State of the Tennessee Smokies 7/11/2017

Today let’s take a look at the Cubs’ AA affiliate Tennessee Smokies.  The AA class minors  is one level below AAA.  AA consists of three leagues, Eastern, Southern, and Texas.   We discuss the three divisions in AA in more detail here.  This model combines these three leagues into one dataset just like we combine AL and NL in MLB.  This allows us to  directly compare players from all 30 MLB team affiliates. The Tennessee Smokies are in the Southern league of AA class baseball.

We covered the Smokies on June 22 here.  Here are team status lines then and today.

-5.5 13.6 283 269 36 33 2.4 1.9 Tennessee_Smokies_CHN 6/22/2017
-17.1 25.2 353 336 46 41 5.4 3.6 Tennessee_Smokies_CHN 7/11/2017

Their PITCHing got better and BATting got worse and they went 10-8, from +3 to +5 in the last 18 days which is more or less average.  Their UR went up which means they are fielding well by not committing errors that lead to runs.  Unearned runs count the same as earned runs when they figure out who wins a game.  Although in minors the best players tend to get taken away from their team, being able to win shows the depth of a farm system.  Let’s look at the top Cubs players on the Smokies.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+003+ 4.18 Jason_Vosler_CHN BAT
+010+ 3.49 James_Pugliese_CHN PITCH
+024+ 2.83 Daury_Torrez_CHN PITCH
+060+ 2.10 Jen-Ho_Tseng_CHN PITCH
+141+ 1.39 Andury_Acevedo_CHN PITCH
+172+ 1.20 Yasiel_Balaguert_CHN BAT
XXXXX 1.01 Ian_Rice_CHN BAT
XXXXX 0.88 David_Garner_CHN PITCH
XXXXX 0.65 Brad_Markey_CHN PITCH

Jason Vosler moved from #8 to #3 in the last 2+ weeks which is very good.  This is the rank amongst all AA players for 30 MLB affiliates.  Cubs have 3 guys in the top 25 which is well above average.  Minor league players move around and a value stat accumulates either upwards or downwards with playing time.

Let’s take a look at the top 25 AA players league wide.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 4.47 Tyler_Mahle_CIN PITCH
+002+ 4.22 Austin_Ross_CIN PITCH
+003+ 4.18 Jason_Vosler_CHN BAT
+004+ 4.05 Edwin_Rios_LAN BAT
+005+ 3.99 Garabez_Rosa_BAL BAT
+006+ 3.97 Scott_Kingery_PHI BAT
+007+ 3.57 Kevin_Cron_ARI BAT
+008+ 3.55 Ronald_Herrera_NYA PITCH
+009+ 3.53 Jack_Flaherty_SLN PITCH
+010+ 3.49 James_Pugliese_CHN PITCH
+011+ 3.30 Rafael_Devers_BOS BAT
+012+ 3.28 Christin_Stewart_DET BAT
+013+ 3.23 Corey_Oswalt_NYN PITCH
+014+ 3.19 Anthony_Garcia_SLN BAT
+015+ 3.15 Mike_Ford_NYA BAT
+016+ 3.13 Scott_Barlow_LAN PITCH
+017+ 3.11 Tyler_Marincov_OAK BAT
+018+ 3.04 Nick_Ramirez_MIL PITCH
+019+ 3.02 Bobby_Bradley_CLE BAT
+020+ 3.02 Mitch_Walding_PHI BAT
+021+ 3.00 Franmil_Reyes_SDN BAT
+022+ 2.90 Lucas_Long_BAL PITCH
+023+ 2.86 Yency_Almonte_COL PITCH
+024+ 2.83 Daury_Torrez_CHN PITCH
+025+ 2.83 Brian_Anderson_MIA BAT

Three Cub prospects highlighted above.   Just because a player can hit or pitch in AA does not mean success in AAA or MLB.  The biggest subterfuge Billy Beane got Michael Lewis to write in Moneyball was the idea that  computer nerds would take over scouting.  In one scene in the movie some old timer scout laments his lost art.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   Experienced old time scouts who can recognize talent are far more important than stat heads.  Stats can only describe what happened, not what will be or what can be with a little tweaking.

Why would Billy Beane give up the recipe to his secret sauce?  For vanity?  So he could get the world to think he looks like Brad Pitt?  Billy Beane threw a curve ball to the world.  He didn’t give up any of his secrets and it’s very probable from my observation over the years he is using a run based model like this one letting the rest of the league chase their tails over run creation and OBP as touted in Moneyball.

And finally the Cubs gave up this prospect in the acquisition of Aroldis Chapman last season.  Here is his full line for the Yankees’ affiliate so far this season.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 1.03 0.273 0.367 139 18 22 Gleyber_Torres_NYA BAT  AA
XXXXX 0.17 0.309 0.406 96 16 9 Gleyber_Torres_NYA BAT  AAA

Gleyber split his time with AA and AAA so hasn’t been able to gain enough value to be ranked in either league.  At 0.17 he is kind of struggling for someone considered a top prospect.  He has a high BA and OBP but average run production. Here’s NYA team status.

6.8 132.1 424 335 53 32 -6.3 1.3 Scranton_Wilkes-Barre_RailRiders_NYA

The Yankees’ affiliate is dominating AAA with their pitching prospects.

Note:  Even though WAA has additive properties, it is not additive between different leagues.  We cannot add Gleybar’s AA value with his AAA value because they’re calculated in two different ecosystems.

That is all for now.  State of the Cubs All Star Edition tomorrow or the next day.  New Cubs’ series with Baltimore Friday which will kick off the second half of the 2017 season.   We’ll see if the Ouija Board still has faith in this team.