My Case for Grant Desme at #5

I think Grant Desme should be number 5 on the prospect list. Here is a write up on scouting reports I did back in mid-august about Desme.  WARNING the link below is LONG. Some highlights of that write up and my final thoughts after the jump.

everything you ever wanted to know about Grant Desme  

The highlights-

1) "Talent in baseball is not normally distributed. It is a pyramid. For every player who is 10 percent above the average player, there are probably twenty players who are 10 percent  below average." -Bill James Primer


Desme's (fangraph) speed score right now is around 8.2.  For some perspective, that's 2nd in the California League (Min 190 PA). and 4th in all A+ ball.  However the 1st-2nd-3rd place guys have an OPS of  603, 745 and 646 respectively.  Looking into all the higher AA leagues we see there are only 3 total players there with a speed score over 8.  So Desme is close or at the top of that speed pyramid, and I don't think you can say him being old for the league matters on speed.

2) Isolated Power, or ISO, is a statistic that was created-invented by the famous general manager Branch Rickey and Al Roth in the 1950's (this pair also invented On Base Percentage). Isolated Power attempts to separate and measure a player's ability to hit for power as exhibited in extra base hits (doubles, triples, and home runs). Where batting average counts all hits equally, and slugging percentage gives credit for total bases, but also counts singles, ISO measures just the player's extra-base abilities. Isolated power is basically a ratio of Extra Base Hits per at bat. Desme is leading all the (A+) leagues in Isolated Power at .368.

3) How about OPS? What does OPS tell us? It gives up a great tool to compare players on their overall offensive contribution. In order to be among the league leaders in OPS, a player must hit for average, display a great batting eye (to collect walks), and hit for power. An OPS over 900 is considered quite good, and an OPS over 1000 is sure be among the league leaders. Desme is hitting +320 OPS points better than his team (1052 vrs 732).  AA player Chris Carter +189 ( 1004 vrs 807)

Now I want to look at  how many 1000+ OPS guys are in  each level of baseball (min 190 PA) 2009. 

players in A or A- ball,... 0....... players in A+,... 6.......... Players in AA ball,.. 3........ AAA players,.. 8.........  ML players 2.  Or less than 20 in all of the major and minor leagues (down no farther than A- ball).   Pyramid says Bill James, Pyramid. 

"Minor league batting statistics will predict major league batting performance with essentially the same reliability as previous major league statistics."- Bill James Primer

This was his rookie year, and even though he is old for the league, a move to Midland may not depress his numbers considering the Team OPS of Midland is 807 and for Stockton is a much lower 732. A look at Chris Carters jump-

Chris Carter A+ Stockton-  avg. 259   obp  361     ops 930      so  156

                        AA Midland             337           435              1011          119

People are suspect of A+Stockton inflated numbers, what about AA midland having a team OPS 80 points higher?



Desme's Minor League Career comined-  G        R        D    T  HR    RBI   S      CS           BB      SO          OBP      OPS

                                                                           145    106     34   6   33      97   42   7(86%)     60       169       365         922


Does he need to walk more? Mabey after two years off and the way he was crushing the ball he decided it was better to  keep crushing the ball for now.  Does he need to strikeout less?  Yes but he only hit into 6 double plays in 145 games.  And his numbers just got better and better as the year went on, so he was learning something-

OPS by month-

April-732.......May-822......June-(before call-up) 918......June ( after call-up)-658..........July-1086.......Aug-1227


I'm a glass is half full guy.  I think the fact that Desme is putting up numbers like he has (top of the pyramid), after missing two years, more than makes up for him being old for the league. All he did was dominate the league he was put in, and get better every month. I don't think AA is going to give him any more trouble than it did Chris Carter. His combination of  proven dominating  speed and power are so unusual that he easily makes the top five ahead of guys who have not proved anything at all (Green, Inoa), and ahead of guys who have done good for there age, but have never dominated their team, let alone a whole league or two or more.

Grant Desme's outragous upside is  what makes me salivate.  He was his leagues triple crown winner his last year in college, he should be the A+ league MVP his first year in the pro's, and I think he will adjust just fine to AA in his second year of minor league baseball and improve on his flaws when needed just fine as he goes for the AA triple crown next year.

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