MB100 | 26 in the Mix | Hill, Horstman, Hunter, Jones

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== The Mix Also Rises? ==

By sheer chance outcome of the alphabetical lottery, the first name in this edition of 26 in the Mix is also a name I was going to write about anyway.  So we can get a two-fer.

For, you see, new Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon reportedly wants as many as three lefties in his MLB bullpen.  That’s not likely to happen, particularly since there are a lot more right-handed candidates knocking on the door than there are left-handed ones.

Charlie Furbush is a given, but the group following him is not overwhelming (although Bobby LaFromboise is much better than his 2013 experience shows).  Thus, perhaps, there is an opening for a longshot … maybe even a really deep longshot?

Maybe.  And if you’re looking for a longshot, we’ve got your guy right here.  And even a second longshot, too.  [And all the guys at the “MB100” page always linked at the top.]

Also by sheer chance, all these guys are left-handed.

===

Nick Hill | Reliever | 2014 age: 29 | LH

Traditional Pitching Statistics

Year Age Lvl W L ERA G SV IP H HR BB K WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2007 22 A- 1 3 0.51 18 2 35 24 0 9 45 0.94 6.20 0.00 2.30 11.60
2008 23 A+-AA 2 8 4.93 44 1 102.1 117 12 39 76 1.52 10.30 1.10 3.40 6.70
2009 24 AA 5 6 3.10 36 2 95.2 84 5 24 100 1.13 7.90 0.50 2.30 9.40
2010 25 AA 2 1 4.22 28 1 42.2 47 3 18 37 1.52 9.90 0.60 3.80 7.80
2012 27 Rk 0 0 3.00 2 0 3 2 1 2 2 1.33 6.00 3.00 6.00 6.00
2013 28 AA-AAA 3 3 2.22 44 0 52.2 46 0 24 48 1.33 7.90 0.00 4.10 8.20

Spectometer Analysis

Year Age Lvl HR% BB% XBH + BB% ISO K% PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Age Arc Goal < 1% Goal < 6% Goal < 14% Goal < .100 Goal > 20% Strong prospect > 100
2008 23 2 lvl “+2” 2.53% 8.23% 15.82% 0.143 16.03% 81 88 69
2009 24 AA “+2” 1.25% 6.02% 12.53% 0.102 25.06% 132 114 146
2010 25 AA “+3” 1.53% 9.18% 17.35% 0.138 18.88% 87 89 76
2013 28 AA-AAA “+5” 0.00% 10.62% 14.60% 0.056 21.24% 100 116 116

Could the West Point graduate finally sneak into the majors?  We’ll see.

But Hill is so old that we can’t even do a Spectometer analysis of his 2007 season since no one has that data readily available.  But it was a brilliant season at Everett, and, after a not-unexpected hiccup at High Desert, he turned in another excellent season in AA in 2009.

He seemed poised to conduct a successful joint operation as MLB pitcher and Army officer.  But injuries started taking their toll.  He wasn’t right in 2010 and missed two months, before missing all of 2011 and all but 3.0 IP of 2012.

It certainly seemed that he would never be heard from again.

But like the cavalry appearing over the ridge, here came Hill in 2013.  He wasn’t just back, but he was back in a big way.  He didn’t allow a single home run all year, and only nine extra-base hits total, all of which were off right-handed batters.

In other words: his ISO against LH hitters = .000.  And his slash-line against lefties: .178/.268/.178, with 24 strikeouts in 83 batters faced.

I believe Hill’s active-duty obligations are over, and, obviously he’s healthy.  He did get a non-roster invitation to spring training, so he must be on someone’s radar.  Someday he might complete that journey from West Point to Seattle.

===

Ryan Horstman | Starter or Reliever | 2014 age: 21 | LH

We won’t bother with Horstman’s stats, since he only pitched one game for 2.0 IP.  He faced 10 batters and struck out three of them.

