Archive for 2017 Trade Deadline

Should More Clubs Buy and Sell?

To make sense of things, to organize, to help create narratives, we, as humans, like to put labels on things. We like to place people and items in specific bins. And at trade deadline time, we typically categorize teams as either buyers or sellers. I am guilty of this and it does serve a practical purpose. Generally by the end of July, teams have a pretty good idea if they are contenders or looking ahead to next season.

But things are more complicated than they once were as the two wild cards — in addition to five-team divisions — have muddied the waters of the deadline market. Read the rest of this entry »

Trade Deadline 2017 Omnibus Post

Lots of trades happen in the run up to the non-waiver trade deadline. It can be hard to keep track of everything that’s gone down, so we’re here to help. Below you’ll find a rundown of all the #content that we’ve published in accordance with trades that have actually happened. They’re in chronological order as best as I can tell, and cover trades that were made earlier in the month too, because those are still important. We’ll start with the two prospect rankings from Chris and Eric, which were just published earlier today.

Prospect Rankings

Now on to the individual trades. Note that the date listed is the date the trade was consummated, not necessarily the date each article listed was published.

(From L to R) Jonathan Lucroy, J.D. Martinez, Todd Frazier, Justin Wilson and Yu Darvish were among the marquee names traded in July. (Photos: Keith Allison, Tom Hagerty & Michelle Jay)

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Projecting All of the Prospects Traded at the Deadline

In the table below, you’ll find a treasure trove of information pertaining to the prospects who changed hands this trade deadline. There were 67 of them in all. Since there was a flurry of early trade activity this year, I’m using a liberal definition of “trade deadline” that considers all trades since the July 13th Jose Quintana deal. For reference, I performed a similar exercise last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Ranking the Prospects Traded During Deadline Season

Among the prospects traded in July, Eloy Jimenez stands out. (Photo: Arturo Pardavila III)

Below is a ranking of the prospects traded this month, tiered by our Future Value scale. A reminder that there’s lots of room for argument as to how these players line up, especially within the same FV tier. If you need further explanation about FV, bang it here and here. Full writeups of the prospects are linked next to their names. If the player didn’t receive an entire post, I’ve got a brief scouting report included below. Enjoy.
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Belated Trade Analysis: White Sox Acquire Blake Rutherford & Co.

Several trades occurred while I was on vacation. I’m profiling the prospects involved in those deals in a belated nature. This post analyzes the prospects involved swap between the White Sox and Yankees, centered around the Yankees new bullpen weapons and prospect Blake Rutherford. A reminder of those involved.

Yankees get

White Sox get

Read the rest of this entry »

Projecting Willie Calhoun, Brendon Davis and A.J. Alexy

The Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish. Below are the projections for the prospects the Rangers received in exchange for Darvish’s services. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Willie Calhoun, 2B/LF/DH (Profile)

KATOH: 9.4 WAR (15th)

KATOH+: 8.9 WAR (24th)

Calhoun has hit a rock-solid .298/.357/.574 at Triple-A this season as a 22-year-old second baseman. His power numbers have been undoubtedly helped by the PCL and he doesn’t exactly look like a premium athlete. But still: Calhoun’s blend of contact and power makes him extremely exciting. His defense, however, is suspect. Clay Davenport’s metrics say his defense at second has improved this year, but going from unbelievably bad to merely really bad doesn’t do much to help Calhoun’s case. Calhoun is a prospect without a position for now, so a move to the American League makes a ton of sense. KATOH had Calhoun as the Dodgers’ second-best prospect, behind Alex Verdugo. Read the rest of this entry »

The Curious Cases of the Relievers Who were not Traded

Again, Zach Britton found himself waiting for a phone call that never came.

Fellow left-handed reliever and fellow significant trade chip of a motivated seller, Brad Hand, is also staying put.

While the headlines Monday were tied to the top front-line starters traded, the Yankees adding Sonny Gray and the Dodgers beating the 4 p.m. eastern buzzer to land Yu Darvish, this was a reliever-heavy deadline period. This should be remembered as the trade deadline of The Reliever when more and more teams are focused on improving bullpens and attempting to build super relief corps. Read the rest of this entry »

The Dodgers Did Not Steal Yu Darvish

You’ve seen the news. You’ve almost certainly even seen the return, and unless you’re a devoted follower of the Dodgers’ farm system, you may not have recognized any of the names. Brendon Davis and A.J. Alexy were low-level guys who weren’t on many radars, and even the known guy in the deal was a back-end Top 100 prospect, an unorthodox-shaped hitter without a position who has never been talked up as any kind of future star.

