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Thread: New BA HWL Top 20 List
11-20-2007 01:17 PM #1
New BA HWL Top 20 List
1. MATT WIETERS C
After signing late for $6 million, Wieters joined the short-season Aberdeen club, but did not play in a game for the IronBirds. The Orioles then sent him to HWB, where he made his debut, and hit .283/.364/.415 in 106 at-bats for the Sharks. Wieters showed a line-drive approach to all fields. He combines tremendous bat speed and patience to profile as an offensive-minded catcher with well above-average arm strength. "All the tools are playable now, but there is still plenty of projection," said an NL scout. "And for a big guy, he doesn't try to pull everything. He uses the whole field to his advantage."
2. AUSTIN JACKSON OF
After having a breakout season during which he hit .304/.370/.476 across three levels of the minors, Jackson reported to Honolulu and never slowed down. A premium athlete, Jackson finally grew into his tools in 2007. A line-drive hitter with gap power, Jackson's profile is likely as a No. 2 or No. 3 hitter with the ability to drive in runs. He is an above-average defender in center field, getting good reads and jumps on balls while running quality routes. While he doesn't always get out of the batter's box quickly, he's a graceful runner. "Once he gets underway he's a plus-plus runner," an NL scout said. "He's the best athlete in this league. He doesn't have that first-step explosion, but this guy is a real crowd pleaser on the bases."
3. BRANDON SNYDER 1B/3B
Another cog in the Honolulu juggernaut, Snyder's biggest challenge was learning a new position in HWB: third base. Drafted as a catcher, Snyder needed surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder after the 2006 season. Because his bat was more advanced than his defense, the Orioles moved him to first base in spring training. His adjustment to third in HWB was a success, as he committed just one error on the hot corner in 19 total chances. He showed above-average arm strength, but his footwork wasn't great, which affected his throws at times. But it's Snyder's bat that will get him to the big leagues. He stays on breaking balls well, and shows emerging opposite-field power. His polished approach allowed him to win the league batting title with a .378 mark.
Cool. I wish we could get Austin Jackson.
11-20-2007 01:22 PM #2Plus Member Since 09/03 Hall of Fame
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
- Bethesda MD
Two of the top three? Not too shabby! I think Snyder really opened some eyes here. Good to hear that he stays on breaking balls well, that should help him as he moves up the ladder.
11-20-2007 01:29 PM #3
11-20-2007 01:54 PM #4
Though Wieters was named the top prospect by BA, the HWBL didn't name him as an All-Star. Maybe he does need to work on his defense as JTREA indicated in his posts or maybe, the rust really hindered him in that area. McKenry is supposed to be a top notch defensive catcher. Snyder made it as Util and Abreu as 2B.
2007 HWB All-Stars and Post-Season Awards
Most Valuable Player: Mat Gamel (Brewers), Honu
Offensive Player of the Year: Mat Gamel (Brewers), Honu
Defensive Player of the Year: Justin Sellers (Athletics), BeachBoys
Pitcher of the Year: Yutaka Tamaki (Hanshin Tigers), BeachBoys
C Michael McKenry (Rockies), Beach Boys
1B Ian Gac (Rangers), CaneFires
2B Miguel Abreu (Orioles), Sharks
3B Mat Gamel (Brewers), Honu
SS Argenis Diaz (Red Sox), Sharks
OF Austin Jackson (Yankees), Sharks
OF Michael Wilson (Mariners), BeachBoys
OF Fuminori Yokogawa (Rakuten), Sharks
UTIL Brandon Synder (Orioles), Sharks
SP Shiya Nakayama (Orix), Honu
SP Yutaka Tamaki (Hanshin), BeachBoys
SP Keisaku Itokazu (Nippon), CaneFires
RP Ken Miyamoto (Nippon), Honu
RP Daniel Bard (Red Sox), Sh
11-20-2007 02:25 PM #5
11-20-2007 02:37 PM #6
11-20-2007 03:47 PM #7Plus Member Since 08/06
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
Keep in mind that BA's list is based on projection as much as performance, if not more. I don't think BA thinks that Wieters was the best player in the Hawaiian league; they just think that he has the highest ceiling of anyone who played in that league.
11-20-2007 03:52 PM #8
As I was expecting and hoping on Wieters (wow on McKenry's %):
Q: alexei from st jay, vermont asks:How was Wieters on defense? Is that the reason that McKenry got the call for All-Star at catcher?
A: Chris Kline: Wieters' defense was fine. He threw out 33 percent of runners in HWB and put in a lot of extra work. But the all-stars were voted on league field staff and media, and McKenry threw out a whopping 47 percent of runners, so he was the obvious guy.
