Boyd's World-> The Old Dogs Report -- 2002 Year in Review-> Current Report Write the author, Boyd Nation

The Old Dogs Report -- 2002 Year in Review

Written November 13, 2002.

The good: Rafael Palmeiro is still Rafael Palmeiro, Adam Piatt got playoff at bats, Travis Chapman had a fantastic half-season, and Eric Dubose got to make his major league debut. The bad: Not much really, among the guys who got to play, although some of them are older than they should be for the level they're at. We'll call it a good year.

The usual disclaimer: These are all guys that I love and respect, but this is the extreme end of the talent curve we're talking about, and there's no shame in being one of the 3000 best in the world at something -- what it takes to make it to high A ball -- instead of being one of the few hundred best that it takes to get to the big leagues. This is as honest and accurate an assessment as I can make.

Dubose, Eric (1)    Rochester         Baltimore       International     AAA
Dubose, Eric (2)    Bowie             Baltimore       Eastern           AA
Dubose, Eric (3)    Baltimore         Baltimore       American          MLB
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Dubose(1)   1    27.0 0.1    2    1    0    1    2    0    0    0    0
Dubose(2)   41   2.51 64.2   21   18   66   46   21   2    5    3    3
Dubose(3)   2    4.50 2.0    1    1    2    2    0    1    0    0    0

After being all but forgotten by almost everyone in the game, Dubose turns into a potentially valuable find for the Orioles, of all teams. The AA performance was quite good, the arm strength appears to be almost all the way back, and he gets to go to spring training and fight for a job. I love it when it goes right for the good guys.

Ginter, Matt (1)    Charlotte         Chicago W Sox   International     AAA
Ginter, Matt (2)    Chicago W Sox     Chicago W Sox   American          MLB
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Ginter(1)   13   3.94 16.0   8    7    9    20   10   3    1    0    0
Ginter(2)   33   4.47 54.1   34   27   37   59   21   6    1    0    1

He's still developing slowly, but at least he's still developing. According to the Baseball Prospectus metrics, he was below average as a major league reliever this year, but above replacement level. He's wandering on into "established major leaguer" territory, which can improve his job prospects quite a bit. That said, I really hope he can pick it up a notch next year.

Powell, Jay (1)     Texas             Texas           American          MLB
Powell, Jay (2)     Tulsa             Texas           Texas             AA
Powell, Jay (3)     Oklahoma          Texas           Pacific Coast     AAA
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Powell(1)   48   3.61 47.1   26   19   32   48   22   5    3    2    0
Powell(2)   2    0.00 2.0    0    0    0    0    1    0    0    0    0
Powell(3)   8    12.3 8.0    11   11   8    14   3    2    2    0    0

This is an OK season. The aforementioned BP reliever metrics put him right around major league average, and 47 innings of average pitching has value. Unfortunately, he's an ex-World Series hero who makes $3 million a year, which may cause him some problems. He's only 30 (it only seems like he's been in the majors since 1980), so he'll hang on for a while, but the price tag may get him moved around a while and cut sooner than he would be otherwise.

Palmeiro, Rafael    Texas             Texas           American          MLB
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Palmeiro    149  .393 .581 .275 523  144  101  34   0    42   2    0    97

He was third in the AL in homers and walks, seventh in OPS, and he's two years younger than Barry Bonds. What else do you want? Admittedly, expecting him to keep this up forever is unlikely, but he's put the conditioning work in necessary to keep it up until here, and the knees seem to have healed well, so I'm actually more optimistic about 2003 than I was about 2002.

Piatt, Adam (1)     Sacramento        Oakland         Pacific Coast     AAA
Piatt, Adam (2)     Oakland           Oakland         American          MLB
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Piatt(1)    62   .385 .462 .295 234  69   35   15   0    8    4    3    46
Piatt(2)    53   .313 .417 .242 132  32   12   8    0    5    2    1    18

He was 1-3 with a double in the playoffs. That sums it all up pretty well, actually; he's a viable option for the A's, but he'll only be part of their plans if some other things to be decided that have little to do with him are decided in ways favorable to him. That said, Piatt's as likely as anyone to explode in 2003 -- his health problems of 2001 are far enough behind him for a strength burst, and it will be his 27-year-old season.

