speed and excellent fielding skills what do you think he has to slash to make a starting MLB SS?    

Well, we have a good glove SS who can actually steal a base or two whose OPS is 675 and a good number of people here are unsatisfied with that. For SA to get to that he would probably have to maintain a  walk rate at least as high (>10%) as what he has done in the minors. Not impossible I guess.

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Chemistry is the old approach...genetic modification to turn off myostatin ....that's the ticket for Sergio

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18 hours ago, Microline133 said:

Agreed, it is common for power to develop later in the developmental cycle for many players, but I don't consider that to substantially be the function of physical strength gains at that stage of development. Instead, I find it more common the emergence of power later in the development cycle is a function of the development of other tools; namely the hit tool and overall offensive approach. Players that see power develop at that stage are often seeing the benefit of improved pitch recognition, strike zone knowledge, understanding what pitchers are trying to do against them in a given situation, learning which pitches they can impact and which they can just make contact with, etc.

While Alcantara's development is certainly not complete, many of those attributes I mentioned above are nearing complete development. Dramatic development -- at this stage -- of his pitch recognition, strike zone knowledge, etc., is unlikely. When coupled with the fact he lacks present strength or substantive projection to add strength, there's little reason to believe he's going to develop much more than occasional doubles power.

That's probably true, or at least somewhat true.  I don't know if guys tend to become naturally stronger at 27 than they were at 22.  The last thing I read on baseball player peaks said that the most common age for a player to have his best season is 27, but obviously a lot of factors other than sheer strength go into that.

If I remember correctly, Bill James once said that pitchers who stay healthy tend to gain velocity until their mid-20s or so, but that too may not be a function of strength, and if increased strength is a reason for it, it is almost certainly not the sole reason and maybe not even one of the primary reasons.  I once knew a hard-throwing guy who played for the "replacement" Tigers in Florida during the strike in the 90s, and I heard that he gained several miles an hour on his fastball in the short time that he was down there.  If that is true, then it can probably only be explained by good coaching and an adjustment to his mechanics, because I'm sure that he didn't become a whole lot if any stronger while he was there.

I hope that Alcantara develops into something a lot more than the wimp that he is right now.  But I am not optimistic that he will.  I think that there is a fair chance that none of the three guys we got for J.D. will ever be Major Leaguers, and a very good chance that none of them will ever be regulars or even more than marginal players in the Bigs.  But then I am not normally a glass-half-full kind of guy, so maybe they will surprise me.

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18 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

Well, we have a good glove SS who can actually steal a base or two whose OPS is 675 and a good number of people here are unsatisfied with that. For SA to get to that he would probably have to maintain a  walk rate at least as high (>10%) as what he has done in the minors. Not impossible I guess.

Are people here unsatisfied with what Iglesias is? I haven’t really sensed that. 

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19 hours ago, LooseGoose said:

With a 70 arm, good speed and excellent fielding skills what do you think he has to slash to make a starting MLB SS?    

 

This isn't an easy question, because what a team can/will tolerate from an individual player depends largely on what else they have around them. If you assume a contending club that gets the bulk of its production from other positions, then I think you can say .250/.320/.380 with plus defense (I don't really care about the arm or speed for this discussion) may be acceptable (though would draw the ire of some fans, I would imagine).

Coincidentally, that's about the leave average line for an NL shortstop this year (.255/.319/.405). The AL average is considerably higher (.266/.327/.433) and likely driven by the presence of guys like Machado, Lindor, Correa, Simmons, etc.

For Alcantara, that's a tick better than what the club is getting from Iglesias this year, so maybe I'm slightly overstating what would be acceptable. Looking at Alcantara's minor league performance (and looking at the reasonable scouting projection), he's never slugged that high and as I said yesterday, I don't see any reason to expect he's suddenly going to do that. To make up for it, he'd need to get on base more, as @Gehringer_2 suggested yesterday. He's historically surpassed that .320 OBP mark in the minor leagues, but his OBP is largely batting average driven, and against MLB-level pitchers, I'd expect he's going to be challenged more and will see less pitches out of the zone; meaning you're unlikely to see an uptick in walks at any point, even if his approach/eye continues to improve.

All told, Alcantara's a utility infielder for me.

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FWIW, here's why Lou himself thought his power increased, from the Free press in August 1982.

2018-07-18_9-59-29.thumb.png.0939086a7fa5821d4af10c793ab2d2c5.png

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2 hours ago, Shelton said:

Are people here unsatisfied with what Iglesias is? I haven’t really sensed that. 

I have.  

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I think people may be now because we don't have that many good offensive players.  

Before when basically everybody on the team but him were plus offensive players we didn't care as long as he continued to field the way he did. 

Also the emergence of all these great offensive SS's make having a light hitting one tougher to swallow. 3-4 years ago there weren't nearly the amount there are now.

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3 hours ago, six-hopper said:

That's probably true, or at least somewhat true.  I don't know if guys tend to become naturally stronger at 27 than they were at 22.  The last thing I read on baseball player peaks said that the most common age for a player to have his best season is 27, but obviously a lot of factors other than sheer strength go into that.

