Feb 21, 2016; Maryvale, AZ, USA; Jacob Nottingham works out in the bullpen during spring training camp at Maryvale Baseball Park. Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
We’re now well into the off-season, and each player is getting their turn at being rated and reviewed, sliced and diced, evaluated and ranked. I’ll share what I’ve seen lately on our Jacob Nottingham.
First though, here are Nottingham’s official numbers for the year: G-112 PA-456 AB-415 R-46 H-97 2B-14 3B-0 HR-11 RBI-37 SB-9 CS-2 BB-29 SO-138 BA-.234 OBP-.295 SLG-.347 OPS-.641 TB-144 GDP-10 HPB-8 SH-1 HF-3 IBB-1.
This BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line compares with the .267/.333/.416/.748 line he has compiled over his entire four-year minor league career. Obviously a drop, so how do the “experts” see him?
Well, John Sickels at SB Nation Minor League Ball is succinct but not encouraging. He has Nottingham ranked at 36th on his list of the 50 top hitting prospects in the minors. Sickels gives him a grade of B+, but calls his season “very shaky”, and although he is still just 21, his stock is rated as “down”. In Nottingham’s defense, let me point out that he wasn’t even on Sickels’ 2015 list.
On the other hand, Jonathan Powell at Outside Pitch Sports Network gives a more detailed review for Nottingham on the occasion of his participation in this year’s Arizona Fall League. Powell states that Nottingham’s blocking and receiving skills still need “considerable” development, pointing out the 19 and 21 passed balls he allowed in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Trying to find a positive note to his drop in offense, Powell notes that Nottingham did steal nine bases this year, which is the most he has stolen so far in his career.
Powell also wonders if Nottingham’s offensive drop is tied to the Shuckers’ poor production all around, as “the Shuckers produced the least amount of runs in the Southern League (471) by a large margin (next team up had 510) and also possessed the worst average (.235), on-base percentage (.304) and slugging (.338).” Thanks for pointing that out, Jonathan.
Powell states that the Arizona Fall League should be good for Nottingham, and that seems to be coming true. “So far through two games, Nottingham is hitting .333/.333/.667 with one RBI and two strikeouts.”
To end his report, Powell still sees potential for Nottingham to develop into the Brewers’ home-grown talent behind the plate. “[H]e stands as the only catcher in the team’s top 30 prospects. Currently, the youngest catcher on the 40-man roster is Andrew Susac, who will be 27 by the time the 2017 season rolls around (Nottingham, by contrast, will be 22 next spring).”
I’ll be relaying more about our Shuckers in off-season reviews, as I catch them around the Web.