- Joined: Dec 21, 2018
- Last Login: Jan 24, 2022, 4:21pm EST
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Father, husband, engineer, & Atlanta Braves, Alabama Crimson Tide, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Dolphins, etc. fan.
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For me the final spot comes down to either
- our LHH slugger that just went all
Babe Slugbearon the AFL
- our 3rd round LHP collegiate draftee who had an impressive SSS professional debut
I personally went w/ Lugbauer simply because I’m letting his recent SSS of greatness in the AFL sway me probably too much.
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That is a good point. However, I don’t think that it outweighs the fact that even if he had maintained his torrid 122 wRC+ start for the entire season, then we’re still talking about an age 20 year in A+. Pache & Waters both did better in AA @ age 20 (134 & 144 wRC+ respectively). So, w/ the lost COVID season Harris is arguably a full year, or more, behind both where Pache & Waters were @ the same age.
It’s generally the consensus that the hardest jump to make in prospect development is between A+ & AA (the lack of offense in AA South in particular makes this jump even harder on position players in the Braves’ system). And, if the level of play in A+ was down more this year than it was in AA (there also seems to be a general consensus on this as well), then Harris’ jump to AA next year, @ a year older than both Pache & Waters were, could be a really difficult one.
It could be argued that AA @ age 20 is when Pache’s & Waters’ offensive profiles were their most optimistic – they not only raked @ age 20 in AA, but the notoriously hitter unfriendly AA South. Since getting to AAA Pache has pretty much flat-lined (his MLB SSS is very, very bad) & Waters’ offensive profile, since getting to AAA, has taken a definitive step backward. I fear things could be at least equally as, if not more, difficult on Harris going forward. Maybe Pache & Waters were simply too young when they got to AAA (at the end of their age 20 seasons) & that’s why they haven’t progressed offensively. So, in that sense maybe Harris stands a better chance, since he’ll be comparatively not as young for the level as they were. However, the lost COVID season has to negate some of that, because despite him being older than them compared to the level, he will have actually had less in game/in season experience.
All of this adds up to me not being able to put Harris into my top-3 yet. I have him @ 4 (really 3b), just behind/neck & neck w/ Waters (my 3a).
That’s completely fair. All I’m saying is that if a challenge system is considered, then do it 1) when it matters most (on PA deciding called pitches – yes, a bad strike 1 or ball 1 can be hugely important & set the entire tone of the PA, but they don’t ultimately conclude the PA like the 3rd strike or 4th ball does) & 2) when there’s already a slight lull in the action due to the inherit nature of how a PA ends on a called pitch.
Comment 1 reply, 7 recs
Harris vs. Pache
For the entirety of Harris’ A+ season @ age 20 he had a 114 wRC+, which is solidly above average, but he closed the season (7/6 & on) being only slightly above average (107 wRC+). This means that he was awesome early in the season (122 wRC+) & that gave his prospect balloon a lot of helium.
For the entirety of Pache’s AAA season @ age 22 he had a completely average 100 wRC+. However, he closed the season (7/8 & on) being the same solidly above average as Harris (114 wRC+) – note the two years older & 2 levels higher.
Maybe I’m looking @ this wrong, but this honestly has me feeling a btit better about Pache’s bat going forward. Folks are jumping on the Harris band wagon after an age 20 season in A+. Both Pache & Waters did better in AA during their age 20 seasons. I’m very curious to see how Harris handles the first half of his upcoming AA season before I really jump on the band wagon. If he hadn’t cooled off from great to only slightly above average as his A+ season progressed, then I’d already be on the band wagon, but unfortunately it did. So, I have to hit pause on him for a little while.
That’s fair. However, Conley could be a unique mix
- switch hitting
- middle IF defense
- better collegiate numbers than Waddell, Malloy, Shewmake, Philip, Graffanino, Rodgers, Delgado, Gonzalez, Mooney, Reynolds – that’s every Division 1 infielder we’ve selected in the top 10 rounds of the past 10 drafts.
