Grading The Prospect: Is There Any Upside To St. Louis’ Newest Outfielder, J.B. Woodman

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A second round pick (57th overall) of the Toronto Blue Jays in ’16, outfielder J.B. Woodman was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for Aledmys Diaz yesterday.  Obviously being selected that early in the draft means that there was some upside, but after spending all of 2017 at Single-A as a 22-year old, we have more questions than answers:

.240 (87-362), 7 HR, 45 RBI, 44 R, 8 SB

The biggest issue is his strikeout rate, as he posted a 37.9% mark.  Considering his age and the level, as well as a 17.9% SwStr% (after a 20.7% mark in his ’16 debut), it’s a significant concern.  How high can the number climb as he moves up against more advanced pitching?

That was the concern after debuting in 2016, despite some other skills, as Minor League Ball described him prior to ’17 by saying:

“lefty hitter with solid tools including 50 or 55 speed, power, and arm strength; good surface numbers in pro debut but strikeout rate was extremely high and contact issues must be addressed going forward; has potential to be a regular outfielder but may also end up as a tweener if skills develop unevenly”

Just to further steer things in the wrong direction, there was a distinct split in his production:

  • LHP – .324 SLG, 0 HR
  • RHP – .402 SLG, 7 HR

So not only are there strikeout concerns, but we are also currently looking at a platoon player at best.  Maybe he figures it out and can tap into some of his power or speed, but right now that’s going to be a tough sell.  You can’t take advantage of those tools unless you are making contact, and until Woodman proves capable he’s a virtual non-prospect.  Maybe a new voice helps, but for an organization rich in outfield prospects Woodman doesn’t appear to have much potential to advance into a prominent role.

Grade – D

Sources – Fangraphs,, Minor League Ball


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