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Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
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bopol Offline
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Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Because we should have one when Eric Lauer pitches 6 shutout innings on opening day.

In the bigs:
Travis Shaw (3B Brewers)
Taylor Williams (RP Brewers)
Eric Lauer (SP Padres)
Andrew Chafin (RP D'backs)

and a cast of tens in the minors...
03-29-2019 01:30 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Might as well do a May 1 update:

* Andrew Chafin is pitching well for the D'backs after a rough early outing. He seems to be in the setup role he's been in the past, but brought in where there is a clear platoon advantage.

* Eric Lauer has been solid for the Padres, but a little below average (kind of like last year). His fastball has been in the 92 mph range, which is good, but he does give up too many homeruns.

* Travis Shaw is off to a really rough start (194/282/347), but has shown some signs of the bat waking up the last week or so. His BB/SO has been bad this year (and it was horrendous in spring training), so I'm not sure what's up.

* Taylor Williams started the year in Milwaukee, didn't pitch particularly well and got sent to the minors where he has been ok. I think he'll bounce up and down a bit this year.

* John Fasola got promoted to St. Louis' AAA team. He hasn't pitched well, but he is only one step from the bigs. He was taken in the offseason minor league Rule 5 draft from the Rangers.

* Brian Clark started the year in AA for the White Sox and got released in mid-April. I'm not sure if Clark has big-league talent, but it was clear he was going no where with the Sox, so a fresh start somewhere might be helpful for him.
05-01-2019 01:51 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Seems like it is time for a midseason update.

* Travis Shaw was demoted to AAA San Antonio to straighten out whatever is wrong. I've heard he has had wrist issues and he has spent time on the DL this year. I've also heard that he is striking the ball fairly well and has been very unlucky. A drop off so significant is likely due to some other forces (injuries), so I would expect he gets his stroke back and finds his way back to the bigs this year.

* Andrew Chafin has been very good for the D-Backs. I've noticed he is pitching mostly in the sixth or the seventh in close games (he is 6th in the NL in holds) and has been put in situations where he is facing more lefties than in the past with a quicker hook. 60% of his opponent's batters have been lefty as opposed to 45% over the course of his career. With Chafin, the question is how to avoid the second half dropoff that seems to happen every year as he tires out. We'll see if this approach works. If it does, Chafin cements himself as one of the top left-handed relievers in the game.

* Eric Lauer has been solidly average for the Padres, with a 5-7 record and a 4.22 ERA. I actually think he has been better than that, since he got absolutely nuked the two times he pitched in Coors Field (which mean he has been nuked in all 3 of his Coors Field starts). If you take out those two games, his ERA is 3.05, which is excellent. Overall, his K rate is a bit low, but it is made up for a low BB rate and improved HR rate. The one thing I find odd is how quickly Lauer gets pulled as he is only averaging 85 pitches and 5 1/3 innings a start. Last year, it seemed like he ran up his pitch count quickly and got pulled early. This year, he is more efficient with his pitches, but still getting pulled early. Maybe they are protecting the young arm (he's just 24). I doubt he'll be a star, but I do think there is room for improvement to become a strong starting pitcher for a fairly long time.

* Taylor Williams started the season with the Brewers, but has been demoted three times and brought back up twice so far this year. He basically is being used to fill out the bullpen when the backend gets worn out, which is what one of the Brewer's bloggers predicted in spring training. He, unfortunately, has a horrible stat line with the Brewers with a 12.66 ERA in 10 2/3 innings, which is mostly because he gave up 8 runs in 1/3 inning in a 16-0 loss to the Marlins. Of course, that is a statistical fluke as I think I could put up a better line than that. At AAA, he has pitched quite well, with a low 1.15 ERA and an excellent K/BB ratio. He is getting caught in that AAAA role and will need a prolonged stay of success in the bigs to get out of it as there is nothing quite as fringy in the bigs as righthanded back of the bullpen relievers.

