Numbers are generally guides as opposed to exact definitions. This series of brief posts will simply introduce you to the performance of the players at each level and provide a context measure of offensive production. Then, I will write a few words about some of the more interesting players, which is difficult because time and time again I have been told by scouts that this system is a boring one to be assigned to assess. Anyway, first up is the Delmarva Shorebirds.
The biggest elephant in the room is corner outfielder D.J. Stewart. He was selected in the 2015 draft and was thought of as a rather advanced hitter. Picking up a player toward the end of the first round, you expect there to be some red flags and Stewart had those. Many scouts who watched him play for Team USA found that his swing was a mess when using a wooden bat. He simply could not square up on pitches. Last summer, Stewart looked to prove those scouts right with a rather wretched time spent in Aberdeen.
Stewart spent half of the year this season in Delmarva and was drawing the same reviews. The word was that he was highly cautious in his at bats and was taking advantage of poor pitching to earn walks and drive mistakes pitches left too high in the zone. Still, he was not doing much with those mistake pitches. Word was that the organization was highly confused with Stewart and promoted him to Frederick to force him to sink or swim against pitchers who could actually hit the strike zone. That move seemed to work out, but a rather sizable clouds still looms over Stewart. If he is a player who needs better competition to show himself, it begs the question why a drive for self improvement did not show up at Delmarva or Aberdeen.
Yermin Mercedes is another interesting player who has received a lot of fanfare. At 23, he was an elder statesman in Delmarva. Long ago, he was an international free agent signing with the Washington Nationals. He showed a decent arm, poor defense, and a middling bat. For whatever reason, the Nats dropped him and Mercedes went to Indy ball where he tore the place up. The Orioles signed him out of the Pecos League and have tried to make a catcher out of him. His tools behind the plate remain quite questionable and the Orioles have been giving him looks in the outfield. At his age, you also question the reality of his bat. Next year, he will likely see Bowie and that might provide a better understanding of how advanced he really is.
Cedric Mullins is a SWINO (Switch Hitter in Name Only). He rakes right handers and a left handed bat and becomes flummoxed by southpaws (115/90). He profiles as a backup centerfielder, but does not have the size/strength to be expected to show well in left field. With decent, speed, contact, and gap strength, we should see him progress steadily through the minors. I imagine he might be ready for a 4th or 5th outfielder role in 2019 or 2020.