Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Performing Minor League Hitters Part One

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(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Rookie: Dominican League

The Dominican League features a crop of young and talented players that have yet to make their professional debuts on US soil, as these players are still extremely raw.  Often times the top prospects in this league line up with the equivalent of high school sophomores and juniors.  They feature tools, but they’re not yet advanced and often times the biggest drawback is their swing and miss profile.

Top Dominican League Performers Components
Name Age PA AVG OBP SLG ISO K% BB%
Yoyner Fajardo -1.82 0.57 0.22 0.14 0.27 0.36 0.41 0.02
Daniel Rivero 0.68 0.64 0.25 0.08 0.03 -0.45 0.62 -0.28
Juan Pie 0.68 0.53 0.02 0.09 0.18 0.52 0.05 0.25
Emilson Rosado 0.68 -1.36 0.13 0.07 0.03 -0.19 -0.27 -0.03
Norkis Marcos 0.68 0.90 -0.09 0.06 -0.26 -0.61 0.03 0.49
Edgar Barrios 0.68 0.53 -0.08 -0.01 -0.29 -0.74 0.35 0.12
Angel Basabe 0.68 -1.21 0.02 -0.03 0.16 0.45 -0.13 -0.09
Carlos Arroyo 1.93 -0.40 0.16 0.18 -0.10 -0.66 0.37 0.27

Yoyner Fajardo is older than the competition at 19 years old, but he did perform with the bat, hitting  .311/.402/.455 with an 11.3 percent walk rate and a 10.9 percent strikeout rate.  He’s a left-handed hitting second baseman, but his age brings down his total-z score, something that is important when trying to find undervalued prospects.

The top performer is Carlos Arroyo, who had a total z of 2.16.  The middle infielder hit .294/.416/.322 in 56 games, with his biggest skillset really being his youth, as the 2018 season was his age 16 season (his birthday is July 11, 2001).  The right-hander didn’t show much power (-0.66 ISO z-score) but showed good discipline in the walk and strikeout rates.

The second best performer in total z-scores, and really the best because of the huge boost Arroyo received with his age z-score, is Juan Pie.  The 17-year-old outfielder hit .258/.382/.421 in 255 plate appearances with a 14.1 percent walk rate and 18.4 percent strikeout rate.  His strikeout rate was around average (just a 0.05 z-score).  The young outfielder seems to be the best prospect of the bunch, by not only this method but traditional scouting.  Fangraphs has Pie as the Pirates 19th top prospect, writing,

"“Pie showed a little bit of everything, and we think the upside is that of a 5 hit, 6 power, 5 run/defense type everday right fielder, but it’s still early to be projecting a 5 bat with any certainty given that Pie hasn’t played stateside yet.”"

In a youthful crop of players, Pie performed the best among those in the Pirates organization.  To go along with what the scouts see in his tools, Pie could really improve his prospect status with another big 2019 season.  The total-z scores for all eight of the Pirates that meet the criteria in the Dominican League are below, ordered by their total z-score:

Top Dominican League Performers 2018
Name Age PA Total_Z
Carlos Arroyo 16 230 2.16
Juan Pie 17 255 1.78
Angel Basabe 17 208 1.06
Daniel Rivero 17 258 0.93
Emilson Rosado 17 204 0.43
Norkis Marcos 17 265 0.30
Edgar Barrios 17 255 0.03
Yoyner Fajardo 19 256 -0.40
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