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PostHeaderIcon Excellent Ellsbury: Majors Update 31 August 2014

JacobyEllsbury-YankeesYes, Jacoby Ellsbury is good. Even in the “off year” he has had this season, Ellsbury has been well above the average major league player. But this past week his performance was stunning — moving him substantially closer to his career average. Last week Ellsbury was 12 for 23 (.522) with 4 home runs (bringing his season total to 14), 2 stolen bases, 6 runs scored and a stunning 9 rbis. And he only struck out once last week. Ellsbury may finish the season very hot, and with the Yankees just 3 games out of the wild card, that could make a big difference.

Also strong last week was the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, who was 6 for 20 (.300), built mainly on three home runs. Harper’s average for the year is now up to .268 and he has finally reached double digits in home runs.

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PostHeaderIcon Gelalich Gains Ground: Minors Update 26 August 2014

jeffgelalich-DragonsJeff Gelalich improved his record for the season, and his performance with the California League (A+) Bakersfield Blaze last week, with a 5 for 17 performance (.294) that included 2 rbis, 3 runs scored, 3 walks and 3 stolen bases. He has now spent half of this year with the Blaze, up from the Dayton Dragons (Midwest League – A), and the A+ part of the year has clearly been better; Gelalich has hit .259 for the Blaze, and given them 8 of his 10 home runs for the year.

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PostHeaderIcon Carlos Torres is Mormon: Majors Update 24 August 2014

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Just as we learned that Mets reliever Carlos Torres comes from a Mormon family Torres had a gem of a week, including an “emergency” start in which he lasted 5 innings, striking out 6 while shutting out the Cubs. Overall, Torres lasted 6 and 1/3rd innings without giving up a run while striking out 8.

Torres was nearly matched last week by the Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie, who notched his 10th win. Guthrie gave up just 5 hits and a walk (resulting in a single run) in an 8-inning start, giving him a 0.75 WHIP for the game. But this only reduced his era to 4.32 and his WHIP to 1.31. Royals fans must wish that this past week’s Guthrie showed up more often.
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PostHeaderIcon Peterson Performs: Minors Update 19 August 2014

Shane PetersonFinancial advisors often disclaim their proposals with the statement “past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.” That’s true in baseball also. But while we hear and understand that disclaimer, we don’t exactly believe it—we expect baseball players to perform the way they have in the past.

By this past week’s numbers, the Sacramento River Cats’ Shane Peterson looks like he will be a star in the majors. He was 10 for 22 (.455) with 2 home runs, 4 rbis and 7 runs scored. And those numbers just topped off a great season so far; Peterson’s average for the season is .316 and he leads the PCL with 95 runs scored and 156 hits and is second in RBIs (82) and 4th in walks (59). While those numbers will no doubt drop off  when he reaches the majors, we all believe that he will do well.

But, “past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.” We’ll see.

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PostHeaderIcon Harper’s Homerun Duo: Majors Update 17 August 2014

imageThe Washington National’s Bryce Harper found a groove last week, hitting 2 home runs and earning 7 rbis in 21 at bats. After an injury-diminished and less-productive season than might be expected from Harper, last week had to be very welcome; his 2 home runs last week are a third of his total for the year so far and his 7 rbis raised his season total to 23. No doubt Harper hopes that he is back to his expected form.

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PostHeaderIcon Brugman Hits 6 Homers in 5 Games: Minors Update 12 August 2014

Jaycob BrugmanIt was Jaycob Brugman’s week. In the past 5 games, he has hit 6 home runs out of 9 times that he has connected in 20 at bats (.450). His home run streak (which could continue today) accounted for all of the 6 runs and 8 rbis he earned and raised his season totals to 16 home runs and a .275 batting average. Good luck keeping up that pace!

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PostHeaderIcon Rosales Hits Right: Majors Update 10 August 2014

Adam Rosales Texas RangersAfter a few weeks of getting to the plate in dribs and drabs, the Texas Rangers’ backup infielder Adam Rosales finally saw some regular plate appearances, and responded with an exceptional week. Rosales was 7 for 14 (.500) last week, with 5 runs scored and 5 rbis on 2 home runs and 4 walks. And this past week’s performance boosted Rosales’ season average to .350, although on a mere 40 at bats.

Rosales was far from the only Mormon player who performed well last week. Jacoby Ellsbury was hot, going 10 for 24 (.417) while the backup shortstop for the As, Eric Sogard, was 7 for 16 (.438) with 4 runs scored, 3 rbis and 7 walks.

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PostHeaderIcon Littlewood Lights Up: Minors Update 5 August 2014

Marcus LittlewoodOne by one the Mormon players drafted two years ago have been promoted this year from class A to A+. The lone holdout among the position players is Marcus Littlewood, who again made the case for his promotion this week. Littlewood, a catcher, was 8 for 19 (.421) last week with 7 runs scored, 5 rbis, 6 walks and 2 home runs–and in the process he pushed himself onto the Midwest League leader board with a .348 OBP (tied for 21st in the league).

His performance for the season aren’t that bad either. He is hitting .251  with 41 rbis and 38 walks and a .348/.398/.745 slash line. But as a catcher Littlewood’s performance must also be judged on how he called the games. Unfortunately, his progress in that area isn’t available as a statistic and isn’t something I can judge.

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PostHeaderIcon Guthrie Throws a Gem: Majors Update 3 August 2014

Jeremy Guthrie RoyalsIt was the best game of his year. Jeremy Guthrie blanked the Oakland As over 6 innings, striking out 6 and giving up just 3 hits and two walks. This performance marked the first time this season he shut out his opponents.

Unfortunately, Guthrie has otherwise not been that good. His season era is now 4.50—which represents on average a run every other inning pitched. His strength remains in his durability; Guthrie has started 22 games for the Royals this year and has accumulated a total of 138 innings.

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PostHeaderIcon Hannemann Promoted and Performs: Minors Update 29 July 2014

Jacob HannemannOften when minor league players are promoted from one class to another their performance falls off as they adjust to the new league. But occasionally that doesn’t happen, such as happened recently with Jacob Hannemann. The Cubs’ top-20 prospect arrived in the Florida State League this past week and promptly made a mark. Hitting 7 for 22 (.318), Hannemann also had 5 runs scored, 2 rbis, 2 walks and 3 stolen bases. And it is in stolen bases that Hannemann excels—an analysis at Fangraphs places him 5th in all the minor leagues, despite the fact that he is only now reaching the A+ level.

Hannemann’s performance last week is slightly behind that of Brett Pill, who plays in the Korean League. Pill, who once played for the Giants, was 8 for 23 (.348) last week with 5 runs scored, 3 rbis, 2 home runs and a stolen base. And his season record remains great; he is hitting .322 over 205 at bats, with 15 home runs.

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