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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

July 11, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Congratulations to James McOwen…but is he a prospect?

As you might have heard, James McOwen’s hitting streak with the Class A High Desert Mavericks ended last night. But what a terrific achievement — 45 straight games, the longest minor-league streak in 55 years and the eighth-longest in history.

Here’s a nice story by Mason Kelley that sums up his streak, and his 0-for-3 night Friday against the Modesto Nuts.

Yes, he lost his streak to the Nuts. That’s nuts.

Mason Kelley has good writing genes, by the way. He’s the son of our very own Steve Kelley, and a fine journalist in his own right.

This article from FanGraphs explores the question of whether McOwen, a sixth-round draft pick by the Mariners, is a prospect (they’re not too giddy about him), and shows that long minor-league hitting streaks are not predictive of major-league success.

Except for that DiMaggio dude.

Here’s an excellent report on McOwen from Pro Ball NW. Author Jon Shields’ conclusion:

I’d love to be able to say that this hitting streak is McOwen’s coming out party and that fans should be anticipating his arrival in the big leagues, but it’s far more likely that after his 15 minutes of fame McOwens will fade into obscurity, perhaps popping up in the big leagues as someone’s fourth outfielder and being known as “the guy who had that streak a few years back.” He just doesn’t possess the tools of a Major League regular.

We’ll get a better idea of where McOwen is at as a prospect once he gets promoted to AA West Tenn, possibly at streak’s end.

Pro Ball NW, by the way, is the new incarnation of Bleeding Blue and Teal, one of the best Mariners’ sites out there.

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