This past week was craaaaazy (yes, that is six, count them, six A’s) in all things baseball!!! The Pirates loaded up for the future, though this is nothing new, and stole Alderson from the Giants for a measly Sanchez (no sexual reference intended). Desmond Jennings got a promotion to AAA. Carlos Carrasco has a new home in Cleveland and may be pitching sooner rather than later. Chris Tillman, Mat Latos, Bud Norris, and Neftali Feliz are all in the majors with differing degrees of success (in order of acquisition I would go Latos, Feliz, Tillman, Norris). Oh, and Brian Matusz (Cube ratings) had an impressive first outing for a rookie against the Tigers going five innings, walking three, striking out five (all the while Jarrod Washburn pitched like his former self – 5 1/3 IP, 6ER, and 2HR). Needless to say, today’s S.t.U isn’t going to have the same kind of intensity or near future relevancy as other posts have had. Either way, grab your long-term memory bank and let these names slip on in for a nice cozy visit!

Jeremy Hellickson Tampa Bay Rays | DOB: 4/8/87 | 5-11 | 165 lbs | Bats/Throws: Right | Rays #8 ranked prospect according to Baseball America
The Cube: Control (99) | K-Rating (97) | Efficiency (100)

Continually hiding under the radar, Hellickson has performed well at each level of play. He has averaged 9.7 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 during his entire minor league career. I can already see some of you drooling. The interesting observation upon reading about Jeremy is that he is always mentioned after Price (and recently Wade Davis), ignored, and not looked as a top of the rotation starter. Matter of fact, most analysis I read have him as a number three starter at best. Really, that seems like a pessimistic ceiling, but who am I to judge (I haven’t seen him pitch in person)?

Jeremy has a lively low 90’s mph fastball that tops out at 95, a curve that is thrown between 77 and 79 mph, and a solid change-up. His mechanics are solid as well as he rarely changes from his 3/4 arm slot thus creating a deceptive and hard to recognize pitch. He is able to repeat his motion with ease (think Tim Hudson/Brad Penny pitching motion). The walks typically come in bunches – when he is frazzled. Here is a look at his last three years of stats:

07 (A) 8.52 K/9| 2.75 BB/9 | 111 1/3 IP | .57 HR/9 | .278 BABIP | 2.67 ERA | 1.09 WHIP
08 (A+/AA) 9.6 K/9 | 1.2 BB/9 | 152 2/3 IP | 1.3 HR/9 | .320 BABIP | 2.96 ERA | 1.10 WHIP
09 (AA/AAA) 9.4 K/9 | 2.5 BB/9 | 68 2/3 IP | .5 HR/9 | .263 BABIP | 2.23 ERA | .99 WHIP

Two observations that aren’t noticeable from those numbers because I didn’t split up promotion between each level per year. First, this year his jump from AA to AAA is hard to judge because he has only two starts this year at AAA (since 8/4) Thus, I wont make any rash conclusions from this year stats at AAA. Second, upon his promotion from A+ to A ball in 2008, he struggled with his control, adding a full walk per nine innings. This year’s promotion from AA to AAA is much the same. A positive thing to note though is the following year he brought his control back near his career average of 2BB/9.

Overall, he has been able to keep a good k-rate, above-average control, and is keeping the ball in the park fairly well. A middle of the rotation pitcher is a definite reality. I would actually expect him to be a number two on other teams. Depending on injuries and depth, the Rays may (a highly skeptical may) call him up in a few weeks during September. However, next summer (early summer) would be more realistic to see his stat-line count for anything meaningful for fantasy players.

* If you want to read a more technical, but excellent article, over at Saber Scouting they have broken down Hellickson.

