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Four Things For A Friday: Catch Probability Update, Resting Starters, The Texas League, & Tirso Ornelas

Photo: Grant Wickes

“What is with that guy jumping overboard?  If he had just waited and heard what I had to say, he would be motivated right now, and not all wet.” – Michael Scott

There are times when I want to write about something, but there’s not enough meat on the bone for a full-blown article.  Other times, there’s something that I feel like is worth mentioning, but don’t feel like getting too deep into it.  I’m going to try to save a few of those things for a Friday column.  This is that column.

Statcast Catches Update

I don’t know that I’ve found the use of some of the Statcast data that other writers have, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t into their Catch Probability ratings.  A quick primer is that every catch in the outfield is given a difficulty rating, based on the hang time of the ball, and the distance from where the ball lands and where the player started.

The rankings go as follows:

  • 1-star = 91% – 95%
  • 2-star = 76% – 90%
  • 3-star = 51% – 75%
  • 4-star = 26% – 50%
  • 5-star = 0% – 25%

With all three outfielders making great catches on Wednesday night, I got to wondering how the Padres outfielders were faring in those ratings.  Here’s a leaderboard of all of them, along with a few other outfielders at the bottom, just for comparison.  Didn’t really put these in any particular order.

 

I know that Mike Trout is injured, but it was interesting to see that he didn’t fare so well on here.  Very pleased to see that my man Franchy Cordero comes off looking great, and Hunter Renfroe, despite his flaws, shows that he’s not chopped liver.

Six-Man Rotations

It’s no secret that there are quite a few high-profile prospects that are either recovering from Tommy John surgery (Cal Quantrill and Mason Thompson), are still in their teens (Adrian Morejon, Henry Henry, and Reggie Lawson, among others), or still just adjusting to the length of a season that is much longer than the college game (Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi).

With that being said, I guess it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the Padre affiliates have moved to a six-man rotation.  Earlier in the season, the Missions were rolling with a tight five in Kyle Lloyd, Michael Kelly, Brett Kennedy, Enyel De Los Santos, and Chris Huffman.  With Lloyd and Kelly being promoted to Triple-A, those two spots were filled by three players in Lauer, Lucchesi, and Quantrill.  They’d been in a six-man rotation in Lake Elsinore, who’s rotation is now comprised of Jacob Nix, Logan Allen, Jesse Scholtens, Adrian De Horta, Jake Esch, and a combination of Jerry Keel and Thomas Dorminy.

I guess I don’t need to write it all down in paragraph form – the purpose of this column is to just spit out a few half-baked ideas.  Just pointing out that, as we get deeper into the season, some of the guys who started in full-season ball or who are recovering from injury might rest a little more than usual to conserve innings.  I’d still look for the new-comers like Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon to get stretched out.

My Favorite Texas League Players

I’ve watched the Missions more than the Padres this year, and with the Texas League being an eight-team league, it you get to know the players on the other teams a little more than usual.  Here is my list of my favorite players on each Texas League team, with a one sentence description describing why.  Since they’re not all Padres, I don’t care as much for their “prospect standing”, these are just guys I like, ranked:

  1. Luis Urías, 2B (San Antonio Missions – Padres) No brainer here, Urías is an OBP machine and, having had the chance to interview him, a good dude.
  2. Garrett Stubbs, C (Corpus Christi Hooks – Astros) Aside from being the subject of a few Effectively Wild podcasts for a trampoline injury that permanently made his finger crooked, the Torrey Pines grad is easily the best defensive catcher in the league and Houston’s no.14 prospect.
  3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 2B/SS/C (Frisco RoughRiders – Rangers) Probably the scrappiest guy in the league, this Hawaiian is a Swiss Army knife that can fit in anywhere and produces.
  4. Max Schrock, 2B (Midland RockHounds – A’s) The dude can flat out hit – with a batting average and an OPS that are just two and six points below Urías’, respectively.
  5. Randy Arrozarena, OF (Springfield Cardinals – Cardinals) I watched him last year in the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol for los Mayos de Navojoa (yes, I literally watch baseball year-round), and the speedy outfielder (and St. Louis’ no.12 prospect) is fun to watch and improving at the plate.
  6. Foster Griffin, SP (Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Royals) Alright, we’re scraping the barrel here a bit, but I remember researching Griffin when he was drafted in 2014 (though it was mostly because he shares a name with my four-year-old son), and KC’s no.6 prospect is having a decent season (7-3, 3.13 ERA, 7.7 K/9).
  7. Marcus Littlewood, C (Arkansas Travelers – Mariners) Uh… his name is Marcus and I think he’s LDS (Mormon), both of which describe me, and the Travelers are the team I know the least about, so he’s it.
  8. N/A (Tulsa Drillers – Dodgers) I don’t need to pretend to be objective all the time, and I don’t feel the need to find reasons to like anyone associated with the Dodgers (but they can still trade us Alex Verdugo if they want).

 

Tirso Ornelas

As I mentioned before, in addition to watching a lot of Padres/affiliated baseball, I also watch the LMP, which is Mexico’s winter league.  Between living in San Diego and serving a mission for my church in which I learned to speak fluent Spanish, I really have a deep love for the Mexican culture and its people.  It should come as no surprise then, that amidst the bevy of international prospects signed recently by A.J. Preller, that Tirso Ornelas sticks out.

For one, he’s not a middle infielder from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, or Venezuela.  Also, the Mexican outfielder stands at 6’4″ and has a .411 OBP in his first 25 games for the AZL Padres 2 squad – the highest in his group among players with 60+ plate appearances (he has 112).  He seems to have a good eye (18.8% walk rate), and though his five extra base hits are all doubles, he’s still only 17, and projects to add a bit of weight (currently only at 180 lbs).

I like Ornelas, the aforementioned Urías, and El Paso third baseman Christian Villanueva, not just because they’re among the few Mexicans in the system – they all have talent worth paying attention to.  But I remember the buzz around Fernando Valenzuela when he pitched for the Padres, even when he was past his prime, and it’d be cool to see even just a glimpse of that at Petco Park in the future.

Other things that just missed the cut:

  • Esteury Ruiz, Lake Bachar, and River Stephens among the water-themed first names in the Padres minor league system.
  • Two of the best hitters at Lake Elsinore both play the same position (catchers Austin Allen and Kyle Overstreet).
  • The Missions are having a Star Wars night jersey, and I kinda dig it, though I prefer R2D2 to C3PO: