Frederick comes at you with the concepts of lowered expectations and a general overlooking of positional adjustments. What I mean by that is that Frederick is a much kinder hitting environment than Delmarva. It can have the effect of making a player look like they are progressing or even exploding onto the scene when either they are treading water or perhaps have merely shown a modest improvement.
DJ Stewart, yesterday's gem is also today's gem. In the Carolina League, Stewart (22) is playing in line with his age. Speaking to the ill of the organizational health, only he, Josh Hart, and Jomar Reyes logged significant innings at Frederick on or below league average age. That is one of the reasons why you hear incessantly from scouts how appalling this system is. The low minors are stocked with long standing organizational players or retreads from other organizations.
Anyway, Stewart went from a 230/366/352 line in Delmarva to a 279/389/448 line in Frederick. This display was better than what most people thought would happen. Most feared that Stewart's wait and see, no contact approach would eat him up in the Carolina League. Instead, his performance showed an increase primarily driven by an increase in batting average. That pokes up a red flag. Digging into BABIP, his Delmarva mark was .325 (roughly league average) and his Frederick mark was .376 (well above league average). Combine that question about the sustainability of his new found contact is that him performing about 17% above average offensively in the Carolina League is exactly what you would expect the average Carolina League corner outfielder to hit.
With that in mind, a lot of Stewart's shine wears off. It then makes more sense why the scouts I talk to are still highly suspicious of Stewart. It is explained that his increased performance is due to a different approach he takes when going after sub-level pitching and that he simply waits out on level or above pitching. I do not know how to take that comment as it is a go to for scouts to explain why they dislike a player. It may well be accurate, but it is too soft of a statement for me. For me, I simply think that Stewart looked like a miserable miss and now he looks like a potential fringe bat corner outfielder. That is a modest improvement for the future of the organization, but a notable one for Stewart.
Jomar Reyes was the dream of many prospect-philes the past couple years. He was young and performing well against much older competition. Reyes was also a rarity, a product of the Orioles almost non-existent international amateur program. Last year, some concerns began to emerge though. He was beginning to fill out and it became quickly understood that he would need to leave the hot corner by the time he reaches the upper minors. That was a disappointment, but not much of one with his offensive performance.
What was more of a concern was that right handers were eating up the right handed Reyes while he feasted on left handed pitching. The concern of a weak sided platoon bat without a position outside of first base or designated hitter is a major concern. Still, he handled left handers with such ease in Delmarva that it made sense to push him up to Frederick.
Topping off the year though was a broken hamate bone. If you remember back to Nick Markakis' broken hamate bone, we all heard a lot about how broken hamates have a lingering effect on power that eventually resolves itself. It is a baseball myth. There is no evidence that hamate breaks have that sort of impact on power. With time, people saw for Markakis that his power outage was simply the natural decline of his skillset as opposed to being related to his hamate. Likewise, few had concerns that Reyes hamate would result in a lingering decrease in power for 2016.
Sure enough, Reyes came out with a strong bat in April with an ISO of .170, which is impressive for a 19 year old in HiA ball. And that is about the only positive thing to say about his year, that month of ISO. He continues to look quite out of place at third base. He still is eaten up by right handers and he was roughly league average against left handed pitching, which is not good for a platoon bat. He still is young though and another year at Frederick would make sense for his development. However, we might be seeing him at first base in 2017 with Aderlin Rodriguez vacating the position there to take it up in Bowie.
Aderlin Rodriguez is 24. He is a long standing farmhand, given up on by the Mets and the Mariners. Frederick was his fourth season playing in HiA ball. All three before came with the Mets. In 2015, Rodriguez was in AA for the Mets and was performing about league average, but with rather poor peripherals. They released him. Within a week, the Mariners picked him up to play AA ball and he was awful. This year, his 80 raw power played up decently and he was a quite dependable for the Keys. However, it really was not a dominant performance. It was about 19% better than league average, which is right on par with what one would want out of a first baseman. Being two years older than his average competition, that rubs some shine off. Yes, 80 raw power, but being an old guy in your fourth trip round this circuit...it leaves one wanting to see more.