So, those are your 4 Kent players that has hit the bigs this year. I'll hit the high minor guys next (Clark, Fasola and Burch).
07-04-2019 10:22 AM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Both Travis Shaw and Taylor Williams are back up with the Brewers. For Shaw, he hit a fine 286/445/593 at San Antonio with a good BB/K rate (1:1) and hopefully has found his stroke.

For Williams, it is his fourth trip to the bigs this year and hopefully he'll hang around for more than a few days.

Going to the high minors,

* Brian Clark has been pitching for the Atlantic League High Point Rockers and pitching well. He has a 2.89 ERA in 26 IP with 8 BBs and 23 Ks. Hopefully he latches onto an organization that will give him a chance (unlike the White Sox).

* John Fasola has split time between the AA & AAA teams of the Cardinals. He hasn't pitched well (7.36 ERA) and has been hurt since early May and I don't know what's wrong.

* Luke Burch. Starting the year in high A and then was promoted to AA Erie in the Tigers organization and then recently released. He is a funny player because he has no power and his BB/K ratio sucks, but he hits for a very high average (316 this year) and that makes him useful. I wonder if he'll land a chance elsewhere and I would love to have him if I were running an independent league club.

* Joey Murray. Starting the year at A and has been promoted to high A and now AA. As good of a pitcher he was in college, I expected him to be able to handle A ball and he did (2.69 ERA with 31 BBs and 117 Ks in 93 2/3 IP). He's had 3 starts at AA and has 14Ks and 3 BBs in 9 IP. I think we'll find out if Murray is a prospect at AA and I actually think he is and will end up being a steal as a 8th round draft choice.

I'll hit the low minors later...
07-29-2019 04:19 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Travis Shaw and Taylor Williams have been recalled from AAA and are the Brewers roster. Shaw absolutely killed the ball at San Antonio, so I don't think he is done as a player, but his performance this year has been flukily bad. I wonder how the offseason will play out for him.

For Williams, he did pitch well at San Antonio but is getting trapped in that good arm to call up for some emergency help in the pen but really a "AAA" talent. He has done nothing this year to show otherwise. Interestingly, his first appearance for the Brewers since being recalled was as a pitchrunner.
09-07-2019 02:44 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
As the season winds down, might as well start talking about how the Kent guys did...

Eric Lauer. In 29 starts and 1 relief appearance, Lauer went 8-10 with a 4.45 ERA and 138Ks and 51BBs in 149 2/3 innings. In my opinion, Lauer had a really good year even though the stat line isn't all that great. First, Lauer got hit very hard in three starts at Coors Field (giving up 17 earned runs in 8 innings). Without that, his ERA was 3.62 which is pretty good. Also, Lauer stumbled a bit in July when he returned to the club after attending to family issues. So, I think he's on the verge of becoming an above average starting pitcher and, at just 24, he has a lot of years potentially ahead of him. I think the biggest issues will be Lauer going deeper into the game (averaging just 5 IP and 86 pitches a start) and getting the HR rate down. Maybe getting traded to an American League team would help too (get away from the Rockies and having to bat).
09-29-2019 07:58 PM
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anti-zip Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
I think just about every pitcher falls into the "needs to get the HR rate down" after this year. 14 teams set new franchise records for HRs in a season. Seems pretty clear baseball did something to the ball likely to try to make the game more interesting and stop the attendance decline.
09-29-2019 09:06 PM
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axeme Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
And it didn’t work. Attendance was down for the fourth straight year, so more home runs probably aren’t the answer. It’s become a home run or strikeout game. Both are at record levels. Add in also an increase in pitching changes and you have a game that lacks action and takes too long. I love baseball and always have, but MLB gets harder and harder to watch. It’s easy to see why it’s not creating a new fan base and the one it has gets older and older.
09-29-2019 10:21 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Yeah, I tend to agree with Ax. While everyone thought Rob Deer and the three true outcomes (BB, K or HR) was funny, everyone playing the game that way makes it very boring. My personal choice would be to drop most OF fences back 40 feet and open up a lot of possible triples. Of course, that is impossible. In lieu of that, maybe dampening the baseballs. I don't know. But I am losing interest in watching...
09-30-2019 03:52 PM
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goldenflash99 Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
(09-30-2019 03:52 PM)bopol Wrote:  Yeah, I tend to agree with Ax. While everyone thought Rob Deer and the three true outcomes (BB, K or HR) was funny, everyone playing the game that way makes it very boring. My personal choice would be to drop most OF fences back 40 feet and open up a lot of possible triples. Of course, that is impossible. In lieu of that, maybe dampening the baseballs. I don't know. But I am losing interest in watching...

