DIGGING DATA: 2018’s Top Blueberry Hitters

Our ‘Blueberry’ hitter rankings provide a quick tool you can use to size up a hitter’s statistical performance relative to his minor league peers. The Blueberry rankings sort a hitter’s performance by percentile ranks against the rest of qualified minor league hitters in a given season. The Blueberry categories are batting average (AVG), on-base percentage (OBP), slugging average (SLG), stolen bases (SB), and at-bats (AB). Let’s use 2018’s breakout prospect Wander Franco as an example:

Our Blueberry rankings agreed that Wander’s 2018 breakout was statistically exceptional. He scored a “9” in each triple slash category, meaning that his performance was at the 90th percentile or better for each one of those categories relative to the entire pool of minor league hitters in 2018. He scored a “7” in stolen base production, showing that Wander has some ability to run as well. And he scored a “7” in the AB category. We include ABs as a type of reliability gauge. While Wander was incredible in 2018, he also only had 242 ABs over the course of 61 games. The “7” score tells you to show some restraint in how you view the 2018 breakout (I know, I know, he’s awesome, so you don’t have to use too much restraint).

Ok, now that you know how it works, let’s look at some of our top Blueberry performers in 2018:

Kyle has slid a bit in some Top-100 ranks early this season, but his 2018 statistical performance gives me no reason for concern. There’s still a gigantic roto monster lurking here, as noted by the fact that Kyle finished with 9s across the board.

Brujan is going to be one of the more volatile prospects landing in Top-100 lists this offseason. However, based on 2018’s statistical performance, there’s no doubting that he’s got a valuable roto profile in his future if he can maintain this performance. Even his slugging average was above the 80th percentile despite the fact that he’s listed at 5’9″, 155 lbs.

Joins Kyle Tucker with 9s across the board. A breakout season has Lux in all the major Top-100 prospect lists heading into 2019.

Pssssst. Hey! You guys want to see an under-the-radar breakout? Bautista was in the top 10th percentile for each Blueberry category outside of ABs. Everything seemed to click for Mariel in 2018. Watch the in-season Blueberry rankings to see if he can hold his gains in full season baseball in 2019.

Kevin Smith’s 2018 performance suggests that his future profile is probably more valuable in old-school, 5×5 rotisserie leagues. You know, none of the weird OBP or points formats that the millenials play in nowadays. (How long until we get a ‘millenials are ruining fantasy baseball’ article?)

Kirilloff made everyone forget about his lost 2017. He’s not going to run much. Who cares?! He posted a ‘triple 9’ slash line, definitely looking the part of a future cleanup hitter for the Twinkies.

Why did the Yankees trade him? Why did I trade him in my dynasty league?! The world may never know the answers to these illogical decisions. One thing that’s for certain is that DTW was one of the MiLB’s few true 5-category contributors in 2018. If the AVG/OBP dials stay palatable, he’s going to be a valuable fantasy asset one day.

I just love this guy. He’s a real 30/30 threat if he plays the majority of 2018 in Lancaster, which is like playing in the space stadium in Baseball Simulator 1.000 on the NES:

Bombs Away

Who? The Dodgers selected Avans in the 33rd round of the 2018 draft out of Southeastern Louisiana University. The poor kid got a $5,000 signing bonus. Yes, somehow they managed to give him a signing bonus BELOW the sub-subsistence level wages that minor league baseball players are paid. And all he did was rake. I’m rooting hard for this guy. Hoping to see the same 2019 Blueberry gauges for him, with a “9” on the AB gauge.

I ranked Nicky my #14 overall hitter at the end of the 2018 season based in part on the strength of this dashboard. He just got a spring training invite from the Royals. He might not ever hit in the MLB, but he’s hit like this for a 1200+ AB MiLB career now.

A season of “9”s nearly across the board vaulted Freeman onto Prospects Live’s Top-100 fantasy prospects list this offseason. Astute Baseball Farm readers should already own him!

I wrote about Laz in my White Sox state of the system piece which will be coming out this week. A 28th round pick in 2017, Laz played a good defensive shortstop for Kannapolis (A-Full) and Winston-Salem (A+) while posting this excellent Blueberry dashboard. Sign me up!

These are just a few highlights. Let us know who else you want to see a 2018 recap of and we will show you their Blueberry dashboard!

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