Looking over previous years’ version of this particular post, it would appear that Washington has finally reached that long hoped-for point where it not only develops both pitchers and hitters, but position players at nearly every position.
I have to use “nearly” because I’m still not thrilled with the depth at every position. Let’s just say Matt Skole and Jose Marmolejos-Diaz should not be allowed to ride in the same vehicle.
Now that I’ve shown that the DC-area sense of entitlement has worn off on me after 10 years of living here, I only need to look here to remind myself how things have changed.
Like the pitchers, Sickels has some principles that I’d like summarize before we look at the list:
…Instead of the Five Tools, Sickels looks at what he calls the Seven Skills:
1) Controlling the strike zone 2) Hitting for power 3) Hitting for average 4) Offensive speed 5) Fielding range 6) Fielding reliability
7) Throwing utility
…Controlling the strike zone isn’t strictly not striking out (Sickels likes a batter to walk about 10% of his PAs) but also comparing BBs to Ks, which means a guy that doesn’t walk a lot is tolerable if he also doesn’t strike out much, and there are plenty of guys that both strike out a lot and walk a lot, but there are very few good hitters that don’t walk much and strike out a lot.
…Sickels likes to look at OPS and a variation of Bill James’ secondary average in relation to his batting average. His formula is basically doubles, plus twice the number of triples, plus three times the number of HRs, plus walks, plus the difference between SBs and CS, all divided by at-bats. The point? That a low-average guy that either hits for serious power or gets on base a lot is just as valuable if not more than a high-average batter with less power.
…Offensive speed is how well the player runs the bases, not how fast. The best baserunners are smart and fast, but as many of us have seen, they’re usually one or the other but rarely both.
…Defensively, Sickels freely admits that he has to rely on the scouts heavily because the more advanced defensive metrics (e.g. Zone Rating) simply aren’t available for the minors, noting that range (which ZR measures) is developmentally more important than reliability.
Here they are, listed from high-to-low letter grade first, alphabetically second:
|Trea Turner – A- (B)
||Raudy Read – C+ (C+)
||Spencer Kieboom – C (C+)
|Victor Robles – B (C)
||Max Schrock* – C+
||Edwin Lora – C
|Wilmer Difo – B- (B-)
||Pedro Severino – C+ (C+)
||Jose Marmolejos-Diaz – C
|Anderson Franco – B- (C)
||Rhett Wiseman – C+
||Jakson Reetz – C (C+)
|Andrew Stevenson – B-
||Telmito Agustin – C
||Matt Skole – C (C)
|Osvaldo Abreu – C+
||Brian Goodwin – C (C+)
||Juan Solo – C
|Rafael Bautista – C+ (C+)
||Kelvin Gutierrez – C
||Drew Ward – C (B-)
|Christopher Bostick – C+ (C+)
As I did yesterday, the bolded names are the ones that don’t appear in the BA book, the italics are 2015 draft picks, and Sickels’s SLEEPER PICK has an asterisk. FWIW, Brian Goodwin appears in the “exclusive bonus supplement,” but like the BA editors, I don’t feel like making the effort to code his name with semibold typeface.
Now for the tidbits…
• Not much else to say about Turner that you haven’t heard, read, or seen previously — needs more polish controlling the strike zone and may struggle some when he does get the call, but once he adjusts he’ll be an everyday SS.
• Sickels picked Robles in his 2015 book and obviously since Robles had a breakout year, a little chest-thumping (no different than yours truly when a DSL Guy does well, see below 😉 — otherwise, he’s in tune with the chorus that Robles is the next big thing.
• Likewise, he feels that Anderson Franco may be the next Victor Robles, but cautions that it might not be until 2017.
• Telmito Agustin was the fourth SLEEPER PICK and the sole position player. As noted in the comments, the stats have caught my eye and same for Sickels. Reportedly his defense is raw, which for teenage players, is about as shocking as learning that blonde starlet in that hit movie was born a brunette.
• Unfortunately, Sickels believes “The Orange” could get squeezed at higher levels if he doesn’t develop more power and/or defensive range.
With that, I finish up my annual review of the Sickels book, which you can purchase here.