Chris Mitchell from FanGraphs released his 2018 Top 100 KATOH Prospects list and holy shit Bo Bichette is ranked higher than Vladdy Jr. And never mind that, but the data has ranked Vladdy Jr. at 15, which means there are 14 other prospects ahead of Vladdy. Ah….okay?
And I’m not about to shit on the data and the math here folks because to be honest, I value and admire the holy hell out of it – probably because I was an English and History bum in school, but … Vladdy Jr. at 15? What’s going on here math?
Now, if you’re not familiar with KATOH, let me just copy and paste this from FanGraphs:
KATOH produces a WAR forecast for a player’s first six major-league seasons. It incorporates age, offensive performance, defensive performance, and other characteristics from the past two seasons.
So it’s crystally fuckin’ clear that this is just projected data and the computer is not the goddamn baseball ‘Oz’ – or anything, but it’s still interesting to see KATOH’s projections with all of its collective data – that’s for sure.
And even though every Blue Jays fan who has seen this probably shoulder shrugs at Vladdy at 15 and Bichette ranked at 7, the good bat-flippin’ thing is that they are Blue Jays prospects and they are going to be really-really-really good and fun to watch once they arrive in Toronto.
Now, Chris Mitchell, made a couple updates to KATOH this year, as he notes in his article, but for the sake of saving time, I’m going to cut and paste it for you here rather than explaining it:
The batted-ball data (for both hitters and pitchers) available on our awesome leaderboards. Among other things, this helps KATOH differentiate between fluky and un-fluky high- and low-BABIP hitters.
A greater reliance on recent data for the construction of the model and less dependence on data points from 10-plus years ago.
Numbers from the Dominican Summer League, which was previously outside of KATOH’s scope.
It’s also worth noting that Mitchell states that this Top 100 List does not include a KATOH+, which is a version that incorporates scouting grades, in addition to the stats. So I’m sure with all the are-you-kidding-me scouting grades that Vladdy Jr. has been receiving this year, he would probably jump higher on the list.
Bichette ranking higher than Vladdy Jr. at 7 - or Vladdy Jr. ranking at 15 isn’t something for any Blue Jays fan to get upset about because it’s been a long time since the Blue Jays have had two offensive prospects like this in the system.
And FanGraphs just recently ranked Vladdy Jr. as the 3rd top prospect and Bichette at 9. And, of course, on their top 100 list, they ranked Shohei Ohtani at 1, so really Vladdy is 2 and Bichette is 8, amirite? Ya know, since Ohtani played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the NPB - the highest level of professional baseball in Japan.
I digress. So it’s pretty damn cool that Bichette, Vladdy Jr., Anthony Alford, and Danny Jansen made it onto KATOH’s 2018 Top 100 List. The farm is certainly making a shit ton of rock-the-casbah noise and it will continue to trend that way once the organization adds a couple more pitching prospects into the pipeline in this year’s draft.
Kyle Glaser wrote a great series for Baseball America called ‘If Every Team Was Homegrown’ where he focuses on each specific MLB division. Anyway, he examined Toronto’s drafting and talent and what a homegrown Blue Jays lineup would look like today. So I guess for the sake of saving time again, I’m going to cut and paste it for you here:
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
C Yan Gomes
1B Eric Thames
2B Ryan Goins
3B Ryan Schimpf
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
OF Jake Marisnick
OF Kevin Pillar
OF Anthony Alford
DH Adam Lind
SP Noah Syndergaard
SP Marcus Stroman
SP Aaron Sanchez
SP Kendall Graveman
SP Joe Musgrove
RP Roberto Osuna
Honorable Mention: Sam Dyson, Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan, Jeff Hoffman, Anthony DeSclafani, Daniel Norris, Miguel Castro, Matt Boyd, Justin Nicolino, Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, Danny Farquhar, Danny Barnes, Marc Rzepczynski, Franklin Barreto
That lineup is pretty awful – just sayin’. But the thing is – as we all know - it didn’t really matter that the Blue Jays’ farm wasn’t producing power hitters because the organization acquired guys like José Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, the Bringer of Rain, Russ Martin, and Tulo via trade and free agency. But holy shit did the Anthopoulos regime do a great job drafting awesome pitchers.
So the fact that the Blue Jays now have a nice future batting punch that might consist of Alford at leadoff, followed by Bichette, then Vladdy Jr. hitting 3rd, and Josh (extend him) Donaldson at cleanup is pretty damn great.
I know we can all howl at these lists and swoon at them, too. And the KATOH data is obviously not 100% accurate, but it is as close as it gets to predicting any sort of future prospect success, and that’s cool.
The one thing that has made this slow-ish offseason and shitty winter fun has been being able to gush at Blue Jays prospects like Vladdy Jr., Bichette, Alford, Jansen, and Pearson all cold AF winter long. I guess on this February blah day, we get to gush some more.
So here's a pretty cool video of some future Blue Jays that you can watch to continue your winter Blue Jays prospect swoon. The background music is kind of shit (I think, at least), so if you want to toss on Bad Kids by the Black Lips to play over top of it - or something of your own liking to drown it out, you probably should. Enjoy.