Monday, May 7, 2012

The stuff of Legends

The Lexington Legends recently passed through my area to play a three game series against the Greenville Drive, where they won two of three to take the series. During their stay in Greenville I was able to learn a bit more about several members of the team.

After hitting just .207/.294/.287 in 49 games last year, 2011 27th round pick Alex Todd has turned things around so far this season. The Lexington shortstop is hitting .321/.404/.432 and has drastically improved his strikeout and walk rates while also improving his defense. He was nice enough to answer a quick question prior to Friday's game.

I was also able to get several minutes with Lexington hitting coach Josh Bonifay and we talked about a handful of interesting players.

Mike Kvasnicka was a first round pick in 2010 as a third baseman, despite being generally regarded as a better catching prospect. After hitting .260/.328/.368 last season while playing a terrible third base, Astros new management decided to move Kvasnicka back behind the plate. So far he's made the transition defensively, but his offense is a different story. His line so far is .143/.200/.274.

Matt Duffy was a 20th round pick in 2011 and, due to the perceived lack of third base prospects in the Astros system, a lot of people were looking for him to breakout this year. After a promising .298/.370/.417 last year, he's working to fulfill those wishes as he's hitting .328/.378/.509 this year for Lexington. He's also doubled his home runs in half the at bats.

Delino DeShields Jr. is in a similar situation as Kvasnicka. As a first round pick in 2010, DeShields has been tasked with a position change as he transitions from center field to second base. Last season was his first at the new position and he struggled to a line of .220/.305/.322. This season he's looked like a different player, especially on defense, as his offense has improved more than his .255/.362/.355 line would indicate. His walk and strikeout rates have both improved and he's a perfect 18 for 18 in stolen base attempts so far.

Zach Johnson exploded onto the scene early this year, but has cooled off as late. The 2011 15th round pick hit .262/.339/.369 last season, showing little power for a first baseman. This season we've seen a dramatic increase in extra base hits as well as a much improved walk rate, leading to a line of .268/.364/.491 with as many extra base hits in just 112 at bats as he had last season in 271 at bats.

Drew Muren is an interesting player. The 2011 20th round pick is a lanky 6'6" 195 pound center fielder with a cannon for an arm. While his .270/.327/.393 line may not look that intriguing his size alone makes him stand out.

The last player we talked about was 2010 14th round pick Jordan Scott. The left fielder was named the Greeneville Astros MVP last year and hit .301/.372/.370 across three levels last season. He started hot this season, but has cooled considerably to a line of .253/.374/.273. He's obviously still getting on base, but needs to get back to making better contact and could stand to hit for a little more power, as well.

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