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prospect-update-myrtle-beach-hitters | June | 2009 Articles

2009 Archives

Prospect Update - Myrtle Beach Hitters

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Ah yes, THE BEACH. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans had the best record in the Carolina League last season, and fell in the final round of the playoffs to the Potomac Nationals (really guys, the Nats?). The Pelicans had a nice bit of roster turnover this season, seeing Gorkys Hernandez, Scott Diamond, Brandon Hicks & Eric Campbell all get promoted to Mississippi. That core of players was replaced and then some this season, but despite their high-octane offense, the team sits in last place in the Carolina League. When a team at the Beach has a potent offense, you know something is up, since Coastal Field is an absolute pitchers haven. So, who are these ace hitting prospects the Pelicans have? Lets take a look... Jason Heyward, OF: .288/.364/.526. Ah yes, Jason Heyward. The top prospect in the Braves organization, and one of the 5 or 10 best in all of baseball. Jason actually missed most of June with what was believed to be an oblique injury, and since he's come off the DL on June 17th, he is only 4/17. But don't be worried everyone, he's still the same Jason Heyward we've all come to revere. His K rate is still a little high at 17.3% (but thats nothing compared to what we'll see later), but his walk rate is great for a 19 year old at 9.8%. He's also showing off his power more this season, with 9 homers in 41 games compared to 11 in 120 last season. As he recovers from his oblique injury, look for him to regain his form and improve even more as a prospect (if thats even possible). Freddie Freeman, 1B: .311/.391/.472. Oh look, another top 5 prospect in the organization. Freddie has seen his OPS increase every month this season (after a subpar April where he batted only .253). Freeman's power has dropped off this season, with an ISO .054 lower than last season. Everything else is roughly the same for him this year, which is quite an achievement when you consider the stadium he's now playing half his games in. If Freeman continues to trend upward this season, he could have a very scary line by the end of the season. Cody Johnson, OF: .274/.363/.597. Cody Johnson is a former first round pick, just like Jason Heyward. And like Heyward, Johnson is a player you really don't want to miss seeing for completely different reasons. First off, he's got a K rate of 38.1%. Thats not a typo, he strikes out in 38% of his plate appearances. A guy like that can't be a major league player, right? Well...Cody also has a (heres a cute little made up stat for you) HR rate of 8.8%, and a walk rate of 12.1%.  Over a 500 AB season, that translates to 44 homers, 60 walks and 190 strikeouts. That gives you a final three true outcomes standing of 52.5%. The current MLB TTO king is Carlos Pena at 53.3%. If Johnson can develop into a Pena-esque player...yeah, I don't think anyone is going to complain about that pick anymore. Screw it, I'm only going to spotlight 3 guys. Every other offensive player on the team is just organizational filler or a utility guy that hits like a bird. Maybe thats why the Beach is in last place: past the heart of the order, their offense is really bad. Or maybe its because of the pitching? But we'll save that for next time.
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