I like raw, projectable pitchers as well (been a big fan of Vodnik since almost day 1), but the failure rate on them has to be highest there is, right? At some point we have to draw a line & say that a proven collegiate position player, especially a switch hitting middle infielder, is a better overall prospect than a prep arm (or even some of the college arms whose workload over the past couple years is very sketchy) about which very little is often known. It seems like w/ these raw, projectable pitchers we get a single report, maybe a couple, of them looking good in the complex league’s training sessions (live BP I guess), even though the SSS numbers from their actual game action shows they walk every 4th batter, & we run these guys up prospects lists (for recent examples see Smith-Shawever especially & Shoemaker to a lesser degree). I am personally much more wait & see on such arms, such that they have to start putting some encouraging numbers up before I can jump on board.
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This has to be his time to get selected. There might be some changing of votes from one poll to the next, but for there to potentially be 3 such votes being lost in that way by Conley from the #27 vote to the #28 doesn’t make sense. I can only suppose that voters that voted for him @ #27 simply didn’t vote at all @ #28.
FG’s most recent eval of him (the ‘21 Update) had him as our #20 prospect & gave him a 40 FV. The FV’s @ the ‘21 Update for the last 9 guys selected by the community have all been below that (35+’s & none assigned). Come on community get this guy on the list.
I think that too many within the community are letting his SSS professional debut weigh too heavily. He might be the most accomplished major college, switch hitting, middle infield prospect from the entire ‘21 draft – Tyler McDonough might be his stiffest competition, but he’s looking more like a CF’er. Again, get this guy on the list!
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If a challenge system were implemented for only PA deciding called pitches (called 3rd strike or called 4th ball), then it probably wouldn’t be much of a drag on the game, because as it is now the batter is either slowly making his way to dugout or to 1B. In the amount of time that it takes a typical batter (not Nimmo) to remove all of his protective gear, hand it to the bat boy, & casually jog his way to 1B after a walk, then a challenge could have already been processed, if the pitcher felt like he was jobbed on the ball 4 call.
There are plenty of questionable calls earlier in PAs, where a challenge system could really slow the game down, but the last pitch of a PA is ultimately the deciding one. So, I don’t think that limiting the challenges to only PA deciding pitches would do anything more than fill an already slow moment in the game w/ potentially something to talk about/is already talked about. The broadcast crew already spends the first few seconds after any called 3rd strike or called 4th ball to show the pitch trax graphics. MLB could do the same exact thing & know within seconds if a challenged call s/b overturned or not. Literally the decision whether or not to challenge might take longer than the review process. Maybe to speed that process up it becomes a player initiated challenge (not one the comes from the bench) & the batter or pitcher/catcher has to make his challenge within no more than 1-2 seconds after the pitched is called a ball or strike.
Agreed. We should expect to see high BABIPs from good hitting prospects, because that’s a sign (not the only sign) that they are making good solid contact.
One exception is that if a lot of that contact is in the air (see Langeliers), then an average-ish BABIP is just fine, especially if HRs are being hit (see Langeliers). If a ton of that contact is on the ground & you have at least above average speed & you have the ability to spray the ball all over the field (see Harris), then you s/b riding a very, very high BABIP wave – Waters has done this virtually every step on the MiLB ladder despite not being quite as balanced in his spray chart as Harris – unless you’re getting unlucky. Maybe Harris wasn’t getting as much BABIP fortune as he deserved in ’21.
Pache’s the guy in this group that’s maybe the most interesting to me. 2019 in AA & 2021 in AAA are the two instances where he showed that he’s starting to elevate the ball more in an effort to tap into his at least above average raw power. In both of those instances he didn’t really suffer a dip in BABIP (.351 & .347 respectively). I think that’s a good thing, because that might indicate that his hit tool is better than he’s given credit for. However, during stops where he didn’t elevate the ball well (1.60 GB/FB or higher at every other MiLB stop along the way) he didn’t ride a huge BABIP wave (.376 being his highest from Rookie ball in 2016). I think this is at least partially attributed to him always being very pull heavy (a coach @ any level of MiLB ball can adjust his IF defense to take away at least some pulled grounders, even if the IF defense isn’t great) & a lot of this time was before he really started filling out his frame, which means that his loudest contact only started happening in the past 3 or so years. So, out of all these guys I might be the most intrigued w/ Pache’s MLB offensive potential. Unfortunately he’s struck out way too much @ the MLB level far such that the quality of his contact hasn’t gotten a chance to show itself just yet. This is what I’m hoping anyways.
