Projecting Alex Jackson, Max Povse and Rob Whalen

Here are the prospects changing hands in last night’s deal between Seattle and Atlanta as evaluated by KATOH projection system. KATOH+ represents a player’s WAR projection over his first six years in the majors and includes said player’s Baseball America’s ranking as a variable.


Alex Jackson, RF, Atlanta

Jackson has struggled to make contact ever since the Mariners popped him sixth overall back in 2014. He hit decently in his second crack at Low-A last year, but KATOH is alarmed by his 27% strikeout rate. The fact that he’s a right fielder who neither steals bases nor grades out well defensively also hurts his case. He’s hit for decent power, but the statistical negatives far outweigh the positives. Of course, Jackson was viewed as one of the best prospects in the country a mere two-and-a-half years ago, so it’s likely he still has some potential that isn’t showing up in his on-field performance. The traditional KATOH also projects him for 0.4 WAR.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.4 WAR


Alex Jackson’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Actual WAR
1 Mike Little 1.2 0.4 0.0
2 DaRond Stovall 1.2 0.4 0.0
3 Tim McClinton 1.4 0.5 0.0
4 Joe Hamilton 1.6 0.2 0.0
5 Warner Madrigal 1.8 0.2 0.0
6 Mike Wilson 1.8 0.2 0.0
7 Eli Tintor 2.0 0.2 0.0
8 Yamil Benitez 2.0 0.4 0.4
9 J.R. Mounts 2.0 0.5 0.0
10 Joe Mathis 2.0 0.5 0.0


Max Povse, RHP, Seattle

A 6-foot-8 righty, Povse pitched very well between High-A and Double-A last year. His 22% strikeout rate and 5% were both excellent, especially for a starting pitcher. Povse is already 23, but his numbers have been excellent and suggest he isn’t terribly far away from the big leagues. The traditional KATOH also projects him for 4.4 WAR.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.1 WAR


Max Povse’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name KATOH+ Actual WAR
1 0.4 John Lackey 2.6 23.9
2 0.6 Matt Bruback 3.6 0.0
3 0.6 Kameron Loe 4.1 4.7
4 0.6 Sam Marsonek 1.6 0.0
5 0.6 Ryan Mullins 2.2 0.0
6 0.7 Nathan Kent 2.0 0.0
7 0.9 Brad Rigby 2.9 0.2
8 0.9 Billy Traber 2.7 1.4
9 0.9 Doug Meiners 1.6 0.0
10 0.9 Matt Wagner 2.4 0.2


Rob Whalen, RHP, Seattle

Whalen also pitched excellently in the minors last year, spinning a 2.40 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A before debuting with Atlanta. KATOH sees Whalen as a lower-upside player than Povse due to Whalen’s smaller stature and high-ish walk numbers. But he’s a relatively safe bet to at least fill a need. KATOH+ gives him a 74% chance of pitching in the big leagues over the next six years, though just a 20% chance of amassing more than 4 WAR. The traditional KATOH projects him for 3.3 WAR.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.8 WAR


Rob Whalen’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name KATOH+ Actual WAR
1 0.0 Fernando Nieve 3.4 0.3
2 0.1 Gary Rath 2.1 0.0
3 0.1 Adam Johnson 3.6 0.0
4 0.2 Daniel Haigwood 1.5 0.0
5 0.2 Scott Mathieson 3.3 0.0
6 0.2 Julio Valera 3.6 3.4
7 0.2 Garrett Olson 2.0 1.1
8 0.2 Steve Bourgeois 1.7 0.0
9 0.3 Chris Narveson 1.7 4.1
10 0.3 Rett Johnson 1.8 0.0

We hoped you liked reading Projecting Alex Jackson, Max Povse and Rob Whalen by Chris Mitchell!

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Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

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Dang, I liked Povse, but I didn’t really expect him to project that well.