If you are in a league that drafts or stashes minor league players, this article from Baseball America is a very good read. One of the hardest things to do when looking at minor league statistics is to try and translate those numbers into future major league production. The article from BA has the offensive production totals from the 2009 minor league season for each league. Read the article for the full chart, but there were two leagues that pop out immediately. Already well known as being hitter’s leagues, the California league and Pacific coast league. Those two leagues have an average ISO of .1465 compared to all the rest of the leagues, which check in at an average ISO of .1223. The chart below shows the differences in each category from the article. This does not include short season leagues.
This information is important when looking at some names that put up gaudy stats in 2009.
Koby Clemens, 22, hit .345/.419/.636 with 22 home runs in 423 at bats. Those numbers are quite astounding if you consider his minor league career highs in each triple slash category came last season at .268/.369/.423. What is even more amazing is that 19 of his 22 homers came post all-star break. Baseball America did not rank Clemens among the Astros top 10 prospects in their preseason rankings. I am skeptical that Clemens can reproduce anything near these numbers as he climbs to the AA and AAA levels.
Jonathan Gaston, 22, spent the entire 2009 season at Lancaster hitting 35 home runs in 518 at bats. He also slugged .598 with a .320 ISO. The fact that he only managed to hit .278 with a .367 OBP and 31.7% K rate is worrisome though. He’ll have to continue to hit the long ball in bunches if he is to make any sort of Major League impact.
High Dessert (Mariners)
For Mariners prospects in high-A there is truly no place like home. High Dessert is a “launching pad” with its high elevation, high winds and dry air all contributing to “breakout” seasons from multiple players.
Carlos Peguero signed by the Mariners out of the Dominican Republic has been in their system since 2006 at age 19. Now 22 years of age, Peguero set a career high with 31 home runs. The problem, as I alluded to above, is that Peguero hit .236/.284/.449 on the road in 2009. Along with that comes big question marks about his plate discipline and hacktastic plate approach that lead to a 35% strikeout rate. Those issues had better be improved upon quickly or advanced level pitching will halt any further progression.