Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free (Insert Name Here)! Corpus edition

Last Saturday, we ran the first Free (Insert Name Here)! post. Within three days both players who we thought should be freed (Dallas Keuchel and Arcenio Leon) had been freed. So let's move up the ladder to Corpus, before dropping back down to the short-season teams.

Koby Clemens

Is Tommy Everidge really going to be in the mix for the Astros in 2011? Doubtful. Apparently Clemens is. Clemens is 23, and won't be 24 until December, and is about a year younger than other Hooks, and almost a year younger than his Texas League competition. He's currently hitting .256 - the lowest his batting average has been since 2007 (Lexington - .252). Yet his OBP is at the highest level since his rookie 2005 year (with the exception, of course, of last year's Lancaster season). And, again, excepting 2009, his SLG (.509) is at the highest level of his career. Cause for concerns: He's hitting .306/.426/.565 at home, and .203/.310/.449 on the road, though the .250 road BABIP shows he's been unlucky.

Thanks to two mashers at NW Arkansas, his SLG is currently third in the Texas League, and he's leading the League in homers, with 22, walks (55), but also 2nd in strikeouts (112). He's second in RBIs, too, with 67.

Interestingly enough, he hits more fly balls (42.2%) than grounders (34.4%), and his BABIP on fly balls is .143. We're likely seeing the real Koby Clemens here, as opposed to last year. In 2009 his overall BABIP was .419, and that's hard to sustain. Still, pitchers are getting him to ground out more at Double-A, as in 2009, he hit grounders in 29.7% of his ABs, with 53.2% being of the fly ball variety.

All things being equal - and I mean that literally, because this next round of numbers are neutralized for park and luck - Clemens should be a .290/.403/.556 hitter this season. But he's not.

Verdict: 2009 was good for Clemens because it showed he could, in fact, hit. But anyone expecting him to repeat was in for a brutal shock. Should he come up to Triple-A? I'd like to see it, especially if he's going to be in the mix - even if just in an observatory role - in 2011. While it's likely he'll start 2011 in Round Rock, it would be nice to go ahead and give him a 150-200AB preview of what Triple-A is like. Bring him up!

Jordan Lyles

Verdict: Are you kidding? Yeah, bring him up to Round Rock.

Doug Arguello

Arguello is a 25-year old LHP, and will be 26 towards the end of November. So right, there, he's about six months older than the pitching staff average, and about a year and a half older than the average age of Texas League pitching. Typically, the Hooks have the oldest pitching staff in the TL, with an average of two years older than the Rangers' TL team in Frisco.

That being said, Arguello has a groundball/flyball ratio of 2.74:1, and he's allowed 118 hits in 121IP. Walks are something of a concern, averaging a touch over three walks per nine innings (below the 3.6 BB/9 League average), leading to a 1.33 WHIP (also below League average). He's been a tad unlucky, with a combined .318 BABIP - though he's consistent (.315 BABIP vs LHB; .320 vs RHB), and he gets a ton of groundballs: 60.7%, allowing a higher rate of liners (17.2%) than flyballs (17.0%), and only 6.1% of those flyballs find their way above the yellow line.

One thing the Astros will need to watch for as he progresses is his innings pitched. He's sitting at 121IP in 2010, already 38IP higher than 2009, though he did throw 139IP and 142IP in '07 and '08, respectively. Averaging 6IP/start, as he has done this season, he has four starts remaining before he hits a career high in IPs.

Verdict: If the Astros are targeting his IPs from 2009 (if they even do that sort of thing), then he should probably take it easy over the next six weeks of the season, maybe even shutting him down. If they're looking to get him to where he could contribute as a starter, then he could feasibly get in five more starts - bringing him to around 170IP. That would allow him 200IP in 2011, and a possible move into the rotation in 2012.

Verdict: With his 3.38 FIP, he's old enough - and doing well enough in Double-A - that the Astros need to see what he can do in the upper levels. He's been a professional since 2003, bring him up.

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