Down on the Farm - 6/27/22
Biggest changes in wOBA 2021 ➡️ 2022, Anthony Volpe (NYY) walks it off for Somerset (AA), Henry Davis (PIT) & Gunnar Henderson (BAL) go deep, Kyle Harrison (SF) strikes out 11
Performance Changes 2021 ➡️ 2022
Now that it’s halfway through the 2022 minor league season, it’s a good time to look at the biggest changes in performance between the 2021 and 2022 season. It’s always difficult to evaluate change in performance at the minor league level — mostly due to players moving levels between and within-season. Context matters, and it’s important to take that into consideration. That said, there’s still something to glean from looking at changes in performance data between last season and this season. The plot below shows the change in wOBA at the seasonal level, so even if a player moved levels during the season it’s aggregated together as a seasonal stat line. The plot below shows the largest changes (both positive and negative) for position players on the MLB top 100 list.
The top two names on this list are also the players who have likely moved up the most on prospect lists this season. Before this season Ezequiel Tovar’s (SS) reputation was as a glove-first prospect with some uncertainty surrounding his bat — that’s changed, as he’s hit .327/.396/.563 (165 wRC+) as a 20-year-old in Double-A. Tovar has nearly matched his home run total from last season and has shown considerably more pop than most expected out of him this year. He’s also swiped 17 bags and increased his walk rate by ~5%. Although his swing and miss has climbed as he’s faced tougher pitchers in the Eastern League, he’s still holding a respectable 22% strike out rate. Gunnar Henderson (SS/3B), the second name on this list, has been written about frequently here at Down on the Farm. He’s skyrocketed on prospect lists, and rightfully so. He dominated at Double-A (.312/.452/.573) this year and has so far looked the part as a 20-year-old in Triple-A.
Another 20-year-old on this list is Reds prospect Elly De La Cruz (IF), who’s hit .288/.344/.558 (145 wRC+) with 13 homers and 19 stolen bases in Dayton (A+) and looks ready for the next level. Although many are down on JJ Bleday (OF), he’s made progress this season. He’s hit .214/.364/.454 (122 wRC+) and has continued to show off the prodigious power that made him a 1st round talent out of Vanderbilt back in 2019. The same can be said for Jasson Dominguez (OF), who despite unimaginable expectations from Yankees fans, has been slightly better than he was last season in Low-A. He’s managed to increase his walk rate while continuing to demonstrate his ability to hit the ball extremely hard. The issue with Dominguez is his hit tool — he’s continued to swing and miss frequently and is sporting a strike out rate of nearly 30%.
Some of the names at the bottom of this list — Oneil Cruz (SS), Anthony Volpe (SS), Tyler Soderstrom (C) — are not necessarily having bad seasons, it’s that they’ve regressed from spectacular performances in 2021.
Some notes on a few of the names on the “non-prospect” list of biggest wOBA changers…
Moises Gomez (AA, STL) - .257 wOBA ➡️ .466 wOBA - 23 home runs 💣
Jonathan Morales (AAA, COL) .167 wOBA ➡️ .387 wOBA - BB% up 9%
Lenyn Sosa (AA, CWS) .235 wOBA ➡️ .403 wOBA - 14 home runs
Robel Garcia (AAA, CHC) .274 wOBA ➡️ .428 wOBA
Jakson Reetz (AA, MIL) .279 wOBA ➡️ .436 wOBA 15 HR
Player of the Day ⭐️
Anthony Volpe, SS (21) - Yankees (AA) 1-4, walk-off home run
Anthony Volpe hit a walk off home run (10) for the Somerset Patriots (AA) in the last inning, on the last day of the first half of the season. He hit a home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lock-up the Eastern League Northeast Division first-half title for Somerset. Volpe was hitting .238/.327/.429 (109 wRC+) coming into yesterday. It’s a far cry from Volpe’s huge 2021 season, but he’s still turned in solid results so far this year.
Notable Performances - 6/26
CSW% = percentage of pitches that are called strikes and swinging strikes — (SwStr + CalledStr) / Pitches
BF = Batters Faced; BIP = Balls in Play; GB = Ground Balls
Daily Prospect Report - 6/26
Quick Hits ⚡️
Yankees prospect Oswald Peraza (AAA) had a big day at the plate yesterday -- he went 3-5 with two home runs. Coming into the day Peraza was hitting .224/.290/.362 (74 wRC+) across 231 plate appearances.
Orioles prospect Gunnar Henderson (AAA) went 2-3 with a home run and a strike out yesterday. It was Henderson’s 4th HR in AAA and his 12th on the season.
I said it the other day about Henry Davis (AA) -- the Pirates prospect is starting to heat up. Back-to-back multi-hit games and then yesterday he went 1-3 with a homer and a walk.
Alexander Canario (AA), who was one of the pieces the Cubs got back when they traded Kris Bryant to the Giants last season, went 2-3 with two home runs yesterday.
Another strong start for Kyle Harrison (20) - SF (AA) who went 7 innings for Richmond, giving up two earned runs while striking out 11 and walking one. Harrison gave up two solo home runs, which were the only hits off him on the day. Harrison induced nine swing and misses on 38 swings.
It was a tough start for Orioles prospect DL Hall, LHP (AAA), who gave up seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. Hall walked five hitters and only punched out two. It was easily Hall’s worst start of the season — he’ll look to right the ship next time out.
News, Notes, Transactions 📰 🗒🚨
Albuquerque Isotopes placed 3B Ryan Vilade on the 7-day injured list
Round Rock Express activated LHP Taylor Hearn
Reds sent RHP Justin Dunn on a rehab assignment to Dayton Dragons
Round Rock Express activated SS Ezequiel Duran
Athletics optioned LHP Jared Koenig to Las Vegas Aviators
Rays optioned 2B Jonathan Aranda to Durham Bulls
Royals recalled RHP Jackson Kowar from Omaha Storm Chasers
Giants recalled C Yermin Mercedes from Sacramento River Cats
Phillies recalled CF Mickey Moniak from Lehigh Valley IronPigs
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