I’m going to compare two Cubs prospects who I’ll refer to as X and Z until the end.
X turns 22 in March while Z turned 22 at the end of August. Both players just finished their age 21 season, but Z is older by several months.
X played a majority of his age 21 season in AA while Z reached AA at the age of 20.
In X’s first partial season in AA he hit a measly .248/.300/.380. Z’s first partial season in AA he hit .223/.292/.383.
In 5 seasons and 1850 minor league plate appearances, X has hit .267/.315/.401. Z has also played 5 minor league season, he’s had 1666 plate appearances and he’s hit .277/.319/.439.
X has walked in 6.8% of his plate appearances while Z has walked in 5.8% of his. On the other hand, X has struckout in 23.8% of his PA while Z has struckout in only 14.8%.
X has far greater speed. He’s stolen 82 bases to just 16 for Z. Interestingly, Z has been caught stealing 16 times while X has only been caught 27 times.
Both are poor fielders who will more than likely have to move positions. X has, however, remained at his position while Z has already been moved around. X plays SS while Z came up as a 3rd baseman and has played some LF and 1st base.
X does much more damage when he puts the ball in play. His Batting Average on Contact (BACON) is .401 while Z’s is .358. X’s Slugging on Contact (SLGCON) is .601. Z’s is .566.
Overall, Z has a bit more power than X, but if Z could cut down on his strikeouts that advantage would be eliminated. X, although he isn’t a patient hitter by any means, is more patient at the plate than Z. X has better speed. Significantly better speed. X plays a more valuable position and since both are likely to move to new positions, that will remain true in the future. Right now, though, Z is probably a bit better though I’m not certain he’s better by that much.
Using Statcorner’s MiLB stats, X has been worth 6.1 WAR since 2009 while Z has been worth 5.8 WAR.
Can someone tell me why Josh Vitters (Z) is seen as a legitimate prospect while Junior Lake (X) is not by many people? I don’t really think either of these guys are going to make any kind of meaningful impact at the MLB level in their careers. I’d put my money on Lake before I would Vitters. It seems to me with his athleticism that if he has to move positions he could easily play 3rd with strong arm. He could play CF and cover all kinds of ground or play RF with that cannon. That doesn’t mean I think it will happen. I don’t think either of these two can hit enough to get much playing time at the big league level. Neither walks much. Lake more than Vitters, but it’s still a low walk percentage. Lake strikes out too much. Vitters doesn’t hit for enough power to play the positions he’d probably have to play at the big league level. The same is true for Lake unless he plays CF.