And so, we’ve come to the last of these head to head comparisons. I wanted to look at a couple interesting names in the infield. Obviously we’ve all been through discussions of Roman Quinn, Maikel Franco and Cody Ashce, and we know a lot about some of the older guys like Cesar Hernandez and Darin Ruf, (if you want to call him a 1B still, which I guess you could). The rest of the top 30-ish infielders are young guys, drafted in 2011 or 2012. So let’s talk about Zach Green, Mitch Walding and Andrew Pullin.
A little history, for comparison – Green was a third round pick in 2012, (#125) who signed for $45k over slot, or $420k. Pullin was the 188th pick, (5th Round), who signed for slot, just north of $200k. Walding was a fifth round pick in 2011 who signed for supplemental first or early second round money, ($800k).
Now, when we’re looking at their limited stats, we’ve got basically half a season of each. Green and Pullin took about 100 fewer PAs than Walding, but all have fairly reasonable samples to consider to account for streaks, even from the short season leagues where they played.
Pullin got 162 PA in the GCL. His walk rate of 7.4% could be better, but it’s not horrid. His K rate is the same, at 19.8% – pretty unimpressive. He triple slashed .321/.403/.436, for an OPS of .838. He did benefit from a .398 BABIP, though on a LD Rate of 21%, which is pretty good, and tempers the negative connotation of the extreme BABIP a little.
He moved from the OF to 2b during the season, and wound up putting in a handful of games there in August. If he’s going to hit line drives and show a little pop and play a decent 2b, he could have a chance to prop up his value greatly. The fact that we heard he was going to play 2B in instructs and wound up there before the end of the year leads me to conclude he’s handling himself pretty well. Otherwise, why bother? Solid logic, I know.
Walding took 292 PAs in 2012, playing 3B exclusively. There were some positive scouting reports on him early in the year, and he had a fine half a month to start his pro career, OPSing .952 in June. But as the year wore on he struck out considerably more, ending up with 22.6% K Rate to go with a pretty good 10.6% bb rate. His triple slash would up at .233/.326/.308 on a .312 BABIP with a 15% LD rate. You have to like that he was able to keep his patience at the plate, though a little bit more solid contact would be nice as well.
Green triple slashed .284/.333/.426 for an OPS of .759 in 183 PAs. He played some SS but mostly 3B, which is where the CW seems to project him in the long run. That .142 ISO is a little lower than one might hope for a 3B prospect, but really, in this day and age of weaker hitting 3B, it’s not a disqualifier if he holds in that range as he progresses.
What could quickly become a concern is his BB and K Rates. He walked just 8 times for a 4.3% rate, and struck out at a 23.4% clip. I can handle 23.4%, if it comes with double digit walks and a good amount of power. We’ll have to see how he handles himself the next couple years with bigger samples of data, but if he can’t take a free pass, well – I’ll just say this – Sebastian Valle’s defense and position holds his prospect value a bit. Not sure Green’s would do the same. Uncertainty there is dragging him down in my eyes.
And so, to rank them, it’s a tough call. I think they all throw up some flags. Scouting and some of the results from Green look nice until you see that brutal walk rate. Walding has some very positive scouting on his side, but little in the way of results. And Pullin has that very high BABIP fueling his stats a bit, though he did hit a lot of line drives. I found these three guys floating close to one another as I tinkered with my rankings, from as high as #17 at one point, (Green), all the way to where they landed, with Pullin at #26, Walding at #30 and Green the “best of the rest” at #31.
How about you? Am I reading too much into the Green BB Rate or is it a big flag for you all as well? Am I overvaluing Pullin’s LD rate? What should we think about Walding showing inferior numbers to the others while playing against better competition?
Hope this series has helped you all out. I’ve certainly figured out some issues I was worrying about all the way through my first couple passes of the rankings. I’m sure we’ll rehash some of the same stuff when we get into the poll over the next several weeks, but it’s nice to get a little headstart on the conversation. Happy voting to you all!