Projecting the Prospects in the Carlos Gomez Trade

Days after acquiring Scott Kazmir, the Astros went out and bought more players last night. This time around, they acquired Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects: Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, Adrian Houser and Josh Hader. Let’s take a look at how this quartet of minor leaguers projects. (Note: WAR figures denote WAR through age-28 season.)

Brett Phillips, 3.7 WAR

Brett Phillips, 21, has split the 2015 season between High-A and Double-A where he’s hit .320/.377/.548 in 97 games. Phillips hit for gobs of power (.268 ISO) at the former location, but it’s yet to show up (.142 ISO) at the latter. Still, his ability to get on base has enabled him to post a 133 wRC+ since his promotion. Phillips also has above-average speed, which shows up in his stolen-base numbers.

Phillips’s name came up a couple of weeks ago when I conducted a search for the next Paul Goldschmidt. His numbers in High-A this year looked an awful lot like Goldschmidt’s from the same level, which is encouraging.

KATOH really likes Phillips. Based on his 2015 performance, my system pegs him for 3.7 WAR through age 28, which would have made him the 119th-highest-ranked prospect on KATOH’s preseason list. KATOH gives him a 71% chance of cracking the big leagues by his age-28 season. His projection represents a modest decrease from the 5.2 WAR forecast yielded by his 2014 numbers. Here are some statistical comps based on this year’s performance between High-A and Double-A.

Rank Mah Dist Name PA thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 0.26 Gary Scott 198 0.0
2 0.36 Luis Saturria 11 0.0
3 0.49 Juan Encarnacion 3,627 5.5
4 0.63 Steven Proscia* 0 0.0
5 0.67 Jermaine Dye 3,401 10.3
6 0.85 Brian Gordon 0 0.0
7 0.85 Roger Kieschnick* 136 0.0
8 0.87 Corey Hart 2,629 8.6
9 0.89 Justin Morneau 3,601 14.6
10 0.91 Brian Turner 0 0.0
11 0.91 Jeremy West 0 0.0
12 0.91 Curtis Granderson 2,896 20.1
13 0.92 Nic Jackson 0 0.0
14 1.02 Brett Lawrie* 1,810 9.0
15 1.07 Mac Williamson* 0 0.0
16 1.08 Reid Brignac 905 0.0
17 1.10 Jeff Fiorentino 173 0.6
18 1.10 Rene Tosoni* 189 0.0
19 1.10 Decomba Conner 0 0.0
20 1.11 Elliot Johnson 531 0.6

*Hitters who have yet to play their age-28 season.

*****
Domingo Santana, 14.3 WAR

I wrote about Domingo Santana a few weeks ago when the Astros called him up in June. Since little’s changed in the last six weeks, I’ll keep things relatively brief here. Santana’s hit an astounding .320/.426/.582 in Triple-A this year, but his high-power (.262 ISO), low-contact (28% K%) profile makes him a risky prospect. His zone contact rate in Triple-A has been all sorts of terrible, which suggests he’ll have trouble transitioning to the big leagues.

Despite his chronic contact problems, KATOH’s all in on the 23-year-old. My system pegs him for a whopping 14.3 WAR through age-28, which would have put him 4th overall on KATOH’s preseason list. His 2014 numbers yielded a forecast of 8.2 WAR. The comps:

Rank Mah Distance Hitter PA thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 1.74 Rob Maurer 29 0.0
2 3.43 Jason Botts 326 0.5
3 3.71 Nate Rolison 16 0.0
4 3.85 Jim Thome 3,782 28.7
5 5.31 Josh Whitesell 142 0.0
6 5.32 Russ Canzler 102 0.0
7 5.33 Monty Fariss 259 0.0
8 5.54 Joe Vitiello 597 0.0
9 5.68 Brent Brede 473 0.0
10 5.74 Mark Leonard 334 0.7
11 5.86 Bobby Abreu 3,554 30.8
12 6.14 Jack Cust 676 2.4
13 6.17 Warren Newson 382 1.2
14 6.38 Vince Belnome* 14 0.0
15 6.40 John Vander Wal 671 0.5
16 6.60 Travis Hafner 1,548 10.1
17 6.83 Terrell Lowery 241 0.0
18 6.89 Jack Hannahan 680 1.7
19 7.20 Ryan Langerhans 1,141 3.4
20 7.27 Melvin Nieves 1,392 0.0

*Hitters who have yet to play their age-28 season.

