Chase Utley: One of the Best Ever

If you are reading this, there is a remarkably decent chance that you are a somewhat invested baseball fan. As a baseball fan, you probably ...

Andrew Vasquez

 This guy is interesting. The Dodgers traded for him in 2021 after he had some very nice AAA production with the Twins. He did well in the Dodgers minor league system as well in 6 innings, but only pitched 2 innings in the major leagues. Go back and watch those two innings. His a lefty that throws this incredible curveball basically every pitch, while rarely mixing in some 91 MPH sinker/cutter looking pitch. Giants hitters looked absolutely flabbergasted by that curveball. The Dodgers non tendered him in November, which makes me wonder what was wrong with him. They clearly liked him enough to give him a shot in the MLB but proceeded to only give him a cup of coffee, and despite the fact that he drank that cup of coffee very well, he still didn't impress them enough to stick around. Maybe they think no one else will try to sign him and they could get him back on a minor league deal, but I'm hoping that someone does pick him up because I don't want the Dodgers to have their cake and eat it. 

Throwaway comps for top prospects

I'm just documenting some of my thoughts on top prospects by comparing them to past MLB players.

Adley Rutschman:Matt Wieters

They are both switch hitting Oriole catchers who were top prospects. Adley is all but a lock to have a better career than Wieters, and is a better prospect than Wieters was, but they are generally similar players from my knowledge. People probably don't realize that Wieters had a 5.7 fWAR season at age 25 and a 4.5 fWAR season at age 26 before injuries consumed him whole. One of the more impressive things about the 2014 Orioles, who won 96 games, is that they were missing Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, their best player and still one of their better guys, for most of the year. Adley should hopefully hit for more power than Wieters and stay healthier.

CJ Abrams:Carl Crawford

They are both uber athletic left handed hitters with tremendous contact skills and a game based around speed. Abrams is currently a middle infielder, but it seems like he will trend to the outfield given the Padres middle infield situation. I do not know of Carl Crawford was ever a middle infielder, but B.J. Upton was, so that's a transitive similarity. AJ Preller would be ecstatic if Abrams became the caliber of player that Crawford was, but it's definitely not the most unlikely outcome. 

Elijah Green:somewhere between Keon Broxton and B.J. Upton, maybe a ceiling of Byron Buxton

My mentioning of Upton reminded me of Elijah Green, one of the top prospects in this year's draft. He has top tier raw power and athleticism, but there are a lot of question marks about his hitting. Keon Broxton was actually not that bad of a player for a bit, due to his defense and power output, but his poor discipline and bat to ball skills prevented him from being a good everyday player. B.J. Upton was a very good player for a while, and similar to Broxton, he possessed strong center field defense with good home run power. A key difference between the two was Upton's well above average plate discipline, which allowed him to produce at a high level. Byron Buxton doesn't have the track record of Upton, as his story is yet to be told, but that's probably a good idea of the ceiling of a super toolsy center field prospect like Elijah Green. Keep in mind that Buxton does have exceptional bat to ball skills that Green currently lacks, but he also doesn't have the discipline that Upton has. Buxton is one of the better players in the MLB in my opinion, and the Twins extended him for a lot of money. Buxton's main issue has been health, but he wasn't a perceivable superstar level player until his power breakout in the middle of 2020's shortened season. Buxton's home run barrage from August 6th of 2020 onward was quite the spectacle in real time, and he continued that into 2021 with something like an 1100 OPS in the first month before getting hurt in early May. He "only" had like an 890 OPS after the injury, and ended the year with a 171 OPS+ and 4.5 WAR in 60 games. This has gone off of a little bit of a tangent but I really like Byron Buxton. 

Julio Rodriguez:George Springer

Springer was never a good defensive center fielder, but he still possessed the combination of fielding ability and athleticism to man the position. This seems to ring true for Rodriguez; it seems like he is destined for being an above average defender in a corner outfield spot, which is the equivalent of a below average center fielder. The comparisons here obviously don't stop at the defense. Springer and Rodriguez both have powerful righty bats that represent a quietly dangerous onslaught of offensive production.  Springer had questionable hitting abilities as a prospect but massively improved on them in his big league career, while JRod seems to already have a well rounded game at the plate. I just see two very well rounded hitters and I think a Springer comp, while very lofty, is completely reasonable for a stud prospect like Julio.

David Hamilton:Kolten Wong

Hamilton is regarded as an elite defensive prospect, and whatever numbers ZiPS uses to project defense would indicate an even stronger profile, as the system has him penciled in for 12.3 defensive runs in 104 games. Given Wong's gold glove history playing the middle infield, there is a quick connection to make. Obviously, there are plenty of good middle infield defenders, so why Kolten Wong? They're both lefties with swings that resemble each other. Wong has transformed himself into an exceptionally disciplined hitter, and Hamilton's carrying offensive skill is his willingness/ability to take walks.  Hamilton's issue is his complete lack of power, something that Wong has struggled with to a lesser degree. Wong beats him in the more vague "hitting" area, which is the most important part of a player's ability and the reason that prospects are so hard to project. If David Hamilton comes close to Kolten Wong's abilities on offense, he will be an exceptional player for the Red Sox, and there's a reason that he isn't considered one of the better prospects in baseball. However, they share undeniable similarities. Wong is also a good baserunner, although Hamilton might actually be better.

I'll update this document with more comps as I think of them. 

Felix Valerio

 If you give his video a cursory look, you will think "hey, this guy is kind of like Jose Altuve", and he is. However, it would be irresponsible to be high on a sleeper prospect because he has a similar playstyle to former sleeper prospect who became one of the best players of his time. But no matter how you look at it, Valerio has performed exceptionally well at every level at a very young age, and it is genuinely uncanny how similar his playstyle and statistical profile is to Jose Altuve's. If he was a guarantee to be as good as Jose Altuve, he would be a 75 FV prospect, and that is ridiculous, but I don't think it would be too crazy to put him in the 45+ FV tier, as opposed to a 45 (which is what FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen has him at), with a potential to breakout this year. One difference between him and Altuve is that he isn't perceived as a blazing runner, and a lot of Altuve's early career success was due to his top end speed. However, I haven't spent the time to look up how Altuve's speed was perceived a prospect. Scouting reports often don't reflect how guys are once they reach the MLB, so maybe midgets like Valerio and Altuve get underrated in that regard.