Meet The Minors Mets: Outfielder Jared King
I used to be a straight up read the basic stats kinda guy. It's easy to get caught up in the batting average, on base percentage and strikeout's and drool at big time hitters in the lower minors, where college players tend to feast on younger, less advanced pitchers.
With the introduction of Sabermetrics, there's a lot more to look at to determine the value of a player. One that I'm trying to wrap my brain around lately is BABIP, or Batting Average of Balls In Play. To put it simply, think of a BABIP of .300 as a baseline average. Most players should be around that number. If it's higher for a hitter, that means he's getting some serious luck on the pitches he's hitting or he's playing against inferior players. Lower than .300 and he's getting some bad luck on balls hit or the pitchers throwing against him are way better than his level of competition at that point.
So, let's meet Jared King, outfielder drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Kansas State. First off, he was actually projected to go in the 2nd round, so it's a nice pick up for the Mets on potential alone. Secondly, he's not a real big power guy. He's a hitter, first and foremost. Decent defense in centerfield, ok speed on the base paths.
The reason I wanted to write about him? I like goofy statistics, like the fact the he's now on this 3rd level of the minors in one season. That's kind of odd to see. He stayed in extended spring training for the Mets and opened on the Gulf Coast League Mets, which is actually one league lower than where he started last year in Brooklyn. He spent all of 3 games in the GCL before being promoted to the South Atlantic League, where he hit for .231.
That doesn't sound that great. But let's take a deeper look at his stats. He struck out 10% of his at bats, but walked over 17%. He had 21 rbi's in 31 games. He also had a BABIP (ooooooh, here comes the science!) of .250. When you see the RBI #'s, his K/BB ratio and the BABIP, you start to realize he might just have some bad luck on his pitches hit. THAT'S why he was eligible for promotion, I would think.
Jared was promoted to the Florida State League and the St. Lucie Mets 6 games ago. He's hitting .304, with 7 hits and 2 RBI's. His BABIP is a closer to normal .294, so this type of production is more representative of what he can expect from Jared as a player.
I don't think we'll see him higher than St. Lucie this year, and there might start to be a logjam of outfielders in the system ahead of him. The Mets first round pick from this year, Michael Conforto, is starting in Brooklyn but he's a better outfield prospect than anyone in the system not named Brandon Nimmo. He'll bypass all other OF's eventually and quickly. I'm not sure if he's an everyday player, but he's OBVIOUSLY the type of player that Sandy Alderson loves. Smart approach at the plate, likes to find the perfect pitch to hit.
If he keeps this up, he'll probably start next year near us in Double A Binghamton, with a mid-season promotion to Las Vegas possible once the last of the Minaya players(Kirk, den Dekker, Puello, etc) start to move out of the farm system. Can I see him on the bench starting in 2016? If he keeps this up, without a doubt. Think Daniel Murphy, but with a glove in the outfield. Lots of singles but a pretty good amount of RBI's.