Projecting the Prospects in the Tyler Thornburg Deal

The Red Sox have landed right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg in exchange for a trio of players: big-league corner infielder Travis Shaw and prospects Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington. Here’s how the minor leaguers headed to Milwaukee grade out by my KATOH system. KATOH denotes WAR forecast for first six years of player’s major-league career. KATOH+ uses similar a methodology with consideration also for Baseball America’s rankings.


Mauricio Dubon, SS, (Profile)

KATOH: 4.6 WAR (92nd overall)
KATOH+: 3.5 WAR (138th overall)

After hitting respectably in the low levels of the minors, Dubon broke out big time last year. He opened the year by hitting a rock solid .306/.387/.379 at High-A, pairing a 9% strikeout rate with a 12% walk rate. He continued raking following a June promotion to Double-A, but did so a bit differently. His walk and strikeout rates both trended in the wrong direction, but for the first time ever, he hit for power.

In addition to his offensive exploits, Dubon also provides value with his speed and defense. He swiped 30 bags last year while playing shortstop on an everyday basis. Clay Davenport’s numbers aren’t fond of his work at shortstop, but the fact that he played there at Double-A is still telling. Namely, it tells us he probably has a future at one of the non-first infield positions.

Late-season surge notwithstanding, Dubon doesn’t look like a player who will hit for much power. But given his cocktail of contact, speed and defense, KATOH thinks he’ll find a way to produce. Maybe he only produces a win or two as an utility infielder, but he also has a good chance of providing significantly more than that over the next few years.


Mauricio Dubon’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist Proj. KATOH+ WAR Actual WAR
1 Julio Lugo 3.6 4.5 14.3
2 Wes Weger 4.0 3.9 0.0
3 Alex Cintron 5.2 4.3 2.2
4 Freddie Bynum 5.8 2.1 0.5
5 Lou Collier 6.2 2.3 0.6
6 Joaquin Arias 6.3 5.1 1.0
7 Tony Manahan 6.5 3.1 0.0
8 Kurt Abbott 6.8 1.9 2.8
9 Dan Cey 6.8 2.2 0.0
10 Danny Klassen 6.9 2.8 0.1


Josh Pennington, RHP (Profile)


A 29th-round pick in 2014, Pennington was just alright in the New York-Penn League last year. He struck out a batters with some frequency, but also walked a fair amount. He posted a stellar 2.86 ERA, but his peripherals suggest he isn’t actually that good. He throws hard, but his performance to date suggests his odds of ever wearing a big-league uniform are rather long.josh-pennington-likelihood-of-outcomes

Josh Pennington’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist Proj. KATOH+ WAR Actual WAR
1 Aaron Alvord 3.0 0.5 0.0
2 Calvin Chipperfield 3.3 0.7 0.0
3 Mark Hills 3.6 0.2 0.0
4 Bryan Hallberg 3.8 0.3 0.0
5 Jorge DePaula 3.9 0.6 0.3
6 Chris Moore 4.0 0.5 0.0
7 Juan Bazan 4.0 0.4 0.0
8 Monty Ward 4.0 0.5 0.0
9 Keola Delatori 4.2 0.5 0.0
10 Jose Avila 4.3 0.4 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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