Very Final Statistical Report for the Arizona Fall League

The author has published a weekly statistical report for the Arizona Fall League each week since its brief season commenced back in October — not necessarily because such a thing is of great utility to prospect analysis, but more because, for those of us not currently present in the Greater Phoenix area, it’s one of the few ways to participate in that very compelling league.

What follows is the entirely last statistical report for the AFL, following that league’ championship game this past Saturday.

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Very Final SCOUT Leaderboard for AFL Hitters
What follows represents the very last 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.

Player MLB Age PA HR BB K xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Michael Ohlman Orioles 22 42 4 11 6 3.7% 16.1% 16.3% 149
Thomas La Stella Braves 24 78 1 16 4 1.6% 17.1% 5.1% 148
Jared Mitchell White Sox 24 87 5 14 17 3.8% 14.6% 19.5% 139
C.J. Cron Angels 23 92 5 8 11 3.8% 9.2% 12.0% 137
Andrew Susac Giants 23 67 2 16 11 2.3% 18.0% 16.4% 137
Travis Shaw Red Sox 23 73 5 10 14 4.0% 12.5% 19.2% 135
Kris Bryant Cubs 21 92 6 14 23 4.4% 14.2% 25.0% 133
Dustin Garneau Rockies 25 56 4 7 9 3.6% 11.5% 16.4% 133
Henry Urrutia Orioles 26 76 3 7 8 2.8% 9.7% 10.5% 130
Zachary Borenstein Angels 22 56 1 11 9 1.8% 14.9% 16.4% 122

Very Final SCOUT Leaderboard for AFL Pitchers
What follows represents the very last 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.

Player MLB Age G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Nick Wittgren Marlins 22 13 0 13.2 49 19 2 33.4% 8.8% 60
Kyle Crick Giants 20 7 5 15.2 67 24 11 35.2% 12.9% 67
Cam Bedrosian Angels 21 9 0 9.1 34 13 2 29.4% 9.7% 74
Dominic Leone Mariners 21 11 0 12.0 50 15 1 27.4% 8.1% 75
Jeff Urlaub Athletics 26 11 0 13.0 52 16 3 28.3% 9.2% 76
Alex Meyer Twins 23 7 7 26.0 105 28 7 26.7% 8.2% 77
Derek Law Giants 22 11 0 12.1 50 16 6 28.9% 11.1% 79
Angel Baez Royals 22 9 0 12.2 61 19 9 29.8% 12.1% 80
Seth Frankoff Athletics 24 12 0 12.1 52 15 3 26.8% 9.2% 80
Ken Giles Phillies 22 10 0 10.1 46 16 8 30.1% 12.5% 80

The AFL’s Top Hitter: Michael Ohlman, Baltimore
In what barely anyone is likely to call a “stunning upset,” Baltimore prospect Michael Ohlman — who may or may not have the capacity to remain at catcher — appears to have usurped Atlanta infielder Thomas La Stella on the batting leaderboard over the final week of play (which also very closely resembles just the final day of play). Ohlman actually produced a higher wOBA than league MVP Kris Bryant even while recording a BABIP 200-plus points lower — both in sample sizes that barely deserve one’s attention, of course.

To get a sense of the degree to which Ohlman’s defensive skills might influence his future value as a major leaguer, here are two versions of his Steamer projection for 2014. The first one assumes that Ohlman’s a defensively average catcher; the latter, a defensively average first baseman:

Name Age POS PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA BsR Off Def WAR
Michael Ohlman 23 C 450 .216 .284 .318 .270 0 -18 10 0.8
Michael Ohlman 23 1B 550 .216 .284 .318 .270 0 -22 -13 -1.7

Even with 100 fewer plate appearances (to account for a catcher’s playing-time deficit) the difference in value is significant — about 2.5 wins over the course of a full season. Steamer suggests that, as a catcher, Ohlman could theoretically be an asset of some sort as early as this next season; as a first baseman, perhaps never.

Top AFL (Starting) Pitcher: Kyle Crick, San Francisco
Right-handed Giants prospect Kyle Crick pitched almost precisely the same way in the AFL as he has at every other professional level — which is to say, he both struck out and walked an above-average number of batters. Because strikeout rates generally become reliable more quickly than walk rates, Crick is rewarded more than he’s penalized for his indulgence in the two outcomes. If credited with the full weight of his walks, however, he likely would have ended up tied almost exactly with Alex Meyer among the league’s top starters. Meyer, for his part, has never recorded a walk rate above 10% as a professional.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

9 Responses to “Very Final Statistical Report for the Arizona Fall League”

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  1. Will says:

    Where did Sammy Solis finish? I’d have thought his final start would have put him back on the leaderboard.

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  2. Scott says:

    Didn’t they used to do one of these leaderboards with just prospects? Leaving off the players over the age of 22-23?

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  3. Andrew J says:

    We are dealing with tiny sample sizes but I think it’s worth noting that Ohlman had only 42 plate appearances, less than half of Bryant’s PAs. Makes the case that he was the top hitter pretty weak.

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  4. Balthazar says:

    I continue to find Kris Bryant’s K% a bit concerning. Yes, he walks a bunch, and he’s got terrific power. He was striking out 25% against rookie league and junior A pitchers in the late summer, and he shows the same rate here. Of course he’ll improve, but it’s something to watch. 80 power and a 30+% K rate against major league pitchers?, maybe, is . . . problematic.

    Alex Meyer has improved already far beyond anything I’d have anticipated for him, maybe one function of which is just getting healthy. Kudos to him, and good look getting on toward The Show.

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    • Balthazar says:

      BTW thanks for the AFL reporting, Carston. A few of us do like to munch on this kind of popcorn while waiting for the Winter Feature Program to start.

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