Trying to find hidden gems with BB / K

A few days ago, the MLBTR Antoine Franco looked back on the trade that sent LaMonte Wade Jr. to the Giants. At the time, Wade had a fairly unimpressive record, but had a knack for generating walks and limiting strikeouts. Whether that piqued the Giants’ interest or not, it worked for them, as Wade had a strong season in 2021. His strikeout rate soared, but he still made 18 home runs. and reduced .253 / .326 / .482, for a wRC + of 117.

A young hitter’s mastery of the strike zone can often be a useful indicator of future success, as was the case with Wade. Mookie betts has never made it to the top of prospect lists, as he’s only made Baseball America’s Top 100 once, placing 75th before the 2014 season. stick and walk in minors, perhaps it should have been more obvious that he was a superstar in the making. At Low-A, A-Ball, High-A, and Double-A, he posted a BB / K above 1.00, meaning he walked more than he hit. At Triple-A in 2014 he was 0.87, still very impressive. José Ramírez has never appeared in Baseball America’s Top 100, and even among Cleveland prospects, he peaked at 9th place in 2014. He also maintained his BB / K rate around 1.00 for most of the season. his time in the minors, and carried it over to the majors. also.

That’s not to say that every minor leaguer with a high BB / K rate will become a superstar like Betts or Ramirez. Jace peterson also posted strong BB / K rates, but established itself as an average player. Austin barnes also had a keen eye throughout the minors, before becoming a strong second string catcher. But these players can still be very useful for a big league club. Can we find this guy’s next hidden gem? Let’s sniff around. Here are some notable BB / K numbers of miners in 2021.

Alejo Lopez, infielder, Reds, BB / K at Double-A and Triple-A in 2021: 1.41

Selected in the Reds’ 27th round in 2015, Lopez had never made the club’s Top 30 Prospects list at Baseball America before this season. (He’ll eventually move up to the mid-season standings, placing 21st overall.) He had posted strong strikeouts and goals in rookie games in 2016 and 2017, putting up a BB / K above 1.00 each year. In 2018 and 2019, he played A-ball and High-A, with his BB / K slipping to around 0.50 each year. After the pandemic nullified the minor leagues in 2020, Lopez started running in 2021. In 92 games between Double-A and Triple-A, he hit .320 / .401 / .447, with a walk rate of. 11% and a strikeout rate of just 7.8%, leading to a whopping BB / K of 1.41. He was called up for his MLB debut and hasn’t touched much, but in a small sample of 23 plate appearances. He will be 26 in May.

Isaac parede, infielder, Tigers, BB / K at Triple-A in 2021: 1.19.

In 2018, Paredes first hit Double-A and posted a BB / K rate of 0.86 in just 39 games. In 2019, he returned to Double-A and played 127 games, improving his rate to 0.93. In 2020, the pandemic wiped out the minor leagues, but Paredes made his big league debut. The transition to MLB hasn’t been very smooth as he hit 0.220 in 34 games, with a BB / K of just 0.33. In 2021, he spent most of the year at Triple-A, playing 72 games there, hitting .265 / .397 / .451 while walking an incredible 17.8% of his plate appearances and striking out. only 14.9% of the time, for a BB / K ratio of 1.19. He also appeared in 23 other MLB games and had a BB / K rate of 0.91. Paredes has appeared in the backend of Baseball America‘s Top 100, coming in at 94th place before the 2019 season and 100th place before 2020. He is still quite young, as he will only be 23 years old in February.

Steven kwan, outfielder, Guardians, BB / K at Double-A and Triple-A in 2021: 1.16

Kwan was selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 2018 Draft and played 17 games that year in the lower levels of their system. In 2019, he played 123 matches at High-A, with a BB / K of 1.04. After missing out on 2020 due to the pandemic, he spent 2021 between Double-A and Triple-A, playing 77 games in total and recording 341 appearances on the board. Overall, he hit .328 / .407 / .527, with a 10.6% walk rate and 9.1% strikeout rate, to finish with a final BB / K of 1 , 16. He’s never been on Baseball America’s outlook for Cleveland, although he barely cracked the FanGraphs roster a year ago, taking last place on a list of 49. The Guardians added him to their 40-man roster in November.

Tyler Blanc, infielder, Blue Jays, triple-A BB / K in 2021: 1.10

A 33rd round pick in the 2013 Astros Draft, White has never been considered a top prospect. He’s only appeared once on Baseball America’s Houston Astros Top 30 Prospects list, ranking 16th in 2016. But he’s always had a good eye for the strike zone. His first Double-A crack was 59 games in 2015, where his BB / K was 1.20. In 57 Triple-A games that same year, it was 1.11. He made his MLB debut the following year and appeared in four-season games from 2016 to 2019. He showed promise with the bat in 2017 and 2018, but floundered in 2019 before joining the SK Wyverns of the KBO for 2020. In 2021, he signed a deal with the Blue Jays for minors, playing 105 games and reaching .292 / .424 / .476. His walk rate was 18.1% and his strikeout rate was 16.5%, for a final BB / K rate of 1.10. Despite a formidable year at the plate, he was never called up to the big leagues, possibly due to his limited positional flexibility. Other than a game at third base, he was exclusively a first baseman or designated hitter in 2021. Now 31, he signed a contract with the Brewers last month.

Cooper Hummel, public service, Brewers / Diamondbacks, BB / K at Triple-A in 2021: 1.03

Hummel was selected by the Brewers in the 16th round of the 2016 Draft and has never been in Baseball America’s Top 30 Prospects for the club. In 2021, he started the year at Triple-A and played 46 games for the Nashville Sounds, racking up an incredible BB / K of 1.58. It was returned to the Diamondbacks as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade and played in 46 other games after that. Although his BB / K was only 0.63 after the trade, he still finished the year at 1.03 overall. Oh, and it hit .353 / .429 .575 after the deal. Now 27, the Diamondbacks added Hummel to their 40-man roster in November.

Jonah bride, utility, Athletics, BB / K at Double-A in 2021: 1.00

Bride was a 23rd round selection in track and field in 2018. He hit well in his first two minor league seasons, but took a step forward in 2021 in terms of plate discipline. His walk rate and strikeout rate were equal to 17.1%, as he had exactly 57 of each in 334 appearances at the Double-A field. He was never among Baseball America’s Top 30 Prospects in Oakland, but FanGraphs just placed him 17th in the organization, noting that he recently started an attempt to convert an infielder to a receiver. He was added to Oakland’s 40-player roster in November.

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