The Dodgers, Marlins and Braves have pulled off a massive trade that sends Mat Latos and Alex Wood to the Dodgers, and a whole slew of other players (plus a draft pick) in other directions. The prospects involved include Jose Peraza, Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo and Zachary Bird. Here’s what the data say about these players. (Note: WAR figures denote WAR through age-28 season.)
Jose Peraza, Los Angeles Dodgers, 8.7 WAR
Jose Peraza is easily the most highly touted prospect who changed hands in this deal. The 21-year-old second baseman was playing in Triple-A this year, where he was hitting an admirable .294/.318/.379 with 26 steals. He put up much better numbers in the lower levels of the minors, however, including a .339/.364/.441 showing between High-A and Double-A last year.
Peraza’s offensive game is centered entirely around contact and speed. He’s struck out in just 8% of his trips to the plate this year, and has struck out less than 13% of the time in each of his five years in the minors. Peraza’s lack of strikeouts, along with his solid BABIPs, have enabled him to hit for high averages throughout his minor-league career.
Peraza excels in the speed and contact departments, but provides very little when it comes hitting for power and drawing walks. His isolated-power numbers have consistently fallen short of .100, including his .085 mark from this year. That figure would be even lower if not for his blazing speed, which has netted him seven triples so far. Perhaps even more alarming, Peraza’s walk rate has hovered below 4% since he graduated from Low-A Ball two years ago.
Despite of these imperfections, KATOH’s still very high on Peraza. My system forecasts him for 8.7 WAR through age-28, which would have made him the 15th-best prospect in baseball on KATOH’s list. This is a tick higher than his 8.5 WAR forecast in the preseason. Peraza’s numbers haven’t been as good as they were last year, but they’ve come against better competition, which counterbalances his drop in performance.
Here are the players who performed most similarly to Peraza in Triple-A by way of some Mahalanobis distance calculations. Career utility infielder Miguel Cairo was most similar, while Alcides Escobar has been most successful.
|Rank||Mah Dist||Name||PA thru 28||WAR thru 28|
*Hitters who have yet to play their age-28 season.
Zachary Bird, Atlanta Braves, 1.9 WAR
Zachary Bird has pitched exclusively in High-A this year, where he’s primarily worked in a starting role. In 89 innings, he’s pitched to an unimpressive 4.75 ERA and 4.18 FIP. His mediocre performance has been largely the result of his bloated 13% walk rate. On the bright side, he’s struck out an impressive 25% of batters faced. For pitchers in the low minors, strikeout rate is the most predictive metric of all. So Bird’s ability to miss bats suggests there’s some upside there in spite of his poor overall numbers.
KATOH isn’t particularly enthused with the 20-year-old. My system projects him for an unexciting 1.9 WAR through age-28, and gives him just a 58% chance of reaching the big leagues at all. Bird received a forecast of 1.7 WAR through age-28 in the preseason after a similarly unspectacular year in Low-A. As you probably guessed, Bird’s Mahalanobis comps aren’t great. However, a handful of quality big leaguers show up. Most notably, we see Boof Bonser, Zack Wheeler and Adam Ottavino.
|Rank||Mah Dist||Name||IP thru 28||WAR thru 28|
*Pitchers who have yet to play their age-28 season.
Kevin Guzman, Miami Marlins, 0.9 WAR
Kevin Guzman, 20, has worked primarily as a starter in Low-A this year, where he’s pitched to a 3.90 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 83 innings. Neither his strikeout rate (17%) nor his walk rate (8%) have been particularly impressive. Going by the numbers, Guzman is just a run-of-the-mill A-Ball arm.
KATOH forecasts Guzman for 0.9 WAR through age-28 with a 31% chance of cracking the big leagues. Last year’s numbers yielded a forecast of 0.4%. I didn’t bother including Guzman’s Mahalanobis comps here, as they were mostly career minor leaguers. The best pitcher in his top 20 was T.J. McFarland, which should tell you everything you need to know.
Jeff Brigham, Miami Marlins, 0.5 WAR
The Dodgers took Jeff Brigham in the fourth round last year, and he’s spent most of this season pitching in High-A. Through 68 innings at the level, the 23-year-old has a 5.96 ERA and 5.21 FIP. Yuck.
Based on his 2015 stat line, KATOH pegs Brigham for 0.5 WAR through age-28 with a 23% chance of throwing a single pitch in the show. On the bright side, that’s a tick better than the 0.3 WAR yielded by his 2014 campaign, when he posted a 4.37 FIP in Rookie Ball. Most of Brigham’s top statistical comps are players you’ve never heard of, with Rich Loiselle being the most distinguished pitcher of the bunch. Brigham throws very hard, so there’s always the chance he moves to the bullpen and takes off. But nothing about his performance so far suggests the Dodgers will miss him.
Victor Araujo, Miami Marlins, 0.5 WAR
Victor Araujo is a 22-year-old reliever who’s pitched to a middling 4.09 FIP in High-A this year. He misses a fair amount of bats, as evidenced by his 25% strikeout rate. I suppose makes him a mildly interesting relief prospect, although relief prospects are already uninteresting to begin with.
KATOH projects Araujo for 0.5 WAR through age-28 with a 24% chance of cracking the bigs. This is slightly down from his preseason forecast of 1.0 WAR, which was based on a strong showing as a 21-year-old in Low-A. All but one of Araujo’s top-20 Mahalanobis comps topped out in the high minors. The one exception is C.C. Lee, who’s thrown 33 forgettable innings with the Indians.