Grand Slam (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
If anyone has been reading Brandon's daily reports they know that we have three of the hottest minor leaguers in baseball going off this month. I was curious, just how hot have these kids been?
Using www.minorleaguecentral I found out just how hot they have been. And folks, they don't come any hotter without exploding.
Let's start with the number one pick of the 2012 draft, Corey Seager. In the beginning of his professional career, Corey Seager was known more for his errors then his hitting. For a while it seemed he was going to end the season with more errors then extra base hits but as of last night he finally took the lead in extra base hits 18 to 17 errors. On July 31st, Corey Seager had a triple stat line of .244/.322/.305 which in an offensive league is not good but the kid is only 18 and that was as good as excuse as any. . We don't need to use his age as an excuse any more. No one is hotter in the Pioneer League then Corey Seager. On Aug 22nd Corey Seager has a triple stat line of .301 / .372 / .497 which is quite good. Seager hit .352 / .427 / .718 to get from those putrid July numbers to his current Aug numbers. Those are blistering numbers but how do they compare to his peers.
This link gets you to the leaderboard in the Pioneer League for August. Corey Seager is 2nd in OPS, but Corey Seager is 18.17 years old. David Dahl is doing some great stuff for the Rockies at the exact same age but he's an outfielder, and his Aug OPS is still almost 200 points light of Seager. And scouts are loving Dahl. Corey Seager might be the best prospect in the Pioneer League. He would certainly be the best hitter we have drafted in the system if not for.............
Joc Pederson giving him a run for his money. Joc was the 11th pick in the 2010 draft and at age 19 dismantled the Pioneer League. Now 20, he started out slow after skipping the Midwest League but got things going in July. Unlike the Rookie leagues, if you have been playing full time it is hard to significantly move the OPS headed into Aug but Pederson is crushing in August, and that OPS is moving UP UP, and UP. Pederson's August numbers are .382 / .463 / .691 good enough to lead the California League OPS in August by a substantial margin. His closest competitor is a full 200 OPS points below him. Joc has a twelve game hitting streak, during which he has collected twenty three hits of which eleven have been for extra bases. Throw his age into the equation, I again feel they may be hard pressed to find a better positional prospect then Joc Pederson. Maybe the Angels trio of Randall Grichuk, CJ Cron, or Kaleb Cowart can snag it, but he's in the discussion.
Jerry Sands did everything the Dodgers asked of him last Sept. He played full time and put up a .908 OPS in 83 plate appearances. This spring nothing worked for him as he never felt comfortable with his re-worked swing and the results were awful. Expected to at least make the team, he instead found himself back in AAA and struggling. He did get 21 major league plate appearances in May and looked just as clueless as he had in the spring. At some point he changed his swing with help of the AAA batting coach. From what I understand it is now a modified version between what he had been doing prior to 2011 and what the Dodgers wanted him to do. Whatever it was, he got comfortable with his swing, and the hits started falling and haven't stopped. Jerry started hitting back in July but it is in Aug that he really got going with a triple stat line of .425 / .475 / .685. It seems the weaker Juan Rivera is, the hotter Jerry Sands gets. Until Aug 21st, Jerry had a hit in every game in Aug. Yet, Jerry does not dominate the PCL August leaderboard. Heck Scott Van Slyke has been better. If you want to cherry pick you could say Sands is the second best 25 year old and under hitter in the league for August. So I will.
Jerry Sands or Scott Van Slyke may not be a "tremendous choice" to replace Juan Rivera, or provide some right handed muscle to the very light bench but they don't have to be. They would simply be replacing something that seems easily replaceable.
Since this is a look at just August, Small Sample Size certainly applies or yada yada yada. How sweet is it to have three of the hottest minor league hitters in August belong to your team? As sweet as an Orcutt Ranch orange.