Yesterday, I listed and reviewed the six hitters who had posted a 30%+ HR/FB rate at Triple-A this season. Sadly, the list didn’t result in a whole lot of actionable advice. Today, I’ll shift to a related metric, ISO. In terms of overall offense, it’s more important than HR/FB rate since it accounts for doubles and triples as well. Given the number of duplicates on both lists and an attempt to capture more actionable players, I extended the list to the top 10. Let’s hope this time the names are more interesting.
Trayce Thompson, Robel Garcia, David Villar, and J.J. Matijevic are repeats from the HR/FB rate leaders list, so I’ll focus on the rest.
Let’s talk about Vinnie Pasquantino. Ranked fourth among Royals prospects, the left-handed hitting 24-year-old is interesting for a number of reasons. First, I think he’s a bit old for his league, or perhaps not old, but certainly not young at 24 in Triple-A. It’s not often a top prospect debuts at Triple-A at that age. He has shown elite plate discipline during his entire professional career, and actually walked more than he struck out at Double-A last year. This year, he’s close, but has walked merely two fewer times than he has struck out.
To go along with the rare elite plate discipline, he has enjoyed a nice little power spike. His HR/FB rate has spiked above 20% for the first time while his ISO has skyrocketed above .300, thanks to his 15 doubles and two triples. My one concerns stems from his BABIP. A .258 current mark could be forgiven over a small sample, but he’s had a history of unimpressive marks. It’s surprising given his healthy LD% and low IFFB%. That doesn’t bode well for his BABIP ability in the Majors, but given strong contact skills, he could still contribute positive value in batting average anyway.
I don’t know how much longer the Royals keep him in the minors, but I’ve already picked him up in my shallow 12-team mixed league so I don’t need to bid a crazy amount when his recall does occur. Anyone with this ability to make contact, paired with his power, is exciting. Dare I say, his skill set looks almost Pujolsian.
Stone Garrett, now that is a baseball name! It’s been a while since he found his name on a prospect list, but his power, which first surged last year, has climbed again. He also continues to steal bases, so the fantasy upside is intriguing if he gets a shot. Likely due to a high swing rate, he has managed to maintain an acceptable strikeout rate, despite a high SwStk%. It’s not often we see that combination, and it could work (Alfonso Soriano, Adam Jones, Javier Baez, though not this year!), but it’s a risky path to success. His power/speed potential makes him worth looking into if he does find himself up with the Diamondbacks and with some playing time.
I’m interested in anyone on the Rockies, even though Sean Bouchard has never made it onto a Rockies prospect list. During his first taste of Triple-A action at the late age of 26, he has enjoyed a big breakout, as his walk rate has risen, strikeout rate dropped, and power surged. He has also chipped in eight steals as well! With experience at corner infield and outfield spots, there are numerous paths to playing time. The Rockies are one of the most baffling MLB organizations though, so it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll sniff the Majors this year. But if he does and meaningful playing time is within reach, I would be very interested.
Woah, who knew that Kevin Pillar enjoyed a power surge during his time at Triple-A this year?!
Kyle Stowers was ranked eighth among Orioles prospects and was just recalled a couple of days ago while Anthony Santander remains on the Restricted List. Stowers has shown excellent power throughout his minor league career and has paired that with excellent plate patience, walking at double digit clips every stop since last year. Strikeouts have been a problem, but he had improved that rate immensely this season. Still, a fairly high SwStk% makes me think that mark would rise back toward 30% if given an extended look in the Majors. For as long as he’s up with the Orioles, he’s worth considering in deeper leagues, particularly in those using OBP instead of average.
David MacKinnon has never appeared on a prospect list, or made it into any of our articles, so he’s clearly flying under the radar, especially given his advanced age. Given his history of limited power from a first baseman, it’s no surprise why. But this year, during his first year at Triple-A, his HR/FB rate has doubled, and ISO is knocking on the door of .300. He has continued to walk at an elite clip, while his strikeout rate and SwStk% are both excellent. The Angels have nowhere to play him now, but this breakout is intriguing and I would be very curious to see him perform in the Majors, as I really like the skill set.