KATOH Projects: Baltimore Orioles Prospects

Recently here, lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth published his excellently in-depth prospect list for the Baltimore Orioles. In this companion piece, I look at that same Baltimore farm system through the lens of my KATOH projection system. There’s way more to prospect evaluation than just the stats, so if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read Dan’s piece in addition to this one. KATOH has no idea how hard a pitcher throws, how good a hitter’s bat speed is, or what a player’s makeup is like. So it’s liable to miss big on players whose tools don’t line up with their performances. However, when paired with more scouting-based analyses, KATOH’s objectivity can be useful in identifying talented players who might be overlooked by the industry consensus or highly-touted prospects who might be over-hyped.

Below, I’ve grouped prospects into three groups: those who are forecast for two or more wins through their age-28 seasons, those who receive a projection of at between 1.0 and 2.0 WAR though their age-28 seasons; and then any residual players who received Future Value (FV) grades of 45 or higher from Dan. Note that I generated forecasts only for players who accrued at least 200 plate appearances or batters faced last season. Also note that the projections for players over a relatively small sample are less reliable, especially when those samples came in the low minors.

1. Chance Sisco, C (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 9.7 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 7.1 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

Cisco demolished High-A pitching last year to the tune of .308/.387/.422. He ran nearly-equal strikeout and walk rates, and complimented them with modest power and a high BABIP. That performance earned him a late-season cameo at Double-A, where he also excelled in many of the same categories. A season like that would be impressive from any 20-year-old, but Cisco’s is especially encouraging since he’s a catcher. Few catchers hit as well as Cisco has, making him one of the most compelling prospects in the game.

2. Trey Mancini, 1B (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 6.4 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.5 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

Mancini hit the snot out of the ball between High-A and Double-A last year to the tune of .331/.370/.539. However, he did so as a first baseman who was old for his level, which takes some of the shine off of his performance. Even so, Mancini’s power makes him very exciting, especially since it doesn’t come with bloated strikeout rates. Time will tell if Mancini will sustain his 2015 breakout, but if he does, he could be a potent offensive force as soon as 2016.

3. Jomar Reyes, 3B (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 6.0 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 1.1 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 55 FV

At 18, Reyes was one of the youngest players in Low-A last year, but he still managed an encouraging .278/.334/.440 batting line. Power production like that is uncommon for someone that young, which puts Reyes on a promising trajectory. On the downside, he’s had some trouble staying healthy, and is currently rehabbing from a broken hamate bone. But when he’s managed to stay on the field, Reyes’ performance has been encouraging.

4. Jean Cosme, RHP (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 2.9 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): N/A
Dan’s Grade: 35 FV

A 2014 17th round pick, Cosme exceeded expectations last year in the New York Penn League. The 19-year-old put up a 23% strikeout rate over 12 starts, and allowed just two homers. Cosome ran a 4.74 ERA, so the results weren’t great, but his peripherals hint at a future in the big leagues. It will be very interesting to see how he fares in full-season ball in 2016. He also throws in the mid-90s, so he’s not just one of those guys who fools inexperienced hitters with deception and bendy stuff.

5. Cedric Mullins, OF (Profile)
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 2.9 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): N/A
Dan’s Grade: N/A

Baltimore nabbed Mullins in the 13th round last year, and he closed out his draft year by hitting .264/.333/.375 with 17 steals in the New York Penn League. Mullins’ high-contact approach pairs well with his speed, but he offers little else offensively. He doesn’t hit for much power, and at 5-foot-8, that may never change. Still, the skills he does have make him a compelling prospect, although next year in full-season ball will be the real test.

*****
1-2 WAR Players

 Orioles Prospects Foretasted for 1-2 WAR thru 28
Rank Name Position WAR thru 28 Dan’s FV
6 Alex Murphy C 1.5 NA
7 Joe Gunkel RHP 1.2 35+
8 Parker Bridwell RHP 1.2 45
9 David Hess RHP 1.1 45
10 Christian Walker 1B 1.1 40
11 Tyler Wilson RHP 1.1 40
12 Brian Gonzalez LHP 1.1 NA
13 Travis Seabrooke LHP 1.1 35
14 Ryan Mountcastle SS 1.1 40+
15 Adrian Marin SS 1.1 40

Of the players in this tier of prospects, David Hess is perhaps the most notable. He pitched fairly well in A-Ball last year, but not well enough to outweigh the fact that he wasn’t particularly young for his level. Hess has very good stuff, but has yet to really distinguish himself statistically. Parker Bridwell’s a high-strikeout pitcher, which KATOH likes, but his age and elevated walk numbers stifle his projection. Bridwell’s 2015 season was cut short by elbow tendinitis, which may partially explain his lackluster results. Alex Murphy turned in a .257/.332/.426 showing in A-Ball, which was fairly encouraging for a catcher. He strikes out a bit much, but hit for decent power last year.

