Projecting the Prospects in the Dan Straily Trade by Chris Mitchell January 19, 2017 Dan Straily is on his way to becoming a Marlin. According to reports, the Reds have agreed to deal the soft-tossing, veteran righty for a trio of prospects. We’ll have more on the trade in a bit. For the moment, here’s what my KATOH system has to say about the players who are newly employed by the Cincinnati Reds organization. KATOH denotes WAR forecast for first six years of player’s major-league career. KATOH+ uses similar a methodology with consideration also for Baseball America’s rankings. ***** Austin Brice, RHP (Profile) KATOH: 0.9 WAR KATOH+: 0.9 WAR After an underwhelming tenure as a starter in the minors, Brice had success in the bullpen last year. Following a move to the pen in June, he posted a 2.10 ERA and 2.90 FIP between Double-A and Triple-A, earning him a September call-up. Brice’s recent minor-league numbers suggest he’ll have a future in the show, even if it’s a short-lived one. KATOH gives him a 50% chance of pitching in the majors again. But as a soon-to-be 25-year-old relief prospect without much track record, he isn’t likely to make a big impact. KATOH considered Brice to be the 10th-best prospect in the Marlins’ system, which says more about the Marlins’ system than it does about Brice. To put some faces to Brice’s statistical profile, let’s generate some statistical comps for the hard-throwing righty. I calculated a weighted Mahalanobis distance between Brice’s performance this year and every Double- and Triple-A season since 1991 in which a pitcher recorded at least 350 batters faced. In the table below, you’ll find the 10 most similar seasons, ranked from most to least similar. The WAR totals refer to each player’s first six seasons in the major leagues. A lower “Mah Dist” reading indicates a closer comp. Please note that the Mahalanobis analysis is separate from KATOH. KATOH relies on macro-level trends, rather than comps. The fates of a few statistically similar players shouldn’t be used to draw sweeping conclusions about a prospect’s future. For this reason, I recommend using a player’s KATOH forecast to assess his future potential. The comps give us some interesting names that sometimes feel spot-on, but they’re mostly just there for fun. Austin Brice’s Mahalanobis Comps Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR 1 Travis Chick 1.41 0.5 0.0 2 Mark Roberts 2.00 0.5 0.0 3 Matt Lubozynski 2.10 0.7 0.0 4 Beltran Perez 2.14 0.5 0.0 5 Wascar Serrano 2.16 1.1 0.2 6 Roland DeLaMaza 2.28 0.6 0.0 7 Jason Stevenson 2.31 0.5 0.0 8 Thomas Jacquez 2.35 0.8 0.0 9 Carlos Chantres 2.37 0.8 0.0 10 Johan Lopez 2.38 0.9 0.0 ***** Luis Castillo, RHP (Profile) KATOH: 0.8 WAR KATOH+: 0.8 WAR Castillo pitched very well at High-A last season, but did so as a 23-year-old with an underwhelming strikeout rate. His 4% walk rate was encouraging — as were the merely two homers he allowed in 118 innings — but 23-year-old A-ballers who don’t miss bats rarely amount to much more than up-and-down arms. He was also less successful in a late-season taste of Double-A. KATOH considered Castillo to be the Marlins’ 12th-best prospect. Luis Castillo’s Mahalanobis Comps Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR 1 Jesus Castillo 0.81 0.7 0.0 2 Jake Esteves 0.96 0.7 0.0 3 Thomas Oldham 0.98 1.2 0.0 4 Dennis Ulacia 1.05 1.1 0.0 5 Manny Ayala 1.11 1.1 0.0 6 Matt Lynch 1.21 0.6 0.0 7 Chris Nelson 1.21 0.7 0.0 8 Jason Stanford 1.27 1.0 1.5 9 Zack Segovia 1.41 1.1 0.0 10 Tim Manwiller 1.41 0.5 0.0 ***** Isaiah White, OF (Profile) KATOH: 0.1 WAR KATOH+: 0.1 WAR White was a third-round pick in 2015, but he’s had a lot of trouble making contact in pro ball. He struck out a troubling 30% of the time last year, resulting in a .214/.306/.301 batting line. Lots of strikeouts, no power and little speed isn’t a good combination for a corner outfielder. KATOH gives him less than a 2% chance of playing in the show.