Some quick winter league updates.
In Venezuela, 3B Wilmer Flores is hitting .293/.363/.471 with 10 doubles and six homers, to go along with 13 walks and 19 strikeouts in 37 games.
(Note: unless I screwed up the math, I think there’s a glitch in MLB programming somewhere and Flores’ actual slugging percentage is .493. Slugging remember is Total Bases/AB. Flores has 41 hits and is listed as having 66 total bases and 140 AB. It should actually be 69: 25 singles + 2*(10 doubles) + 4*(6 HR)= 25+20+24=69. And 69/140=.493)
In most respects, those are numbers similar to what Flores produced this year, his extra-base hit rate in AA was 10.2%, in the VZL it’s 10.1%. In 2012 overall, he fanned at an 11% rate in advanced-A and AA, in the VWL in 11%. His walk rate continues to tick upward, however, it was 6.6% in the FSL in 2012, 7.3% in the EL and 8.2% in the VWL. We’re not dealing with full seasons here, but that’s a nice looking progression. Moreover, it’s been going on for two years now, since his walk rate bottomed out at 3.1% in 2010 in the FSL. Finally, more of Flores’ extra-base hits are going over the wall; his 3.8% HR rate would be his best in any stateside league.
Earlier this week, Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs applied a tool he calls SCOUT where he regresses batters’ strikeout, walk, and HR rate towards league average in cases where they are too small to be stable, and found that Flores was in the top six hitters under 25 in the VWL, and the youngest in the top 10.
In the Dominican, Jordany Valdespin is hitting .309/.420/.456 in 68 AB. No, he’s not hitting for much power (1 2B and 3 HR), but the remarkable thing is that he’s controlling the strike zone: 12 walks and 10 strikeouts in 23 games. Valdespin walked in under 5% of his MLB plate appearances in 2012, and now in the VWL is earning a free pass in 14.8% of his trips to the dish. Could that possibly be real?
– Juan Lagares does not have a single extra-base hit in 17 games for Aguilas: .258/.343/.258.
– Francisco Pena is hitting .248/.300/.404 in 109 AB over 37 games for for Aguilas.
– After his AFL time, Cesar Puello has popped up with Toros del Este and his hitting .217/.357/.391 with two HBP in his first 10 games.