Starting today, and continuing on Saturdays, I am going to pick to young(er) players and give a brief in-depth (oxymoron, but just hold on for a second) scouting report. It isn’t that I know every single player, but I am going to look at some minor league numbers (probably not minor league sabermetric stats, but I might throw some of their major league saber stats in there), and see what you should expect from their history. This hopefully will switch some things up so it isn’t just the same things posted every day (that and I want the weekends to be a bit different than the daily routine). So without further ado, here’s my introductory “Scouting the Unknown”
Brian Buscher- Grab yourself a Busch and relax, here is one can-of hype Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer (the Twins TV announcers: hall of fame pitcher (Bert) and his side-kick) can’t seem to talk enough about. The Twins acquired Brian in 2006 via the Rule-5 draft from the San Francisco Giants (they sure seem to like the Giants farm system *cough Liriano, Nathan, Boof *cough), and he is a 27 year old left handed hitting third-baseman.
Since Brian has been recalled this year, the twins have been 13-2, and he has been getting some timely base-hits. Key word here is base hits. He has only two doubles and a homerun, which happens to be a trend that he had in the minors too (career minor league SLG% of .404). However, since joining the AAA affiliate he has improved his slugging by over 100 point over his career totals (.514 this year). Though at age 27 he is primed and ready to go as he has had a chance to mature into his body. In 337 AAA at-bats he has 15 homers. Nothing super impressive, but it hasn’t translated through to the majors yet (3 homers in 133 at-bats). His ‘high’ slugging and OBP right now are inflated due to his high batting average. As the scouting report gets out on him his numbers will fall even more.
Brian has a .280 career minor league average with a .349 OBP in 1995 at-bats in the minors. Nothing spectacular, but serviceable .As of June 24 (the last up to date sabermetric tables out, so there are 5 games missing where he went 5/17)) he has a BABIP or .375, LD% of .293, but a contact rate of .941. With only four strike outs in 50 at-bats he is whiffing at half the rate he was in the minors. I would expect him to have his average fall because of his BABIP, but his contact rates says it could stay near the .285-.290 range. Though with a fly-ball percent of .412, and a groundball percent of .29, he could see a lot more of his contacted balls fall into leather.
With what the Twins have to offer at Third-base, aka nothing (Mike Lamb), he should get the majority of the at-bats until he slumps hardcore. I don’t think he is a legit fantasy option, unless he keeps his hot-streak going because there are better options to place in your 3B slot (like Keppinger, Kouzmanoff, Jose Bautistia (who has had a better last month than Brian). However, in the last month he was rated at 248th best player in Yahoo games. Whatever value you take for that he has been hot of late, but don’t expect similar numbers throughout the rest of the year, unless of course you are looking for a singles hitting third-baseman.
Jonathan Sanchez- Here is what Rotoworld just said about him after his start today; “He’s given up exactly seven earned runs in three different starts, but has also surrendered three or less earned runs in his other 14 starts.” That was of course after he went seven, k’ing six, and walking only one. He has been up since April, and now people are jumping on his bandwagon, and I am waiting for the axle to shatter (I am bitter as you will soon find out why). It isn’t that he has no talent, or that his track record says different. It is for the same reason why there is such a thing call a pitch count. If you believe in that young pitchers should only increase their total amount of innings pitched from year to year until they are fully developed by 15-25 innings then you should be wary of Jonathan Sanchez pitching the rest of the year.
In 2006, at age 23 he pitched in 95 innings between AA, AAA, and the MLB. In 2007, he pitched in only 75.6 innings. In the low minors he was a starting pitcher. However, as he progressed through the Giants system they switched him over to a reliever. In 2005, the year before his move to the bullpen, he pitched 125.3 innings. This season he has worked in 95 innings and might be nearing a period were he gets dead arm, or that the Giants might be thinking about letting him take longer rests between starts like Lincecum did last year. That or the Giants shut him down for the season. If you look at Lincecum’s last month of work for 2007, you will notice an extreme difference then when he first started. So bare in mind, that Sanchez could be posting some awful numbers soon (mid July at the earliest, but for surely by August).
His minor league line was impressive with 252.1 innings, 9 homers allowed, 333 strikeouts and 98 walks (for a K/BB of 3.4), and ERA of 3.42 and a WHIP of 1.19. In 2005 his k-rate dropped upon reaching the majors, which is typically expected of rookies. But now after his third season up in the majors, and his first that he has started here, he has been impressive. His control problems haven been any worse than teammates Matt Cain, and has just four more than Tim Lincecum after this game (Cain, Lincecum, and Sanchez have 307 strikeouts, and they are the only 3 team mates in the top 15 in total k’s with the Reds Volquez and Harang as the only other teams in the top 15, that’s pretty impressive).
I had him for the first one he had when he faced the Brew Crew, and at that time I was reading that he would be sent back down, but he has proved me wrong. I gave up on him right then and there and he has come back to bite my ass. As a jealous owner, I wish I would have kept him and I have been waiting all year for him to just bomb, though he hasn’t helped out in WHIP, but his ERA keeps dropping with each good start. And really you own him for the K’s, not the wins that he Giants somehow find, or the crippling walk inflated WHIP. You have been warned, pawn him off ASAP!