Projecting the Prospects Traded Yesterday

In case you hadn’t heard, a lot went down yesterday. Here are the prospects who changed teams on deadline day, as evaluated by my newly updated KATOH system. KATOH denotes WAR forecast for first six years of player’s major-league career. KATOH+ uses similar methodology with consideration also for Baseball America’s rankings.

*****

The Jonathan Lucroy Trade

Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee

KATOH: 7.7 WAR
KATOH+: 9.9 WAR

Brinson posted some terrible numbers in the low minors, but he’s gotten progressively better the past few years, especially in the strikeout department. His 20% strikeout rate from last year was still a bit high, but not alarmingly so. With 31 extra-base hits and 10 steals to his name this year, Brinson has shown a tantalizing power/speed combination.

To put some faces to Brinson’s statistical profile, let’s generate some statistical comps for the Brewers’ new outfield prospect. I calculated a weighted Mahalanobis distance between Brinson’s Double-A performance this year and every season at those levels since 1991 in which a hitter recorded at least 400 batters faced. 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. A lower “Mah Dist” reading indicates a closer comp.

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.

Lewis Brinson’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Alex Escobar 2.36 10.1 1.7
2 Elijah Dukes 2.37 7.4 2.7
3 Jon Jay 2.47 5.3 11.4
4 Ray McDavid 3.23 7.1 0.0
5 Carlos Gomez 3.28 8.7 17.0
6 Andrew McCutchen 4.04 9.3 34.5
7 Grady Sizemore 4.04 13.3 30.4
8 Juan Pierre 4.50 10.9 19.3
9 Cameron Maybin 4.56 12.4 9.1
10 Coco Crisp 4.77 6.9 18.0

To help you visualize what his KATOH projection entails, here is a probability density function showing KATOH+’s projected distribution of outcomes for Brinson’s first six seasons in the major leagues.

Brinson

Luis Ortiz, RHP, Milwaukee

KATOH: 1.5 WAR
KATOH+: 2.1 WAR

Ortiz dominated Low-A hitters last year, but has found High-A and Double-A a bit more challenging here in 2016. Still, he’s turned in a respectable 22% strikeout rate and 5% walk rate while working primarily out of the rotation. As 20-year-old starter with prospect pedigree holding his own in Double-A, Ortiz looks promising.

Here are his comps:

Luis Ortiz’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Jon Niese 1.13 1.8 12.8
2 Carlos Almanzar 1.17 1.3 0.2
3 Will Cunnane 1.24 2.1 0.6
4 Willie Martinez 1.33 2.9 0.0
5 Abe Alvarez 1.42 2.3 0.0
6 Jarod Matthews 1.47 1.3 0.0
7 Rob Pugmire 1.52 2.1 0.0
8 Matt DeWitt 1.54 2.1 0.0
9 Ryan Franklin 1.56 1.1 1.5
10 Benj Sampson 1.66 1.3 0.6

And his projected distribution of outcomes:

Ortiz

*****

The Francisco Liriano Trade

Reese McGuire, C, Toronto

KATOH: 5.5 WAR
KATOH+: 5.1 WAR

McGuire lacks power, but his other skills hint at a bright future. McGuire makes loads of contact, steals the occasional base, and of course, plays an uber-premium position. Despite his sub-.100 ISO, KATOH thinks McGuire will hit enough to make it work.

McGuire

Harold Ramirez, OF, Toronto

KATOH: 2.2 WAR
KATOH+: 2.0 WAR

Ramirez has hit .312/.360/.409 in Double-A this year after slashing .337/.399/.458 in High-A last year. KATOH would like to see a bit more power from the 21-year-old. But as a contact-oriented singles machine who runs well, Ramirez has some things going for him.

Ramirez

Drew Hutchison, RHP, Pittsburgh

KATOH: 2.4 WAR
KATOH+: 2.4 WAR

Hutchison lost his rookie eligibility way back in 2012, but since he’s played mostly in the minors this year, KATOH has a projection for him. Hutchison was pitching pretty well in Triple-A, striking out 26% of batters faced across 18 starts. Believe it or not, Hutchison’s still just 25, so he very well might have a few good years left in him.

