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April/May Round Up: New Orleans Zephyrs

My apologies for missing the original April may round up.  By the time I could work on it, it was so far into May that I decided to wait until now and do a two-month round up.  First up is our AAA affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs.

A reminder that all numbers for hitters are park adjusted (but not pitchers).  What this also means is that, on a monthly basis, applying park factors won’t change much of the stats because of how small they are.  But it will change the yearly stats because they are a larger sample.  This is why you’ll see things like Logan Morrison’s season BABIP being higher than both his April and May BABIP.

And some misc NOLA news: John Raynor is back, but he only played in 6 games (.292/.280/.375/.655) before injuring his hamstring while running to first base.  His timetable is currently unknown.  Sean West did not make a start in the first two months of the season, but made his first start June 1st.  Scott Strickland, who I pegged as a potential bullpen piece, had a good ERA but horrible K/BB in eight games before being on the DL for more than a month, only just coming back on May 31st.  Hector Luna and Donnie Murphy are having interesting seasons, but I’m going to dedicate a full post to them.

Logan Morrison

Logan was injured in a collision at first base near the start of the year and only recently has been able to come back.  But results so far are amazing in the small sample size.  While the walks have regressed as expected, his power numbers have improved greatly and his already good strikeout rate got even better.  Hopefully he can keep this up.

Scott Cousins

From possible starting RFer on opening day for the Marlins, to this.  The numbers speak for themselves on how poorly Cousins has played, mostly due to a massive power outage which is being aided by a ten percent spike in ground balls hit.  Things aren’t all bad though, as it’s also his best strike out rate in his career and is the third straight season in which he has improved in that department.  But it’s also his worst BB%, and his BB/K hasn’t exactly improved.  We are only looking at about a month’s worth of data (Cousins was added to the DL on May 14th with an undisclosed injury), but things are not looking good so far.  Also, in case you missed it, he hit for the cycle back on May 1st.

Bryan Petersen

The theme of Marlins’ hitting prospects in AAA for the month of May: We’re not going to play.  Petersen’s reason is not injury like Logan and Cousins though, as he has bounced around being called up to the parent club.  His results so far mimic his AA line from last year:  Good contact rates and high BABIP that leads to high AVG and OBP, but the power of a slap hitter.  Petersen has the potential to do more damage with the bat, but even playing in the PCL hasn’t brought it out in him.  He will need to hit for power if he wants to advance from the roll he has currently be typeset as.  Side note: BB% does not include intentional walks.  Pete has been IBB’d 4 times on the year.  Hence why his BB% above is so low on the season, while his OBP is so high.  Not adjusting for IBB raises his BB% to 9.8%, which is right in line with his unadjusted BB% of 10.1% last year.

Rick Vanden Hurk

April was a very poor month for Hurk, but he bounced back in May and now his season line for 2010 mirrors that of his 2009 line for NOLA in similar innings.  His K/BB is still very strong, but he’s also still getting a ton of FBs.  One of two things need to improve for him to surpass the 4.78 xFIP he put up last year in 60 innings at the major league level: Either he needs to allow less fly balls, or improve his K/BB even further.  Otherwise, he’s looking like a back of the rotation starter/fungible bullpen arm.

Ryan Tucker

Even though he missed all of last year, hopes were still high for Tucker since the injury the ended his season was in his legs and not his pitching arm.  Tucker is crashing those hopes though, as he’s walking a ton of hitters while striking out no one.  On top of which, he has now been suspended indefinitely by the Marlins front office after throwing a major temper tantrum (which he has quite the history of) in his last start.  He’s still young, but both the results on the field and off the field aren’t what the Marlins brass hoped for when they drafted him in the first round back in 2005.

Jay Buente

A pretty ERA and struggles in the bullpen has now led to Buente pitching out of the pen for the major league team.  He was effective in AAA though, as he got a ton of ground balls and struck out a lot of hitters.  But the walks were also incredibly high, and his poor control has me worried about just how effective he’ll be at the major league level.  CHONE has him at a 4.50 RoS ERA, not exactly impressive.  I don’t expect him to be around once Chris Leroux is ready to come off the DL.

Taylor Tankersley

Tankersley has also been the benefactor of a horrible bullpen showing.  Unlike Buente, I have a good amount of faith in Tankersley, but only if he’s used correctly.  Tankersley MLB career FIP against LHB sits at 3.98, which isn’t great but isn’t bad either.  Meanwhile, against RHB, it’s a massive 5.36.  If Tank is used as a LOOGY, he has value to the major league club.  Fredi so far has been using him in this way, as he has only faced one right handed batter so far this year.

This wasn’t always the case with Fredi though, and I’ll never forget the time in 2007 where he had Tankersley face Jeff Keppinger and Brandon Phillips; Phillips’s wOBA against LHP is 52 points higher than RHP, and Keppinger’s is a massive 90 points.  They were the worst split match up possible for us; Keppinger hit the go-ahead home run and Phillips would follow with his own shot as the Marlins ended up losing by one.  As long as Fredi keeps from using Tankersley like that, and restricts him to only the LOOGY roll, Tankersley should do fine for us.

Brett Sinkbeil

Like Tucker above, Sinkbeil is looking like a sunken first round cost.  Things are getting quite better though.  His control is still a problem, but his strike outs are way up and he is still getting a massive amount of ground balls.  And his May was actually quite impressive.  It was just one month, so he’s far from having removed the “bust” logo on his forehead, but things are looking brighter.  Hopefully he can keep this up and it’s something we will keep an eye on.

Topics: Brett Sinkbeil, Bryan Petersen, Jay Buente, Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins, Rick Vanden Hurk, Ryan Tucker, Scott Cousins, Taylor Tankersley

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