Scouting the Stat Line – Post Draft Talent
The Dynasty Guru updates its peak performance leaderboards weekly. View the latest update here, updated through last week’s games.
The leaderboards present peak MLB wOBA for all players, minor and major leaguers. Peak MLB wOBA captures league difficulty, adjusting minor league performance from each league to the same major league baseline. It also adjusts for aging. These adjustments are derived from research done by Jordan Rosenblum. Please see our debut introducing the leaderboards here.
If you’re interested in learning more about this research, please go here to read about Jordan’s MLB equivalency calculator. This article also links to his four-part series of articles on the related research. Each week, Jordan and I are authoring a new piece to the “Scouting the State Line” series, highlighting interesting movement and players that we have recognized through analysis of this data.
Also, if you haven’t seen Jesse Roche’s latest top prospect update, go read that immediately here!
Notes from the 6/13 ‘Scouting the Stat Line’ Prospect Highlights
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|PROSPECT||PEAK wOBA CHANGE (since last update)||STOCK|
Below is a quick synopsis of what has happened with highlighted players since my last update:
- Alvarez continues to dominate at the league’s highest levels. His season has been just remarkable.
- Robert’s peak wOBA continues to drop, though his bat continues to produce as he rises levels – he recently celebrated his promotion to Triple-A with a pair of dingers – and there is no reason to think he won’t make a successful leap to the MLB.
- Similar to Robert, Franco celebrated his promotion to high-A by absolutely raking against kids several years older, on average. He briefly supplanted Robert and rose to #2 on our peak wOBA rankings last week, though his bat has cooled slightly since then (he currently ranks #4).
- Alek Thomas and Drew Waters continue to impress. I keep expecting regression, but they just keep hitting.
- Miguel Vargas had an unexpected power surge, with back-to-back two-homer games. Is this the sign of a breakout? The Dodgers may seem to think so, immediately rewarding him with a promotion to High-A, where he has continued to demonstrate impressive plate discipline.
- In the early part of the season, Jarred Kelenic was all the rage. After being promoted, Kelenic’s peak wOBA has taken a bit of a dive as he adapts to more advanced pitching. Are we seeing a slightly above average player or a star here? Another month will go a long way to telling the story.
- Last update I caught Lux during a mini-slump but felt he was worth a mention nonetheless. He rewarded my confidence by going on a tear, earning himself a promotion to Triple-A, and boosting his season batting average by a whopping 39 points. If you can use a middle infielder, go get Lux if it’s still possible.
- Of Ockimey, I had this to say – “is there any chance those slash rates successfully translate to the Major Leagues?” Ockimey may be proving that his approach isn’t sustainable, as his wOBA rankings have continued to plummet and he is now hitting near the Mendoza Line in Triple-A. Likewise, with Mario Feliciano, I mentioned that his “numbers indicate regression may be in store.” Subsequently, Feliciano’s slash line has dipped in every regard. If you own these two, it may be time to look at other available options.
- Like Feliciano, Huff has seen his wOBA drop significantly since the last update. However, Huff was also recently promoted to a new level, where he is still producing at respectable levels and displaying plenty of pop – he was just never going to bat .330 and slug .800 for the entire year. In addition, Huff was awarded the Futures Game MVP award after hitting a game-tying two-run bomb late in the game. Despite owning a similarly disgusting K/BB ratio, in contrast to Feliciano, I remain a believer here.
- A player that I have not highlighted this year, and probably don’t really need to highlight at any point, is Jo Adell. If Adell had enough plate appearances under his belt, he would rank 2nd in the peak wOBA projections. Everyone knows him already, so there is no need for me to write much more, but I see superstar in him and agree with him being the #2 overall prospect in baseball. If you don’t have to trade a top 30 dynasty player to get him, it’s worth considering!
New Prospect Highlights
This time of the year, just after the All-Star break, is perhaps my favorite time for fantasy baseball. The draft has taken place and draftees are finally starting to gear up for their squad, short season and the low minors have completely opened, and we start getting a glimpse of the type of potential held by a whole host of new youngsters. For those of you that find this overwhelming, I am here to help be your guiding light through the dark! In this update, I will have a focus more on new players. Please keep in mind that many of these players lack a track record, so variability and risk are much, much higher than the players that I have previously mentioned.
