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The Most Promising Minor League Performances So Far

MLB Equivalency and Aging Curves

On Monday, the Dynasty Guru debuted The Dynasty Guru’s Sortable MLB Equivalency Leaderboard, which projects 2019 MLB performance using Jordan Rosenblum’s MLB Equivalency Calculator and his research on typical MLB aging curves.  In his article, Jordan shares a list of the top 50 projected offensive players based on their performances last season and promised that we would begin using 2019 data shortly.  While the 2019 season is still in its infancy, in fulfillment of that promise, we have already begun looking at how this years’ performances have changed projected future peaks.  As the season progresses and players work through slumps and enjoy hot streaks, we expect that these early results will change drastically.  Please feel free to view the full projected wOBA leaderboards HERE.

The tables below were extracted from this new set of data to show how last years’ top projected offensive performers in the minor leagues have been impacted by early 2019 performances. This is a running list that we plan to update regularly that may provide you with some insight as to what direction these players are trending.  Of course, there are stipulations that everyone should be aware of when interpreting this information.

  1. The season is very young and the sample sizes are small. The projections are less accurate at lower sample sizes. wOBA only becomes 50% reliable after ~400 plate appearances. I wouldn’t put much stock into early season performances for most players, though there are some interesting outliers worth monitoring.
  2. This first list includes rookies (<130 MLB at bats) of some high-profile players with MLB experience, such as Eloy Jimenez and Fernando Tatis Jr., as well as players that dominated lower levels of the minor leagues (perhaps unsustainably), such as Malcom Nunez, who set the Dominican League ablaze last year.
  3. It’s worth noting that our offensive “projections” simply capture translated wOBA and general aging growth. wOBA (weighted on-base average) is a metric that aims to measure a player’s overall offensive contributions per plate appearance.  If you are not familiar with this metric, please use the scale below and feel free to read up on it on Wikipedia to familiarize yourself with how it works (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOBA).

wOBA Scale

Classification Range
Elite .400 and Above
Very Good .371 to .399
Good .321 to .370
Average .320
Bad .291 to .320
Very Bad .290 and below

 

2018’s Top Prospects by Projected Peak wOBA

Name Organization Highest Level (double check with column E) MLB time in 2018? Age 2018 peak wOBA Projection 2019 Peak wOBA Projection % Change from 2019 Projection
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Blue Jays (AAA) AAA No 19 0.510 0.432 -15%
Wander Franco Rays (R) (R) No 17 0.461 0.416 -10%
Eloy Jimenez White Sox (AAA) (AAA) No 21 0.430 0.325 -24%
Grant Lavigne Rockies (R) (R) No 18 0.427 0.341 -20%
Fernando Tatis Jr. Padres (AA) (AA) No 19 0.425 0.476 12%
Kyle Tucker Astros (AAA) MLB Yes 21 0.424 0.204 -52%
Luis Garcia Phillies (R) (R) No 17 0.423 0.251 -41%
Nolan Gorman Cardinals (A) (A) No 18 0.419 0.448 7%
Tyler Freeman Indians (A-) (A-) No 19 0.412 0.386 -6%
Nathaniel Lowe Rays (AAA) (AAA) No 22 0.412 0.438 6%
Alejandro Kirk Blue Jays (R) (R) No 19 0.412 0.436 6%
Leandro Cedeno Cardinals (R) (R) No 19 0.412 0.308 -25%
Yordan Alvarez Astros (AAA) (AAA) No 21 0.410 0.545 33%
Peter Alonso Mets (AAA) (AAA) No 23 0.404 0.470 16%
Geraldo Perdomo Diamondbacks (A-) (A-) No 18 0.403 N/A N/A
Cal Stevenson Blue Jays (R) (R) No 21 0.401 0.245 -39%
Gavin Lux Dodgers (AA) (AA) No 20 0.400 0.435 9%
Tucupita Marcano Padres (A-) (A-) No 18 0.399 0.244 -39%
Curtis Terry Rangers (A-) (A-) No 21 0.399 0.337 -16%
Luis Urias Padres (AAA) MLB Yes 21 0.398 0.317 -20%
Xavier Edwards Padres (A-) (A-) No 18 0.397 0.310 -22%
Elehuris Montero Cardinals (A+) (A+) No 19 0.396 0.299 -24%
Austin Riley Braves (AAA) (AAA) No 21 0.395 0.292 -26%
Brandon Howlett Red Sox (A-) (A-) No 18 0.393 0.217 -45%
Mauricio Dubon Brewers (AAA) (AAA) No 23 0.390 0.301 -23%
Michael Chavis Red Sox (AAA) (AAA) No 22 0.390 0.384 -1%
Mark Vientos Mets (R) (R) No 18 0.390 0.299 -23%

Table 1: 2018 Top Players with MiLB At-Bats in 2018 by Projected Peak wOBA

 

Interpreting the Updated Figures

 

Out of last year’s top minor league performers, the early season results have not drastically altered many peak wOBA projections.  Kyle Tucker has clearly off to slower starts, but it is expected that more at bats will help bring his projections closer to being in line with where he finished in 2019.

Of minor leaguers still on this list, nobody has improved his peak projection more than Yordan Alvarez, whose red-hot start has pushed his future wOBA projections to practically unheard-of levels, an increase of 33% over his projections from 2019.  He’ll certainly regress some throughout the year, but this bodes well for his trajectory.

