Email correspondence with Hugh Bernreuter who covers the Loons for the The Saginaw News. Hugh read our prospect update and provided some insight on our comments after the jump.
Dee Gordon is raw. He is not young. There is a difference. He didn't start playing baseball until his senior year of high school. Then he missed a full year at Seminole when his credits didn't transfer. He has minimal experience.
Gordon is an incredible defensive shortstop. He has great range. The errors are "raw" errors. Many come when he gets lazy and throws sidearm to first. As far as getting to balls, he is already major league caliber.
Dee Gordon's stats are misleading. He is putting together those numbers in the and at in Midland. Any hitter (and that includes Kyle Russell) who can put up numbers at this level should not have any problems at "High" A in San Bernardino.
How many hitters have struggled at Great Lakes only to see their numbers miraculously improve once they hit Inland Empire? (Carlos Santana, Scott Van Slyke, Preston Mattingly, Pedro Baez ... off the top of my head).
If a hitter can't hack it at "Low" A in Midland, the Dodgers send them to "High" A to improve their confidence.
It is an easier league ... for hitters, thus rendering some of the "we'll see if they can produce at High A" arguments somewhat baseless. I'll accept the "we'll see if they can produce at Double A" arguments. It's harder on hitters to go from High A Inland Empire to Low A Great Lakes. Austin Gallagher is one example, although a variety of injuries have also factored into his struggles.
Other Dee Gordon notes: He is great in the lockerroom, very competitive, wants to win (that's not always the No. 1 goalfor players in the minors), scary fast (a lot of the caught stealings have been pitchouts ... and he's made those close).
Kyle Russell notes: He is pure power, but what impresses me is his ability to hit with power to all fields. He is not a dead-pull hitter ... he just strikes out like one. He is also a very good outfielder with a strong arm, strong enoughto push Alfredo Silverio's cannon to left field. Big minus is an inability to hit left-handed pitching, plus he is old for this league. If the Dodgers ever promote him, I can see him jumping to Double A instead of High A both because of his age and because High A may not challenge him.
Tony Delmonico: Will have a story in the paper/online in the next couple of days detailing his trials and errors at catcher and how they may be hurting his hitting. Doing better behind the plate. Has 10 passed balls. Santana also struggled catching and hitting when he made the transition two years ago at Great Lakes. AGAIN, this is a very tough park and league for hitters.
PITCHERS: The park and league is the opposite for pitchers.
They should put up good numbers. If they put up good numbers, I most certainly accept the "let's see if they can do it at High A" argument. The pitchers have been incredibly inconsistent this season. The most impressive so far are Nathan Eovaldi, Josh Walter and Geison Aguasviva. Eovaldi can completely dominate at times. Walter's a big kid who is starting now, but I can see him being a very good middle reliever or set-up guy. Aguasviva is extremely young, but the difference between last year and this year is night and day. Much more mature, much stronger, much more confident. Lefty who throws hard and has improving control. Dodgers have to love that.
Follow Up questions:
Question: Any reason why Russell in still there, seems like he'd be a candidate to get moved up? The K rate has to still be a concern, are the Dodgers not going to promote him until he gets that to a level they are happy with?
The only thing I can think of as to Russell is that he is still striking out an incredible rate and he has shown little ability to hit left-handers. But he would be my first choice (now that Guerra is gone) to move up because of his age and experience. My theory is that the Dodgers, when they move him, will bump him up to Double A instead of High A.
Question:What happened to Martin? Dead arm, hitter adjustments?
Martin is an enigma. He's still throwing hard. Control could be a factor. The last game I saw him pitch he was great, but then walked a guy, hit the next and gave up a 3-run homer. One hit, 3 runs. It may be just experience, maybe the grind of a longer season. He didn't pitch last summer, plus he's also extremely young.
Question:Any idea when top pick Aaron Miller will make his debut? It is our understanding he's been assigned to the Loon team.
We're all waiting on Miller. Nobody at the Loons knows when he's showing up. They expect him, but they don't know when.