State of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Since the Cubs’ recent acquisition, Jose Quintana, just pitched a gem today I decided to compile the 30 MLB affiliates in the A+ minor league and look at the players the White Sox got in return.  The A+ league is one level below AA, two below AAA, and 3 below MLB.  There is one level below A+ but not sure if that’s worth compiling.

The Cubs’ A+ team is the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.  Back in 2013 they were in Daytona and they might have won it all that year.  These affiliates move around a lot in the lower leagues.  Here is the Pelicans’ team status.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
4.2 19.3 401 385 51 40 -10.6 3.4 Myrtle_Beach_Pelicans_CHN

This is a good team even though their fielding (UR) is sub average, worse than the MLB Cubs.  Here are their top players in Myrtle Beach.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos  WinPct
+029+ 2.77 Justin_Steele_CHN PITCH 0.651
+100+ 1.74 Eloy_Jimenez_CHN BAT 0.692
+105+ 1.66 Adbert_Alzolay_CHN PITCH 0.591
+107+ 1.66 Bryant_Flete_CHN BAT 0.606
+110+ 1.62 Craig_Brooks_CHN PITCH 0.859
+116+ 1.57 Dakota_Mekkes_CHN PITCH 0.899
+127+ 1.49 Michael_Rucker_CHN PITCH 0.643
+137+ 1.43 Pedro_Araujo_CHN PITCH 0.654
+150+ 1.34 Dillon_Maples_CHN PITCH 0.693
+167+ 1.26 Matt_Rose_CHN BAT 0.595
XXXXX 1.03 James_Norwood_CHN PITCH 0.632
XXXXX 0.97 Eddy_Martinez_CHN BAT 0.557
XXXXX 0.80 Trent_Giambrone_CHN BAT 0.545
XXXXX 0.78 Jordan_Minch_CHN PITCH 0.695

Cubs have a lot of guys in the top 200 out of 30 MLB A+ affiliates.  The three guys in bold tan are who the Cubs gave up for Quintana.  The forth prospect Dylan Cease played for the Cubs in South Bend on their A team.   We’ll wait until the end of the season to look at him if the White Sox decide to elevate him to A+.

A WinPct column has been added just for minor leagues.  Since WAA represents wins, the delta between W-L, it can be converted to WinPct using the following formula.

WinPct = 0.5 + 0.5*WAA/Games

Where Games = PA/38.4 for batters, IP/9 for pitchers.  This is explained more here.  You can’t do this with WAR.

The weighted WAA is the only value that can be used to rank.  Unlike In MLB, minor league players move from league to league in a season.  A value stat accumulates with playing time so just looking at WAA in these leagues can be deceptive.  A WinPct is considered a rate at which a player is accumulating value much like a batting average which is also a rate.

Many sites and TV commentators like to tout rates to compare players and that is improper.  Rates can only provide context.  A player who hit 0.300 with 700 ABs  made 210 hits whereas a player who hit 0.300 with only 500 AB made 150 hits.  The TV commentators and most Sabermetric stat sites don’t make this distinction and consider the rate sacrosanct.

In the minors we need to provide context.  We don’t in MLB.  In MLB all that matters is a player’s contribution.  We don’t care what could be if that player had more ABs because nobody knows.  Rates change and past results do not affect future results.  When a GM needs to pick a player to elevate they want to do that mid season or several times a season and they don’t want to wait.  That’s where these WinPct rates can be beneficial, they put the WAA value stat into context.  All three Cubs’ prospects who were traded are around 0.600 which is a very good rate.

There’s also scouting intuition like Clint Eastwood in “Trouble with the Curve” that comes into play that can have its own completely separate model used to evaluate the knowledge base of scouts.   There are coaches developing players who might not care about stats as they’re trying out different things.  The above numbers can’t discern this.  These numbers simply provide one perspective.

The Cubs don’t have any A+ players in the top 25 but, like their MLB team, they are all playing around the same level.  A team can win championships without many superstars as long as everyone contributes a little bit.  It all adds up.

I was going to do the White Sox’ Winston Salem team but they’re just as bad as their AA and AAA teams described here.  The White Sox farm system is in complete disarray.  Not sure what Reinsdorf has been doing all these years.

Since we’re here let’s list the top 25 players of all MLB affiliates in the A+ league.  Although many of these teams have cool names we only tag players with their franchise ID.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 5.35 Michael_Chavis_BOS BAT
+002+ 4.89 Wes_Rogers_COL BAT
+003+ 4.56 Brendan_Rodgers_COL BAT
+004+ 4.33 Brian_Mundell_COL BAT
+005+ 4.28 Sam_Hilliard_COL BAT
+006+ 4.12 Garrett_Hampson_COL BAT
+007+ 4.07 Yonathan_Daza_COL BAT
+008+ 3.97 Corbin_Burnes_MIL PITCH
+009+ 3.67 Beau_Burrows_DET PITCH
+010+ 3.65 DJ_Peters_LAN BAT
+011+ 3.65 Aramis_Garcia_SFN BAT
+012+ 3.53 Zack_Littell_NYA PITCH
+013+ 3.42 Kyle_Dowdy_DET PITCH
+014+ 3.34 Jose_Taveras_PHI PITCH
+015+ 3.32 Pedro_Vasquez_PIT PITCH
+016+ 3.19 Kyle_Tucker_HOU BAT
+017+ 3.15 Tyler_Pike_ATL PITCH
+018+ 3.15 Brandon_Lowe_TBA BAT
+019+ 3.04 Chad_De_La_Guerra_BOS BAT
+020+ 3.02 Zac_Gallen_SLN PITCH
+021+ 3.02 Logan_Hill_PIT BAT
+022+ 2.96 Wuilder_Rodriguez_MIL PITCH
+023+ 2.94 Joey_Curletta_SEA BAT
+024+ 2.92 Brett_Sullivan_TBA BAT
+025+ 2.83 Mylz_Jones_COL BAT

The WinPct rate is not needed and would only confuse on a top level sort like this.  Notice ranks 2-7 are from the Colorado Rocky affiliate.  Normally when something like this happens I”m thinking bug in the code but this isn’t a bug.  Here’s their team status.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
182.2 -147.8 586 540 50 43 1.4 10.4 Lancaster_JetHawks_COL

LOL! This is about as lopsided a team can possibly get.  They’re pitching is absolutely horrible and it’s balanced out by a team of minor league Babe Ruths.   The Lucky Runs (LR) is described more here.   They’re basically runs that score where no one gets an RBI.  Unlike Unearned Runs which a team can improve upon,  there’s nothing a team can do to improve lucky runs.  That’s why we call them lucky.  We include them in team status reports for completeness.  I have never seen LR this high.

Anyway, that’s all today.  New series with Atlanta tomorrow.  Until then….