So it’s easy to look at this deal and call it a big win for the Dodgers. They just added one of the best pitchers in baseball to an already-dominant pitching staff. Breaking the all-time record for wins in a season now isn’t that far-fetched. They are going to enter the postseason as the clear team to beat, and all it cost them was a guy who didn’t really fit on their roster in an obvious way and two lottery tickets in A-ball.

None of that is wrong. The Dodgers did well here, picking up a difference maker without surrendering any of the guys they see as potential core pieces for them down the road. But baseball trades aren’t always zero-sum affairs, and just because this was a nice move for LA doesn’t mean the Rangers got taken advantage of here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scouting Willie Calhoun and the Yu Darvish Return

Yu Darvish was traded to Los Angeles ahead of the deadline. In return, Texas got three good pieces, including one very entertaining one who will be ready to contribute to the big club soon.

Dodgers get
RHP Yu Darvish

Rangers get
DH Willie Calhoun
RHP A.J. Alexy
INF Brendon Davis

Read the rest of this entry »

With Sonny Gray, the Yankees Are World Series-Ready

The A’s were never going to hold. There was simply too much for them to lose. Sure, the rumors flew around, but they never made sense, as the A’s aren’t stupid. The A’s were never going to hold, and the Yankees were always the obvious match. They stood to gain the most in the short-term, and they stood to gain the most in the long-term. An agreement felt virtually inevitable, and while there were tugs on either side, there’s nothing like a deadline to push negotiators toward a decision. As time ran out, the A’s and the Yankees finally came together, as one would’ve figured they would.

Yankees get:

  • Sonny Gray
  • $1.5 million in international bonus money

A’s get:

The Yankees get to sell it as a move for a good starting pitcher in which they didn’t have to give up their absolute top-tier prospects. The A’s get to sell it as a move for three talented young players, each of whom could make a big-league splash. Neither interpretation would be incorrect — that’s how the spin goes when you’re dealing with a system as deep as New York’s. The A’s did well to get what they did, and there’s something to dream on with all of these players, yet the bigger takeaway for now is that the Yankees have taken another step forward. Their transition period is complete, and they’re now ready to try for a title.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scouting Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian and Jorge Mateo

After months of scouring the market for another starting pitcher and weeks of industry chatter suggesting it would likely, eventually, be Sonny Gray, the Yankees have acquired the righty shortly before the trade deadline. It came at a fairly steep price. Below is analysis of the prospects sent to Oakland in the deal.

Yankees get

  • RHP Sonny Gray
  • International bonus slot

Athletics get

Read the rest of this entry »

Projecting Teoscar Hernandez

Teoscar Hernandez is northward bound. (Photo: Keith Allison)

The Astros acquired Francisco Liriano in exchange for Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez. Below are the projections for Hernandez, who is the sole prospect headed to the Blue Jays. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Teoscar Hernandez, RF (Profile)

KATOH: 3.9 WAR (93rd overall prospect)

KATOH+: 4.7 WAR (96th overall prospect)

Hernandez has technically had stints in Houston both this season and last, but has spent most of 2017 with the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate. He only played one game with the Astros this season, coming in as a defensive replacement for Carlos Beltran. In Triple-A, he flashed his typical power-speed combination, racking up 12 homers and 12 steals in 79 games (though he was caught stealing seven times). In addition to his power and speed, Hernandez also draws a healthy amount of walks and has played solid right-field defense this year. He struck out in an acceptable 21% of plate appearances this year, which is a huge improvement from where he was a few years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Scouting the Mets Return for Addison Reed

Deadline day kicked off with the Red Sox prying Addison Reed away from the Mets. Below is analysis of the prospects sent to New York in the trade.

Red Sox get

  • Addison Reed

Mets get

All three of the prospects acquired by New York project as relievers. The 22-year-old Callahan and his deceptive, over-the-top arm action had a dominant, walk-less month at Double-A to start the year before a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. Since arriving in Rhode Island, he has since struggled a bit with command. He has struck out 36 hitters in 29 innings at Triple-A, but has walked 13. He sits 94-97 and has a short, fringey slider in the 87-90 mph range, and a below-average change-up. Both secondaries project to average and Callahan projects in a middle relief role.

