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2014 Indians prospects preview, Part III: Testing a new formula

Testing out Adam's formula using current AL stars.

Adrian Beltre was Prospect That Really, Really, Really Mattered
Adrian Beltre was Prospect That Really, Really, Really Mattered
Jamie Squire
2013 in Review: Minors

Levels: DSL Indians (R-) AZL Indians (R-) Mahoning Valley (SSA) Lake County (A-) Carolina (A+) Akron (AA) Columbus (AAA)

Players: SS Francisco Lindor • C Tony Wolters • RHP Mitch Brown • SS Dorssys Paulino • OF Tyler Naquin • 2B/SS Ronny Rodriguez • OF Luigi Rodriguez • OF LeVon Washington • RHP Cody Anderson • OF Clint Frazier • RHP Trevor Bauer

2013 Mid-season Prospects That Matter

2013 Pre-season Prospects That Matter

2014 Preview: Minors

Part I: Resources (other lists)

Part II: 2013 PTM Review

Part III: A quantitative prospect comparison (position players)

One of the criticisms of last year's PTM list was that some older players were excluded. A couple weeks ago Adam proposed a formula that takes into account age, position, and how the player did (specifically OBP and SLG). You can read up on his methodology here. This formula penalizes players who are old for their league, but doesn't necessarily remove them from consideration. In addition, it gives credit based on defensive position (for example, catchers and shortstops get a boost, while first basemen and corner outfielders get penalized).

I decided to test this formula out using the AL position players who earned 3.0 bWAR or better in 2013, figuring that's the end result PTM is supposed to be predicting. I used Adam's formula to compare those players' first season in a full-season league (200 PA minimum) to the position players in the Cleveland system last year (who are highlighted in yellow). For simplicity's sake, I did not combine levels for the Indians minor leaguers, only pulling over stops in which there were 200 or more Plate Appearances. I also excluded any short-season experience, so Clint Frazier and Francisco Mejia won't show up here.

(click to embiggen)

(spreadsheet download here)


Some commentary:

  • This if anything makes the current AL stars look bad, as I included only one season, and in some cases a season very early in their professional careers. But still, I think it's useful to look at how the current successes looked when they were prospects.
  • For this analysis I used .300 as the dividing line between PTM and non-PTM, but the final line may end up higher or lower (or several lines will be used) as more data is added.
  • Of the 46 current AL stars, only 7 received a score of .300 or lower. That's an excellent result, especially considering that this is based on a single season.
  • Of the current Indians minor-league position players, 7 received a score of .300 or higher (Francisco Lindor, Jake Lowery, LeVon Washington, Tony Wolters, Joe Wendle, Eric Haase, and Logan Vick). In addition there were three who just missed the .300 mark (Tyler Naquin, Dorssys Paulino, and Jose Ramirez).
  • Missing from this formula is defense. But I think it's better to exclude defense from this quantitative comparison rather than to attempt to shoehorn it in. Major-league defensive statistics are problematic, to say nothing of minor-league defensive stats.
  • Also missing is base running, which could help a couple players on this list.
  • Catchers get a huge boost (Lowery and Haase, for example), while some corner guys who had good seasons (like Aguilar and Moncrief) were penalized. Those modifiers could be toned down a bit. But those corner players will be expected to be major run producers in the majors, so they should be hitting 25-40% better than a catcher or shortstop.

Next step: Finalize the formula, then add previous seasons and partial seasons in an attempt to come up with a final 2014 PTM list.