KATOH Projections for the Top 200 Prospects

This morning, Kiley McDaniel rolled out his much-anticipated FanGraphs Top 200 prospect List. If you haven’t had a chance to look through it yet, I strongly recommend that you do so. As a complement to Kiley’s rankings, I’ll be taking a quick look at how the players he ranked grade out according to KATOH — my methodology for projecting prospects’ career trajectories using solely minor league statistics.

I’ll start with a bit of a primer on the system. In sum, KATOH uses a series of statistical regressions that look at a prospect’s age and league-adjusted minor league stats. After taking all of this data into account, it spits out probabilities that a prospect will reach certain WAR thresholds through age 28. If you’re interested in a more nitty-gritty, technical explanation of how KATOH works, feel free to check out my pieces on KATOH for hitters and pitchers over at The Hardball Times.

Before diving into the list, I’d like to point out that KATOH is not intended to replace the scouting aspect of prospect evaluation. Statistical analysis is an important tool in player evaluation, but traditional scouting is also a very important piece of the puzzle, especially for minor leaguers who are still learning the fundamentals of baseball. As a result, KATOH’s projections are likely a bit low on raw, toolsy players, and is probably too high on guys who reached their upsides at a young age. Still, despite its flaws, KATOH tackles prospect evaluation from an objective point of view, which I think can be useful in identifying statistical factors that may have been overlooked by traditional prospect evaluations. Do not take these projections as gospel; they are simply alternative perspectives provided through the sole lens of a player’s performance.

With all of that in mind, here’s a look at how Kiley’s 142 ranked prospects correlate with KATOH’s forecasts. Note that this graphic only includes players who logged at least 200 plate appearances or 200 batters faced in 2014:

Rplot

I think the trend is pretty clear. On average, the prospects ranked from 50 on back receive very similar projections; somewhere in the range of +3 WAR through age 28, meaning that they are forecast to have little or no impact at the big league level. But the projected WARs start to increase in a hurry once you get into the top 50, as higher-end prospects both reach their ceilings more often and are better players when they do.

I’ll be diving into some of the cases where KATOH disagrees with our list later this week. But for now, here’s each player on our Top 200, along with their KATOH projections. Keep in mind that the algorithm only considers what took place during the 2014 season, so players who sat out all of 2014 — like Miguel Sano — do not have KATOH projections. Projections that were calculated using fewer than 200 plate appearances or batters faced are marked with an asterisk (*). Again, absolutely not gospel, but perhaps interesting to look at.

