The Cardinals reassigned left-handed catcher Robert Stock to minor league camp yesterday, as a right-handed pitcher. Coming out of college, lots of scouts liked him more for his arm than his bat. Let’s take a look after the jump at what the Cardinals have in their brand new pitcher. (Thanks commenters for the heads up to the story.)
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:
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.
Let’s take a look at the Quad Cities roster in cheat sheet format for you to print out before the game or access on some sort of smartphone during the game to make you look smarter to your friends and random people sitting around you. It’s all after the jump. (natch)
I’m going to run the companion piece to yesterday “Breakout” thread and today we are going to talk about the players that are on the edge and poised to break down. Some players are already in the doldrums and will drop further. Other were playing above their heads last season and will drop down from their lofty heights.
Here’s my three candidates:
Daryl Jones – The further Jones gets away from his breakout 2008 season, the more trouble he will be in. If Jones continues on his path from the past two seasons, he is going to simply break down. There is only so much ~700 OPS we can get from Jones in Springfield.
Robert Stock – Stock’s potential break down might not be the worst thing for the Cardinals as it will drive him back to the mound where a lot of prospect watchers think he will end up anyway. Stock hit like a pitcher in 2010 in Quad Cities after a good rookie level season in 2009 at Johnson City.
Arquimedes Nieto – As much as it pains me to say this (Nieto is one of my pet prospects) he has been living on the edge for a few seasons here. Nieto is basically a junkballer and has been on the shuttle between Palm Beach and Springfield. Since he does not have overpowering stuff, he is always a candidate to hit the wall and break down.
Who are your candidates to break down this season?
With the recent news that the Cardinals outrighted Matt Pagnozzi and made him a minor league free agent and AZ’s article about the place of Bryan Anderson on the big club, it seems like as good of a time as ever to look at the catcher depth and depth chart in the minor leagues. Assuming that Bryan Anderson makes the Cardinals as the left-handed, slick hitting backup catcher, that leaves us with an interesting group.
Robert Stock, first 2009 pick w/ Grapefruit debut, gets a base hit on first pitch he sees. Color me perplexed by college average.
Allow me to explain his low batting averages. One fact we all know about, that he left school early and started his college baseball career at the tender age of 17. It was expected that there would be a learning curve for Stock.
Two, his up and down luck when it comes to his batting averages of balls on play:
Freshman, ’07 – .248 batting average, .260 BABIP.
Sophomore, ’08 – A much healthier .295 BA, not surprisingly he had a .302 BABIP.
Over this time he averaged 159 at-bats per season. There’s a lot of randomness that can happen over the course of 159 at-bats. Felipe Lopez hit .385 in 156 at bats in his last stint as a Cardinal. Hanley Ramirez once hit .230 over a span of 174 at-bats.
Is Stock a good hitter or a bad hitter? In time we’ll find out. In the meantime, I’d go more by what the scouting reports say than handfuls of at-bats per season at the Division 1 level and rookie ball level while he was teenager. By making any judgments calls now (good or bad) based on his stats apart from what trained eyes say, you’re going to come up with some fuzzy assumptions.
Jeff Luhnow was on KTRS this morning and said that the Cardinals second round pick Robert Stock has signed. He will report to Johnson City, where he will be the team’s opening day catcher. Luhnow also stated the club has signed 20 of its other draft picks, but no other names have been released as of yet. Stock’s signability was a little bit of a question mark. He’s just 19 and could possibly have gone back to USC for his senior year in order to re-establish himself as a premier prospect.
I actually sort of like the idea of having him catch to start out with. At that end of the defensive spectrum, any team would welcome the extra depth, and not long ago Stock was drawing raves from scouts for his bat and defensive ability at catcher. While he struggled to hit at USC, youth is on his side. He can always go back to pitching.
Before I jump into things, I’d like to say thank you to the generous donors who gave towards the cost to cover our hosting costs. We’re a little over 50% 65% towards our $100 goal. If you are interested in making a donation, just comment and I’ll send you an email, or click on the donate button on the right sidebar. Hosting is up by early July. Normally it would be something I’d take care of myself, but I have some baby expenses coming up and recently paid about $600 fixing my car. /sob story
Cardinals pull off a shocker and pick RHP Shelby Miller 19th overall. I’m still floored by this, but perhaps I shouldn’t, with rumors of interest in Matt Purke, who ended up being drafted by Texas. First, the pluses – He was the best player left available to draft. His ceiling is higher than any arm currently in the system. He has one of the best fastballs of any prep pitcher, if not the best. And it’s not just about velocity, but about life. Every pundit is very high on this pitcher. Good curveball. Mechanically sound. Scouting reports say he has good makeup. The bad – Normal high school pitcher risk, hefty price tag, it’s not certain they will sign him, inconsistent command, secondary offerings. There’s already some posturing from Luhnow, and some eagerness shown by the young right-hander to sign. I seem to remember Kyle Russell saying positive things a few years ago, and we know how that turned out. Him not signing will ignite some anger towards ownership, but to me, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They can simply reallocate that money in Latin America, like towards highly regarded OF Wagner Mateo. (I think I’d rather have Miller) This is a bold, gutsy move by Luhnow and I think it gives him some credibility to a fan base that has accused him in the past of taking high-floor, low-upside pitchers in the 1st round. I do hope they sign him. I like his attitude so far, we’ll see what happens. From the Commish: “Definitely, I’m going to sign a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Ultimately, my goal is to play with the St. Louis Cardinals as soon as I possibly can.”
