Unlike the AZL Dodger team the Odgen Raptors were loaded with intriguing offensive players and several pitchers. The team was stocked with higher round 2009 picks and 2008 draft picks who had moved up a notch. Just about every position has an interesting player.
For the roster breakdown of notable players, click on the jump.
This was a tough call because the team was loaded with players who dominated the Pioneer League Offensive Leaderboard, with Brian Ruggiano, Gerald Sands, Mario Songco, Jeremy Wise, and Brian Calvazos - Galvez. Ruggiano was 2nd in OPS/BA/OBP and 4th in the league in stolen bases. 20 year old Mario Songco blasted nine home, and Jeremy Wise slugged eight home runs in their 144 at bats. Brian Calvazos-Galvez was 2nd in slug and had an all around excellent season but with only 10 walks in 323 plate appearances I'm going to go someone else.
That someone is Gerald Sands, during his 185 plate appearances the 20 year old 25th round draft pick in 2008 destroyed the Pioneer League before getting promoted to the Loons. He doesn't qualify for the Minor League Leaderboad but he does show up on the Baseball Reference Leaderboard where you can see his .687 slug was good for 1st place. His OPS of 1.114 would have been good for 2nd place and his OBP would have tied for 2nd. His 14 home runs in 163 at bats was by far the best rate in the league. He played mostly CF for the Raptors but can play any of the outfield positions and 1st base.
Since this team is loaded I'm going to look at them position by position:
The Pioneer's had three huge first baseman share the job in 2009. Clay Calfee got 65 at bats for the Raptors and put up a .962 OPS but he's 23 and a 1st baseman so no big deal as far as I'm concerned. He's a big boy at 6'6 and bats left handed.
Franklin Jacobs was drafted in the 17th round in 2007. This is his 3rd year in rookie ball but his first in the Pioneer League. He's making progress as his OPS has moved up from .692 to .776 to .810. He's still only 20 and has the skills to be a big time power guy even though it is not happening yet in the games. I like Jacobs, he's a huge right handed hitter who already understands the strike zone better then most of our big power hitters. Kensai has a profile on him and here is what he had to say about his projection:
I wouldn't say that his ceiling is as a star, but he does have a load of upside. Maybe a right-handed Adam Dunn with better athleticism is a good comparison, but I don't think Jacobs has quite the same ridiculous raw power. I would currently give him less than a 10% chance of fully achieving his potential, but that isn't meant to be a slight against him.
There is a canyon between what Jacobs is now and what he could eventually be. Lots of things can go wrong between a 20-year-old in Rookie-ball and the big leagues, so expectations should be tempered until he begins to actually advance levels.
Kyle Orr won't turn 21 until next week but the fourth round pick in 2006 has been a huge disappointment. Was hoping to see some growth this year since he repeated the league but nothing. He was said to have the most power in Canada when he was drafted but has yet to show anything on the field. His K rate dropped in 2009 from 35% to 28% but with little power and no plate discipline I see little here of interest.
Nobody of note
The diminutive 5'8 Bryant Hernandez is 21 and was drafted this year in the 9th round. He started out on fire but wore out as the season rolled on. He went from a wOBA of .384 in July to .273 in Sept. 20 year old Pedro Guerrero got the other at bats at SS. He's got a great name but not the bat.
Brian Ruggiano did everything that could be asked of him. As noted above he was a top five hitter in just about every offensive category except for home runs. The only drawback for Ruggiano is his age. At 23 he should be destroying the Pioneer League so while his numbers are very impressive, they have to be looked at in context. I doubt he has a future but at least he made a mark in the Pioneer League.
Two nice prospects here. Gorman Erickson was drafted as a 18 year old in 2006 in the 15th round. In 2007/2008 Gorman did nothing to impress but in 2009 he started making some noise. First Inning picked him as the Honorable Mention when reviewing the Pioneer League. He posted an .860 OPS with solid peripherals to back it up. A K rate at 16% with a double digit walk rate 10.7 along with an ISOP of .177. Nice gains from 2008 to 2009, now he needs to keep improving. 23 year old Jeremy Wise is made a solid impression in his debut season. The 5th round pick in 2009 had above average numbers with a .338/.401/.566/ but he's 23. Kensai said that Austin Young had been converted to catcher but according to Baseball Reference he only caught one game so I don't think that actually happened.
