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Author Topic: Jarek Cunningham -- Chad Hermansen 2.0?  (Read 2665 times)
Dale Berras Stash
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« on: May 25, 2011, 07:17:18 AM »

Back in 1996, I just started to follow the Pirates' minor league system.  I was sort of drawn to it because the Pirates were dismantling the major league team so much and making so many trades for minor leaguers.  With the Royals trade and the Braves trade, a young 20 year old nerd was excited for this future lineup:

C Kendall
1B Wright
2B Garcia
SS Hermansen
3B Ramirez
LF Cummings
CF Allensworth
RF Guillen
(Beamon and Cromer would be great bench guys, too!!!)

The rotation would have
SP1 Benson
SP2 Schmidt
SP3 Silva
SP4 Pett
SP5 Cordova

But my favorite player of all of them was Chad Hermansen.  He could "walk on water" according to Woody Huyke after his 1995 GCL season.  He was going to be a power hitting SS...our Garciaparra.  Even when he was moved off of SS to CF, I was still a fan because of the power potential.

What I ignored was the K rate....who cares about his K rate if Hermansen is hitting 30 HR's?
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=herman002cha

After Hermansen flamed out I resolved to pay more attention to K/BB rate and that became one of the core functions I look at for hitters and pitchers.

In Cunningham's 2008 GCL season he had a respectable 10/20 BB/K rate.  I gave him a pass last year because he missed all of 2009.  And to start 2011 his K rate wasn't THAT bad, especially with all the extra base hits he had.

But now Cunningham is hovering around a 5/30 BB/K rate and is looking like the middle infield is not his final destination, just like my favorite all-time prospect Chad Hermansen.

For all of my disdain about Latimore's K/BB rate, it would he hypocritical to shove Cunningham under the rug and ignore him.

At the start of May I thought he could handle a move to AA in June.  Now I agree with those that say he needs to stay at A+ all year to work his problems out.

I hope that I won't look back on Cunningham's stats one day with the same regret as I look back at Hermansen's.
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TNbucs
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 08:07:46 AM »

I think you're probably right about this.  I tend to get excited about his power potential, but it seems hard to find a successful major leaguer that had anything near Cunningham's K rates (combination of K/BB and K/PA) while in the minors.  Even a big K guy like Mark Reynolds had his K rates under control in the minors.  So here is a challenge--find a successful major leaguer that works as a comp for Cunningham given his combination of power and K rates.  (And Brandon Wood may serve as a cautionary tale for Cunningham.)

When I suggested Cunningham as a breakout candidate this year, I also expected a better K rate in his second year after being injured.  I'm still hopeful but I agree the recent rise in K's is cause for concern.
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Pirates2014Champ
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 08:33:11 AM »

I, like DBS, did too start following the Pirates minor leagues since 1996.

I thought Eddy Furniss was gonna be something special. Or Tony Alvarez. Carlos Rivera.  Head Shake
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81omar
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 08:35:11 AM »

    The fact that his stats now are slightly worse for K rate over last year and a lot worse for walk rate doesnt bode well for his future. I ranked him a lot lower than most people basically due to that fact. Wilbur also noticed last year, and it seems to happen a lot this year as well, he gets a lot of first inning hits and batting 2nd in the minors, you're going to get a TON of fastballs your first AB. I've been to plenty of games without a first inning breaking ball from either team. We have another guy in our system with the same raw power as Jarek, Rogelios Noris, both born in 1989. Jarek is a handful of walks less and handful of K's more away from being him. Only difference is Noris is a plus fielder while Jarek needs someone to shoo away pigeons every hour or so while he's on defense. I think Latimore's current season at AA might be a sign of things to come for Jarek and it's not pretty. All 3 are still young enough to make the change, you have to think someone they know is in their ear about it,hopefully.
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bradlej31
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 08:51:56 AM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.
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CentralCABucsFan
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2011, 09:03:05 AM »

I love looking back at those teams from the past.  Thanks for posting that.

Cunningham is his own case, so we'll see where he ends up.  His path to this point has been greatly interupted by, first a partially torn ACL, and then the complete tear, and his problems carried from his JR season in high school until just before last season.  I'll stay optimistic, since the power is real, but he has to improve his plate disipline.
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81omar
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 09:20:46 AM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.

   Who has said that he is above average at 2b?  I saw him last year for 7 games and his range was very limited and he was very tentative on everything hit to him, didnt rush on potential double plays, let slow hit balls play him.  He has 10 errors already this year. That 2b/1b side of the infield is horrible in my opinion at Bradenton with him and Baker there everyday and it seems like every game youll read multiple "single on groundball to RF". They have already said he's done at SS by age 21 so that might tell you right there about his fielding, especially since he has the arm to play 3b so that isnt the reason. If he hits enough you can find a spot for him but that's asking a lot from a guy who has a 7/47 BB/K rate after 41 games when he's hitting well, what happens to those numbers when he slumps. Minor league season is 1/3rd of the way over at this point, hes headed for 21/141
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GoBucs21
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2011, 10:44:57 AM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.
Just about anyone associated with baseball, would tell you that the leap from A+ to AA is the biggest leap except for getting to MLB. 