Cardinals take C/RHP Robert Stock, USC, 67th overall. Didn’t see this coming either. We’ve been hearing about Stock since he won BA’s Youth Player of the Year award, an honor he took home as a 15 year old. Back then he was flashing brilliance on the hill and behind the plate. Scouts were split on him then, and are split on him now, although it’s hard not to like him as a pitcher more given his underwhelming performance offensively, and the fact that he was the ace of USC’s staff, showing three average to above average pitches — fastball, slider, changeup. It sounds like the Cardinals will give him a try at catcher first. Stock graduated early so he could attend college, and is just 19 years old. He was rated the 5th best prospect in the Cape in 2007 as the youngest player to ever play in the league. Stock has plenty of tools and time to put it altogether. I’m not surprised to see him struggle at USC at such a young age. There’s some high-reward here, and his ability to pitch is a safety net.
Joe Kelly was drafted out of UC Riverside 97th overall. Kelly hales from the same school that gave us Adam Reifer and is pretty similar. He profiles as closer, he brings the heat with sink, and throws a good slider. The results weren’t really there this year, but he has some upside. The Cardinals already have a several of these type of pitchers like this in their system in Reifer, Samuel, Sanchez. Sure, some of those guys have struggled, but I still say for the 3rd round, this isn’t a bad pick at all.
Overall, this strikes me as a pretty different draft then usual. The criticism that there’s not enough upside in the system gets squelched by signing these guys, at least I would think so, based on what I know of these players now. Day 2 could get interesting and will tell us if the Cards are going to continue down this path. We’ve heard rumors of Brian Goodwin in the past, and he’s still on the board. There’s also Max Stassi, who I have no idea how he is still on the board. He could be a good backup plan should negotiations with Miller fall apart.
Here’s a full list of some of the top talent remaining. If they start things off with AJ Morris or Kent Matthes, it’ll be back to the normal script. Not saying that is bad, it is that script that has given us some interesting prospects, like Tyler Henley or Steve Hill, for example. I think OF Angelo Songco could be a nifty pick-up, I really like his power bat. LHP Chris Dwyer could be better than some of the other touted lefties taken earlier, but as a draft-eligible sophomore he could be a tough sign. Should be interesting.
We’ll be back at 11, liveblogging. Looking forward to it.
This pick is bending my mind into a pretzel. I’ll just let Bryan Smith do the talking for me while I mull this pick.
The Robert Stock story continues, as he goes 67 to the Cardinals. Stock left high school a year earlier to get a jump start on USC. People are going to really question if it was in his best interest, as he probably would have been a first rounder after his senior high school season. I like Stock a lot better as a pitcher than a catcher, as he has really not progressed with the bat in 3 years. But the Cardinals announced him as a catcher, so they’re going down that road first.
I suppose they can always fall back on pitching. Leave it to the Cardinals to draft a converted catcher turned pitcher.
For USC, Stock hit .226/.345/.453. Not good, but at least the isolated discipline and power numbers are pretty decent. As a pitcher, Stock was the ace of the staff. He posted a 2.90 ERA with 86 K’s to 39 walks over 77.2 innings pitched. The bonus is he’s only 19 years old, and there is still some reason to believe there is some upside with this pick.
Stock is one of the draft’s most intriguing players due to his background. He was Baseball America’s Youth Player of the Year in 2005 when he was 15, and a year later, Stock skipped his senior year in high school to enroll at Southern California. He’s a 19-year-old draft-eligible junior, and his college career has been one of valleys and recent peaks. He was the Trojans’ starting catcher and sometime closer his first two seasons, showing modest power, a good fastball and good catch-and-throw skills. He showed raw power and catch-and-throw tools in his first two seasons, particularly arm strength. However, his draft stock suffered; after ranking No. 5 in our Cape Cod League Top 30 following his freshman season, he didn’t even make the top 30 last summer, and scouts were stunned by his poor performance on scout day in fall 2008, when his bat looked slow and his pop times sluggish. When Stock got off to a slow start offensively in 2009, attention shifted to his performance on the mound. The Trojans turned to Stock as a starter this year, and he has delivered. He made his first start March 29 and beat Arizona State, striking out 10 in five innings, and hasn’t looked back, registering a complete-game win at Arizona and showing surprising polish. His delivery is fairly easy, giving him good control of an 88-92 mph fastball that can hit 95 and a surprisingly good changeup that some scouts consider a plus pitch. His low-80s breaking ball also grades out as average, and Stock now figures to go out in the first three rounds as a pitcher—if he proves signable.
I like that he’s just 19 and has some pretty good stuff on the mound. Interesting.