Rank Player Position Team FV KATOH WAR thru age 28
1 Kris Bryant 3B CHC 70 16.0
2 Byron Buxton CF MIN 70 2.3*
3 Addison Russell SS CHC 65 13.1
4 Julio Urias LHP LA 65 12.2
5 Carlos Correa SS HOU 65 7.4
6 Corey Seager 3B LA 65 7.9
7 Lucas Giolito RHP WSH 65 5.0
8 Carlos Rodon LHP CHW 65 7.9*
9 Blake Swihart C BOS 60 4.3
10 J.P. Crawford SS PHI 60 4.4
11 Joc Pederson CF LA 60 18.3
12 Tyler Glasnow RHP PIT 60 6.9
13 Jorge Soler RF CHC 60 15.6
14 Francisco Lindor SS CLE 60 8.8
15 Miguel Sano 3B MIN 60 N/A
16 Joey Gallo 3B TEX 60 11.0
17 Daniel Norris LHP TOR 60 5.0
18 Mark Appel RHP HOU 60 1.7
19 Noah Syndergaard RHP NYM 60 11.5
20 Alex Jackson RF SEA 60 3.8*
21 Kyle Schwarber LF CHC 60 6.1
22 Dylan Bundy RHP BAL 60 2.0*
23 Eduardo Rodriguez LHP BOS 60 4.3
24 Jose Berrios RHP MIN 60 7.0
25 Robert Stephenson RHP CIN 60 2.2
26 Luis Severino RHP NYY 60 7.2
27 Chi-Chi Gonzalez RHP TEX 60 1.7
28 Jon Gray RHP COL 60 2.3
29 Jake Thompson RHP TEX 55 4.5
30 Austin Meadows CF PIT 55 6.9*
31 David Dahl CF COL 55 4.4
32 Archie Bradley RHP ARZ 55 5.7
33 Henry Owens LHP BOS 55 6.2
34 Ozhaino Albies SS ATL 55 10.6
35 Manuel Margot CF BOS 55 7.7
36 Hunter Harvey RHP BAL 55 5.0
37 Sean Manaea LHP KC 55 2.3
38 Maikel Franco 3B PHI 55 6.3
39 Jesse Winker LF CIN 55 6.5
40 Kevin Plawecki C NYM 55 3.2
41 Matt Wisler RHP SD 55 5.2
42 Eddie Butler RHP COL 55 0.8
43 Rio Ruiz 3B ATL 55 3.2
44 Jose Peraza 2B ATL 55 8.5
45 Tim Anderson SS CHW 55 2.2
46 Nomar Mazara RF TEX 55 5.7
47 Braden Shipley RHP ARZ 55 1.6
48 Rafael Devers 3B BOS 55 8.7*
49 Hunter Renfroe RF SD 55 1.8
50 Andrew Heaney LHP LAA 55 4.1
51 Aaron Nola RHP PHI 55 2.6
52 Steven Souza RF TB 55 5.2
53 Jorge Alfaro C TEX 55 2.1
54 Sean Newcomb LHP LAA 55 1.5*
55 D.J. Peterson 1B SEA 55 2.6
56 Brandon Finnegan LHP KC 55 3.2*
57 Reynaldo Lopez RHP WSH 55 2.1
58 Aaron Judge RF NYY 55 1.4
59 Aaron Blair RHP ARZ 55 2.3
60 Amed Rosario SS NYM 55 3.1
61 Raul Mondesi SS KC 55 6.8
62 Raisel Iglesias RHP CIN 55 N/A
63 Ryan Mcmahon 3B COL 55 4.6
64 C.J. Edwards RHP CHC 55 3.1
65 Steven Matz LHP NYM 55 2.2
66 Jameson Taillon RHP PIT 55 N/A
67 Jeff Hoffman RHP TOR 55 N/A
68 Max Fried LHP ATL 55 0.4*
69 Mike Foltynewicz RHP ATL 55 3.9
70 Aaron Sanchez RHP TOR 55 2.5
71 Alex Meyer RHP MIN 55 2.9
72 Nick Gordon SS MIN 55 1.8
73 Kohl Stewart RHP MIN 55 1.9
74 Tyler Kolek RHP MIA 55 0.6*
75 Vincent Velasquez RHP HOU 55 2.0
76 Alex Reyes RHP STL 55 3.7
77 Michael Conforto LF NYM 55 1.0*
78 Chance Sisco C BAL 55 6.0
79 Franklin Barreto SS OAK 55 6.6
80 Dalton Pompey CF TOR 50 7.1
81 Stephen Piscotty RF STL 50 3.9
82 Marco Gonzales LHP STL 50 3.9*
83 Trea Turner SS WSH 50 2.2
84 Brandon Drury 3B ARZ 50 2.8
85 Brandon Nimmo RF NYM 50 4.0
86 Andrew Susac C SF 50 2.4
87 Orlando Arcia SS MIL 50 3.1
88 Michael Lorenzen RHP CIN 50 1.5
89 Grant Holmes RHP LA 50 2.4*
90 Willy Adames SS TB 50 5.6
91 Raimel Tapia CF COL 50 3.3
92 Albert Almora CF CHC 50 1.8
93 Max Pentecost C TOR 50 0.4*
94 Kyle Zimmer RHP KC 50 0.2*
95 Erick Fedde RHP WSH 50 N/A
96 Justin O’Conner C TB 50 0.9
97 Daniel Robertson SS TB 50 3.4
98 Marcos Molina RHP NYM 50 5.3
99 Rob Kaminsky LHP STL 50 2.5
100 Jacob Lindgren LHP NYY 50 6.8*
101 Clint Frazier CF CLE 50 1.5
102 Jorge Mateo SS NYY 50 0.8*
103 Josh Bell RF PIT 50 1.9
104 Brian Johnson LHP BOS 50 2.3
105 Miguel Almonte RHP KC 50 2.1
106 Christian Bethancourt C ATL 50 4.0
107 Brett Phillips CF HOU 50 5.2
108 Jorge Polanco 2B MIN 50 2.7
109 Dilson Herrera 2B NYM 50 9.7
110 Kyle Freeland LHP COL 50 1.1*
111 Nick Kingham RHP PIT 50 3.2
112 Lucas Sims RHP ATL 50 1.3
113 Frankie Montas RHP CHW 50 2.9
114 Touki Toussaint RHP ARZ 50 1.0*
115 Kodi Medeiros LHP MIL 50 0.7*
116 Spencer Adams RHP CHW 50 N/A
117 Luis Ortiz RHP TEX 50 0.9*
118 Bradley Zimmer RF CLE 50 1.8
119 Roberto Osuna RHP TOR 50 13.8*
120 Greg Bird 1B NYY 50 5.2
121 Colin Moran 3B HOU 50 1.4
122 Alex Blandino 2B CIN 50 0.5
123 Jack Flaherty RHP STL 50 1.7*
124 Duane Underwood RHP CHC 50 1.6
125 Pierce Johnson RHP CHC 50 1.3
126 Lance McCullers RHP HOU 50 1.7
127 Travis Demeritte 2B TEX 50 0.8
128 Nick Howard RHP CIN 50 0.2*
129 Forrest Wall 2B COL 50 2.9*
130 Austin Hedges C SD 50 1.2
131 Lewis Brinson CF TEX 50 4.0
132 Derek Hill CF DET 50 2.7*
133 Michael Taylor CF WSH 50 3.7
134 Tyler Beede RHP SF 50 0.7*
135 Luke Jackson RHP TEX 50 2.6
136 Nick Williams LF TEX 50 4.6
137 Ian Clarkin LHP NYY 50 3.4
138 Ricardo Sanchez LHP ATL 50 1.1*
139 Hunter Dozier 3B KC 50 1.1
140 Kyle Crick RHP SF 50 3.6
141 Nick Travieso RHP CIN 50 1.2
142 Tyler Danish RHP CHW 50 4.2

We hoped you liked reading KATOH Projections for the Top 200 Prospects 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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brian
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brian

Nice work. Just wanted to make sure I’m clear on the defensive aspect on this in that it’s essential defense and position neutral projected WAR?

Guys like Swihart or Lindor might be underrated considering defensive value?