Daily Archives: March 7, 2017
Rays pitcher Chris Archer has some admirable sentiments about the WBC. But I think that a real unifying lesson can be found with how baseball is already set up.
It is a melting pot episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.
There are some very exciting players to be found within the Reds organization. Last year’s first-round pick Nick Senzel appears to be the real deal. Amir Garrett has the ability to lead a rotation. Jesse Winker, Luis Castillo, and Sal Romano provide a very solid foundation upon which the Reds can raise their floor, and the system contains a great deal of upside with players like Aristides Aquino, Taylor Trammell, and Alex Blandino.
There are few sure things in their Minor League ranks, but the farm is headed in the right direction. With a few breakout seasons from key prospects, the talent is present for this to be the group that leads the Reds back into the postseason for the first time since 2013.
We all know the Pittsburgh Pirates starting outfield, Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen, and Starling Marte, in part because they are so good and in part because they have been the subject of so many contract rumors, trade rumors, and now position shifts in the last few years. McCutchen is also one of Off the Bench’s 5 players to watch this spring.
But there’s a new name to know: Austin Meadows.
Meadows has reportedly made a good impression on the Pirates this spring and is set to see more playing time between now and Opening Day and will start the season in Indianapolis, at the top of the minor leagues. Coming into last season, he was ranked right around the 20th best prospect in all of baseball and last season the 21 year old made it as high as AAA. This year, some have him as the best prospect in the whole Pirates system and the 6th best in the sport.
Every successful big-league hitter goes down their own path toward becoming productive at the plate, but the method in which that happens is normally rooted in plate discipline.
It takes certain players longer than others to make improvements in that area, but when the light switch goes off, everything falls into place — they start hitting the ball hard with more frequency and see a rise in multiple offensive categories. Or, if they were already an established hitter, something unexpected could result from it, like an increase in power.
However, a lack of plate discipline can also prevent some from potentially taking their game to the next level, and that’s what’s happening to Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
Compiling a career-high 647 plate appearances in 2016 enabled him to set a few personal highs in various offensive categories, like in home runs (25), doubles (38) and RBI (82). But despite ranking amongst the top-7 among qualified hitters at his position in each of those categories, his wRC+ (97) and fWAR (2.0) don’t even rank among the top 15.
The key to watching his offense kick it up a notch is by improving that plate discipline.