On Tuesday, the Arizona Fall League kicked off as seven more players joined those in the Hawaiian…
MMLN – Over/Unders: A Look Back – Part II
Total Innings for Brant Rustich:
Preseason: 100 innings - OVER
At the start of the season, the goal was to have the second-year right-hander assume a slot in the St. Lucie starting rotation after building up his arm strength over the winter. But a triceps injury during Spring Training halted any such plans and when Rustich finally did get back on the bump, he was not nearly as effective as during his rookie season. He was assigned to Savannah to work on his arm strength, but a nagging blister issue kept him relegated to the bullpen for most of the year, though he made eight starts out of 20 appearances. One hundred innings was the preseason goal for Rustich, and remains as such heading into the winter, but between injuries and ineffectiveness —tack on a late-season stress fracture on top of everything—he could only get about halfway to his mark.
Total Home Runs for Fernando Martinez:
Preseason: 15 - UNDER
Fernando doubled up his home run total from 2007 this season, but still fell quite short of this generous prediction. He once again missed significant time due to injury so it is unknown whether or not he could have met the mark had he remained healthy, but trends say otherwise. However, his late-season power surge could be a strong indicator of things to come. During August, Fernando was healthier and more locked in than any at any other point in the season, and it showed in his production. Over his last 24 games, he homered three times and drove in 18 runs with six doubles and a triple.
Batting Average for Ruben Tejada:
Preseason: .300 - UNDER
At the time this prediction was made last spring, it was not expected that the 19-year-old shortstop would make the leap to the Florida State League after just 32 games in the Venezuelan Summer League and 35 in the Gulf Coast League in 2007. But the shortstop did just that and struggled often against pitching that was, to the eye, beyond his current skill level. Tejada battled throughout the season but could only muster one month of a batting average above .231 and that was during June when he hit .333 in 25 games. The long year, and not enough growth and adjustment in-season, got to Tejada as he hit just .194 over his final 51 games. The development of his stick will be most important factor to watch next season.
Batting Average for Daniel Murphy:
Preseason: .285 - OVER
The co-Sterling Award winner for the organization had his best year at the plate in 2008 as he hit .308 in 95 games with Binghamton before ultimately moving onto the big stage. [He went 8-for-18 in four games between Brooklyn and New Orleans]. It was his bat that carried him to New York and it will ultimately be his bat that keeps him there if he can continue to develop the line-to-line production he showed in 2008.
Total Wins for Scott Moviel:
Preseason: 8 - UNDER
The development of his repertoire was paramount to his success in Savannah, and though we questioned Moviel's ability to get his secondary pitches under control in the spring, the right-hander came along better than expected after moving from the GCL to the long-season league. His arm and body held up under a significant innings increase in his second season. The prediction appeared to hold up early in the season, but winning nine of his final 13 decisions capped off a strong season for Moviel.
Total Home Runs for Brahiam Maldonado:
Preseason: 13 - OVER
After hitting .310 with 10 home runs in Savannah next season, the St. Lucie left-hander saw his stock rise, but his value came back down this season as holes in his swing were exposed in the Florida State League. Despite an ankle injury that sidelined him for about two months, he struggled to hit breaking balls for any consistency or maintain any continuity in his strike zone. In 75 games this season, Maldonado hit .232 with a .327 slugging percentage, down from .500 a year ago.
Earned Run Average for Phillips Orta:
Preseason: 4.00 - OVER
In 16 appearances—14 starts—in 2007, Orta compiled a 4.12 ERA. The belief in the preseason was that Orta would remain a starter, but with only two reliable pitches in his arsenal—though both very strong pitches—Orta was sent to the bullpen for most of the season. He did make three starts in 14 appearances in Kingsport before making two starts with Savannah down the stretch, but his success in the K-Mets bullpen helped him lock down a career-best ERA.
On-Base Percentage for Lucas Duda:
Preseason: .385 - OVER
Though Duda's final on-base percentage fell nearly 30 points below predicted, it was not for a case of being a free swinger. The second-year first baseman led the Florida State League in walks with 66, but the production he generated with the bat slipped a number of times through the season, including a prolonged dry spell in June and July when he hit just .213 in 169 at-bats. His best month came in April—perhaps before the league adjusted to him—when he tallied a .415 on-base percentage on top of a .330 batting average. Duda's patience is one of his best measurables, but more contact is needed from the former 7th round draft pick.
Total Home Runs for Daniel Stegall:
Preseason: 3 - OVER
The 21-year-old outfielder finally got the proverbial monkey off his back this season as he belted the first four home runs of his career following 170 homerless games to start his career. The first shot came while in Savannah, with three more upon his return to Kingsport. A broken bone in his right hand ended Stegall's season, but for a third-year outfielder who seems like he has been around forever, the growth in his power stroke is a positive sign that things may finally be coming together.
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