Brock, Tanner       GCL Reds          Cincinnati      Gulf Coast        Rookie
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Brock       1    0.00 2.1    0    0    2    2    0    0    0    0    0

Two innings, some tendinitis, and an early retirement. Brock was considered a fairly good prospect only two years ago, so there are a lot of index cards with his name on them out there; it wouldn't shock me to see him try to come back next year, but it's a long shot overall, so he may decide to just get on with life.

Carroll, Ryan       Jackson                           Central           Indy
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Carroll     15   5.55 24.1   21   15   18   27   14   1    0    2    0

The only thing to get excited about here is that he's still playing baseball, but that's something worth getting excited over, so I hope he gets to keep doing it.

Freed, Mark         West Tennessee    Chicago Cubs    Southern          AA
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Freed       29   5.16 132.   88   76   106  159  58   14   9    11   0

Not really smooth sailing this year for Freed, who probably got whiplash watching Mark Prior fly past him. He's still got the raw goods and enough past performance going for him, though, so I think he'll get another shot at this level next year.

Hooten, David       West Tennessee    Chicago Cubs    Southern          AA
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Hooten      65   1.30 76.0   13   11   66   49   19   4    5    1    9

Well, he's kind of old, and he's been through enough organizations to know every small American town by name, but, my word, 1.30? WHIP of 0.89? You're the Cubs, for crying out loud; you've got to have somebody to eat up innings when Baylor has worn out the good guys. Give him a chance! He'll be a minor league free agent again this year, so who knows where the Twister spinner will end up this time, but sooner or later, somebody's got to notice the numbers.

Larson, Adam        Bristol           Chicago W Sox   Appalachian       Rookie
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Larson      25   3.15 34.1   16   12   33   34   9    0    2    1    8

It's an extremely easy level for a 22-year-old (when I'm king, we equalize at one team per organization per level, and that's that), but it's always better to do well than do poorly, no matter the level of competition. He'll get another shot next year.

Medders, Brandon    Lancaster         Arizona         California        High A
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Medders     43   5.38 98.2   73   59   104  111  36   9    4    8    15

After last year's great start, this has to be a bit of a letdown, but he's still young for the level, so I think he's still in solid shape career-wise. Next year is probably a make-or-break season; he needs to get out of Lancaster before the year's over.

Reinike, Chris *    Kinston           Cleveland       Carolina          High A
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Reinike     1    0.00 2.0    0    0    2    0    0    0    0    0    0

The asterisk means he was hurt (like you couldn't have figured that out from the only one appearance). He also didn't get younger this year (knew that part already too, I'm guessing). Keep your fingers crossed here; Dubose shows that it's never really over, but Reinike needs to get moving again.

Thoms, Hank (1)     Kinston           Cleveland       Carolina          High A
Thoms, Hank (2)     Buffalo           Cleveland       International     AAA
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Thoms(1)    17   2.43 63.0   25   17   50   57   15   6    5    2    0
Thoms(2)    1    5.40 5.0    5    3    2    7    1    0    0    1    0

Well, he got to see Buffalo, and he didn't embarass himself in High A ball. Unfortunately, I expected him to spend the year in between the two in AA, so he didn't really make much progress organizationally this year. He'll be back, though, so I'm still cautiously optimistic.

Young, Chris        Tri-City          Colorado        Northwest         SS A
            G    ERA  IP     R    ER   SO   H    BB   HR   W    L    SV
Young       17   2.34 61.2   20   16   47   45   23   1    5    5    0

Not bad at all. There's a joke in there somewhere about struggling just for a chance to pitch in Denver, but Jason Jennings kind of dulled that this year. Young will get a pretty good shot at High A in spring training, I suspect.

Chapman, Travis     Reading           Philadelphia    Eastern           AA
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Chapman     136  .388 .473 .301 478  144  54   35   1    15   3    1    64

At the 70-game mark, he was sitting at .367/.453/.579. That's the only context in which .301/.388/.473 can be considered disappointing; nagging injuries mean that he's now got a half-season of good-but-not-great performance freshest in his bosses' minds. Still, he'll get a shot at AAA next year, where he spent the playoffs, and he has a really good chance to be the Phillies' third baseman of the future starting in 2004 if Chase Utley can't improve his defense. One hidden bonus is that Reading is a fairly severe pitcher's park -- even though he was low or missing on the leaders' board on straight stats by the end of the year, he was still second in the league in the Baseball Prospectus EqA stat, which is park-adjusted.