Hutch

*****

The Will Smith Trade

Phil Bickford, RHP, Milwaukee

KATOH: 3.8 WAR
KATOH+: 5.1 WAR

Bickford’s pitched at two levels of A-Ball this year, where he’s turned in a sparkling 2.71 ERA. The 6-foot-5 hurler has struck out an impressive 28% of opposing hitters while walking just 7%. KATOH thinks he was the Giants’ best prospect by a pretty significant margin.

Here are his comps:

Phil Bickford’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Dan Cortes 0.70 5.8 0.1
2 Eric Hurley 1.83 2.5 0.0
3 Tyler Clippard 2.02 5.6 4.8
4 Gaby Hernandez 4.03 3.5 0.0
5 Dustin Nippert 4.40 2.8 1.5
6 Wes Anderson 4.45 4.7 0.0
7 Anthony Swarzak 4.50 4.2 1.6
8 Chuck Lofgren 4.60 5.0 0.0
9 David Hernandez 5.00 3.6 4.3
10 Ed Yarnall 5.15 5.4 0.2

And projected outcomes:

Bickford

Andrew Susac, C, Milwaukee

KATOH: 2.4 WAR
KATOH+: 2.5 WAR

Yeah, yeah, I know Susac isn’t technically a prospect. But he’s a young-ish player who’s put up decent numbers in the minor leagues this year. Adequate defensive catchers who can hit .265/.338/.451 in Triple-A are a semi-rare commodity. Though Susac’s already 26, he doesn’t really need to improve to make for a useful big leaguer.

Susac

*****

The Jay Bruce Trade

Dilson Herrera, 2B, Cincinnati

KATOH: 4.1 WAR
KATOH+: 3.4 WAR

Herrera’s hit an unremarkable .276/.328/.465 in Triple-A this season, but is just a year removed from a .327/.382/.511 showing at the same level last year. Even with the drop-off in performance, KATOH still thinks Herrera will hit enough to make for a valuable second baseman.

Comps:

Dilson Herrera’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Frank Catalanotto 1.35 3.4 7.5
2 Ian Kinsler 2.25 4.7 23.4
3 Brendan Harris 2.26 2.6 3.4
4 Angel Santos 2.38 2.7 0.0
5 Brent Abernathy 2.44 4.3 0.7
6 Donnie Sadler 2.68 3.0 0.1
7 Brent Butler 2.69 3.7 0.0
8 Brandon Phillips 2.97 4.3 15.1
9 Arquimedez Pozo 3.30 3.3 0.0
10 Josh Barfield 3.58 2.5 2.4

Projected outcomes:

Herrera

Max Wotell, LHP, Cincinnati

KATOH: 0.9 WAR
KATOH+: 0.9 WAR

Not much to say about Wotell, other than that he’s tossed 30 unremarkable innings in Rookie ball this year. His 24% strikeout rate is encouraging, but isn’t enough to distinguish him from the dozens of other pitchers with decent numbers in Rookie ball.

Wotell

*****

The Rich Hill and Josh Reddick Trade

Jharel Cotton, RHP, Oakland

KATOH: 2.3 WAR
KATOH+: 2.2 WAR

A tenured member of Carson Cistulli’s Fringe Five lists, Cotton has put up strong minor-league numbers despite lacking a prospect pedigree. Cotton tore through the Dodgers’ system last year, striking out 30% of opposing hitters across four levels. He once again struck out 30% of hitters this year at the Triple-A level, though his 17 homers allowed have pushed his ERA and FIP up close to 5.00. Cotton misses a lot of bats, which KATOH loves, but Cotton’s also 5-foot-11, 24 years old, and possesses a homer problem.

