One longtime scout at the Winter Meetings told me that Kris Bryant is the best hitting prospect he has EVER SEEN. Shortstop Addison Russell is one of the Top 10 prospects in baseball. And so on.

In his first 16 games in the Dominican Winter League, Arismendy Alcantara is hitting .304/.361/.482. His .843 OPS would be fifth in the league if he had enough at bats to qualify. He’d be just behind Manny Ramirez, in fact. In the DWL last year, Alcantara’s OPS was .511 in limited duty.

I'm a known mendy lover but I think he's poised to have a year that surprises people. He's been overshadowed by various big names for awhile now but he has the tools to put together a really "wow" type season. He could pretty easily have a 20/30+ season. In 70 games this year he was 10/8 and that was with him hitting .205/.254/.367 not to mention 11 doubles. Even if he only ups the average 50 points he's going to fill up the stat sheet. If he gets to 20/30 he's probably a 3 fWAR player or pretty close to it. If he improves his average more he could potentially approach 4.5-5 fWAR pretty quickly.

I'm a known mendy lover but I think he's poised to have a year that surprises people. He's been overshadowed by various big names for awhile now but he has the tools to put together a really "wow" type season. He could pretty easily have a 20/30+ season. In 70 games this year he was 10/8 and that was with him hitting .205/.254/.367 not to mention 11 doubles. Even if he only ups the average 50 points he's going to fill up the stat sheet. If he gets to 20/30 he's probably a 3 fWAR player or pretty close to it. If he improves his average more he could potentially approach 4.5-5 fWAR pretty quickly.

Beck, in another thread, you told me the upside for Bryant was a batting average of .275. And yet at the winter meetings, a long time scout said that Bryant was the best hitting prospect he's ever seen. Given that scout's feeling, how do you justify your position on him?

Beck, in another thread, you told me the upside for Bryant was a batting average of .275. And yet at the winter meetings, a long time scout said that Bryant was the best hitting prospect he's ever seen. Given that scout's feeling, how do you justify your position on him?

That's one scouts opinion. How do I justify? I gave you two scouts in that thread suggesting he was a 50-55 hit grade. Opinions vary especially when it comes to scouting. Additionally, said scout you're referring to could have meant any number of things. Most scouting grades I've seen on Bryant's power are 70-75. Perhaps what he meant was Bryant is the best power hitter prospect. I again mention that in the other thread as to why people think he's special. As an example of what I mean, Joey Gallo is the only other prospect in the minors with anywhere near a 70 power grade. He hit .232/.334/.524 in AA. He's still a top 10 prospect according to MLB.com(#6). Point here being that 70 power is quite rare and if you're even able to put an average hit tool with that you've got the chance to be a very special player. David Ortiz is one of the best power hitters of the past generation and he hit .285 thus far for his career. If Bryant is even remotely as good a hitter as Ortiz is it would be a huge success.

I'm hiding this in spoiler tags because it's hella mathy and I know some people don't dig on that but if you want to know why this is why I'm fairly certain he wont hit .300.

If that's not enough, the fact is not many hitters hit for .300 especially when you start talking about power hitters because teams will exploit them via defensive shifts. Last season of the players who hit 25 HRs only Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Victor Martinez and Jose Abreu hit over .300. That's the list. Abreu had a 8.2%/21.1% walk K rate. Martinez had a 10.9%/6.6% walk/k rate. McCutchen had a 13.0%/17.7% walk/k rate. And finally Miggy had a 8.8%/17.1% walk/k rate. If you do the math here that means Abreu had 77.7% balls in play, Martinez had 82.5% balls in play, McCutchen had 69.3% in play and Miggy had 74.1% of balls in play. If you contrast that with Bryant's numbers from AAA he had a 14.5%/28.6% walk/k rate or 56.9% of balls in play. Why does any of this matter? Bryant put in roughly 13% fewer balls in play than McCutchen the lowest on this list. League average on BABIP is around .300. As such, putting more balls in plays is far more likely to boost you closer to .300. However, because Bryant is putting fewer balls in play, his BABIP actually has to be better than these players. If we assume 600 AB's in a season then at a 28.6% K rate Bryant should strike out 172 times and should walk 87 times with a 14.5% walk rate. In order for him to hit .300 he would need to have 154 hits out of the 341 remaining chances((341 + 172) * .3). That would give him approximately a .451 BABIP(154/341). The highest BABIP in the league last season was Starling Marte at .373. The highest BABIP in the past 20 years was 2002 Jose Hernandez at .404. As for conclusions to be drawn here, if we're generous and say Bryant is the next Miggy and has a career .346 BABIP that means he'd need to shave off 104 K's or in other words he'd need an 11.3% k rate(154 hits need to hit .300 in 600 ABs divided by .346 BABIP gives you 445 non-k or walk chances, 600 - 87 walks - 445 non-k chances = 68 K's total). The math just doesn't support the logic. Even if you say his walk rate declines 5% that'd be maybe another 30 K's but he'd still basically have to cut his K rate in half from what it's been.

Regardless, I think you're stressing too much on the details and are missing the forrest for the trees. His batting average in particular really isn't that important. What you should be more concerned about is his OBP. If Bryant hits .270 with a 14.5% walk rate he's probably going to have something like a .390-.400 OBP. Last season a grand total of 5 players had a .390 or higher OBP. A grand total of 3 of them hit more than 30 HRs(Stanton, Bautista, Victor Martinez). Hell, if you need to see the value look at Rizzo last season. He hit .286 with a 11.9% which gave him a .386 OBP. He was good for 5.6 fWAR which made him the 14th most valuable positional player. Bryant strikes out at a higher rate but his walk rate makes up for that. So while his average may end up lower his OBP likely will remain consistent.

