Hensley Meulens is now a Giants coach. He was born in Curacao, got to the Yankees in his sixth professional season, and in the last two World Baseball Classics has been the coach of the Dutch team, heavily stocked with players from the two islands. He has coached in other world tournaments.
“It’s completely different for kids from Curacao and Aruba,” says Meulens. “As kids, they play ten or eleven little league games. Their high school seasons are very short. They play about 30 games in the summer, maybe 40 if they’re lucky.
“Compare that with the games kids in the States play as teenagers,” says Meulens. “These showcase kids, between high school and the circuits and the showcases play up to 100 games a year. Dominican and Venezuelan kids play games every day. You learn situations by playing games. It isn’t a classroom education. It’s not something you learn on a laptop, you learn by playing. A player going into the draft (think Dansby Swanson) plays hundreds of high school and summer league games, go to college and play on the highest level (SEC Tourney to the College World series), they play on Team USA (and The Cape)…and have no social adjustments.”
The article’s main point is in line with some thoughts I have had on the changing aging curve. It would be interesting to get a list of player who started full-time baseball later in life and how they age.
A few weeks back, I spent a couple days at the Kansas JUCO scout days. The East Division teams went the first day with the West division teams going the next day. The conditions were a little extreme the first day with rain forcing the pitchers inside where they had to throw off artificial mounds and when the position players hit, they had a nice wind blowing out. The East players were able to hit a half dozen or so home runs over the CF fence while no one from the West did. Also, the West pitchers had more pitchers hitting 90 mph off the bullpen mounds, while the East squad had just a few. With those disclaimers out of the way, here are some of the players who caught my interest. These are not all my notes, so if you have any questions email me at wydiyd~hotmail~com or on Twitter @JeffWZimmerman
On this past Friday, I was able to attend the four games of the Jawhawk Conference’s (Region VI) Junior College Baseball Championship. Here are my thoughts on some of the players I saw.
Note: For the stats on any player, go to the Leaders stats page for the KJCCC and then click on the player’s Team at the bottom right.
Chad Thomas – Fresh, 5’8”, 175 lbs, RH
He threw side arm at an all right-handed Steward County lineup and ate them up. His fastball was at 82-84 mph with a 72-74 mph curve. He only allowed two runs and struggled the fourth time through the lineup. I expected him to have problems the 2nd time, but he was able to keep Steward’s lineup guessing.
Lucas Milner – Fresh, 5’11”, 180 lbs, RH
His delivery was unique. He looked like it was going to have submarine style release, but then flicked the ball across the plate with only his wrist and elbow. His fastball was 78-79 mph and he showed a change.
Yesterday, Norberto Rivas at baseballciencia explained via video and words why sliding head first is faster into first base. Here is the explanation in tweets. I figured I would put the relevant information all in one place for future reference.
Tanner Roark has a 1.78 BB/9 in one and half seasons for the Nationals. Currently, he has a Steamer projection of 2.26 for his 2015 BB/9. This value seemed a bit high to me. I went back and looked at the next season’s BB/9 for pitcher who threw at least 160 inning and had a BB/9 between 1.5 and 2.0.
Looking at all pitchers, the average BB/9 was 1.77 and jumped to 2.07 the next season. Since Roark is not as established, I limited the search to pitcher 27-years-old or younger and got a 1.77 BB/9 in season one and it jumped to 2.10 the next season. I looked at the median values to see if one high BB/9 was messing with the average, but the values were almost identical.
So if a pitcher does have an BB/9 between 1.5 and 2.0, historically they should expect a decent sized jump in their prediction for next season.