Top 20 Prospect Update

As I sat to write this week’s Top 15 Prospects update I had to ask myself, “is updating stats after just two games really worth it?” And the answer I came up with is, no. So instead of wasting your time I decided to look over the 1st half and some things were glaring to me. Let’s take a look.

-What’s up Doc?

Henry Davis has punished MiLB pitching since the Pirates put a number on his jersey and set him loose on the competition. His punishment, and I’m not saying this was by design, was getting plunked. A lot. 18 times in 150 trips to the plate. Hank, please learn how to duck. So while his AA numbers aren’t eye popping I certainly wouldn’t lose sleep over it. One of the pitches that hit Davis was in the wrist. He had tried to play thru a hairline fracture, I believe, but they later placed him on the IL to help that wrist get right.

One thing I’ll add, opposing starters are likely hoping he takes his time getting back.

Nick Gonzales, Want to talk about a tale of Jekyll and Hyde? This is it. In 2 seasons in the Bucs MiLB system Gonzo has started slow, seemingly made an adjustment and proceeded to remind everyone of why he was a top 7 prospect in the 2020 draft. The difference in the 2022 start of the season is notable-

April 8th -May 16th

.188/.337/.306 .642 OPS 15.4% BB 35.6K% .118 ISO 87 wRC+

May 10th-May 31st

.319/.402/.464 .866 OP 11% BB 29.3% K .145 ISO 139 wRC+

Doesn’t even look like the same player, but it is. One thing I’d note: the OBP and walk rates are solid. Perhaps a sign that his control of the zone was intact. I’d love to hear from the man himself what adjustment was made here, shame he got hurt.

Upon further review-

A quick look at Jared Jones numbers might have a fan a tad disappointed. His stuff is just electric. The fastball motors, capable of hitting 99 and Jones has said his goal is to hit 100 MPH. His spin rates are insane and his pitches dance. So when we see an ERA of 4.98 a FIP 4.64 and xFIP of 4.11 it’s easy to think this kid just isn’t getting better. But if we dig just a bit more we do see some solid growth. In his last 11 outings before the break Jones stat line looks solid-

ERA 3.95 FIP 3.96 WHIP 1.32 9.9% BB 27.3%

While 11 of his 18 starts would be considered quality starts, he’s had 5 starts where he just didn’t have it. Jared has been working on a delivery with a more repeatable motion and though his first start in the 2nd half was one of his misses, he’s a prospect to keep an eye moving forward.

Dariel Lopez might have been a late addition to this year’s Prospect updates but he is proving he belongs. He had a slow start (a common theme throughout the system this year)

.228/.285/.409 .694 OPS .181 ISO 85 wRC+ 7.2% BB 29% K

Then this happened-

.311/.333/.497 .830 OPS .186 ISO 120 wRC+ 2.3% BB 26.4% K

Bring his line up to a respectable-

.276/.312/.459 .771 OPS .184 ISO 105 wRC+ 4.5% BB 27.6% K

Not being on this list to start with is a clear oversight by me, I should be mocked accordingly. You can do so on Twitter: @JV_PITT

If you don’t want me at my worst…

Quinn Priester, is his star back on the raise? Not that he took a massive tumble or anything but he did lose some of that shiny new car smell over the off-season. Not that last year was bad as he finished with solid enough numbers, but he needed to miss more bats and he’s done that in the early going. Bringing last year’s 24.1% to a nice 27.1% in his first 8 starts of the year. I’ve seen a lot of people calling for a promotion to AAA for the young righty, and why not? His slash line could certainly support a call the next rung on the ladder-

ERA-1.65 FIP-2.41 xFIP 3.60 WHIP 1.02 BB%-6.5 k%-27.1

One of the things Quinn worked on in the off-season was deception and having a similar release point. Let’s hope what we are seeing is a direct result of the work he’s put in. However, let’s hold off on that promotion and see how he responds to any adjustment the league throws at him. I have to wonder if we see a similar path for Priester that we saw with Roansy Contreras last year? A late call to the show and a turn or two to end the year with. Cross your fingers!

MY MAN!

By now I probably sound like a broken record with Endy Rodriguez and a recent surge has his name on the tongues of many a Bucco fan. And it’s about damn time. Those that have been reading these updates dating back to last year know of my infiniti with the young catcher. Let’s take a look at why.

I’ve touched on the slow starts that have been a theme in the system, right? And I suppose we can say the same has happened with Endy. Are you sensing a “but” here? I hope so,

April 8th-May 31st

.267/.340/.466 .806 OPS .199 ISO 116 wRC+ 7.2%-BB 27.8%-K

A .340 OBP while “struggling”? an 806 OPS while in a “slow start”? And since?

June 1st-July 24th

.304/.400/.572 .972 OPS .268 ISO 155 wRC+ 13.3%-BB 17%-K

What’s more impressive? He’s learning/playing C, LF, 1B and 2B while doing this. And I don’t mean to pile it on here, but did I mention he’s a switch hitter.

If you haven’t gotten on the Endy bandwagon already there’s still time to get a ticket. And don’t worry, I’ll save you a seat.

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