Well thought out and frankly I agree with your math. If Bryant ever does hit .300 that's probably in an MVP season, which I wouldn't rule out at some point but wouldn't count on either. If he hits .270/.400/.600, which he's capable of, he's one if the best players in the game BA be damned.

Well thought out and frankly I agree with your math. If Bryant ever does hit .300 that's probably in an MVP season, which I wouldn't rule out at some point but wouldn't count on either. If he hits .270/.400/.600, which he's capable of, he's one if the best players in the game BA be damned.

If he hits .300 in a season I'd wager it would be more like a Trout season which is to say approaching double digit fWAR. If he hits .300 I'd have to imagine he approaches 50+ HRs. The "worst" fangraphs season at .300 average, 12%+ bb rate, -5 or higher on their fielding and 50 HRs is a 8.2 fWAR season. Even if you lower that to 40 HRs it's 7.1.

That's one scouts opinion. How do I justify? I gave you two scouts in that thread suggesting he was a 50-55 hit grade. Opinions vary especially when it comes to scouting. Additionally, said scout you're referring to could have meant any number of things. Most scouting grades I've seen on Bryant's power are 70-75. Perhaps what he meant was Bryant is the best power hitter prospect. I again mention that in the other thread as to why people think he's special. As an example of what I mean, Joey Gallo is the only other prospect in the minors with anywhere near a 70 power grade. He hit .232/.334/.524 in AA. He's still a top 10 prospect according to MLB.com(#6). Point here being that 70 power is quite rare and if you're even able to put an average hit tool with that you've got the chance to be a very special player. David Ortiz is one of the best power hitters of the past generation and he hit .285 thus far for his career. If Bryant is even remotely as good a hitter as Ortiz is it would be a huge success.

I'm hiding this in spoiler tags because it's hella mathy and I know some people don't dig on that but if you want to know why this is why I'm fairly certain he wont hit .300.

If that's not enough, the fact is not many hitters hit for .300 especially when you start talking about power hitters because teams will exploit them via defensive shifts. Last season of the players who hit 25 HRs only Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Victor Martinez and Jose Abreu hit over .300. That's the list. Abreu had a 8.2%/21.1% walk K rate. Martinez had a 10.9%/6.6% walk/k rate. McCutchen had a 13.0%/17.7% walk/k rate. And finally Miggy had a 8.8%/17.1% walk/k rate. If you do the math here that means Abreu had 77.7% balls in play, Martinez had 82.5% balls in play, McCutchen had 69.3% in play and Miggy had 74.1% of balls in play. If you contrast that with Bryant's numbers from AAA he had a 14.5%/28.6% walk/k rate or 56.9% of balls in play. Why does any of this matter? Bryant put in roughly 13% fewer balls in play than McCutchen the lowest on this list. League average on BABIP is around .300. As such, putting more balls in plays is far more likely to boost you closer to .300. However, because Bryant is putting fewer balls in play, his BABIP actually has to be better than these players. If we assume 600 AB's in a season then at a 28.6% K rate Bryant should strike out 172 times and should walk 87 times with a 14.5% walk rate. In order for him to hit .300 he would need to have 154 hits out of the 341 remaining chances((341 + 172) * .3). That would give him approximately a .451 BABIP(154/341). The highest BABIP in the league last season was Starling Marte at .373. The highest BABIP in the past 20 years was 2002 Jose Hernandez at .404. As for conclusions to be drawn here, if we're generous and say Bryant is the next Miggy and has a career .346 BABIP that means he'd need to shave off 104 K's or in other words he'd need an 11.3% k rate(154 hits need to hit .300 in 600 ABs divided by .346 BABIP gives you 445 non-k or walk chances, 600 - 87 walks - 445 non-k chances = 68 K's total). The math just doesn't support the logic. Even if you say his walk rate declines 5% that'd be maybe another 30 K's but he'd still basically have to cut his K rate in half from what it's been.

Regardless, I think you're stressing too much on the details and are missing the forrest for the trees. His batting average in particular really isn't that important. What you should be more concerned about is his OBP. If Bryant hits .270 with a 14.5% walk rate he's probably going to have something like a .390-.400 OBP. Last season a grand total of 5 players had a .390 or higher OBP. A grand total of 3 of them hit more than 30 HRs(Stanton, Bautista, Victor Martinez). Hell, if you need to see the value look at Rizzo last season. He hit .286 with a 11.9% which gave him a .386 OBP. He was good for 5.6 fWAR which made him the 14th most valuable positional player. Bryant strikes out at a higher rate but his walk rate makes up for that. So while his average may end up lower his OBP likely will remain consistent.

I agree with that. I'm happy if he puts up .270 BA. What I like about him is his BB%. OBA holds more value over BA. Power wise if he hits 30 plus per year no one will whine over him hitting .270.

He is going to strike out a lot. That is a given. On the flip side, I believe he struck out 3 times in his first game, and granted it is 7 times in 14 at bats which is horrible, but at least he is 5 for 14 and his slash line as of this moment is .357/.412/.714/1.126. So when he is making contact, he is doing something with it.

He shouldnt be focusing on just making contact. He has to find a balance of aggressiveness and know when to lay off. He could be focusing on one thing right now. Its like spring training. You cant take any of those numbers and make any kind of judgement.

He shouldnt be focusing on just making contact. He has to find a balance of aggressiveness and know when to lay off. He could be focusing on one thing right now. Its like spring training. You cant take any of those numbers and make any kind of judgement.

This is a pretty interesting read. TL;DR version is this likes Soler, Bryant, Alcantara, Russell and sort of surprisingly Gleyber Torres' chances of being pretty good major league players.