From last week’s edition of Peripheral Prospects:
Alex likes to weave word-things before naming names. I’m impatient. Let’s jump straight into the action.
Brad’s not wrong.
This is Peripheral Prospects. We seek to identify obscure future fantasy contributors. Let’s take the plunge. Only four this week, because I’m feeling picky.
Nabil Crismatt | 24 | SEA | SP (AAA)
Ah, yes, Nabil Crismatt, a very real person in the very real Mariners organization. Maybe it’s just a pleasant coincidence, but, for real, Seattle seems to be doing some interesting things with fringy arms in their farm system. Already the fourth minor league Seattle arm to grace these digital pages, Crismatt sports the 5th-best strikeout-minus-walk differential (23.6% K-BB) of any player who has split time between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings at both levels, he ranks No. 1. (In fairness to everyone else, only 17 other pitchers qualify for such a distinction.)
Back in 2017, Chris Mitchell’s KATOH projection system included Crismatt as a super-deep sleeper prospect. I swore by KATOH then, so I’ll swear by it now, especially when it’s convenient for me. Crismatt seems to boast exceptional command, although, in casting a glance at previous years, it seems the command comes and goes. If nothing else, he has very solid control to pair with a 13% swinging strike rate (SwStr%), a potentially fearsome combination.
Eric Longenhagen’s scouting report, also from 2017: “Crismatt will touch 95 with an average curveball and change and started throwing more strikes last year. He lacks the swing-and-miss secondary to confidently project him in middle relief.” Crismatt was doing a lot of what he’s doing now, just at lower levels, so it stands to reason his projection remains the same — perhaps just a little bit sunnier. Given the Mariners’ woes in both the rotation and the bullpen, it’s not far-fetched to imagine Crismatt getting a look in some capacity sometime in September.
Mitch Nay | 25 | CIN | 3B (AA)
Nay’s last RotoWire news item dates back to 2014, in case you were wondering when was the last time he was relevant prior to today. Because, as of today, Nay boasts a .313/.375/.575 slash line, good for 72% better than the average Double-A bat. With 12 home runs in 261 plate appearances, Nay’s power seems to lag relative to the rest of the juiced-ball landscape. That’s because Nay ranks among the top-15 in extra-base hits on a rate basis (fueled largely by a glut of doubles) out of some 400 hitters with at least 250 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A.
Prior to his power outburst, Nay’s calling card was excellent plate discipline, walking 12.0% of the time and striking out just 16.6% of the time at Double-A last year. Both numbers aren’t quite as impressive this year: a single-digit walk rate (8.8% BB) and a slight uptick in K’s (17.2% K). However, with newfound power gains in excess of the league’s own power outburst, Nay’s overall contributions with the bat have improved immensely.
Once a first-round minor-league Rule 5 pick (a hell of a distinction), Kiley McDaniel once described Nay as “a solid athlete with a plus arm and above average raw power” with “advanced feel to hit to all fields and is more of a contact-oriented line drive type at this point.” That was back in 2015, and it sounds exactly like Nay’s slash line, with the raw power having finally turned into game power. Dispose of arguments against Nay because of the juiced ball; remember that weighted runs created-plus (wRC+) accounts for context, and Nay has been excellent despite it.
Joshua Rojas | 25 | HOU | 2B (AAA)
In scavenging for a potentially high-quality speedster, I find myself again falling back on my boy Rojas. First featured on April 30 in Episode 1.07 (and featured at least twice prior to 2019 by dear and departed Carson Cistulli), Rojas has since graduated to Triple-A, where he hasn’t skipped a beat. Behold, his sustained excellence:
In roughly the same number of appearances, Rojas has stolen more bases, struck out less often, walked more often, hit for more power, and recorded a lower swinging strike rate in Triple-A than he did in Double-A. Granted, the numbers are almost identical. But the fact he has experienced no drop-off is remarkable, all small sample caveats considered.
I mean, I’m super down with a 25-45-.315 hitter — what Rojas has been with a 630-PA pace — but, hey, that’s just me.
Chas McCormick | 24 | HOU | OF (AAA)
Oh, no way? You mean it? Another Houston non-prospect with non-zero major-league promise?
In 311 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, Chas (presumably Chester) McCormick has hit eight home runs and stolen 11 bases. It’s nothing to phone home about, although a 15-homer, 20-steal pace ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at, either. What’s fascinating to me is — you guessed it — excellent and unheralded plate discipline. In those same 311 plate appearances, McCormick has walked not only a robust 15.8% of the time but also more often than he has struck out (13.5%).
McCormick’s batting average leaves something to be desired — a product of subpar power and a tepid batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Yet despite these flaws, McCormick’s .395 on-base percentage (OBP) and 6.7% swinging strike rate has helped him produce at a rate 20% better than average (120 wRC+). I imagine a McCormick debut might draw parallels to that of Matt Beaty, a Peripheral Prospect of mine this year. Beaty hasn’t blown anyone away, but he has held his own. McCormick could carve out a similar bench-depth, role-player job of his own — or more, should he find himself shipped away from the unfriendly confines of Houston’s cavernous depth chart and farm system.
* * *
The table has become exhausting to maintain. Too many notes to track. Instead of monitoring the current level of each player, I have simply substituted it for the highest level reached by each player. Ljay Newsome, hopelessly stranded at High-A for reasons unbeknownst to me, now earns the lauded “AAA” tag for his lone start at Triple-A (during which he struck out 10 and walked one, mind you).
Anyway, if something looks awry in the “Highest Level” column, holler at your boy.
|Zac Gallen||23||MIA||SP||MLB||W4, W6, W8||3|
|Jacob Wilson||28||WAS||2B||MLB||W6, W7, W8||3|
|Jake Cronenworth||25||TBR||SS||AAA||W4, W5, W12||3|
|Cavan Biggio||23||TOR||2B||MLB||W3, W4||2|
|Frank Schwindel||27||DET||1B||MLB||W2, W5||2|
|Ljay Newsome||22||SEA||SP||AAA||W9, W11||2|
|Joshua Rojas||25||HOU||1B/2B||AAA||W7, W14||2|
|Enyel De Los Santos||23||PHI||SP||AAA||W4||1|