Showing posts with label Christian Binford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian Binford. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Minor League Update - Wilmington Blue Rocks

Through the season’s first 18 games, Wilmington is 7-11, four games behind first place Potomac (WSH) in the Carolina League’s Northern Division. The club has dropped four in a row.

Wilmington’s offense has struggled thus far hitting just .217/.316/.311 with only three long balls, fewest in the league (as is the Royals style). That number is half the next closest club.

The Blue Rocks have been good on the base paths however, stealing 21 bases, which ranks second in the eight-team league. In fact, the club is a staggering 21-for-21 in stolen base attempts!

While the team’s 3.67 ERA falls in the middle of the pack, the club has fanned a league-high 162 batters in 147 innings this season. Defensively, the club has allowed only four unearned runs, fewest in the league.

Individual Hitting

Who’s Hot:

Everyone’s favorite Blue Rock, Raul A. Mondesi has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games. The 18-year old shortstop is hitting .283/.358/.367 in 66 plate appearances as the Wilmington leadoff hitter.

Zane Evans is tied for second in the league with seven doubles, six of which game in his first four ballgames. In 11 games, the Georgia native is hitting .400/.467/.575 and has eight RBI. The catcher/DH is 10-for-22 against right-handed pitching with a 1.227 OPS in that small sample.

Middle infielder Jack Lopez leads the club with nine RBI, and is tied with Terrance Gore with a team-high five stolen bases. The 21-year old is currently the league’s hardest regular to strike out. Lopez strikes out every 16 at bats, on average, more than five at bats more than the closest player.

Who’s Not:

Bubba Starling has struck out 24 times this year, third most in the league. In fact, the outfielder has recorded at least one strikeout in all but one game this season (and 0-for-3 night on April 9). The one-time top prospect is hitting just .133/.284/.250 through 17 games, but has improved quite a bit from his low point of .098/.260/.220 a week ago. He has accounted for one-third of the club’s homers, however.

2013 first rounder Hunter Dozier is on a four game hitting streak, but has spent a large portion of April below the Mendoza Line. The third baseman currently stands at .203/.316/.266 in 72 plate appearances hitting third in the order for Wilmington.

Individual Pitching

Who’s Hot:

Christian Binford ranks ninth in the Carolina League among qualified starters with a 2.20 ERA in 16.1 innings. The right-hander did not allow an earned run in his first 12 innings. He has struck out 19 hitters (29.7%) and allowed just three walks (4.7%) this season. Opponents are hitting .197 against Binford, and he has allowed a total of 15 baserunners - 8.27 per nine innings – which ranks third in the league.

Lefty starter Jonathan Dziedzic is tied for the league lead with three wins, and owns a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings across three appearances. He has struck out 29.7% of the hitters he has faced this year. Lefties are 1-for-12 against Dziedzic thus far.

In the bullpen, Zeb Sneed has held opponents to a 2-for-29 start this season, good for a .069 batting average allowed. He also has yet to allow a run or a walk in 9.1 innings.

Fellow reliever Glenn Sparkman has struck out 15 of the 37 batters he has faced this season (40.5%) in ten innings across five outings.

Who’s In Between:

The club’s top pitching prospect, Miguel Almonte, ranks third in the league with 21 strikeouts, a round 25% of the batters he has faced. If that rate holds, it would be the best of Almonte’s professional career. He has held opponents to a .191 batting average. In four starts, the 21-year old is 2-0 with a 5.23. with two outstanding starts and two poor ones.

Relievers Matthew Murray and Ali Williams have ERAs of 1.35 and 1.17, respectively, in a combined 21 innings.

Who’s Not:

Following a very rough third start, in which he allowed seven earned runs in just two innings at Myrtle Beach (TEX), big-time prospect Sean Manaea sits with an 8.71 ERA. Opponents are now hitting .318 against the lefty.

Daniel Stumpf is 0-3, and his three losses are tied for the most in the league.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wilmington Blue Rocks 2014 Preview

LF - Terrance Gore*
CF - Bubba Starling*
RF - Daniel Rockett*
3B - Hunter Dozier*
SS - Raul A. Mondesi*
2B - Jack Lopez
1B - Cody Stubbs*
C - Zane Evans*

Miguel Almonte*
Christian Binford*
Sean Manaea*
Daniel Stumpf*
Jonathon Dziedzic*

C - Cam Gallagher*, C - Beau Maggi*, 1B - Mark Donato*, IF - Kenny Diekroeger, OF - Tyler Chism,      OF - Johermyn Chavez*

Mark Peterson, Kyle Bartsch*, John Walter*, Glenn Sparkman*, Matt Murray*, Yender Caramo*,  Aroni Nina*, Zeb Sneed*, Ali Williams