If I remember correctly, Bill James once said that pitchers who stay healthy tend to gain velocity until their mid-20s or so, but that too may not be a function of strength, and if increased strength is a reason for it, it is almost certainly not the sole reason and maybe not even one of the primary reasons.  I once knew a hard-throwing guy who played for the "replacement" Tigers in Florida during the strike in the 90s, and I heard that he gained several miles an hour on his fastball in the short time that he was down there.  If that is true, then it can probably only be explained by good coaching and an adjustment to his mechanics, because I'm sure that he didn't become a whole lot if any stronger while he was there.

I hope that Alcantara develops into something a lot more than the wimp that he is right now.  But I am not optimistic that he will.  I think that there is a fair chance that none of the three guys we got for J.D. will ever be Major Leaguers, and a very good chance that none of them will ever be regulars or even more than marginal players in the Bigs.  But then I am not normally a glass-half-full kind of guy, so maybe they will surprise me.

22 is still below peak strength for most men. The easiest place to see this is in a brute strength activity like NFL offensive linemen or the winners of the "world strongest man' competitions. They usually reach peak performance at maybe 25 or even later. With a hitter you have a 'competition' between increasing strength through a good part of the 20's and decreasing reflex speed, which start to decay almost immediately on adulthood. Eventually lost reflex speed does in every hitter. In a good player the sum of the rising line and falling line of those two things (plus the experience learning effect) may give him relatively steady performance for a good career length. And often the faster their reflexes were when they young is the marker for how long  they have before they fall below MLB performance level. (IOW, it's mostly the same guys who can already hit well at 20 who still can into their late 30s)

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5 hours ago, Microline133 said:

 

This isn't an easy question, because what a team can/will tolerate from an individual player depends largely on what else they have around them. If you assume a contending club that gets the bulk of its production from other positions, then I think you can say .250/.320/.380 with plus defense (I don't really care about the arm or speed for this discussion) may be acceptable (though would draw the ire of some fans, I would imagine).

Coincidentally, that's about the leave average line for an NL shortstop this year (.255/.319/.405). The AL average is considerably higher (.266/.327/.433) and likely driven by the presence of guys like Machado, Lindor, Correa, Simmons, etc.

For Alcantara, that's a tick better than what the club is getting from Iglesias this year, so maybe I'm slightly overstating what would be acceptable. Looking at Alcantara's minor league performance (and looking at the reasonable scouting projection), he's never slugged that high and as I said yesterday, I don't see any reason to expect he's suddenly going to do that. To make up for it, he'd need to get on base more, as @Gehringer_2 suggested yesterday. He's historically surpassed that .320 OBP mark in the minor leagues, but his OBP is largely batting average driven, and against MLB-level pitchers, I'd expect he's going to be challenged more and will see less pitches out of the zone; meaning you're unlikely to see an uptick in walks at any point, even if his approach/eye continues to improve.

All told, Alcantara's a utility infielder for me.

I appreciate the effort in this answer.

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22 hours ago, chasfh said:

FWIW, here's why Lou himself thought his power increased, from the Free press in August 1982.

2018-07-18_9-59-29.thumb.png.0939086a7fa5821d4af10c793ab2d2c5.png

I love that quote because it's sums up Lou. I've read that he didn't want to know anything about the pitcher or if they knew the signs.... "see the ball, hit the ball".

Sometimes I think certain people are so smart and good at what they do that when they try to express why it sounds too simple.  But to them it is.  It's why he was perceived as lazy or disinterested sometimes.  

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Personally when we acquired Iglesias my mindset was:

”oh man, can we afford to have such a weak hitting SS?”

today, it’s:

”thank GOD iggy is up, someone who has a chance to get a hit.”

his skills have not changed.

 

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58 minutes ago, Oblong said:

I love that quote because it's sums up Lou. I've read that he didn't want to know anything about the pitcher or if they knew the signs.... "see the ball, hit the ball".

Sometimes I think certain people are so smart and good at what they do that when they try to express why it sounds too simple.  But to them it is.  It's why he was perceived as lazy or disinterested sometimes.  

I think a lot of this is just the vision/concentration piece. When your vision and brain are working together well enough for you to pick up the ball and see where it's going, it all slows down for you. You feel like you have time to stay back and take the swing that drives the ball. When you can't pick up the pitch, you are naturally jumping, lunging, trying to anticipate/guessing to compensate. 

When you see a long AB with a full count and number of fouls, that batter is seeing every pitch and getting the bat on each them  looking for one in an area he can drive. It's becomes more about concentration level than the athletic skill (which is a given for both players). If the batter's vision or concentration breaks, he is going to miss and K, if the pitcher's concentration breaks, it's going to be ball four or a badly located pitch that gets hammered. It's all between the ears.

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1 hour ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I think a lot of this is just the vision/concentration piece. When your vision and brain are working together well enough for you to pick up the ball and see where it's going, it all slows down for you. You feel like you have time to stay back and take the swing that drives the ball. When you can't pick up the pitch, you are naturally jumping, lunging, trying to anticipate/guessing to compensate. 

