Most of the current prospect buzz is on Yoan Moncada with our own Eric Longenhagan covering him in detail. Besides Moncada, a couple light hitting shortstops have gotten the call, the Athletics’ Joey Wendle and the Tigers’ JaCoby Jones. Let me start my examination with Wendle.
Wendle’s call to fame is that he was the main piece the A’s got for trading away Brandon Moss. Let me start with some comps to his 2016 prospect grades given by MLB.com.
Hitters who performed similarly to Joey Wendle’s scouting grades over their first three seasons:
The comparable list is pretty depressing. The names which have out as being an average major league developed some power like Story and Travis. In a nearly full season of Triple-A, the 26-year-old was able to hit just 12 home runs. I am not sure how much power he can develop going into his age-27 season. Unless an owner is in a league where every at bat counts, I would not roster him.
JaCoby Jones is almost the same player as Wendle, but with just a little more speed and power. Also like Wendle, Jones is probably best known for being the return prospect in a deadline trade. He moved to the Tigers in a trade with the Pirates involving Joakim Soria. Here are Jones’s comparables which look a little better because of his higher rated power and speed.
Hitters who performed similarly to JaCoby Jones’s scouting grades over their first three seasons:
Jones’s list is not great by any means, but it is better than Wendle’s. I may take a chance on the 24-year-old in 15-team or deeper leagues with the hope of 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Teoscar Hernandez: What do we know so far?
I am a little behind getting to Hernandez after his August 12 call-up. So far he has 59 major league plate appearances which can give us a decent idea of his plate discipline. He came to the majors with “plus speed and solid raw power”, but he “always has piled up strikeouts because his right-handed swing gets long and he struggles with pitch recognition”.
So far his major league numbers agree with his scouting reports. So for this season, his Swing% is at 39.6% with 46.5% being league average. The lack of swinging has helped him post a nice 12% BB%. The problem is that when he swings, he has problems making contact. His Contact% is about 10% points lower than the league average (68.8% vs 78.3%).
The low contact rate can be seen with his 25% K%. After struggling with strikeouts for several years in the minors, he looked to have them somewhat under control in 2016 with a 17% K% in Double-A and 16% in Triple-A. Those low numbers ended after getting promoted. The strikeouts will always put a damper on his value with AVG probably limited to around .260 range.
As for power, he has shown a decent amount with six of his 11 hits going for extra bases (three home runs). With the 10 minor league home runs this year, he has shown enough pop for pitchers to respect him.
The one trait which has fallen off is his stolen bases. After looking at his stolen bases more, he steals a lot but is not very successful as he has moved up minor league levels. In Triple-A this year, he was only successful in five of nine tries. He has one major league attempt and he was thrown out then. I am a little worried the Astros may put the brakes on his stolen bases if he isn’t successful.
Right now I put his full season talent level around .260, 10 HR, and 15 SB. It is tough to come up with some comps for him (high K%, high BB%, some power, and decent speed). Without looking at some numbers, Drew Stubbs comes to mind. Another similar player may be the current version of Brett Gardner.
If an owner wants to dream, they can hope he learns to steal effectively and then his value will soar up.
Time frame: Average velocity
2014 Future’s game: 96.9
2015 Future’s game: 97.4
June 2016: 94.8
July 2016: 94.4
Aug. 2016: 94.2
The Future’s game readings may be inflated because of the shorts stints so I looked at his prospect writings. Baseball America this year had his velocity at “mid to upper 90’s and has touched 100”. Well, he is not touching 100 mph with his max major league speed at 96.7 mph.
I wonder if owners should look to move him now for top value before the prospect write-ups come out and knock down his value.
Urias is closing in on an unspecified innings limit with a career-high 108, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said once Urias goes to the bullpen, he’ll probably stay there for the remainder of the season as the club continues to treat his arm with kid gloves.
• The Yankees and Mariners made an interesting trade yesterday with Ben Gamel going to the Mariners and Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula going to the Yankees. Both the arms are interesting, but a distance from the majors. Gamel has shown the potential for 10 HR, 20 SB and a .290 AVG for a full season. Keep an eye on how the Mariners use him to determine his value.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.