A 6-pack of miscellaneous observations to get the weekend started. I’d like to make this a regular feature – we’ll see if that happens.
1. Matt LaPorta is getting closer to Cleveland.
And making me feel good about ranking him as the Indians top prospect in the Indians Annual. Coming into today LaPorta is hitting .362/.423/.660 through 52 plate appearances. It’s early, but those numbers are good. 7 extra-base hits (including 3 HRs) and a low K% (10.6) are nice, too. If he keeps this up, he’s better than whoever the Indians put in their as their regular 3rd outfielder and the team knows it.
2. Hector Rondon is too.
He’s doing in Akron what he did last year in Kinston – only he’s doing it better. Through 3 starts his walk rate is down (4.8), his K/BB are up (4.33) and his GB% is up (50).
3. Ben Francisco probably shouldn’t be an everyday outfielder.
Through his first 19 games in Cleveland last season, Francisco put up an impressive .365/.397/.619 line. In the 113 games since he has put up a less than stellar .247/.305/.405 line.
4. Lake County has better pitchers than hitters.
I noticed last year that almost everyone on the Lake County pitching staff was interesting, whereas almost no one on the offensive side of the ball was. It is similar this season. Joey Mahalic, TJ House, Alexander Perez, Santo Frias, TJ McFarland and several other pitchers are legitimately interesting guys (who are off to good starts). Offensively, they’ve got Abner Abreu and…well…a bunch of old(ish) position players and 2008 college draftees. It turns out Lake County has pretty consistently put up better pithing numbers than hitting numbers. I don’t know if this is a park effect, suppressing hitting performance, organizational philosophy that places better and high ceiling pitching prospects than hitting prospects in Lake County, or both.
5. The Indians offense is not as good as it has looked so far (but it is still good).
Which isn’t to say it isn’t or can’t be good, only that when you score 22 runs in a single game early in the season, that tends to lead to inflated stats. The Indians are averaging 6 runs a game. Take away the 22-run effort and that number falls to 4.9. Assuming the team really has 4.9 runs/game talent, those excess 17 runs from that game will inflate the teams run total by 10% or greater for 34 games…so the numbers might be inflated for a little while. Granted, the league average is about 4.7 runs/game, so we still look good. And with a team OBP of .379, ISO of .201, and BB% of 13.1 – we seem to be fundamentally sound.
6. Aaron Laffey has been using his slider more than last year.
I know this because fangraphs is conveniently compiling pitch f/x data this season.