Projecting the Prospects in the Aaron Hill Trade

The Red Sox engaged in some pre-deadline action yesterday by picking up veteran infielder Aaron Hill from the Brewers. In exchange for Hill’s services, Milwaukee received 20-year-old second baseman Wendell Rijo and 27-year-old starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson. Here’s what my fancy computer math has to say about the minor leaguers involved in the deal.

Aaron Wilkerson (Profile)

KATOH Forecast for first six seasons: 1.5 WAR

Already 27, Wilkerson isn’t aged like a prospect, but his performance in Triple-A this year is hard to ignore. As a result, he’s been a regular on Carson Cistulli’s “Fringe Five” column this year. In 92 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, the former undrafted indy-baller has struck out 27% of opposing hitters, while only walking 7%. He was similarly dominant last season, though most of those innings came against A-Ball hitters.

KATOH is skeptical of Wilkerson due to his age, but if you look past the “27” next to his stats, he looks very promising. He’s shown he’s capable of dominating Triple-A hitters. Pitchers who can do that often have some success in the big leagues as well.

Aaron Wilkerson’s Mahanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name WAR since Wilkerson-like season
1 2.2 Ryan Vogelsong 6.2
2 2.8 Chad Fox 2.8
3 3.0 Robinson Checo 0.0
4 3.1 Doug Creek 0.1
5 3.2 Colby Lewis 13.9
6 3.7 Seth Etherton 0.1
7 3.8 Adrian Hernandez 0.0
8 3.8 Eric DuBose 0.2
9 3.9 Tom Kramer 0.0
10 4.0 Shane Dennis 0.0

Wendell Rijo (Profile)

KATOH Forecast for first six seasons: 0.7 WAR

Though he’s just 20, Rijo spent most of this season at the Double-A level. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit a lick. The infielder hit a ghastly .186/.245/.266 in 51 Double-A games before the Sox sent him back to High-A three weeks ago.

Rijo is less than a year removed from a respectable .260/.324/.381 showing in High-A in 2015, so he hasn’t always been an atrocious hitter. But even last season, he struck out in over 20% of his trips to the plate. Rijo offers some defensive value and has age on his side, but his high strikeout rates are troubling. Throw in that his numbers have gotten progressively worse at each stop, and he looks pretty fringy.



Wendell Rijo’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Mah Dist Name Projected.WAR Actual.WAR
1 1.5 Ryan Freel 1.4 3.6
2 4.7 Ruben Gotay 2.3 0.7
3 5.8 Nate Spears 1.3 0.0
4 6.0 Marco Pernalete 0.1 0.0
5 6.7 Glenn Williams 0.4 0.3
6 6.8 Jose Ortiz 2.0 0.3
7 6.9 Dee Jenkins 0.4 0.0
8 7.1 Ricky Bell 0.2 0.0
9 7.5 Francisco Belliard 0.1 0.0
10 7.6 Mike Peeples 1.0 0.0

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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6 years ago

Ryan Freel. That will sober up an article fast. Yikes.