Tuesday, March 5, 2024
AnalysisMLB

Top 30 MLB Prospects Player Comps

I am not a scout. I have been to a total of one minor league baseball game in my life. I only stayed for several innings.

As an active member of a very sophisticated keeper league, though, I am entitled to roster up to 16 minor leaguers every year. Videos that prospect analysts post on the internet can be valuable on occasion, but I find it difficult to dissect the raw footage that features a camera angle that I am not one bit accustomed to. I read scouting reports from those one who know more about prospects than I do, but even then, I still am left seeking more information.

My favorite way to evaluate prospects is to scrutinize each player’s stat-line. For hitters, I like to see low strikeout rates, high walk rates, a high wRC+, a low ground ball percentage, and some speed. When it comes to pitchers, I hope to see a high strikeout rate, low walk rate, high ground ball percentage, and a low xFIP.

The stats above are not overly affected by ballpark, which is pivotal. wRC+ is adjusted for park and league (league average is always 100), and xFIP estimates home runs allowed by applying league average HR/FB% to amount of fly balls each pitcher has given up.

About a week ago, I came up with a system that would allow me to produce similarity scores for a given prospect’s offensive performance at a minor league level in a single-season. It’s too bad we don’t have minor league defensive stats.

The system I created looks at six different factors: age, BB%, K%, GB%, Spd, and wRC+.

The way I generated the scores is quite simple. For each level (R [Domestic], R [International], A-, A, A+, AA, and AAA), I downloaded all player-seasons with at least 200 plate appearances since 2007 from FanGraphs. Then, I calculated approximate Z-scores for the players relative to the other player-seasons for that particular level. Since league average data is not available publicly (at least I don’t think), I just averaged all player’s numbers for each stat (I did not do a weighted average based on playing time since it would hardly make a difference and would take significantly more time [not a good combination]). I found the sample standard deviation based on the players I had and did not adjust anything based on the year.

To arrive at similarity scores, I subtracted the Z-score for the player I wanted to find similarity scores for from each player’s Z-score and squared the result. I did this for all six stats/categories, subsequently adding the squared results together. Lower similarity scores (a small difference between their stats) would indicate a player that was more similar to the player I am interested in. Age was weighted more heavily for double-A and triple-A position players due to high age variation at those levels.

For pitchers, I followed the same process. I incorporated six stats: age, IP/G, BB%, K%, GB%, and xFIP.

My favorite site to read about prospects is FanGraphs. Their writing on minor leaguers is insightful and complements the own analysis that I like to do. In February, Eric Longenhagen released his Top 100 Prospects List for 2020.

For each of the top 30 prospects on his list, I am going to share the top 5-7 most similar single-seasons at the highest minor league level that that particular prospect has played at (note that the player must have met the playing time requirement of 200 PA / 50 IP).

No. 1 Wander Franco, SS, Rays A+

  • Jason Heyward (2009)
  • Eric Hosmer (2010)
  • Jake Bauers (2015)
  • Luis Urias (2016)
  • Wilfredo Tovar (2012)
  • Mike Trout (2010)

No. 2 Gavin Lux, 2B, Dodgers, AAA

  • Mookie Betts (2014)
  • Travis Snider (2009)
  • Brandon Nimmo (2016)
  • Jeimer Candelario (2016)
  • Carlos Gonzalez (2009)
  • Domingo Santana (2015)

No. 3 MacKenzie Gore, SP, Padres, A+

  • Shelby Miller (2011)
  • Jake Odorizzi (2011)
  • Jordan Balazovic (2019)
  • Triston McKenzie (2017)
  • Will Inman (2007)
  • Chance Adams (2016)
  • Jake McGee (2007)

No. 4 Jo Adell, LF, Angels, A+ (2018)

  • Chris Owings (2012)
  • Javier Baez (2013)
  • Andres Gimenez (2018)
  • Orlando Calixte (2012)
  • Jonathan Galvez (2011)
  • Victor Robles (2017)

No. 5 Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles, Did Not Qualify (DNQ)

No. 6 Jesus Luzardo, SP, Athletics, AA (2018)

  • Bryse Wilson (2018)
  • Edwin Escobar (2013)
  • Michael Bowden (2008)
  • Nick Neidert (2018)
  • Dustin May (2019)
  • Kyle Smith (2014)
  • Clayton Kershaw (2008)

No. 7 Luis Robert, CF, White Sox AAA

  • Trevor Story (2015)
  • Dustin Fowler (2017)
  • Byron Buxton (2016)
  • Scott Kingery (2017)
  • Michael Hermosillo (2018)
  • Jay Bruce (2008)

No. 8 Nate Pearson, SP, Blue Jays AA

  • Jake McGee (2010)
  • Rogelio Armenteros (2017)
  • Cody Martin (2013)
  • Matt Barnes (2013)
  • James McDonald (2007)
  • Lewis Thorpe (2018)
  • Jake Arrieta (2009)

