Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Matt Szczur's Early Pro Stats: Impressive, Deceiving

A you probably know, former Villanova deity Matt Szczur is now playing the minor league system of the Chicago Cubs.  This season, Szczur Christ has been playing in the Cubs' Lo-A Midwest League affiliate Peoria Chiefs. If you like using batting average as a measuring stick, (I don't because it's incredibly unreliable, and largely luck based,) Szczur is playing fantastic, hitting at a .339 clip.  When you get down to the peripherals, and the fact that he's a 21 year old college player in Lo-A  (college players at 21 are usually in Hi-A)  he's been solid at best.

The Stats: 
(all stats from baseball reference)
Games: 27
Plate Appearances- 128
Walks- 14
Strikeouts- 11
Stolen Bases- 12
Caught Stealing- 1
Batting Average- .339
On Base Percentage- .414
Slugging Percentage- .384
Extra Base Hits- 5 (all doubles)

I'm very conflicted when I look at his overall line. On the positive side, there's his outstanding success rate stealing bases and the fact that he's walking slightly more than he's striking out. His walk rate of 9.14% is decent, but he's still facing pitchers at the low end of the spectrum in terms of polish and control. On the negative side, his isolated power (SLG-BA) of .045 is on the low side, and he'll have to develop some power, play outstanding defense, or walk at a higher rate in order to advance his way through the system.

These are just the early returns on a small sample size so things could change.  I'd still like to see him play against a higher level of competition before I make any real judgments, but there are plenty of things to like about Matt Szczur's early pro baseball career to go along with a few things that are concerning.  One thing I know for sure is that Villanova could have used him on the diamond this season.

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