Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Your 2019 Giants: Why Connor Joe?

I'm posting my comment from The Athletic here (I've been posting articles I might have published here before instead on TA or on Twitter, I'm trying to stay Big Picture here, but I thought my finding is too important for the Big Picture not to post here).  I am a habitual tweaker, so...


ogc big picture thoughts

A commenter had a great question about Joe not having Muncy's power, which made me curious to compare Muncy and Joe, since both were Zaidi projects, and both played in the same AAA league, only one year apart. I thought I would put it into the main section as well, in case anyone reads the new comments at the end, but skips the ones that were already there, as I think this is very interesting to share.

Twinsies!

Max Muncy in 2017, before his breakout year, hit 12 homers in 320 AB, or 26.7 AB/HR at age 26, .905 OPS.

Connor Joe in 2018, for the same club, Oklahoma City, hit 6 homers in 160 AB, or 26.7 AB/HR at age 25, .879 OPS.

So Joe and Muncy had very similar performances in AAA, particularly homerun power, and I would note that Joe did it at a younger age, having never shown any power before (Muncy showed a lot of power early on), and while changing his batting stance in order to tap into his latent power that apparently Pittsburgh made him change (this "new" batting stance was his original stance).  He might still develop further, given he's younger, and still getting familiar with his batting stance again.

Power Activated!

Also, his ISO, a sign of power, was 200 while Muncy was 182, so Joe showed more power at a younger age than Muncy, as well as more homerun power, in the same league, just one year removed, so the pitching talent level should be similar. 

In his three prior seasons, Joe showed roughly 100 ISO power, and hit homers at a 90 AB/HR pace.  So whatever the Pirates did to Joe (and which the Braves did not recognize), they should be ashamed.  For all the talk about the Pirate being a sabermetric organization (they had a book published on that), this was a pretty bad goof. 

But Behold:  Much Better Hitter!

Meanwhile, Muncy struck out at a 27% pace, with 0.64 BB/K ratio (shows good eye at over 0.5) and Joe struck out at an elite 16% pace, with an better 0.71 BB/K ratio. This demonstrates that Joe has very good batting eye discipline, he avoids strikeouts while tapping into more power than Joe did in the same AAA league, just one season later. This greatly increases the odds of a player developing when he controls the strike zone well, avoiding strikeouts and getting more walks.

Why Not Joe?

No wonder Zaidi worked so hard to get him back. That's a great strikeout rate to have in the minors, that's a sign of a good hitter.  And especially so when tied to a good BB/K ratio of 0.71.  That's what you look for in good hitting prospects, a good strikeout rate, a good BB/K ratio, along with good power (200 ISO is pretty good).  Now, that's no guarantee he'll be a good major leaguer, but it's generally a good skill to have, avoiding strikeouts while walking a lot, and making good contact.  He is clay that can be molded into something pretty good, potentially. 

I was just vaguely interested in Joe before looking at all this, but now I'm looking forward with anticipation that maybe Joe can develop into.  Most likely not a Muncy, that would be hoping for too much, but at least a solid major leaguer, which would still be great for improving the Giants (for minimal cost). 

I am now hoping the Giants hold onto him all season, and give him a lot of opportunities (I could go either way, previously, just thought it was a Zaidi project, not a prospect who shows so many good hitting skills).  I think that once they hold onto him a full season, they gain full control over him (no more Rule 5 returnsies), and can option him back and forth like normal.  Meanwhile, they can start Parra in LF more frequently, while letting Joe be a utility player (perhaps platoon in LF?), and get starts in LF, RF, 1B, and 3B with regularity, keeping him developing, while giving key older players more rest.  And who knows, maybe he figures things out and there's no worries anymore about options!

 Go Joe!

5 comments:

  1. It's a shame most people don't see this...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! That's why I posted this here, in the big picture view, he's the type of prospect any team should be happy giving opportunities to, let alone the Giants, whose coffers are barren because drafting is harder than most fans understand, especially when the team is winning regularly.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Interesting that you bring up Hanson. He hit .699 OPS last season in slightly less than half a season of playing (310 PA), and even with his really bad defense, still produced 0.5 bWAR, which is probably what drew Blue Jays eyes. That's because his .699 OPS produced 0.9 oWAR (which includes position adjustment).

      And that's roughly what PIllar has produced in his career, in his four full seasons (.701 OPS), so that's decent offensive production, not nothing, as people have been saying about Pillar.

      Anyway, what the Blue Jays maybe weren't aware of was that he had a monster hot streak then cooled off to basically what he did before:

      Last 90 games: .226/.243/.343/.586
      Prior MLB career: .222/.263/.335/.598

      And that's roughly what he hit in ST: .176/.236/.353/.589

      So if that's what you prefer, a sub-600 OPS hitter, sure, but I don't prefer such a bad hitter and even worse fielder.

      I like prospects who shows good plate discipline by not striking out that much, while walking a lot, and when making contact, make loud contact for high SLG/ISO, like Joe did in AAA last season.

      No guarantee that he'll become a major leaguer, but if prospects like him are fish, guys like him are like fishing in a pond, whereas guys like Hanson, like fishing in the ocean, the odds are just that much worse for guys who haven't demonstrated much skill in the majors so far, one short hot streak (much like Freddie Lewis' last season with the Giants) followed by really poor hitting for a longer period.

      Delete
  3. Joe unfortunately doesn't fit our defense. His arm is way too weak to play our outfield. He's a 2nd baseman at best. But with Solarte he doesn't fit. I understand he's got potential as a hitter but with no arm and still more time to progress i'm not sure what we do with him.

    ReplyDelete

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