I agree with those who think Cunningham is the second coming of Chad Hermanson.
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bradlej31
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 01:00:38 PM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.
Just about anyone associated with baseball, would tell you that the leap from A+ to AA is the biggest leap except for getting to MLB. 

That's what I thought....  Read the article.  Maybe Tim or Omar can link it.
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WTM
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 01:06:25 PM »

Jarek with runners on:  324/400/716, six walks, 74 AB.  With no one on:  256/264/511, one (?!) walk, 90 AB.

Better focus, more FBs with runners on base, or a meaningless small sample size?

Too bad MiLB.com doesn't have inning-by-inning splits.
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bradlej31
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 03:04:32 PM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.
Just about anyone associated with baseball, would tell you that the leap from A+ to AA is the biggest leap except for getting to MLB. 

I agree with those who think Cunningham is the second coming of Chad Hermanson.

Here's the question and quote:

The popular saying is that if you have the talent to make it at the AA level, you have the talent to make it at the major league level. Do you agree with that stance, and if so, what are the adjustments that a pitcher would have to make from the AA level to the majors to apply that talent in the majors?

That used to be the case. I don't see it that way. Double-A is the new A-ball. It's the new high-A ball really. A lot of organizations rush their position players to the big leagues, so the hitting isn't what it was. So the competition can be forgiving. It's hard to find position players, it's hard to find hitting. So when clubs get them they push them up and have them grow up in the big leagues. That being said, they don't last. If you can really hit, they push you. They push you up as far as they can, so it depends. Say all nine hitters on the big league team are good, and you go to AAA, say six of the nine are tough outs. You go to AA, maybe four of the nine were tough outs. It just works that way. In my experience the last three years, AAA and AA are huge separations in the minor leagues, where low-A and high-A are not as big a separation, high-A and AA are not as big a separation. But the AA to the big leagues is a big separation. You can see, if you look at the bios of the players that are in AAA, you'll see a significant years played, where in the AA, you'll see a minimal A-ball, and a minimal AA. So in other words there's experience, and it's all about that, it's all about grown men, experienced players in AAA, and more of a youthful player in AA and down.
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GoBucs21
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2011, 03:59:08 PM »

First, nice post.

Second, concur on K/BB.

Third, noting Jim Bendict's onterview with Tim, he said the leap from A+ to AA isn't that big and the jump from AA to AAA.  So I am an advocate of moving Jarek up.

Finally,  it sounds like he is a above average defender at 2B.  Makes the offensive questions a little easier to swallow.  Plus he's a 2B... not a RF.
Just about anyone associated with baseball, would tell you that the leap from A+ to AA is the biggest leap except for getting to MLB. 

I agree with those who think Cunningham is the second coming of Chad Hermanson.

Here's the question and quote:

The popular saying is that if you have the talent to make it at the AA level, you have the talent to make it at the major league level. Do you agree with that stance, and if so, what are the adjustments that a pitcher would have to make from the AA level to the majors to apply that talent in the majors?

That used to be the case. I don't see it that way. Double-A is the new A-ball. It's the new high-A ball really. A lot of organizations rush their position players to the big leagues, so the hitting isn't what it was. So the competition can be forgiving. It's hard to find position players, it's hard to find hitting. So when clubs get them they push them up and have them grow up in the big leagues. That being said, they don't last. If you can really hit, they push you. They push you up as far as they can, so it depends. Say all nine hitters on the big league team are good, and you go to AAA, say six of the nine are tough outs. You go to AA, maybe four of the nine were tough outs. It just works that way. In my experience the last three years, AAA and AA are huge separations in the minor leagues, where low-A and high-A are not as big a separation, high-A and AA are not as big a separation. But the AA to the big leagues is a big separation. You can see, if you look at the bios of the players that are in AAA, you'll see a significant years played, where in the AA, you'll see a minimal A-ball, and a minimal AA. So in other words there's experience, and it's all about that, it's all about grown men, experienced players in AAA, and more of a youthful player in AA and down.
Well, I have to disagree.  Most of the time AAA is the new AAAA.  Players who can fill in an MLB team in a pinch and a short weigh station for teams waiting out the arbitration clock. 

I still believe A to  AA is the biggest jump after going to MLB.  I've had this discussion with dozens of scouts, two GMs, a bunch of major and minor league players, and other baseball FO types.  Almost all of them, but not all of them, say that A to AA is the biggest and most difficult move for players.

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People say I am ruthless. I am not ruthless. And if I find the man who is calling me ruthless, I shall destroy him.
Robert F. Kennedy

Moral courage is a more rare commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.
Robert F. Kennedy
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 07:53:13 AM »

A little insight on the man...the legend...http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110524&content_id=19488348&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb
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