Here at Fantasy CPR, I have developed an odds system based purely on empirical probability, using the very simple minor league statistics of all the MLB first baseman since 2000. We then looked at all the eligible hitters in AA and AAA, 475 of them in all, and sorted them by not only their odds of being successful hitters in the Majors, but by defensive and baserunning measures as well. I thought it would be fun to look at a few players that are no longer eligible as prospects, some failures, some successes, and see whether or not the odds system liked them. This isn’t even a test of the system by any means, this is more of a fun post. Here, I will look at 18 different players, and look at what their odds was (I not which year I am pulling the approximate minor league numbers from) and their “comp” and rank out of the 2013 rankings. Don’t read too much into the comps (remember, all of this is purely offensive driven), they are just statements about where the player would fit in if eligible for the list of players we listed in 2013.
Pre-2008: 41.83 %
2013 Hypothetical Comp: Wil Myers (23)
Wood was one of the most disappointing failed prospects in recent memory, and the author of one of the worst offensive performances over multiple seasons that I have ever seen (a 40 OPS +). He was a legit prospect that was supposed to hit, but that is why these are odds. Even the players that are projected to be the best have at least half of a chance of failing according to the odds. It is just how baseball works.
Pre-2012: 43.17 %
Comp: Oscar Taveras (10)
Trout had a fantastic season in 2012, using all of his tools to put together one of the better seasons in recent memory. He has clearly established himself as not only a big league starter and successful hitter, but as an elite player that should hit at the top of the Angels lineup for years to come.
2012: 45.17 %
Comp: Nick Weglarz (2)
The very good fielding shortstop was asked to play 3rd base (where he had played just 2 games at in the minors) in the Majors for the Orioles, as 3rd base had become a defensive black hole and shortstop was taken by J.J. Hardy. He impressed both defensively and offensively, and there isn’t much reason to think that he can’t succeed at either short or 3rd going forward.
Comp: Nick Weglarz (2)
After impressing in his rookie year, Hosmer was horrible in 2012. Everyone thought he would be a great hitter, and the odds say he has a good of a chance as hitting as anyone. Expect some mechanical changes and a bounce back season in 2013 for Hosmer.
Comp: Jaff Decker (1)
Smoak showed some promise in Texas, but his tenure in Seattle has been really disappointing. He has been so disappointing that the Mariners spent the entire off-season acquiring 1st base/DH players, making it look like Smoak is expendable. He did look rejuvenated at the end of 2012, but September hot streaks are usually not very predictive. He really was supposed to hit.
Comp: Jedd Gyorko (11)
This is still relevant because Martin looks like he will be competing for the centerfield job in Texas. He has had a little bit of MLB experience, but none of it real impressive. On the other hand, his time in the PCL was really solid in 2012. The odds from his time in Cuba are really encouraging, as is his MiLB numbers. He has elite bat speed, but the moving parts in his swing make him a question mark. Positional certainty and athleticism is there though, and not a problem when talking about Martin.
Comp: Michael Taylor (182)
The Cardinals shortstop made his MLB debut in 2012 and hit more than expected, but key bad defensive plays were a big reason that St. Louis was eventually bounced from the playoffs. Scouts don’t seem sold that he is a big league contributor going forward, and the odds, along with what my eye tells me about his defense, seem to support this.
Comp: Carlos Sanchez (97)
The short Astros 2nd baseman has become somewhat of a Internet favorite, and has shown that he can hit for a good average in the Majors, despite lacking great plate discipline and power. It is a little surprising that he has succeeded so well, but he actually hasn’t reached the threshold of success (107 wRC +) that we listed in the odds, and has actually been a below average offensive player.
Comp: Josh Phegley (213)
It seems that Anderson was overrated to start with. He was mainly a bat only guy that was not drafted very high and wasn’t overly impressive with the bat in the minors. After failing with the Red Sox, he was traded to the Indians at the 2012 deadline, only to be shipped to Arizona in the Trevor Bauer deal. He has since been DFA’d and claimed by the White Sox.
Comp: Michael Choice (5)
The Blue Jays eventually gave up on Travis Snider in the middle of 2012 when they shipped him to Pittsburgh in a trade for Brad Lincoln. In the Majors, he has shown a little power, but he has had contact and on base issues. He plays a corner outfield position, so what he does with the bat is very important. While the Pirates need all the offense they can get, if everything breaks right, he will just be the 4th outfielder anyway (behind Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, and Starlin Marte).
Comp: Joey Terdoslavich (386)
One of the guys that the Blue Jays have tried to replace Snider with, Sierra struggled in his MLB debut in 2012, and will most likely start 2012 in the minors. He clearly doesn’t have the offensive upside as Snider did, and he really struggled defensively according to the defensive metrics. He is 24, so he is still relatively young, but there isn’t much of a reason to think he will succeed in the Majors.
Comp: Mike Olt (6)
At age 25, Kipnis has already established himself as a very good 2nd baseman in the Majors. While he has always been compared to Dustin Ackley, he has outhit him, despite being drafted a round lower.
Comp: Joey Terdoslavich (386)
Just 21 years old, the young Tiger was brought up to the Major Leagues and didn’t show great plate discipline, but did hold his own in 2012. He projects to start in the minors in 2012, but he should be a part of the big league club at sometime in 2013. His power has not yet played in games, and he really has problems with plate discipline. This makes me question whether he will ever be a solid contributor in the Majors.
Comp: Denny Almonte (206)
The Legend of Sam Fuld was one of the more fun stories of the first half of 2011, as he sparkled the Trop with some amazing catches. However, his bad went silent in the 2nd half of the season, and missed most of 2012 with an injury. Originally a Cubs prospect, the Rays acquired him in the Matt Garza deal. The defense will keep him in the Majors, but he doesn’t supply much power, despite his good approach. He is ideally a reserve outfielder.
Comp: Ryan Jackson (189)
Pastornicky was one of the worst MLB players in 2012, as he evidently won the shortstop battle for the Braves between him and Andrelton Simmons, who is profiled below. It was said that the front office preferred Pastornicky to Simmons to start the season, while the manager and the coaches preferred Simmons. Obviously, especially when you count defense, Simmons turned out to be the right choice.
Comp: Hak-Ju Lee (29)
Simmons was extremely impressive in a small sample size with the Braves, and will start there for what looks like a competitive Atlanta team in 2013. Even though he projects to hit more than Pastornicky, he doesn’t have to rely on hist bat as much as Pastornicky since he is such a slick fielding shortstop.
Comp: Eric Farris (405)
Once thought of as the next Houston Astros shortstop, Manzella struggled in the Majors and wasn’t given a long leash. Since then, he has really struggled in the minors and has been bouncing around, playing for 3 different organizations in 2012 and struggling in all of them (with no MLB plate appearances).
Comp: Jaff Decker (1)
Belt is one of the prototypical guys that the front office seemed to undervalue, while many scouting and sabermetrics writers thought he should have been playing more. Once buried behind Aubrey Huff, Belt did play pretty well, especially defensively down the stretch for the Giants as they won their 2nd World Series in 3 years. He has a complicated swing that may hurt him a little, but he absolutely mashed in the minors and shows an advanced approach.