Curry, Chris (1)    Daytona           Chicago Cubs    Florida State     High A
Curry, Chris (2)    Iowa              Chicago Cubs    Pacific Coast     AAA
Curry, Chris (3)    West Tennessee    Chicago Cubs    Southern          AA
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Curry(1)    44   .310 .323 .245 155  38   15   12   0    0    2    0    16
Curry(2)    7    .190 .158 .105 19   2    1    1    0    0    0    0    0
Curry(3)    12   .216 .229 .171 35   6    1    2    0    0    0    0    4

Wouldn't this make for the coolest "What I Did This Summer" report ever? I'm not going to track the schedules for when he was on each team, but Curry has to have seen a good chunk of the country this year while serving as an organizational backup catcher this year.

Henry, Chad         Joliet                            Northern          Indy
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Henry       59   .336 .317 .261 199  52   22   6    1    1    3    3    15

The Northern League is probably the best of the independent leagues, which means that these numbers are better than they look, but there's no reason to think they'll draw much interest from organized baseball.

Knott, Jon (1)      Fort Wayne        San Diego       Midwest           Low A
Knott, Jon (2)      Lake Elsinore     San Diego       California        High A
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Knott(1)    37   .411 .548 .333 126  42   17   12   3    3    2    1    19
Knott(2)    93   .414 .540 .341 367  125  46   33   8    8    5    4    55

The .341 led the California League in batting average. He's a year behind normal developmental ages for High A. You (and the Padres) get to decide which is more important; I'm not sure. I do know that he gets to try again next year; he's the right age to be Ryan Klesko's understudy when Klesko starts to slip if one of the Padres' multitude of third base prospects doesn't slip over to first.

Martin, Ty (1)      Charlotte         Texas           Florida State     High A
Martin, Ty (2)      Tulsa             Texas           Texas             AA
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Martin(1)   115  .394 .475 .272 375  102  70   20   4    16   7    4    61
Martin(2)   4    .143 .308 .077 13   1    1    0    0    1    0    0    1

Those are respectable numbers this year, and he'll certainly get a shot in spring training to make it to Tulsa. He'd be better off if he could get away from first, since his numbers are borderline there.

Obradovich, Mark    Michigan          Houston         Midwest           Low A
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Obradovich  108  .331 .298 .225 356  80   55   15   1    3    8    7    43

I can't find any reference to how his defense is perceived; that's the piece that he really needs at this point. Those numbers will keep him in the game if his defense is strong and won't if it's not.

Wiese, Brian *      Sarasota          Boston          Florida State     High A
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R

Injured but on the roster all year.

Willingham, Philip  Richmond                          Frontier          Indy
            G    OBP  SLG  AVG  AB   H    BB   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   R
Willingham  83   .394 .580 .360 364  131  22   19   8    15   36   6    75

As far as I know, no Frontier League player has ever gone on to the major leagues. However, as I said earlier, it's always better to succeed where you are than to fail where you are, once you're there. For whatever it's worth, EqA, which is also league-adjusted, treats him kindly; those numbers translate to a worth-while High A first baseman, which is where he should be age-wise. Hopefully, he can catch on somewhere with more future next year based on this performance.

Players who played in 2001 and not in 2002:

Brantley, Jeff      Texas             Texas           American          MLB
Loewer, Carlton     San Diego         San Diego       National          MLB
Polk, Scott         St. Lucie         New York Mets   Florida State     High A
Rock, Jamie         Asheville         Colorado        South Atlantic    Low A
Shave, Jon          Pawtucket         Boston          International     AAA
Wren, Cliff         Canton                            Frontier          Indy

I wouldn't necessarily consider Loewer done, but everyone else most likely is.

And one I don't know anything else about:

Rath, Gary          Doosan Bears              Korean Baseball Organization

Boyd's World-> The Old Dogs Report -- 2002 Year in Review-> Current Report Write the author, Boyd Nation