Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
The Auburn Doubledays won their division and proceeded to lose in the first round of the playoffs, again. This year's team was good, but not as good as the 2003 juggernaut, the 2004 Doubledays won 50 games with a +132 run differential, the 2003 D'Days won 56 games with +237 run differential. In 2003 Vito Chiaravalotti was the triple crown winner, Aaron Hill and Jamie Vermilyea were promoted to Dunedin mid season and Kurt Isenberg won the ERA title. The 2004 team did not have a player lead a major statistical category and the mid-season promotions were to Charleston.

So the 2003 team had a better record and some players had better individual numbers, so what? First the standard disclaimer, these numbers do not mean a whole lot, it is a short season, it is the players first exposure to pro ball, etc., etc. For example Vito won the triple crown last year and had a good, but not great, follow-up season in Dunedin this year. Kurt Isenberg won the ERA title and was an all-star in 2003 but Kurt struggled in 2004 and was sent down from Dunedin to Charleston. So players who succeed at Auburn might not succeed at higher levels. The reverse however is generally untrue, unless a player is particularly young he is unlikely to turn a poor 2004 into a great 2005.

In 2004 Auburn led the league in runs scored with 427, led in batting average at .274, were second in home runs with 61, and last in the league with 36 stolen bases. Curtis Thigpen and Adam Lind were the two best hitters.

The pitchers were fourth among the teams in the league with an ERA of 3.40, and middle of the pack in K's. Auburn's pitching numbers in 2004 were impacted negatively by the late signings of David Purcey and Zach Jackson, and the injuries sustained by Danny Hill and Randy Dicken. Of the early signers among the pitchers Casey Janssen, Michael MacDonald, Casey McKenzie and Juan Perez performed admirably in starting roles.

In the bullpen former outfielder Eric Rico and second year pro Dewon Day were dominant.

On to The 2004 Batters Box Awards

The Ken Griffey Jr Award: Adam Lind gets the award for the top batting average with .310. The award is named after Ken Griffey, as Adam's favourite player is junior and Adam's sweet swing has a touch of the junior in it.

The Carlos Delgado Award: Brian Hall and Chip Cannon led the team in home runs with 10 each.

The Barry Bonds Award: Curtis Thigpen led the team in OBP at .390 at SLG at .518.

The Travis Hafner Award: Adam Lind led the team in XBH with 30, 23 doubles and seven home runs.

The Russell Branyan Award: Joey Metropoulus had 56% of his hits go for extra bases, but he also had a 32% K rate.

The Scott Hatteberg Award: This award goes to the hitter who has an excellent eye and contact ability, candidates required a K rate .50. The award goes to Adam Lind 14%, 0.67. Honourable mention to Aaron Mathews 17%, 0.70 and Eric Nielsen 19%, 0.78.

The Carl Crawford Award: Ryan Klosterman led the team with 16 steals

On offence, the leading hitters expected to make some noise in 2005 are Curtis Thigpen and Adam Lind, not coincidentally the Jays top two hitters selected in the 2004 draft. One thing that these reviews show is the excellent job performed by the Jays scouting organization. The Jays selected seven hitters in the first ten rounds, six if you exclude Randy Patton who was injured. The Thigpen and Lind selections were followed by Klosterman, Cannon, Metropoulus and Hall. Ryan Klosterman looks to be a good all round player with speed, and some pop. Metropoulus, as we saw above, has the big stick but also the K's. Brian Hall had a seamless move to second base and carried a big stick in the Ryan Roberts class and Chip Cannon is a big guy with a big bat. All six picks have earned a promotion and have performed in line with expectations based on their draft slot.

On to the pitching awards....

The Livan Hernandez Award: Casey McKenzie led the team with 69 IP

The Johan Santana Award: Michael MacDonald only conceded .65 hits per IP and earned a promotion to Charleston. His K rate was only 5.8 however so we will have to see how he develops. In the bullpen Joey McLaughlin receives the award with a hit rate of .64

The Mark Prior Award: Michael MacDonald also wins this award with a WHIP of 0.78. Runner up among the starters was Casey Janssen with 1.10. In the bullpen Scott Roy wins at 0.90. Joey cannot pull off the double due to a high walk rate, remind you of anyone?

