Steamer Projects: Three Notable Minor-League Acquisitions

On Monday, Matt Eddy of Baseball America released his weekly report of minor-league transactions. On Tuesday, the present author pored over said report, with a view to identifying which players on it might have received favorable 2014 projections from Jared Cross’s Steamer projection system. On Wednesday, he (i.e. that same author) has written and published the following Hall of Fame internet post.

Projections for batters are prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers); for pitchers, to 150 innings (and 50 for relievers). Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Pitcher WAR is calculated by using kwERA, so as to best strip out park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014.

Below are the three notable minor-league acquisitions of the week that aren’t the Chicago Cubs’ acquisition of former Cleveland right-hander Paolo Espino.

*****

Dean Anna, 27, 2B/SS (Link)
2013 Organization: San Diego Padres
2014 Organization: New York Yankees

Steamer Projection (Prorated to 550 PA)

PA BB% K% wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
550 8.7% 13.4% 96 0 -2 4 2.1

Notes
As noted in late October, Steamer produced rather an optimistic translated line for Anna’s 2013 season, the entirety of which was spent at Triple-A. Unsurprisingly, Anna’s projected line for 2014 is also quite encouraging.

Anna controls the plate quite well, it appears, recording walk and strikeout rates of 10.5% and 11.2%, respectively, at Tucson. As one might expect, Steamer doesn’t project Anna to reproduce those figures exactly at the major-league level, but at least to preserve the basic shape of them. That profile, combined with what appears to be non-negligible power and something like a league-average BABIP, would make Anna nearly a league-average hitter.

League-average hitters on the more challenging end of the defensive spectrum are valuable. There’s no official defensive projection for Anna — just an estimate based on what what he’s played in the minors (short and second, mostly). Reports suggests that Anna isn’t a shortstop proper, probably, but that he can play the position without inspiring pity in spectators and handles second well.

Unlike the two players below, Anna was actually acquired by way of trade. Recognizing that they’d be unable to protect him on the 40-man roster, San Diego traded him to New York for right-handed relief prospect Ben Paullus.

*****

Yamaico Navarro, 26, SS/3B (Link)
2013 Organization: Baltimore Orioles
2014 Organization: New York Yankees

Steamer Projection (Prorated to 550 PA)

PA BB% K% wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
550 8.5% 17.4% 94 0 -4 4 2.0

Notes
In terms of the overall skill set, Navarro isn’t entirely different from Anna. According to Steamer, his batting record suggests he could approach something like league-average offensive production. Moreover, he’s made the majority of his professional starts in the infield, showing the capacity to play short (if not necessarily the ability to impress there). The ceiling’s not particularly high, probably, but that combination can be quite helpful.

Unlike Anna, Navarro has had exposure to the major leagues, during which he’s recorded a 39 wRC+ (.269 BABIP) and -1.1 WAR in 199 plate appearances. Not particularly inspiring, that. One is compelled to note how that line has been produced over four years of sporadic playing time. Steamer appears compelled to note that that minor-league resume ought to be considered with some weight, as well. Indeed, over the last three seasons at Triple-A, Navarro has recorded walk and strikeout rates of about 12% and 16%, respectively, each year.

Finally, it may or may not be important that Navarro has been the best hitter thus far in the Caribbean Leagues.

*****

Wilking Rodriguez, 24, RHP (Link)
2013 Organization: Tampa Bay Rays
2014 Organization: Kansas City Royals

Steamer Projection (Prorated to 150 IP)

IP K% BB% kwERA kwERA- WAR
150 23.3% 10.9% 3.82 91 2.0

Notes
“Who’s Wilking Rodriguez?” is a question the author has asked himself as recently as this morning. Here’s one answer: originally an international free agent signed by the Rays as a 17-year-old. And a second: a right-hander who touches the mid-90s with his fastball. And a third, finally: a potential starter who’s thrown merely 88 innings over the past three seasons combined.

When he has pitched, Rodriguez has been quite good — in terms, for example, of striking out batters while also not walking them. Steamer appears to suggest that were he capable of throwing innings as a major-league starter, that Rodriguez would throw the above-average kinds of innings. Health appears to be concerns Nos. 1 and 2 and 3 so far as Rodriguez’s future is concerned.



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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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LaLoosh
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2 years 8 months ago

when did the Yankees sign Navarro?

readujt619
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readujt619
2 years 8 months ago

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randplaty
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randplaty
2 years 8 months ago

As a Padres fan, sorry to see Dean Anna go.

KCDaveInLA
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KCDaveInLA
2 years 8 months ago

I look forward to saying “He’s not just good, he’s WILKING good.”

A
Guest
A
2 years 8 months ago

Are you eventually going to write about the Alex Dickerson for Miles Mikolas and Jaff Decker trade, Cistulli? I was a big fan of Jaff Decker (mainly for his walk rate), but maybe I’m overrating him because of that. Alex Dickerson seems like a good power bat, but his walk rate scares me. Of course, I know nothing of his defense or anything like that. As a Padres fan, though, I was sad to see Decker go.

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
2 years 8 months ago

With Boston, Navarro was unconvincing as a utility infielder because he wasn’t good enough at short – well, he didn’t hit, either, but he looked like he might. I can’t say what kind of team would use him in such a way as to approach the good field/no hit line suggested by Steamer, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the Yankees.

Simon
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Simon
2 years 8 months ago

Steamer suggests he’d be close to a league-average hitter.

Ryan Thomas
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Ryan Thomas
2 years 8 months ago

A little late on this, but that’s a pretty surprising line for Rodriguez considering he’s never pitched above A ball.

Would be very interested to know what Steamer sees there.

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