Comps:

Jharel Cotton’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Mike Judd 0.82 2.9 0.0
2 Damian Moss 1.10 2.6 1.1
3 Shad Williams 1.19 2.5 0.0
4 Arthur Rhodes 1.46 3.0 5.7
5 Calvin Maduro 1.67 2.2 0.8
6 Mike Oquist 1.68 1.8 4.0
7 Sam LeCure 1.73 1.8 2.4
8 Dennis Tankersley 1.74 2.5 0.5
9 Mike Saipe 1.78 2.3 0.0
10 Francisco Cruceta 1.84 2.5 0.0

Outcomes:

Cotton

Grant Holmes, RHP, Oakland

KATOH: 2.0 WAR
KATOH+: 2.9 WAR

A 2014 first-round pick, Holmes has held his own in High-A this season despite being just 20 years old. There are no red flags in Holmes’ statistical profile, per se, but he hasn’t yet done much to separate himself from the morass of effective A-ball pitchers. Many scouts see a mid-rotation starter here, so it might only be a matter of time before his performance catches up with his stuff.

Comps:

Grant Holmes’ Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Chad Durbin 0.25 2.2 1.4
2 David Pauley 0.32 1.6 0.4
3 Dave Melendez 0.32 1.7 0.0
4 Jose Garcia 0.35 2.4 0.0
5 Tim Drew 0.40 1.6 0.5
6 Aaron Fultz 0.45 1.8 0.9
7 Bubba Nelson 0.46 3.0 0.0
8 Ricky Nolasco 0.47 2.7 14.4
9 Jung Bong 0.55 1.8 0.2
10 Benito Baez 0.56 1.8 0.0

Outcomes:

Holmes

Frankie Montas, RHP, Oakland

KATOH: 3.1 WAR
KATOH+: 2.3 WAR

Montas has missed almost all of 2016 with a rib injury, but his 2015 performance was encouraging. He posted an ERA under 3.00 and struck out 23% of opposing hitters as a 22-year-old starter at Double-A last year, which earned him a cup of coffee in September. Montas’ injury obviously complicates matters a bit, but he showed a lot of promise when he was last healthy.

Montas

*****

The Fernando Abad Trade

Pat Light, RHP, Minnesota

KATOH: 1.0 WAR
KATOH+: 1.0 WAR

Aside from two disaster outings with Boston, Light’s performed very well this year. In 31 Triple-A innings, Light’s pitched to a 2.32 ERA and has struck out an impressive 28% of opposing batters. He has a bit of a command problem, which manifests itself in his 13% walk rate. He’s also 25, which suggests he’ll likely never become much more than the iffy reliever he is right now.

Light

*****

The Carlos Beltran Trade

Dillon Tate, RHP, New York (AL)

KATOH: 0.2 WAR
KATOH+: 0.2 WAR

Tate was the fourth-overall pick in the draft just over a year ago, but his pro career has gotten off to a rocky start. He’s posted an ugly 5.12 ERA at Low-A this year, and has recorded strikeout, walk and home-run numbers worse than his league’s average. That’s very bad, especially for a pitcher who’s already 22. KATOH understandably hates Tate, but KATOH also doesn’t know about Tate’s electric stuff. Scouting the stat line probably isn’t the way to go in Tate’s case, but man does the stat line look ugly.

Tate

Nick Green, RHP, New York (AL)

KATOH: 1.1 WAR
KATOH+: 1.1 WAR

Green has pitched well in his seven starts at short-season A-ball this year. His 28% strikeout rate is encouraging, but isn’t anything special coming from a 21-year-old.

Green

Erik Swanson, RHP, New York (AL)

KATOH: 0.4 WAR
KATOH+:0.4 WAR

Swanson’s put up unremarkable numbers as a 22-year-old in Low-A this year. His strikeout and walk rates have both been better than league average, but haven’t been anywhere near good enough to outweigh the fact that he’s almost 23.

Swanson

*****

The Brandon Guyer Trade

Nathan Lukes, OF, Tampa

KATOH: 2.0 WAR
KATOH+:1.9 WAR

A 2015 seventh-round pick, Lukes has performed in A-ball this year, but has a very limited track record. He’s also just 5-foot-11, which suggests he may have limited power potential.

