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Analyzing Offensive Data Standouts Among 2022 Draftees

Dalton Rushing (Mika Salazar Rancho Cucamonga Quakes)
Dalton Rushing (Mika Salazar/Rancho Cucamonga Quakes)

Small sample sizes often lead us astray when trying to evaluate statistics and data. While it’s often meaningless in the big picture of whatever it is you’re looking to evaluate, checking early returns can be both useful and entertaining. In this way, looking at the production and data of recent MLB draftees is both a useful and frankly fun exercise.

Today we look at 10 2022 draftees that posted exciting exit velocity data during their professional debuts. The list ranges from high-end first-round talents to mid-round sleepers and late-round finds. All of these players had 90th percentile exit velocites that exceeded 104.5 mph. While this is a limited and one-dimensional look at these players it demonstrates their raw power and impact potential. 

Termarr Johnson, SS, Pirates: The fourth overall pick in this year’s draft was one of the more celebrated high school hitters in recent memory. While his professional debut wasn’t loud from a production standpoint, he showcased some of the best raw power in the class. Johnson’s 90th percentile exit velocity exceeded 105 mph in his truncated professional debut. It was a positive sign of things to come and further confirmation that his power-hitting exploits as an amateur were not a mirage. Johnson is still just 18 and likely several years away from making an impact in the major leagues, but this was another example of the prodigious power he possesses in his diminutive frame.

Spencer Jones, OF, Yankees: Jones making this list is hardly a surprise to those that follow the draft. The 6-foot-7 outfielder possessed some of the best raw power in the 2022 draft class. Taken with the 25th pick in the draft, Jones’ 90th percentile exit velocity was well above 105 mph. His ability to hit for power has continued to blossom over the last year as he slugged .644 this spring for Vanderbilt before hitting .344/.425/.538 across his first 25 games as a professional. Despite concerns around Jones’ swing and miss, he showed the ability to make contact at a higher than average rate during his professional debut, hinting at continued improvements from Jones as a contact hitter.

Dalton Rushing, C, Dodgers: No player from the 2022 class made as loud of an entrance into the professional ranks as Rushing. Taken with the 40th pick in the draft out of Louisville, Rushing impressed with both standout production and great underlying data. His 90th percentile exit velocity was just a shade below 105 mph, illustrating the quality of his high-end contact. Few players performed at the level Rushing did after the draft, as he hit .424/.539/.778 with eight home runs in 28 games with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. Rushing looks like a potential star in the making and another strong pick by the Dodgers based on early returns.

Jacob Melton, OF, Astros: Selected with the 64th pick in the draft, Melton offers an offensive package heavily based around power and the ability to get on base. While he displayed a patient approach during his professional debut, it was his ability to hit for power that shined brightest. Melton had 10 extra-base hits over his first 23 professional games, and produced a 90th percentile exit velocity north of 105 mph. Melton hit .261/.353/.466 across 23 games, primarily with Low-A Fayetteville. With a strong combination of power and plate discipline to go with fringy contact skills, Melton isn’t dissimilar to players the Astros have had success developing in the past.

Brock Jones, OF, Rays: The Rays have long exhibited a taste for athletic power hitters, so it came as no surprise when they landed Jones with the 65th pick in the draft this summer. A member of the Carolina League champion Charleston RiverDogs squad, Jones was a catalyst following the 2022 draft. Jones started 13 games for the RiverDogs, hitting .286/.419/.653 with nine extra-base hits, and he started all four playoff games. Jones struggled early in the spring with Stanford but turned it on late. That momentum seemingly carried over to his short professional debut. Beyond his box score production, Jones displayed exciting exit velocity data, with his 90th percentile exit velocity coming in just below 105 mph. He is an athletic outfield prospect with a three true outcome offensive profile.

Nathan Martorella, 1B, Padres: A well-rounded hitter, Martorella walked more than he struck out during his junior season at California and slugged .553 over 55 games this spring. Taken by the Padres in the fifth round, Martorella split his time between the complex and Low-A Lake Elsinore.  Martorella hit .322/.421/.511 in his pro debut with 11 extra-base hits over 28 games. Martorella’s underlying data shows a nice balance of plate skills, with contact and discipline. It’s his exit velocity data that really stands out, however, as his 90th percentile exit velocity approached 106 mph. While it’s a small sample size, it’s a positive early return for the 150th pick in the July draft.

Hogan Windish, 2B, Mariners: Windish was a strong performer for Wareham in the Cape Cod League this summer before showing well over 30 games with Low-A Modesto—he hit .336/.438/.496 over 144 plate appearances with the Nuts. Selected with the 216th pick in the draft, Windish marries a strong approach with average contact and above-average raw power. His 90th percentile exit velocity data was right in the neighborhood of 105 mph. That raw power translated into extra-base hits, as Windish hit 11 doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs in his pro debut. A bat-first profile with defensive limitations, Windish is showing early signs of a strong combination of plate skills and hard contact that’s translating to production in the lower levels of the minors.

Pirates

2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects Chat

Mark Chiarelli  answered questions regarding the Pirates system today. You can read the transcript here.

Peyton Williams, 1B, Blue Jays: On the opening day of Cape Cod League play this summer, Williams homered off of Carson Whisenhunt in arguably one of the most heavily scouted games of the summer. Taken by the Blue Jays with the 218th pick in the draft, the large-bodied first baseman (6-foot-5 255 pounds) has country strength in his imposing frame. While Williams is capable of hitting tape measure home runs, it’s his balance of contact and approach that drives his profile. He walked as much as he struck out during his spring campaign with Iowa and posted a .383 on-base percentage with Low-A Dunedin in his pro debut. While his overall line during his pro debut wasn’t impressive, Williams’ power did show up in his exit velocity data with a 90th percentile exit velocity just a shade below 105 mph. He is a talented hitter with potentially plus game power with a first base-only defensive profile.

Griffin Doersching, 1B, Padres: For those that follow college baseball, Doersching’s inclusion on this list is hardly a surprise. One of the top transfers in the country, Doersching moved to Oklahoma State after playing four seasons with Northern Kentucky. After hitting .296/.407/.673 during his final collegiate season, the Padres selected the muscle-bound slugger with the 240th pick in this summer’s draft. Doersching spent 25 games with Low-A Lake Elsinore where he hit just .227 but connected for eight home runs and produced a .284 isolated slugging percentage. His exit velocity data was something to behold, with the top 10 percent of his batted balls averaging out in the neighborhood of 107 mph. The very definition of a three true outcome slugger, Doersching displays a discerning eye at the plate, double-plus power and below-average bat-to-ball skills.

Zach Dezenzo, SS, Astros: The lowest drafted player included within this article, Dezenzo was selected in the 12th round with the 373rd overall pick. After a four-year career at Ohio State that saw Denzenzo start 115 games at shortstop for the Buckeyes, hitting .281/.362/.538 with 38 home runs, he was assigned to Low-A Fayetteville for his pro debut. While his .255/.342/.402 line over 27 games didn’t stand out, his underlying exit velocity data was excellent. In fact, Dezenzo produced the highest 90th percentile exit velocity of any 2022 draftee. He looks like a potential late-round find by the Astros front office.

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