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Above the curve

Everybody's making their midseason grades (UItR and RDR at least) right now, so I thought I might join in, but typical of me, I'll just put down those that I feel really are making the grade and skip the rest as unworthy of our midseason attention:

Colorado
People can say whatever they wish about playing in Denver, but winning there comes down to the same thing that it does anyplace else, that is in outscoring one's opponent. Right now, the Rockies' opponents are 12% better according to OPS, so I propose that we look at those players who are close to that opponent line (.836) or above to consider keeping and toss out the rest for better parts.

The grademakers:

Todd Helton (.888)
Clint Barmes (.886)
Brad Hawpe (.832)

Also receiving consideration:

Garrett Atkins (.813, I say it's close enough for a rookie)

That was easy. Now let's go onto the pitchers. Rockies hitters set a pretty difficult bar here with their meager .748 OPS, but I like to strive for excellence in everything so I'm glad for the standard:

Brian Fuentes (.605)
Jay Witasick (.609)
Dan Micelli (.671)
Marcos Carvajal (.705)

Basically right now the entire starting staff are still walking too many opponents to make the grade.

Colorado Springs
The rules are a little different for the minor leagues, and will vary sometimes according to the ages of our prospects, but I'll basically set a standard of 10% higher than the team's average OPS (to move up in the system you have to be better than those around you). The Sky Sox currently hit at .839, so if you're lower than .923 at the Springs, than you're not doing enough to distinguish yourself.

The grademakers:

Ryan Shealy (.975, plus he was above the Colorado curve in his brief call-up scoring him extra points)
Ryan Spilborghs (.993)
Tom Wilson (.942)

Pitchers:

Randy Williams
Scott Dohmann

Tulsa
Tulsa's .734 team OPS makes this one of the easier bars to reach in the minors, yet there are only a couple of Drillers who crack the 10% above threshold. Ryan Spilborghs was well above the line, Jeff Salazar wasn't quite there when they were called up to the Springs, although Salazar was fairly close. Miller and Barker are repeating the level so greater weight is given to Thigpen's score, particularly since it's so much higher.

The grademakers:

Jud Thigpen (.954)
Sean Barker (.820)
Tony Miller (.812)

Pitchers:

Enmanuel Ulloa

Sandy Nin
Judd Songster
Zach Parker

Modesto
Modesto's offense has a higher standard, the team OPS is almost exactly .800 meaning we're looking for hitters over .880. Thigpen qualified when he was called up, U-ball qualified as a pitcher.

The grademakers:

Christian Colonel
Joe Gaetti
Chris Ianetta

also, Ian Stewart should receive consideration for passing for his age and for having a low month due to injury.

Pitchers:

Marc Kaiser
Juan Morillo
Jason Burch
Joshua Newman
Jim Miller

Asheville
Another high OPS stadium, in order to pass the Asheville test, hitters have to have an OPS of over .890. Pitchers we grade basically by eyeballing the ones that seem to have exceptional statlines as I'm lazy and don't want to work through what their OPS's allowed are.

The grademakers:

Matt Miller (.954)
Joe Koshansky (.948)
Kyle Wilson (.918)

Pitchers:

Samuel Deduno
Franklin Morales
Adam Bright
Darric Merrell

And for a progress report on the short season clubs:

Tri-City
Shane Lindsay obviously is at the head of the class as far as pitching, and after his two homer performance the other night, Jason van Kooten is making waves as far as the hitters go, but that's not hard when the team OPS is .629. We're putting a twenty percent premium on this and holding older players to higher standards still. I've been impressed by Becktel so far, and knowing that he has one of the best outfield arms to come out of the draft (he had a dozen outfield assists last year in the Alaska summer league, including two of runners heading to first) makes me feel even better about him still.

The grademakers:

Jason Van Kooten
Phillip Cuadrado
Travis Becktel

Older pro caveat division:
Sandy Almonte
Brian Kirby

Pitchers:

Shane Lindsay
Buzz Vargas
Zach Simons
Efren Lira
Stephen Edsall
Ethan Katz

Older pro caveat division:
Darren Clarke
Ryan Fox

Looking good in five innings or less:
George Delgado
Jeremey White
Andrew Kreidermacher

Yes, that's most of the pitching staff right there, but it's really hard to figure out who's really good and who's just relying on park effects this early, pay particular attention to the top six.

Casper
Of course Casper is a hitter's heaven so in order to make this list you have to either be really young or particularly gifted. Two players with decent stats you won't find mentioned are Chris Cook and Trevor Allen who just strike out a little too much to give me a lot of confidence right now for prospects of their ages.

The grademakers:

Cole Garner
Corey Wimberly (thirteen steals does it for me)
Bret Berglund

Pitchers:

Alan Johnson
Andrew Johnston
Bret Strickland
Manuel Pichardo
Sean Ruthven

and special notice because of their ages to Aneury Rodriguez and Xavier Cedeno. No Aussies yet, but if they keep it up like last night, Rosco and Webb-er will be in here, too.