Monday, June 29, 2009

Followup on Hitters

I said I would get back to you about some of the hitters from the 2009 draft, so here we go.

First off, let's look at third-round pick outfielder Telvin Nash. To this point, Nash has 16 professional at-bats and sports a .250 average. He's played all but one of his games at home, and the one away game he played in was as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. Nash has struck out four times and walked once, which is not a great ratio, but we have a very, very small sample size. Even though his only extra-base hit was a double, Nash and the team have been productive when he bats third in an inning, as the Astros have scored four runs in the four innings when he's batted third. As for his spray chart, Nash has been a pull-hitter this week and hit seven of the 12 batted balls on the ground. When he does hit it in the air, however, Nash has squared up on the ball pretty well, hitting the majority of his fly balls to center field. Again, sample size needs to be considered but we'll check back with Nash later on.

Jonathan Meyer has had a rocky start to his big league career, sporting a .071/.133/.179 line after Monday's game. At one point, the opposing team walked the bases loaded with two outs to face Meyer; he flied out to left field to end the inning. Meyer is just scuffling right now, a teenager trying to play professional baseball. He has had little luck at the plate, too, which has hurt his batting stats. Meyer is 1 for 10 on ground balls and 0 for 7 on fly balls in play, which are both under the expected averages for those hit types. With a couple lucky hops, his numbers will rebound. He's also using more of the field than the first few games, with a 10-2-6 split on hits to left-center-right fields. His defense has also been solid, converting 90.48% of his fielding chances and starting one double play. Meyer has seen almost all of his time at third base, but did start at short last night, making four plays in nine innings, including three putouts. Meyer has a range factor of 2.50 at third base which is pretty solid for the position.

Brandon Wikoff is the only college hitter I got a profile done on, and he's sort of an interesting case. His defense is very solid, converting 89.13% of the 46 plays he's fielded. The fifth-round pick out of the University of Illinois-Champagne has turned four double plays and helped either pick off or catch five runners stealing. In 67 innings at shortstop, Wikoff has a Range Factor of 5.51 and has 15 putouts, 26 assists and two errors. Both gaffes were fielding errors and came in is first three games. Wikoff gets to a ton of balls, it seems and has a fairly steady glove. He also appears to be the kind of heads-up player you'd expect to come out of a four-year college, helping make numerous plays in rundown situations. His bat is his weakness right now, but he profiles as sort of a J.B. Shuck-type: he hits the ball a ton on the ground (70.37% of balls in play are grounders), but he also hits for a .263 average on ground balls. He also has been a tad unlucky thus far, since only one of his three line drives have fallen for hits. He will definitely be interesting to follow.

While Nash and Meyer have combined to hit just one line drive (which was caught for an out), Jiovanni Mier has been scalding the ball, picking up both his singles on line drives. The first-round pick has also been something of a good luck charm for the Greeneville team. In eight innings where he's come to bat, the Astros have scored 14 runs while Mier has scored three himself. As a comparison, Meyer has come to bat in 25 innings and the Astros have scored 21 runs, mostly in the big inning category (where Meyer batted fifth or later). Mier saw the team score 12 of those 14 runs when he batted second in the inning. Defensively, Mier has been okay, missing one play in the field but making three put outs by catching two line drives and a pop up, assisting on three plays and making one fielder's choice out. In his two games, he's only seen 19 ground balls and didn't make or see one play in his first start three days ago.

Another guy who caught my attention was 15th round pick Ryan Humphrey out of St. Louis CC Meramac. I didn't have any scouting video on him after the draft, but he has played with a lot of speed in his seven games with Greeneville. The 20-year old is 9 for 24 with a triple, four runs scored, three RBIs, one walk and seven strikeouts. Humphrey was successful on both of his stolen base attempts and even helped manufacture a run in one of the box scores I looked at, reaching with a single, then stealing second before scoring on a single to right field. His speed is definitely there, so hopefully he continues to showcase it.

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