Posted by: taylorjs | November 30, 2009

AFL Wrap-up

The final games of the Arizona Fall League have been in the books for quite awhile, but I haven’t had a chance until now to sit down and put together a post summarizing my thoughts on the performances this year.  Overall, it was a middling-to-weak year for Twins performers.  I want to be clear — I’m basing these grades almost exclusively on the numbers that were put up, without regard to the shortness of the season (the sole exception is noted in the post when it comes up).  This obviously magnifies bad outings, especially for pitchers — but that’s just the way it is and I’m sticking with the grades I’ve given out.  Here they are, best to worst:

Steve Singleton (IF) / A-

At first glance, Singleton’s numbers look to more in line with some kind of ‘B’ rather than an A-.  In 76 AB’s, Singleton hit .289/791 with 1 walk and 12 K’s.  While that’s an awfully low walk rate, everything else there is quite nice without being anything special.  Singleton had an outstanding year in terms of run production, however.  In 19 games, Singleton scored 18 times and drove in 15 more runs.  Those 33 runs produced led the team.  That’s enough for me to give him a bump, even I’m not sure exactly how to explain it — timely hitting and luck undoubtedly played a significant factor in turning good-but-not-great numbers into a large number of runs. And of course, a player is only partially responsible for run production statistics in any case, since he either has to be driven in by another player lower in the batting order or be lucky enough to come to the plate with guys on base.  Still, I can’t just ignore the run production numbers, and it’s enough to give him a nice bump up to A- status.  I should note that Singleton made errors — leading the team — but I’m not considering that in the grade.

Chris Parmelee (1B/OF) / B

At first glance, I was going to give Parmelee a lower score than a B.  I didn’t particularly like his relatively low .250 batting average, for instance, which I don’t normally associate with an above average season.  I also was not thrilled with Parmelee’s 24 K’s in 80 AB’s — a 30% rate — but I calmed down after reminding myself that such a number is hardly unheard of among big league players.  Ultimately, I liked Parmelee’s 887 OPS, 4 homers (leading his team) and 21 RBI’s more than I didn’t like any of those things.  Parmelee’s season was hardly worthy of any kind of A, but it was a good solid B season.

Alex Burnett (RP) / B-

I feel like I’m being pretty generous with Burnett on this score.  In 10.2 innings, the newly minted member of the Twins 40-man roster posted a 3.38 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 11 K’s and 10 BB’s.  The 3.38 ERA is ok, and I’m viewing the WHIP as neutral (which is probably a bit generous).  I’m not that thrilled with an 11-10 K-BB ratio, though, or with the idea of walking nearly a batter an inning in general.  Those number made me consider a C+ (defined as very slightly above average) — but I’m being nice because there aren’t many truly bright spots for the Twins coming out the AFL this year.

Rene Tosoni (OF) / D

For awhile, Tosoni was putting together an acceptable AFL season.  It fell apart at the end, though, with Tosoni putting up just a .184 average and 542 OPS in his last 10 games.  That resulted in a .218 average and 643 OPS for the season — hardly numbers that leave me wanting to give him a better grade here.

Spencer Steedley (RP) / D

I had written this up originally intending to give Steedley an F.  There are two (related) reasons why I felt Steedley deserved an F — his outrageous 2.14 WHIP and his 8-14 K-BB ratio in 14 innings of work.  But when I reconsidered his 4.50 ERA, I realized that I just couldn’t put him down in the F category.  The bottom line is that, while Steedley was far too wild and allowed way too many baserunners, he somehow kept most of them from scoring.  Consider this — Steedley allowed 30 baserunners (16 hits and 14 walks), and gave up just 7 runs.  I have no idea how he did that, and that’s worth an extra letter grade.  The cautionary thought here is that you couldn’t expect a pitcher to replicate this kind of success, so a big element of luck was probably involved.  I have to give him credit, though.

Mike McCardell (SP) / D-

A 7.27 ERA and 1.62 WHIP combine with a shortened season — McCardell pitched in just 3 games covering 8.2 innings before hanging it up — is enough to get a low D.  I thought about being gentler, because the WHIP isn’t horrid and because McCardell had a solid 11-5 K-BB ratio.  However, I can’t look past that ERA.

Steve Hirschfeld (RP/SP) / F

The stat line says it all:  11.15 ERA/1.96 WHIP in 15.1 innings.  Yipes.  In the spirit of finding something good, I should point out that Hirschfeld had a very nice 17-8 K-BB ratio.  But again, is there any way to look at an ERA over 10.00 and a WHIP of nearly 2.00?



  1. Re: Steedley’s Grade

    Looks more like dumb luck than actual skill that kept those runners from scoring. But hey, sometimes lucky is good enough to pass. Reminds me of my days in school.

  2. I just took a look at the AFL guys this week, and rated them very differently. Did you consider the context of the league when you were deciding your grades? The average AFL hitter went .281/.361/.443, while the average pitcher had a 5.35 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. That makes Singleton’s performance slightly below average in terms of OPS, while Burnett’s WHIP is slightly better than average, and his ERA is about 2 runs lower than average – way better than OK.

    So glad to see you’re blogging again!

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