So it's been a while since I sat down to write anything, but tonight I was looking at Chris Marrero's 2008 stats and there were several things that really stood out to me. Marrero came into this season as one of the most talked about young prospects, but his numbers so far have a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering if there was something we all missed. So, let's see what we can find...
In 191 plate appearances at A+ in 2008, Marrero's K% is down from 21.5% in 2007 to 19.4% this season, his BB% of 11% is steady with 11.9% from last year, and his 52% GB% is pretty much the same as last year as well. Other stats that have remained relatively steady include OBP (.338 in 2007, .326 in 2008), ISOP (.172 in 2007, .164 in 2008), and SLG (.431 in 2007, .400 in 2008).
The numbers that some prospectors find troubling are Marrero's current .236 batting average and his LD% that is sitting around 8%. While batting averages can be misleading and I generally don't give much thought to them, the 8% LD% suggests that Marrero is having a hard time making consistent, solid contact. However, I don't think there is much reason to be concerned with Marrero's performance this far, and I think there is sufficient evidence to suggest that he's simply picking up where he left off last year, and still learning to handle himself at the plate.
Though there are only about 100 everyday position players in the Carolina League, the overall numbers that Marrero has posted thus far rank him close to the top in almost every important category. In terms of ISOP, Marrero ranks 19th in the Carolina League, and is the only 20 year old in the top 30,and his BB% ranks 19th . Oddly enough, his BABIP of .270 ranks as the 6th worst in the league, suggesting that once Marrero returns to the contact rates he posted last year, he'll quickly re-establish himself as an elite talent. If he simply bumps his .270 BABIP back up to .300, his average and power numbers would compare very well with his 2007 numbers.
If you compare Marrero's April and May numbers, there's evidence that he has put his slow start behind him and may soon have a significant breakout in the next month or so. His OBP is up 80 points, his average is up 75 points, and his slugging is up 100 points. Perhaps more importantly, his LD% is up from 3% in April to 14% in May. While April was certainly a rough month for Marrero, May seems to have brought warmer weather (keep in mind that Marrero grew up in Miami and probably rarely played at temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and better results. Like I said, look for a Marrero breakout soon.