There’s a lot of info out there on a lot of prospects these days. Lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth has published detailed organizational lists for all 30 teams that typically run more than 30 deep. Similarly, Baseball America’s 2016 Prospect Handbook profiles the top 30 prospects in each organization.
However, each organization has far more than 30 or 40 players in its minor-league ranks. Using my KATOH projection system, I attempted to find the best of the rest. I’ve identified the players with the most promising statistical profiles who were omitted both from Dan’s organizational list and Baseball America’s organizational top-30 list. These are the players about whom no one is talking.
I think this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: these are non-prospects of the worst kind. They were ranked below the future utility players, below the future middle relievers, below the toolsy teenagers who were overmatched in Rookie ball and below the flame-throwing relievers with hideous walk rates. I’m scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel here.
Why am I writing about them, then? Well, because nobody else is, and my math suggests they’re at least worth keeping an eye on. So I decided I’d round them all up and put them all in an article that will generate an embarrassingly low number of page views.
The sad reality is that most of these players will never amount to much. Just about the entire baseball industry has looked at them and said “org guy,” and the baseball industry is usually right about these things. But every so often, an org guy grinds his way to the majors, and the players listed above seem like decent bets to do the same.
Flaws and all, each of these overachievers has a statistical track record that separates him from the morass of nondescript minor leaguers, and hints at a future in the big leagues. Most of them won’t get there, but perhaps a few will stick around long enough rack up a couple of WAR in the coming years. It’s tough to say which ones at this point, but their 2016 performances will certainly give us a better sense.
Below, you’ll find a series of tables. The tables consist of players who missed both Dan’s list and BA’s list, but are nevertheless projected to record at least one win over their first six (hypothetical) major-league seasons. Note that thee WAR figures were calculated over the winter and do not reflect anything that’s taken place within the first two weeks of the 2016 minor-league season.
Trevor Brown has already done stuff in the majors by hitting .375/.412/.1.000 while filling in for the injured Buster Posey. So at the very least, this post references one guy who’s done stuff in the majors. Argenis Raga is off to a notably torrid start as a 21-year-old in High-A.
Not much to see here at all. It appears as though the Reds have moved Chad Wallach back behind the plate, which undeniably makes him more compelling.
Colin Walsh made the Brewers as a Rule 5 pick, which immediately makes him one of the more accomplished players on this list. Taylor Lindsey, Luis Arraez and Tony Renda all appear to be ratifying KATOH’s faith with hot starts. Despite a strong showing in Triple-A last year, the Astros released Joe Sclafani a couple of weeks ago. My money’s on him signing with the Brewers, not that anyone cares.
Aside from Mitchell Tolman, all the third basemen are off to terrible starts. It happens.
KATOH liked Wilfredo Tovar better than any other minor-league free agent this winter, and he’s off to a fine start in Triple-A. Yay, confirmation bias! Pat Valaika and former top prospect Hak-ju Lee are also doing things in the minors this year.
Joey Rickard! Another guy who’s already done stuff in the majors. Keon Broxton also cracked the Brewers out of spring training, but has since been optioned back to the minors. Contact machine Samir Duenez is capitalizing on his solid 2015 by hitting up a storm in Low-A. Eduard Pinto, Jaff Decker, Drew Ferguson and Brett Siddall are all off to fine starts to their 2016 campaigns.
A lot of names in this group, including several who are off to fine starts in the minors. KATOH pegged Cesar Vargas as the best of the minor-league pitching free agents last winter. The Padres have converted him back into a starter, but that hasn’t stopped him from dominating. He has a 1.21 FIP and a 33% strikeout rate in two Double-A starts so far. Additionally, Bryan Rodriguez, Ronald Herrera, Mike Hauschild, Brock Dykxhoorn, Jorge Ortega, Greg Harris and Phil Klein have all had small sample success in 2016 in addition to their large sample successes from 2015.
Padre farm hand Brad Wieck appears to have taken well to his conversion to the bullpen.