  • A prospect-heavy team, the Blue Rocks will be the affiliate to watch every day to begin the 2014 season.  Not only will this team be fun to watch, the roster is practically a fresh start for the Frawley Stadium faithful in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Of the 28 players dawning the Blue Rocks uniform, 23 of them will be doing so for the very first time.
  • The rotation will consist of 5 brand new starters, including 3 in the Royals' Top 10 prospects according to Baseball America.  Miguel Almonte, ranked #5, joins the Blue Rocks after a stellar 2013 campaign with Lexington.  From various scouts/media, Almonte is considered far more advanced than most of the pitchers in the organization.  He showcases excellent command and possesses secondary pitches, including the best changeup in the Royals system, that assistant GM J.J. Picollo describes as "more advanced than Yordano Ventura at this stage".  Almonte could have made the jump to Double-A with no issues, but the Royals decided to give him some innings in the Carolina League before heading to Springdale, Arkansas.
  • Sean Manaea, ranked #6, will make his professional debut with Wilmington after being selected in the Supplemental Round of the 2013 MLB Draft.  Widely considered as one of the top players to go off the board early, some teams were worried about his health as he recovered from a torn labrum in his hip over the off-season, but good fortune was on the Royals side as they were able to take not only Manaea, but Hunter Dozier, as well.  Needless to say, the Royals drafted well.  For a detailed report on the 22 year old, here are some notes from Baseball Prospectus writer Jason Parks.
  • If having Almonte and Manaea in the rotation wasn't good enough, Christian Binford, ranked #10, will also join Wilmington for his 3rd professional season.  The 21 year old from Hagerstown, Maryland stands at 6 foot 6 inches, which helps give him a great downward plane to the plate and throws at a 3/4 arm slot.  Although his fastball sits in the very low 90's, there's time for his body to fill out more and possibly gain a little more velocity on his fastball.  Binford is ranked by Baseball America as having the best control in the system for the '14 season, which has been backed up by astounding BB/9 rates in his first 2 seasons (0.90 and 1.67, respectively).  His height, along with the movement of his pitches allow him to keep batted balls on the ground (49.2% last season), will only be to his advantage this year in the Carolina League.  
  • The left side of the infield looks down right nasty.  Those who visit Frawley Stadium better enjoy it while they're around.  Manning 3B and SS for the Blue Rocks will be Hunter Dozier (B.A. #7 ranking) and Raul A. Mondesi (B.A. #4 ranking).  In 313 plate appearances split between Idaho Falls and Lexington stints, Dozier already has a career line of .312/.403/.502 and is considered to have the best contact and strike-zone discipline in the system.  The 22 year old will show off an excellent arm and quick first step at third base, but is said to have enough athleticism to make a move to a corner OF spot, if the move is necessary.  Depending on Moustakas in Kansas City...who knows.  
  • Dozier's neighbor on the diamond, Mondesi, will open 2014 as the youngest player in the Carolina League at just 18 years old.  Raul, the son of former Major League OF Raul Mondesi, Sr., bats from both sides of the plate and is considered to have better plate appearances as a lefty.  After hitting .261 with 7 HR and 47 RBI, the offensive output will only get better down the road, as he's facing pitchers 4-6 years older than himself.  At shortstop, Mondesi has an outstanding glove with exceptional range thanks to his speed, along with a strong arm.  Nathan Stoltz did a nice piece on Mondesi last November that offers a more in-depth evaluation of the future Royal.
  • Two of the organization's top catching prospects will both be in Wilmington for 2014.  Cam Gallagher (B.A. #23 ranking) and Zane Evans (B.A. #24 ranking) will split time behind the plate as they enter their 4th and 2nd seasons, respectively.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Prospect Countdown: #12 Christian Binford

12. Christian Binford Right Handed Pitcher

Age: 21
Position: RHP
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 217
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 30th Round of the 2011 Amateur Draft
From: Hagerstown, Maryland

2013 Rank: 21

Landon Adams (14): I was somewhat surprised when I cuddled up to my Baseball America 2014 Prospect Handbook and discovered that Christian Binford landed in the 10th spot on the Royals ranking. Despite having just back end starter potential, there is a lot to like in the Mercersburg, Pennsylvania native. 

At 6'7", Binford's fastball comes at a nice downward plane toward the plate. The heaviness of the ball does a good job soliciting ground balls and limited the number of balls hit into the air. This is evidenced by Binford's 49.2% ground ball percentage. Thanks to his ability to keep the ball on the ground, the former 30th round selection limited South Atlantic League hitters to a .252/.294/.341 line, which was the 12th best on the circuit for pitchers that logged over 100 innings. 

