Due to travel, it’s been a little over a month since the last Big Hype Prospects. Let’s check in on who is making waves.
Five Big Hype Prospects
Jackson Holliday, 19, SS, BAL (A+)
(A/A+)158 PA, 6 HR, 11 SB, .394/.513/.701
Holliday’s introduction to professional baseball could not be more encouraging. He leads all qualified minor league hitters with a 222 wRC+. After wrecking Low-A pitching, he’s eviscerating High-A competition in the same manner. He evinces excellent plate discipline and a feel for stinging contact. His nearly .500 BABIP isn’t the product of luck – he’s simply outclassing the competition with an all-fields approach. If there’s a quibble, it’s that he rarely lofts the ball. Even so, that’s not affecting his power output – he has an excellent .300 ISO on the season.
To outside observers, Holliday is seemingly ready for a challenge at Double-A. It’s worth remembering he has just 93 plate appearances in High-A and a total of only 248 professional plate appearances. As long as the Orioles don’t believe he’s stagnating, a longer stint in High-A could prove appropriate. A stable environment helps with certain types of learning. On the other hand, we’re all eager to see what he does when finally challenged.
Junior Caminero, 19, 3B, TBR (A+)
146 PA, 11 HR, 2 SB, .351/.404/.709
I’ve put out a few calls for updated notes on Caminero since those I’ve gathered disagree about his future feel for contact. Presently, few hitters have shown comparable capacity for power. The folks at FanGraphs emphasized “his lack of ball/strike recognition” in a recent report, a concern shared by other evaluators. However, as others point out, such issues are hardly unprecedented among successful Major Leaguers. In this day and age, it’s not as if a 19-year-old slugger is incapable of making adjustments. It hasn’t been a problem in High-A because practically everything he hits is hammered. His .362 ISO ranks sixth in the minors. Double-A will mark an important challenge for Caminero.
Evan Carter, 20, OF, TEX (AA)
158 PA, 4 HR, 8 SB, .302/.430/.426
Carter can be a divisive prospect. It’s so easy to fall in love with the discipline and feel for contact. A Major League future feels inevitable. The floor for Carter is seemingly so high. Brandon Nimmo comps abound. All the same traits – even body type and line-drive-based power are there. It’s rare for prospect analysis to gush about a player’s floor, and perhaps that’s the problem with Carter. We’re usually focused on ceiling and, barring a change, Carter’s feels limited; like he’s on his way to becoming one of the best core contributors in the league. Will we find him on many All-Star teams? Probably not at his current power output.
The same point I made with Caminero applies to Carter. Never has it been easier for players to make positive adjustments to their game. Just because a prospect looks and feels like Brandon Nimmo doesn’t mean they’re destined to stay in their lane. Carter could follow the path of Lars Nootbaar to higher exit velocities. Or, like a different Cardinals outfielder, he could stall out against some aspect of Major League pitching.
Gavin Williams, 23, SP, CLE (AAA)
(AA/AAA) 40 IP, 12.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.58 ERA
A number of my favorite pitching prospects are in the Guardians system, and Williams is probably the best of the bunch. After three laser-sharp outings in Double-A, he was promoted to Triple-A where he’s remained effective. He worked 115 innings last season, so there is some scope for him to contribute in the Majors this season while managing his workload. However, the Guardians will soon welcome back Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie. A near-term opportunity might not present itself. Williams features a four-pitch repertoire of upper-90s fastball, well-commanded slider, curve, and changeup. To my eyes, it looks as if he has sinking and riding fastballs – or perhaps the pitch behaved differently based on vertical location (I haven’t seen this mentioned in reports). Like most power pitchers, the changeup lags behind the other offerings, though it is viewed as a viable pitch with promise. The word “intensity” appears on multiple public reports.
