Peripheral Prospects, Ep. 1.14

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)

First appearance

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)

First appearance

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)

Second appearance

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:

Joshua Rojas in 2019
Level PA HR SB BB% K% ISO AVG OBP SLG wRC+ FB% HR/FB SwStr%
AA 195 8 13 11.3% 14.4% .240 .322 .405 .561 164 35.7% 15.7% 7.0%
AAA 191 7 15 13.6% 13.6% .261 .311 .414 .571 140 37.0% 13.7% 6.8%

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)

First appearance

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.

The Table

The Table
Name Age Team Pos Highest Level Weeks Points
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
Mike Tauchman 28 NYY OF MLB W1 1
Zack Granite 26 TEX OF MLB W1 1
Myles Straw 24 HOU OF MLB W1 1
Nick Neidert 22 MIA SP AAA W1 1
Matt Swarmer 25 CHC SP MLB W1 1
Ildemaro Vargas 27 ARI 3B MLB W2 1
Drew Jackson 25 BAL OF AAA W2 1
Spencer Turnbull 26 DET SP MLB W2 1
Drew Anderson 25 PHI SP MLB W2 1
Garrett Cooper 28 MIA 1B/OF MLB W3 1
Ryan Hartman 24 HOU SP AAA W3 1
Luis Rengifo 22 LAA 2B/SS MLB W3 1
Brett Sullivan 25 TBR C AAA W3 1
Enyel De Los Santos 23 PHI SP AAA W4 1
Luis Barrera 23 OAK OF AA W4 1
Erik Swanson 25 SEA SP MLB W5 1
Denyi Reyes 22 BOS SP AA W5 1
Nick Solak 24 TBR 2B AAA W5 1
Rhett Wiseman 24 WAS OF AA W6 1
Tyler Beede 25 SFG SP MLB W6 1
Lucas Sims 24 CIN SP MLB W6 1
Josh Naylor 22 SDP 1B/OF MLB W7 1
Matt Beaty 25 LAD 1B MLB W7 1
Eli Morgan 22 CLE SP AA W7 1
Rylan Bannon 23 BAL 2B/3B AA W8 1
Jorge Ona 22 SDP OF AA W8 1
Zach Plesac 24 CLE SP MLB W8 1
Devin Smeltzer 23 MIN SP MLB W9 1
Parker Markel 28 SEA RP AAA W9 1
Garrett Whitlock 22 NYY SP AA W9 1
Danny Mendick 25 CHW 2B/SS AAA W9 1
Vince Fernandez 23 COL OF AA W10 1
Jake Rogers 24 DET C AAA W10 1
Kevin Cron 26 ARI 1B MLB W10 1
Daniel Palka 27 CWS OF MLB W10 1
Austin Allen 25 SDP C MLB W11 1
Will Craig 24 PIT 1B MLB W11 1
Luis Arraez 22 MIN 2B MLB W11 1
Jack Mayfield 28 HOU 2B/SS MLB W11 1
Ty France 24 SDP 3B MLB W12 1
D.J. Stewart 25 BAL OF MLB W12 1
Ashton Goudeau 26 COL SP AA W12 1
Jose Urquidy 24 HOU SP MLB W12 1
Jake Fraley 24 SEA OF AAA W13 1
Yonathan Daza 25 COL OF MLB W13 1
Bobby Dalbec 24 BOS 3B AA W13 1
Alec Bettinger 23 MIL SP AA W13 1
Alex Faedo 23 DET SP AA W13 1
Nabil Crismatt 24 SEA SP AAA W14 1
Mitch Nay 25 CIN 3B AA W14 1
Chas McCormick 24 HOU OF AAA W14 1

We hoped you liked reading Peripheral Prospects, Ep. 1.14 by Alex Chamberlain!

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Currently investigating the relationship between pitcher effectiveness and beard density. Biased toward a nicely rolled baseball pant. Reigning FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year and 5-time award finalist. Featured in Lindy's Sports' Fantasy Baseball magazine (2018, 2019). Now a Tout Wars competitor.

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OddBall Herrera
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OddBall Herrera

I vote that the Chas stands for Chaselton, because Chaselton McKormick sounds less like a baseball player and more like someone from Victorian England who just sat down at his secretaire to scratch out a letter to his dear cousin in Blampfordshire about how the fox hunt this season just wasn’t the same without him.