MuchO GustO now shifts to a potentially irregular look at groups of positions. First up is the corner infielders. On the major league level, there seems to be opportunities. Should the incumbents be looking over their shoulders?
The good: ....
Brandon Snyder: The 24 year old had nothing short of a disaster in 2011: 261/312/406/718 with 91 strikeouts in 448 at bats walking 32 times.
24 year old Josh Bell brought some power to AAA in 2011, but posted the following slash line: 253/320/438/758. He struck out a whopping 118 times in 395 at bats, walking 40 times. His BABIP was 311 and his OPS+ dropped from last year's mark of 116 to 107. Between the strikeouts and his unsuccessful major league trials, I'm not sure he would get claimed if taken off the 40 man.
The meh is below the jump, with some fine young gentlemen!
Irish Joe Mahoney: I think there are some reasons to believe in Joe Mahoney. The 24 year old struggled to stay healthy again, playing in 88 games in 2011, but did OK when healthy: 289/344/502/845. Decent in all those categories, but also didn't stand out either, which is something you would want to see in a 24 year old in Bowie...and those numbers may have been inflated by a 363 BABIP. Concerning is the 84 Ks in 315 at bats (!), and he drew only 25 walks in 355 plate appearances.
I want to believe in Aaron Baker perhaps because I wasn't completely against signing Silky D. But the reality is that his torrid Frederick stay was a result of SSS and high BABIP. For the year, across two levels (A+/AA) and 3 minor league stops, the 23 year old put up the following line: 284/348/458/806.
Tyler Townsend's 2011 was a lot like his 2010: flashes of greatness, injuries and some disconcerting flaws. At first glance, Townsend put up some really nice numbers: 317/358/583/941. But. His BABIP was 383 and he struck out 64 times in 252 at bats and drew 11 walks. 11. There is a ton of power in that bat of his, but you have to think unless he makes some serious strides, he will be exposed in the Eastern League. Let's hope not.
22 year old All Star Ty Kelly is a guy you want to succeed, a 13th round pick who manages to walk more than he strikes out (168 to 173 in his minor league career). And not making outs is the most important thing a hitter can do. But another good thing a hitter can do is get extra base hits and that's not Kelly's forte. His line for 2011 in Salisbury: 274/369/328/697
Speaking of which, 19 year old Connor Narron did one thing extremely well in Aberdeen: draw walks. But other parts of game need to be developed: 211/359/254/614. So, will the SAL not bother walking him, or will his strikezone judgment give him the discipline he will need to figure out which pitches to drive effectively, if he can do that? Given that he walked more than he struck out (49 to 47), I am willing to call him a grinder, and the Orioles are short on grinders.
So, what does this mean? I don't know, for sure. But it really is frustrating that the minor league system cannot produce a corner infield prospect that can at the very least compete for at bats. There are some things to like about each of these players mentioned above, but can any one of them put it together?