Henry Davis, 23, C, PIT (AA)
141 PA, 10 HR, 5 SB, .297/.447/.631
Davis’ second tour in Double-A is going swimmingly. After a mere 97 wRC+ over a similar span last season, his current 189 wRC+ ranks sixth in the minors. He’s also showing the walk, strikeout, and contact rates of a future star. Davis was drafted as a slugging catcher who might eventually wind up at first base. As yet, the Pirates have mostly used him as a catcher this season with a few odd starts at designated hitter and right field. Davis has an extreme, pulled, fly ball approach which isn’t exactly suited to PNC Park. However, he has the raw power to make it work even if a few would-be dingers die on the warning track. It’s feeling increasingly probable we see both Davis and Endy Rodriguez in Pittsburgh later this summer – especially if the club can remain competitive in the standings.
Matt McLain, CIN (23): McLain was selected about a week ago after hitting .348/.474/.710 in Triple-A. In 22 plate appearances, he has 10 strikeouts and four hits. He’s struggled to make impactful contact after averaging 90.9-mph EV in Triple-A. McLain has a narrow window to impress Cincinnati decision-makers before the likes of Elly De La Cruz and others arrive on the scene.
Nolan Jones, COL (25): A post-hype prospect, Jones is a disciplined power hitter who has a bit of a Quad-A reputation at the moment. He’s producing a .362/.486/.723 line in a heady offensive environment with 90.5-mph average EV (113.7-mph Max EV). He’s splitting time between first base, third base, and right field – all positions the Rockies could stand to upgrade (at least indirectly).
Ethan Salas, SDP (16): As my favorite contact put it, “Salas is bound to be the first 16-year-old position player in a full-season league in a loooooong time.” The young catcher is already entering Top 100 lists.
Did I miss a detail or nuance? DM me on Twitter @BaseballATeam to discuss corrections.
“It’s feeling increasingly probable we see both Davis and Endy Rodriguez in Pittsburgh later this summer – especially if the club can remain competitive in the standings.”s
I don’t think enough people fully appreciate what a competitive advantage having two guys who can play behind the plate AND be able to hit and get “days off” at other positions….so they don’t wear down at catcher playing everyday.
ALWAYS having an elite bat at the C spot when most teams waste it on pitch framers and the like would be a huge head start to winning most days.
“waste it on pitch framers.”
First, while every team would like a couple of good-hitting catchers, they’re not easy to find.
Second, catchers that can turn balls into strikes definitely bring value to the team.
Will the robot ump make this skill obsolete? Then what value is a framer?
No jinxing allowed, but Salas looks like the real deal.
Nimmo’s a terrific player; who has been worth 4-5 war that’d be far from a negative result.
Jackson Holliday is basically humiliating a league where he is almost 3 and a half years younger than the average player there. Geez.
Kids of big leaguers are often like that. They have some huge advantages that other prep players don’t. We’ll see.
He is so damn impressive. Like a baseball robot in a humans body. Everything about his fundamentals at the plate look absolutely picture perfect. What the hell is there to even coach? You just stand there with your hands in your pockets and say “yup, great job dude.”
Has a great teacher in his dad one of the best hitters consistently
They need to keep challenging Holliday. They really should consider moving him up to AA sometime in June. If he falters, they can send him back to A+ ball, but this kid feels like he could be ready to play in MLB by age 21 if they keep promoting him and he continues his success. He’s going to be fun to watch in the majors for a long time if he can stay healthy.
Due to travel… does the internet also not travel or is that exclusive to your home area?
Long Suffering Guardians Fan
You’ve never heard of time off?
Traveling usually means “somebody” is busy af with other things. At least, I know it does for me. I’m Ron Burgundy?
Reds bells a Ediot setting Fraley but let’s play Meyers hitting197 Fairchild 213casali146 if he don’t get manager off the year it’s fixed he gets my bone head manager of the day award
That’s almost comprehensible.
That’s almost comprehensible.
Also, Fraley is terrible against left-handers.
