2013 Statistical Review: Mississippi

US PRESSWIRE

Perhaps one of the more interesting levels.

Moving on to the next rung of the minor league ladder ...

Position Players

Tommy La Stella, 2B - If all La Stella does is hit, at least he does the thing that has the most value. His .343/.422/.473 line in 80 games was certainly excellent, and it looks better knowing that he walked (11.5%) more than he struck out (10.5%). What La Stella doesn't do is hit for much power or play very good defense. The power is okay because he has enough gap power, contact skills, and OBP to be valuable at second, but the defense is more troubling. The main issue is arm strength and hands, but... well... uh... *looks at Uggla*.

Christian Bethancourt, C - After a rough first half, Bethancourt decided to go off in the second half, culminating in a surprise September promotion to the majors. Of course that one September AB demonstrated all the offensive concerns people have with Bethancourt, but hey, it was only his first AB, right? Right? RIGHT? Anyway, .277/.305/.436 is much better than his 2012 campaign, and the scouting reports indicate that he made significant mechanical changes that allow him to get the bat to the ball faster. There's no reason to go overboard and overvalue a good second half, but it's good to remember that he'll be 22 all next season and 22-year-olds tend to improve.

Mycal Jones, OF - Mycal Jones has always been a personal fascination of mine, and a .261/.337/.348 line is fairly decent in the Southern League (103 wRC+). But he's older than I am, and it wasn't his first time at the level. I'll always want to believe because of the speed and athleticism, but there's probably nothing to see here.

Edward Salcedo, 3B - Salcedo basically did a reverse Bethancourt. After a stellar first half, he cooled off in the second half. The .239/.304/.372 line is pretty meh, but the Southern League is a tough offensive environment, making Salcedo an average hitter as a 21-year-old in AA. The great thing was that his walk and strikeout rates substantially improved while taking the treacherous step to the upper levels of the minors. People might be a bit down on the overall production, but I think he showed substantial improvements.

Pitchers

Aaron Northcraft, SP - Northcraft continues to plod along in the Braves system. A 3.42 ERA in his AA campaign is a solid mark, and you have to like the 21% K rate while not seeing his BB rate jump. Northcraft is also an extreme groundball guy as he netted twice as many groundouts as flyouts. The issue with Northcraft is the low arm slot making him susceptible to lefties. Think of him as a Justin Masterson-lite. Chances are that lefties would do too much damage against him to keep him in the rotation come the majors, but he keeps earning the right to prove everyone wrong.

Gus Schlosser, SP - Northcraft continues to plod along in the Braves system. A 3.42 ERA in his AA campaign is a solid mark, and you have to like the 21% K rate while not seeing his BB rate jump. Northcraft is also an extreme groundball guy as he netted twice as many groundouts as flyouts. The issue with Northcraft is the low arm slot making him susceptible to lefties. Think of him as a Justin Masterson-lite. Chances are that lefties would do too much damage against him to keep him in the rotation come the majors, but he keeps earning the right to prove everyone wrong.

Ian Thomas, P - Ian Thomas was picked up out of the Indy Leagues in the middle of the last season, and all he's done since is miss bats. Batters went down on strikes at a 29% clip, and they walked at a 9% clip. That's a pretty nice difference, and while he's going to be 27 next season, he might find himself as rotation depth or a nice lefty bullpen piece. He's a little older, but age ain't nothin' but a number.

Ryne Harper, RP - The 24-year-old righty had a solid AA stint with a 1.79 ERA and a 23% K rate. He relies heavily on his breaking ball, but it's worked for him so far. Harper will face another challenge at AAA, and his K rate has been dropped precipitously from previous levels. He's an interesting relief prospect, but there are some concerns there.

Mark Lamm, RP - Formerly a teammate of Mike Minor, Lamm had another solid campaign in his attempt to be Minor's teammate again. While Mark Lamm misses plenty of bats, he also walks a lot of guys, and his 14% BB rate in AAA is too high for a guy who only strikes out 21% of hitters. It's a step-by-step process, but he's still got some work to do, too.

Andrew Russell, RP - (see: Gearrin, Cory)

Juan Jaime, RP - Jaime still throws hard as hell and misses bats (37%), but he still doesn't really know where it's going (15%). The triple-digit fastball is nice, but he'll need to improve the walk rate to make it in the majors. But he'll get plenty of chances to get there, and I wouldn't be surprised if he got a chance if there's an injury next year.

J.R. Graham, SP - *waves hand* This was not the season you were looking for.

Mississippi Stats

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