KATOH’s Top 100 List: Now Incorporating Multiple Years

Back in November, I published a top-100 prospect list that was generated by my KATOH projection system. Since that time, I’ve done some tinkering to improve the model. So even though we just did this, like, barely even two months ago, I’m back with another list for you. In addition to yielding lower AICs and R^2s and whatnot, this version also feels better in terms of the projections themselves. There aren’t as many head-scratchers as before, which suggests I’m moving in the right direction. There are still players who feel too high to me and others who feel too low to me, though I’d argue that’s not always necessarily a bad thing.

There’s still room for improvement. That will always be the case. But I think I’ve reached a point where I’ve gotten most of the low hanging fruit. This isn’t to say I’ll stop trying to make improvements, but don’t expect anything drastic anytime soon. This is the version I’m prepared to go to war with in 2016 (for now, at least). It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a sizable step in the right direction. Below, you’ll find a brief writeup of the changes, followed by a brand new top 100.

Moving Beyond WAR Through Age-28

In the past, a few commenters rightly pointed out that projecting a WAR total through age-28 wasn’t all that informative for some prospects. For a guy who’s already 25, his WAR through age-28 captures at most three years of team control, while it might capture all of a 21-year-old’s control years. In this iteration, I made my output a bit more flexible. For players 22 and younger, I still forecast WAR through age-28. But I expanded my horizons for players 23 and older, and now project the next six years. So 23-year-olds get a WAR thru 29, 24-year-olds get a WAR through 30, etc.

Obviously, this change benefits the players who are 23 and older. Aaron Judge, for example, grades out more favorably than he did in the past. (Though, he still fell just short of the top 100.) Jon Gray also benefited a good deal. This adjustment also makes age a bit less important in general. So the guys who have little going for them other than being uber young for their level don’t rise to the top as much. I’m looking at you, Samir Duenez. For now, at least, I’m calling the final output “WAR Thru First Six MLB Years,” even though that isn’t exactly what it’s projecting.

Other Tweaks

Players with very high stolen-base totals look better in my updated version. Burners like Tim Anderson, Jorge Mateo and Yoan Moncada benefit most from this change. Additionally, strikeout rate for hitters matters slightly less than in the previous version. Foiled again, Mr. Duenez. This tweak benefits strikeout machines like Joey Gallo. I’ll note that a hitter’s strikeout rate is still very important, but is noticeably (noticeably to me, at least) less important than in the last iteration.

Multiple Years of Data

This is the big one. For the first time, KATOH takes into account multiple years of data, rather than relying on only the most recent year. I came up with a weighting system by generating WAR values for historical players, and then regressing them against actual WAR totals. So guys who were great in 2015, but less great in 2014 aren’t automatically favored over players with longer track records. Max Kepler, who topped the list last time, is the name that comes to mind here. Best of all, I no longer need to cite “2014 KATOH” and “2015 KATOH” every time, which was confusing for everyone — including me. All players who logged at least 200 plate appearances or batters faced in 2014 have projections that consider multiple years.

So here goes. Again, I’m scouting the stat line, so this isn’t gospel. Take my math as seriously as you please. Minimum 300 minor league PA or BF in 2015 to qualify.