I speak gibberish. He said-
The Red’s manager David Bell is a knucklehead for sitting Fraley and playing Myers, Fairchild and Casali, all of which are hitting lower than their weight. Somehow Bell deserves Manager of the Year or it’s fixed, but today Bell wins the new Bonehead of the Day Manager Award.
Must be a new Manfred thing as I hadn’t heard about it until now.
Joe It All
Even though it was Jive and not Gibberish, Airplane made me read this in Barbara Billingsleys voice.
“Terrible”? You’re too kind. Dude’s lifetime BA against lefties is .136
Great to see Jake the Snake playing so well. I was sad to see him go. Great hard nosed, all around player. Yes, can’t hit lefties a lick. Never could. He’ll make you throw strikes though regardless of whether you’re a righty or lefty
Didn’t catch Sundays game vs Yankees? They started Bauers (.177), Volpe (.212), Kiner-Falefa (.198), Higashioka (.191), & dh Calhoun (.224). Surely their manager gets knucklehead of the year by your standards.
I really hope Henry Davis works out, his bat looks legit, needs to be up pretty soon. I am worried because the Pirates although they had a good start, their top prospects seem to be on a steep decline. All the pitchers are regressing, and I don’t expect anything from Gonzalez and Swaggerty. Temarr Johnson and the two catchers are supposed to be big time impact bats but we’ll have to see it. Very disappointing.
Termarr is picking it up quickly after his stint on the IL.
Endy, Davis, Gonzalez, Ortiz and Priester are all doing rather well.
Peguero is bouncing back closer to what is expected.
Martin looks to be getting back on track despite batting under .200 he has an OPS over 900 and a great OBP. he bumps up that average he’ll be back at AAA when there is room.
all that said. Short Samples, a couple bad games and your stats look horrible, especially for Pitchers. On the same token a short hot streak does that too.
Swaggerty’s time with the pirates is coming to an end. Honestly surprised he is still here.
There are a handful of prospects that look to be ready to make the jump up this year. We’ll probably start seeing some of their higher quality guys making it to the MLB in the next couple months.
Buuba ho tep
Should be hole in the head….no STEEP decline…maybe a bump in the road…
bag o ballz
I do find it interesting that in all of the prospect talk none have ever mentioned the giants but quietly the youth movement has been performing with schmitt and bailey- and matos and harrison are right on the doorstep.
I’m starting to think this Holliday guy might end up being pretty good.
Nolan Jones SHEESH.
.362/.486/.723? 25 years old? Call the kid up already
Free Nolan Jones
What is a Quad-A reputation?
Also, Enough with wasting all these years in the minors. Just bring them up and let them sink or swim. Just look at Babe Ruth. Guy had one season in the minors with 26Ks, 9BBs and only 1HR in 131PA. Only thing that kept him alive was the BA of .331.
Babe Ruth competed against 5’4 145 pound guys with black lung and scurvy.
And keep in mind that Babe Ruth came up as more of a pitching prospect with the Red Sox. He didn’t get many at bats in his first 4-5 MLB seasons. Only the year before he was traded to NY did he finally get over 400 ABs in Boston. He had 35 complete games for Boston in 1917!
A Quad-A player is one that is too good for Triple A but can’t cut it at the major league level. I don’t understand how Nolan Jones has that reputation when he got less than 100 PAs and didn’t do terrible… 93 wRC+ at the MLB level. That’s not enough time to figure out major league pitching.
Endy will be behind the plate in June and playing right field often on ‘off days’
Nick Will push Castro out by the break.
Quinn will be here when there is an open spot when a spot opens sometime after mid june. either through trade or injury
Peguero will get time soonish if there is room.
Lower end prospects at needed position of 1b…
Mason Martin and/or Malcom Nunez will be called up if/when Santana is traded. Pirates are short on 1b options in the system. Getting a better look against high quality competition needs to be done before going into the off season
Davis will be up closer to the end of the year just to get a look as well but i wouldn’t think any longer term time until 2024.