by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Obviously there are always prospects whose stock is rising and falling, given their performances. While it’s impossible to pinpoint all of them, here are a few players whose early season numbers are sending then to either soar or sink (all stats are through Saturday):
Max Schrock – Second Baseman – Oakland A’s
Playing at Double-A he’s hitting .276 with 5 HR, 15 RBI, 17 R and 3 SB over 152 AB. His most impressive mark is his ability to make consistent contact, with an 11.11% strikeout rate. After striking out 42 times over 534 AB across four levels in ’16, it’s obvious that it’s an attribute that will allow him to produce a strong average.
It doesn’t come with much power, at least not yet, though he did hit 32 doubles, 2 triples and 9 HR a year ago. We can’t expect significant power, considering he’s listed at 5’8” and 180 pounds, though as MLB.com noted prior to the season there is a little bit of pop in his bat:
“…he has some surprising power to his pull side that gives him 12-15 home-run potential, with average speed and good instincts that make him a threat on the basepaths.”
With his ability to hit, something that he’s continuing to show despite moving up in level, 10/10 production would make him an extreme asset. While D.J. LeMahieu plays half his games at Coors Field, last season he hit .348 with 11 HR and 11 SB. That’s the type of production that Schrock is capable of (.300/10/10), even playing half his games in Oakland.
While it’s not necessarily a sexy profile, without a true counting stat carrying skill, it’s one that will make him a strong MLB player (especially as a #2 hitter) and a contributor across the board.
Stock – Rising
Player Comparison – D.J. LeMahieu
Ryan Mountcastle – Shortstop – Baltimore Orioles
It’s interesting that the 36th overall pick in the 2015 draft has often fallen under-the-radar. It’s not to say that he’s blown us away with his numbers, after slashing .281/.319/.426 at Single-A in 2016 while struggling to draw many walks (5.1%). However playing at High-A to open 2017, it’s impossible to ignore the numbers he’s posted:
.331 (56-169), 8 HR, 32 RBI, 29 R, 3 SB
Even more impressive is that he’s added 15 doubles and 1 triple, showing an intriguing upside in the power department. The problem is his plate discipline, something that Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 noted prior to the season:
“Mountcastle has a chance to be an above-average offensive player. He has plus bat speed, great hand-eye coordination and the ability to square up a baseball. His approach needs work as he swings at everything, but hopefully that will come with time.”
His strikeout rate has been fine thus far this season (16.76%), but he continues to fail to draw walks (3.35%). That’s something that could be exposed as he moves up against more advanced pitching, so keep it in mind.
As an interesting comparison, could he ultimately be a similar player to Jonathan Schoop? Schoop showed a similar plate discipline while at High-A (13.4% strikeout rate, 6.7% walk rate in 329 PA in ’11), and that’s something we saw continue into the Majors (while he’s improved this season, there’s still reason to be skeptical). A .253 career hitter thus far, with a 22.6% strikeout rate and 3.2% walk rate, his limitations are obvious.
While you’d think a comparison to Schoop is a positive, and it is, it obviously comes with limitations. Mountcastle does have more speed, and could become a 20/10 type option, but with it a subpar average if he can’t improve his plate discipline.
Stock – Rising, but limited
Player Comparison – Jonathan Schoop
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: