I felt there was a good discussion going on at the end of the "Discuss Reds 2006 Draft picks here" thread. But I didn't want to take a potentially archive-worthy thread completely off topic (and that's where it was headed) by continuing the conversation there.

Let's start with a post I made about in response to this post:

Quote Originally Posted by Redmachine2003
And Dunn tries to break the strike out record every year so what the heck did his IsoD in Low A ball have to do with his development. I mean he wasn't a strike out machine in Low A. I mean is Bruce's strike out form being to aggressive, to passive at the plate, not have anyone protecting him in the line so he doesn't get to many good pitches to hit, is there a pitch he just can't layoff right now, Does he try to pull the outside pitch instead of going with it and can he improve what ever is causing his strikeouts (make the adjustment) because when he hits the ball he gets and extra base hit over 50% of the time.
My response:

I don't at all care about a young player's K rate.

But you'll find that young players who produce very high IsoD numbers at young ages project very well because power- not plate discipline- is the last tool to manifest. Touting a player's power game while expecting that discipline will develop over time is thinking backwards. To be fair, Bruce did show a dash of plate discipline over 80-odd PA in Billings last season but he's been below-average since.

Oh, and to answer your question - Dunn demonstrated well above-average plate discipline (read: high IsoD) from the get-go. It's why he always projected so very well.

Quote Originally Posted by Redmachine2003
How did Bonds and Ryan Howard project at that age or early in their careers.
To that, I replied:

Their IsoD numbers were VERY good. For the first two minor league seasons for each...

Barry Bonds: 402 AB/70 BB (1 BB/5.74 AB)
Ryan Howard: 662 AB/96 BB (1 BB/6.90 AB)

Those 402 AB are the entirety of Bonds minor league career (High A and AAA). For Howard's minor league career, he produced a BB rate of 1BB for every 7.54 AB. Others (minor league career- BB per AB)...

2. Jason Giambi: 5.44 AB
3. Travis Hafner: 6.01 AB
4. Jason Bay: 6.81 AB
5. Jim Thome: 6.01 AB
7. Carlos Beltran: 8.79 AB
8. Joe Mauer: 7.99 AB
9. Barry Bonds: 5.74 AB
10. Manny Ramirez: 6.22 AB
12. Kevin Youkilis: 4.32 AB
13. Bobby Abreu: 7.66 AB
17. Nick Johnson: 4.41 AB
16. David Wright: 6.48 AB
18. Grady Sizemore: 7.67 AB
20. Lance Berkman: 4.93 AB

1. Albert Pujols: 10.65 AB
6. Jermaine Dye: 13.81 AB
11. Miguel Cabrera: 10.90 AB
14. Vernon Wells: 10.68 AB
15. Alexis Rios: 15.90 AB
19. Ichiro Suzuki: 9.42 AB (Japan)

You may be wondering why you see numbers in front of those names and why they're put in two groups. It's because you're looking at the minor league walk rates of the MLB 2006 top 20 RC/27 hitters. Here are their current 2006 MLB Isolated Discipline numbers:

2. Jason Giambi: .177 IsoD
3. Travis Hafner: .146
4. Jason Bay: .129
5. Jim Thome: .132
7. Carlos Beltran: .118
8. Joe Mauer: .059
9. Barry Bonds: .223
10. Manny Ramirez: .131
12. Kevin Youkilis: .113
13. Bobby Abreu: .172
17. Nick Johnson: .120
16. David Wright: .074
18. Grady Sizemore: .081
20. Lance Berkman: .074

1. Albert Pujols: .132 IsoD
6. Jermaine Dye: .098
11. Miguel Cabrera: .089
14. Vernon Wells: .052
15. Alexis Rios: .039
19. Ichiro Suzuki: .049

One thing you may want to note is that when we get down to slots 14-20, the players on that list- with only one exception (Nick Johnson)- are the guys who are posting the lowest Isolated Discipline numbers. There are exceptions the other way, of course (and there always will be). For example, Joe Mauer sits in the 8 slot with a .059 IsoD. That's great, but being that high BA hitting is the most difficult thing to do in all of sports (particulary without exceptional power) do we really think that Joe Mauer will finish the season with a .379 BA? But the beauty is that Joe Mauer demonstrated excellent plate discipline early on so he won't have to hit .379 to be mondo-productive.

And look at the second half of the list. Pujols is the freak of course. He always is. That being said, I doubt that Pujols minor league BB rates are a true reflection of his actual plate discipine considering how few minor league AB he was given and that he immediately manifested excellent IsoD rates when he hit the Show. The rest of that second group have been highly volatile during their MLB careers excepting Cabrera. But then Cabrera demonstrated he had a clue at age 17 (Walk rate better than 1 BB/10 AB) and while he was rushed through the Marlins organization he demonstrated the same thing as a 20-year old AA player (1 BB/8.58 AB).

The rest of that second list is as volatile as volatile can be. Neither Dye nor Wells have been able to string together two really productive seasons together so far. Suzuki is actually good about every other year or so. And that's a guy who had his PR folks tell the world that he'd learn to take more walks. Rios? Um. Yeah. No.

The flashpoint for young hitters who demonstrate power potential is about 1BB for every 9.00 AB. And frankly, I'd prefer to see a BB rate lower than 1 BB per every 8 AB because that's where the gold is. To be fair, Jay Bruce doesn't have a ton of AB this season and is putting up very good power numbers. And yes, it's possible that he can raise his IsoD numbers over the course of this season. And I hope he does because that'll do a lot to allow us to figure out how likely it is that he'll be able to handle MLB pitching.

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I'll quote a very good response by Outshined_One next post which should be the jumpoff point for an interesting thread.