2013 Minor League Hitters Upward Regression Candidates

ProspectNation.com

Minor league baseball is full of statistical quirks and anomalies. There are quite a few players who have experienced a whole minor league season full of bad luck, so let's take a look at four players who are due for some good luck in 2013.

Carson Kelly

The Cardinals went over slot for Carson Kelly in the 2012 MLB draft and the 17 year old started the year at short season Johnson City. He didn't put up big numbers, but with a terribly low BABIP, Kelly is due for an upwards regression this upcoming year when he will most likely play in short-season Batavia.

G

PA

BABIP

LD%

GB%

OFB%

K%

BB%

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Kelly

55

222

.226

7.9%

44.9%

37.1%

14.9%

4.5%

.224

.262

.395

.657

Lg Avg

-

-

.315

13.8%

45.5%

29.4%

21.3%

8.6%

.255

.330

.386

.716

As you can see, Kelly had about 60% of the average player in the league line drive rate, but lost about 90 points on the batting average of balls in play versus the average player in the league. However, despite that, he did not have an above average amount of ground balls, but he did hit more outfield flies than normal. Line drives are the highest BABIP hit in baseball and ground balls and fly balls are more easily turned into outs. Carson Kelly's lack of line drives would indicate some of his lower BABIP, but not all of it.

Tyler Rahmatulla

Rahmatulla blasted the ball at Quad Cities in 2012, but struggled when he was moved up to Palm Beach. The 34th rounder in the 2011 MLB draft out of UCLA jumped right to full season Quad Cities to start his first full year in the minors and then was promoted to Palm Beach in June. Let's focus on his Palm Beach numbers:

G

PA

BABIP

LD%

GB%

OFB%

K%

BB%

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Rahmatulla

45

167

.183

8.9%

40.2%

35.7%

21.0%

11.4%

.147

.248

.224

.472

Lg Avg

-

-

.306

16.0%

42.4%

30.1%

19.1%

8.5%

.255

.327

.373

.700

BABIP is a little lower in Palm Beach with better pitchers and better defenders all over the field, but Rahmatulla may have set some sort of record. Similar to Carson Kelly, Rahmatulla was not squaring up the ball for line drives in Palm Beach and was hitting more fly balls than average. However, that does not make up the difference in the BABIP completely. His walk rate increased from Quad Cities to Palm Beach, so he was obviously seeing the ball well. The Cards might push him to Springfield next year with only Rule 5 pickup Matt Cerda and Jermaine Curtis ahead of him on the depth chart in the minors.

Roberto De La Cruz

Poor Roberto De La Cruz. Any other player who had not received the bonus De La Cruz did ($1.1 million) would have been out of the organization by now, but let's take a look at De La Cruz's 250 PAs at Quad Cities in 2012.

Aff

G

PA

BABIP

LD%

GB%

OFB%

K%

BB%

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

De La Cruz

61

250

.265

13.1%

50.6%

26.1%

26.8%

2.0%

.207

.229

.306

.535

Lg Avg

-

-

.304

15.1%

44.4%

28.5%

19.5%

8.6%

.253

.326

.378

.704

De La Cruz was actually making some good contact, with only 2% below the league average for line drive percentage. However, he pounds over 50% of his balls in play into the ground as ground balls and he isn't going to get a lot of hits that way. His BABIP of .265 is still low, so expect an improvement next season. That being said, his K% and BB% are dreadful and will have to come up to at least league average to make any difference as a prospect going forward.

But, he is only going to be 21 years old next year and will probably repeat in low-A, but at the new affiliate in Peoria.

Ronny Gil

Mr. Gil has always been a favorite of Future Redbirds, even when he went by his old name, Grabriel Hernandez. He's always been able to play shortstop, but his offense is the big question mark. And when he is unlucky at the plate, it really hurts his value.

Aff

G

PA

BABIP

LD%

GB%

OFB%

K%

BB%

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Gil

119

456

.286

12.8%

49.1%

24.4%

21.3%

5.9%

.224

.275

.293

.568

Lg Avg

-

-

.306

16.0%

42.4%

30.1%

19.1%

8.5%

.255

.327

.373

.700

Like De La Cruz, Gil hit a LD% that was slightly below average and hit an above average percentage into the ground. His K rate and walk rate are way below average as well. However, expect Gil's speed to give him an above average BABIP like the .337 BABIP he had in Quad Cities last year going forward and his numbers to improve accordingly.

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