Thursday, June 23, 2011

Battle Royal! Clemens vs. Gaston vs. Hinze!

Deputy Street did such an amazing amount of work that it would be ridiculous not to post this. Many of you have sent emails or messages via Twitter asking why in the hell Kody Hinze wasn't promoted to Corpus with Chris Wallace. I have no idea, but let's get an idea about what Hinze is doing so far in Lancaster this season, compared to two of the finest seasons Lancaster has seen: 2009 Koby Clemens and 2009 Jon Gaston. Both players saw their Prospect stock rise dramatically after breaking out in a ballpark with the relative gravity of the Moon, let's compare, shall we?

At Home, Pre-All Star Break:

Clemens (09)216.352/.438/.65348:3135-72
Gaston (09)260.308/.404/.69278:3852-56
Hinze (11)120.325/.464/.60832:3116-26

On the Road, Pre-ASB

Clemens (09)224.330/.409/.58963:2338-51
Gaston (09)258.248/.342/.50486:3329-44
Hinze (11)114.368/.503/.71928:3020-33

Alright, before we get much further, let's take a look at a few things:

1) Prior to 2009, where Clemens posted an OPS of 1.036, his career high in OPS had been .859, and that was in 42 games at Greeneville/Tri-City. In 2008, his OPS was .792 (.268/.369/.423). So to have a 210 point bump in OPS is what you might call a "fluke." And sure enough, in Corpus, his average was down 100 points, and his OPS was .825. So far he's hitting .231/.332/.396.

2) Same thing with Gaston. His OPS in 62 games at Tri-City in 2008 was .577. He had two homers and one triple in 236 plate appearances. So when he goes off for 35 homers and 15 triples in 2009 with a .966 OPS, it makes no sense, other than it's a product of the environment - and that holds up with his road splits.

3) Kody Hinze, however, is a little bit of a different animal. He struggled in 2009, only playing in 59 games and posting a .722 OPS. This is coming off a 2008 where he had an .831 OPS in 55 games at Greeneville. So aside from an injury-plagued 2009, his SLG hasn't been below .457, and his OBP has been above .370. In other words, he has a track record of high OBP/SLG. Now, is a line of .346/.483/.662 ridiculous? Of course - it's video game ridiculous, but Hinze also has 60K:61BB so he's otherwise getting on base.

4) While there's plenty of time for his to regress back to just "stupid good," it's important to note that Hinze's OPS is 151 points higher on the road than it is at home, while Clemens' Road OPS dropped by 92 points, and Gaston's dropped by 250 points. This sort of removes the doubt about the Lancaster Effect.

5) So why didn't Hinze get moved up? After all, he will be 24 and, wouldn't you know it - the average age of Hooks batters is 23.9 years old. A couple of reasons, maybe: (a) Jimmy Van Ostrand is having a decent year at 1B for Corpus, hitting .288/.360/.454 where as a team the Hooks are hitting .261/.321/.373. His .814 OPS is 4th on the team. And if you want to advance JVO as a 1B to OKC to clear the path for Hinze at Corpus, then you'll need to do something with Koby Clemens, currently "holding down" 1B at OKC. (b) The Astros don't have a clue what they're doing, with no rhyme or reason to who advances through the system.