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Thread: Official MiLB/Prospects Thread

  1. #7601
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    Recent article on walk-maching Ryan Noda:

    https://www.milb.com/milb/news/tools...ce/c-273636846

    By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | April 25, 2018 10:00 AM ET

    For the record, Ryan Noda isn't Greek either. His last name is Cuban. There will be no holy nicknames here.

    He does share an alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, with Kevin Youkilis. Oh, and also an affinity for taking walks. Lots and lots of walks.

    "I've talked to Youkilis and [fellow Cincinnati alum Ian] Happ a little bit, when I could," Noda said. "Youkilis would come out maybe once a year or so and sometimes throw out a first pitch or something. He got his number retired [in 2015], and that was historic for all of us to see. It gets me fired up to hear some of his stories, because we all have a dream of making it up there, and it pushed me even harder knowing I could follow him. But it was mostly just listening. I think we're all smart hitters first who just happen to come from the same program."

    Because of his own ability to reach base at an incredible clip, Noda, a 15th-round pick in last year's Draft, has already become the Blue Jays' No. 18 prospect and could be set to make another jump, should he keep this up.

    The numbers have been incredible and only get more dumbfounding the deeper they're understood. Start with the basics. Entering Tuesday, the 22-year-old outfielder/first baseman led the Minor Leagues with 22 walks (compared to 10 strikeouts) in 13 games with Class A Lansing; no one else had more than 19. So far in 2018, Bryce Harper is the only player in all of affiliated baseball with more walks (29), and he's played 10 more games and had 44 more plate appearances than Noda.

    Noda has reached base safely in every game he's played with the Lugnuts and has walked in 12 of the 13. In the one he didn't take a free pass, he went 2-for-4 with a double.

    The left-handed hitter has walked in 36.7 percent of the times he's stepped to the plate in a Lansing uniform. No one else in the Midwest League has a walk rate higher than 29.5 percent. No one else in the Minors has one higher than 31.7.

    "It's all about being selectively aggressive," Noda said. "At school, there would be times I'd swing at balls out of the zone. Now, I'm just focused on looking for pitches to drive up the middle. Sometimes, I get one here and there, and I'm able to really get into it. ... But overall, I'm seeing the ball well. I've gotten a couple mistakes to hit, but, hey, if they're not going to throw my pitch or throw strikes at all, I'll take my free base."

    But therein lies the rub. Because of that approach, Noda just hasn't gotten much of a chance to show what he actually can do with the bat. Through those first 13 games, he was hitting just .222 with three doubles and a .306 slugging percentage. No doubt he's working at a level filled with pitchers trying to develop their commands and controls, never mind fine-tune them. Midwest League pitchers have averaged 4.3 BB/9 this season, highest among any Minor League circuit in 2018. That's roughly 23 percent higher than the Major League average of 3.5 BB/9. Those control issues, combined with Noda's discipline, have meant the Blue Jays prospect has seen 148 of the 276 pitches (53.6 percent) go for balls this season. Only two others in affiliated ball have seen more balls go out of the zone than for strikes this season: Joey Curletta (51.9 percent) and Zach McKinstry (51.6 percent), with the latter also playing in the MWL with Great Lakes.

    Noda knows there will be a day when he'll be challenged by more accurate arms -- either at higher levels or as Midwest Leaguers begin to figure him out -- but don't expect him to complain about putting up video-game numbers like his .533 on-base percentage when he can.

    "When I'm getting walked a lot, yeah, that means I don't get to swing as much, but I promise I'm trying to stay aggressive," he said. "Every time I step up, I'm thinking, 'OK, I'm going to really drive this pitch.' But if it's not there, I'm not going to force it. It's something I'll have to grow with as I get more experience. For now, it's not surprising when I look at my stats or whatever. I'm trying to do whatever I can to help my team, and getting on base is something I can do a lot of. I'll give the guys behind me the chance to drive me in."

    It's not like this is an incredibly new phenomenon for Noda, however. The Illinois native hit .239 with a .430 slugging percentage over his three seasons in Cincinnati but grabbed attention with his .370 collegiate OBP and 13.5 percent walk rate, leading Toronto to sign him for $125,000 last summer. He improved during his first pro assignment at Rookie-level Bluefield, hitting .364/.507/.575 with seven homers and a 60/59 K/BB rate in 66 games. He led the Appalachian League in all three slash-line categories and walked 25 more times than anyone else in the circuit, making him an easy selection as the league's Player of the Year.

