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More Love For Max Schrock

Earlier this week, I shrocked the baseball community by predicting that newly acquired 2Bman Max Schrock would have one of the more successful careers amongst the A’s current slew of promising prospects.

Here are some "fun facts" to support the notion that regardless of for whom he was traded (2 months of "pretty good lefty" Marc Rzepcyznski), or when he was drafted (13th round), the switch-hitting Shrock may be worthy of more love than he is getting...

Pedigree, Schmedigree

In 2006, Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list included the following designations:

  • #3: Brandon Wood, the Angels SS who was going to follow A-Rod as a superstar-slugging SS.
  • #28: Daric Barton, the A’s 1Bman who was projected to slap singles and drive doubles from line to line.
  • #29: Billy Butler, because who wouldn’t want Butler more than some scrappy 5’9" 2Bman you would rank nearly 50 spots lower?
  • #74: Javier Herrera, the toolsy A’s OFer with a ton of upside.
  • #77: Dustin Pedroia, 2B

In between there are, of course, many many other busts whose excellent pedigree, ability, and potential just didn’t translate to big league success (e.g., #9: Lastings Milledge, #14: Andy Marte, #27: Felix Pie). It’s far from an exact science.

I wanted to do the same exercise with Jose Altuve, but couldn’t find him on any top 100 lists in 2009, 2010, or 2011.

Contact Info

I don’t mean address, phone number, and email address, although Schrock is welcome to give me any of those as I continue to stalk him in an appropriate, non-creepy, and only vaguely sexual manner.

You know how we have been agonizing over the K-rates of otherwise lovely prospect Matt Chapman? Chapman’s K-rate has sat at a worrisome 30% this season? Matt "The Other White Matt" Olson’s is at 24.4% this season.

As a 21 year old this season, in his A+ league with the Washington Nationals Shrock’s K-rate was 9.0%. After 24 PAs with Oakland at AA Midland, Shrock’s K-rate was 0.0%. He finally struck out last night in Midland’s playoff game, so I guess now it’s 3.6%.

For his pro career so far, at various levels Shrock’s K-rates have been 8.6% (short-season A), 6.7% (long-season A), 9.0% (advanced A), and 3.6% (AA), and as Carson Cistulli noted in his excellent Fangraphs piece late June:

Shrock’s contact skills appear to be truly special, which makes his high batting average far from fluky. As a pro so far, age 20-21, Shrock is a career .326 hitter. (His 7.0% BB rate has translated this into a career .369 OBP.)

"Righties Beware"

Schrock is, as far as I know, a true switch hitter (as opposed to Daniel Nava and Pablo Sandoval, who sometimes stood at the plate facing the 1B dugout for some reason). {Breaking News: I can't read. The "L/R" I saw referred to "bats left, throws right" -- Schrock is a pure left-handed batter} Shrock has been better against RHPs — which is the preferable split to have. Here are his slash lines batting against RHPs so far in his career:

2015 (short-A, age 20): .331/.382/.496
2016 (full-A, age 21): .343/.399/.495
2016 (adv-A, age 21): 363/.386/.519

How can you not be über-excited about this guy??????

The Defense Doesn’t Rest, Your Honor

I’ll be honest: I can’t find a whole lot reported about Schrock’s defense, other than consistent references to it being "fine and not special" — what I don’t hear, though, is that he’s any sort of butcher or some DH or LFer masquerading as a 2Bman.

There are levels of defense:

Level 1: Fraud division

You have your "3Bman Brett Wallace" types who play that position in name only. Chris Carter was a Level 1 LFer.

Level 2: Cringe division

You have your 3Bman Danny Valencia" types who legitimately play that position and legitimately play it badly. Chris Carter is a Level 2 1Bman.

Level 3: Serviceable division

You have your 3Bman Ryon Healy" types who play that position below average and are probably better suited to a different position (in Healy’s case, 1B). Mark Canha is a Level 3 LFer who is better at 1B, and Brandon is a Level 3 1Bman who is better in LF/RF.

Level 4: Average

You have your average defenders whose defense may not be their calling card but who also don’t hurt you on defense. My comp references to Daniel Murphy and Neil Walker were examples of "offense first" 2Bmen whose defense is not great but also perfectly adequate to support their good bat.

I believe Schrock has a good chance to reach Level 4, partly because by all accounts he is a reasonably athletic and fundamentally solid type of player, and also because he plays a position in which he can be tutored by literally the best in the business, a certain Ron Washington.

In short (5'8") I am really bullish on this young man.