Below are Kneeland's statistics:
Anyway, here is a refresher on what I am looking at for these posts. I will be focusing on three skills measured with four metrics. To qualify as being exceptional for a specific skill, the player needs to rank in the top 20% of players in the league for that metric. The skills:
Plate discipline - I measure plate discipline by the walk rate (BB%) and the ratio of walks to strikeouts (BB:K). The intention behind this is to target players who have a good understanding of hittable pitches and their ability to work for a walk.Additionally, these leagues have a level of competition that is more or less on par with low A and below talent with an occasional old salt who would be average in AA. As such, I am looking for players who are 25 and younger (emphasis on younger) where there may be some hope for a few years of development. This kind of player should be not available in these leagues. The MLB scouting apparatus should have found them and locked them into their minor league systems.
Contact rate - I use batting average for this. From an anecdotal perspective, players with good plate discipline AND poor contact rates have trouble progressing through the minors. As they face a greater number of pitchers with more command of their pitches, the opportunities for walks will decrease. Pitchers are more likely to pitch in the zone and for a player to make contact. Players who do not have good contact rates tend to get eaten up as they move on to higher levels of competition.
Power - Good contact rate and plate discipline are a great foundation for a hitting skill set. However, slapping the ball in professional leagues with players who field better is not as useful. There are just not many Ichiro Suzukis out there who have the speed to take advantage of a rapidly improving defense. In the pro game, there needs to be some power to go along with these skills. Otherwise, pitchers will go at hitters and give them pitches to hit, knowing that there is unlikely to be much damage.
Here are the metric values for the Canadian American League as well as the two previously covered. The first four columns mark the top 20% while age is the league mean:
Players Who Excelled in all Four Categories
BB% BB:K AVG ISO AGE American Association 11.6 0.97 .315 .194 27 Atlantic 9.8 0.77 .296 .166 29 Canadian-American 12.5 0.90 .303 .176 27
Players Who Excelled in Three Categories
Jonathan Malo, INF
29 years old
Drafted in the 48th Round (Miami-Dade College) by the New York Mets
In the Mets' organization, Malo showed an aptitude to adequately play several infield positions. He also showed an inability to make contact, make good contact, or able to earn walks in the higher minors. It was unsurprising that he has not played with any organization in the past two years. That said, the past two years have been immensely successful for Malo in the CanAm. He is showing a good walk rate, a good average, and an exceptional walk to strikeout rate. The only thing not impressive has been his power. I think at his age that he will likely be continued to be overlooked even though he probably would be fine as organizational depth for a team in HiA or AA ball.
One player who would have shown up in our list is someone who was snatched up by a Major League club before he could accrue enough innings in this exercise: Chris Edmondson.
Chris Edmondson, COF
25 years old
Drafted in the 43rd round (LeMoyne College) by the St. Louis Cardinals
Last March, the Cardinals decided to cut ties with Edmondson. I am unsure why the Cardinals released him from the organization, but I imagine it began with him not exactly playing good defense and struggling at HiA ball. Beyond that, I don't know. The Braves started him out in the low minors and he did not accrue many innings. It would not be surprising to me if he will be a free agent before next season.
Expectations should be tempered when assuming what Kneeland may offer the Orioles. Edmondson was completely dominating the CanAm league, but that was not reflected in the handful of plate appearances he had as a member of the Braves' Rome club.