Q: alexei from st jay, vermont asks:Brandon Snyder was Util All-Star - does that indicate he will be asked to play 1B, 3B and corner OF next year at Frederick? Expected ETA for Snyder and will he be 1B, 3B or OF?
A: Chris Kline: I wouldn't put much stock in an all-star award in a developmental league, and it certainly doesn't dictate where Snyder's future position lies. He only played a handful of games at third base, but looked good in that short stint. He will play the bulk of time at first base in the Carolina League, but might also see some time on the opposite corner. No word on the outfield, but it'd be best just to keep him at first and see how he reacts to time at third base in a very competitive league at Frederick.
Q: Karl from Baltimore asks:It's great to hear that the O's had two of the top 3 prospects in Hawaii, especially since they are both position players, which has been a real weakness for the team. But the real question is, how long until Wieters and Snyder are mashing in Camden Yards?
A: Chris Kline: Karl, Wieters will get there before Snyder. I think Wieters starts in Frederick and moves to Bowie before the end of 2008 and could be in the big league lineup by 2009. Snyder's timetable is likely a year later.
Q: Fabian from Replacement Level asks:What factors did you weigh in putting together this list and how large was the gap between Wieters and Jackson?
A: Chris Kline: Prospect status, tools, history and performance. We talked to field staff from all four clubs and even found a scout or three (which wasn't easy). It's tough to quantify the gap between the two players you mentioned, and Wieters' wasn't No. 1 based on his signing bonus. So many people we talked to said he was the hands down No. 1 prospect based on his tools and future projection, that it pushed Jackson to No. 2. Before this season, Jackson hadn't fully grown into his tools, but has always been athletic with speed. Given the fact that catchers are so tough to find, and Wieters automatically becomes one of the top backstops in the minors, gave him the nod. That's not to take away anything from Jackson . . . great year and it's very good for that organization to see a player like that begin to unlock his potential.
Q: Fabian from Replacement Level asks:Is Matt Wieters the best catching prospect in the minor leagues? Where does he rank overall for you?
A: Chris Kline: After looking at the list we ran in August again, I say yes, he's a no-doubt No. 1. And for me right now, it's doesn't get any more overrated right now than Jeff Clement. And I love USC.
11-20-2007 04:34 PM #9
He may have thrown out 33% but a lot of runners ran on him. He's got a strong arm but he needs to work on his accuracy with it, the 3 throwing errors tell you that. Also lets not forget his 7 passed balls which led the HWBL. He showed a lot of flashes, but he's still got a lot to work on before he gets to Baltimore. It's good to see he put alot of extra work in behind the plate though, that's a good sign that his working on his defensive issues.
One thing that not a lot of people know although I did post it early on in the Wieters thread, was that on the off days for the catchers, when they weren't in the lineup they had to catch in the bullpen to warm up the pitchers. There were no coaches that did bullpen catching. Now Matt did DH a lot so he may not have had to do that as much, but you've got to think that wore on him more than if he was resting in those off days. This could account for his lack of power. I say this to remind myself as well when I am critical about him for his lack of power.
11-20-2007 04:53 PM #10
11-20-2007 05:37 PM #11
But, I also was happy to hear from Kline that Wieters defense is fine - which to me, means that his errors and passed balls were execution related and not talent related. Therefore, since he also seems to be a hard worker, I expect these areas to improve with more practice and game experience.
In the write-up, an NL scout said that "all his tools are playable now, but there is plenty of projection" and Kline thinks that Wieters may be ready by 2009 - that is quite a fast rise especially for a catcher. This indicates to me that he is pretty polished in all facets of his game and has the ability to improve quite alot in a short time. That is really exciting to hear, and no doubt a big reason why Hernandez is on the trading block.
11-20-2007 05:55 PM #12Plus Member Since 09/03 Hall of Fame
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- Dec 2003
- Bethesda MD
Nothing but encouraging things from that chat so far as I'm concerned. Wieters didn't put up great numbers in Hawaii but it appears that those who saw him play were impressed and he certainly didn't hurt his status.
11-20-2007 10:16 PM #13
He had a rough time the last three or four games but was around an .850-.870 OPS until then. I imagine that he will start the season at Frederick, but I'd be surprised if he is still there at the end of June.
11-20-2007 10:34 PM #14GCL O's
- Join Date
- May 2007
You have to factor in that its a pitchers league and he was hitting with wooden bats for one of the first times in his career. To me his plate discipline was very encouraging
11-21-2007 01:32 AM #15