Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Age Analysis of Short-A and Rookie League squads

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This is a statistical look at the relative ages of our debut Short-A and Rookie league pitching staffs, as compared to the rest of their league, for the purposes of giving future context to the performances of our staff as the season progresses.  I initially did this for all the full-season minor league affiliates in Early May, and this time am catching the initial rosters.

The definitions I’m using for each “age classification” are as follows:

  • “Really Young” is a pitcher in the lowest quartile of pitchers by age, meaning he’s one of the youngest 25% of pitchers in the league.
  • “Young” is a pitcher in the 25-50% quartile.
  • “Old” is a pitcher in the 50-75% quartile
  • “Really Old” is a pitcher in the 75th quartile or above.

I’m using these quartiles because (frankly) MS Excel makes it pretty easy to calculate :-).  So keep that in mind when you see a pitcher listed as “Really Old” for the league but may be right at the 75th-76th quartile range.

For the Short-A season, just looking at pitchers, here’s how the percentiles broke down:

average–> 22.20
youngest–> 17.88
25th Quartile –> 21.10
50th Quartile (median) –> 22.31
75th Quartile –> 23.18
oldest–> 27.01

The short-A age ranges are nearly identical to the age ranges for Low-A, a fact that kind of surprised me.  I would have figured that the short-A squads would be filled with College Jrs and Srs newly drafted, while the low-A team would be mostly HS and DSL grads that were working their way up the system.  In reality there’s almost no age difference between the two leagues (Short-A is younger across the board, usually by a few months).

Here’s the Nationals Short-A pitching staff as of 6/22/11:

Auburn Colin Bates 3/10/1988 23.29 Really Old
Auburn Ryan Demmin 4/5/1988 23.22 Really Old
Auburn Brian Dupra 12/15/1988 22.52 Old
Auburn Pedro Encarnacion 6/26/1991 19.99 Really Young
Auburn Wirkin Estevez 3/15/1992 19.27 Really Young
Auburn Benjamin Grisz 1/26/1990 21.41 Young
Auburn Travis Henke 7/9/1988 22.96 Old
Auburn Chad Jenkins 3/12/1988 23.28 Really Old
Auburn Alex Kreis 5/30/1989 22.07 Young
Auburn Kelvin Lopez 1/22/1990 21.42 Young
Auburn Silvio Medina 6/3/1990 21.06 Really Young
Auburn Richard Mirowski 4/30/1989 22.15 Young
Auburn Blake Monar 6/16/1989 22.02 Young
Auburn Manny Rodriguez 1/12/1989 22.44 Old

This is a relatively “young” squad, all things considered.  Bates and Demmin have both dominated their first two starts, not surprising given their status as being relatively old for the league.  Jenkins and Demmin were both “demoted” to the Short-A squad from full squad teams, so its not as if the franchise wasn’t trying to put these guys in the right spot.  Even the three guys listed as “old” only missed the 50% percentile cutoff by a month or so.  Our other three starters in Short-A (Estevez, Encarnation and Lopez)  are all young or really young for the level, something to keep in mind if they struggle.

How about the GCL Squad? Here’s the averages across the whole GCL league:

average–> 21.13
youngest–> 16.87
25th Quartile –> 19.78
50th Quartile (median) –> 21.09
75th Quartile –> 22.39
oldest–> 28.04

That’s right; there’s a kid who is 16 years, 10 months playing pro ball in the GCL league.  I don’t know about you, but there’s something wrong to me to have children that young playing a pro sport.  Anyway.

We don’t really know at this point who the GCL starters are, but here’s the GCL Nationals squad as of 6/24/11:

GCL Nationals Gregory Baez 5/5/1992 19.13 Really Young
GCL Nationals Matt Chico 6/10/1983 28.04 Really Old
GCL Nationals Kenneth Ferrer 12/13/1989 21.53 Old
GCL Nationals Tyler Hanks 3/19/1990 21.26 Old
GCL Nationals Ben Hawkins 11/4/1989 21.63 Old
GCL Nationals Inocencio Heredia 12/11/1991 19.53 Really Young
GCL Nationals Mark Herrera 3/11/1990 21.29 Old
GCL Nationals Nathan Karns 11/25/1987 23.58 Really Old
GCL Nationals Brandon King 11/14/1990 20.61 Young
GCL Nationals Bobby Lucas 8/12/1987 23.87 Really Old
GCL Nationals Anthony Marcelino 1/21/1993 18.42 Really Young
GCL Nationals Christopher McKenzie 12/6/1989 21.55 Old
GCL Nationals Christian Meza 8/3/1990 20.89 Young
GCL Nationals Adalberto Mieses 1/1/1990 21.48 Old
GCL Nationals Andy Santana 12/5/1990 20.55 Young
GCL Nationals Todd Simko 12/5/1988 22.55 Really Old
GCL Nationals Jason Smith 8/7/1990 20.88 Young

Just for the Record, rehabbing Matt Chico is the oldest player in the GCL by nearly three years.

I see a lot of “olds” and “really olds” for this level.  We know that Nathan Karns has struggled with injury ever since his 2009 drafting, so he’s understantable.  Bobby Lucas JUST signed a few days ago (our 2011 27th rounder) and played at a weak Div-1 team, so he makes sense in the GCL to see what he has.  Likewise with Todd Simko, our 2011 21st round pick.  So, Lets wait and see if these guys earn quick promotions to short-A to play with their contemporaries.  Remember, we drafted so many arms it is going to be difficult to find spots for all of them.

Other 2011 “old” draftees on this squad include Ferrer and Hawkins.  Mieses is a DSL grad who pitched well in 2010 in a starting role.  Meanwhile, Hanks and Herrera were 2010 juco draftees and slightly “old” for the level.  Lastly McKenzie was with Hagerstown but had three horrific starts in a row early in the season and was put back in Extended Spring.  Unfortunately for him, his first GCL outing was not good either; 4 hits and 3 walks in a third of an inning, resulting in 7 runs and an ERA of 126.

Written by Todd Boss

June 24th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

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