I finally found out how The Baseball Cube figures out their ratings and now so have you. Essentially they compile all of a players stats and compare them against other players at the same level of play – this means a AAA player’s ratings are only compared against other AAA players and so on and so forth with other levels on a 1 to 100 scale. So comparing one’s number/ratings to a major league player isn’t necessarily completely accurate or translatable. Here is what the Cube says directly from them:
”The ratings are based on formulas that sum a player’s entire career based on available statistics in our database, including minor league and college data. These scouting scores are to be used as indicators of a player’s strength. A career minor leaguer might have a speed rating of 100 though this does not insinuate that he is a better runner than a major leaguer with a speed rating of 90. Though it does indicate that a player was an excellent base-stealer in the minors, we do not know how he would have fared in the majors.”
Anyway, onto this week’s StU!
After rumors were spread last week that Carlos Carrasco was going to be called up to pitch, I decided to withdraw my section on him. However, since that was not the case, he will be here, right up front to see why he was overlooked or more importantly why he is a top prospect. Interestingly, Carlos has been more hot and cold than Katy Perry in recent years. Speaking of flukes, I mean out of nowhere performances, remember Kila Ka’aihue? The Kansas City Royals first baseman that simply just raked last year? The outstanding seasons that resulted in the Royals trading Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs. Yup, this week the “Hawaiian Stallion” will also be addressed. But enough with frivolous ramblings, I’ve digressed enough.
Carlos Carrasco | SP | Philadelphia Phillies | DOB: 3/21/1987 | 6-3 | 190 lbs| Bats/Throws: Right | in AAA | PHI #2 prospect according to Baseball America
The Baseball Cube ratings: Control  | K-Rating  | Efficiency 
He was ranked the #1 prospect in the Phillies farm in ”07 and ’08, but was supplanted by Dominic Brown (who I might talk about later) this year. They traded several of their top prospects last year to the Athletics in Josh Outman (last year #4) and Adrian Cardenas (last year #2), and he remained high because of high amounts of untapped potential. The thing is he has the skills, tools, and pedigree to be top of the rotation pitcher, but inconsistencies and reality have changed that prognosis. Assuming Cole Hamels stays a number one pitcher for the Phillies, Carrasco should be at best a number two starter, and more likely will be a number three once he settles in.
I am still a little confused, no completely perplexed at why Rodrigo López was called up instead. Lopez actually has similar numbers to Carrasco this year, but you know, Lopez is only a Latin 38 (note the sarcasm). Giving Carlos the shot at the big show would have been perfect for his development. Other than a razztastic late April and early May, his numbers have been consistently deserving. He has a career low in BB/9 with 2.6 and a respectable 8.6 K/9 in 92 innings. Those are nice numbers, especially if you consider those are accompanied by 4.70 ERA (3.60 FIP), 1.37 WHIP and a .344 BABIP. I would say that he was at least deserving of a call-up spot start for the recently pitching starved Phillies. Plus, his career HR/9 is less than one (.9 actually) in over 673 innings pitched, and this year its right at that level. To add to support for his call- up, 7 of his last 10 starts have been quality starts (4 of last 5 have been QS).
Okay, enough bitter ranting of arm chair managerial idiocracy. Carlos has a 92 mph fastball that tops out near 95 with an average curve and plus change-up. It is his change-up that has many scout raving for the past few years. The change-up is extremely tough against lefties, and is a pitch that has caused many to look foolish. As I mentioned earlier, he has a career low in BB/9, but his history shows that he has struggled with control. One positive is that his AAA control is better than any of the other levels (3.8 in A, 4.4 in AA, and 2.8 AAA). A negative, he struggles with runners on, with a 9.52 ERA, .301 batting average against, and a WHIP of ~1.60 in 40 1/3 innings this year – this not a new trend either. It makes sense that the ERA is up, but it’s the average and WHIP that is scary there.
Personally, I expect him here in the near future, probably a few weeks after the ASB. Think Jonny Cueto of last year. A good start and many ups and downs (more downs) when he is called up. One thing you don’t have to worry about is that pesky little thing called an innings limit as he has topped 159 2/3 three years ago and has hit 140 plus that last three years. He could be a nice asset during the hunt for the playoffs for the Phillies.
Kila Ka’aihue (pronounced – KEY-luh Kuh-eye-HOO-a) | 1B | Kansas City Royals | DOB: 3/29/85 | 6-2 | 230| Bats/Throws: Left/Right | in AAA | KC #9 prospect according to Baseball America
The Baseball Cube Ratings: Power  | Speed (2) | Contact  | Patience 
The big Kila genes are born to play baseball as his father played eleven years in the minors (but never reached the majors) and his younger brother plays first base in the Braves farm system (though he isn’t a Baseball America ranked prospect). So, why haven’t we seen more of Ka’aihue in a Royals uniform? First off, their scouts are not sold that 2008 wasn’t a fluke. Second, there is Jacobs (Cube ratings power 93, speed 9, contact 25, patience 31), Billy Butler, and Ryan Shealy in the way getting a look before him. Not only do the Royals have an overstocked DH/1B, they drafted Eric Hosmer in the 2008 draft (who is ranked #2 prospect in the Royals farm system) who also plays first base.
So what did Ka’aihue do in 2008? How about a line of .314/.456/.628 with 37 HR, 100 RBI in 401 AB with a .308 BABIP. He also walked 19.3 percent of the time while only striking out 23 percent of the time (since AA, he has more walks than strikeouts). Those number got him a call-up late last year, but he didn’t stick around for this year. Well, that’s fair if you are the Yankees and sign Teixeira, but Jacobs had a career year last year too, and cost way more than a minor leaguer with tremendous upside. But here is what the Royals saw:
’04 (A) 246/361/431 390 AB 15hr
’05 (A+) 304/428/497 493 AB 20hr
’06 (AA) 199/303/300 327 AB 6hr .228 BABIP
’07 (AA) 248/359/435 451 AB 20hr .260 BABIP
’08 (AA/AAA) . 314/.456/.628 401 AB 37hr .308 BABIP
’09 (AAA) 263/399/ 481 262 AB 12hr .301 BABIP
Which one of these is not like the other? That’s right ’08. Either way you look at it, 2008 was a massive anomaly in terms of power output. However, he has the plate discipline to succeed in the majors, he just doesn’t field well and is blocked by, well everyone the Royals love! One thing to consider is that in 2008 he finally had more homers than doubles. This could mean that he is finally filling out his body and maturing. A lot of people say, “Just wait ’til those doubles become homers.” For Kila that time may be now.
I feel like there is theme with this week’s article and it is, “You’re our talented prospect and we need help, but we don’t want to use you!” If you don’t like him trade him, there are definitely teams that need a first baseman, like say the Giants, or Atlanta, or Anaheim, or the Mets. Either way, Kila has good plate discipline, no speed, tons of power and limited defense. Think Adam Dunn without the stolen bases and you have Kila.
Just for a moment, imagine if the Royals didn’t trade for Jacobs and have Nunez still in their bullpen with Kila performing like Jacobs. Maybe then the Royals could finally look smart.
Just so you can see some more Cube comparisons:
Ka’aihue’s Cube ratings are eerily similar to Adrian Gonzalez’s (Power , Speed , Contact , Patience ), and the patience level rivals Adam Dunn’s 100 (but remember that theses major league players ratings are not completely comparable). Even if you cannot completely compare/translate those ratings to the major league level, they do indicate what type of performance he is doing in the minors.
I hope to see him sooner rather than later, but the reality is way different. He might have to get traded for that to happen or have the Royals make a trade opening a spot. Though a September call up seems plausible.