No. 9 Julio Rodriguez, RF, Mariners, A

  • Brendan Rodgers (2016)
  • Gary Sanchez (2012)
  • Andrew Lambo (2008)
  • Xander Bogaerts (2011)
  • Javy Guerra (2015)
  • Eloy Jimenez (2016)

No. 10 Joey Bart, C, Giants, A+

  • Jared Young (2018)
  • Derek Dietrich (2012)
  • Johan Mieses (2018)
  • Alex Todd (2012)
  • Jiandido Tromp (2016)
  • Francisco Martinez (2013)

No. 11 Jarred Kelenic, CF, Mariners, A

  • Corey Seager (2013)
  • Luis Alejandro Basable (2016)
  • Trea Turner (2014)
  • Canaan Smith (2019)
  • Miles Head (2011)
  • Bryce Harper (2011)

No. 12 Matt Manning, SP, Tigers, AA

  • Marcus Stroman (2013)
  • Jose Berrios (2015)
  • Joe Ross (2015)
  • Taijuan Walker (2013)
  • Corbin Burnes (2017)
  • Cionel Perez (2018)

No. 13 Royce Lewis, CF, Twins, A+

  • Orlando Calixte (2012)
  • Kyle Waldrop (2013)
  • Sean Coyle (2012)
  • Tony Thomas (2008)
  • Joseph Monge (2016)
  • Miguel Andujar (2015)

No. 14 Dustin May, SP, Dodgers, AA

  • Zach Davies (2014)
  • Adam Warren (2010)
  • Nick Neidert (2018)
  • Jackson Kowar (2019)
  • Corbin Martin (2015)
  • Jose Berrios (2015)
  • Jesus Luzardo (2018)

No. 15 Forrest Whitley, SP, Astros, DNQ

No. 16 Casey Mize, SP, Tigers, AA

  • Michael Feliz (2015)
  • Liam Hendriks (2011)
  • Jakob Junis (2016)
  • Edwin Escobar (2013)
  • Michael Bowden (2008)
  • Luke Jackson (2014)

No. 17 Brendan McKay, SP, Rays, DNQ

No. 18 Luis Patiño, SP, Padres, A+

  • Dylan Bundy (2012)
  • Tyler Glasnow (2014)
  • Matt Manning (2018)
  • Jake McGee (2007)
  • Triston McKenzie (2017)
  • Ian Anderson (2018)

No. 19 Michael Kopech, SP, White Sox, AAA (2018)

  • Alex Reyes (2016)
  • Edison Volquez (2007)
  • Josh Hader (2016)
  • Mike Foltynewicz (2015)
  • Danny Salazar (2014)
  • Tyler Glasnow (2016)

No. 20 Cristian Pache, CF, Braves, AA

  • Josh Stephen (2019)
  • Alex Liddi (2010)
  • Greg Halman (2008)
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. (2017)
  • Jason Martin (2017)
  • Ronald Guzman (2016)

No. 21 Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals, AAA

  • Jake Bauers (2017)
  • Luis Urias (2018)
  • Travis Denker (2008)
  • J.P. Crawford (2017)
  • Caleb Gindl (2011)
  • Willy Adames (2017)

No. 22 CJ Abrams, SS, Padres, DNQ

No. 23 Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals, DNQ

No. 24 Marco Luciano, SS, Giants, DNQ

No. 25 A.J. Puk, SP, Athletics, AA (2017)

  • Cionel Perez (2018)
  • Mike Minor (2010)
  • Yordano Ventura (2013) — RIP
  • Ian Anderson (2019)
  • Jharel Cotton (2015)
  • Blake Snell (2015)
  • Gio Gonzalez (2007)

No. 26 Spencer Howard, SP, Phillies, A (2018)

  • Pedro Fernandez (2015)
  • Nestor Cortes (2016)
  • JT Brubaker (2016)
  • Chris Vallimont (2019)
  • Fautino De Los Santos (2007)
  • Angel Perdomo (2016)
  • Logan Allen (2017)

No. 27 Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays, AA

  • Peter Bourjos (2009)
  • Derrick Robinson (2010)
  • Hak-Ju Lee (2012)
  • Tyler Goeddel (2015)
  • Sean Henry (2008)
  • Gerrardo Parra (2008)
  • Brett Lawrie (2010)

No. 28 Kristian Robinson, CF, Diamondbacks, DNQ

No. 29 Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Orioles, A

  • Jose Suarez (2017)
  • Shelby Miller (2010)
  • Drew Rom (2019)
  • Clayton Kershaw (2007)
  • Seth Corry (2019)

No. 30 Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates, AAA

  • Dustin Ackley (2010)
  • Tim Beckham (2012)
  • Jack Reinheimer (2016)
  • Austin Meadows (2017)
  • Matt Tuiasosopo (2008)
  • Tyler Wade (2018)

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like to know the minor league statistical comps for a prospect or current player, DM me on Twitter (@MaxSportsStudio) or comment below.

Featured image credit: Flickr; creator – Picasa