by Mike Rogers

So, I’ve been absent ’round here, well, all year. But, with the MLB draft taking place last week, my forte comes a’callin’ again.

…But not quite yet.

Until then, Paul Depodesta’s taken a look at the 2008 Padres draftees over at his blog. I also took three looks of my own at the Padres college bats taken this time last year.

After perusing the numbers, I must admit that Logan Forsythe’s out-performed my expectations thus far. I thought James Darnell would be the better hitter, as I liked his power potential and his eye at the plate more than Forsythe’s. But, I’m happy to be relatively wrong as Darnell’s only slightly out-performing Forsythe, albeit at a lower level then Logan.

Allan Dykstra really has struggled thus far, but Depodesta notes that they’ve made some adjustments to his swing in Spring Training and that is possibly the cause. His plate discipline has been great thus far (19.5% BB rate), and I suspect that his power will come. I still like James Darnell the most out of the college bats that San Deigo took last year.

Now, as I said before, my college hitters numbers are on the way, but I don’t have an exact date as of yet (nor a real timetable, either). I have 199 hitters — most of which were draft eligible this year — updated with 2009 numbers. I need to flesh those out with the full conference data, and when I do that, I’ll be able to pen something on the college hitters San Deigo took last week. But I can give you a sneak peak.

The Padres top college bat taken in the 2009 draft was Miami (FL) Hurricane’s catcher Jason Hagerty. He had a breakout season in 2009. Of the 199 hitters I have stats for in 2009, Hagerty’s season came out 20th best as judged by my “score” ranking. He had an adjusted wOBA of .447 (26th best in my 2009 numbers), .306 adjusted Isolate Power (20th in my 2009 numbers), while walking 16.5% of the time and striking out 18.8% of the time in 260 plate appearances. The strikeouts are a little disconcerting, but from what I’ve read, he’s likely to stick behind the plate. So, you can live with some offensive short comings for a catcher, as their bats are often less potent and consistent then other position players.

The problem I’ve got with Hagerty is his past performance. I’m always a little leery of breakout players in their Junior seasons. Let’s peruse his 2008 numbers:

64.56 Score*
.358 adjusted wOBA
.220 adjusted IsoP
7.4% BB rate
25.9% K rate
162 PA’s

* = this score is slightly different then my 2009 score. For the 2008 and 2007 seasons, I have calculated an average wOBA for each conference and then adjusted that by the conference’s average park factor and strength of schedule. I use that to get a Runs Above Average number for each hitter in the conference. For instance, in 2008, the average adjusted wOBA in the ACC was .389 — Hagerty was 4.36 runs below the average ACC hitter in 2008. I take this into account in my score, but don’t for 2009 because I don’t have full conference data yet.

And his 2007 numbers:

22.78 Score
.233 adjusted wOBA
.023 adjusted IsoP
9.0% BB rate
27.0% K rate
100 PA’s

The average adjusted wOBA for ACC hitters in 2007 was .383. Hagerty was 13.02 runs below the average ACC hitter in 2007.

Now, these 2007 and 2008 numbers need to be taken with a barrell of salt. Combined, it’s just 262 PA’s, while he had 260 in 2009 alone. He was a utility man of sorts for his first couple of years before finally settling into the starting catchers role this year. So, sporadic playing time in his freshman and sophomore seasons may have been a big part of the bad numbers. That said, I am always a bit skeptical of players that have drastically improved statistics in their junior years. His improvement in the walk and strikeout department is a very good one and if that carries over to the pro game (assuming they sign him), then I think he’s got some offensive upside. As of now, his ability to stick behind the plate could be enough to get him to the majors as at backup backstop.