With 2019 Spring Training underway, I thought it would be the perfect time to release my four MUST sell prospects before both the MLB and MiLB season starts.
I’ve had these four players marked as “do not own” for a while now, but since prices are heating up even more as opening day approaches, it is time for me to inform.
I will list the four prospects from lowest value to highest value and provide an alternative investment to these prospects.
Cristian Pache: $54.00
I’m going to play the “I told you so” card here. Way back on September 6th, 2018, I was asked about my opinion on Cristian Pache, so I produced the graph below and this Instagram post.
“Ever since Pache’s 1st Bowman Autos released in 2018 Bowman, his card prices have been high. I believe this is partially due to a weak checklist and also people hoping he follows the same trajectory as Ronald Acuña. Where his market is set right now is too high for his skill set. While Pache is a great defensive CF, his offensive numbers are lacking. I know a lot of people are really liking this guy, but I just don’t see it between the high K:BB ratio and low OPS. I am aware he’s 19 and I could be wrong, but this is my gut feeling. Now would be a good time to sell at the end of the season, and he could be a potential good buy if he sees a price dip. *Note: August data comprised of only BIN (due to lack of auction sales). April-July are auction only.”
By using a refractor multiplier of 1.55x, it would put his base autos around $74 at the time. Now, they are selling for $54. Even at $54, I think he is a must sell and here is why.
In 2018, he played most of his season in High-A at 19. Pache played 29 games in AA, but his numbers were even worse there. I will be leaving out his AA numbers, to highlight even when he played “better,” he still is not worth the investment.
In 93 games in A+, Pache had a 3.9% BB-rate, and a .311 OBP. That isn’t bad, that is horrendous. He relies on his hitting ability to get him on-base, shown by his .285 AVG. As you moves up levels, I expect that number to drop (as it already did in 29 AA games).
Looking into an advanced stat like wRC+ (adjusted weighted runs created), he was barely over the average with a 109 (average is 100). Offensively, he was only 9% better than the average player. He also only had a .146 ISO which doesn’t indicate extra base potential.
Now, let’s look at his spray percentages: 59.1/18.9/21.9 (pull%/cent%/oppo%). He has shown zero ability to use all areas of the field. Not only will it make it easy for him to hit into a shift, it greatly reduces the rate balls will fall into gaps for XBH.
It is my assumption he sells for so much because of the Acuña effect (young Braves CF), and because the prospect rankings have him way up there – MLB Pipeline (37), Fangraphs (19).
The general public has a hard time distinguishing a good investment versus a good prospect. Pache is a fine prospect, considering he is one of the top defensive center fielders in the minors with his 70 run, 70 field, and 70 throw grades. However, those tools do not sell cards. Do yourself a favor, go look up Billy Hamilton’s prices (I’ll save you the time, his base autos sell for $3).
After I pocket that money, I am sinking $54 right into Jazz Chisholm. The most recent auction went for $53, so it would be a perfect transition. While there are sacrifices that come with Jazz (K-rate to be specific – 30%), he’s got an immense amount of power for a shortstop. He spent two-thirds of his season in Low-A, and the other third in High-A, posting even better numbers in the latter.
His ISO power was above .200 in both levels, and he had a good BB rate in Low-A around 9%. There are not too many better combinations of power, position, age, and price out there.
Ozzie Albies: $65.87
Even though he is not a prospect anymore, I still had to throw his name out there. Albies got off to one of the hottest starts in the MLB last year, hitting .281, 20 home runs, and 29 doubles in the first half of the season, which destroyed expectations. In the second half, he came crashing down to earth (.226, 4 homer runs, 11 doubles).
With that being said, his prices dropped with his poor performance. They are still way too high, as I believe his second half is closer to the type of player we will see going forward rather than his first half.
Over the course of the season, he had a 5.3% BB-rate and a .305 OBP, adding even more concern. It is only a matter of time before his prices adjust.
On the bright side, he does a good job hitting to center with a 31.1 center%.
None other than Taylor Trammell, who Nate wrote an extensive analysis on. Their last two base auto auction sales are within a penny of each other. Please, do yourself a favor and put that money into Trammell, a top 20 prospect.
My take is no different than Nate’s on Trammell, so read why Trammell is a great prospect to put that money into.
Luis Robert: $115.50
Now enters the high-risk territory, and quite frankly, the ones I cannot even believe.
First up is Robert. While there is something to be said here about the power projection (55 future game power, 65 future raw power), I cannot even come close to justifying $115.50 for a guy that played 50 games in 2018, didn’t hit one home run, and struck out around a 25% clip.
He also had insanely high BABIPs (.394 and .341 in A and A+), so his slash lines were even a little better due to some lucky ball drops. In A-ball, he was barely able to put the ball to center field, but he did a better job of that in A+.
His prices have already dropped around $20 per base auto since the redemptions got sent out, but I foresee them falling even further as the season gets underway. I mean, MLB Pipeline and Fangraphs have him ranked around 40. It is crazy to have a guy selling for $115 who hasn’t proven anything, even in the minors.
$115.50 to spend, so many options available.
While I know I talked about Robert not playing enough to warrant the price tag, I’m going with Nick Senzel here anyways. For the second year, he is a top 10 prospect, but he battled injuries last year and only appeared in 44 games (all in AAA).
This is the year I think he 1) debuts in the MLB, 2) rips the cover off the ball (even though that’s all he’s done already), and 3) stays healthy (most importantly).
While it is only a small sample size in AAA, his AA numbers in 2017 are encouraging as well.
In 2018, he had a 9.8% BB-rate, 20.2% K-rate, .310/.378/.509, and 6 home runs in 44 games.
As always, I’m bringing it back to his spray chart: 40.3/32.8/26.9. A great spread around the field and with how great his hit tool is (70-grade future value!), he will be very successful.
I’m for sure buying a Nick Senzel after I post this.
Nolan Gorman: $124.00
Anyone that reads my Instagram posts or watches our dual live streams knows how we feel about Nolan Gorman.
Coming out of the draft, Gorman was the one I had my eye on. I loved his swing; it was hypnotizing to me. I even remember texting Nathan immediately when he got picked by the Cardinals, “I am buying all of the Bowman Chrome Nolan Gorman autographs in December.”
Then, of course, he decides to hit 17 home runs in 63 games at 18-years-old, and that went right out the window.
His rookie ball statistics were incredible: 11 home runs, 14.4% BB-rate, .315 ISO, .350 avg. Then you look at the BABIP: .411, a completely unsustainable rate.
Gorman gets promoted to Low-A, BABIP drops to .255, and his slash drops to .202/.280/.426.
Of course, he is young. He has time to adjust to A ball. I am not saying he is a terrible prospect. I actually really like him. BUT, for $124 you can buy…
One of our favorites: Alex Kirilloff.
Both Gorman and Kirilloff base autos fluctuate between $120-$135, so I figured the range is good enough to draw a comparison. I personally picked up a Kirilloff refractor auto PSA 10 the other day.
Kirilloff is one of the other players Nate covered, so read his full analysis on why you should have at least one Alex Kirilloff.
To help you get a feel for who I would say is a sell first to sell last, this is how I would rank them.
- Luis Robert
- Nolan Gorman
- Ozzie Albies
- Cristian Pache
Really, I would sell all four equally as fast since I would not want money in any of them; however, to provide you with a glimpse of who first, I ranked them. The high risk of Robert and Gorman easily puts them at the top of the list, but I could 100% see Albies drop the furthest in percent decrease.