I covered the players drafted in the 2018 MLB Draft on Thursday. Today I’ll be looking into the players acquired through the 2017 MLB Draft. For the 2018 MLB Draft, I determined whether they were a standout or mixed bag based off their entire professional career to that point. For this post, I’ll categorize them only by their 2019 results. As such, I’m characterizing players by whether they “took a step back” or whether things are going as planned. And of course the players who are “standouts.
Kramer Robertson, 4th round, SS
Stats - AA: 224 PAs, .235/.369/.374, 117 wRC+, 14.3 BB%, 17.4 K%, .263 BABIP; AAA: 209 PAs, .235/.344/.374, 12.9 BB%, 20.1 K%, .280 BABIP
Robertson is here because him being in Memphis is pretty surprising. He posted a slightly above average line at Peoria line to finish 2017 and a dead average line at Palm Beach last year. All signs pointed to a similar 2019. But Robertson changed something, developing into a higher walk, higher strikeout, more power hitter. He’s already 25 next year so not so sure about a big league impact, but he’s way closer than he was last year.
Zach Kirtley, 5th round, 1B
Stats - A+: .253/.339/.388, 120 wRC+, .135 ISO, .325 BABIP; AA: .229/.320/.389, 101 wRC+, .160 ISO, .297 BABIP
Much like Robertson, there’s not much reason to believe in a big league impact, but he took enormous strides in 2019. He showed virtually no power - as a 1B - at either State College or Peoria in his first two seasons. He still managed very slightly above average lines. He nearly doubled his power output at Palm Beach this year. He’s striking out too much at Springfield but still managing an average line. And he’s only 22 so he has time.
Jacob Patterson, 13th round, LHP
Stats - AA: 58.1 IP, 29.8 K%, 6.9 BB%, 5.50 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 3.25 xFIP, 23.2 HR/FB%
Patterson has been bit by the home run bug in Springfield, but those K/BB numbers are truly elite. I’m a believer.
Terry Fuller, 15th round, OF
Stats - JC: 90 PAs, .247/.389/.384, 123 wRC+, .370 BABIP, 16.7 BB%; A-: 172 PAs .220/.314/.340, 101 wRC+, .313 BABIP, .120 ISO
Fuller played in 11 games last year - 11 very encouraging games - and it’s great to see him be essentially the same type of hitter this year - with less power though. The promotion to State College saw a dip in production, but the difference is essentially the different BABIPs. I hope the Cards send him to Peoria next year.
Irving Lopez, 19th round, 2B
Stats - AA: 331 PAs, .254/.331/.434, 114 wRC+, .291 BABIP, .180 ISO; AAA: 70 PAs, .300/.386/.467, 109 wRC+, .370 BABIP, .167 ISO
Hilarious seeing that line turn into a 109 wRC+. Please change the ball next year. I can’t take any of these AAA stats seriously. Anyway this is looking like a classic late round gem of pick here. He’s just hit at every level so far. He turns 25 next year so it’s the make or break year.
Patrick Dayton, 25th round, LHP
Stats - A+: 59.1 IP, 23.8 K%, 6.8 BB%, 3.64 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 54.6 GB%
What’s not to love here? Gets strikeouts, doesn’t walk guys, and gets groundballs. There is his age - he turned 24 in July - and he still needs to get over the Springfield hump and that’s no easy task. But his 2019 went well.
Kodi Whitley, 27th round, RHP
Stats - A+: 4.1 IP, 0.00 ERA; AA: 39.1 IP, 27.9 K%, 7.9 BB%, 1.83 ERA, 3.17 FIP; AAA: 23.2 IP, 28.1 K%, 4.2 BB%, 1.52 ERA, 2.03 FIP, 5.12 xFIP
This guy is a unicorn. Good stats in AAA? Call him up now. Seriously I did a double take when I scrolled to the bottom of his stats and saw he was in AAA and then another one when I saw his stats were good there.
Scott Hurst, 3rd round, OF
Stats - A+: 244 PAs, .233/.292/.314, 83 wRC+, 7.4 BB%, 25 K%, .302 BABIP; AA: 161 PAs, .191/.278/.277, 60 wRC+, 10.6 BB%, 28.6 K%, .277 BABIP
In a nutshell, here’s his season. He was bad in Springfield to begin the year (76 wRC+), posted a below average line at Palm Beach that got him promoted anyway (92 wRC+), was awful upon promotion to Springfield (25 wRC+), demoted back to Palm Beach where he was worse than the first time (67 wRC+) . I’m not loving his chances at contributing at the MLB level.
Zach Jackson, 6th round, C
Stats - JC: .171/.289/.316, 70 wRC+, 31 K%, .227 BABIP
Jackson was drafted out of high school, so he’s still only 21. But he has a serious case of the strikeouts plaguing him so far. Last year, it was hidden by a .374 BABIP, but even with that, he had a 97 wRC+. This year the BABIP is .227. BABIP is virtually the only difference between this year and last, but since he stayed at Johnson City, I call that a step back.