When you see a long AB with a full count and number of fouls, that batter is seeing every pitch and getting the bat on each them  looking for one in an area he can drive. It's becomes more about concentration level than the athletic skill (which is a given for both players). If the batter's vision or concentration breaks, he is going to miss and K, if the pitcher's concentration breaks, it's going to be ball four or a badly located pitch that gets hammered. It's all between the ears.

A lot of guys can't get enough pregame batting practice.  I've never liked it much -- I'm fine without it, but when I do take it I like to take maybe ten swings to get loose and stop long before I feel like my swing mechanics are surrendering to fatigue.  I remember reading that Lou Whitaker didn't like BP and often didn't take it -- he said something like having someone throw him "slowballs" before the game did nothing to prepare him to face Nolan Ryan later that night.

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8 minutes ago, six-hopper said:

A lot of guys can't get enough pregame batting practice.  I've never liked it much -- I'm fine without it, but when I do take it I like to take maybe ten swings to get loose and stop long before I feel like my swing mechanics are surrendering to fatigue.  I remember reading that Lou Whitaker didn't like BP and often didn't take it -- he said something like having someone throw him "slowballs" before the game did nothing to prepare him to face Nolan Ryan later that night.

to me they way teams do BP has always been a great mystery. Yes, they shorten up the throw to try to get roughly similar timing, but I find it almost inconceivable that hitting those short lobs before a game doesn't do many guys as much harm as good. I know for a while Leyland was having the team do live pitching BP occasionally in ST but it wasn't that often and I guess most pitchers don't like throwing to their teammates. But you would think with all the money sloshing around it would worth a few hundred K$ to have a few batting practice pitchers with the team that could at least show the guys 90+ from the rubber even if it is all just straight FBs. Guys that can do at least that would not be  hard to find.

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But why are they doing BP?  Is it simply to work out their body and not their eyes?  LIke a form of stretching?

 

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I know two guys -- both former minor league pitchers -- who've told me that they were hired by the Tigers to throw BP at home games.  According to them, it was a great gig -- they weren't paid much, 50 bucks a game or something, but they got Tiger uniforms and got to be on the field.  Each guy threw for something like 15 minutes -- which with nonstop throwing is quite a few pitches -- and then another guy would step in.  Both of them could throw a lot harder than the average man and probably a lot harder than the average elderly coach, but they were still past their primes and presumably had lost some of their former heat.  I don't know how much they aired it out in BP, especially for 15 minutes straight -- and I'm sure they didn't approximate Nolan Ryan.

If I remember correctly, this was back in the early Nineties.  I don't know if the Tigers still have the same system.

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But why are they doing BP?  Is it simply to work out their body and not their eyes?  LIke a form of stretching?

 

IDK. Maybe - then again baseball is full of thing done basically because they have always been done.

I suppose the base argument is that a starter is going to see roughly 20 live pitches every day and that should be enough to stay sharp and so BP is just....whatever it is. But wouldn't you still think that a team would have the advantage if its guys we more ready for that heater in the 1st inning? Look at how many pitchers will throw pretty much nothing but fastballs the 1st time through the order. Should that be telling us something?

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2 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

 

IDK. Maybe - then again baseball is full of thing done basically because they have always been done.

I suppose the base argument is that a starter is going to see roughly 20 live pitches every day and that should be enough to stay sharp and so BP is just....whatever it is. But wouldn't you still think that a team would have the advantage if it's guys we more ready for that heater in the 1st inning?

It's like pepper.... which we used to see signs at ballparks, remember?

 

Probably like Jim Bouton said in Ball Four.... you can't just be standing there.  Even if you are doing nothing... do something.  Pretend to be fixing the laces on your glove or adjusting your shoes.  Don't just stare into space.  They might think you are a weirdo or something.  

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6 minutes ago, six-hopper said:

I know two guys -- both former minor league pitchers -- who've told me that they were hired by the Tigers to throw BP at home games.  According to them, it was a great gig -- they weren't paid much, 50 bucks a game or something, but they got Tiger uniforms and got to be on the field.  Each guy threw for something like 15 minutes -- which with nonstop throwing is quite a few pitches -- and then another guy would step in.  Both of them could throw a lot harder than the average man and probably a lot harder than the average elderly coach, but I don't know how much they aired it out in BP, especially for 15 minutes straight -- and I'm sure they didn't approximate Nolan Ryan.

If I remember correctly, this was back in the early Nineties.  I don't know if the Tigers still have the same system.

Yeah - this idea seems to come go with teams. Maybe it just doesn't make a noticeable difference so they don't stick with it. I admit I haven't gotten to many of the games I have been to in the last few years early enough to see BP, but in the days when I did, it was pretty much just the coaches. Ausmus used to like throwing BP himself in fact.

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Checking Sergio's splits.  He drew all of eight walks in April and May combined.  He's drawn 10 in both June and July. He hasn't K'd as much in July and his OPS for the month improved dramatically.  Will be interesting to see if this is a mirage or has he figured it out.

I think he is...by far...our most intriguing prospect.

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