Bautista, a 22-year-old Dominican, is the most explosive of the three, sitting 95-99 mph and touching 100 with his fastball. He was signed back in April of 2013 at age 18 and then missed time that year due to a positive PED test. The following year, Bautista’s career began at age 19 in the Dominican Summer League and he has, more or less, been behind the developmental eight-ball since then. He owns a 5.16 ERA at High-A, largely because of wildness and ineffective secondary offerings — his slider flashes above average, but is mostly fringey, and the change-up is below average. But his arm strength is enticing.

Nogosek was a 2016 sixth rounder out of Oregon. He began his first full pro season as Low-A Greenville’s closer and dominated there until late June, when he was promoted to High-A Salem. Nogosek’s pitching regimen started to include multi-inning outings shortly before the trade. He struck out 18 hitters in 17.2 innings with Salem, walking 10. The righty sits 90-95 mph and will flash a plus slider. He pitches aggressively and projects to have average command.

Of the three, Bautista has the highest upside because he has the best arm. If he ever tightens up his slider he could be a set-up man. Callahan is, obviously, the closest to yielding major league value. Nogosek has the best secondary pitch of the group and the best command projection, too, and is probably the most stable long-term bet of the three, though his lower arm slot might cause platoon issues at upper levels and limit his role.

Dodgers Add Yu Darvish, Look Absurdly Good Now

At their current winning percentage, the Dodgers are on pace to win 114 games. They haven’t lost since Clayton Kershaw went on the DL. They already look like a monster. But now, there’s this.

Faced with the uncertainty of Kershaw’s health and a bunch of other starters with their own medical question marks, the Dodgers apparently decided that their best path forward was to add yet another frontline starter. If Kershaw comes back for the postseason, this may be the best four-man rotation we’ve seen a postseason team run out there since the mid-1990s Braves.

The postseason is still a crapshoot, and no amount of talent does anything to guarantee playoff success. To get to the World Series, the Dodgers will likely have to go through either the Nationals or Cubs, both of whom boast some pretty absurd talents themselves.

But man, this team was already loaded, and now they have another one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. As I wrote last week, Darvish isn’t risk-free himself, but the upside is obvious, and there are reasons for optimism along with the potential red flags.

In the midst of the worst month of the worst year of his career, his stuff and his expected outcomes look fine. But his strikeout rate is down, and the last time he got hit like this, he was just about to get shut down with an arm problem that eventually required surgery. If you want to take the optimistic scenario that he’s probably fine, this might be an opportunity to buy low, and there’s data to support doing just that. If you want to take the pessimistic view and think this is a guy with too many red flags to support giving up a significant return for a rental, there’s data to support that position as well.

What the Dodgers had to give up to rent Darvish for the postseason hasn’t yet been announced. But you have to think the Nationals and Cubs aren’t particularly happy about this piece of news. A behemoth just got even better. Good luck everyone.

Update: The Rangers are sending Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brandon Davis to the Rangers for rent-a-Darvish. Eric’s pre-season write-ups on the trio can be found below.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2015 from Yavapai JC (AZ)
Age 22 Height 5’9 Weight 177 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 60/60 40/50 30/30 40/45 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 27 homers and only 11.6% strikeout rate at Double-A Tulsa in 2016.

Scouting Report
Calhoun transferred from Arizona to Yavapai as sophomore, where he posted preposterous numbers. In 63 games, he hit 31 home runs, drew 38 walks and struck out just 13 times. Those numbers were undoubtedly aided by Prescott’s elevation, their home park’s size and the fact that Yavapai played their home games at a local high-school field when it rained. Despite questions about the validity of the on-paper production, Calhoun could clearly hit, exhibiting advanced bat control, timing and plus bat speed.

Amateur scouts had difficulty deciphering where Calhoun would ultimately fit on the defensive spectrum and an answer to that question still eludes pro evaluators. The Dodgers are hoping he can pass at second base but scouts outside the org aren’t optimistic. The lateral range and quickness fall quite short of the norm there. The arm is light for third base and Calhoun, who is already a 30 runner, arguably already lacks the foot speed to play an average outfield corner and is only going to get bigger than his current 5-foot-6, 200-plus-pound frame.

