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Frobby

Tracking Rutschman and Kjerstad: the path of six fast movers from 2015-17

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In another thread, I looked at the top 5 drafted college hitters from each of 2015-17 to see how fast they reached the majors.   Three made it the year after they were drafted, three in the second year after they were drafted, seven in the third year after they were drafted, and two haven’t made it to the majors yet.  

Of the players I listed who made it to the majors within two years, here are their paths (draft no. and position when drafted in parentheses):

Swanson (1, SS) - Had an .876 OPS in 22 short season A games the year he was drafted.   Was ranked no. 17 by BA after that season.   Then hit .976 OPS in 21 Carolina League games and .745 in 84 Eastern League games before his August 17 call up.

Bregman (2, SS) - Had a .699 OPS in 29 low A games and .839 in 37 A+ games in his draft year, was ranked no. 42 by BA after the season.  Had a .975/1.015 OPS in 62/18 games in AA/AAA the next year before his July 25 call-up.

Benintendi (7, OF).    Had a .948/1.011 OPS in 35/18 games in SSA/low A in his draft year, and was ranked no. 15 by BA following that season.   Had a .972/.876 OPS in 34/63 games in A+/AA before his August 2 call-up.

Happ (9, OF) - Had an .898/.763 in SSA/low A in 29/38 games the year he was drafted, and was ranked no. 87 by BA.   845/.733 in 69/65 games at high A/AA the next year, and .778 in 19 AFL games, was ranked no. 63.    .977 in 26 AAA games before called up on May 13.

Haseley (8, OF) - .730/.694 in 35/18 SSA/low A games in his draft year, was unranked.   .758/.880 in 79/39 games at A+/AA the next year, was ranked no. 100 by BA.  Next year had .837/.847!in 44/18 games in AA/AAA before a June 4 call-up.

Hiura (9, 2B) - Had a 1.339/.850 OPS in 15/27 games in rookie league/low A in his draft year, was ranked no. 47 by BA.   Next year had .911/.755 in 50/73 games in A+/AA, followed by .934 in 23 AFL games. Moved up to no. 17 ranking.   Then hit 1.088 OPS in 57 PCL games before his May 14 call-up.

Looking at Rutschman, he hit for a .607/.894/..594 OPS in 5/20/12 games in rookie ball/SSA/low A the year he was drafted.    The normal path would have been to start the next year in high A, progress to AA and see what happens from there.    But there was no MiL season, and instead he spent 2+ months at the alternate site.    Rumor has him starting 2021 in AA, which makes sense to me.    I see no reason to think he couldn’t be ready for the majors by the second half of the season if things go well.    

Kjerstad is a much trickier place.   He played a shortened college season in 2020, then didn’t play any organized ball thereafter.    Given the rustiness, I would not be shocked to see him start 2021 in low A, which would put him behind every player on this list.  Even if he starts in high A, it may be tough for him to dominate there after missing so much time.    Getting to AA this year could be tough for Kjerstad, but we’ll see.  

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From Roch yesterday:

The master plan calls for Heston Kjerstad, the second-overall pick in the 2020 draft, to play right field for a long time, but he won’t be ready this summer. He doesn’t have a single professional at-bat and is ticketed for the low minors - whether it’s the Gulf Coast League or one of the Single-A affiliates.

https://www.masnsports.com/school-of-roch/2021/01/wondering-whether-it-makes-sense-to-keep-or-trade-santander.html

 

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I would imagine Kjerstad starts in Delmarva.  He should be in Aberdeen, at least, by the end of the year.  Starts next year in Bowie.  Ready by the AS break...assuming health and performance.

If he plays really well this year, he goes to Bowie by the end of this year.

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1 hour ago, Sports Guy said:

I would imagine Kjerstad starts in Delmarva.  He should be in Aberdeen, at least, by the end of the year.  Starts next year in Bowie.  Ready by the AS break...assuming health and performance.

If he plays really well this year, he goes to Bowie by the end of this year.

I agree this is the “if all goes according to plan” scenario.   

