Triple-A Hitter HR/FB Leaders — Jun 15, 2022

Let’s move our Triple-A review to hitters. Us fantasy owners probably care most about a prospect’s home run potential, so let’s review the HR/FB rate leaders. These are the guys who have recorded at least 150 PAs and posted a HR/FB rate of at least 30%.

HR/FB Leaders
Name Team Age HR/FB
Greyson Jenista ATL 25 38.9%
Trayce Thompson SDP 31 36.4%
Robel Garcia CHC 29 34.3%
David Villar SFG 25 34.0%
J.J. Matijevic HOU 26 32.4%
Tristan Gray TBR 26 30.4%

Greyson Jenista was last ranked as the Braves’ 23rd best prospect back in 2020. The left-handed outfielder first enjoyed a power spike last year, as his HR/FB rate essentially tripled to 26.8% from his 2019 marks. His ISO also doubled, so his power truly blossomed. This year, his HR/FB rate has skyrocketed even higher, though oddly, his ISO has declined, sitting just below .200. That’s kind of shocking to see that HR/FB rate, paired with that ISO! Part of the problem is that he just hasn’t been able to get his balls in the air, as his FB% is less than half what it was last year.

Overall, it’s clear Jenista’s power display last year was no fluke and actually just a sign of things to come. Unfortunately, he hasn’t taken as advantage of the increased power as he should be given the low FB%. He has also been striking out a lot, so all that power has merely resulted in a .339 wOBA. He’s unlikely to be on the cusp of a recall as a result.

Trayce Thompson has been the definition of a journeyman outfielder, accumulating a season’s worth of PAs over parts of six seasons with five different teams. With a high FB%, he’s quite the home run threat. Perhaps he gets another chance with the Tigers.

Robel Garcia’s performance wasn’t good enough for a MLB recall, as he has signed with a Korean team instead.

David Villar is the Giants’ 30th ranked prospect, but perhaps his ranking will be reconsidered after this season’s power show. He has doubled his HR/FB rate and his ISO has shot up to .353. He also hasn’t had to sacrifice contact, as his strikeout rate and SwStk% are in line with past years. Finally, his walk rate has jumped, so this is a true big breakout. He’s played several infield positions this year, so he’s someone to keep in mind if recalled, especially in OBP leagues.

J.J. Matijevic has always shown big power, but that hasn’t gotten him much love on prospect lists. This year, he has continued to hit, while not striking out too often, en route to an impressive .417 wOBA. I’m not sure why he hasn’t been given more of a chance, as he finally made his debut this year, but was given just five PAs before being optioned back to the minors.

Tristan Gray has posted interesting results, showing both big power, but also an inability to convert balls in play into hits. That has left him with a 30.4% HR/FB and .275 ISO, but just a .213 BABIP and .193 batting average. Strikeouts have been a major problem and he has failed to make up for those by taking a walk. The power is nice, but there’s nothing else to see here.

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.

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Mario Mendozamember
18 days ago

Hi Mike, I’ve been a fan of your other work for years now, but these leaderboard and laggard-board reviews…. there is not much fruit in them. This is a good example.

I would really like to see RotoGraphs as a whole do a lot more deep dives.

Baller McCheese (burner account)member
17 days ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

Mike, can you please only talk about the players on my fantasy team (e.g., “These Players Are Actually Really Good! You Must Be A Genius For Drafting Them Even Though You’re In Second To Last Place In Your League”)?

17 days ago
Reply to  Mike Podhorzer

The idea is sound, and I thank you for it.

I don’t want to speak for Mario, but maybe the arbitrary cutoff is the problem? 30%+ is a short leaderboard and mostly the names are non-actionable. This list, for example, has only two names that might be worth watching for.

Instead of writing about why non-prospects with fluke stats aren’t likely to go anywhere, it might be more interesting to give a bigger data dump (20-30 guys) with commentary only on the few that are worth discussing

Mario Mendozamember
17 days ago
Reply to  HappyFunBall

Precisely, HappyFunBall. The leaderboards might be a good place to hunt for interesting players to dig deeper on, look at some video, or talk to other industry folks about.