Regardless of whether or not Calhoun has a defensive home, he’s almost certainly going to hit. His fantastic season at Double-A Tulsa this year came in just his first full pro season after seeing JUCO pitching for most of last year. He has plus raw power and had one of the better batting-practice performances at the Futures Game in July. Scouts think Calhoun may have swing-and-miss issues in the big leagues, but these concerns are more a product of questions about Calhoun’s approach than issues with his bat-to-ball skills. He’s aggressive and will swing ill-advisedly at balls he can’t reasonably punish, but he grinds out at-bats and spoils good pitches until he gets one he can do something with. Also, his strikeout rates aren’t that high. I think he’s an above-average hitter at maturity and, while the approach is certainly a mild concern, the hit/power combination will probably be good enough to profile even if it’s just as a DH.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.8 WAR

A.J. Alexy, RHP – Throws 88-92 with a curveball that flashes above average. Change is a 40 right now. Prep arm from northeast, has pitch projection.

Brendon Davis, 3B, 1.7 KATOH+ – Davis has always had smooth, if not explosive, defensive actions and a very projectable frame, and he’s already moved over to third base, where he could be an above-average defender. He has some bat control despite the effort in his swing and how much he hits is going to depend on how strong he becomes as he fills out.

Cleveland Nets Relief Help in Joe Smith

Cleveland’s bullpen has been very good this season, but it could still be improved upon. Some of the members at the back end — or the front end, depending on your perspective — could be upgraded. Enter Joe Smith, who was acquired from Toronto as we entered the final hour before the trade deadline this afternoon.

Here’s the deal, with details from’s Paul Hoynes:
Read the rest of this entry »

Projecting Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo

The Yankees traded for Sonny Gray. Below are the projections for the prospects the Athletics received in exchange for Gray’s services. Although he is a major part of this trade, I do not have a projection for James Kaprielian, who has thrown just 29 innings as a professional and zero since April 2016. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Dustin Fowler, OF (Profile)

KATOH: 9.0 WAR (28th)

KATOH+: 8.8 WAR (18th)

Read the rest of this entry »

Yankees Land Sonny Gray; A’s Get Serious Upside

The Yankees needed a starting pitcher, even after acquiring Jaime Garcia. They particularly could use some long-term rotation depth, and had prioritized landing a guy who wasn’t just a rental. After missing out on Jose Quintana, there was only one real option left, and that was Sonny Gray.

The A’s, in full rebuild mode, couldn’t really afford to take the risk of Gray getting hurt again. They already saw him lose value with last year’s arm problems, and moving him now while he’s pitching well was the right thing to do, even in a buyer’s market. Their asking price seemingly scared away every team but the Yankees, which left both buyer and seller with just one option; send Sonny Gray to New York.

And now, after endless rumors of stalls and traction, it appears like it’s finally happening.

Below, a quick overview of the trade details. We’ll do a more thorough write-up on what Gray means for the Yankees and what this return does for the A’s in a little bit.

New York Receives
Player Position Age 2017 WAR Rest of Season WAR Contract
Sonny Gray SP 27 2.2 1.1 Arbitration through 2019

And here’s what Eric wrote about the three guys going to Oakland in his pre-season Yankees write-up. Both Fowler and Kaprielian have sustained season-ending injuries this year, with Kaprielian underoing Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for a good chunk of next year as well. But there’s a lot of upside here for the A’s, and this package looks far better than the rumored packages this morning.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from UCLA
Age 23 Height 6’4 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 55/60 45/50 55/60 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Missed most of season with injury.

Scouting Report
At UCLA, Kaprielian sat 89-94 with a four-pitch mix that consisted of an average curveball, cutter-like slider, and an above-average changeup that Kaprielian could run back on the outer half of the plate against righties. The Yankees selected him in the middle of the 2015 draft’s first round.

Kaprielian’s first full pro season got off to a roaring start. His fastball was sitting in the mid-to-upper 90s all of a sudden and he blew away High-A hitters for three starts following a promotion to that level. Then he was shut down for the remainder of the season with a flexor-tendon strain. He picked up some innings in the Arizona Fall League, though, where was 94-97 in his first start, then back down in the 92-93 range in a later start before his velo resurged in Novemeber and he was touching 99. Over multiple looks throughout the course of the AFL, his fastball averaged 95 mph for me, a 70 on the scouting scale if you assume Kaprielian would be able to maintain that velocity over an entire season. I’m skeptical.

All of Kaprielian’s secondaries play up because of his deceptive delivery and because they all look the same as they approach the plate before darting in subtly different directions. His slider sits 85-87 and will touch 90 with short, cutter-like action. It’s oft used. The curveball is mostly 82-85 with a bit more downward depth, and he has the same above-average changeup he had in college and that he cuts at times.

