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September 23, 2006

Minor League Review, Part 3: Bakersfield Blaze Hitters

The League: Unlike the Midwest League, the California League favors hitters. The ten-team league had 23 players with an OPS of .800 or better; the thirteen-team Midwest had only eleven. Though not a slugger’s paradise, the league did permit batters to hit .275 and reach base at a .350 clip in 2006, both above American League levels to date. In terms of runs scored and batting line (average/on-base/slugging), the league most closely resembles the American League from 1937-1940.

California League vs American League
Runs Scored 8% higher
Runs Allowed 10% higher
ERA 2% higher
Batting Average .001 higher
On-Base Percentage .011 higher
Slugging Percentage .023 lower
Walk Rate 9% higher
Strikeout Rate 17% higher

The Park: Bakersfield’s Sam Lynn Ballpark is 328 down the lines and a mere 356 to center… and it’s (slightly) a pitcher’s park. The outfield fences are fifteen feet high, and the park faces the “wrong” way, with the sun setting in center field. Games often don't start until after 8:00pm, when the sun dips behind an auxiliary fence beyond center field.

Sam Lynn Ballpark,
1-Year Park Factors
Runs 0.99
Average 0.98
On-Base Percentage 0.99
Slugging Percentage 0.98
Walks 1.01
Strikeouts 1.06

The Team: All hail Emerson Frostad! The 376th pick of the 2003 draft switched from third to catcher and would have led the California League in OPS with an additional 48 quality plate appearances. Texas must now decide whether to add Frostad to the 40-man roster; if not, he’ll be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Fellow ’03 draftees Wes Littleton, Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman already occupy slots and John Danks will join them soon. Frostad turns 24 next January. ’04 seventh-rounder Ben Harrison also hit well, finishing fifth in the league in OPS and earning a July promotion to AA Frisco. He celebrated his 25th birthday this week, rather old for a prospect. Tim Hulett hit for average and showed ridiculous patience in both Bakersfield and Frisco. 22-year-old Steven Murphy doesn’t walk much but popped 38 doubles and 19 homers.

At the other end, Ian Gac hasn’t hit at any level, and Phillip Hawke and Justin Hatcher are out of the organization. Freddie Thon had a 101 OPS+ but stepped back from a nice 2005 in Spokane, losing his home-run stroke and walking one-third less often than Ozzie Guillen (no joke).

Player
POS
G
OPS
OPS+
AVG
AVG+
OBP
OBP+
SLG
SLG+
ISO
ISO+
BB%
BB%+
SO%
SO%+
Net Steals
Emerson
Frostad
C
79
.942
149
.320
119
.389
113
.553
136
.233
170
11.0%
117
18.9%
100
-11
Ben
Harrison
OF
87
.917
143
.293
109
.397
115
.520
128
.227
166
12.9%
137
20.4%
93
3
Tim
Hulett, Jr.
IF
77
.840
125
.291
108
.415
120
.426
105
.135
99
17.4%
186
17.4%
109
5
Steven
Murphy
OF
116
.842
121
.283
105
.335
97
.506
124
.223
163
6.2%
66
17.8%
106
-6
Jayce
Tingler
OF
56
.807
117
.330
123
.432
125
.375
92
.045
33
13.8%
147
6.7%
284
-9
Brandon
Boggs
OF
78
.795
111
.261
97
.352
102
.444
109
.183
134
12.3%
131
18.2%
104
5
German
Duran
SS
114
.778
106
.284
106
.331
96
.446
110
.162
118
7.1%
76
16.3%
116
-3
Freddie
Thon
1B
53
.757
101
.321
119
.335
97
.422
104
.101
74
2.2%
24
13.8%
137
-4
Adam
Fox
3B
77
.732
94
.256
95
.324
94
.408
100
.152
111
8.5%
91
15.0%
126
-1
Roberto
Valiente
OF
57
.712
90
.287
107
.340
99
.372
91
.085
62
6.0%
64
17.9%
106
-2
Micah
Furtado
2B
103
.710
89
.249
93
.333
97
.377
93
.128
93
10.3%
110
17.5%
108
-9
Luke
Grayson
OF
51
.699
85
.225
84
.289
84
.410
101
.185
135
5.3%
57
25.2%
75
-4
Mauro
Gomez
3B
59
.678
79
.258
96
.279
81
.399
98
.141
103
2.7%
29
25.0%
76
1
Juan
Gonzalez
SS
59
.633
69
.237
88
.311
90
.322
79
.085
62
9.4%
101
21.6%
88
5
Phillip
Hawke
1B
36
.621
67
.220
82
.318
92
.303
74
.083
61
12.6%
134
23.3%
81
1
Ian
Gac
1B
55
.588
55
.188
70
.242
70
.346
85
.158
115
5.9%
63
31.8%
59
3
Justin
Hatcher
C
32
.553
50
.228
85
.316
92
.238
58
.010
7
10.6%
113
20.5%
92
0
TEAM
TOTALS
140
.753
100
.268
100
.339
98
.413
101
.145
106
9.1%
97
19.1%
99
-30
Park-Adjusted League Average
.751
.269
.345
.407
.138
9.4%
18.9%
-11

About the stats: See the post on Clinton’s hitters for explanations and caveats.

Posted by Lucas at September 23, 2006 02:20 AM