Lukes

Jhonleider Salinas, RHP, Tampa

KATOH: 0.4 WAR
KATOH+:0.4 WAR

In a limited sample, Salinas struck out a lot of batters in Rookie ball while working mostly as a reliever. That tells us very little about Salinas’ future, but it suggests there’s at least a hint of promise there. Scouting the stat line tells us very little about Salinis since he doesn’t have many stats yet.

Salinas

*****

The Matt Moore Trade

Lucius Fox, SS, Tampa

KATOH: 1.5 WAR
KATOH+:1.3 WAR

A big-name signing last summer, Fox has been a disappointment in his first season as a pro. He’s slashed a light .207/.305/.277 in Low-A and has made a whole bunch of errors at shortstop. Despite his complete lack of production, KATOH still sees some promise there. As an 18-year-old shortstop in full-season ball, Fox has both age and position on his side. And the 25 steals speak to his athleticism.

Comps:

Lucius Fox’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Mah Dist KATOH+ Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Ozzie Chavez 0.56 1.3 0.0
2 Ivan Ochoa 0.60 1.3 0.0
3 Yuri Sanchez 0.72 1.2 0.0
4 Ricky Magdaleno 0.94 0.9 0.0
5 Jolbert Cabrera 1.08 1.0 0.0
6 David Espinosa 1.11 0.6 0.0
7 Matt Bush 1.16 1.5 0.0
8 Rich Paz 1.24 0.7 0.0
9 Josh Shaffer 1.38 0.9 0.0
10 Adam Jones 1.63 0.9 12.3

Outcomes:

Fox

Michael Santos, RHP, Tampa

KATOH: 1.6 WAR
KATOH+:1.5 WAR

Santos has worked exclusively at the Low-A level this year, where he’s pitched to a stellar 2.22 FIP. His 19% strikeout rate isn’t particularly great, but his 2% walk rate is. KATOH generally prefers high-strikeout guys over low-walk hurlers, but Santos’ excellent Low-A performance makes him interesting.

Santos

*****

The Joe Smith Trade

Jesus Castillo, RHP, Los Angeles (AL)

KATOH: 0.7 WAR
KATOH+: 0.7 WAR

Castillo has posted a 27% strikeout rate in short-season A-ball this year, but has been otherwise underwhelming. His 3.78 FIP is pretty meh for a soon-to-be 21-year-old at his level.

Castillo

*****

The Steve Pearce Trade

Jonah Heim, C, Tampa

KATOH: 2.9 WAR
KATOH+: 2.7 WAR

Heim’s .220/.303/.348 batting line at High-A doesn’t seem particularly compelling, but the 21-year-old has some things working in his favor. For one, he’s a catcher, where the bar for offense is comically low. Furthermore, his .241 BABIP suggests he’s run into some bad luck. His strikeout, walk and power numbers, on the other hand, have all been solid.

Heim

*****

The Hector Santiago and Ricky Nolasco Trade

Alan Busenitz, RHP, Minnesota

Busenitz has pitched well out of the bullpen in Double-A and Triple-A this year, but he turns 26 this month. As a 26-year-old reliever with unspectacular numbers, Busenitz isn’t much of a prospect.

KATOH: 0.5 WAR
KATOH+: 0.4 WAR

Buse

Alex Meyer, RHP, Los Angeles (AL)
Once a promising prospect, Meyer is now an injured 26-year-old who’s yet to stick on a big league roster. The 6-foot-9 righty can miss some bats, but he’s still trying to figure out how to get his walks under control.

KATOH: 1.9 WAR
KATOH+: 1.9 WAR

Meyer

*****

The Scott Feldman Trade

Guadalupe Chavez, RHP, Houston

Chavez has pitched well as an 18-year-old in Rookie ball on the strength of a 3% walk rate, but his strikeout rate underwhelms.

KATOH: 1.0 WAR
KATOH+: 1.0 WAR

Chavez

We hoped you liked reading Projecting the Prospects Traded Yesterday by Chris Mitchell!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

newest oldest most voted
davels
Member
Member
davels

Very nice use of the probability density function. Makes it easy to see how Brinson is a potential stud, and how bullish Katoh is on Reese McGuire. Great post!