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Fun With "Best Available Comps" Part Deux: Nicodamus Predicts

"You thought you'd seen the last of me? Buuuaaaaaaahahahahahaha........"
"You thought you'd seen the last of me? Buuuaaaaaaahahahahahaha........"
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Earlier this month, I wrote about each of the A's off-season acquisitions and who their likely "90th percentile," "50th percentile," and 10th percentile" comps were. You can read that here, whereas here I will now put on my gutometer, a device that tells me where each player will fall on the continuum of achieving their potential, i.e., who will hit their 60th percentile and who will hit only their 25th, and so on...

I'll be interested to see where you agree and where you disagree -- there is room for ample disagreement since the gutometer is not a science. In fact there is even much debate over whether it is properly pronounced "GUT-o-mee-ter" or "guh-TOM-uh-ter". I prefer the latter.

R.J. Alvarez

I have a pretty good feeling about Alvarez as a legitimate high leverage power arm. I also expect that like most relievers, Alvarez will have ups-and-downs from year to year rather than a smooth and consistent ride. Nicodamus projects him as reaching his 70th percentile, giving him a comp of Jordan Walden. He does, however, predict that Alvarez will not literally jump off the mound with each pitch.

Franklin Barreto

My first prediction, and I say this with regret (to the extent one can regret something that hasn't yet occurred), is that Barreto will reach the big leagues with another team. Whoever he's with, he's awfully hard to project since he is only 19 and the widest range of possibilities come from prospects who are especially young, raw, and talented. I'll guess that Barreto's hit tool holds up, while his defense disappoints and his power does not develop as much as hoped. Perhaps he is moved to the OF or settles in as a super-utility player who sees some time at 2B and some time in the OF. Nicodamus will go with a 40th percentile outcome whose comp is infielder-turned-outfielder BJ Upton. Upton has settled into awfulness lately but did have some decent years early in his career.

Chris Bassitt

I'm sorry to say I just don't foresee a lot of success from Bassitt who, from scouting reports, seems like a "#5 SP or reliever" in the making. Sure he could be a good reliever or a surprisingly successful SP, but more likely he's like hundreds before him who have enough tools to get to the big leagues but not really enough tools to thrive. Nicodamus says Bassitt will reach his 20th percentile with a comp of Nick Martinez.

Kendall Graveman

I just have a really good feeling about this guy. He doesn't light up the radar gun and neither does Doug Fister. Neither did Justin Duchscherer. It's amazing what a diving sinker, a cutter, and good command can do. Nicodamus has Graveman reaching his 91st percentile outcome whose comp is Joel Piñeiro. Remember him? No hall of famer, but he won 104 games and that's a far cry from where Graveman sat as a prospect just a year ago. Nicodamus also has himself firing the previous Nicodamus for calling Jesse Chavez Graveman's 90th percentile comp. Graveman might not turn out to be better than Chavez, but it's far from inconceivable. So much so that I would say it's conceivable.

Jesse Hahn

I really like Hahn and think he will emerge as Oakland's #3 SP in 2015. If he stays healthy Hahn has a chance to be special, but at the same time as a one-time TJS survivor his margin for error, healthwise, is slim. That is to say, if his elbow should ever go "Ouchie!" again it likely means the end of his days as a starting pitcher. Nicodamus has Hahn following Jarrod Parker's path of exceeding expectations to serve as a #2 SP type ... but then succumbing to a second TJS. Call that the 50th percentile overall.

Sean Nolin

You have to be intrigued by any LHP starting pitcher who throws in the 90s with good control. That being said, nothing about Nolin's stuff comes across to me as "electric" and I imagine him setting up hitters with slurvy breaking stuff, throwing his fastball to both sides of the plate, and mixing in a good changeup, and being described as "someone who knows how to pitch" more than as "someone who pitches really well". Nicodamus has him reaching his 45th percentile with a comp of Brett Oberholtzer.

Josh Phegley

This guy's skill set reminds me of someone ... Yes, it's phegley familiar ... Not really; I just wanted to say that. Anyhoo, Phegley will probably hit LHPs ok and will throw a few runners out, but I'm not foreseeing a memorable career so much as the one afforded many backup catchers: "Well traveled". He might resurface more often than my latest STD, but that doesn't mean he'll put up great numbers. Nicodamus has Phegley reaching his 30th percentile and enjoying a Tyler Flowers-esque career. Only Eric O'Flaherty is impressed.

Rangel Ravelo

This guy kind of intrigues me as a sleeper in the Samardzija trade. He could be a "tweener" who lacks enough power, defensive skills, or single tool to make it. However, he also could emerge as a good gap hitter with enough defensive proficiency at the corners to become a valuable utility player. As likely as not, he'll never play in the big leagues but if he does Nicodamus sees him reaching his 55th percentile to warrant a comp of someone like Chris Coughlan. Only right-handed and different. Comps are harrrrd.

Marcus Semien

For me it's easier to project Semien's tools than it is to come up with a suitable comp. I think Semien will hit and that his hitting will include decent pop for a middle infielder. I could see him putting up a slash line of .270/.330/.400 with 12 HRs. Then there's his defense, which scouts worry lacks quickness or range -- qualities that are kind of important for a SS. {Holy crap -- Marcus Semien is Derek Jeter!!!!!!} Nicodamus thinks Semien will be exposed at every day SS, unless he is moved to 2B where he could be perfectly adequate. This puts him overall at his 55th percentile and interestingly, it makes him statistically (check out the career slash line and the UZR ratings at various positions) a dead ringer for Marco Scutaro. Warning: Your Clutchiness May Vary.

Joey Wendle

I believe the A's see something in Wendle that scouts have overlooked. Wendle will never win gold gloves, but if he hits and overachieves he has a chance to pay dividends. Wendle may have to hit his 80th percentile in order to be any good, but he also may have the makeup to buck conventional wisdom and approach his ceiling. That's what Nostradamus sees: Wendle hits his 80th percentile for a comp of Daniel Murphy. Bold, I know.

What would this make the trades look like in hindsight?

Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie, BJ Upton, Joel Piñeiro, Brett Oberholtzer

Brandon Moss for Daniel Murphy

Jeff Samardzija for Marco Scutaro, Nick Martinez, Tyler Flowers, Chris Coughlan

Derek Norris for Jarrod Parker, Jordan Walden

Ironically, if true it would make a widely popular trade, the Samardzija one, come out fairly poorly and would make a widely unpopular trade, the Moss one, come out great.

One minor disclaimer: All of this is probably, make that almost certainly, completely wrong. Carry on!