While Alvarez has had an incredible start to the season, he is not the top peak performer of 2019 – that honor belongs to none other than Luis Robert.  The table below represents the top 50 players by projected future wOBA based on 2019 performance. You’ll find many of these names generating a lot of buzz in the prospect community given their hot starts.

 

2019’s Best Performers by Projected Peak wOBA

Rank Name Organization Age Current Peak wOBA Projection Last Year’s wOBA Projection % Change from 2019 Projection
1 Luis Robert White Sox (A+) 21 0.606 0.310 95%
2 Yordan Alvarez Astros (AAA) 22 0.545 0.410 33%
3 Ty France Padres (AAA) 24 0.538 0.350 54%
4 Will Benson Indians (A) 21 0.505 0.311 62%
5 Omar Estevez Dodgers (AA) 21 0.504 0.338 49%
6 Carter Kieboom Nationals (AAA) 21 0.503 0.370 36%
7 Luis Campusano Padres (A+) 20 0.491 0.331 48%
8 Josh Lowe Rays (AA) 21 0.477 0.311 53%
9 Rhett Wiseman Nationals (AA) 25 0.474 0.335 42%
10 KJ Harrison Nationals (A) 22 0.470 0.286 65%
11 Jorge Ona Padres (AA) 22 0.470 0.291 62%
12 Trey Cabbage Twins (A) 22 0.465 0.293 58%
13 Heliot Ramos Giants (A+) 19 0.461 0.331 39%
14 Anderson Tejeda Rangers (A+) 21 0.459 0.351 31%
15 Jordan Groshans Blue Jays (A) 19 0.457 0.344 33%
16 Jerar Encarnacion Marlins (A) 21 0.455 0.273 67%
17 Nolan Gorman Cardinals (A) 19 0.448 0.419 7%
18 Kevin Cron Diamondbacks (AAA) 26 0.445 0.375 19%
19 Brian Mundell Rockies (AAA) 25 0.442 0.297 49%
20 Justin Toerner Cardinals (A+) 22 0.440 0.340 30%
21 Nate Lowe Rays (AAA) 23 0.438 0.412 6%
22 Monte Harrison Marlins (AAA) 23 0.437 0.312 40%
23 Taylor Trammell Reds (AA) 21 0.437 0.358 22%
24 Alejandro Kirk Blue Jays (A) 20 0.436 0.412 6%
25 Kyle Isbel Royals (A+) 22 0.435 0.340 28%
26 Gavin Lux Dodgers (AA) 21 0.435 0.400 9%
27 Ben Ruta Yankees (AA) 25 0.435 0.310 40%
28 Chas McCormick Astros (AA) 24 0.434 0.302 44%
29 Zach McKinstry Dodgers (AA) 24 0.433 0.345 25%
30 Cavan Biggio Blue Jays (AAA) 24 0.432 0.363 19%
31 Dermis Garcia Yankees (A+) 21 0.431 0.317 36%
32 Riley Adams Blue Jays (A+) 23 0.430 0.303 42%
33 Oscar Mercado Indians (AAA) 24 0.428 0.332 29%
34 Cristian Pache Braves (AA) 20 0.428 0.338 27%
35 Jared Walker Dodgers (AA) 23 0.425 0.355 20%
36 Isiah Gilliam Yankees (A+) 22 0.419 0.305 38%
37 Sam Huff Rangers (A) 21 0.419 0.301 39%
38 Josh Ockimey Red Sox (AAA) 23 0.418 0.351 19%
39 Roberto Ramos Rockies (AAA) 24 0.418 0.363 15%
40 Zach Green Giants (AAA) 25 0.417 0.357 17%
41 Irving Lopez Cardinals (AA) 24 0.416 0.305 36%
42 Michael Brosseau Rays (AAA) 25 0.415 0.311 34%
43 Derek Hill Tigers (AA) 23 0.414 0.267 55%
44 Jarred Kelenic Mariners (A) 19 0.414 0.369 12%
45 Sean Murphy Athletics (AAA) 24 0.413 0.357 16%
46 Jake Cronenworth Rays (AAA) 25 0.413 0.277 49%
47 Skye Bolt Athletics (AAA) 25 0.413 0.323 28%
48 Will Smith Dodgers (AAA) 24 0.409 0.198 107%
49 Lucas Erceg Brewers (AAA) 24 0.408 0.288 42%
50 Jorge Mateo Athletics (AAA) 24 0.408 0.279 46%

Table 2: 2019 Top Players with MiLB At-Bats by Projected Peak wOBA

Interpreting the Early Performances

This table contains some well-known prospects such as Robert, Alvarez, Carter Kieboom, and Gavin Lux, as well as some potential high-rising sleepers that could help your team out soon if they can prove their early pace to be sustainable, such as Ty France and Roberto Ramos (the former who was just called up to San Diego!).  Players on this list with a lower percentage change are perhaps the most interesting, as their starts validate last year’s performance.  These players include Nolan Gorman, Alejandro Kirk, and Jarred Kelenic.

We will continue to update these leaderboards throughout the year to try and help you identify impactful talent for your fantasy squad!

The Author

Ross Jensen

Ross Jensen

Ross has been an avid fantasy baseball player and League Manager for over a decade. Ross's fantasy approach is to build league powers is through hunting down talented minor leaguers and targeting players on the verge of breakout based on a variety of metrics, statistical analysis, and assumptions.

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