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Morning Notes, April 15, 2010

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Morning Notes, April 15, 2010

**I'm working on the high school pitcher thing, and should have the first half done for you later today or tomorrow. Other items on today's agenda: a Crystal Ball for Edwin Jackson, and a Prospect Retro Redux for Zach Duke.

**I wrote yesterday that Tyson Ross reminded me of Scott Erickson. I got a note from a baseball friend last night who pointed out that Ross' mechanics are nothing like Erickson's and that the comp didn't really fit.
    I should have been more clear that I was seeing Ross as a potential statistical/sabermetric comp to Erickson rather than a purely physical or stylistic one.
     When scouts speak of comparable players, they are looking at guys who are similar physically, or who (especially in the case of pitchers) have similar mechanics and styles. On the other hand, a sabermetric comp looks at the statistical performance of the player. For example, when Mark Teahen first came up with the Royals in 2005, I comped him with Joe Randa. Of course, Teahen and Randa are nothing alike physically: Teahen is much bigger and stronger, hits from the left side, etc. A scout would scoff at such a comparison. What I meant was that I expected Teahen to produce numbers similar to Joe Randa.
    How did that turn out? Randa was a career .284/.339/.426 hitter, .765 OPS, OPS+ of 96. Teahen so far is a career .269/.332/.419 hitter, .751 OPS, OPS+ of 98. Not too far off with the bat. Teahen didn't develop into as good of a defensive player as Randa did, though he's been versatile at least.
    Sometimes I do make more traditional comparisons/comps about a player's tools or physicality. In the future, I will make it clear whether I'm talking about a traditional comp or a statistical/sabermetric one.

**Jake Arrieta has yet to allow a run in 12 innings pitched at Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles prospect has given up just six hits. On the other hand, his 7/6 K/BB isn't too impressive. I would be wary of promoting him just yet; the strikeouts and walks don't support the other numbers at this point, sample size risk caveat of course. Still, throwing 12 shutout innings is better than not throwing 12 shutout innings, and I still see him as a candidate for the second half.

**I mentioned Twins '09 first rounder Kyle Gibson in the morning notes yesterday. So far for High-A Fort Myers, he's given up 10 hits and five runs (three earned) in 9.2 innings of work over two starts, but with a 13/2 K/BB and a 4.00 GO/AO. You have to like the K/BB, K/IP, and strong ground ball rates. Best of all, he's healthy and showing no ill-effects from last spring's forearm problems.

**Dodgers prospect Chris Withrow had a rough start yesterday for Double-A Chattanooga, giving up seven hits and six runs in 2.2 innings, fanning one but walking two. His first start on April 8th was much better: six innings, three hits, two runs, four strikeouts, one walk. Sample size, etc. I love Withrow, but I do hope Dodgers fans can be patient with this one. He needs a full year in the upper minors to refine his command; I don't think this is a guy who should be rushed.

**Giants fans are wondering of outfielder Thomas Neal, who tore up the California League last year, can repeat his success in the more difficult environment of Double-A Richmond. So far, the results aren't too great: he's 5-for-29 (.172) with three walks and seven strikeouts. On the other hand, he's knocked three doubles, and of course at this point in the season the small sample sizes preclude any broad conclusions. We'll track him closely as the season moves forward.