We’re not talking about a Quad-A guy who is wildly overratin Gran Canaria 13.06.2019 03:51
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He just can’t seem to keep it going all year."To be fair Wilmer Difo Jersey , the veteran lefty is a very solid player.ed or anything like that. He’s been a roughly average hitter year in and year out, providing solid pop with improving patience and a strikeout rate that is more than manageable in the current environment around the league. That said, in each of his two years with Boston those positive first impressions have been followed by disappointing and, at times, ugly slumps.Consider that last year, heading into the All-Star break, Moreland was hitting .278/.353/.500 for a 126 wRC+, a performance that was good enough to send him to his first career All-Star Game. That performance was largely buoyed by monster months of April and May, but he was still a bit above average in June as well. There was little to complain about in that first half. In the second half, things cratered to the tune of a .191/.277/.322 line for a 59 wRC+. Of the 240 players with at least 150 plate appearances in that second half, only six were worse than Moreland by wRC+. Furthermore, by Baseball-Reference’s tOPS+ that is set relative to a player’s overall OPS, Moreland’s second half was the sixth-worst in baseball last year. Getting to know all of the non-roster invites in Red Sox campBobby DalbecKelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.comThis wasn’t a new issue for the first baseman either. He went through a similar trend in 2017 as well when he put up a 105 wRC+ in the first half and an 87 wRC+ in the second half. Obviously that different isn’t quite as stark, but it’s certainly noticeable. Over his entire nine-year career, Moreland has a 108 wRC+ prior to the All-Star break compared to a mark of 86 in the second half. These kinds of second-half slumps haven’t happened in literally every season of his career, but they’ve been much more commonplace than you’d like to see.Obviously Brian Goodwin Jersey , the goal here is to try and figure out why this is happening. Speaking only of the two years in Boston, the obvious answer is health. Moreland has been banged up over the second half of each of the last two seasons, and each time he’s played through the pain at least for a bit. It’s clearly had an effect on his performance. This past year, Moreland suffered a freak knee injury on a sliding catch attempt in August and then was mostly relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the postseason due to a hamstring issue. He also battled knee soreness and back spasms in July. Two years ago, the veteran played through a broken toe for most of the second half.You can’t totally discount the injuries’ affect on Moreland’s performance in the second half, of course, but you also can’t lay the blame entirely on them either. As I said, this is a career-long issue for the lefty, and if he’s getting hurt every year to have this kind of effect that is an issue in and of itself. Looking a little bit deeper into the splits, over his career the issue has been on balls in play. His strikeout and walk numbers are mostly static between halves, but his batting average on balls in play and power numbers both tend to drop significantly in the second half. Looking at Fangraphs’ batted ball numbers, however, there isn’t a big difference. He tends to struggle a bit more squaring up the ball with fewer line drives, more fly balls and more pop ups as well as a slightly lower hard-hit rate, but none of the changes are significant. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesWith the batted ball numbers not really giving much of a clue, my next theory was that pitchers were just adjusting to Moreland as the year went on and he was struggling to re-adjust. It’s worth noting that http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-matt-adams-jersey , unlike the rest of his career, he did see some changes in strikeouts between halves, going from a rate of 20.6 percent to just under 25 percent. It’s not a major change, granted, but it’s something. Either way, there wasn’t any major evidence in adjustments being made. He has been shifted against a bit more in second halves over his career, but it’s a minor difference. Moreland is one of the most consistently-shifted players in the game regardless of what time of year it is. On top of that, he didn’t really see a difference in approach in terms of sequencing from opponents in the second half. Instead, he just stopped being able to make contact with offspeed pitches, which led to the big spike in strikeouts.So, with all of this said and all of this ink spilled, I have no idea what to make of Moreland’s struggles. The injuries are the big thing, but again they aren’t everything and even if they were it would be a major problem. Looking ahead to this year, if the Red Sox are going to want to rely less on the top half of their lineup a big part of that will be their first base platoon. That means they’ll need Moreland to be something close to the best version of himself for a full season. Hopefully, Pearce will be productive all year and that in turn will allow more regular rest for Moreland. If that all happens, he should be less liable to break down after the All-Star break and more likely to provide real value for an entire season instead of just half of one. There is still a lot of work to be done"The Royals not only hit rock bottom in the standings last year Brandon Kintzler Jersey , but they bottomed out in farm system rankings as well. The team went from having the top-ranked farm system by Baseball America and many other experts in 2011, to having the 29th-ranked system last year. Success gave the Royals later draft picks, but the team has had a long dry spell in the draft that stretches to the days when they were picking in the top ten, depriving the minor league system of top-tier prospects.Slowly, things are improving, at least according to most experts. ESPN’s Keith Law recently ranked two Royals in his top 100 prospect list - Daniel Lynch at #53 and Khalil Lee at #55 - a year after shutting the Royals out of his list. This week he came out with his overall organizational rankings, putting the Royals #21 in all of baseball, up from #27 last year.Law admits the system is mostly Lexington’s team plus Lee and last year’s draft class, but he applauds the shift in draft strategy last year. However the system is poorly ranked, due to “draft classes prior to 2017, when they bet big on some high school arms who haven’t panned out at all.”That view seems to be shared by other prospect evaluators like those at Baseball America. Although they have not updated their rankings for 2019, they did rank the Royals 26th in August, up from 29th earlier in the year. They also applauded the 2018 draft class that added balance to the system, writing the club has “a nice mix of position players who aren’t that far off of the Top 100, but they need their college and pitching-heavy 2018 draft to match up with those hitters.”Joel Rueter at Bleacher Report ranks the Royals 24th in baseball, after having ranked them dead-last the previous season. He notes the college pitchers selected last June - Brady Singer Tanner Roark Jersey , Jackson Kowar, and Daniel Lynch - and promising improvement by young players like M.J. Melendez make it a “system on the rise.” Rueter highlights outfielder Seuly Matias as an “X-factor”, saying that he needs to change his approach from his “20-grade hit tool, which is extremely poor”, to tap into his raw power.Craig Edwards at Fangraphs took a more quantitative approach to a ranking by using metrics based on scouting grades to evaluate each system. The Royals were actually tied for 10th in all of baseball in the number of prospects (24) that graded 40 or 45. But they have just one player that graded 50 or higher (Matias), and no players that graded 55 or higher, illustrating the absence of upper-end talent in the system. That gives them an overall ranking of 27th. Still, you can see the progress being made, as noted by MLB Pipline when they highlighted Kansas City as having one of the most-improved systems. Evaluator Jim Callis wrote that the Royals made a jump from having the second-worst farm system in baseball due to their 2018 draft class, highlighting later picks like pitchers Kris Bubic, Austin Cox, and outfielder Kyle Isbel as players that are already among the best in the Kansas City system.Fangraphs writer Stephen Loftus found it typically takes two years for a team to go from bottoming out to jumping up rankings. The Royals will have another shot to improve the farm system this June, when they will have the second-overall pick. This should be a pretty pivotal summer for many of their top minor leaguers. While there are enticing tools to get excited about, many of their prospects still have glaring holes to their games that will need to be fixed if they hope to become impact big leaguers. If the Royals hope to accelerate their timetable to contention, they will need much more progress to be made.