*****

Adrian Houser, 0.8 WAR

Former second-round pick Adrian Houser has split this year between High-A and Double-A, where he’s worked primarily in a starting capacity. The 22-year-old has pitched to a 5.10 ERA and 4.67 FIP between the two stops, but has pitched decidedly worse since his mid-June promotion to Double-A. In 33 Double-A innings, he’s posted a 5.70 FIP, and and his strikeout rate has dropped from to 15% from 25%.

KATOH projects Houser for 0.8 WAR through age 28 with a 33% chance of cracking the big leagues. His 2014 numbers yielded a similar 0.7 WAR forecast. The comps:

Rank Mah Dist Name IP thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 0.34 Darrin Babineaux 0 0.0
2 0.37 Glenn Bott 0 0.0
3 0.40 Miguel Nunez* 0 0.0
4 0.48 Brian Stephenson 0 0.0
5 0.54 Brooks Pounders* 0 0.0
6 0.59 Bryan Shaw* 274 1.9
7 0.59 Simon Mercedes* 0 0.0
8 0.69 Matt Perisho 215 0.0
9 0.70 Stacy Hollins 0 0.0
10 0.71 Rick Roberts 0 0.0
11 0.73 Dae-Eun Rhee* 0 0.0
12 0.74 Jason Stockstill 0 0.0
13 0.78 Chad Frontera 0 0.0
14 0.78 Nelson Castro 0 0.0
15 0.80 Neomar Flores 0 0.0
16 0.82 Jayson Durocher 55 0.0
17 0.89 Dan Kyslinger 0 0.0
18 0.90 Chad Renfroe 0 0.0
19 0.92 Woody Heath 0 0.0
20 0.93 Joey Nation 11 0.0

*Pitchers who have yet to play their age-28 season.

*****

Josh Hader, 2.3 WAR

Josh Hader, 21, has pitched to a 3.17 ERA and 3.47 FIP in Double-A this year, where he’s split time between the rotation and the bullpen. Hader’s struck out a respectable 24% of batters faced this year, and has put up similarly impressive strikeout numbers in prior years.

KATOH projects Hader for 2.3 WAR through age 28 with a 79% chance of cracking the big leagues. His 2014 numbers yielded a similar 2.4 WAR forecast. The comps:

Rank Mah Dist Name IP thru 28 WAR thru 28
1 1.12 Brian Sanches 36 0.0
2 1.36 Brian Stephenson #N/A 0.0
3 1.47 Brooks Pounders #N/A 0.0
4 1.48 Brandon Villafuerte 102 0.0
5 1.61 Aaron Small 201 0.3
6 1.68 Hansel Robles 28 0.2
7 1.71 Amalio Diaz #N/A 0.0
8 1.72 Wilfredo Boscan #N/A 0.0
9 1.80 Zach Davies #N/A 0.0
10 1.82 Fernando Cabrera 175 0.0
11 1.84 Benj Sampson* 88 0.0
12 1.91 Anthony Swarzak 439 1.3
13 2.02 Jeff Housman* #N/A 0.0
14 2.03 Matt Lubozynski* #N/A 0.0
15 2.05 Juan Oramas* #N/A 0.0
16 2.08 Ryan Franklin 89 0.0
17 2.10 Mike Saipe 10 0.0
18 2.11 Martin Perez* 225 2.4
19 2.14 Carlos Alvarado #N/A 0.0
20 2.16 Scott Sullivan 324 1.7

*Pitchers who have yet to play their age-28 season.

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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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Tim
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Tim

Here come the Astros fans with “Domingo won’t possibly be that good cuz K’s” while simultaneously the Brewers fans will be saying “Phillips is a lot better than that cuz good stats in A-ball.”