The outfield is where it is at. Our outfield swept the First Inning All Pioneer League Team
Outfield - Gerald Sands
The Dodgers outfielder hit .350/.427/.687 for Ogden with 14 HR’s in just 185 plate appearances. Sands posted a walk rate of 11.9% and a strikeout rate of 15.1% before being promoted to Low A.
Outfield - Brian Cavazos-Galvez
Cavazos-Galvez hit .323/.356/.620 for the Ogden Raptors. The 22 year old is a free swinger (3.4% BB rate) who makes a lot of contact (13% K rate) and can hit for a lot of power.
Outfield - Mario Songco
Before earning a promotion to Low A, Songco hit .306/.363/.583 for Ogden. The outfielder posted a mediocre 6.4% walk rate to go along with a high 26.1% strikeout rate.
Songco did the least of the three but he was also the youngest. Sands started out with Great Lakes, had trouble, was demoted to Ogden, destroyed the league, was promoted back to the Loons and did okay while playing 1st base. Galvez spent the whole season with the Raptors and has the most impressive counting numbers. My biggest worry about Galvez is that he's a free swinger and while that approach worked in a rookie league we shall see if he can continue to attach the ball with that kind of succes as he moves up the ladder. Songco crushed the Pioneer League after being our fourth round pick in 2009 so he was promoted to the Loons where he flailed away and in the end was demoted back to the Raptors where he finished out the season. All three of these players are prospects, none of them are probably top 20 as we look forward to see how they fare with the Loons in 2010.
Best Pitcher: Stephen Ames was picked as the best relief pitcher in the league by First Inning. His numbers are eye popping as he struck out 42% of the hitters he faced which translated to a 14.1 K Rate. That means he's striking out 14 hitters every nine innings. He's also only walking 1.8 every nine innings so he's got dominance and control down pat. He got a little tired at the end of the year giving up runs in four of his last five games after giving up runs in only two games out of his first 12. He was drafted in the 17th round from Gonzaga where he had been used as a starter. Kensai quick report from Aug 14th.
He is a polished college pitcher, so he should be faring well at Ogden, but this is promising stuff from a 17th round pick. He doesn't have a plus fastball, so I wouldn't expect this level of dominance to continue, but he's proven he deserves a shot to start somewhere in A-ball.
Just because he's from Gonzaga I'm rooting for him. I'm curious to find out how much his fastball improved when he was converted to relief. He's not the best pitching prospect on the Raptor roster but he was the best pitcher on the roster. Not often you see a 14.1 K Rate when you have thrown at least 30 innings, even in the rookie leagues.
Our AZL pitcher of the year, Carl Webster was promoted from the AZL to the Raptors and pitched two scoreless games but then seemed to run out of gas. He was hammered in his last start for the Raptors and then was knocked out in both playoff games he pitched.
High 2009 draft pick Brett Wallach (3rd Round) showed he can strike out Pioneer League hitters. The 20 year old struck out 38 hitters in 31 innings good for an 11.0 K/9 ratio. He was never allowede to pictch more then 4 innings and that only happened once. Even in that four inning game he managed to strike out 9 hitters.
20 year old Edwin Contreras pitched the most inning for the Raptors but his stats left me unimpressed. A K rate of 5.7 and a walk rate of 3.6 are not something to rave about. His K rate really dropped from his rookie league performance.
Nick Gaudi tried to do his best Stephen Ames imitation. The 23 year old relief pitcher struck out 39 hitters in only 27 innings posting a 1.098 WHIP. Kensai had this to say:
He has a pretty average fastball, but has a split and slurve (slider?) that look promising. Upside is limited, but he could be a contributer, and should probably be in A-ball next year.
Kensai has a Matt Magill profile up. He's only 19 but a K rate less then 7 with a walk rate higher then 3.5 doesn't shout out future success to me.
There are more intriguing pitching prospects like Elisaul Pimentel, Diagoro Rondon, and of course Garrett Gould but Gould only pitched three games. Gould is probably the top prospect on this team even though he may have played less then anyone.