Yesterday, I perused the Triple-A hitter HR/FB rate leaderboard and discussed the AL hitters at the top. Now let’s jump to the NL and determine whether any of these sluggers could find themselves in the Majors within the next month. Once again, I have excluded any hitters who are already in the Majors and this list only includes qualified hitters.
NL HR/FB Leaders
2021 Org Rk
2021 Ovr Rk
Max Muncy/AJ Pollock
Daniel Vogelbach/Travis Shaw
Abraham Almonte/Guillermo Heredia
At the top of the list, tied for the sixth highest HR/FB rate at Triple-A among qualified hitters (amazingly, the top five are all with an AL organization), sits Travis Demeritte, who was already discussed on Tuesday as part of the wOBA leaders list. The only thing that has changed is Abraham Almonte has started the last three games in left field, taking over for the Braves’ previous Marcell Ozuna replacement Ehire Adrianza. Almonte has far more offensive potential, but clearly Demeritte has a path to significant playing time if he gets promoted.
Rangel Ravelo also appeared on the wOBA leaders list and he still leads all Triple-A qualified hitters in the metric. Nothing in his situation has changed and the Dodgers are a tough team to crack the starting lineup.
Zach Green has been a career minor leaguer, beginning it back in 2012 as an 18-year-old. He earned his only 16 MLB PAs with the Giants in 2019 and is doing his best to earn his second promotion. Green’s power blossomed in 2019, as his HR/FB rate skyrocketed to 32.5%, taking full advantage of his 50% fly ball rate. Not only has he managed to maintain those increased power skills, but his HR/FB rate has risen even higher this year, while his FB% remains high at 47.2%. The problem here is that of strikeouts. His strikeout rate currently sits at an inflated 39.6% mark and that’s backed by a high 17.4% SwStk%. He isn’t even offsetting those strikeouts with walks, which sits in the high single digits. He’s always struck out a lot, which is probably why he’s only found himself in the Majors once. While the Brewers clearly could use some offensive upgrades, I don’t think Green is the answer, as his power simply couldn’t be enough to offset all the whiffs and lack of on-base skills.
Luis Garcia was the top Nationals prospect heading into the 2020 season and the 81st overall prospect. He earned 139 PAs last year and was up for a short spell this season. With just 30/45 Game Power and 50/55 Raw Power grades, and single digit HR/FB rates during his minor league stints from 2017-2019, it’s pretty incredible to see his mark at 35% right now. His ISO hasn’t shot up nearly as high as his HR/FB rate would typically match to, as some of his doubles became homers and he hasn’t replaced those doubles. That said, the home run power is quite the surprise. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to make the most of that home run power as his FB% sits below 30%. Since he’s swiped just two bases since 2020, including his Majors action, he’s going to need some newfound power to get onto the fantasy radar. This is surely an exciting start and with only Josh Harrison in his way, another opportunity could come soon.
Woah, check out Anthony Alford! The former top prospect sports an exciting combo of 60/60 Raw Power and 70/70 Speed grades, but injuries and too many strikeouts during his many short MLB stints have taken him off radars. This season, his home run power has exploded, but oddly, his ISO still sits just below .200. That’s because he has just one double to go with the four home runs. The good news is he has become a walking machine. The bad news is he’s striking out at an alarming rate, validated by his high SwStk%. Since I don’t believe this home run power is here to stay given the softer ISO, he’s not going to have much of a chance for MLB success until he cuts down on those strikeouts. He clearly has a path to significant playing time with the Pirates, but it’s a matter of whether the team is focusing more on his current overall output (.378 wOBA) or his high strikeout rate when deciding whether to call him up.
Drew Waters is the only serious current prospect on this list, but it’s been a bizarre season for him. The good news is he has proven his 2019 Triple-A strikeout rate spike was just a fluke, as he’s gotten it below 30%. It’s still high, but not alarmingly so. The other good news is his power is finally translating into home runs. However, like I warned trying to match Alford’s HR/FB rate and ISO, Waters is even worse! His ISO stands at just .152, which incredible is worse than his 2019 Double-A mark when his HR/FB rate was just 5.8%! A lot of that is because Waters has hit so few fly balls this year. His FB% is a meager 14.1%, so that HR/FB rate is over a pretty small sample of fly balls. Obviously, it’s not a bad thing that his HR/FB rate sits above 30%, but I wouldn’t put much weight on it thinking it’s a huge power breakout. At least he’s stealing bases, but at a terrible rate! Overall, the start to Waters’ season has been more confusing than helpful in determining his future fantasy potential. Still, the Braves have clear outfield needs, so it’s in the realm of possibility Waters is called upon. With a history of high BABIPs marks, he could contribute in multiple categories and not kill your average despite a potentially high strikeout rate.