Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WARNING; small sample size post

OK, I love the Indians.   Also, I grew up following the Indians' minor leaguers.   I mean, I was an Indians' fan!  What else was there to do but think to the future?!?

So now fast forward to the 21st century.  You can watch all of your team's minor league teams, at least to some level, on the internet except for the AZL and GCL games (and what is up with that?). 

If you are not careful you can start reading too much into some things based on small sample size.   I remember when the Indians drafted Brad Snyder and he was whiffing a lot his first year and I pointed out that this might be a real red flag when your #1 pick can't even handle rookie ball pitching.   Of course my concern was unfounded, right, because look how his career turned out.  Well, yeah, look how it turned out!  Thirteen minor league seasons and a total of 66 ML ABs....with 28 Ks. 

So, with that backdrop in mind, I have spent the last couple of nights watching the Scrappers play and, may I say, the video feed from the West Virginia Black Bears is one of the best in the minors, in my opinion.   But I digress. 

What occurs to me after watching Will Benson hit is that there may be an issue.   Now, in Snyder's case he had trouble hitting anything that would break.   In watching Benson for two days he is having trouble hitting straight pitches right down the middle of the plate.   Yeah, he had two good ABs on Monday, one in which he got a hit against a 95 mph fastball and one where he was eating up a guy's softer stuff (but foul) until he K'd.   However, in every other AB, including EVERY AB on Tuesday, he looked overmatched.   I mean REALLY overmatched.   They didn't even try to throw him breaking balls.   The pitchers were just raring back and throwing fastballs down the middle of the plate and it looked like the way Benson was flailing and missing that he was trying to hit the ball with a straightened close hanger or, maybe, was just tardy catching up with the fastball.

Now, at this level every first rounder should be able to hit a good fastball and may struggle with breaking balls.   Benson looked like he was having trouble catching up with average fastballs. 

It's early and it could all be fatigue or seeing real pitching after being in extended spring training but what I saw the last two days, especially yesterday, is concerning to me.  At least concerning enough to mention it here. 

BTW, Nolan Jones was not much better with an 0-4 and THREE errors.    Ulysses Cantu looks like he can really hit and I am intrigued about how Oscar Gonzalez and the Laureano kid will do.  BTW, Elvis Perez made a ML play on a ball up the middle and is hitting the heck out of the ball so he is one to keep an eye on.   Grant Hockin was not perfect but to see him on the mound, finally, and for him to have some success (4 IP, 1 R) really brought a smile to my face.

Again, small sample sizes all but it is great to have a GOOD poor sample size than the red flags that Benson and Jones are throwing up!

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