Here’s another article submitted by one our readers. As always, neither the statistical opinions stated in a submitted article nor the interpretations of same are those of the staff here at Phuture Phillies. But, in this case, I’m hoping V is right. And would be hard pressed to argue from a contrarian point of view.
Rhys Hoskins is Going to be an All Star
Everyone should be very excited about Rhys Hoskins. He is going to make a major impact on the Phillies club. Once they finally put him at First, the Phillies are replacing a negative WAR player with someone whom I believe will be a routine 4-6 WAR player. Here is my argument…
As I routinely say, I am not a scout. I don’t pretend to be a scout. I have followed minor league prospects for 20+ years and have noticed patterns. I am sharing these patterns with you as food for thought.
My theory on judging a hitting prospect is simple…if you can’t dominate minor league pitchers, you are not going to do well against major league pitchers. Thus I believe statistics, especially at the higher levels matter a lot. Sometimes prospect blossom late. But a prospect has to hit really, really well before reaching the majors no matter how good his tools are.
Stats are not 100% predictors either way (hello Don Brown). But I think that you would be hard pressed to find a high quality major league regular who did not do well in AA and AAA, with the exception of an injury year. Great hitters just have a way of barreling the ball.
When I look at statistical profiles I focus on:
- K rates. I think it is really important that you can make contact. I don’t have empirical data on this, but I believe sub 20% is good and sub 15% is elite.
- Walk rates. I think it is really important that you can lay off bad pitches. I don’t have empirical data on this, but I believe over 10% is good and over 14% is elite.
- L/R splits. If you can’t hit minor league left handers, it ain’t going to happen in the majors
- BABIP driven stats. The average BABIP is .320. Power and Speed guys will have a higher BABIP than average power and speed players, but you should be skeptical of stats on a player who doesn’t have elite power or speed and has a BABIP over .370. The stats of that player are likely to regress.
- OPS. A good summary stat.
That approach is supported by this article that indicates the highest correlation between stats and WAR. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/basic-hitting-metric-correlation-1955-2012-2002-2012/. It is a very good article. Notice how lowly correlated batting average is? K rates, walk rates and power are all highly correlated to WAR. Yes, I see BABIP low on this list.
Ok, so with that background, here is a list of players:
- 24 or younger in AAA International League over the last 10 years with an OPS over .950: Rhys Hoskins. (That’s right, he stands alone over the last 10 years.)
- So let’s look at the Pacific League. The PCL has averaged a higher OPS than the International League every year over the past 5 years (likely longer, but I didn’t look). Over the last 5 years, the average PCL OPS is 53 basis points higher than the International League. So here is a list of players 24 years or younger with an OPS over 1.000 in the PCL: Joc Pederson, Adam Eaton, Anthony Rizzo, Sean Rodriguez, Geovany Soto. Happened 5 times in 10 years.
- So now let’s now look at the Walk rates, K rates and BABIP of those players:
- Rhys Hoskins: 13.5% / 15.8% /.281
- Joc Pederson: 18.1% / 26.9% / .385
- Adam Eaton: 9.4% / 12.1% / .432
- Anthony Rizzo: 10.4% / 21.5% / .369
- Sean Rodriguez: 11.7% / 27.4% / .364
- Geovany Soto: 11.8% / 20.9% / .401
- Ok, so the net of this is, of all of the players that have played AAA at 24 years old or younger over the past 10 years:
- Rhys had an 83 point lower BABIP than anyone else with a comparable OPS. 83 points lower! If you don’t understand how good this is, this means Rhys is really, really good.
- Only Adam Eaton had a lower K rate
- Only Joc Pederson had a higher walk rate
It is not an exaggeration to say Rhys has had the best AAA hitting season for any player his age or younger over the past 10 years. Possibly longer, I stopped looking.
I have said in the past a few trends that I have noticed:
- K rate typically goes up 4-6% from AAA to majors. (Rizzo’s has gone down considerably)
- Walk rate typically stay about the same.
- Power goes up with age.
So what does Rhys’ profile look like? Using the fangraphs scouting grade chart: he seems like 60 hit, 65/70 power. That folks, is a star. Who has a similar profile? IMO, Rhys comps to Anthony Rizzo. I know Rizzo was a few years younger than Rhys at AAA but I think they are very comparable players. Rizzo is a star. A middle of the order bat on a Championship caliber team. A multiple time all-star. I think Rhys will be that guy. Get excited!
P.s. I realize that this is an extremely bold prediction that opens me to future criticism if I am wrong. And I also realize how hard it is to predict the future. But let’s have a little fun with a big prediction.