Szymborski’s MLEs: Five Notable (Triple-A) Batters

Yesterday, after talking at length about godknowswhat, I introduced five notable pitcher zMLEs — that is, minor league translations courtesy of beloved Pole Dan Szymborski.

Though, as Szymborski shouts at the top of his lungs, the numbers are subject to all manner of caveat, they still provide an interesting point of departure for developing ideas about players come 2011.

Below are five notable batter zMLEs, with notations of varying helpfulness. As to what constitutes “notable,” there’s no hard definition, but I’ve generally looked for hitters with at least 100 ABs and have omitted more well-known prospects — like Carlos Santana or Mike Stanton, for example.

Ages are as of today, October 29th. The wOBAs (for the MLEs, that is) are approximate; players, ordered according to author’s whim. The reader will also note that all of the following are Triple-A players. Five Double-A players will appear in this space next week.

Name: Marquez Smith, 25, 3B
Organization: Chicago (NL) Level: Triple-A
Actual: 341 PA, .314/.384/.574 (.358 BABIP), .412 wOBA
zMLE: 341 PA, .278/.340/.502 (.317 BABIP), .366 wOBA
• So far as I can tell, has never, ever, never, ever, never been on a prospect list of any sort. Or, at least not recently he hasn’t.
• Per, was drafted a total of four times: 36th round of 2003 draft by Twins, 46th round of 2004 draft by Angels, 35th round of 2006 draft by Cubs, and, finally, by Cubs in eighth round of 2007 draft from Clemson University.
• Finished at +15 runs afield in 2008, per TotalZone, and +22 runs in 2009.
• Is native of Panama City, Florida, home of Shuckums Oyster Bar.
• Shuckums: “We Shuck’um, You Suck’um.”

Name: Danny Dorn, 26, 1B
Organization: Cincinnati Level: Triple-A
Actual: 319 PA, .302/.398/.545 (.387 BABIP), .409 wOBA
zMLE: 319 PA, .250/.342/.468 (.333 BABIP), .355 wOBA
• Is a “poor defensive player,” per our man Marc Hulet.
• As of August 20th of last year had .197/.239/.394 career mark against southpaws in his career, but .293/.358/.475 against right-handers.
• Slashed .313/.420/.562 against righties in 2010, only .259/.306/.483 against lefties.
• Small sample, small sample, small sample.
• Blocked at the ML-level by Joey Votto who, in addition to being a better hitter than Dorn, is also way more Italian.

Name: Justin Turner, 26, 2B
Organization: New York (NL) Level: Triple-A
Actual: 348 PA, .333/.390/.516 (.351 BABIP), .395 wOBA
zMLE: 348 PA, .288/.340/.434 (.308 BABIP), .343 wOBA
• Is graded as -9 run true-talent fielder by Sean Smith’s most recent CHONE projection.
• A good thing is how he struck out in only 12.2% of his plate appearances at Buffalo this season.
• That ranked him 20th among batters in the International League with at least 100 PAs.
• Was claimed by Mets off waivers after being DFAed by the Orioles to make room on the 40-man for Scott Moore.
The Scott Moore.

Name: Chris Nelson, 25, MI
Organization: Colorado Level: Triple-A
Actual: 356 PA, .317/.379/.498 (.348 BABIP), .384 wOBA
zMLE: 356 PA, .280/.331/.443 (.311 BABIP), .341 wOBA
• On the one hand, played more innings at short this year than any other position.
• On the other, is rated as a -19 run fielder by the most recent iteration of CHONE.
• Was originally considered a top prospect, but then kind of a bust, but now kinda good again.
• Broke his hamate bone in 2008, thus stalling his development for a time.
• The hamate is neither a ham, nor a mate: discuss.

Name: Cord Phelps, 23, 2B
Organization: Cleveland Level: Triple-A
Actual: 273 PA, .317/.386/.506 (.357 BABIP), .388 wOBA
zMLE: 273 PA, .271/.335/.409 (.312 BABIP), .331 wOBA
• Without even checking, I’m gonna guess he’s from the American South — with a name like that, I mean.
• Ack. Wrong. California.
• Had zero home runs through first two college seasons at Stanford (278 AB).
• Had 13 his junior year (259 AB).
• Is on zero prospect lists, so far as I can tell.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

20 Responses to “Szymborski’s MLEs: Five Notable (Triple-A) Batters”

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  1. Alex Walsh says:

    So much for Josh Vitters playing third base, I guess?

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  2. Matt Defalco says:

    Great stuff Carson! Always enjoy a laugh with analysis.

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    • James III says:

      I like a laugh, but Carson works way too hard. The pain of the forced humor detracts from his cool analysis. Why drag us through the pain, man?

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      • Paul says:

        I think you must just be having a bad day, James III. If you like humor, then, “The hamate is neither a ham, nor a mate: discuss,” should easily outweigh at least a few stinkers. For me that one cancels out 10 stinkers. This is known as the 10:1 rule, and is, contrary to popular myth, what Zach Rogue was trying to say (but couldn’t since he was encumbered by instruments).

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  3. El Guapo says:

    Cord Phelps seems to be on a lot of people’s lists, far as we can tell. Seems to be getting almost as much attention as Jason Kipnis, though we aren’t sure why.

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  4. maqman says:

    I had a cat named Guapo.

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  5. david says:

    Chris Nelson is the only guy on this list who has even an outside chance of accumulating 1000 career big league plate appearances.

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  6. batsfan says:

    I think people really underestimate Dorn’s defense. I’d rather have him in left then Gomes any day, defensively, and I have seen him play many times. He also has huge power to his pull field.

    The only other guy on the list I remember seeing is Cord Phelps – he hit one of the longer home runs I have ever seen.

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  7. JR says:

    With a name like Dorn, he should be playing third.

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    • Choo says:

      Either way, both Dorns were born with goat heads for glove hands. Some names are just cursed, I guess. God help the next shortstop named Gochnaur . . .

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  8. I laughed 3.7 times reading this piece. If you want your stats as dry as an overcooked turkey, go hang out at baseball prospectus.

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  9. jeffrey gross says:

    I was honestly hoping Ramirez would opt out so Marquez could get a chance while Vitters learns not to suck and the franchise rebuilds…sigh…

    Think the Cubs could vulture Alex Gordon per chance?

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  10. El Guapo says:

    Picking up (LF) Alex Gordon is as dry an idea as an overcooked vulture.

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  11. El Guapo says:

    While he may get a look there in the spring, we would be very surprised if Cord Phelps nudges out Lonnie Chisenall for the Tribe’s 3B slot down the road — though he can hit some, with pop.

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  12. Nate is not nice says:

    With defensive numbers that strong at 3B, I wonder what would stop the Cubs from trying Smith out at 2B. I know they have Dewitt, but he may not really stick there. Smith wouldn’t even have to put up those MLE numbers on offense if he can be above avg. defensively to give them value.

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  14. Kampfer says:

    If Marquez Smith’s true talent defense is a +15 at 3B, he only needs to hit league avg offense(+0) to be a 4 win player. That sounds like a heck of a prospect who slipped thru scouts’ eyes

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  15. Der-K says:

    Marquez isn’t as good of a hitter as he appeared last year, nor the caliber of fielder that TZ suggests … but, he can play. Peak: .270/.340/.450 (not that far from last season), w/, say, +7 defense. Was available in Rule 5 too (as was Dorn).

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