I don’t know what the plan is, but I’m personally hoping it goes to at least 35. As it is now I’m looking @ at least 1 guy & very likely 2 of my personal top-30 not getting selected by the community, if it stops @ 30. Also, I’ve got several guys in my mid-30s that I’m curious to see where the community would put them or at least how many votes they’ll get whenever it stops.
At the current rate we should get thru 30 by early next week (my guess would be Tuesday).
It does appear that the number of votes being cast is waning. So, trying to push it past 30 might not be worthwhile.
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Looking @ those numbers gives me reason to hit pause on Harris, at least for now
Outside of the lowest K%, I’m not sure what there is to love.
- If his exit velos are as good as reported, then w/ a 2.11 GB/FB he should have BABIP’d well over .400 (s/t to what Waters has done @ multiple stops). However, he didn’t. So, were his hard hit grounders simply finding gloves & he should have been more BABIP lucky than he was or were too many of his grounders not hit w/ near enough authority to get thru the IF? Generally A+ IF’ers aren’t great @ preventing hits & Harris’ Pull/Center/Oppo spray is actually leaned more oppo than any of the AA guys. So, why wasn’t he spraying the ball thru holes all over the place? It really feels like he should have been, if his quality of contact is as good as the reports indicate. Therefore, I’m a bit hesitant on if he really makes as much of the great contact that the reports say he does.
- That GB/FB means he still has a ways to go to start tapping into his above average to maybe plus raw power. Yes, he’s still only 20 & there’s time for him to figure that out, but if one combines this w/ my bit of hesitation in #1 above, then that’s not a great combo.
- He isn’t anywhere as close to as good as Pache in the OF. He’s probably a step or two behind Waters in this regard as well. And, Langeliers plays the most important defensive position on the field & gets rave reviews in almost every area. So, this puts the most pressure of the entire group on Harris’ bat. And, w/ #1 & #2 above, then I have to pump the brakes a little bit.
I still really like Harris, but after a torrid start to the year he was more of a slightly above average hitter for the remainder of the year (107 wRC+ from July 4th on) than he was a good hitter. Maybe he proves me wrong for not jumping on the bandwagon as quickly as everyone else seems to be. I hope this is the case, but I currently feel better about the 3 other position players, who have shown more @ higher levels offensively & who all have better defensive floors to their game.
The best two offensive seasons of his career (by wRC+) occurred during his age 30 & 32 seasons. Then, 2011 came (age 33) & his Soft% exploded to 32.6% after never being higher than 20.7% in any season prior. 2012 wasn’t as bad @ 21.0%, but that was still his 2nd highest ever. So, it sounds like hitting the ball w/ at least moderate or good authority as frequently became an issue for him.
I don’t recall his swing being very much based on a strong lower half (I want to say I remember his swing being all about the wrists, except for when he’d hit a HR & go into a slump by swinging out of his shoes for a while), but maybe once the miles on his legs added up, then it eventually resulted in his swing just not producing moderate & good contact as often. This is sort of what I feel like happened w/ Inciate, even though his swing also wasn’t really predicated on a strong lower half. However, he had a lot of leg injuries over the past couple seasons & not having a solid enough base seemed to mess him up terribly.
For me it's
I know that Harris has a ton of helium right now, but just comparing him @ age 20 in A+ vs. both Pache & Waters @ age 20 in AA & AAA keeps him behind them IMO. Langeliers is my clear #1 w/ not much of a gap Pache. Then, a little bit of a gap between Pache & Waters/Harris, who I’d rather have as 3a & 3b, instead of 3 & 4. I actually don’t have Strider in my personal top-6, because I’ve got Grissom in that spot.
Comment 1 reply, 4 recs
In the AFL he morphed in
People who were impressed w/ Acuna’s AFL performance in 2017 (1.053 OPS) s/b awestruck by Lugbauer’s in 2021 (1.145 OPS – that truly is Ruthian).