The Pedro Martinez Award: Once again Michael MacDonald wins with an ERA of 1.55. Runner-up among the starters was Juan Perez at 2.76. In the bullpen Eric Rico at 1.27 beats out Dewon Day at 1.50.

The Roger Clemens Award: Chris Leonard breaks the MacDonald domination with a K9 rate of 9.2. However he did allow 67 hits in 60.2 IP. In the bullpen Joey McLaughlin wins at 10.2

The Greg Maddux Award: Michael MacDonald steps back into the winners circle with a K/BB ratio of 5.0. Casey Janssen at 4.5 was the runner-up. In the bullpen Eric Rico wins with a 5.5 ratio.

Sometimes comparisons are not fair but there is one comparison worth making between the 2003 and 2004 teams. The 2003 pitchers had a K9 rate of 9.6, thanks to draftees such as Shaun Marcum, Tom Mastny, Josh Banks and Jamie Vermilyea, all of whom had K9 rates over 9. This years team had no such dominating pitchers, Casey Janssen had a K9 rate of 7.8; Juan Perez 6.1; Casey McKenzie 8.1; and Mike MacDonald 5.8. This is an area of some concern as we look forward to 2005. Now to remind you, the Jays top four pitcher picks saw limited action in 2004, otherwise the K9 numbers would have presumably higher, but we must also remember that the 2003 pitchers were an unusually strong group. As of this writing Shaun Marcum, Jamie Vermilyea and Josh Banks all look like they will make the major leagues, that is a good haul without even looking at the hitters.

So bearing in mind the limited projectability of low A ball statistics, what have we learned about the 2004 draft class? We did not learn much about half of the top ten picks. Purcey, Jackson, Hill, Dicken and Patton are all in the "small sample size" club so it is difficult to register an opinion. The top two hitters drafted, Thigpen and Lind, look like good hitters. The next group of hitters did not dominate but all have a chance to be good. The Jays selected five pitchers in their top ten picks, the verdict on four of the five is inconclusive. The only one with regular playing time was Casey Janssen who finished with a 3.48 ERA. The next batch had mixed results other than Mike MacDonald who zoomed up to Charleston. So the initial impression is that 2004 draft was not as strong as 2003, but with half of the top ten seeing limited action, only time will tell.

Are there any sleepers from the 2004 draft? Last year Jamie Vermilyea in the 9th round, Vito in the fifteenth round and Ryan Roberts in the eighteenth round were considered sleepers. This year Brian Hall, out of the tenth round, led the team in home runs. Joey McLaughlin had a 2.40 ERA out of the 19th round. Casey McKenzie made 15 starts with a 3.78 ERA as a 27th round pick. Aaron Tressler had an ERA of 1.48, a K9 rate of 12.2 and a WHIP of 0.82 at Pulaski as a 32nd round pick. Derek Tate was a 34th round pick and between Pulaski and Auburn and had an ERA of 1.47 and a K9 rate of 11.9.

Reminder, back in July you could learn more about your Auburn Doubledays here.
Minor Leagues Year In Review - Auburn Doubledays | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#30652) #
David Purcey obviously did not qualify for the "Johan Santana award" due to lack of innings, but he has the best chance of the 2004 Doubledays to take the much more prestigious "Johan Santana imitation" award of 2006-07. In 12 innings, Purcey gave up 6 hits, walked 1 and struck out 13. That was a fine beginning.