Of course, opponent OPS wasn't the only statistic in which Binford found himself among the league leaders. His 5.2 K:BB ratio ranked 4th in the league. His 1.19 WHIP ranked 7th. His 2.67 ERA ranked 7th. His 2.93 SIERA ranked 4th and His 2.66 FIP ranked 2nd. All of this while being the 10th youngest pitcher in the league to throw over 100 innings and the 4th youngest to throw 130+. 

Binford will open 2014 in the pitcher's paradise known as Frawley Stadium in the Carolina League. Look for him to continue to post eye popping numbers before eventually being testing in the second half in Northwest Arkansas.

Paden Bennett (14): Binford has moved up 9 spots on our Prospect Countdown from 2013 to 2014.  The reason is simple; Binford was an animal last season for Lexington.  Binford pitched 135 innings and logged 130 K's compared to just 25 walks with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.  Binford stands at 6'7" so he throws extremely hard right?  Wrong, at least not right now.  Binford sits in the low 90's right now but we could see a velocity increase at some point as he had TJ surgery a little over a year ago.  

The thing that stands out to me about Binford is his exceptional command.  Command for a young pitcher is a very valuable skill to have and Binford has it.  He also keeps the ball in the ballpark with a career HR/9 of just 0.41.  You put his command and keeping the ball in the ballpark together and you have something to be excited about.  I look for him to hit Wilmington at some point this season.

Joe Cox (10):  Binford just cracked the top ten list for me after a phenomenal 2013 season in which Binford led the South Atlantic League in FIP and was third in ERA.  Binford racked up 135 innings over 23 starts, following his small sample 2012 trend of limiting walks and home runs, and adding the ability to strike people out at a very good rate.  The 6’7 pitcher throws in the low 90’s with his fastball, which from all reports look to be his best pitch.  He is still just a bit over a year removed from TJ surgery, so there seems to be some upside on a potential velocity increase.  With a K/BB rate of 5.20 and an ability to limit home runs (8 HR allowed in 175 career IP) Binford looks like a prospect that could be on the rise.  While it seems that his stuff will limit his upside, he has dominated thus far at both levels he has seen.

Dan Ware (13):  Recently turned 21, Christian Binford moves up nine spots on our Prospect Countdown, thanks in large part to an astonishing season in 2013.  During his stint with Lexington, he compiled a 2.67 ERA in 135 innings on the mound, racking up 130 strikeouts and 25 walks, while allowing just 7 HR.  Those type of numbers can easily move you up on the prospect radar.

Binford most definitely will be a pitcher to keep your eye on in the coming months.  As Joe mentioned already, the Hagerstown native will not overpower you with high heat.  He'll sit in the low 90's, but considering his age and his 6'7" frame, he could always add 1-2 mph in velocity down the road.  The attribute that is most exciting about this young man is his exceptional command.  Binford's BB rates are off the charts.  Last season, his BB% of 4.5 was half of the South Atlantic League average, while his career BB% is sitting pretty at just 4.0%.  Not only does he limit his walks, but his career HR/9 of just 0.41 is another key ingredient to his success.

I'm expecting a very good season out of the 21 year old for the 2014 season.  He'll most likely join the Wilmington Blue Rocks staff.  With the Carolina League being very pitcher friendly, his BB and HR/9 rates, there's no reason why he can't have an even better season than last year.

Nicholas Ian Allen (--): You have to feel good about a scouting department that can land a potential big leaguer in the 30th round. Sure, Binford was considered a higher round talent, but the Royals made a priority to talk him out of going to the University of Virginia. 

So far, Binford has exceeded expectations. He is not overpowering, but should continue to get stronger as he grows into his 6-foot-7 frame. His body is ideal for an innings-eater and it appears that he can offer that. Binford was extremely effective over a long stretch from late April to early August last season. In fact, he did not allow more then two earned runs in an outing for 19 consecutive starts. Entering his 21st start of the season, Binford had a 1.87 ERA. While he stumbled in two of those final three starts (8 ER and 6ER sandwiched a solid 7 inning, 1 ER outing), there is plenty to be excited about for Binford's future.