Conservatively, there’s a chance for three plus pitches, a viable fourth weapon in the curveball and average control/command. That’s approaching a top-of-the-rotation arm. If the fastball velocity we saw throughout the Fall League is sustainable, and I’m light on the fastball grade, then we’re there. Kaprielian’s being babied along this spring but has a chance to crack New York’s rotation this year provided, of course, he can stay healthy.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 188 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 45/50 30/40 80/80 40/50 55/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .254/.306/.379 at High-A.

Scouting Report
Mateo was a relatively unheralded signing from January of 2012, inking a $250,000 bonus. By 2014, he had grown an inch, added 20 pounds and started dominating the lowest levels of the minors. His skills have more or less tracked as expected since then. He remains an 80 runner, one of the fastest prospects in baseball, routinely reaching first in 4 seconds or less. While neither Mateo’s first step nor lateral range at shortstop are as superlative as his straight-line speed, he’s fine there and has the requisite arm strength, athleticism, footwork and actions to be an average defender at shortstop.

Of course, Gleyber Torres’ presence in the organization complicates Mateo’s defensive future, and he began playing second base last year. Scouts have varying opinions on who fits best at short. Mateo’s actions aren’t as flashy and sexy as Torres’s, but he’s twitchier and has a better first step. Others prefer Torres’s bigger, stronger body at short, which carries a heavier physical burden than second base does. And others just want to see Mateo run around in center field, where he played a bit during the fall, simply because they speculatively believe he could be an elite defender there with reps. Of all the recent speedy shortstop/center-field prospects (Roman Quinn and Billy Hamilton to name two), Mateo has the most viable combination of arm strength and infield actions. I have him graded out at shortstop as a future 50 for now (just because projecting him at either second or center right now is comparatively abstract, and Dustin Fowler is a factor in this conversation, as well) but obviously where he ends up on the defensive spectrum will be a significant determining variable for his ultimate value. Big-league shortstops and center fielders hit about .260/.320/.407 last year, second baseman hit .270/.330/.425. One of those is within reasonable reach for Mateo and the other might be a bit much.

Mateo’s stride-less swing is simple, and he avoids excessive strikeouts despite a lengthy bat path and aggressive, expansive approach. He has decent bat control and hand-eye coordination and projects as an average hitter whose average and on-base percentage might be inflated by his blazing speed. He still has some physical projection remaining and should have average raw power at peak, though the current iteration of his swing is unlikely to yield better than 40 power in games. That’s a potential above-average player at shortstop but closer to the fringes at second base. In center field, well, it depends on the quality of his defense there. There are several possible outcomes here, and they generally point to Mateo being a good everyday player.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 3.8 WAR

Drafted: 18th Round, 2013 from West Laurens HS (GA)
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/50 35/40 60/60 50/55 45/45

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .281/.311/.458 at Double-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
Fowler developed a bit of a tweener reputation in 2015 (as he was breaking out) because he didn’t hit for power in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, his first full, healthy season as a pro. In 2016, Fowler got out of Tampa and mashed at Trenton, tallying 56 extra-base hits and 25 steals during an injury-free year. He’s a plus runner and already average in center field, though he could be above with reps.

While he’ll occasionally pepper the opposite-field gap, Fowler is largely an up-the-middle and pull hitter and indeed much of the extra-base damage he does is to his pull side, down the line. He has average raw power but projects to run into around 12-15 homers annually with lots of doubles. He tracks pitches well, has good bat speed and projects as a plus hitter. Even with an aggressive approach that might hinder his ability to reach base, a 60 bat with 40 power plays in center field, where any kind of power is at a premium. I consider him a high-probability average everyday big leaguer.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.1 WAR

The Red Sox Now Have a Second Good Reliever

Although the Red Sox have been stuck in a slump, they’re still hanging onto a playoff position, and they’re barely behind the Yankees for first. The Sox have a bullpen that ranks third in baseball in WAR, and, even better than that, they have a bullpen that ranks first in baseball in Win Probability Added. The bullpen, you could say, has been the least of Boston’s problems, and yet, we say it every deadline — every good team could use another reliever. And in Boston’s case, their success has been primarily driven by the almost literally unhittable Craig Kimbrel. What the Red Sox haven’t had so much of is reliever depth, being without both Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith. And so, Monday has brought the following move:

Red Sox get:

Mets get:

(Note: pending medicals!)