Chase Pinder, 7th round, OF
Stats - A+: 288 PAs, .203/.313/.282, 84 wRC+, .079 ISO, .268 BABIP; AA: 56 PAs, .160/.236/.160, 17 wRC+, 33.9 K%, .000 ISO
Pinder jumped from Johnson City to Palm Beach last year, posting a 112 wRC+ in 78 games. This year, he returned to Palm Beach and posted an 84 wRC+. He’s made two trips to the IL this year and had brief stops at Springfield, which have been disastrous. Huge step down here.
Evan Mendoza, 11th round, 3B
Stats - AA: .248/.293/.311, 70 wRC+, .063 ISO
He’s only 23, but it kind of feels like he’s done as an actual prospect. He’s spent most of the year injured, but now has roughly 600 PAs in AA as a well below average hitter. He did get promoted for Memphis for 6 games before the injury and had a 109 wRC+ so not the greatest timing.
Will Latcham, 17th round, RHP
AA - Stats: 40.2 IP, 16.4 K%, 10.6 BB%, 7.08 ERA, 6.65 FIP
Ah, Springfield, the death of many pitching prospects. It’s probably generous to call him a pitching prospect, given he’s a reliever, but he had a fantastic season in 2017 for State College, skipped to Palm Beach, and had pretty good numbers there. Hasn’t been able to crack the code in AA yet. Still 23.
Alex Gallegos, 35th round, RHP
Stats - JC: 19.2 IP, 9 K%, 13.5 BB%, 11.90 ERA, 7.49 FIP
The rare high schooler to sign past the 30th rounder, things... have not went well for the youngster. He walked more than he struck out last year too. He’s 21. He at least got a 66 GB% last year. This year, it was 35.4%.
Moving Right Along
Wilberto Rivera, 8th round, RHP
Stats - JC: 25.1 IP, 24.3 K%, 8.1 BB%, 17.8 GB%, 5.33 ERA, 4.37 FIP
Things were certainly not moving right along his first two years. He pitched 17 total innings in the GCL, which included 7.2 innings with 11 walks and 2 strikeouts. This year, he has actually managed to get back on track a bit, though that 17.8 GB% is very much not a typo.
Evan Kruczynski, 9th round, LHP
Stats - AA: 117.1 IP, 23 K%, 9.8 BB%, 5.60 ERA, 4.74 FIP, 4.27 xFIP; AAA: 30.1 IP, 18.8 K%, 11.4 BB%, 8.01 ERA, 5.12 FIP
Okay so those AAA stats look bad, yes, but also: literally every pitcher in AAA’s stats look bad. It’s going to be tough to judge pitchers with the Texas League being pretty favorable to hitters and AAA being destroyed by the new ball. So, he gets a moving right along.
Donivan Williams, 14th round, 2B
Stats - A-: .222/.342/.288, 100 wRC+, 14.1 BB%, 28.3 K%, .065 ISO
For every stat to get excited about with Williams (for instance BB rate), there’s an equal reason to not get your hopes up (ISO). Overall, he’s 20-years-old in Low A, having an exactly league average bat. He had a 92 wRC+ at Johnson City with a higher K rate, lower BB rate, and much higher BABIP. Gonna need some power if he’s gonna strike out that much though.
Alex Fagalde, 30th round, RHP
Stats - A+: 72.1 IP, 22.5 K%, 5.8 BB%, 1.99 ERA, 3.46 FIP; AA: 67 IP, 18.6 K%, 8.4 BB%, 4.43 ERA, 5.09 FIP
The odds were stacked pretty high against this guy. He was drafted at 23. He pitched well at every level the Cards stuck him at... until Springfield. And his numbers there aren’t that bad. But they got to be better for a 25-year-old.
Missing in Action
Brett Seeburger, 10th round, LHP (released)
Andrew Summerville, 12th round, LHP (retired - seems to be injury-related)
Jake Walsh, 16th round, RHP
Walsh is missing because of an injury. He made a rehab appearance with the GCL Cardinals in July, it did not go well and he hasn’t pitched since. Bummer, because his 2018 was relatively promising.
Shane McCarthy, 18th round, RHP
Well this is a new one. He was selected as a junior out of college and returned to Seton Hall. Now in the Indians organization. Good numbers in Single A, though he is 23 so not sure how much stock to put into that.
Brandon Benson, 20th round, OF
Stats - A: 144 PAs, .150/.208/.263, 38 wRC+, 34 K%
He got released after posting those numbers in Peoria at 23.
Jake Dahlberg, 21st round, LHP (released)
Kevin Hamann, 22nd round, RHP (released)
Evan Guillory, 23rd round, RHP (retired)
Thomas St. Clair, 24th round, RHP (released)
Stats - A: 34 IP, 20.2 K%, 22 BB%
They gave St. Clair, 25 and in Single A, a lot more rope than most of the released folks.
Paul Balestrieri, 26th round, RHP (released)
He’ll always have his no hitter and it wasn’t combined either!
CJ Saylor, 28th round, RHP (released)
Stats - A+: 36 IP, 24.4 K%, 11.3 BB%, 5.25 ERA, 3.97 FIP
Not bad stats, but he’s 25 so he would have needed to dominate at this level and he didn’t.
Wood Myers, 29th round, 2B (released)
The 31st-40th rounds features one guy of semi-relevance, seen above, but there’s an old for his level backup catcher who never plays, three high schoolers who didn’t sign, and five pitchers who have been released. Didn’t really feel the need to name them all.