The World Series is over. The MVPs are decided. The baseball doldrums are upon us.
Fear not! Baseball Farm’s offseason content will keep you dreaming about top prospects all winter.
Today, we look at 5 of the top hitting performances from the 2017 draft class. These are highlights presented in no particular order, but represent some names you should know heading into the 2018 season:
What? You’ve never heard of Colorado’s 20th round pick before? Well, neither had we, until we pulled the stats. There were only 7 MiLB hitters last season who posted a HR/AB rate of greater than 8% over at least 100 at bats. Golden was one of them. And you’ve probably heard of a couple of the others, as they are currently murdering baseballs in the majors — Matt Chapman (Athletics) and Ian Happ (Cubs).
Obviously, as a 23-year-old in Rookie ball, we need to temper our excitement around Golden. And his K% of 30.8% is downright ugly. But 20 HR in a little over 200 ABs merits watching. Golden also posted a .365 ISO, .673 SLG, .423 wOBA, and 132 wRC+.
Jones is a big (6-4, 210) 1B out of the University of Texas that the Royals drafted in the 29th round last summer. Jones stood out using our ‘Blueberry’ ranking system, which provides a percentile ranking for each player compared to his peers in the following categories: AVG – OBP – SLG – SBs – ABs.
Jones’s Blueberry line last year was 9-9-9-9-6. This means that he landed in the 90th percentile or better in our first four Blueberry categories when compared to all MiLB hitters last season. Oddly enough, he also posted a .423 wOBA and 132 wRC+, just like Casey Golden.
This versatile Dodgers prospect saw time at 1B/LF/CF/RF last season in Rookie ball. Casey’s ‘Blueberry’ line last summer was an elite 9-9-9-7-5. He also didn’t strike out much (11.9% K rate) while posting a .459 wOBA and 154 wRC+.
Noda is a big (6-3, 217) left-handed hitting 1B who played his college ball at Cincinnati. He hit for power and average while posting a 9-9-9-8-6 Blueberry line. He even stole 7 bases.
As impressive as Noda’s numbers are, his 21.4% walk rate last season is the most eye popping. His BB/K ratio of 0.98 last season is also excellent. Noda has the potential to be a a steal as a 15th round pick.
Bannon is another Dodgers hitter who impressed during his time in Rookie ball in 2017. Bannon was an 8th round pick out of Xavier in the 2017 draft. He posted a top notch 9-9-9-7-5 Blueberry line.
Bannon showed solid plate discipline with a 0.66 BB/K ratio. His advanced metrics were excellent as well, flashing a .439 wOBA and 142 wRC+. Bannon has also been scouted as a plus defender at 3B, meaning that if he keeps swinging a hot bat, his path to major league playing time could be shorter than average.