Total Points: 73

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Baseball America Midseason Top 50

On Monday the Baseball America released its mid-season prospect top 50. This list did not include recently drafted players. Here is how the American League Central shook out:

  • 5) Francisco Lindor - The 2nd youngest player in the Carolina League continues to show excellent bat control striking out in just 10.6% of his plate appearances, good for second on the circuit.
  • 26) Yordano Ventura - Currently the 9th youngest player on the Pacific Coast Leauge circuit and the 15th youngest in Triple A baseball, Ventura has struck out 28.6% of the batters he has faced this season.
  • 28) Kyle Zimmer -The Royals 2012 first round selection, appears to be the victim of Minor League infields and the range of Minor League infielders, not to mention the long ball. Personally, I think his 15% HR/FB% is flukey and when it comes to the things I care about he is having a fantastic season.
  • 50) Raul Mondesi - The artist formerly known as Adalberto could climb this list even higher by the time next season's top 100 is released. Despite being the 3rd youngest player in full season baseball, Mondesi is hitting .328/.381/.431 in 16 games since the SAL All-Star break.
  • 15) Nick Castellanos - The 6th youngest player in Triple-A, Castellanos has not disappointed with the bat. The former 44th overall pick leads qualifying International League hitters with a .378 wOBA.
  • 1) Byron Buxton - The youngest player in the Florida State League has vaulted himself into top prospect status thanks to a .341/.431/.559 line. I will note that his LD% has been barely above league average at both his stops this season.
  • 3) Miguel Sano - The youngest player in Double-A hasn't had any trouble in the power department. If he still qualified, he would rank second in the Florida State League in Isolate Power.
  • 32) Alex Meyer - Among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched in the Eastern League, Meyer ranks third with a 2.82 FIP and second with 10.77 K/9.
White Sox
  • None - People aren't optimistic about his chances. He is old for his level and is putting up lackluster results. The White Sox continue to like him due to his less than charming personality and general douchebaggedness. Their dream scenario is that he turns into a more talented version of the Southside Spartan A.J. Pierzynski.
Also of note, the publication listed several breakout prospects over the first half of the season. The Royals had no prospects in this segment, but the Twins featured both Jose Berios and Eddie Rosario, while the Indians' Danny Salazar was also noted. The only two offseason top 100 prospects that failed to make Baseball America's mid-season top 50 were Bubba Starling and Chicago's Courtney Hawkins. Both failed to make the list due to strikeout concerns.

Specific to the Royals, Baseball America named Ventura as their top prospect in the system and Zimmer as having the most disappointing season thus far. Right hander Christian Binford was named as KC's top riser for the first half of the season. Binford The former 30th round draft choice boasts a 4.56 K/BB and a 50.6% ground ball percentage.

Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #21 Christian Binford

21. Christian Binford Right Handed Pitcher

Age: 20
Position: RHP
Height: 6-7
Weight: 215
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 30th Round of 2011 Amateur Draft
From: Mercersburg, PA

Paden Bennett (NR):  At 6'7" Christian Binford has got to be a hard throwing right hander doesn't he?  Actually, he is a 6'7" finesse righty who possess pinpoint control with all pitches.  Last year at the age of 19 Binford demonstrated that he can locate his pitches to the tune of a SO/BB ratio of 31/4 in 40 innings pitched.  He did give up 40 hits in 40 ip but "hits" at Burlington could also be due to lower level fielders missing pretty routine plays and shoddy infield conditions (no disrespect to Appalachian League grounds keepers).  I look forward to seeing Binford move up the ranks and progress.

Joe Cox (NR)Christian Binford is a 20 year old prospect who was drafted in the 30th round of the 2011 amateur draft.  Binford is a tall right handed pitcher, coming in at 6’7’’.  Binford processes great control and an 89-93 mph fastball.  He did undergo the TJ surgery in 2009 while in high school.  Binford only has 40 professional innings thus far, but did very well in his eight starts with Burlington last season.  With a strong SO/BB ratio and only having given up one homerun, it will be exciting to see how Binford can hold up in 2013.

Damion Mandalas (26):  A former 30th round pick, Binford is one of many former Bonus Babies to grace the 2013 Royal Revival top prospect list. As Joe stated, Binford's fastball currently sits 89-93, but it also has good life and given his frame there's a good shot that he could continue to add velocity. Binford's secondary stuff lags behind his fastball and control. His curveball is more of a show me pitch, and his change up will only occasionally flash plus potential. Binford finished only behind fellow Royals farmhand Colin Rodgers in opponent LD% among qualifying pitchers in the Appy League at 8.5%. Baseball America views him as a guy with a back end ceiling. He should report to Lexington as the weather warms up. 

Dan Ware (16):  Binford, like Colin Rodgers, performed exceptionally well on the mound in his first professional season of baseball.  Posting a 2.02 era while recording a great K:BB over 40 innings, Christian has a good reason to be put on our 'Watchlists'.  He has a great stature at 6'7'' while throwing in the high 80s, but remember he is recovering from Tommy John and is on a strict pitch count, so hopefully an increase in velocity is on the horizon.  There's still plenty of time for Binford to move up the ranks, although his top priority should be getting back to 100% health.

Total Points: 20