It’s worth remembering that as recently as 2017 we had a 2016 draftee go from hi A to AA to the majors in one season — 3rd rounder Austin Hays.   Of course, he had some major hiccups after that.
 

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1 minute ago, Frobby said:

I agree this is the “if all goes according to plan” scenario.   

It’s worth remembering that as recently as 2017 we had a 2016 draftee go from hi A to AA to the majors in one season — 3rd rounder Austin Hays.   Of course, he had some major hiccups after that.
 

Yep...and yea, it’s if all goes well.

If “all doesn’t go well” I think it’s worth questioning the pick almost immediately (unless he gets hurt).

When you draft what you feel is an advanced college bat, there should be no struggling in low A.  I’m not saying he needs to have a 1000 OPS right off the bat because obviously there will be an adjustment but he needs to perform at a relatively high level.

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3 hours ago, Frobby said:

Bregman (2, SS) - Had a .699 OPS in 29 low A games and .839 in 37 A+ games in his draft year, was ranked no. 42 by BA after the season.  Had a .975/1.015 OPS in 62/18 games in AA/AAA the next year before his July 25 call-up.

But for the low slot feature, the #2 pick thing plus Elias/Sig in selecting front office stick this one as the most interesting of the comps.

Of course Bregman said "I'm not tired" and played 3 pro months after signing, perhaps knowing the big league team was ready for him as a finishing touch.   I don't expect Kjerstad at that level, but hope he can chase it if the read was right.   

The aggregate Bregman minors line: ~600 PA of 300/390/500, and more walks than K's.  The eye plus ascending OPS each level was quite a combo.   Best case where he's 90% of Bregman not 60%, I feel like First Half 2022 could still be in play.   

Certainly in the first 1-2 months of minor league year, these two guys showing quickly if they can that they're just plain better than whatever understandably moderate starting assignment they get will govern a lot of the overall excitement gauge heading towards '22.

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42 minutes ago, OrioleDog said:

But for the low slot feature, the #2 pick thing plus Elias/Sig in selecting front office stick this one as the most interesting of the comps.

Of course Bregman said "I'm not tired" and played 3 pro months after signing, perhaps knowing the big league team was ready for him as a finishing touch.   I don't expect Kjerstad at that level, but hope he can chase it if the read was right.   

The aggregate Bregman minors line: ~600 PA of 300/390/500, and more walks than K's.  The eye plus ascending OPS each level was quite a combo.   Best case where he's 90% of Bregman not 60%, I feel like First Half 2022 could still be in play.  

The interesting thing about Bregman’s draft year was they gave him a reasonably aggressive low A initial placement, he didn’t exactly dominate there (.699 OPS) and yet they jumped him to Hi A anyway after 29 games.  Goes to show that sometimes the numbers don’t reflect whether a guy is ready for the next level.    

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I think Kjerstad's slightly unusual circumstances probably put a warmup Delmarva class in the field of "baseball" in play, but I'll be bummed if he's stuck there long, and won't feel like Aberdeen (mindfully working on those re-affiliations) is the deep end if he gets there to start.

I think if you are an SEC Silver Slugger/Team USA cleanup kind of stud, your average Friday night can hang with the South Atlantic League.

I do feel like the Sally is the deep end if you can make a full season team right out of high school like Bundy (and Drew Rom!), and we'll never know if Gunnar could have gotten there last summer, but that's their college freshman year equivalent.   By the time you've been a junior year Golden Spikes candidate, I'm not sure there's much to prove there.

 

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6 hours ago, Sports Guy said:

I would imagine Kjerstad starts in Delmarva.  He should be in Aberdeen, at least, by the end of the year.  Starts next year in Bowie.  Ready by the AS break...assuming health and performance.

If he plays really well this year, he goes to Bowie by the end of this year.

Is Aberdeen going to be the High A team and Frederick is no longer an O's affiliate?  Not up to date on what happened to the minors.

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30 minutes ago, OriolesMagic83 said:

Is Aberdeen going to be the High A team and Frederick is no longer an O's affiliate?  Not up to date on what happened to the minors.

Yes to both 

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