The Dynasty Profiler: Five Under-The-Radar Hitting Prospects (May, 2018)
Back in March, I used the Dynasty Profiler to look at stats from the 2017 minor league season and search for players whose hitting and pitching profiles suggested that they might deserve more credit from dynasty owners. After all, not every successful major leaguer was featured on a Top-100 list. Some guys just play well enough to defy scout expectations and become quality big leaguers. Now that we’re about a month into the 2018 baseball season, I figured it might be worth conducting the same experiment with current data to see if any hitters have produced at a level that might hold promise for our dynasty rosters.
What is the Dynasty Profiler?
For the uninitiated, the Dynasty Profiler works by looking for batters who post strong walk-to-strikeout ratios while also hitting for power. I also set it to identify players who are 26 or younger because we’re looking for players young enough to matter long-term. When viewing the results, keep in mind that this year’s sample is small. While most BB/K ratios should be somewhat stable, there have not been enough plate appearances to effectively measure Isolated Power for all players not in the Mexican League. With this in mind, I did some digging for additional context on each player in hopes of learning whose hot starts might be legit.
Some of the names you’ll recognize: Juan Soto, Josh Naylor, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Peter Alonso, Taylor Trammell, Carter Kieboom, Danny Jansen, Zack Collins, Nolan Jones and, if you read the last Dynasty Profiler piece, Abraham Toro. Others you won’t. I’ve written up some of the more interesting names below. I think these guys will be at least worth watching for owners in deep dynasty leagues.
Here is the complete Dynasty Profiler for May. Stats are from all games before Friday, May 11th, 2018.
1B Nathaniel Lowe (Age: 22, Tampa Bay Rays)
Nathaniel Lowe is producing at a level that clearly indicates he’s ready for a promotion to Double-A. He’s got a weighted on-base average of .490, for crying out loud. And while I don’t like that he is a first-base prospect who is just now showing power in his minor league career, I do like how consistently he has been able to display discipline at the plate and show the ability to hit to all fields. Will the power last? Will he earn a promotion? Will his strikeout rate creep back up into the mid-to-high 20s? All this will be important to watch throughout this season. Lowe could be a player that emerges as an intriguing dynasty asset, or he could quickly turn back into a ho-hum 13th round draft pick. Verdict: Watchlist
OF Will Benson (Age: 19, Cleveland Indians)
You should know about Will Benson already, but I’m including him here in case you don’t. Dynasty leaguers should absolutely add him to rosters wherever he’s available. While Benson has the physical gifts that scouts love, he stumbled badly last year. He swung-and-missed often, which might have scared some owners off. This year he’s getting on base, striking out less and clobbering home runs. As such, Benson is one of prospect world’s fastest risers. He looks to have the tools, talent, and character to turn into an incredible ballplayer. Verdict: Add now
2B Jonathan Arauz (Age: 19, Houston Astros)
After missing 50 games last season for a suspension, Jonathan Arauz has been putting up silly numbers for the River Bandits. Of his 35 hits this season, seven were doubles, four were triples and four were home runs. He has also stolen five bases and taken nearly one walk for every strikeout. Longenhagen has described Arauz’s left-handed swing as “gorgeous” and it looks evident that he has an advanced eye at the plate. There are questions about how much power the 19-year-old will be able to grow into, but I’m intrigued enough to keep a close eye on Arauz as he continues to mature as both a ballplayer and a man. Even in a deep Astros system, Arauz could force his way up the ladder with solid on-base skills and decent power. Verdict: Watchlist
C Sicnarf Loopstok (Age: 25, Cleveland Indians)
Every good list needs a Cleveland Indian. Great lists will have two, but only the best lists will feature a player named Sicnarf Loopstok. The 2013 Moniker Madness Champion from Aruba with the 80-grade name is actually a pretty good hitting catcher. At a ripe age of 25, the window for Loopstok’s dynasty relevance is perhaps closing quickly, but he has posted ISOs over .200 this year and last. He has also displayed incredible patience at the plate in 2018. Should that patience continue he could be an interesting trade chip for Cleveland, an organization that already has a logjam at the catcher position and is in major need of bullpen help. Since it’s extremely difficult to predict catching prospects both offensively and defensively, dynasty owners will do well to remember the name ‘Sicnarf’ and check in on him throughout the year. If he keeps up what he’s doing and gets traded to an organization a little more hungry for catchers, his value could improve rather quickly. Verdict: Watchlist
2B Garrett Hampson (Age: 23, Colorado Rockies)
Often overshadowed by Rockies’ prospect Brendan Rodgers, Garrett Hampson is a solid middle infield prospect in his own right. Though he lacks Rodgers’ awesome power, Hampson has shown far better plate discipline throughout his career and possesses excellent 70-grade speed. Both young studs share the benefit of potentially making their major league debuts at Coors Field. In his first taste of Double-A this season, Hampson has played 34 games and already has swiped 17 bases. 13 of his 39 hits have gone for extra-bases, and he has walked five more times than he has struck out. I really like Hampson, and I think he could be a great middle infielder for dynasty owners willing to pass on a little power. Verdict: Add now