For much the same reason that he published a final statistical report last week for the Arizona Fall League, the author is publishing here a combined statistical report for the various Caribbean winter leagues — again, not necessarily because such reports are of great utility for evaluating players, but because they provide a means by which to participate in those leagues which doesn’t also require a substantial investment in transportation and lodging.
In this case, what the author has done is to identify the regressed hitting and pitching leaders in the Dominican Winter, Mexican Pacific, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan Leagues separately. What he’s then done is to combine the hitting and pitching leaders of those leagues into a pair of top-10 lists, which one can find below. Note: all ages are as of July 1, 2014.
SCOUT Leaderboard for Caribbean League Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for all Caribbean League hitters. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average and above 100 is above average. Note that xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.
SCOUT Leaderboard for Caribbean League Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT leaderboard for Caribbean League pitchers who’ve made at least half their appearances in a starting capacity. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average and below 100 is better than average. Note that xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.
Notes and Observations
• Discussing the dearth of right-handed power currently in the majors — and the attendant costs to acquiring same — managing editor Dave Cameron invoked Tyler Moore as a possibly reasonable alternative to those clubs who might have been pursuing Billy Butler or Michael Cuddyer. He’s doing nothing in the Dominican to contradict that notion.
• Not invoked by Cameron was White Sox half-prospect, 27-year-old first baseman Dan Black — in part because Black is a switch-hitter and in more part, probably, because Dan Black has recorded zero major-league appearances. What else Black has done though is produce a much higher isolated-power figure as a right-handed, than left-handed, batter (.242 to .160 since 2011, for example). With Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche at the major-level, however, Black is little more than depth at this point.
• Among those players who appear among the Caribbean Leagues’ top-10 hitters, Milwaukee’s Orlando Arcia is the one most readily regarded as a prospect. As just a 19-year-old this past season, Arcia (younger brother of Minnesota outfielder Oswaldo Arcia) exhibited above-average control of the plate (producing walk and strikeout rates of 7.7% and 11.9%, respectively) while also stealing bases on 31 of 42 attempts (74%). Meanwhile, he’s considered at least an average defender at shortstop, as well. A promising collection of skills, that.
• Among those winter-league pitchers who’ve recorded at least half their appearances as starts, Oakland right-hander Arnold Leon has been the most impressive relative to his own league, producing strikeout and walk rates of 29.1% and 6.0%, respectively, in Mexico. A reliever for most of his affiliated career, all but one of his 52 appearances between 2013 and -14 have been as a starter. He sat at about 93 mph in his one appearances during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, according to PITCHf/x — although one notes that the data is (a) over a year old and (b) the product of a relief appearances, during which he’d likely throw with greater velocity.
• A 24th-round selection by the Dodgers in the 2013 draft out of Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana, right-hander Jose De Leon has been excellent not just in Puerto Rico, but also as a professional as well. In 77.0 innings this past season between Rookie-level Ogden and Class-A Great Lakes, the 21-year-old produced strikeout and walk rates of 37.9% and 6.7%, respectively. Unlike players selected towards the back end of the draft, De Leon possesses average-or-better arm speed to complement his command, sitting at 91-94, according to Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.
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