    The overall hitting performance hasn't quite hit the same stride in 2018, but the other parts of his offensive game have. He's even tried to make better use of what MLB Pipeline deems 45-grade speed by going a perfect seven-for-seven in stolen-base attempts.

    The Jays are paying attention, trying to get Noda as many opportunities as they can in lineups in Lansing and beyond. Despite Noda playing almost exclusively at first base in 2017, Toronto approached the former Bearcat on the second day of Spring Training with the idea of moving him to the outfield, thus keeping him out of a logjam with 2017 eighth-rounder Kacy Clemens (son of Roger) at the cold corner. (Aside: Clemens has a .492 OBP of his own, and an 8/18 K/BB rate through 13 games.) Noda has made 12 starts in left through the first three weeks of the season and has two outfield assists along with a highlight catch on his resume already.

    There will be a time, either at upper levels or over larger sample sizes, that Noda will be something other than an OBP/walk rate freak. Even Youkilis had just a .433 OBP, 13 walks and 19.4 percent walk rate in his 15 games at Class A during his first full season in 2002. That doesn't mean the younger Cincinnati alum is not going to enjoy what's put him in the limelight in the opening stretch of 2018.

    "I just think I'm more mature now than I was in college," Noda said. "I don't let the little things get to me as easily. I'm just handling failure a lot better. There are a bunch of guys on this team and a great coaching staff that have helped a ton with that. I'm not letting a little mishap like a bad swing or a missed cutoff get to me. I tell myself, 'baseball doesn't last forever, so live it up now.' Right now, I'm doing the best I can at that."
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  3. #7602
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    Noda is intriguing, but you can’t really make any definite assertions about him just yet. We’ll see how both he and Clemens do in High-A. That’ll be a real test.

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  5. #7603
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    SRF with a great start so far tonight - 5ip with 2 hits and 8Ks.

    We might have a real pitching prospect knocking on the door sooner rather than later.

  6. #7604
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    Hey Jim, Soto now slashing 235/350/529 in A+.
    jays4life19 ban counter: 3

  7. #7605
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTS View Post
    Hey Jim, Soto now slashing 235/350/529 in A+.
    Yep. You got a share?
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
    I think the Trump presidency has been a smashing success so far, tbh.

  8. #7606
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimcanuck View Post
    Yep. You got a share?
    LoD and DDL
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  9. #7607
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    I have him in BORED and expect you are readying a deal for him.

    Soto and Luzardo the guys with the most early helium.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
    I think the Trump presidency has been a smashing success so far, tbh.

  10. #7608
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimcanuck View Post
    I have him in BORED and expect you are readying a deal for him.

    Soto and Luzardo the guys with the most early helium.
    We will celebrate together when he’s the next Manny Ramirez.
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  11. #7609
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    Clemens needs to be at a higher level. I don't expect him to be a prospect, but he's way too good/old for Lansing.

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  13. #7610
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    Quote Originally Posted by glory View Post
    Clemens needs to be at a higher level. I don't expect him to be a prospect, but he's way too good/old for Lansing.
    Him and Noda both need to move up.

  14. #7611
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  16. #7612
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    Vlad will be #1 when Acuna and Ohtani will graduate, and Bo will make the Top 10 once Torres graduate as well.

  17. #7613
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    Was at the Phillies Complex today and was able to see Pirdhino pitch an inning. He was hit pretty hard, but have to remember that he's only 17 and hasn't pitched much lately. It was still encouraging to see him sit around 93 with a great slider and good control. He reminds me a lot of Osuna when I first saw him down here. ..same body type and similar assortment of pitches. I also saw Danner strike out and fly out and Hiraldo ground out in his only at bat.
    Last edited by spats; 04-28-2018 at 02:25 PM.

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  19. #7614
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    Same body type as 16 year old Osuna?

  20. #7615
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    Same body type as 16 year old Osuna?
    Can't be... Osuna was a fatty then.

  21. #7616
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    Same body type as 16 year old Osuna?
    Pretty much..not quite as chubby. Hope he fills out like Osuna.

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