Domonic Brown | OF | Philadelphia Phillies | DOB: 9/3/87 | 6-5 | 200 lbs | Bats/Throws: Left | Phillies #1 ranked prospect according to Baseball America
The Cube: Power (41) | Speed (86) | Contact (56) | Patience (70)

Domonic Brown, the untouchable Phillie for Roy Halladay (along with Kyle Drabek). What was all the hype about? Was it just another large market media hype surrounding a prospect to boost his value? All opinions aside, Brown has been compared to Daryl Strawberry sans coke. Like Mike Stanton, he was offered a scholarship to play wide-receiver (granted not at USC, but Miami). He wasn’t able to play at Miami because he couldn’t get a passing grade on an entry standardization test, not solely because he loves or excels more at baseball as this article presumes. Nevertheless, he is still a stellar baseball player with amazing talent, athleticism, power, speed, and defense. Sounds like Ken Griffey Jr., without the prodigy or pedigree.

Brown has an above average arm, plus raw power, and speed to cover tons of ground in center field. His swing is almost whip-like, much like Strawberry’s. Due to his wiry frame, and his whip-like swing, his swing has several holes that will typically be there because of his frame. It shouldn’t matter as he is extremely talented and makes average contact. What does his last three years look like:

06 (r) .214/.292/.265 | 117 AB | 1 HR | 13/16 SB | .279 BABIP | 25.6 K% | 9.3 BB%
07 (A-) .295/.356/.400 | 285 AB | 3 HR | 14/21 SB | .348 BABIP | 17.2 K% | 8.7 BB%
08 (A) .291/.382/.417 | 444 AB | 9 HR | 22/29 SB | .331 BABIP | 16.2 K% | 12.6 BB%
09 (A+) .303/.386/.517 | 280 AB | 11 HR | 15/23 SB | .341 BABIP | 20.2 K% | 12.5 BB%
* Steals are number of successful stolen bases out of the total number of attempts.
* 09 AA – just got called up and only has 7 AB as of 8/4 and not worth the added line of irrelevant stats

Other than rookie ball, he seems pretty poised at the plate, granted his luck factor is a bit higher than average (and has something to do with his better numbers). The walk rate is nice to see improving each year. One thing that seems to flashing in big lights is his number of at-bats in ’07. I couldn’t find if he was injured, but I am going to take a guess and say he was. This year he has had a brief stint on the DL in late June. His stolen-base rate could stand a better ratio and over time that should improve.

Nevertheless, I see a Carl Crawford-type player with a tad more power in the hands of the Phillies. This isn’t to say he will be a bad hitter, but I have my doubts whether he’ll be AMAZING like all of Philadelphia believes he will be.  I would have traded him to get Roy Halladay.

  1. black love says:

    I got offered Russell Branyan and Greinke for Youkillis and Rick VandenHurk.
    what do you think? im not really into it but want a second opinion

  2. Stephen says:

    @black love: I don’t think I would like it unless i needed some hitting. But Greinke for VandenHurk is nothing that should ever be seriously offered. Ever

  3. black love says:

    @Stephen: yeah i mean i just picked up VandenHurk this morning

  4. Stephen says:

    @black love: Actually, if that is what he offered you I would take it.

  5. Critter Nagurski says:

    those 285 ABs you’re so worried about were acquired in williamsport. That’s short season ball, holmes. He had the most ABs and PAs on the team that year. You didn’t list it there, but I believe he had a cup of tea with the threshers that year as well

    Also, what do you mean “luck factor?” Surely you’re not just making that claim based on sub .350 babip numbers..

  6. JR says:

    The promotion of Jennings to AAA is very interesting for those in keeper leagues, given the fact that the Rays front office has suggested that it will shop Crawford in the off season to reduce costs.

    Starting LF next year? Possible.

  7. Ant says:

    J Upton for Aaron Hill. Which side do you like?

  8. Wasserman says:

    Braun/Price for Verlander/Tulowitzki?

  9. Stephen says:

    @Critter Nagurski: By luck factor, I mean that he has a higher than league average BABIP, thus a slight increase in positive numbers. I am not saying he has an extraordinary level of luck (like BJ Upton did in 2008). What I am saying is that high of BABIP doesn’t always stay from year to year. The claim isn’t a deciding factor, but they are still higher than what should be expected.

    Thanks for the 411, on the Short Season in Williamsport. Fangraphs doesn’t always recognize that, but Baseball-reference does. It must have just slipped my eye.

