A Minors Obsession

Catching up on the minor leagues

Scooter Gennett may be the story of Cincinnati right now after his historic night, but about an hour after the game news broke that the team had agreed to sign Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia for $5M. That will actually cost the organization $10M after they pay the penalty to sign him. I was able to talk with someone about the shortstop yesterday who had some good things to say about him if you’d like to read up on him. It’s the third multi-million dollar signing the team has paid out for a Cuban export in this signing period.

Players turning things around

Early season overreactions are a tradition as old as time (OK, maybe not time – but they are old). Several players got out to slow starts in the minor leagues in 2017, even some big prospect names. One of those guys was Aristides Aquino. On May 10th the reigning Minor League Hitter of the Year was triple-slashing .148/.212/.259 with 43 strikeouts and six walks in 118 plate appearances. To say that’s bad would be the understatement of the century. Over the next 24 games he’s been an entirely different player. In 102 plate appearances over the span he’s hit .301/.363/.581 with nine walks and just 20 strikeouts. While it may not be entirely what fueled his turn around, he did make some changes in his swing/stance in May.

Taylor Trammell, another top position player in the system, struggled in April. He hit .222/.312/.309 in 21 games played. Everything has changed since the calendar stopped reading “April”. The 19-year-old outfielder has played in 29 games since and has hit .306/.402/.559 with eight doubles, seven triples and two home runs. He has also stolen seven bases.

The top prospect in the organization had a bit of a slump to begin the year, too. Nick Senzel hit just .239/.311/.313 in the first 17 games of the season for Daytona. Over the next 37 games he has hit better than you would expect for the league, even for a top prospect in baseball. Over 161 plate appearances, Senzel has hit .333/.391/.537 with 16 doubles, a triple and four home runs. The Florida State League is, and has been for as long as I can recall, been the most pitcher friendly league in baseball.

The 2017 Draft

The draft takes place Monday through Wednesday. My normal articles run on Wednesday here at Redleg Nation, but with the draft taking place on those days my weekly column will be be pushed until later in the week or just skip a week depending on exactly how things are working out. Maybe I can join Chad for a podcast after the draft next week to talk about things (no pressure, Chad…. but, I’ve now put it out there, so, there’s pressure).

10 thoughts on “Catching up on the minor leagues

  1. Thanks as always for the updates Doug. We all know not to get too worked up about slow starts, but then we do it anyway. Terrific to see that Aquino, Trammell and especially Senzel are hitting really well again.

  2. I like that they are spending the salary that they are saving on MLB players in the International market (Cuba).

    Doug: Can you fill us in on how much they are are allowed to spend going forward? 2017? 2018? And what penalties, if any, would be involved?

    • They can spend their full international draft pool, but the penalty is that they can spend no more than $300,000 on one particular player. They’ll either just save their money, trade some of their international cap the next two years, or sign a lot more of the $100K-$300k players and no big dollar IFA’s.

      • To add to this, there is one exception to the amount they can spend. Players signed out of the Mexican League are a different situation. These players are already signed to deals with those clubs, but the best prospects are always sold off to big league teams as teenagers. Those teams are allowed to keep up to 75% of the signing bonus paid for the player. Only the money that goes to the player actually counts towards the spending limits imposed by MLB. So, in theory, the Reds could still sign guys out of Mexico and spend just over $1M on a guy if they really like a player a lot.

    • Many of the FSL stadiums are spring training sites for the ML teams. They are large in the power alleys and in straightaway CF. Not all, but many. Most alleys are 385 ft. and longer. Some CF are over 400 ft. Some fields down the lines are less than 330 ft., but they make up for it in the alleys. Google FSL stadiums on Wiki and it will bring you a list of all the stadiums. Click on each stadium and it will take to the stadium page which has the distances. Some big fields, but a couple like GABP.

    • What WVRedlegs said, then toss in the weather factor and it all adds up.

      With that said, Daytona is the most hitter friendly park in that league.

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