Asheville Tourists: It’s time for Correlle Prime


A name like Correlle Prime belongs in sports, don’t you think?

Fortunately for the Asheville Tourists, their fans and the Colorado Rockies organization, the 20-year-old decided to take his names and talents to the baseball diamond, rather than whatever other endeavors he may have chosen to pursue.

The Tourists first baseman has asserted himself in a big way recently, frequently launching baseballs out of the ballpark. As of May 29, Prime leads the South Atlantic League (SAL) with 11 home runs, one more than teammate Ryan McMahon. His 37 RBI rank fourth in the league, while his .561 slugging percentage — perhaps the best measure of how much a batter is hitting for power — is fifth among SAL batters.

(All right, if you want to get really baseball nerdy and delve into the advanced statistics growing in popularity among fans, analysts and front offices throughout the sport, Isolated Power, or ISO, is an even better measure of a batter’s power. Subtract his batting average from his slugging percentage, and you have a clearer example of a player’s raw power — or how much he’s hitting for extra bases. Throw that one into the conversation next time you want to impress someone at the bar or ballpark.

By the way, Prime’s ISO is .273. Considering that a .250 mark is typically viewed as excellent in that category and you have an even better idea of how much muscle Prime is flexing with his bat right now.)

For the month of May, Prime is batting .326 with an on-base percentage of .369 and slugging mark of .716. (Or you could say his triple slash average is .326/.369/.716. We’re nerding out on stats this week, people.) His OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) is 1.085, and he’s hit eight home runs, 11 doubles and one triple while driving in 25 runs. As of this writing, there are three games left in the month. Prime may have added to those totals by the time you read this.

Prime isn’t just a beneficiary of playing his home games at intimate McCormick Field, either. That’s often a concern when looking at Tourists batters putting up big numbers.

Yet Prime has five home runs on the road and six at home. Away from Asheville, he’s batting .286 with an .861 OPS, compared to a .292 average and .911 OPS at McCormick. Prime hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in the Tourists’ 7-1 win at Hagerstown last week. That was the first multi-homer game of his young career.

Rough times for Francisco Sosa

As mentioned above, there is a belief among minor league observers that some players thrive in Asheville and its hitter-friendly conditions but then struggle elsewhere. For analysts and talent evaluators, that is often considered when judging the performance of Tourists players. The latest example of this is Francisco Sosa.

The 24-year-old outfielder had an outstanding season for the Tourists last year, batting .325 with a .926 OPS, 20 home runs, 35 doubles and 89 RBI. He also notched 30 stolen bases. But he hit just .256 with a .680 OPS and five home runs on the road, indicating that he may have been a product of McCormick Field’s cozy dimensions. (FanGraphs’ Nathaniel Stoltz was particularly critical of Sosa and Asheville’s effect on his performance back in January.)

Sosa was hitting just .210 with one homer in 105 at-bats for high-Class A Modesto this season and was just assigned to extended spring training by the Rockies. However, to be fair to Sosa, his struggles may be tied to getting hit in the head with a fastball on April 5. He suffered a concussion as a result, and appears to have been affected adversely by the incident.

“Ever since he got hit with that fastball things haven’t quite been the same for him,” Nuts manager Don Sneddon told the Modesto Bee‘s Brian VanderBeek. “He’s struggled in the outfield a little bit and wasn’t playing to the level he did prior to getting hit, and I’m not saying that’s the only reason. He just didn’t get to where he needed to be defensively, and offensively he’s struggled.”

Sneddon emphasized that this didn’t mean the Rockies organization was giving up on Sosa. The team just feels he would benefit from additional work on his game in Scottsdale, Ariz.

*** The Asheville Tourists return to McCormick Field on June 5 — a Thirsty Thursday — for a four-game series against the Kannapolis Intimidators. On Saturday June 7, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free collapsible dog bowl, courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital. Single game tickets are currently available at the McCormick Field box office. For more information, contact the Tourists’ front office at (828) 258-0428.

Ian Casselberry covers Major League Baseball at The Outside Corner and provides analysis for The WISE Guys on ESPN Asheville (1310 and 970 AM) every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m. Follow Ian on Twitter


Ian Casselberry May 30, 2014 - 6:49 am

Travis, if only there was a “Like” button. I have to admit, however, that I originally read your comment and thought I messed up a stat.

Doug, no kidding. I actually should’ve mentioned that in the article. 7 games back? Taking at least 2 of 3 in Savannah next week would be nice.

Travis May 29, 2014 - 11:18 pm

Too bad his average isn’t .357.

Mark May 29, 2014 - 6:36 pm

Great job Ian…its nice to have a catchup column for the Tourists.

Doug S. May 29, 2014 - 3:37 pm

We’ve got some work to do if we’re going to catch up to Savannah before the break.

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