    @JR: Plausible. I don’t follow the Rays enough to give a solid answer, but it is definitely a feasible option. I would expect them to at least be open to possibly trading Crawford.

    @Ant: J-Upton

  10. Joel says:

    Thoughts on Eric O. Young?

    Granted, it’s the PCL, but the guy is hitting .293 with 54 (!) stolen bases and 96 (!) runs in 99 games. Again, it’s the PCL, but that’s an 88 SB, 157 run pace. The runs have to be largely an outlier, since the guy isn’t Eddie Yost with the plate discipline, but he appears to be an extremely efficient baserunner. The Rockies are stocked with MI (Barmes, Stewart, Tulowitzki, even Quintanilla), but you have to imagine that Stewart slides to 3rd with Atkins being moved and Young gets his shot. Maybe it’s with another franchise?

  11. Stephen says:

    @Wasserman: I want the Braun Side

    @Joel: I haven’t done anything with Young because other more prominent writers mentioned him when he got a brief call up. He has the speed of a gazelle, and the PCL is a boost for power hitters, and thus the extraordinarily large amounts of runs. Nevertheless, he has to be doing something right to put up those numbers. It would be foolish for the Rockies to keep Atkins for another underachieving season. He will be shipped to a low buyer (like MN who only sign over the hill players and underachievers), and Young should get a chance in Spring Training to prove himself. I am excited for his chance next year.

  12. peter says:

    @Wasserman: I’d rather have Braun.

  13. Pops says:

    Thanks for the inclusion of Dom Brown in your weekly column. Brown and Michael Taylor will be difference makers in the future for the Phillies.

  14. Stephen says:

    @Pops: They will be, but they have a ways to go. I wouldn’t expect it to happen next year for Brown. And the best thing to do is hold your expectations in check. Not every player in the Phillies system is Chase Utley or Ryan Howard

  15. Pops says:

    According to the Reading Eagle, Brown hit a monstrous home run in the bottom of the first that cleared the pavilion in right field and landed on Route 61. It was only his second start at the AA level. In other news, Pedro Martinez stuck out eleven.

  16. Stephen says:

    @Pops: WOW. That is all there is to say. You forgot that Happ stuck out ten. The Phillies have tons of talent in their system. I would love to see it all flesh out and finally have a perennial contender built from within with the occasional stud from trading/FA. I see the Giants, Phillies, and Texas as one of these teams that could actually do it. Oh, and don’t forget the Rays (Boston doesn’t count. Trust me.) The Marlins could do it but they sell everyone after only a few years.

  17. Sean says:

    While looking at stats for minor league prospects is very important, I think it’s negligent to look at a guy like Brown without focusing a bit on the scouting reports.

    Brown is a guy who at 6’5″ 200 lbs has a lot of room to fill out. Most scouts project a lot of power development from him, and power might eventually be his biggest tool. That’s not exactly a Carl Crawford-lite type like his current stats might suggest. The fact that he is athletic and is improving his approach at the plate is only further reason to think he’ll reach that power potential.

    A Jason Werth career year would probably be a much better statistical comp for Brown.

  18. Stephen says:

    @Sean: Just because there is that potential to fill out and hit for a ton of power doesn’t mean it will translate. The scouts seem to think that it will guarantee it will happen. Brown is 6’5″ and 200 lbs, but BJ Upton is 6’3″ and 185 lbs and could fill out but hasn’t. Carl Crawford is 6’2″ 215 lbs and filled out for his height and the power never came. Joe Mauer, a great hitter, is 6’5″ 225 lbs, and hits with average power – he could easily hit more for his frame but doesn’t (and the catcher thing will not work for he DH’s often too). Werth would be a nice comparison, which is Crawford with a tad more power (especially if you take a base of about 10 homers a year). I expect Brown to hit between 15 and low 20’s. Essentially what I am trying to say is, reign in some of the high expectations based on potential power due to body frame.

    I am not dissing the scouts, but expecting 25 to 35 may not happen. This is the tricky part of looking at minor league players, especially ones with tons of hype. I have nothing against the Phillies or Brown, I just don’t see tons of power from hit translating all the way up the ladder to the majors.

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