Interesting Starts: Jackson

The Generals have had a bit of a rough start to the season, plagued by bad weather and poor pitching, especially in the bullpen.  Still, there’s a few stat lines that stand out among the non-premium players.

Jake Shaffer, OF
Stat Line: .370/.393/.580, 30 H, 3 HR, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 SB, 3 BB, 11 K’s
Shaffer’s never been much of a prospect, and has already been slapped with the “organizational player” label (or “org guy” for short).  Still, he’s had a nice start to the season, managing hits in 16 of his 17 starts, and is the owner of an 11 game hitting streak, currently the longest in the Southern League.

The peak upside for Shaffer is that of a fringe fourth outfielder, and that’s only if things go absolutely right for the young man.  Unfortunately, there’s not much reason to think that he can keep this up, as he’s currently exceeding all of his career rates, even those that he put up in High Desert.  His near-.400 BABIP isn’t a good indicator of future success either.  This streak may not last for much longer, so enjoy it while it’s still around.

James McOwen, OF
Stat Line: .292/.338/.472, 21 H, 3 HR, 4 2B, 5 BB, 10 K’s
Remember McOwen’s hitting streak in 2009? He went on a 45-game tear in the middle of that year that increased his visibility as a prospect significantly from where he was before… then almost dropped entirely off the radar when he missed 2010 after dislocating his shoulder late in spring training.

McOwen has never been known for his power, but he hit homers on three straight days last week in spite of that.  Like Shaffer, his upside is limited, but McOwen is still a guy with a fun story who’s an interesting player to track.  Hopefully he can keep this run going for awhile, and his BABIP suggest he might actually improve a bit, as his .305 mark is actually a bit below his career level.

Erasmo Ramirez, RHP
Stat Line: 3 GS, 19 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 19 H, 2 HR, 8 K’s, 1 BB
Ramirez is another one of the Mariners’ command-over-stuff guys, but he probably has a better shot at finding long-term success than most of the other ones do.  The organization is both testing him and (to an extent) saving him by skipping him past High Desert this year, sending him from Low-A straight to AA.

Ramirez has responded well to the challenge so far, allowing few baserunners and doing well to contain the damage when they do get on.  His low strikeout rate is a little concerning, but these are by far the most advanced hitters he’s faced in his career, and Erasmo is never going to be a high-strikeout pitcher.  As long as he keeps his groundball rate high (and it’s actually down some from his career rate despite being a strong 53%) and walks low, he should be just fine.

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