Future Minor League Callups? Triple-A Hitter wOBA Leaders — NL

Yesterday, I discussed the American League Triple-A hitters leading in wOBA and their chances of being recalled in the coming weeks. Today, let’s switch over to the National League. As a reminder, I’m excluding any hitters currently in the Majors.

NL wOBA Leaders
Name Team Pos MLB Incumbent(s) Age 2021 Org Rk wOBA
Rangel Ravelo LAD 1B/OF Max Muncy/AJ Pollock 29 0.519
Jesus Sanchez MIA OF Adam Duvall 23 10 0.475
Travis Demeritte ATL OF Ehire Adrianza 26 0.461
Zach Reks LAD OF AJ Pollock 27 33 0.428
Joe McCarthy SFG 1B/OF Mike Tauchman 27 0.411
Luke Williams PHI Everywhere ex. C Almost entire lineup 24 0.407
Andy Burns LAD Everywhere ex. C/CF Almost entire lineup 30 0.406

Rangel Ravelo is one of just two Triple-A hitters sporting a wOBA over .500, but he’s the only one who has done it in over 100 plate appearances. Ravelo has been a career minor leaguer, debuting all the way back in 2010 at the age of 18 and not getting his first taste of MLB action until 2019. Ravelo has typically shown solid strikeout and walk rates, but his power has always been lacking. Outside of a tiny 36 PA sample at Rookie level in 2015, his career best ISO was just .179 and HR/FB rate 15.2%, but that mark was usually in the single digits. This season, he has exploded. His walk rate has surged into the mid-teens, while his strikeout rate has dropped to a career low, barely into double digits. Most excitingly is he has nearly doubled his ISO, which stands over .300, while his HR/FB rate has skyrocketed to 36.8%. Unfortunately, the Dodgers starting roster isn’t an easy one to crack as only an injury would potentially give him an opportunity for significant playing time.

Jesus Sanchez entered the season as only the 10th best prospect in the Marlins system, but I think it’s safe to say that his performance at Triple-A so far is enough to move him up in the organizational rankings. Sanchez sports 70 Raw Power, but has only posted ISO marks of .200 over small samples. The majority of his minor league career, he posted middling ISO marks and low teen HR/FB rates. That’s all changed this year as his big raw power is finally translating into games. His ISO has spiked to .318, while his HR/FB rate has jumped to 24.2%. He’s done all this while maintaining a sub-20% strikeout rate. With Adam Duvall sporting a .274 wOBA and the team sitting in last place, Sanchez is a pretty obvious callup and potential impact fantasy contributor.

Travis Demeritte started his 2019 MLB debut pretty well, but his performance fell off and he finished with just a .272 wOBA. Over his minor league career, he always showed patience and solid power with several ISO marks over .200 and HR/FB rates over 20%. Strikeouts were sometimes an issue though, but not typically because of a penchant for swinging and missing. At Triple-A this season, his walk rate has skyrocketed to an absurd 19.1%, his BABIP sits at a wild .436, and his power has blossomed further with career bests in both ISO and HR/FB. He’s still striking out, but given the reasonable SwStk%, that looks more the result of his patience and passivity than an inability to make contact. There’s a pretty obvious opening in the Braves outfield as the team is starting Ehire Adrianza in left field. Demeritte could get a chance soon to replace Marcell Ozuna.

Like Ravelo, Zach Reks is another Dodgers farmhand having a big start to his Triple-A season. He’s pretty interesting as well. He has struck out more than 30%, which is bad, but it’s come with a SwStk% no worse than his two previous seasons, and at only 11.7%, a mark that would typically result in a significantly better SwStk%. Like Demeritte, the strikeouts are likely due to passivity, which is better to see than whiffs. He has continued to hit for decent power, though that’s down from his 2019 breakout. The most glaring aspect of his performance is his absolutely insane .558 BABIP. We can’t even immediately scream luck because his LD% is an equally insane 37%, while his IFFB% is microscopic. There’s probably some luck involved in that BABIP, but his batted ball profile is so pristine, he is deserving of a crazy high mark. It’s too bad he’s unlikely to get much of an opportunity this year, if any, unless injuries strike.

The Giants have been crushed by injuries, so it’s a bit of a surprise that Joe McCarthy hasn’t been recalled yet. The 27-year-old is enjoying a big power surge, as his ISO has hopped over .300, while his HR/FB rate has jumped over 20% for the first time. That said, he used to steal bases, but hasn’t shown much speed since 2017, and the rest of his profile is decent, but nothing too exciting. Even if he’s recalled and earns some regular at-bats, he’s best used in NL-Only leagues.

Luke Williams has played every position in the minors except pitcher and catcher. Talk about flexibility! His Triple-A breakout has been driven by one improvement only — a .481 BABIP. That’s the fifth highest among all Triple-A hitters. Unfortunately, he sports a lowly .113 ISO and hasn’t homered yet in 71 at-bats. He does have three steals though, but that’s not going to get him recalled. Given the complete lack of power and the reliance on a massive BABIP that obviously won’t carry over to the Majors, I don’t think a recall is imminent here.

Andy Burns 번즈 almost matches Williams in positions played, but he hasn’t yet appeared in center field. He does have experience everywhere else except catcher. And heck, on a deep Dodgers team, that’s what’s needed for any chance to be recalled to make an impact. Burns has shown similar skills as he did at Triple-A in 2019, with solid strikeout and walk rates, a mid-teen HR/FB rate and an ISO at or over .200. The one difference is his BABIP has surged to .377, despite a fly ball tendency, sub-20% LD%, and a high IFFB%. So that’s definitely unsustainable and would drop his results back into solid, rather than excellent, range. Given his flexibility, he could still earn a recall, but I can’t imagine he earns enough playing time to be fantasy relevant.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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1 year ago

Any idea how much the 10 (actually 33) games that Sanchez played last year might impact his call-up date? The Marlins have to want to mess with his service time clock, right?

If so, then he’s prob not getting called up until July.

Am I way off base here?