Griffin Conine, TOR
Season Slash Lines: .309/.391/.631
Peak wOBA Projections: .410
Perhaps the most experienced prospect that I will write about today and the son of a former Major Leaguer, Conine is still pretty raw and still a long way from the big leagues. Conine’s father, Jeff, was also a bit of a late bloomer, and didn’t really “arrive” at the Major League level until he was 27. Regardless, he went on to have a successful big league career, piling up nearly 2,000 career hits while maintaining a .285 career batting average. The younger Conine has a bit of a different approach, bringing some serious power to the plate. As is typical for a power approach, Griffin also piles up the whiffs. Nonetheless, his second season in the minors has proven to be a far greater success than his debut last year. I don’t know if I’m patient enough to wait for Conine to develop, but he is certainly someone that I will keep an eye on with a healthy amount of intrigue.
Diowill Burgos, STL
Season Slash Line: .365/.468/.730
Peak wOBA Projection: .443
Since the season began, the Dominican native has been an absolute masher. In 142 at-bats, Diowill has his 9 home runs and 9 doubles. He has also flashed some solid speed, adding 4 stolen bases and 3 triples on the year. A word of warning, Diowill is one of the few athletes I’m highlighting from the Dominican Summer League (DOSL) that actually does have some kind of track record, and that track record isn’t the best omen for him moving forward. His absurd slash line of .365/.468/.730 is significantly higher than his line from last season, .210/.310/.371. It shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise that his peak wOBA projection has increased by a massive 59%, and it could also be an indication that Burgos’ performance isn’t sustainable. Burgos does have two things in his favor, however. One, there is a tremendous amount of physiological growth for teens, which makes massive steps forward in development more believable. Two, his K/BB ratio has improved significantly, as he went from someone who walked once per each two and a half strikeouts to someone who now walks more often than he strikes out. I am keeping a close eye on Burgos for now. If he keeps it up, he may be worth an add in deep dynasty leagues.
Bryce Ball, ATL
Season Slash Line: .338/.419/.738
Peak wOBA Projection: .447
Drafted in the 24th round after playing one season at Dallas Baptist, the towering 6-6, 235-pound first baseman may be proving the Braves are one of the best organizations at finding talent in later rounds. Ball has made quick work of Appalachian league pitching, tattooing the young arms in the league, hitting for serious power (8 homers in 80 at-bats) while walking nearly as often as he has struck out, good for a 1.157 OPS on the season. It’s also worth noting that Ball’s performance is not all that out of line with how his bat performed at the college level. As is always the case for college bats in the lower levels of the minors, it will be interesting to see how that performance holds up as he moves into the higher levels.
George Valera, CLE
Season Slash Line: .279/.395/.510
Peak wOBA Projection: .428
In the preseason, George Valera was one prospect that I highlighted (and I wasn’t the only person to mention him) as a potential high rising prospect this season after an injury cut his 2018 campaign short. So far Valera has done a pretty good job validating those expectations, putting together a pretty solid campaign in Low-A ball as an 18-year-old. Known for his advanced approach and high level of polish, Valera has stepped it up a notch over the last week, slugging .737 during that time frame. I am a believer in Valera’s bat and see him as a player worth looking at in all dynasty formats.
Luisangel Acuna, TEX
Season Slash Line: .355/.456/.456
Peak wOBA Projection: .403
Ronald Acuna’s younger brother may be giving him a run for his money as Best Acuna five years from now. While not quite as tall as his bigger brother (yet), early signs seem to be indicating that he may be just as good at hitting. In addition to the gaudy batting average, Luis has shown superior control of the zone, sporting a 23/16 BB/K ratio. He has also shown off some speed on the base paths, swiping 10 bags in just under 150 plate appearances. While he still has a long way to go to put himself on the same level as his bigger bro, few thought the same about Ronald before he began his blitzkrieg through the minors as a 19-year-old.
