The biggest goal of my prospect coverage in 2019 is to organize my notes. When I sit down to evaluate a prospect, I have a very systematic approach. However, when it comes to organizing my overall thoughts (in both prospects and life) I have no system. Finally, I now have a skeleton of a system together.
The Baseball Farm stats pump out interesting prospects that are under-owned and worthy of consideration in dynasty leagues on at least a weekly basis. I trust statistics in making determinations of prospect value, and they are often my starting point. However, I know that there are plenty of inputs from the scouting side that need to be considered alongside the statistical performances. I’m working on blending the statistical and scouting observations together and distilling that into a single decision on a prospect. I figured that I could share my framework by looking at specific prospects who have popped up on the Baseball Farm’s “FarmBot” radar. Here are 2 to get you going:
Otto Lopez – UT – Toronto
BOTTOM LINE: Own in 800+. FV upside 45 ($4). Upside line: .270/.350/.350, 3 HR, 10 SB in PT Utility Role
Bio/Reports: Seemingly out of nowhere, this interesting MI prospect popped up on our statistical boards last season. Dominican/Canadian dual citizen. Spent some time growing up in Montreal, moved back to the Dominican to further his baseball skills. Skipped the DSL, started his pro career in the GCL. Future Blue Jays tags him as a hit over power, speedy, high-baseball IQ, multi-position type of guy. FanGraphs now has him on their Blue Jays board as a 35+ potential contributor. Saw time everywhere on the field but 1B and Catcher so far in his pro career. Runs well, hits triples, decent SB success rate so far. He’s going to get a run in full season ball to start 2019.
Stats: BB>K, leading to a .390 OBP. Good contact skills. .137 ISO in Short-Season Ball. 13/19 in SB attempts not ideal, but hit 3 3B in 206 PAs so the speed is there. 15% LD/49% GB/35.3% FB. 22.2% IFFB. 5.6% HR/FB. 36% Pull/22% Center/42% Oppo. Confirms the tape where he looks like he’s going to let the ball travel. The combo of low pull-side plus low HR/FB supports that notion that 40 raw is probably the ceiling here. Glove was statistically the best at 2B, which is probably his ultimate home.
Tools: Hit: 30/55 Game: 20/40 Raw: 20/40 Speed: 60/60 Glove: 50/50
FanGraphs: Likely maxes out as 40 raw power, super utility guy, 35+ grade
Laz Rivera – SS – White Sox
BOTTOM LINE: Own in 800+. FV upside 40 ($-3). Upside line: .235/.295/.360, 5 HR, 5 SB, PT middle infielder.
Bio/Reports: 2017’s 28th round pick out of the University of Tampa. Starting 2019 at AA Birmingham where he will be the everyday SS. Represented the White Sox in the AFL as well. AFL reports were positive on his patience at the plate and his defense at both 2B and SS. There’s pop here. Pounded a HR in spring training. The organization looks at him as a defensive asset at SS. His swing has completely changed since rookie ball in 2017. Added a leg kick and more hand momentum, ostensibly to gain some power, which hasn’t cost him much in the way of contact so far. Statistical performance likely was driven by being old for level and having great feel for the game. Even if he just winds up becoming an MLB role player, that’s great value for a 28th round pick who signed for $1k.
Video: Clip 1: Tons of pre-swing movement to get himself set, including a leg kick pump. Clip 2: Covers outer half well. Might have some trouble inside. Stance starts open, uses leg kick to get it closed. Lacks extension/has alligator arms. Clip 3: Swing has totally changed when compared to rookie ball looks from 2017.
Stats: Still held some good production following move from A to A+ last year (.357 wOBA) despite near 100-point drop in BABIP. Saw a little HR/FB (12.1%) and ISO (.178) uptick as well. Swing changes are trying to unlock some power and they seem to be working. I doubt he ever crosses the .200 ISO plateau though. No patience (2.8% BB-rate) and power uptick has come at the cost of some swing-and-miss, but nothing alarming (17.6% K-rate at A+). Flashing above-average speed scores, but the SB% really needs work (10-for-17 at A+). 26% LD – 41% GB – 33% FB. 46% Pull – 29% Center – 25% Oppo. Profile changed from 2017 to pull the ball more. Organization views him as an everyday SS.
Tools: Hit: 25/40 Raw: 25/45 Game: 30/45 Run: 50/50 Glove: 50/50
FanGraphs: Too aggressive, likely maxes out as a utility guy.
2080: (Eshleman) hyper-aggressive early in the count. Average bat speed. 40-grade hit. Below-average raw power. Future role player.
BaseballProspectus: Feel for contact, juice in the bat to keep pitchers honest, should settle in as 2B.