Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Hernandez, Wendle, & Jones

Joey Wendle and JaCoby Jones: The other callups

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.

Players With Similar Prospect Grades to Joey Wendle
Name Year Report Publication Batting Power Speed Defense Arm
Joey Wendle 2016 MLB 50 40 45 45 50
Trevor Story 2014 MLB 45 40 50 45 50
Robert Refsnyder 2015 MLB 55 45 50 45 50
Christian Arroyo 2014 MLB 55 45 50 45 55
Max Kepler 2014 MLB 50 45 50 50 45
Max Pentecost 2015 MLB 55 45 45 50 55
Darnell Sweeney 2015 MLB 50 40 55 50 50
Eddie Rosario 2014 MLB 60 40 50 45 50
Garin Cecchini 2015 MLB 60 45 45 45 50
Robert Refsnyder 2014 MLB 55 45 55 45 50
Dilson Herrera 2015 MLB 55 40 55 50 50
Jorge Polanco 2016 MLB 55 40 55 50 50
Daz Cameron 2016 2080 40 40 50 50 50
Billy Mckinney 2016 MLB 60 45 50 45 50
Michael Conforto 2015 BA 55 50 40 45 50
Devon Travis 2015 MLB 60 40 50 50 50

Hitters who performed similarly to Joey Wendle’s scouting grades over their first three seasons:

Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, Jose Lopez, Aaron Miles, Steve Lombardozzi, Andy Dirks, Daniel Murphy, Marlon Byrd, Neil Walker, Daric Barton

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.

Players With Similar Prospect Grades to JaCoby Jones
Name Year Report Publication Batting Power Speed Defense Arm
Jacoby Jones 2016 MLB 45 50 60 40 55
Nick Williams 2016 2080 50 50 60 50 50
Ian Happ 2016 BA 55 50 55 45 50
Jabari Blash 2016 MLB 40 55 50 45 55
Robert Refsnyder 2014 MLB 55 45 55 45 50
Trevor Story 2016 MLB 45 50 50 50 55
Steven Souza 2014 MLB 40 50 50 50 55
Tim Anderson 2015 BA 50 50 70 50 55
Trevor Story 2014 MLB 45 40 50 45 50
Christian Arroyo 2014 MLB 55 45 50 45 55
Sean Coyle 2015 MLB 50 50 55 50 45
Aledmys Diaz 2015 2080 40 50 50 50 60
Nick Gordon 2015 BA 55 50 55 50 60
Daz Cameron 2016 MLB 55 50 55 50 60
Forrest Wall 2016 MLB 55 45 65 40 45
Joc Pederson 2015 BA 50 60 55 50 55
Andrew Benintendi 2015 2080 50 60 60 50 50
Clint Frazier 2015 2080 40 60 60 50 60

Hitters who performed similarly to JaCoby Jones’s scouting grades over their first three seasons:

Nate McLouth, Desmond Jennings, Drew Stubbs, Mark Teahen, Lastings Milledge, Jason Kipnis, Will Venable, Eric Hinske, Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond

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.

Notes

Lucas Giolito velocity is down quite a bit. Here are some know Pitchf/x readings from BrooksBaseball.

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.

Julio Urias is approaching his innings limit and then will head to the Dodgers bullpen.

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.

We hoped you liked reading Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Hernandez, Wendle, & Jones by Jeff Zimmerman!

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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.

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baltic wolf
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baltic wolf

Thanks for writing about Teoscar Hernandez. I picked him up for $3 in an AL-only league and he’d be $7 to keep. Even though that team is a total rebuild, it doesn’t sound like he’s worth keeping at that price. And I’d still have Kepler, Trumbo and probably Nick Franklin—all relatively cheap—for my 3 OF slots.
If, on the other hand, he could come close to Drew Stubbs’ numbers his first 3 seasons with the Reds when he stole 30, 40 and 30 bases and averaged 17 HRs he’d definitely be worth keeping. But you don’t appear optimistic that he can achieve this, esp. the SBs, given his poor conversion rate.
I’ll look at his numbers after the season is over and see if I change my mind.

Btw: how do you pronounce his first name? I rarely see any Astros games on the East Coast. Is it Te-oscar or Teo-scar?