Prospect Scouting & Stats — Hitter Hit Tool – Present

Yesterday, I analyzed the hitter hit tool grades and their correlations with various hitter skill rates and results. Now let’s take a look at the leaders in the Hit – Present (HP) grade. Below are the top 12 in HP.

Hit – Present Top 12
Name Org Pos Current Level Age Top 100 Org Rk FV Hit – Present
Wander Franco TBR SS A+ 19.1 1 1 80 60
Gavin Lux LAD 2B MLB 22.4 2 0 70 60
Nick Madrigal CHW 2B AAA 23.1 41 0 55 60
Brendan Rodgers COL 2B MLB 23.7 31 1 55 55
Keibert Ruiz LAD C 21.7 88 0 50 55
Isaac Paredes DET 3B 21.2 120 5 50 55
Nick Solak TEX 2B MLB 25.2 109 2 50 55
Mauricio Dubon SFG SS MLB 25.4 10 45 55
Jake Cronenworth SDP SS/RHP AAA 26.2 9 45 55
Domingo Leyba ARI 2B MLB 24.6 26 40 55
Ramon Urias BAL 2B 25.9 23 40 55
Esteban Quiroz TBR 2B 28.1 39 35+ 55

At the top, we find our top overall prospect, Wander Franco. Amazingly, it isn’t just his power potential he receives strong grades in, but his HP as well. Why is he so exciting? It’s plainly obvious just looking at his stats. He has walked 83 times during his minor league career (10.8% rate) versus just 54 strikeouts (7% rate). That’s unheard of in the game today. Hitters simply don’t strike out that infrequently. The fact that he also walks at a double digit rate is even crazier, because it means he isn’t just swinging at everything with his good contact skills putting the ball in play before he even has a chance to take a walk. While he has posted strong BABIP marks, he doesn’t even need to to get on base at a solid clip. Oh, and all this has come at ages 17 and 18. Wow. His power has been in a downswing, but I’m excited to see how he develops.

There’s Gavin Lux ago near the top of the heap, and he’s the one with the most promise for playing time in the near-term. Big power potential to go along with a strong hit tool = future star?

If you were intrigued by Wander Franco’s plate discipline metrics, Nick Madrigal is an even more extreme version. He has struck out at an absurdly low rate in the minors, but he hasn’t walked nearly as often. That said, he has walked more than double the number of times he has struck out, and he has only struck out a crazy 3% of the time throughout his minor league career! But unlike Franco, Madrigal has never shown much power and our grades suggest that power isn’t expected to appear anytime soon. He does have speed though, so his upside might be Juan Pierre like.

I remain excited to see Brendan Rodgers in Colorado and I like that he doesn’t strike out often and still has shown ample power.

A catcher with a strong HP? Yup, that’s Keibert Ruiz, who has struck out at single digit rates at each minor league stop since 2018. His power has come and gone, though, and his BABIP has dipped at four straight minor league stints. So it’s hard gauge exactly what the Dodgers have here.

Isaac Paredes rarely swings and misses and has reduced his strikeout rate in his last two minor league stops, which is promising. However, he hasn’t shown any power growth and has no speed. As is the case for many prospects, his future value will heavily depend on how his power develops.

We don’t know where or how much Nick Solak would play when/if the season gets underway, but he looks likely to contribute solidly in multiple categories. His power really took off in 2019, so it’ll be interesting to find out whether that was a true skills surge or a fluke.

It’s odd to see Mauricio Dubon’s name on this list, as he rarely walks and generally hasn’t posted impressive batting average or OBP marks in the minors. From a fantasy perspective, I like that he has power and speed potential, but I wouldn’t count on him to contribute significant positive value in your league’s AVG/OBP category.

Jake Cronenworth enjoyed a nice breakout in 2019, as his ISO spiked, BABIP surged, and he continues to post a solid walk/strikeout rate combination. Before last year, he was mighty unimpressive though, so he’ll basically need all these improvements to stick to be worthwhile of monitoring. Oh, and he did this at the age of 25, so he’s a little old to be taking the breakout so seriously. That said, if he proves this was no fluke, there’s some power/speed potential here along with upside of a solid AVG/OBP.

Domingo Leyba was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a PED, so we’ll ignore him for now.

Ramon Urias has posted high BABIP marks in the past, but is older than you’d like to see and doesn’t do anything particularly noteworthy. Esteban Quiroz is even older (28 now), but his skills are actually rather intriguing. His power surged last year and he walks often, while still keeping his SwStk% and strikeout rate at an acceptable rate.

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.

Comments are closed.