Scout the Statline: Top Hitting Prospects Since 2006
Since 2019, Scout the Statline has occasionally run our predictive data models over past periods to 1)test our approach’s efficacy, and 2)see how current minor leaguers compare to star minor leaguers from the past. You can view our original piece from 2019 by following this link. You can view our preseason piece on this topic here.
As we entered the halfway point of the season, I once again became curious as to how our current crop of top prospects compare to top prospects from past seasons, dating all the way back to 2006. From a data perspective, this is the biggest update that I undertake.
This is the most resource-intensive update that I do. Our model has to literally manipulate, sift through, filter, and interpret millions of data points. As a result, every seemingly minor tweak that I make adds a massive amount of new complexity.
— Ross Jensen (@RossJensen12) August 5, 2022
This model shares a slight difference in methodology from our other list updates, as there is no career weighting of the data. Each plate appearance across the players’ minor league careers is treated as equal. To appear on the list, a player needs to have received 500 career minor league plate appearances. Non-current players must have at least reached the mid-levels of the minor leagues to appear (players with one nice DSL season before retiring, for example, are excluded). I also set some formatting conditions so that players with minor league appearances in 2022 stand out. Please visit our website to view the entire list of over 3,700 eligible players on the Scout the Statline website.
I’m here now to share my findings!
As before, we’ve found that our models tend to work better with players that complete the full development cycle through the minor leagues (draftees out of high school and international signees). College draftees tend to come into the minor leagues with more polish and typically have smaller sample sets of data to work with, which can pose challenges for our models. For examples, see Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Belt, Matt Wieters, etc. All very good prospects coming up that have had solid careers, but that have arguably not quite met with their very lofty projections.
Scout the Statline’s #1 projected prospect is in truly elite company, rating just above talents Julio Rodriguez, Ronald Acuna, Wander Franco, and Luis Robert. Much of this comes from the strength of his stolen base projections. One item to note, however, is that Carroll does have an elevated strikeout rate when compared to the talent he ranks amongst.
The Next Grouping
The next closest current prospects, Francisco Alvarez (#32 overall) and Anthony Volpe (#34), are among a more mixed-bag group of talent. On one hand, they rank near Fernando Tatis, Jr., Christian Yelich, and Yordan Alvarez. On the other, Addison Russell ranks between these two, at #33. He is one of the bigger name prospects on the list not to leave much of a professional mark, though he did appear as an All-Star in 2016.
I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what could have been. If not for tragedy, Taveras, who was universally recognized as a top 3 prospect in 2013 and 2014, we could be talking about a current giant of the sport. Taveras ranks #41. Future star Jordan Walker ranks two spots ahead of him at 39.
Edgar Quero Again
Edgar Quero, who I highlighted way back in August of last year and have been hyping regularly on Twitter, continues to be criminally underrated. Our retro-rankings have him one spot behind former top 5 prospect Jo Adell and one spot above former #1 overall prospect, Corey Seager! Quero has plenty of time to continue rising up the list before reaching the big leagues.
Ty France is a bit of an outlier, mostly due to the unweighted methodology. Overall, he ranks #287 here, but his performance suggests he should be higher. This is a really good example of why we weight rankings in our flagship lists (Top Dynasty Hitters & The Top Prospects lists). What it suggests is that trend is just as important as track record. Ty France was a marvel in his final minor league season, it just does not make up a large body of his overall minor league work.
What are your thoughts and observations? Leave a comment or connect with us below to join the conversation!
The Dynasty Guru Twitter: @DynastyGuru
Scout the Statline: scoutthestatline.com
Scout the Statline Twitter: @statlinescout
Ross Jensen: @rossjensen12