Double-A Transition Monitor: Brandon Waring, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Orioles prospect Brandon Waring hit .273/.354/.520 last year for Frederick in the Carolina League, with 26 homers, 35 doubles, 51 walks, and 121 strikeouts in 473 at-bats. He got into eight late-season games for Double-A Bowie, hitting .292/.414/.542. The question for 2010: how would he look in a full season against Double-A pitching? Would his problems with plate discipline and contact overwhelm his power potential? He was age 24 entering '10, so he wasn't exactly young.
The results: .242/.338/.458 with 32 doubles, 22 homers, 59 walks, and 179 strikeouts in 472 at-bats. There was little change in his Isolated Power, and his walk rate actually improved a little compared to Frederick. But the strikeouts got totally out of control, jumping from 25.5% of his at-bats in 2009 to 37.9% in 2010. This cost him 30 points of batting average, and certainly leads to questions about how he would handle even more advanced pitching.
The fact that he did maintain his power and walk rate does give some reason for hope, but he's got to do a better job not chasing bad pitches for his batting average and OBP to be remotely acceptable for a corner player. He turns 25 in January, so he needs a good season in 2011 to stay in the picture.