Tonight’s update is going to spotlight 4 players, one from each of the A’s full season minor league teams. I used a process of selection slightly more ordered than merely throwing darts at a wall covered in prospects names… yes I chose to not piss off my wife by putting holes in the wall, my couch is very comfy but I’d rather sleep in my bed. Basically, these 4 struck my fancy in some way or another, either by performance or by seeing their name pop up in discussions on AN.
Today’s test subjects are Sacramento River Cat (AAA) Vin Mazzaro, Midland Rockhound (AA) Josh Donaldson, Stockton Port (High-A) Ben Hornbeck and Kane County Cougar (Low-A) Petey Paramore. All stats are as of 5/24/09… ‘cause that’s when I started researching/writing this and I don’t feel like re-doing the math to account for today’s performances.
I decided to write about Mazzaro because he’s currently sporting a K/9 rate almost identical to what he had in
In Mazzaro’s first 4 starts he allowed 13 hits and 11 walks while striking out 15 in 20 IP. Hits allowed can be fluky for a pitcher but the number of guys he walks is almost all on him. In Mazzaro’s next 5 appearances (4 GS, 1 relief appearance when a re-habbing Santiago Casilla pitched the 1st inning) saw him give up 25 hits and 5 walks while striking out 23 in 30.2 IP. Like I said, hits allowed can be a bit flukish and in 1 GS from the 2nd batch he gave up 12 hits in 4 IP. 9 of those hits were on the ground and 3 never left the infield, so there’s some reason to chalk it up as having some bad luck that day.
What does this mean in the near future?
The recent 5 games sample is too small to offer any definitive conclusions as to if Mazzaro is ready for the Show, but it makes a compelling argument that he’s finally made the necessary adjustments to be successful at AAA. I’d like to see another 5-7 starts that feature an extremely low walk total before believing he’s ready for the next challenge.
Donaldson has fully recovered from an abysmal April, hitting 333/442/528 with 4 doubles and a homerun in his last 10 games. He’s been a workhorse for the Rockhounds, catching 31 of 43 games and also making 3 starts at 3B. (And no, Donaldson does not appear to be in consideration for a full time gig at 3B!) He’s been particularly effective against the running game, gunning down 18 of 33 attempts (55%) and adding an extra 4 pickoffs.
There is a downside to his aggressiveness with the arm. He’s made 5 throwing errors; at least 2 appear to have been pickoff attempts. The big question with Donaldson’s defense is his mobility behind the plate, as last year he allowed 18 Passed Balls in 94 games catching. This year he’s done a little better, but 4 PB in 31 games is still too many. This is something he needs to continue to improve on or it could cause him to be moved out from behind the plate.
As for the long term, Donaldson seems to be creating an interesting dilemma for the A’s. If he can clean up his footwork behind the plate, Donaldson has the bat and arm to profile as a big league starting Catcher, possibly as early as Opening Day 2010. Kurt Suzuki has established himself in
Does this mean the A’s have another potential pitching stud on their hands?
Not at all.
Hornbeck posted strong numbers in
Do I think he can do that? Absolutely, I just wanted to talk about him now in order to stave off unfounded hype from the
Apparently Petey is his legal name. Yech.
Anyways, Paramore had a rough and virtually non-existent April for
The problem with Paramore is that while he controls the strike zone well (15/12 BB/K) he has shown virtually no power, with 2 doubles and a HR to his power resume thus far. Scouts think his bat is slow and so far his pro numbers suggest another Cliff Pennington… a good back-up with switch hitting ability but probably not starting material. At this point it’s hard to project Paramore as anyone’s starting big league Catcher.
Go home already!