Prid(i)e of the Red Wings

15 Aug

Greetings everyone.  Mini_tb here.  Seth gave me the ability to post on his site.  You can think of me as Seth’s ubelmann only with less posts, less stats, and less intelligence.  I want to cover something that has become a conversation topic on some of the Twins blogs.

As we have probably all noticed, after a slow start, Jason Pridie has been on a tear for what seems like 2 months. With yesterday’s 2 for 3 game, his season numbers are sitting at .283/.318/.456 (BA/OBP/SLG). His OPS is at .774 for the year. Not outstanding but certainly not bad, either… He has 18 doubles, 16 triples, and 12 home runs . In other words, he obviously has some pop in his bat.

However, there is a huge red flag in Pridie’s numbers. In 498 at bats, he has drawn just 27 walks while striking out 126 times. That’s a strikeout to walk rate of 4.67:1. Prorated to 600 at bats, that would be 152 strikeouts. He strikes out once every 3.95 at bats. To put it mildly, the combination of the low number of walks and the high number of strikeouts does not instill a great amount of confidence in his ability to control the strike zone.

Pridie has really only had one bad hitting month this season. His numbers in May were absolutely brutal. He had 113 at bats in the month of May with an OPS of .394. He OPS’d at .801 in April, .738 in June, 1.012 in July, and 1.105 so far in August.

In June, Pridie struck out 33 times and walked just 5 times. That is a 6.6:1 strikeout to walk ratio or 1 strikeout every 3.64 at bats.

Pridie got hot in July. He cut the strikeouts down to “just” 26 in 106 at bats, but he also walked just 2 times. That’s good for a 13:1 strikeout to walk ratio and a strikeout in every 4.08 at bats.

He has continued his torrid streak through the midpoint of August. Most impressive is that he has improved his strikeout and walk numbers significantly this month. He has 10 strikeouts in 56 at bats to go with 7 walks so far. We are looking at 1.43:1 strikeout: walk ratio and only 1 strikeout every 5.6 at bats. That’s not bad at all. He also has a .565 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this month, which is just plain ridiculously high. Pridie also has a 33% line drive percentage this month. He’s killing the ball, but it’s at an unsustainable rate.

There has been some noticeable improvement in Pridie’s number of strikeouts over the last 2 ½ months. The question is, how much of this can we chalk up to genuine improvement compared to looking at a small sample size? I am going to say the jury is still out on this one.

Let’s take a look at his splits against lefties and righties.

vs. LHP .264/.283/.378 for a .661 OPS. 40:3 K:BB rate in 148 at bats.

vs. RHP .291/.332/.489 for a .821 OPS. 86:24 K:BB rate in 350 at bats.

Pridie, like most left handed hitters, does not handle left handed pitching as well as right handed pitching. Not only is his batting line against lefties bad, but adjectives fail to properly describe that hideous 40:3 K:BB rate. If that doesn’t scream platoon player, I don’t know what does. We already know the major league team is full of players who don’t hit lefties particularly well, and Pridie fits that mold perfectly.

Yes, Pridie’s offensive numbers are gaudy over July and August, but what I see right now is a player who is not capable of controlling the strike zone well enough to survive against major league pitching. AAA is the best place for Pridie right now. He’ll be up when the rosters expand. I’m not saying Pridie does not have a future in the big leagues, but I think it is safe to say he is still a work in progress. He does look like he could potentially help the Twins down the stretch against righties. He may initially get some hits, but, unless he has genuinely improved his approach at the plate, it will not take long for pitchers to make adjustments to him. The other problem is that Pridie will be 25 years old in less than 2 months. While he certainly is not old, he is also not young for a guy with no major league experience. His ceiling does not appear to be that high, and the plate approach absolutely needs to improve for him to be considered anything other than a 4th/5th outfielder/AAAA hitter at best.

Have a great weekend, folks!

Note: Notice that I did not even mention Carlos Gomez in this posting. I did not post this to defend Gomez. We all know he has struggled. I posted it because I think there is reason to show caution when evaluating Pridie’s numbers. He is a soon to be 25 year old struggling to control the strike zone in AAA who will likely be eaten alive by major league pitching, so I am just trying to put things into perspective.

Stats were collected at http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp and http://firstinning.com.

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3 Responses to “Prid(i)e of the Red Wings”

  1. greenmachine August 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Great to see you guys taking advantage of WordPress. Pretty soon Gleeman will get a sidekick, errr, “analysis partner” too.

    Good batch of posts the last couple days, thanks.

  2. DH in Philly August 16, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Very nice analysis. Thank you for the post and I hope you will continue to contribute.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Saturday Afternoon Notes « SethSpeaks.net - August 16, 2008

    […] case you missed it yesterday, a good friend of mine, mini_tb, wrote an article called The Prid(i)e of the Red Wings. As you likely figured out already, it is an article on Twins prospect Jason Pridie, talking about […]

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