I could be wrong, but I think it is probably true that VEB readers and voters of this feature are higher on Moises Gomez than literally any other site that ranks prospects. I did a little bit of research when looking for who to add to the polls and I actually added Moises Gomez earlier than what his average ranking would have dictated. My gut feeling that Gomez would get a lot of love earlier than expected - and by the way this was despite me being very much not on the Gomez train - has been one of my better gut feelings. Here are the rankings so far:
- Jordan Walker
- Masyn Winn
- Tink Hence
- Gordon Graceffo
- Alec Burleson
- Ivan Herrera
- Cooper Hjerpe
- Matthew Liberatore
- Michael McGreevy
- Moises Gomez
Maybe I’m reading too much into the results of the last poll, but there were two types of prospects that did well: the prospects who are close to the majors and the high potential, far away prospects. Anyway in between did very poorly. Technically the close to the majors reliever also did poorly, but that’s not unusual this high in the rankings. So I kept that in mind with who I would pick.
And I landed at two players whose highest level last season was in the complex league, and I ultimately went with the younger player. Pending something in this particular vote leading me in a different direction, you will probably find out the other player I was considering on Monday. But the player I chose is outfielder Won-Bin Cho.
Here’s the obligatory mention of how the scouting grades work. Scouting is graded on a 20 to 80 scale, with 50 being average. 40 is one standard deviation below average, 60 is one above. It’s meant to grade the rarity of their skill in that category. You’ll see two numbers, the first of which is their scouting grade right now and the second number is their potential. It’s meant to show where they are now, and how close they are to reaching their potential.
I’ll use Jordan Walker as an example again, because it’s fun. His actual power is graded at 55 right now and his potential is 80. 55 is marginally above average power and 80 is Aaron Judge. You will not see any 80s in any category moving forward.
Joshua Baez (OF) - 20-years-old
Acquired: 2nd Round of 2021 Draft, 54th overall
Stats (Low A): 79 PAs, .286/.418/.540, 13.9 BB%, 38 K%, .254 ISO, .484 BABIP, 170 wRC+
Scouting: 20/40 Hit, 25/60 Game Power, 60/70 Raw Power, 50/40 Speed, 40/50 Field
I have run out of things to say about Baez, but I will note an interesting, and somewhat contradictory set of scouting numbers. Baez has 50 current speed, 40 future value and 40 current fielding and 50 future fielding. Fielding is an impossible thing to scout so I actually get what it’s saying, but I don’t think it’s really possible that he’s going to get significantly slower and become a better fielder. At least in the outfield. But fielding is an impossible thing to scout, especially in as small a sample as Baez had and in a lower level, so the fielding stuff is mostly guesswork anyway.
But he’s not being voted on because of his speed or his defense, but his power.
Leonardo Bernal (C) - 19-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent out of Panama in January 2021
Stats (Low A): 171 PAs, .256/.316/.455, 7 BB%, 18.7 K%, .199 ISO, .280 BABIP, 117 wRC+
Scouting: 20/50 Hit, 20/40 Game Power, 40/45 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 30/55 Fielding
While you could possibly say this about every prospect, there are a few prospects in the system where if things go reasonably well, they could shoot up the rankings. National rankings even. Bernal, as a 19-year-old catcher, might play in High A this year and if he does well, it’s hard to see how he wouldn’t. The reason he’s not a bigger prospect already is essentially sample size, but a full season at a higher level would pretty much solve problem, not to mention put him on track to play AA at 20-years-old. As a catcher.
Won-Bin Cho (OF) - 19-years-old
Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent out of South Korea in January 2022
Stats (Complex): 100 PAs, .211/.400/.316, 20 BB%, 27 K%, .105 ISO, .313 BABIP, 118 wRC+
Scouting: 20/40 Hit, 25/55 Game Power, 45/60 Raw Power, 40/40 Speed, 35/50 Fielding
Is it bad that the first name that came to mind when I saw his stats was Nick Plummer? But then you look at the scouting and I don’t think Nick Plummer ever had that type of power potential. The walks and high Ks, and for now not much power, very much remind me of Plummer. Plummer ended up missing all of his age 19 season to injury, which could have affected his game. Cho can break this comparison fairly easily, by showing the power potential he has.
Jimmy Crooks III (C) - 21-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round of the 2022 Draft, 127th overall
Stats (Low A): 96 PAs, .266/.396/.468, 12.5 BB%, 22.9 K%, .203 ISO, .333 BABIP, 149 wRC+
Scouting (TCN): 35/55 Hit, 40/60 Power, 35/50 Field, 55/55 Arm, 40/40 Speed
Here’s another player with just not a great sample size and it’ll be exciting to see what he can do over a full season of plate appearances. Someone is going to have to explain how the draft works to me, because I’m a little confused as to how a young for a college draftee who was a bat-first catcher with acceptable defense who instantly took to Low A was drafted in the 4th round. The Low A part is hindsight of course, but the other parts were true. A college draftee with an extra year to work with to develop with how he was scouted - how is that a 4th rounder?