*****

Others

Dylan Bundy, RHP
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): N/A
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): N/A
Dan’s Grade: 55 FV

Way back in 2012, a 19-year-old Dylan Bundy whiffed 30% of opposing hitters in the minors and posted a 2.05 ERA. Fast forward three-plus years, and injuries have limited Bundy to just 65 minor league innings since. Bundy simply hasn’t played enough for KATOH to formulate an opinion on him. But his small-sample numbers from Double-A last year — a 1.81 FIP over 22 innings — suggest he’s still got it.

Hunter Harvey, RHP
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): N/A
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 4.1 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 55 FV

Harvey sat out the 2015 season with elbow discomfort, but is supposedly healthy now, and should be ready to go by spring training. In 2014, before his injury, he pitched to a 3.18 ERA in Low-A on the strength of a 29% strikeout rate. Those numbers make Harvey an extremely promising prospect, but it remains to be seen how he’ll bounce back from injury.

Christopher Lee, LHP
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.5 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 0.2 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45+ FV

Lee opened last season in the Astros organization, but was traded to Baltimore in May in exchange for a couple of international bonus slots. Lee pitched at three levels last year — Low-A, High-A and Double-A — where he put up a respectable 3.55 FIP. As a 23-year-old who went pro out of high school, Lee’s a bit old to have spent most of last season in A-Ball. However, as Dan noted in his write-up, Lee experienced a substantial bump in velocity late in the season, so his 2015 stats probably don’t do him justice. Lee’s case is a perfect example of how scouting the stat line can lead you astray.

D.J. Stewart, OF
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.1 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): N/A
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

The Orioles took Stewart 25th overall in last summer’s amateur draft, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his stat line. The Florida State product mustered just a .218/.288/.344 triple slash in 268 plate appearances in Short-Season A-Ball. The biggest culprit was his 19% strikeout rate, although he didn’t hit for very much power, either. A poor 60 games to start a pro career isn’t a death knell by any means, so take KATOH’s pessimism with a grain of salt. Stewart’s still a very talented ball player who crushed ACC pitching just a few months ago. But I might start to worry if he doesn’t perform next year, either.

Dariel Alvarez, OF
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2015 stats): 0.8 WAR
KATOH Projection Through Age 28 (2014 stats): 1.0 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45 FV

At 27, Alvarez isn’t really a prospect anymore, which is why KATOH comes down pretty hard on him. KATOH projects WAR through age-28, after all, and Alvarez is nearly 28 already. But despite his age, the Cuban outfielder did some encouraging things at the Triple-A level last year. He paired a low strikeout rate (12%) with a healthy dose of power (.148 ISO). There’s reason to think he can be a useful role player in the big leagues.

We hoped you liked reading KATOH Projects: Baltimore Orioles Prospects by Chris Mitchell!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




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.

newest oldest most voted
daryl
Guest
daryl

Any thoughts on Yastzremski? I would be curious how he graded out.

esdrtfyu
Guest
esdrtfyu

There is absolutely no change whatsoever in how the Phillies are run.

Bill Giles put the ownership group together with people who think like him 35 years ago. Guess what? Bill Giles is still there. He took part in the hiring of MacPhail and Klentak both. He was at the press conference announcing the hiring of Klentak.

35 Years.

Jim Thome and Cliff Lee

That’s it.

35 Years.

Carlos Ruiz and Maikel Franco, the only two starting quality players signed out of Latin America. Ruiz was signed out of Panama for eight thousand dollars. Need that in numerical form? $8,000- Eight Stacks.

Maikel Franco was signed for $100,000- That’s one hundred thousand American dollars. One hundred Stacks.

The Red Sox paid $63 million to sign Yoan Moncada. The Phillies paid $108,000- to sign both Carlos Ruiz and Maikel Franco.

Two real free agents and two starting position players from Latin America signed for nothing.

The Phillies Way is unchanged. They will sit in the cellar until they collect enough free talent in the MLB Plantation Slave Auction held every June. These young slave/intern players will be exploited to the max by the Phillies bloodsucking ownership cabal. For seven years they will make these bloodsucking criminals massive profits. If a few become fan favorites and the crowds are still huge as they near free agency then they will be signed to short, team friendly deals. If any have slipped through their screening process and turn out to be normal players seeking long contracts they will be demonized and booted out the door.

The Phillies after telling lies to their fan base from 2012 onward finally admitted they were “rebuilding”. The truth of the matter is they are already planning their next rebuild as they conduct this one.

THAT is The Phillies Way.

Google: Kevin Maitan FREE_AEC
…..