Francisco Alvarez, NYM
Season Slash Line: .404/.516/.673
Peak wOBA Projection: .542
MLB Pipeline remarked that their #17 ranked international prospect in 2018 possesses “a reputation for hitting well in games, which speaks to his emerging hit tool,” and that he “also shows power now and the potential for more in the future.” So far, that assessment appears to be spot on for Alvarez, perhaps even selling him short some. Alvarez received an advanced assignment for a 17-year-old, debuting in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and later moving to the Rookie-level Appalachian League. So far, all Alvarez has done is hit. When his bat is going, he strings together multi-hit games in bunches. The projections so far reflect Alvarez’s incredible hitting, and he sports a translated peak wOBA that compares favorably to Yordan Alvarez’s early season projections. On top of his offensive prowess, Alvarez also plays one of the most difficult positions in fantasy to fill – catcher. Prospects don’t hit .400 for an entire season and Alvarez isn’t likely to be any sort of exception, as he will receive grander challenges the longer he continues hitting. Despite some likely regression, Alvarez has already proven himself someone worth a stash in deeper leagues. If he keeps it up, his bat could carry him to the big leagues before his 20th birthday, though his defense could delay his arrival.
Alexander Mojica, PIT
Season Slash Line: .354/.475/.646
Peak wOBA Projection: .485
The youngest addition on this list, Mojica is filling up the stat sheet in the Dominican Summer League with a 1.121 OPS. So far, we have found that DOSL numbers are the most difficult to project success with and Mojica lacks much of a track record to indicate how much of his performance is sustainable. Nonetheless, outside of these items, Mojica is another rare prospect that ticks nearly every box I look for. While he’s extremely young, he’s more than holding his own against much more advanced competition, hitting for average and power. Furthermore, the stats indicate that Mojica has an especially advanced approach at the plate, drawing more walks than strikeouts. This is an impressive feat for a 16-year-old at any level. He appears to bring consistency to the table too – as of this writing, Mojica has collected at least one hit in every game he’s played over the last month (spanning 17 games). An interesting note, during this hit streak, his numbers are not all that out of line with his season numbers, slashing .367/.473/.650 during this time frame. Obviously, there is extreme risk associated with prospects this young and that are in the lowest levels of the minor leagues, but I have added him in my league just in case this is the beginning of superstardom.
Marco Luciano, SFG
Season Slash Line: .333/.440/.679
Peak wOBA Projection: .482
In contrast to Mojica, Luciano is following a somewhat more traditional path to superstardom. As a 17-year-old, he was assigned directly to the Rookie-level Arizona League. There he has mashed 7 home runs in just 100 plate appearances, kept up healthy-looking peripherals to support a studly 1.119 OPS, and has even sprinkled in 5 stolen bases. The splash he has made may remind some of Wander Franco’s debut last season, albeit with a little less contact and a little more power in the mix. I am reminded a little more of Juan Soto here personally. I think those comps may be a bit premature still, but if he’s available in your league, I would certainly stash him away immediately.
CJ Abrams, SDP
Season Slash Line: .427/.457/.688
Peak wOBA Projection: .479
So far, Abrams has been my favorite high schooler nabbed in the 2019 draft. I find the speed very tantalizing and he also has shown more power than expected. Abrams has more than lived up to his billing by making an absolute mockery of the Arizona league, putting up a .427 batting average and swiping 12 bags. His profile reminds me of a young Mike Trout, especially if he can develop a similar amount of power. Power is often the last element to develop for a prospect, so it is certainly possible that this will be the case for Abrams as well. Now to temper expectations some – it’s extremely unlikely that Abrams will be able to measure up to a generational player like Trout and it’s practically a guarantee that he won’t sustain his .427 batting average, buoyed by a .443 BABIP, for the entire season. All that said, I’m quite intrigued by what I’m seeing. I recommend owning this player, even in shallower dynasty formats.
Riley Greene, DET
Season Slash Line: .373/.455/.597
Peak wOBA Projection: .447
Another highly touted high schooler, taken just above Abrams at number 5, Greene has substantiated the scouting reports by hitting for average and power in his first 80 plate appearances. Greene apparently impressed enough to earn himself a promotion to the New York Penn league after only 37 at-bats in the Rookie Gulf Coast League. Greene may not be the all-around athlete that Abrams is, but he is hitting like a middle-order bat for the Tigers and may already be their best offensive prospect. Realistically, it is probably a toss-up between who is the better asset between him and Abrams at this point.