Double-A Transition Monitor
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins: 2009 first-rounder Gibson got off to an excellent start in the Florida State League this year: 1.87 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB in 43 innings, 33 hits, 3.67 GO/AP, 3.10 FIP. Promoted to Double-A in May, he posted a 3.68 ERA, 77/22 K/BB in 93 innings, 91 hits, 2.16 GO/AO, 3.23 FIP. The transition to better competition saw his strikeout rate decline and his ground ball percentage drop, moving from 63.9% at Fort Myers to 53.1% at New Britain. A late promotion to Triple-A resulted in 12 hits and five runs in 15.2 innings, with a 9/5 K/BB and a 1.38 GO/AO. Overall, Gibson went 11-6, 2.96 with a 126/39 K/BB in 152 innings, with 136 hits and a 2.31 GO/AO. He was shut down in late August and placed on the DL with an ankle injury, but it wasn't a serious thing and it was done mainly to keep his innings load down. The best news is that Gibson was fully healthy this year, after the injury scare that cost him at least 10 spots in the 2009 draft. I gave him a B- in the book due to concerns about his health, but he's a Grade B+ for me now that he's passed the transition successfuly and proven his health.
Dee Gordon, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers: Dee Gordon skipped a level this year, jumping to Double-A from the Midwest League. The results: .277/.332/.355, -6 percent OPS, compared to .301/.362/.394, +8 percent OPS in 2009. He stole 73 bases in 98 attempts (74%) last year; this dropped to 53 in 73 attempts this year (73%), almost identical. His BB/K ratio was almost the same, 43/90 in 601 PA last year, 40/89 in 614 PA this year, well within what could be expected by random variation. He lost some Isolated Power (.093 last year, .077 this year), but the main difference between the two seasons was batting average, driven by a 32-point decline in BABIP (.355 to .323).
So, was the decline just a matter of worse luck and better Double-A defenses? Scouting reports still point to extremely impressive speed and athleticism, but with a still-raw approach at the plate and on the field. His error rate remains too high. For a positive spin, consider that he did skip a level, and that his hitting components hardly budged at all. I gave him a Grade B+ last year. Right now he's still somewhere in the Grade B range for me and I might leave him at a B+, which would likely strike some as overly optimistic.