I'm speaking off topic, but I think all pro sports are less interesting now than a generation ago. Or I'm just becoming a grumpy middle-aged man.
09-30-2019 06:21 PM
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Albert Flasher Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
(09-30-2019 06:21 PM)goldenflash99 Wrote:  
(09-30-2019 03:52 PM)bopol Wrote:  Yeah, I tend to agree with Ax. While everyone thought Rob Deer and the three true outcomes (BB, K or HR) was funny, everyone playing the game that way makes it very boring. My personal choice would be to drop most OF fences back 40 feet and open up a lot of possible triples. Of course, that is impossible. In lieu of that, maybe dampening the baseballs. I don't know. But I am losing interest in watching...

I'm speaking off topic, but I think all pro sports are less interesting now than a generation ago. Or I'm just becoming a grumpy middle-aged man.


Times & tastes are changing. You can't fight it. Here in Philly over the weekend was the Overwatch E-Sports finals. The Wells Fargo Center was completely sold out. And e-sports has become a college "sport".

I have no idea what is interesting about watching this, but this is what they have & are growing up with. It is what it is.
09-30-2019 06:49 PM
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burden Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Games in all pro sports are getting too long. I'm pretty sure that doesn’t help attract young people and it’s even turning off us geezers. Of course a lot of it is the TV ads. You know the football drill of score a TD, wait for the replay, go to a commercial, kick-off, go to another commercial etc.

Another issue are rule changes. College footballs stopping the clock after every first down has certainly extended games. It causes excitement at the end of halves but what’s it purpose for the other 50 minutes of the game.

Finally in all sports coaching has really slowed things down. Can’t blame them but 20 years ago or so these things rarely happened:

1. Football coaches using all their first half timeouts to try and get the ball back for 30 seconds. It rarely happened. Now it is almost mandatory.

2. An endless amount of Lefty/righty pitching changes. I understand it but combine it with the 40 man rosters (thank God this is the last year for that) and it makes September baseball a joke.

3. The MLB rule that mandates every Yankee/Red Sox game and Cardinal/Cubs game must last 4 hours.

4. Even hockey is starting to succumb. Their timeouts are annoying as hell.

5. Basketball coaches having to use their use it or lose it first half time out just because.

Our college and pro sports are going the way of cricket. I can go on but it won’t help.
10-02-2019 09:15 PM
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anti-zip Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Your complaint about pitching changes will soon be a thing of the past too. Starting next year a pitcher will be required to face at least 3 batters or end an inning. I understand that this will improve the flow of the game, but I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. It's going to be interesting for sure. I'll be curious to see how it's going to impact free agency. It will likely increase the salaries of the 7th inning man on most teams. There will probably be one or two teams that over react and spend stupid amounts of money on relievers.
10-02-2019 10:47 PM
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bopol Offline
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RE: Kent Baseball Players in the Pros - 2019 edition
Back to the players, ANDREW CHAFIN

Andrew didn't have a great year, but more good year (2-2, 3.76 ERA). He had a shaky July, but avoided his usual second half slump, though, by the end of the year, he was more often facing just one or two batters instead of going close to a full inning. As the only effective lefty in the Dbacks bullpen, he was used often (3rd in the NL with 77 games) and in pressure situations (5th in the NL with 22 holds). Chafin had the best K rate and BB rate in his career and kept baserunners from stealing, but he was more vulnerable to the long ball this year, giving up 6 HRs in 52.7 innings (much more than the 9 HRs in 212.3 IP coming into this year). I think he is a fine reliever, but will never quite be the great reliever and is probably in year 5 of a good 12-year career.
10-03-2019 10:00 PM
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