The Mets recently picked up A.J. Ramos, signaling that they intend to try to contend again next season. Moving Reed is hardly surprising, then — he’s a 28-year-old stretch-run rental. What the Mets have received is a trio of right-handed minor-league relievers measuring at 6-foot-2. As usual, any one of these young players could suddenly emerge to become a relevant big-leaguer. Yet the Sox haven’t subtracted from the top of the farm, and now they’ve grabbed one of the more extreme relievers around.

Read the rest of this entry »

Projecting Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes

The Cubs traded for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. Below are the projections for the prospects the Tigers received in exchange for their services. WAR figures account for the player’s first six major-league seasons. KATOH denotes the stats-only version of the projection system, while KATOH+ denotes the methodology that includes a player’s prospect rankings.

Jeimer Candelario, 3B (Profile)

KATOH: 4.4 WAR (108th)

KATOH+: 4.3 WAR (83rd)

Candelerio was slashing .266/.361/.507 in the Pacific Coast League this year, with a bunch of doubles and walks. The PCL has surely helped his power numbers a good deal, but his 12% walk rate illustrates that he does a decent job of controlling the strike zone. Defensively, Candelario has been an above-average third baseman this year in the minors. Although he’s been in the Cubs’ system forever, Candelario’s still just 23. A 23-year-old third baseman who can both hit and play average-ish defense is a fine prospect.

To put some faces to Candelario’s statistical profile, let’s generate some statistical comps. I calculated a Mahalanobis distance between Candelario’s Triple-A performance and every Triple-A season since 1991. In the table below, you’ll find the 10 most similar seasons, ranked from most to least similar. The WAR totals refer to each player’s first six seasons in the major leagues. Please note that the Mahalanobis analysis is separate from KATOH. KATOH relies on macro-level trends, rather than comps. The fates of a few statistically similar players shouldn’t be used to draw sweeping conclusions about a prospect’s future. For this reason, I recommend using a player’s KATOH forecast to assess his future potential. The comps give us some interesting names that sometimes feel spot-on, but they’re mostly just there for fun.

Jeimer Candelario Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Scott Stahoviak 3.8 1.7
2 Joe Crede 4.0 10.0
3 Howard Battle 2.5 0.3
4 Chad Tracy 4.8 8.0
5 Willy Aybar 3.8 2.4
6 Gary Scott 2.8 0.0
7 Tom Evans 3.6 0.1
8 Garrett Atkins 4.6 9.7
9 Casey McGehee 2.8 4.5
10 Brian Barden 2.5 0.1

Isaac Paredes, SS (Profile)

KATOH: 5.2 WAR (76th)

KATOH+: 3.6 WAR (104th)

Despite being just 18 years old, Paredes is already in and has held his own in full-season ball, slashing .261/.341/.399 with a 14% strikeout rate in Low-A. That’s encouraging for an 18 year old, but it’s especially encouraging coming from an 18-year-old shortstop. Scouts are a tad skeptical of Paredes, citing a lack of physical projection and athleticism needed to stick at shortstop long-term. KATOH picks up on this too — by way of his height (5-foot-11) and lack of stolen bases — but still finds him very intriguing due to his combination of youth, contact and defense. As a Low-A hitter, Paredes has a long way to go, but he has several characteristics that often portend to big league success.

Isaac Paredes Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Raul Chavez 2.2 0.0
2 Luis Cruz 2.1 0.0
3 Juan Melo 5.3 0.0
4 Brent Butler 3.8 0.0
5 Pokey Reese 4.3 6.4
6 Kenny Perez 1.8 0.0
7 Hector Made 1.9 0.0
8 Danny Klassen 4.0 0.0
9 Victor Rodriguez 2.8 0.0
10 Brad Harman 2.6 0.0

The Trade Deadline Isn’t As Important As We Think

My first year covering Major League Baseball was in 2013, when I reported on the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. If you recall, that was also the year that the Pirates ended the longest consecutive stretch of losing seasons — 20 of them — in major North American professional sports history.

Immediately after the non-waiver trade deadline passed that season, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington arrived at a makeshift podium in a conference room in the depths of PNC Park. He was asked to explain why he had not executed a trade to strengthen a club trying to secure not only its first winning season since 1992, but also its first playoff appearance since that season. Read the rest of this entry »