Now that the short season squads have started up their seasons, I think it is important to note that these stats are not the be-all end all for a player – especially in the beginning of the year. The rest of the warning is after the jump.
First and foremost, in the beginning of the short season year, a lot of the top draftees are not even signed yet and a lot of the advanced draftees are still playing in the College World Series or the Super Regionals. The competition is very watered down early in the year.
Additionally, we have often fallen in the trap (I’m subject to this as well) of falling in love with a prospect from short season ball stats and projectability and then they have not lived up to the numbers they produced in short season ball. Some quick examples from the last few seasons:
Nick Longmire: 2010 wRC+(Batavia) = 144 / 2011 wRC+ (so far) = 82
Longmire also hit only 1 of his 9 HRs after August 5th in 2010.
Niko Vasquez: 2008 wRC+ (Johnson City) = 149 / his best season since – 2010 wRC+ (between two levels) = ~120
Vasquez never had another year with above average wRC+.
Robert Stock: 2009 wRC+ (Johnson City) = 153 / 2010 wRC+ = 64 and 2011 wRC+ in Quad Cities (repeating the level) = 51.
I know I’m cherry-picking some stats, but the point is there. Stats from rookie-level leagues mean very little in the grand scheme of things. However, by all means get excited, but think about the history when getting excited about these players because what happens in rookie ball does not always translate to full season ball.