SCOUTING THE STAT LINE: MORE EXCITING PEAK MLB PROJECTIONS FOR PROSPECTS
A few weeks ago, I published updated peak performance projections for all players under 30 with at least 600 career plate appearances. I did not include prospects with fewer than 600 PA in that article, as they have a relatively small sample of plate appearances. For these players, a stats-only approach is less useful, scouting reports and college performance (if applicable) ought to be weighed more heavily. Nonetheless, a stats-only approach can offer insight on how peak MLB performance might look for uber prospects, and also highlight interesting sleepers. This article offers projections and some brief commentary for the top prospects with fewer than 600 PA by peak projected dynasty performance.
The top 12 stats-only dynasty prospects (by peak projected MLB wRC+) with fewer than 600 PA are shown in the table below, in alphabetical order. I have displayed them alphabetically rather than in some other way, as all of these prospects stand out for their statistical performance, and I’d rather readers focus on their component statistics, and comparing performances with scouting reports, than focus on ranking differences–especially because the sample size of performance is fairly small for all of these players. Prospects with over 75% of their performance coming in the DSL are excluded, as I have some trust issues with DSL performance. The projections are based on the delta method, capturing how a typical player’s minor league performance changes from one age to the next, and from one league to the next. These changes are then chained together to convert every player’s stats to an MLB baseline, at the same age. College statistics and park effects are not captured. I’m not sure yet what my publishing plans are for the projections for other players with fewer than 600 PA, but you’re welcome to reach out on Twitter @rosenjordanblum if there is someone you’re curious about and I will oblige you.
These prospects are generally well-known and well-hyped, and their performances generally justify the industry enthusiasm. Many of these players offer boom potential; they could rise up lists sharply by midseason.
- Marco Luciano and CJ Abrams already rank near the top of many lists; their stats-only performances very much validate the scouting hype, both with the upside to be future dynasty cornerstones. They’re already hard to acquire in dynasty leagues, and acquiring them will probably only get harder. This spring training, Abrams has even managed to substantially increase his maximum exit velocity, a proxy for raw power–even though he’s only 21, it’s up to 110 MPH.
- Kristian Robinson offers a tantalizing combination of power and speed, but his game is less well-rounded relative to Abrams and Luciano, lagging both in K% and plate discipline. He has a larger sample size than anyone else on this list, lending more confidence to his projection.
- Heriberto Hernandez received the all-powerful Rays endorsement this off-season, coming over as the centerpiece in the Nate Lowe trade. His patience (14% peak BB) and power (35 peak HR/600) give an indication of why the Rays could not resist him, and affirm his crazy 95 MPH average exit velocity. He’s not in Abrams or Luciano‘s class, as a good portion of his performance came in the DSL, the scouting hype isn’t as strong, he doesn’t offer much speed, and his BB-K% is worse, but he’s quite an exciting prospect in his own right. Catcher-phobia is the only thing keeping Francisco Alvarez from ranking higher on fantasy lists (he’s already getting appropriate love on real-life lists); he looks like a complete hitter.
- Aaron Bracho has shown otherworldly plate discipline in his brief professional sample, projecting for the best BB-K% on this list. His peak wRC+ projection may even underrate him, as it is weighed down by a low BABIP. Peak wRC+ projections for Andy Pages and Orelvis Martinez also suffer from low BABIPs: both have shown major pop in their professional careers. One reason for caution: Pages had a very friendly home park in 2019 and park is not captured here.
- Like others on this list, Brennen Davis offers big upside, and he’s further along than most of these players as his performance has mostly come in Class A. Brenton Doyle is the least hyped name of this bunch, but he had a breakout 2019 in college and it carried over in his MILB debut. His power-speed skillset would play very well in Colorado. He’s absolutely worth paying attention to a bit later on in your drafts.
- Peyton Burdick and Bryce Ball aren’t quite as hyped as most of the other names on this list, but both were awesome statistically in college (side note: I don’t capture college performance in these projections, but Clay Davenport does peak MLEs for college statistics now!), and both had excellent debuts in 2019. They have some big fans in the industry but not enough.