A Minors Obsession

Who limited hard contact in 2016?

Yesterday I wrote the season review for recent 40-man roster addition Ariel Hernandez over at my site while doing my daily countdown of one of the Cincinnati Reds Top 25 Prospects List. The right hander resurrected his career with the Reds, dominating for both the Dayton Dragons and the Daytona Tortugas in 2016 – striking out 29% of the batters he faced on the season with an ERA of 2.18 between the two stops.

What really jumped out to me, though, while researching things to write about his season, as the fact that Ariel Hernandez allowed just three doubles and one home run all season long. He faced 258 batters on the season. They slugged .164 against him. Watch the video below and you will begin to understand why no one could hit against him.

It was that set of stats that pushed me to look at everyone in the organization to see how they stacked up. I looked at every pitcher who threw at least 50.0 innings in the minor leagues for the Reds organization in the 2016 season. I then broke down the 45 pitchers into two groups – starters and relievers (Barrett Astin and Ismael Guillon, who both split time in both roles, were included in the relievers section). Given the difference in how many batters guys faced, rather than just look at total extra-base hit totals, I thought it would be better to look at isolated power. That is simply subtracting batting average against from slugging percentage against.

Top 5 Starting Pitchers in limiting hard contact

Player PA  2B  3B  HR  OPSa IsoPa
Jacob Constante 473 21 1 2 .698 .070
Austin Orewiler 572 27 4 3 .724 .085
Keury Mella 611 22 1 8 .730 .089
Amir Garrett 585 25 3 6 .566 .095
Ian Kahaloa 216 5 1 4 .563 .096

Looking at the starting pitchers list, we see something interesting. The top three pitchers didn’t exactly have successful years. Both Constante and Orewiler spent the entire year with Dayton, where the league average ERA was 3.52. Both pitchers had ERA’s over 4.00. Keury Mella had an ERA of 3.90 for Daytona. The league average ERA was 3.58.

On the flip side, both Amir Garrett and Ian Kahaloa dominated during the 2016 season. The big difference was simply limiting contact overall. Garrett and Kahaloa missed a lot of bats during the season, while the other three had low strikeout rates. They allowed plenty of contact, but most of it was singles instead of extra-base hits.

Top 5 Relievers in limiting hard contact

Player PA 2B 3B HR OPSa IsoPa
Ariel Hernandez 258 3 0 1 .437 .028
Alejandro Chacin 258 5 0 2 .591 .049
Evan Mitchell 252 5 1 2 .576 .057
Nick Routt 276 10 0 2 .558 .065
Wendolyn Bautista 318 8 0 4 .622 .070

The relievers list looks quite a bit different from the starters list. The Isolated Power numbers are significantly lower – though that’s not entirely unexpected. Relievers rarely see a hitter twice in a game. The list also had pitchers that dominated during the season from #1-5. Evan Mitchell had the worst ERA of the bunch, coming in at 2.87 on the season. The others, posted ERA’s of 2.18 (Hernandez), 1.78 (Chacin), 1.98 (Routt) and 2.51 (Bautista).

Between the two lists, we will see a lot of these guys in spring training. Amir Garrett, Keury Mella and Ariel Hernandez are on the 40-man roster. Alejandro Chacin, Evan Mitchell and Nick Routt all received non-roster invites to big league camp as well.

5 thoughts on “Who limited hard contact in 2016?

  1. I love seeing Garrett continue to develop and am excited for whenever he’s ready for a crack at the rotation. For a guy who hasn’t been a full time baseball player for long his steady improvement is very encouraging. And Hernandez and Chacin both look good. Here’s hoping they continue to dominate as they move Jo through the system. The strength of the Reds farm system is definitely on the mound, and I’m excited to see the upgrades (and, hopefully, stability) that will bring to the rotation and the bullpen in Cincinnati. Thanks Doug.

  2. I’ve updated the post. Not sure if it was this way for everyone but I couldn’t see the IsoP against column, as it was blending in with the sidebar, and that was the column of the most value

    • Doug, great analysis and insight. Thanks for the work.

      What is the prospect for Ariel Hernandez going forward? Does he stay a reliever? Do you think at this point he might rocket up through the farm system?

  3. I saw a nice, consistent arm-slot and arm-action. I saw a big-league curve and late life on the fastball. I think I saw a changeup in there as well and it looked good. Does he really have 3-pitches?

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