Friday, January 19, 2007

Barely Legal: Dodgers Young Players Get Some Love

In this afternoon's chat, Baseball Prospectus' Nate Silver touched on a couple of the Dodgers' prospects and their PECOTA projections.
Mike (Michigan): Wow Nate, Pecota LOVES Matt Kemp. Why? His pitch recognition seems pretty bad.

Nate Silver: PECOTA actually does think that Kemp's plate discipline problems will constrain his growth a little bit. We have him at a .286 EqA at age 22, but that only grows to a .293 EqA at age 26. That's just a 7-point gain, when ordinarily you'd expect a gain more on the order of 15 points.

With that said, Kemp is already very good. The numbers he put up in Jacksonville and Las Vegas last year were HUGE, and remember that he was seeing each of those leagues for the first time. And there were things to like about what he did in the majors too. Plus he's got excellent athleticism to round out his power, so if the plate discipline DOES come around, watch out.

Mike (Michigan): I finished so I ran out of Dodger questions! You are saved! Last one: Why is [Clayton] Kershaw so much better than [Scott] Elbert? Kevin Goldstein certainly ranks Kershaw higher, but the gap seems much larger in Pecota than I expected.

Nate Silver: Elbert has pretty serious problems both with walks and flyballs. Certainly, that's a pattern that some pitchers have been able to overcome; you see Scott Kazmir on his comp list for example. But he's got some work left to do. In other words, he's sort of a garden variety B+ left-handed pitching prospect.

Kershaw, on the other hand, is special. An 18-year-old posting a 54:5 K/BB ratio, giving up zero home runs in 37 innings ... I don't care if you're in the complex leagues, that's special. And the scouting reports match the stats.

While one has to take these projections with a little NaCl (Edwin Jackson, anyone?), if Kemp manages to address his plate discipline issues and Kershaw continues to mow 'em down, 2008 could be the start of something special.

10 comments:

Orel said...

Dammit, 2007 could be the start of something special if Kemp and Loney weren't blocked.

Robert said...

"Blocked" is a relative term when you have the injury-prone and ancient at first and in left field respectively. :)

Orel said...

theguag (Louisville): Why does PECOTA forecast only 164 IP for Derek Lowe?

Nate Silver: Because he's 34 and doesn't strike people out. I realize that his strengths lie elsewhere but the attrition rate for this type of pitcher is very high.

Lasorda said...

Well, I was just focusing on the positives. . .

Remember, these are "weighted mean" projections. Lowe's projection ranges from 173 innings down to 119 innings. Needless to say, I'm all for being prepared to plug in a Meloan or *gasp* Kershaw if Lowe or Penny struggles.

That's right. I said it.

Orel said...

Wouldn't you expect to see Elbert before Kershaw?

Anonymous said...

what about stults? i currently rank him 7th on our rotation depth chart, ahead of stiffs like hendrickson & tomko . . .

Orel said...

Forgot about Stults, who seemed to disappear after his magical start against the Mets.

Would love to see him return and grab a spot.

Lasorda said...

PECOTA isn't too enthralled with Stults (projecting a Hendricksonian 5.30 ERA). That being said, the 26 year old is definitely closer to being ready than Kershaw. Like I said, 2008 could really rock.

Josh S. said...

"...if Kemp manages to address his plate discipline..."

*sigh*

(Whoops. Time travelers are supposed to remain inconspicuous.)

Dusty Baker said...

Oh, shit, Josh, you've caused a wrinkle in time. There may be dire consequences; Kemp may never win a Gold Glove and Silver SLugger in the same year.