In this weekly update of my minor league hitter projections, No. 7 ranked Trent Grisham and No. 9 ranked Bo Bichette have graduated to the major leagues and look to make an immediate impact. There’s plenty of other movements in the rankings, especially towards the bottom of the list where the projections are a virtual tie that can be broken by recent performance. The methodology of the system for projecting peak WAR can be found here, and more detailed projections with percentile outcomes beyond the top 100 can be found in the link here.
- Luis Robert continues to dominate the minor leagues, dropping his AAA strikeout rate to 17.2%, while posting a .329/.398/.671—that’s elite even for an extremely favorable offensive environment. That’s enough to claim the No. 2 spot in the rankings.
- Not far behind Robert is Gavin Lux, who moves up to No. 4 with an absurd 234 wRC+ in AAA. Max Muncy and Corey Seager are set in the Dodgers middle infield for now, but Lux could still force his way into receiving playing time before the end of the season.
- Francisco Mejia is the more heralded young Padres catcher, but Luis Campusano has been producing just like Mejia did in the low minors. He’s put up a 146 wRC+ in A-ball while walking nearly as much as he’s struck out. The combination of contact and power at catcher makes Campusano a very interesting player to follow.
- Tyler Freeman continues to have success with little recognition. He’s now batting .348 with an 8.8% strikeout rate and 149 wRC+ at A+ with plus speed as well. He doesn’t walk much and hits many more doubles than home runs, but he’ll be hard to ignore if he keeps performing at the rate he’s done so far.
- Abraham Toro also climbs up to No. 25 with a 181 wRC+ and 15.3% strikeout rate in July. His overall performance at AA has been impressive this year, but he’s blocked by Alex Bregman at third base, so his best bet for major league starts could be a trade this offseason.
- Taken just 63rd overall in the 2018 draft, Alek Thomas is already looking like a steal for the Diamondbacks. He’s hit at every stop in the minors while showcasing five-tool potential.
- Despite being just 19 years old, Xavier Edwards has continued to hit since his promotion to A+, batting .360 with 7 SB. He’s only hit one home run in his minor league career, but Edwards is one of the fastest players in the minor leagues and makes plenty of contact.
- Another recent graduate, Josh VanMeter ranks 37th overall based on his minor league stats. He’s continued to hit in the major leagues, slashing .312/.418/.532 in 91 PA to deliver on the promise of his fantastic AAA performance.
- Luis Garcia of the Nationals is an interesting prospect to evaluate because he’s the youngest player in AA at just over 19, though he’s only put up a meager .258/.285/.307 slash rate. Garcia still ranks No. 40 because he’s kept a low strikeout rate while being so young for the level.
- With the Marlins selling off, Isan Diaz has a realistic shot at playing time in the near future. He’s cut his strikeout rate down to 21.9%—the lowest it’s been since Rookie-ball, with a .304 batting average and 25 HR at AAA. He’s one of the better stashes for fantasy outside of the top 10 since he could get the call any day.
(Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)
I dont think there is any accuracy in projecting a minor league players value. Fangraphs has an embarrassing body of work on the subject.
A lot of the inspiration for this was actually the work Chris Mitchell did on KATOH for FanGraphs. There is certainly much more variability in projecting minor league players instead of major league ones, but I think KATOH showed there is value at the minimum in highlighting high performing players who may be overlooked for any reason.