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Daily Notes: Top Performances of the Northwoods League Now

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. SCOUT Leaderboards for the Northwoods League
2. Illustrative GIFs: Aaron Rhodes of Florida and Waterloo

SCOUT Leaderboards for the Northwoods League
Introduction
In yesterday’s edition of the Notes, the author published a pair of leaderboards for, and produced some superfiecial notes regarding, the Cape Cod League — i.e. the nation’s most prestigious collegiate wood-bat summer league. The present edition of the Notes represents a very similar exercise — except, in this case, for what is generally regarded as the second-most prestigious/competitive wood-bat summer league, the Northwoods League.

Based in the Upper Midwest, the Northwoods League often features the next summer’s Cape League participants. By way of illustration, one finds that two of the top hitters in the Cape League by the author’s likely flawed methodology — Wichita State’s Casey Gillaspie and Virginia’s Derek Fisher — played last season in the Northwoods League. Other graduates of the League include: Brandon Crawford (2005), Curtis Granderson (2001), Chris Sale (2008), Max Scherzer (2004), and Jordan Zimmermann (2006).

Below are the SCOUT leaderboards for the Northwoods League’s top hitters and pitchers a little more than a month into this summer’s edition of the league. (All data courtesy Pointstreak.)

SCOUT Leaderboard: Northwoods League Hitters
Here’s the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for all Northwoods League hitters. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average and above 100 is above average. Note that xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.

Player Team Pos PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Mike Fitzgerald MAD C 128 6 25 16 2.9% 16.2% 13.3% 143
Chesney Young WAT IF 193 2 34 13 1.2% 17.4% 6.7% 140
Michael Suchy WIL OF 188 8 27 27 3.2% 14.1% 14.4% 139
Donnie Dewees WRP OF 180 9 17 18 3.6% 9.5% 10.0% 139
Jason Vosler TB 3B 211 7 24 20 2.8% 11.4% 9.5% 135
Jackson Slaid WRP C 180 9 23 32 3.6% 12.5% 17.8% 132
Tyler Duplantis TB 3B 222 7 36 41 2.7% 16.2% 18.5% 131
Erik Payne WRP IF 212 11 30 51 4.1% 14.2% 24.1% 130
Pat MacKenzie WAT 2B 203 3 35 29 1.5% 17.2% 14.3% 128
Chase Simpson MAN 1B 193 8 23 33 3.2% 11.9% 17.1% 127

SCOUT Leaderboard: Northwoods League Starters
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for all Northwoods League pitchers who’ve made at least half their appearances as a starter. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average and below 100 is better than average. Note that xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.

Player Team G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Aaron Rhodes WAT 7 5 37.1 152 42 9 27.6% 9.2% 71
David Stagg BC 7 6 35.1 143 41 12 28.1% 9.9% 72
Colin Poche WIL 8 4 29.0 115 33 5 26.2% 9.2% 75
Cameron Giannini MAN 8 7 46.1 190 50 14 26.3% 9.4% 75
Steven Brault WIL 2 2 12.2 45 21 2 26.6% 9.9% 76
Luke Staub MAD 8 8 46.0 176 42 6 23.9% 8.2% 78
John Kravetz WRP 8 8 51.2 212 49 8 23.2% 7.9% 80
Josh Frye LAC 8 8 48.0 208 53 23 25.5% 10.7% 81
Matt Ditman WIS 6 6 32.1 140 33 4 23.2% 8.5% 81
Hunter Devall BC 9 9 43.0 180 43 19 23.9% 10.5% 84

Notes
• Outfielder Donnie Dewees appears to be the only freshman presently among the league’s best hitters, having recorded one of its (i.e. the league’s) top regressed home-run rates while also maintaining a walk-to-strikeout ratio of approximately 1.0. In his first year with North Florida this season, Dewees posted a 28:21 walk ratio while hitting five home runs in 213 at-bats. He appears to have played center for North Florida and to be splitting his time between right and center for Wisconsin Rapids.

• Atop the pitching leaderboard is another freshman, University of Florida right-hander Aaron Rhodes. While not entirely effective in his first exposure to SEC competition (18.1 IP, 14 K, 10 BB), Rhodes has pitched quite well for Waterloo thus far, recording a 42:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 37.1 innings — most of those innings accumulated in a starting capacity. Reports suggest that Rhodes is a side-armer with a fastball at only around 85 mph, indicating (i.e. those same reports) that he’s perhaps more reliant on a slider with considerable arm-side movement.*

• Unlike Rhodes, freshman left-hander Colin Poche had decided success in the SEC — in this case for the University of Arkansas. In 19.2 innings for the Razorbacks — many of them in a starting capacity — Poche recorded a 23:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Selected by Baltimore in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Poche seems to possess a frame and velocity more typical (than Rhodes) of a proper major-league prospect.

*Although visual evidence offers a slightly different perspective. See illustrative GIFs below.

Illustrative GIFs: Aaron Rhodes of Florida and Waterloo
Here’s footage of Northwoods pitching leader Aaron Rhodes throwing in relief for the University of Florida during a May game against LSU (box) — during which appearance he threw almost exclusively fastballs.

Like this one, for example, at 87 mph:

Rhodes 87

And this other one, purposely elevated and thrown perhaps a little flatter, at 91 mph:

Rhodes 91