Projecting Willie Calhoun, Brendon Davis and A.J. Alexy

The Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish. Below are the projections for the prospects the Rangers received in exchange for Darvish’s services. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Willie Calhoun, 2B/LF/DH (Profile)

KATOH: 9.4 WAR (15th)

KATOH+: 8.9 WAR (24th)

Calhoun has hit a rock-solid .298/.357/.574 at Triple-A this season as a 22-year-old second baseman. His power numbers have been undoubtedly helped by the PCL and he doesn’t exactly look like a premium athlete. But still: Calhoun’s blend of contact and power makes him extremely exciting. His defense, however, is suspect. Clay Davenport’s metrics say his defense at second has improved this year, but going from unbelievably bad to merely really bad doesn’t do much to help Calhoun’s case. Calhoun is a prospect without a position for now, so a move to the American League makes a ton of sense. KATOH had Calhoun as the Dodgers’ second-best prospect, behind Alex Verdugo.

To put some faces to Calhoun’s statistical profile, let’s generate some statistical comps. I calculated a Mahalanobis distance between Calhoun’s Triple-A performance and every season since 1991. 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. 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.

Willie Calhoun Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Mike Restovich 5.4 0.3
2 Dee Brown 4.4 0.0
3 Jose Ortiz 10.1 0.3
4 Daryle Ward 4.5 0.0
5 Shin-Soo Choo 4.8 18.2
6 Danny Clyburn 4.4 0.0
7 Rich Butler 4.8 0.0
8 Chad Hermansen 8.1 0.0
9 Eric Patterson 4.4 0.3
10 Jack Cust 5.5 5.1

Brendon Davis, IF (Profile)



Davis is a powerful infielder who hit a cool .245/.357/.403 as a 19-year-old at Low-A before earning a recent promotion to High-A. Davis has power, but he strikes out too frequently to be much of a prospect for now, especially since metrics suggest he isn’t a shortstop long-term. But that type of power from a teenage infielder isn’t particularly common.

Brendon Davis Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 John Whittleman 1.3 0.0
2 Adam Morrissey 1.6 0.0
3 Juan Gonzalez 0.7 0.0
4 Scott Moore 0.6 0.0
5 Donnie Murphy 2.6 1.1
6 Damaso Espino 0.7 0.0
7 Raul Tablado 1.3 0.0
8 Ramon Vazquez 1.0 4.0
9 Adonis Harrison 0.5 0.0
10 John Whittleman 1.0 0.0

A.J. Alexy, RHP (Profile)


An 11th-round pick last year, Alexy has struck out an impressive 28% of hitters as a starter in Low-A. On the downside, he’s also walked 12%, which is quite concerning. Alexy has some promise, but pitchers like him usually wind up as relievers, if anything.

AJ Alexy Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Chuck Lofgren 1.8 0.0
2 Collin Balester 1.5 0.6
3 Eddie Morlan 1.8 0.0
4 Kyle Rogers 0.6 0.0
5 Dan Cortes 2.0 0.1
6 Mitch Atkins 1.0 0.0
7 Alexander Smit 1.6 0.0
8 James Houser 1.7 0.0
9 Jeff Lyman 0.6 0.0
10 Jay Rainville 1.3 0.0

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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Spencer Jonesmember
6 years ago

Did you flip the comps for the last two players??