Comment 2 replies, 3 recs
In a much less watered down minor leagues back in 2017 & @ 2 years younger in age
Luiz Gohara advanced 4 levels to make his MLB debut. It wasn’t 5 levels, but he didn’t just debut, he started 5 MLB games. That’s more games started than Strider had 4 of his 5 stops. So, Gohara’s ascension is right up there in overall level of impressiveness & is arguably more impressive. The thing that makes Strider’s ascension unique was the fact that it was his professional debut. However, to be fair, Strider didn’t really advance thru AAA. He pitched all of 1 inning there on his way to Atlanta. So, for all intents & purposes he skipped AAA last year so that the team could get a quick look @ him against MLB teams to see if he warranted a BP spot for the playoffs. I really wish things had worked out better for Gohara.
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What kind of FV range are we looking @ for this 7-12 grouping?
Are they all 45s? I ask because Cusick & Shuster aren’t even in this group (they were both in the previous grouping) & the last time that FanGraphs assigned FVs to them was the ‘21 Update (hopefully the first ’22 one will be done on the Braves’ prospects soon) & they both got a 45. If those guys are trending down to the 40+ range, then that would be a disappointing result (an early result – plenty of time for them to turn it around) for first round picks out of Wake.
Thinking ahead to FanGraphs upcoming 1st ‘22 eval of the Braves’ prospects, Estes has to be the guy that bursts into their list, right? FanGraphs knew so little about him @ even their ‘21 Update that they didn’t even assign him a FV (I guess that put him @ a 35 or lower). He’s going to be at least a 40+, if not a 45, when they release it, right?
Another guy I’m interested to see where he lands FV-wise in FanGraphs’ 1st ‘22 eval is Conley. He was given a 40 in the ’21 Update, which made him the 3rd highest from the Braves’ ‘21 draft class (Cusick was 45 & Schwellenbach was 40+). Conley’s getting zero respect in our FanPost community vote – 7 of the last 8 guys selected before him didn’t even get a FV number (again I think that puts them @ 35 or lower) in the ’21 Update. Will FanGraphs keep him @ a 40 or was his uninspiring SSS debut enough to bump him down to a 35+ or have him him not even get a FV assignment? Additionally, do they still him as a top-20 guy in our list or have other guys surpassed him, some of whom also had very SSS debuts & some of those were promising (Spain & Malloy were both amazing) & some not so much (Smith-Shawver & Shoemaker both showed promise, but they are as raw as raw can be & need a ton of work on control, before they can even get to worrying about command)?
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w/ his .600 collegiate SLG playing in an upper tier college baseball conference & middle IF defense has to get selected soon. I think this will be the 6th consecutive poll in which I’ve voted for him. Maybe this is his time.
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I like your argument, especially the comparison to Lugbauer. Jenista & Lugbauer are two of our hitting prospects w/ at least plus raw power who in ‘21 seemed to figure out how to tap into that power by having really high FB% (Franklin, Langeliers, & Alexander were the other three). Of that group Jenista draws walks @ the best clip. Additionally he & Alexander were the ones that concluded their MiLB seasons on the highest notes – both had a >160 wRC+ over the final 5 weeks of the AA South season. Jenista went on to hit the most HRs in the AA South Championship Series (3 of them in the 5-game series, but those were his only hits – he made them count) & Alexander led the team in OPS during that series (.956). So, that final 5 weeks of good regular season results carried into their one post season series. Lugbauer didn’t finish the AA South regular season strongly & he wasn’t good in the AA South Championship Series either. However, when he got a late invite to the AFL he turned into Babe Ruth w/ a .692 SLG & a 1.145 OPS over 16 games (coincidentally those are almost exactly Ruth’s MLB average numbers).
I’ve skipped over Franklin & Langeliers, because they’re already getting their recognition & were selected in our community vote long ago. That leaves me irrationally high on Lugbauer right now (mostly due to his AFL exploits). And, I still haven’t given up on Alexander (I want to buy in too much to how he closed out his year). Jenista is the guy in this group that I probably s/b higher on than I am, but we’re still at least 10 spots away from the point where he’ll start getting my vote. However, I do like the fact that he’s getting a nomination & will start garnering votes.