KATOH’s Top 100 List
Rank Player Position Team WAR Thru First Six MLB Years
1 J.P. Crawford SS Phillies 15.3
2 Jose Peraza 2B Reds 14.9
3 Orlando Arcia SS Brewers 14.0
4 Corey Seager SS Dodgers 12.3
5 Ozhaino Albies SS Braves 12.2
6 Julio Urias P Dodgers 12.0
7 Max Kepler OF Twins 11.9
8 Ruddy Giron SS Padres 11.6
9 Chance Sisco C Orioles 10.6
10 Manuel Margot OF Padres 10.5
11 Gleyber Torres SS Cubs 10.3
12 Jose Berrios P Twins 10.0
13 Tyler Glasnow P Pirates 9.5
14 Nomar Mazara OF Rangers 8.8
15 Trea Turner SS Nationals 8.8
16 Mallex Smith OF Braves 8.6
17 Lucas Giolito P Nationals 8.4
18 Jake Bauers 1B Rays 8.2
19 Alex Verdugo OF Dodgers 8.1
20 Alex Reyes P Cardinals 7.6
21 Gary Sanchez C Yankees 7.6
22 Alen Hanson 2B Pirates 7.4
23 Franklin Barreto SS Athletics 7.4
24 Ramon Flores OF Brewers 7.4
25 Trevor Story SS Rockies 7.2
26 A.J. Reed 1B Astros 7.1
27 Jorge Mateo SS Yankees 6.9
28 Clayton Blackburn P Giants 6.8
29 Jacob Nottingham C Athletics 6.8
30 Joey Gallo 3B Rangers 6.7
31 Michael De Leon SS Rangers 6.7
32 Cole Tucker SS Pirates 6.6
33 Reese Mcguire C Pirates 6.6
34 Dom Nunez C Rockies 6.2
35 Richard Urena SS Blue Jays 6.2
36 Tim Anderson SS White Sox 6.0
37 Kevin Padlo 3B Rays 5.9
38 Jorge Polanco SS Twins 5.9
39 Jesse Winker OF Reds 5.9
40 Willy Adames SS Rays 5.9
41 Gavin Cecchini SS Mets 5.8
42 Lewis Brinson OF Rangers 5.8
43 Byron Buxton OF Twins 5.7
44 Austin Barnes C Dodgers 5.3
45 Brett Phillips OF Brewers 5.2
46 Albert Almora OF Cubs 5.2
47 Nick Gordon SS Twins 5.2
48 Tyler Wade SS Yankees 5.2
49 Jamie Westbrook 2B Diamondbacks 5.1
50 Sam Travis 1B Red Sox 5.1
51 Austin Meadows OF Pirates 5.1
52 Ronald Torreyes SS Angels 5.1
53 Tony Kemp 2B Astros 5.0
54 Rafael Devers 3B Red Sox 4.9
55 Forrest Wall 2B Rockies 4.9
56 Andrew Aplin OF Astros 4.9
57 Micah Johnson 2B Dodgers 4.8
58 Josh Hader P Brewers 4.8
59 Francis Martes P Astros 4.8
60 Nick Williams OF Phillies 4.8
61 Matt Olson 1B Athletics 4.7
62 Renato Nunez 3B Athletics 4.7
63 Blake Snell P Rays 4.6
64 Oscar Mercado SS Cardinals 4.6
65 Cristhian Adames SS Rockies 4.4
66 Amed Rosario SS Mets 4.4
67 Josh Bell 1B Pirates 4.4
68 Andrew Knapp C Phillies 4.4
69 Isan Diaz SS Diamondbacks 4.3
70 Hanser Alberto SS Rangers 4.3
71 Jacob Faria P Rays 4.2
72 Willson Contreras C Cubs 4.2
73 Zach Lee P Dodgers 4.1
74 Cheslor Cuthbert 3B Royals 4.1
75 Boog Powell OF Mariners 4.0
76 Brandon Nimmo OF Mets 4.0
77 Yoan Moncada 2B Red Sox 4.0
78 Christian Arroyo SS Giants 4.0
79 Daniel Robertson SS Rays 4.0
80 Raul Mondesi SS Royals 3.9
81 Edwin Diaz P Mariners 3.9
82 Willi Castro SS Indians 3.9
83 Daniel Castro SS Braves 3.9
84 Michael Fulmer P Tigers 3.8
85 Jose De Leon P Dodgers 3.8
86 Cody Reed P Reds 3.8
87 Francisco Mejia C Indians 3.8
88 Yairo Munoz SS Athletics 3.7
89 Jomar Reyes 3B Orioles 3.7
90 Dylan Cozens OF Phillies 3.7
91 Bobby Bradley 1B Indians 3.7
92 Bradley Zimmer OF Indians 3.7
93 Jose Rondon SS Padres 3.7
94 Alex Bregman SS Astros 3.6
95 Jack Reinheimer SS Diamondbacks 3.6
96 Brent Honeywell P Rays 3.6
97 Franmil Reyes OF Padres 3.6
98 Jon Gray P Rockies 3.5
99 Zach Davies P Brewers 3.5
100 Taylor Lindsey 2B Padres 3.5

And so Marlins fans don’t feel left out…

Rank Player Position Team KATOH
207 Kendry Flores P Marlins 2.0


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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8 years ago

“In addition to yielding lower AICs…”

I didn’t know KATOH could help out diabetics.

8 years ago
Reply to  Phillies113

As someone currently doing some non-parametric event history modeling for an academic paper, the mention of Akaike’s Information Criterion pleases me.