Trying To Find Hidden Gems With BB/K – 2022-23 Edition

Last offseason, I attempted to search out below-the-radar minor league prospects by taking a look at how a lot a hitter walked and struck out. Sometimes, these stats can point out a hitter has a eager eye on the plate which is able to assist them succeed as they transfer up the minor league ladder. I used Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez as examples of younger gamers who had sturdy BB/K charges within the minors who then went on to have larger MLB success than many prospect evaluators had projected.

Looking at 2021 stats, I highlighted gamers who had 300 or extra plate appearances at Double-A and/or Triple-A and a BB/K fee of 1.00 or larger. Did this assist us discover hidden gems? Let’s take a look at the outcomes earlier than transferring on to this 12 months’s crop. The names on the checklist have been Alejo Lopez, Isaac Paredes, Steven Kwan, Tyler White, Cooper Hummel and Jonah Bride.

Two of those gamers had breakout years in 2022. Kwan made his MLB debut and had an amazing season on either side of the ball. He supplied wonderful outfield protection and continued his nice work on the plate, strolling greater than he struck out on the main league stage. He had a season sturdy sufficient he might have gained Rookie of the Year honors in one other 12 months, however he needed to accept third this 12 months resulting from an unbelievable batch of rookie campaigns that additionally included Julio Rodriguez and Adley Rutschman. The different breakout was Paredes, who was traded to the Rays in April as a part of the Austin Meadows deal He hit 20 residence runs in 111 video games whereas posting stroll and strikeout charges that have been each higher than the league common. Paredes is much less of a hidden gem since he snuck onto the again finish of Baseball America’s high 100 in 2019 and 2020, though he had fallen off within the two subsequent seasons. Kwan by no means made it onto the highest 100 and solely made the highest 30 amongst Cleveland farmhands for the primary time going into 2022, coming in at #27. FanGraphs, it is value noting, was way more bullish, slotting Kwan third within the Guardians system and 57th general heading into the 12 months.

Most of the remainder of the group is TBD, as they solely received restricted MLB appearances. Lopez was ceaselessly optioned and received into 61 video games within the majors, nonetheless proving very robust to strike out however not doing a lot injury when he did join. Hummel struggled in his first 66 video games however nonetheless hit very nicely within the minors, strolling in 15.4% of his plate appearances and slashing .310/.423/.527. The Mariners have to be intrigued by him, since they only traded Kyle Lewis to get him from the Diamondbacks. Bride made his MLB debut and scuffled in 58 video games however hit .342/.453/.568 within the minors whereas nonetheless strolling greater than he struck out. As for White, he was 31 final 12 months and solely actually performs first base, making it laborious for him to carve out a job on a significant league workforce. He began the 12 months within the Brewers’ system however was acquired by the Braves in a midseason commerce. Between the Triple-A groups of the 2 organizations, he had one other respectable season on the plate, strolling in 16% of his appearances whereas placing out simply 20.1% of the time.

Out of six guys highlighted final 12 months, two grew to become MLB regulars, two did not instantly hit the bottom operating however nonetheless hit nicely within the minors and one other two have been type of mediocre. It’s not an ideal system however not a foul shorthand, in my view. A typical theme you will note with the gamers beneath is their strike zone self-discipline usually comes with an absence of energy. In order to show this profile right into a breakout, that often means the hitter must get stronger or change their strategy barely. In the case of Paredes, he appears to have began promoting out extra in 2022, as his strikeout fee climbed however so did his remoted energy. Kwan did not add energy, solely going deep six instances, however his on-base abilities have been mixed with velocity and protection to assist him be an all-round producer.

If we take a look at the 2022 numbers, can we discover subsequent 12 months’s Kwan or Paredes? Even if that is setting our sights too excessive, a few of these guys are Rule 5 eligible and may very well be candidates to be nabbed in subsequent month’s draft. Let’s check out the gamers with a BB/K fee at 1.00 or above with 300 or extra plate appearances at Double-A and/or Triple-A in 2022.

Michael Stefanicinfielder, Angels, BB/K fee at Triple-A: 2.18

Stefanic received 346 plate appearances in Triple-A this 12 months, strolling in 13.9% of them whereas placing out simply 6.4% of the time. He did not present a lot energy, nonetheless, hitting solely 4 residence runs in that point regardless of enjoying within the hitter-pleasant Pacific Coast League. His ultimate batting line there was .314/.422/.425 for a wRC+ of 122. He additionally received into 25 main league video games with out discovering a lot success. It’s a considerably comparable profile to a different Angels infielder David Fletcher. Stefanic was an undrafted free agent, has by no means been on BA’s high 100 and solely cracked the Angels’ high 30 for the primary time a 12 months in the past. He’ll flip 27 in February.