But Horstman gets on the list as the 4th-round pick in the 2013 draft (No. 117 overall).  The Massachusetts native pitched just a single season at St. John’s due to academic issues, but had a 2.33 ERA for the Red Storm.  And he wasn’t one of the guys picked above his talent level in order to save money.  He actually signed for more than $100K over slot.

Horstman came up with a sore elbow after those initial two innings, and sat out the remainder of the year as a precaution, but initial reports were that it was not a serious injury.

===

Kyle Hunter | Reliever | 2014 age: 25 | LH

Traditional Pitching Statistics

Year Age Lvl W L ERA G SV IP H HR BB K WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2011 22 A–Rk 3 2 1.72 20 2 47 51 1 9 62 1.28 9.80 0.20 1.70 11.90
2012 23 A 4 5 2.98 39 3 84.2 81 5 11 71 1.09 8.60 0.50 1.20 7.50
2013 24 AA-A+ 4 1 1.80 42 1 70 59 4 20 55 1.13 7.60 0.50 2.60 7.10

Spectometer Analysis

Year Age Lvl HR% BB% XBH + BB% ISO K% PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Age Arc Goal < 1% Goal < 6% Goal < 14% Goal < .100 Goal > 20% Strong prospect > 100
2011 22 2 lvl “+3” 0.51% 4.59% 9.18% 0.060 31.63% 170 138 208
2012 23 A “+3” 1.49% 3.27% 9.82% 0.110 21.13% 139 107 145
2013 24 A+ AA “+2” 1.39% 6.94% 11.46% 0.080 19.10% 112 109 121

Now we don’t seriously think Hunter will make the MLB roster, since, unlike Hill, he’s not even a non-roster invitee, but it wouldn’t shock to see him work his way up the ladder soon.  While Hunter has been generally old for his levels, his ability to deny offense has been strong enough to make up for the skepticism that engenders.

Hunter doesn’t walk anyone, or let anyone hit the ball hard.  That’s a combo we like.  And in 2013 he particularly tough on lefties as well.

So if McClendon is determined to add lefty bullpenners, he can look in the file under “H” and find a couple of interesting candidates.

===

James Jones | OF | 2014 age: 25 | LH

Traditional Hitting Statistics

Year Age Lvl G PA AB H 2b 3b HR BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 20 A- 45 186 164 51 12 2 3 19 40 0.311 0.392 0.463 0.856
2010 21 A 132 560 491 132 24 10 12 62 122 0.269 0.356 0.432 0.788
2011 22 A+ 83 344 296 73 16 4 5 42 92 0.247 0.347 0.378 0.725
2012 23 A+ 126 559 493 151 28 12 14 54 124 0.306 0.378 0.497 0.875
2013 24 AA-AAA 105 422 378 105 16 10 6 42 74 0.278 0.350 0.421 0.771

Spectometer Analysis

Year Age Lvl HR% BB% XBH + BB% ISO K% PSA+ Conv+ Comp
Age Arc Slugger > 4% Goal > 8.5% Goal > 19% Goal > .200 Goal < 20% Strong Prospect > 100
2009 20 A- 1.61% 10.22% 19.35% 0.152 21.51% 85 83 69
2010 21 A 2.14% 11.07% 19.29% 0.163 21.79% 91 84 75
2011 22 A+ 1.45% 12.21% 19.48% 0.131 26.74% 79 62 41
2012 23 A+ 2.50% 9.66% 19.32% 0.191 22.18% 85 92 77
2013 24 AA-AAA 1.42% 9.95% 17.54% 0.143 17.54% 91 84 75

Jones was on the verge of being written off in my book, but he managed to bring his strikeout rate down while also finally getting a promotion to AAA (even if it was only four games).  It was always the power-speed potential that made Jones interesting, and if he can bump his ISO back up to the .160 range while maintaining his reduced K-rate, then we could be on to something.

The three-numbers ratings do not include stolen bases, so you need to consider that separately.  Four of his five full seasons, Jones has had more than 20 steals.

The available video of Jones is older, but you can get a flavor.

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