Two guys from the Twins.
First is Wilson Ramos, whom some of us were very high on coming into this year as he has great tools and athleticism, hit very well as a young player in the MWL, and is supposed to have the defensive chops to stay at catcher.
His season thus far in the FSL: 253/307/392. Pretty ugly.
But! His line in his home park: 213/272/309. His line on the road: 287/337/465.
His road numbers are I think what most people were expecting to see this year. So, am I just cherry picking? I'm not sure.
Looking at the league's home/road splits, you'll see that Ramos' team, the Ft. Myers Miracles, have an OPS of 617 at home and 703 on the road. (Oddly enough, the difference is less pronounced for their pitchers who give up a 646 OPS at home and 674 on the road, the difference being, like for the hitters, almost exclusively in the slugging dept).
He really struggled in April, with a 609 OPS, put up 780 in May with almost all of that in the slugging dept (505), and 706 OPS in June with almost all of that in OBP (365). My hope is that in July and August he puts his skill set back together and maybe even ends up with year end rates that approach his road OPS.
The thing that makes me think that might NOT happen is this: his OPS is 801 versus starters but 591 versus relievers. Either there are some mighty tough relievers in the FSL, or Ramos is getting tired at the end of games: his BABIP vs starters is 346 and 253 vs relievers. I think this also points to decreases in bat and foot speed as the game progresses.
My optimistic guess is that there is room here for a rebound, that we weren't mistaken about his skill set and acumen but that two obstacles (his home park and his fatigue) are depressing his production. Of course, major league caliber players conquer those obstacles, and that's why I'm interested in seeing his performance over the rest of this season. I don't think everything hinges on the 2nd half, but if he DOES start putting things together, then I think he's demonstrated that difficult extra quality of being able to make adjustments that separate the successful from the merely talented.
The second guy I'm interested in is more under-the-radar than even Ramos: Michael Tarsi, the huge, 6'8" lefty pitcher also in the Twins organization. 21 years old in the Midwest League, and with an ugly ERA for that league: 5.48. But, like David Hernandez of the Orioles before this year, I think the ERA belies the interesting peripherals and profile.
So far, 83 k's and 23 walks in 95 innings, and with a 1.82 ground to air out ratio. The bad news: 12 homers, and a .316 average against.
He is supposed to work his fastball around 90, and is much tougher on lefties than righties.
Last year, he had a great first year in the Appy league: 59/13/0 k/bb/hr ratio in 52 innings. Also had a .238 batting average against. And a 2.22 ERA.
Other than the homers, the difference in the ERA b/w the two years is the BAA. The big story there might well be the BABIP: this year it is an ungodly .370.
His ratios otherwise are good to okay: 8.43 k/9; 2.33 bb/9; 1.22 hr/9, and a lot of that seems to be due to his home park 932 OPS against at home versus 714 on the road.
I'm curious about these home/road splits w/ Ramos and Tarsi. In Beloit this year, the hitters have a 90 point BETTER OPS at home than on the road, and a 315 BABIP at home vs 282 on the road. The pitchers are also better at home than on the road, by 60 points OPS, and give up a 297 BABIP at home and 309 on the road.
So the home park at Beloit is a hitter's park for the hitters and pitcher's park for the pitchers.
I'm kind of tired and could be messing this all up.