by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Phillies’ first base, turned outfield, prospect and if the rumors are true he will finally reach the Majors any day. Speculation has been running rampant, and rightfully so, now the question is what should we expect upon his promotion? Obviously there will be the impulse to expect monster numbers, with dreams of the next great slugger dancing in our heads. Let’s try to be a little more objective than that, though, as we dive in and get to know him a little bit better.
2016 (Double-A) – .281, 38 HR, 116 RBI, 95 R in 589 PA
2017 (Triple-A) – .280, 28 HR, 86 RBI, 76 R in 470 PA
The most impressive statistics may be the reduction in his strikeout rate, despite moving to a more advanced level, as he has seen it dip from 21.2% to 16.0%. Considering his highly impressive 6.4% SwStr% behind it, as well as his stellar eye at the plate (13.6% walk rate) there’s every reason to believe that he can continue posting a strong mark.
That’s not to say that he’s not going to see it spike, at least a little bit, potentially back into the 20% range. That said, even at Double-A in 2016 no one is going to be concerned about a 9.1% SwStr%. The upside and ability is there, especially over the long-term.
No one is also going to question the power, the concern is going to be if he gets too homer happy. He already appears to put a priority on hitting the ball in the air:
- 2016 – 51.6%
- 2017 – 48.6%
Over the past two seasons he’s posted HR/FB rates of 19.9% and 17.8%, respectively. While believable numbers, what is going to happen if he can’t quite maintain that pace? Or, worse yet, if he puts even more balls in the air as a way to compensate?
We are not saying that it will happen, but if it does it will obviously have a negative impact on his batting average. His solid marks have not come via inflated BABIP, and with his fly ball tendencies we wouldn’t expect the number to be much above .290.
His home rate has taken a small step back this year, averaging a HR once every 16.8 PA (as opposed to every 15.5 while at Double-A). A less hitter friendly home ballpark likely is a factor (he hit 25 of his 38 HR at home in ’16), but clearly he has the ability to hit it out anywhere. At the same time he may be more of a 25-28 HR hitter, even playing in Philadelphia, which will again play into the average
So what should we expect, assuming regular AB the rest of the season? As with any rookie there are going to be some highs and lows initially. The biggest issue could be with his average, though I wouldn’t necessarily expect a world beater from the power department either. As for maybe a conservative projection:
.255, 7 HR, 25 RBI
Those are usable numbers, for sure, but don’t expect an Aaron Judge or Cody Belinger like impact. If you get something close consider it a bonus.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
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