Nick Dunninfielder, Cardinals, BB/K fee at Double-A: 1.50

The Cardinals appear to have a knack for turning their lesser draft picks into strong main leaguers, so it should not be a shock to see a few them on this checklist. Dunn was chosen within the fifth spherical in 2018 and has by no means cracked a BA checklist of high prospects within the system, though he was talked about at FanGraphs, the place Eric Longenhagen known as him “a free-swinging Brendan Donovan — similar hair and the whole lot.” In 2022, Dunn received 472 plate appearances and walked 13.3% of the time whereas placing out at simply an 8.9% clip. Similar to Stefanic, it hasn’t resulted in a lot energy, with Dunn solely hitting seven lengthy balls on the 12 months, which was a profession excessive. He’ll be 26 in January. He’s eligible to be chosen in subsequent month’s Rule 5 draft.

John Nogowskifirst base/outfielder, free agent, BB/K fee at Double-A and Triple-A: 1.08

Nogowski received some transient MLB seems in 2020 and 2021 and could not do a lot with them. He break up 2022 between Atlanta’s and Washington’s system, getting 483 plate appearances whereas strolling greater than he struck out. Similar to the gamers above him, it did not end in a lot energy, as he went deep eight instances and produced a batting line of .248/.366/.362. A thirty fourth-spherical draft decide from 2014, he is by no means been on a workforce prospect checklist at BA or FanGraphs. He’ll flip 30 in January.

Willian Astudilloutility participant, free agent, BB/K fee at Triple-A: 1.06

It’s possible that you simply’re already accustomed to “La Tortuga” since he is appeared within the majors for the previous 5 years and has change into a fan favourite. He rarely strikes out but additionally rarely walks or goes deep, which is why he is had hassle sticking within the majors regardless of unbelievable bat-to-ball abilities. He spent most of this 12 months in Triple-A for the Marlins, hitting very nicely down there. However, he is now 31 and hasn’t produced a lot over 588 profession plate appearances within the majors.

Vinnie Pasquantinofirst base, Royals, BB/K fee at Triple-A: 1.03

This one is the toughest to name a hidden gem since Pasquantino is already on show. That being mentioned, the eleventh spherical draft decide from 2019 wasn’t a extremely-touted prospect till a powerful 2021 marketing campaign received him onto the checklist of high farmhands within the Royals’ system from each BA and FanGraphs going into 2022. He received known as up in late June and acclimated to massive league pitching instantly. He had already walked greater than he struck out at Triple-A within the first half of the 12 months after which did the identical within the present. He additionally went deep 18 instances in Triple-A and 10 instances within the majors. He solely has 298 MLB plate appearances however the indicators are pointing to him being the true deal. He simply turned 25 final month.

Evan Mendozainfielder, Cardinals, BB/K fee at Triple-A: 1.00

Another Cardinal, Mendoza was an eleventh spherical draft decide in 2017. In 421 plate appearances this 12 months, his strikeouts and walks got here out even at 56. Unfortunately, like some others on this checklist, his contact wasn’t terribly productive, leading to a slash line of .247/.348/.325. He did add a velocity component to his sport lately, although, swiping 15 baggage final 12 months and 17 this 12 months. With the brand new guidelines coming into play that encourage extra baserunning, maybe his on-base abilities will assist him show priceless. He’s by no means cracked the highest 30 prospects within the system at both BA or FanGraphs, though FG did put him at #34 again in 2018. He’s eligible to be chosen within the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

Tanner Morrisinfielder, Blue Jays, BB/K fee at Double-A and Triple-A: 1.00

Morris started his 12 months in Double-A, getting 186 plate appearances with matching 16.1% stroll and strikeout charges. He hit 5 homers in that pattern whereas slashing a superb .312/.430/.468. He received bumped to Triple-A however could not hold issues rolling, maybe resulting from a .233 BABIP, as he hit .173/.352/.173 in 126 plate appearances there. However, he once more posted matching stroll and strikeout charges of 19.8%, which means he completed the 12 months with charges of 17.6% over 312 plate appearances between the 2 ranges. He then went to the Arizona Fall League and received into 15 video games, strolling 15 instances in opposition to 9 Ks for a batting line of .279/.466/.372. A fifth spherical decide from 2019, he is been on the again finish of Toronto prospect lists over the previous few years. He lately turned 25 and is Rule 5 eligible.

Bryce Windhamcatcher, Cubs, BB/K fee at Double-A: 1.00

A thirty second spherical decide of the 2019 draft, Windham received 304 plate appearances at Double-A this 12 months, ending with stroll and strikeout totals of 44, a 14.5% fee for every. It was fairly tepid manufacturing general, resulting in a batting line of simply .202/.322/.289, though his .227 BABIP was nicely beneath his earlier seasons. He’s by no means been listed as a high prospect within the system by both BA or FanGraphs. He lately turned 26 and is Rule 5 eligible.

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