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April 28, 2005

Minor League Notes: 4/27/05
by Fabian

Note: Park Factors are courtesy of Baseball Prospectus 2005 and “they are actually adjustments for teams, based on their own mix of home and road parks…relative to the league”. Numbers in parentheses are hitters’ totals in the respective category at this point of the season and counted across levels. A pitcher’s line consists of IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO-HR.

AAA Columbus (International League):
Park Factor:
Record: 13-8

Robinson Cano’s recent slump continued in Columbus’ 13-2 victory this afternoon. The 22-year-old 2B went 2 for 6 with a double (8) in order to drop his average to .347. During his recent slide he has gone 8 for 26 with 3 doubles. It has been an extremely tough time indeed.

As a note on the issue of Cano and his lack of walks this year, because he has been hitting the ball so hard and so consistently, I don’t care much that he hasn’t walked. You want guys to walk because they’re letting pitches they can’t put a good swing on go by, not just to walk for the sake of walking. Additionally, Cano hasn’t been swinging at everything as much as he’s been hitting a good portion of pitches within the foul lines, which gives him less of a chance to work the deep counts that generate walks.

AA Trenton (Eastern League):
Park Factor:

While I’m not quite ready to proclaim Sean Henn fully back yet, I can’t say his performance thus far has been anything less than extremely impressive. After tonight’s 7-2-0-0-2-6-0 performance, Henn’s seasonal line stands at 25.1-16-2-2-9-21-1. I’m still going to be extremely cautious about him because of the inconsistency he displayed in ’04, but yes, right now Henn is showing why the Yankees felt he was worth a then record draft and follow bonus record (granted, the fastball isn’t the same).

Though I’m being extra cautious as far as my feelings towards Henn, I’m going to throw caution to the wind for Eric Duncan and say that following an extremely slow start to his AA career, the 20-year-old 3B has arrived offensively. Duncan was 2 for 4 with a strikeout (13) to pull the average up to .219 and he is now 7 for his last 19 with 3 multi-hit games out of his last 5.

Melky Cabrera, who it could once be said was off to a similarly cold start, has on the other hand only gotten colder. Cabrera took the collar once more; this time it came in the form of an 0 for 3 night, though he did manage to work a walk (3). Bronson Sardinha also worked a walk (5), in addition to going 1 for 3.

A+ Tampa (Florida State League):
Park Factor:

Similar to Eric Duncan’s situation, I feel about ready to proclaim Rudy Guillen’s season opening slump as over and done with. The enigmatic CF/RF went 2 for 5 with a triple (2) and a strikeout (21) in today’s contest to boost his average up to .243. His OBP has finally joined his SLG in .300+ territory. LF Erold Andrus also had a good game, as he would go 3 for 5 to bring his average .236. Andrus and Guillen have kept close to each other in terms of recent performance while hitting 4-5 in the lineup. Hector Made was 1 for 4 with a walk (6), which is way ahead of where he was early on last season and also just about the only positive I can find to say about him thus far.

A- Charleston (South Atlantic League):
Park Factor:

Tim Battle had himself a nice little game tonight where he could show off his tools, 2 for 6 with a double (4) and 2 stolen bases (13), while also showing off his weakness, 3 strikeouts (32). Of the 3 strikeouts, 2 were swinging, which clashes with the point I’m about to make; while Tim Battle strikes out a ton, it is not so much because he has no clue of the strike zone, which would make me more worried about the Ks than I am, rather it is because his ability to make contact isn’t the greatest. To be honest, Battle does have his fair share of at bats where he goes up hacking at high fastballs and off speed stuff out of the zone, but for the most part, and especially as of late, he seems to have a plan that he attempts to execute at the plate. The problem is just that his ability to make contact comes and goes whether he’s swinging at good pitches or not.

Irwil Rojas was 2 for 5 with a strikeout (6) and his strikeouts have now caught up with his walks, which brings to mind the fact that after being a walking machine early on Rojas has not been doing that much as of late. His strikeouts have actually caught up with his passed balls for that matter, though he did not have any today, thankfully. Continuing his recent stretch of not sucking, Estee Harris went 1 for 4 with a walk (6) and a strikeout (15). Jon Poterson was 0 for 2 with a walk (3) and a strikeout (18) before being replaced late in the game. It’s nice to see that he is now beginning to take his share of base on balls as his early season plate appearances that all resulted in weak pop-ups or ground outs to the 2B or a strikeout were really infuriating, especially since Gio Gonzalez looks like a stud right now (I couldn’t hold out any longer).