Wednesday, December 01, 2004

"Organizational Recap" on

Yesterday MLB posted an article reviewing the 2004 performance of the Nationals' farm teams. None of the teams last year had a winning season:

League (Level) Team W L PCT
Pacific Coast (AAA) Edmonton 69 74 .483
Eastern (AA) Harrisburg 52 90 .366
Florida State (A) Brevard County 53 72 .424
S. Atlantic (A) Savannah 58 80 .420
NY-Penn (SS) Vermont 34 38 .472
Gulf Coast (R) GCL Expos 22 38 .367

Two of the teams here aren't our affiliates next year, AAA Edmonton and A Brevard County. Instead, we have AAA New Orleans Zephyers (66-79, .455 PCT) and the Potomac Cannons (20-40, .429 PCT).

They also recapped the year of five people they had previously identified as prospects to watch. Two were on the major league roster, so let's look briefly at those guys:

  • Chad Cordero, who did well on our major league roster as a setup man and occasional closer. He was the #7 rookie pitcher by VORP, with a 24.4. His 2.94 ERA, 1.34 WHIP are not as impressive as his stretch at the end of the year, where from the end of August through the end of the year, he threw 16.2 innings and gave up 1 earned run, with a 1.02 WHIP and 10.26 K/9.

  • Terrmel Sledge, .269/.336/.462 18.1 VORP over 133 games, which is not bad at all for a rookie outfielder. In fact, he ranked 11 by VORP for major league rookie position players. Adjusting for pitching, park factors, etc., his EqA for the year was .265, which is still better than the MLB average of .260. Realistically, Sledge is going to be competing for playing time next year with Endy Chavez, who hit .277/.318/.371 with a 14.5 VORP over 132 games. Chavez is much better at making contact, striking out every 13.3 PAs as opposed to every 6.6 for Sledge. But he has a miserable walk rate (once every 17.7 PAs compared to Sledge's still unimpressive 1/10.95 PAs). Overall, while Chavez is likely to get the bulk of the playing time initially, I would much rather see Sledge out there. Sledge is better at getting on base, and actually has some power, explaining the higher VORP over the same number of games (and, 94 fewer PAs). The difference shows up quite well when looking at EqA, where Chavez hits well under the league average with a .244.


At 10:11 AM, Blogger Yuda said...

"Two of the teams here aren't our affiliates next year, AAA Edmonton and A Brevard County. Instead, we have AAA New Orleans Zephyers (66-79, .455 PCT) and the Potomac Cannons (20-40, .429 PCT)."

How does that work, exactly? Do they just move the previous players and coaches out of New Orleans and Manassas entirely, and move our guys in? Weird.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger John said...

Great question. I actually don't understand the way that relationships with minor league affiliates work all that well myself. What I currently believe may be wrong, and it is this:

- Usually, major league teams are only affiliated with minor league teams, and do not own them.
- Major league teams own contracts for minor league players, and have agreements for those players to be on the rosters of their affiliates when the major league team wants them there.
- Minor league teams themselves may own a few contracts. If so, the major league team affiliated has some sort of working relationship like a right of first refusal.

I'd actually assume that most minor league teams don't own too many players themselves, or make too many of their own roster decisions. But since it looks like there can be unaffiliated teams, it's got to be possible.

Maybe someone more knowledgable will fill us in. Otherwise, I'll try to research that question eventually.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Randolph said...

My impression is that all the players move to the new team when the affiliation changes -- that's what happened when the Orioles moved from Rochester to Ottawa. I imagine that's the case even further down the chain.

On the Sledge issue, I'd also rather see him than Chavez, and I think that the writeup overstates Sledge's strikeouts as a problem. Sure it sounds bad if you say that he struck out once every 6.6 AB, but the numbers work out to a 83.4% contact rate, which is pretty good for someone with any kind of power. He had a very solid 40:66 BB:K over 398 AB. He's even further ahead of Chavez offensively than the writeup implies. I just don't know if he can be a full time CF.

If he can, I'd love to get rid of Chavez altogether if anyone wants him in a trade (or else relegate him to defensive sub), and go with Wilkerson, Sledge, Guillen; when Johnson gets hurt again and Wilkerson returns to first base you can have a Church/Davis platoon in left. Not too scary, but you need to see what these guys can do, not just stuff them at the end of the bench.


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