In this first part of the series, I'll talk about Chris Stratton and Martin Agosta, the first and second round selections of the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 MLB Draft. In full honesty, I almost placed this in Something Extra together with the Top 10+10 to make it just a short and quick read but there's just something that tells me that I need to expand this thoughts of mine and that's the reason why I write my first Out In Front series. I will discuss here how Stratton and Agosta are performing this year and how they make my head and your head turn upside down and spin in circles and a lot, lot more.
Second is his BABIP. According to Wikipedia, a normal BABIP is around .300, though the baseline regression varies depending on number of factors including the quality of the team's defense (e.g., a team with an exceptionally bad defense might yield a BABIP as high as .315) and the pitching tendencies of the pitcher (for instance, whether he is a groundball or flyball pitcher). He actually has a lower BABIP this year than last year (.335 vs .346 last year) but .335 is absurdly high given that he has struck out 73 in 61 2/3 innings pitched. Home runs contribute greatly to his high BABIP. He has also allowed more hits than innings pitched this year and he already allowed 4 wild pitches this season that moves runners and gives hitter better chance to break through. He actually got a higher LOB% this year than last year (55.7% last year to 64.4% this year) that indicates that he can limit the damage that he induces.
I just don't have enough data to back me up but I feel that he got one of the worst hard hit ball percentage in the Minors because it seems like the hitters got a good idea what to expect from him. He doesn't seem to tip his pitches since he induces that many of strikeouts and doesn't allow a lot of walks to suspect that he's tipping his pitches. From the earlier trend on Syndergaard and Cashner, I watched an MLB.com clip about the death of FIP due to their performances and Agosta is really one of them. One of the things to consider is that the hitters in the Minors are mostly free swingers and it is a double-edged sword where Agosta can take advantage of it as well as getting bitten hard in his behind really bad.
What I can conclude of Agosta is that he seems that there's a two-way possibility for him, where he can generate strikeouts by his good sequencing and getting hitters to chase out of the strike zone but once his ball is thrown in the strike zone and the hitters hits it with the fat part of the bat, it generally results in a hard hit ball especially that he's a flyball pitcher, typically a home run. If he can make hitters generate weaker contact (probably pitching down in the zone with the famous pitches that induces groundballs and weak contact, the sinker and the cutter) and he retains his out of this world BB/9 and K/9 that you would expect from a top pitching prospect in baseball, he could be more than just a bullpen arm that I project him to be.
This ends the first part of the Out In Front series. It might be a pretty short one but I hope that I shed some light on the success and failure of the two of the previous top picks by the Giants three years ago. It's pretty underwhelming that the two did not developed as I hoped and most of the Giants fans had hoped for but I'm still open for the chance that they can be contributors for the big league club whatever their roles will be. I hope you enjoyed reading this one like the other blog posts. Cheers!