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Quick notes on Cole Garner, OF, Tulsa

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From Photobucket user CopperJJ
From Photobucket user CopperJJ

I'm far from a scout. I'm far from understanding what makes minor league players tick. I read the numbers. I see what they've improved on by what rates have improved and what numbers I should get excited about.

PF and I began a bit of a discussion about Garner when asked if the Rockies have any OF coming up the pipe. My immediate reaction was that Charlie Blackmon, OF, Modesto, would be the next impact - or potential impact anyhow - player coming from the farm. For the record, he's looking alright, good AVG/OBP mix in A+ ball.

Anyhow, PF pointed out Cole Garner, so I took a look at him.

Click past the jump for a breakdown on Garner.

Garner looks to be an interesting mix of power and speed. He snagged 35 bags for Asheville back in 2006, caught 13 times, and hit 19 homers, good for an overall .302/.353/.519/.872 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS line for those of you who were wondering what I was doing past the first 3) line in the Sally league. 2009 was the first year since then where he's taken over 10 bags, and also the first since 2006 with over 10 long balls.

While it appears Garner's running game has been more or less shut down since 2006, at least in terms of stealing, he's remained an above-average runner, at least according to Fangraphs' Speed Score. Take it with a grain of salt; it's really just an indicator of how much extra a guy gets on the basepaths, on a scale of 1-10.

2009 looked to be a big step for Garner, posting a .834 OPS in AA Tulsa. As a reference, the Pioneer league averaged .266/.340/.391/.732 this season.

2 things stuck out for me in Garner's 2009. First, his power. His overall OPS isn't fantastic, but it's decently above average. What caught my eye is his .204 ISOP (SLG-AVG) as compared to the league's .125 ISO. That's a decent extra bit of club he has there. Second, his strikeouts. He dropped his K% to 19.7% from 26.6% in 2008. While it's still relatively poor (and by relatively I mean this guy is a free swinger), it's at least showing signs of improvement.

Going forward, I just don't see him being much of a threat to take anybody's job in the majors. He'd be a passable power option as a PH, but past that, meh. He doesn't walk enough to keep himself productive during slumps. That is to say, you can't even say "Well, at least he's..." because when AVG goes, so goes OBP and SLG. Still, his toolset creates an interesting possibility moving forward. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in CSprings next season.

 

Season

Team

G

AB

PA

H

1B

2B

3B

HR

R

RBI

BB

IBB

SO

SB

CS

2006

Asheville (A)

120

464

512

140

79

40

2

19

100

88

25

0

127

35

13

2007

Modesto (A+)

96

319

352

68

38

18

4

8

39

33

20

0

115

7

5

2008

Modesto (A+)

50

192

206

61

43

14

2

2

27

17

9

0

51

7

5

2009

Tulsa (AA)

112

396

440

114

69

25

4

16

65

64

23

2

78

13

5

Season

Team

BB%

K%

BB/K

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

ISO

Spd

2006

Asheville (A)

5.1%

27.4%

0.2

.302

.353

.519

.872

.395

.218

7.4

2007

Modesto (A+)

5.9%

36.1%

0.17

.213

.274

.370

.644

.283

.157

6.3

2008

Modesto (A+)

4.5%

26.6%

0.18

.318

.361

.443

.804

.356

.125

5.8

2009

Tulsa (AA)

5.5%

19.7%

0.29

.288

.342

.492

.834

.374

.205

6.4