Last week, the author published an entirely premature statistical report on the Arizona Fall League — less because such a thing is of great utility to prospect analysis, and more because, for those of us not currently present in the Greater Phoenix area, one of the few ways to participate in that very compelling league is by dwelling for too long on very small statistical samples.
What follows — because it appears not just a single day, but rather a week and a day, into that same League’s season — is less premature.
Less Premature SCOUT Leaderboard: Arizona Fall League Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for all Arizona Fall League hitters. SCOUT+ combines regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates in a FIP-like equation to produce a result not unlike wRC+, where 100 is league average and above 100 is above average. Note that xHR%, xBB%, and xK% stand for expected home run, walk, and strikeout rate, respectively.
|Thomas La Stella||Braves||24||14||0||4||0||1.5%||13.2%||16.0%||114|
|Jared Mitchell||White Sox||24||13||1||1||0||2.1%||10.8%||16.4%||113|
Less Premature SCOUT Leaderboard: Arizona Fall League Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the AFL. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average and below 100 is better than average. Note that xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.
Notes and Observations
• Baltimore’s Michael Ohlman split his games at High-A Frederick this season between catcher and designated hitter, which seems to give rather a concise summary of his skills on the defensive side of things. Ohlman was proficient offensively this year, recording walk and strikeout rates of 13.2% and 21.9%, respectively, while hitting 13 home runs in 424 plate appearances. His future value would appear to depend largely on his capacity to remain at catcher. A defensively average one of those has a positional adjustment of +8-10 runs per season; a first baseman, approximately the inverse of that.
• Cubs prospect Kris Bryant‘s offensive future is likely tied to his capacity for making contact. He’s generally regarded as having raw power at something between 70 and 80 on the scouting scale. His home-run rate of 9.0% on contact this year in 146 minor-league plate appearances is approximately 2-3 standard deviations above the major-league mean. Furthermore, he’s begun his AFL with two homers in just 20 plate appearances.
Here are some rough projections for Future Kris Bryant, with walk rate and home-run rate on contact fixed at (a roughly league-average) 8.0% and (perhaps fair) 7.5%, respectively, but with different strikeout rates:
• FanGraphs’ Nathaniel Stoltz discussed former ninth-overall pick Andrew Heaney in August, shortly after the left-hander was promoted to Double-A. Heaney was excellent in the Florida State League, recording a 66:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61.2 innings for Miami affiliate Jupiter. His strikeout rate, however, dropped nearly 10 percentage points over six starts following the move to Double-A. Significant? Hardly something about which to worry? One doesn’t know.
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