I'm Rooting for Frandsen, But Really...

I've been staying away but I couldn't hold my tongue on this one.  I like Frandsen, I'm rooting for him with all my heart, but he hasn't shown enough in the minors yet.

I was reading a discussion of Frandsen's merits and one poster opined that with a career mid-400 SLG in the minors, that is good, because even if that drops to the low .400 range in the majors, that would be pretty good.  And that if Frandsen could get his OBP to the major league average of around .340 and get an OPS of mid-.700, then he would be a top 2B.  And if I had a goose that could lay a golden egg, I would own the Giants.

This poster shows his ignorance of how strong a hitters league the PCL is and how much the minors can boost a hitters stats.  This would be like thinking Brian Dallimore would be a good addition to the Giants just because he won the PCL hitting title while playing for Fresno.

Making MLE equivalents was created by Bill James and is an widely accepted tool for judging how well a hitter actually did in the minors, whereby his minor league stats are translated into its equivalent MLB stats.  A number of the major baseball books publishes MLEs for players, particularly Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Forecaster.  So it is a well understood and accepted concept.

Last season, Frandsen hit .304/.358/.440/.799 in the PCL, which looks pretty good on the surface.   And more importantly, it is close to Frandsen's career SLG of .453, so one would think therefore that his MLE translation for the PCL should  be a close enough proxy for translating his career numbers to the majors.  

But his MLE equivalent for the PCL in 2006 is only .273/.315/.379/.694.  That's Neifi territory without the defense.  See here:

So no, just because he has been hitting what looks like a good batting rate in the minors, it does not mean that he's going to hit well in the majors, the leap is that great, as the translation shows.  For a stark example of how this type of thinking can bite you in the ass, Pedro Feliz hit .298/.337/.571/.908 when he was 25 in the PCL - Frandsen was 24 last season.

However, I would take heart that he did push up his walk rate in the AFL, though as another poster noted, there were not that many ABs there.  Still, despite there being only 85 AB/101 PA, he had as many walks (12) in 101 PA in the AFL as he did in the PCL in 321 PA.  Yes, small sample, but to match it in 220 less PA?  Got to be very encouraging.  But now he has to prove that this is a real improvement in 2007, not a statistical aberration.  

Lastly, it was noted that power develops last, if at all, and most sources I have read says that power starts kicking in around 26-28 (see Lance Niekro), then improves as the player reaches his physical peak from 28-32 (many disagreements over when peak is, this is roughly what I have seen).  Who knows, maybe Kevin goes on a weight training plan and builds up muscles and starts zinging doubles into the corners and alleys.  But right now, he is not that powerful a hitter, as evidenced by his low SLG, on an MLE equivalent basis (106 secondary average).

The consensus has been that Frandsen is a utility MI.  The consensus has been wrong before.

I hope he makes it though, great story, sounds like a great person, has a great attitude, has done well in the minors, ya gotta root for him.  But he's not there yet and you just have to take heart that he's been advancing every year to a new level.  Hopefully he puts it all together.

Personally, I like what Goldstein did with his Top 10 list, showing the various dimensions you want to look at a prospect from, and giving some indication of how good he is relative to other prospects.  I enjoyed it very much, best prospect breakdown I've ever seen in a compact format.

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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