Austin Love (SP) - 24-years-old
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 MLB Draft, 90th overall
Stats (High A): 25 GS, 125.2 IP, 26.8 K%, 9.2 BB%, 47.3 GB%, .366 BABIP, 5.73 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.79 xFIP
Scouting: 50/50 Fastball, 55/55 Slider, 40/50 Change, 45/55 Command
It’ll be interesting to see how Love reacts to Springfield, which is a very difficult place for a pitcher to pitch. It’ll go a long way towards determining his status as a prospect. He’s not particularly young for the level, and he was pretty hittable in High A. That said, his advanced stats were significantly better than his results and hopefully that’s more indicative of how he’ll pitch than his ERA.
Brycen Mautz (SP) - 21-years-old
Acquired: 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft, 59th overall
Stats (College): 15 GS, 90.2 IP, 129 Ks, 22 BBs, .256 BAA, 3.87 ERA
Scouting (TCN): 45/55 Fastball, 50/60 Slider, 35/50 Change, 55/60 Command
What has happened to Mautz is kind of what I expected to happen to Hjerpe. He got two votes last time, which rounded out to 0% of the vote. And I get it because it’s hard to rank a guy with zero professional innings. There is zero stats to look at that mean anything to you in a way you can project for the future. But Hjerpe rather suddenly gathered a lot of prospect helium among online Cards fans that has not happened at all to Mautz. But from what I read about him, he is Hjerpe-lite.
Jonathan Mejia (SS) - 18-years-old
Acquired: Signed as amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in January 2022
Stats (DSL): 208 PAs, .267/.418/.479, 15.9 BB%, 23.1 K%, .212 ISO, .348 BABIP, 145 wRC+
Scouting: 25/60 Hit, 20/45 Game Power, 30/45 Raw Power, 55/55 Speed, 40/55 Fielding
I mentioned above that Bernal was the type of prospect who could really blow up just by virtue of playing reasonably well at the next level he might play at. The same is true of Mejia. DSL stats do not mean much, but an 18-year-old playing reasonably well at Low A with an above average fielding projection at a premium position is going to turn some heads. If it happens. Right now, we’re still in the hopeful stage.
Freddy Pacheco (RP) - 25-years-old
Acquired: Signed out of Venezuela in November 2017
Stats (AAA): 33.2 IP, 32.6 K%, 9.1 BB%, 36.6 GB%, .205 BABIP, 2.41 ERA/2.97 FIP/3.92 xFIP
Scouting: 70/70 Fastball, 55/60 Slider, 30/40 Command
I don’t know if I mentioned it last week, but how Pacheco does in the polls is going to determine when I next pick a reliever. I am not saying I won’t add another reliever until Pacheco wins, or even comes in 2nd, but I am going need a bit more than zero support to add another reliever. Pacheco is a two-pitch pitcher with two outstanding pitches and less than ideal command. In other words, your classic reliever prospect.
iInohan Panigua (SP) - 23-years-old
Acquired: Signed out of the Dominican Republic in December 2017
Stats (Low A): 99 IP, 26.9% K%, 5.8 BB%, 43.7 GB%, .272 BABIP, 2.18 ERA/3.01 FIP/3.62 xFIP
Scouting: 35/40 Fastball, 55/60 Curveball, 40/50 Change, 35/60 Command
Panigua was a good example of what I was referring to above: the in between prospect. The close to the majors and high potential, faraway prospects did well in the vote. Panigua played at a high enough level that he’s not too terribly far from the majors, but he’s far enough away that we can’t count on him becoming a major leaguer either. Panigua already made eight starts in High A, so it would not surprise if he were to get promoted to AA quicker than you’d expect, especially given he’s already 23.
Connor Thomas (SP) - 25-years-old
Acquired: 5th round of 2019 MLB Draft, 155th overall
Stats (AAA): 25 GS, 135 IP, 17.9 K%, 6.5 BB%, 51 GB%, 5.47 ERA/4.53 FIP/4.29 xFIP
Scouting (TCN): 40/45 Fastball, 50/55 Change, 55/60 Slider, 50/55 Cutter, 55/60 Command
Mediocre results non-prospect masters the cutter just in time for the Arizona Fall League, where he dominates hitters over a 25 inning sample. The level to which you consider him a prospect is probably dependent on how much you believe in that 25 inning sample.
Who is the #11 prospect?
This poll is closed
Joshua Baez, OF
Leonardo Bernal, C
Won-Bin Cho, OF
Jimmy Crooks III, C
Austin Love, SP
Byrcen Mautz, SP
Jonathan Mejia, SS
Freddy Pacheco, RP
Inohan Panigua, SP
Connor Thomas, SP