Great job, Gerry.
_Michael - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#30653) #
I thought a few players were overlooked. Aaron Matthews and Dewon Day both had great years that deserved some recognition. Playing centerfield nearly every game with only ONE ERROR is something worth applauding. Aaron's hitting dropped throughout the course of the season, but it's hard to recover from a hitting slump in a short-season. Why doesnt Dewon Day get any love? He's posted great numbers in his first two seasons of pro ball, which was well deserving of a mid-season promotion. Allowing only three extra-base hits in 27 appearances is pretty impressive. I only saw two games this past season, but i quickly became fans after watching Mr. Matthews run down ball after ball in the outfield, and also see Mr. Day strike out the side, flashing a 94 mph fastball on the scoreboards radar gun.
_Smack - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 01:34 PM EDT (#30654) #
Well you can't give Aaron Matthews the Vernon Wells award, since he would be required to have ZERO errors. Damn our outfield is good.
_Lugnut Fan - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 02:56 PM EDT (#30655) #
It looks like the Double Days had a decent season and I look foward to seeing them in Lansing next year. The midwest league is full of good pitching with the Cubs organizatioin leading the way as far as arms go. The Cardinal organization is not that far behind. It looks as if there is a lack of speed which could cause for some concern. All in all, the minor leagues are for development and hopefully they are able to improve on their stats for next season.
_bill - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#30656) #
Don't know that it was a lack of speed as opposed to the fact they stopped running. Nearly all the stolen bases came in the first 1/2 of the season when they were pretty aggresive. Even in obvious running situations, they did not as the season progressed.
_DJ - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#30657) #
If someone could explain to me why the lack of speed is a "concern" I'd love to know. The doubledays did have the best record in the league even with that lack of speed. So it looks to me like it's just not very important.
_Lugnut Fan - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 07:04 PM EDT (#30658) #
It is a concern because there are times that you need to run. There was a kid in the Cubs organization in Lansing last year that stole 60+ bases and because of that, they won 5 to 10 more games than they really should have. It is nice to have a threat that can turn a walk into a double. Then a base hit drives him in. In my experience in this league, there aren't very many kids that are good bunters. I think it is because these kids come from being stars on their high school or college team and aren't asked to bunt. If you can't get the bunt down, you have to be able to run.
_Jordan - Monday, September 27 2004 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#30659) #
Lugnut Fan, we're looking forward to following a whole lot of games in Lansing next year -- from everything we've heard, it's a superb organization with a terrific fan base. Welcome to the organization!

Just to clarify, though -- it's not the Doubledays of the NY-Penn League (short-season Advanced Rookie) who are moving to Lansing, but the Charleston Alley-Cats of the South Atlantic League (full-season Low-A). But I don't think you'll be disappointed, because Charleston had some good players, and Lansing will be getting numerous promotions from strong Auburn and Pulaski squads. They should be quite competitive.

You probably won't see a lot of speedsters on the Lugnuts -- the organizational philosophy at the moment appears to be stealing bases rarely, and mostly in high-percentage situations. But you will be seeing more power, as some of the Jays' recent position-player draftees come into their own.

Aaron Mathews is definitely someone to keep an eye on, since his defence is indeed outstanding; if he can produce acceptable offensive numbers for a CF, he'll move up. A number of people thought the Jays scored a steal when they drafted him. Day has quite good numbers, but he's also too old for his league (he'll turn 24 next week); he'd have to be at Double-A next season to really turn some heads.
_Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, September 28 2004 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#30660) #
Thanks for the insite Jordan,

I didn't mean that the Doubledays were moving to Lansing, but the players from Auburn would be in Lansing. I'm looking forward to seeing the prospects. If you guys make the trip for a weekend series in Lansing next season, let me know.
_Jordan - Tuesday, September 28 2004 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#30661) #
I didn't mean that the Doubledays were moving to Lansing, but the players from Auburn would be in Lansing.

Capeesh. Good luck next season!
_DJ - Tuesday, September 28 2004 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#30662) #
There was a kid in the Cubs organization in Lansing last year that stole 60+ bases and because of that, they won 5 to 10 more games than they really should have.

Hogwash. Speed just isn't that valuable.

Besides, the kid you're talking about, Chris Walker, stole 60 bases and was caught 17 times. What's that worth - maybe a win? maybe half a win? I don't know all the math involved but there is no way that that guy was worth "5 to 10" more wins.
_Lugnut Fan - Tuesday, September 28 2004 @ 07:10 PM EDT (#30663) #
DJ, I don't want to start a war on organizational philosophy, but I will say that Chris's speed wan't valuable in just stealing bases. It was also valuable defensively and he got alot of infield singles which increased his OBP. If you look at Brian Dopirak's numbers on the team, a good number of his 100+ RBI's is because Chris got on base in front of him. Oh well, that is another organization. We will agree to disagree on the importance of speed. Go Jays.
Minor Leagues Year In Review - Auburn Doubledays | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.