Jace Jung, Nacho Alvarez Jr. Headline 10 Statcast Standouts (June 17th)


Image credit: Jace Jung (Photo by Scott Audette/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Every Monday morning we’ll highlight several players who stood out to us based on their underlying Statcast metrics. These are not full scouting reports, but can often serve as good early indicators of prospects who might be ready to break out, or are demonstrating MLB-ready skills.

Last week, we took a peak at the Martian’s data, along with a mini-tour of AL East prospects. This week, we’re breaking out some new player charts that will allow us to dig deeper into a variety of batters. Those include a young Tigers second baseman, a touted Yankees international signing, a Rule 5 returnee who is absolutely crushing baseballs, a player the Dodgers scooped up for free, who has now hit 17 homers at Triple-A, a different Dodgers player that has made a huge change, and a below-the-radar first baseman in the Rangers’ org. Fear not, we’ll leave space for a couple of interesting pitchers at the end.

You can access the data below via Baseball Savant.

Related prospect rankings:

10 Statcast Standouts

Jace Jung, 2B, Tigers

Josh’s Junger brother is quietly putting up a 135 wRC+ in Triple-A this year, with a .277/.396/.514 slash line and 11 home runs, two of which came in the same game last week:

Let’s test out some new charts and see what they tell us about Jace. In all these charts, gold colors are good and purple colors are bad, with perhaps the exception of launch angles, which are dependent on exit velocity. All batters are essentially two different hitters, depending on which arm the pitcher throws with, especially lefthanded hitters. All numbers are raw metrics, compared to the MLB average for that pitch type; sliders include sweepers.

Jung is demonstrating elite pitch recognition, with pristine chase rates against all non-fastballs. However his zone contact is well below MLB average, even with the platoon advantage against Triple-A pitchers. He makes above-average contact when he chases, which should somewhat mitigate the swing and miss. Jung hits the ball hard when he makes contact–around MLB average–but manages to get above-average loft. This should allow him to hit 20-25 home runs a season. I’d like to see Jung bring the swing and miss in the zone against righties down closer to MLB average before unleashing him to big league pitching.

Against lefthanders, Jung appears to be going for a more contact-oriented approach. He maintains his exceptional pitch recognition, with very low chase rates against non-fastballs. He also does a very good job at making contact against fastballs in the zone. However, his exit velocities are well below what he does against righties. This reads to me like a player with a very mature plan and approach. He’s figuring out what works for him. Once he improves his contact rates against righties, the approach should carry him to be an average or better MLB regular.

Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Alvarez, 3B, Braves

Nacho is still early in his Triple-A career, so we need more data before we break out the new charts. The early returns, though, are very promising. Alvarez has posted MLB-average exit velocities with a 104 mph 90th percentile exit velocity (EV90th) and 89 mph average exit velocity. In High-A and Double-A, he posted very strong contact rates of 81.5% and 81.3% respectively. Through Saturday’s games, Alvarez is posting an elite 88% contact rate at Triple-A, and an absurdly low 5.9% swinging strike rate (whiffs per pitch). These ingredients–lots of contact, at least average impact–make up a very productive MLB hitter. Given the long track record of contact, combined with roughly MLB-average raw power, Alvarez has a very strong chance of succeeding in the major leagues when he gets his shot.

Roderick Arias, SS, Yankees

It’s been a somewhat bumpy road for Arias signed he signed with the Yankees two and a half years ago. He has mostly held his own in the Florida State League after hitting a flurry of home runs last week.

Let’s see what the more granular data have to say about him:

Arias doesn’t do a lot of damage from the right side. He’s aggressive in the zone, but the early data suggest he may not be a very good hitter from that side of the plate.

Arias does a lot more damage when he bats lefthanded. He shows promising chase rates along with far superior contact quality. It might be too soon to pull the plug on Arias as a switch-hitter. But the early data suggest he might be better off working on just one swing, from one side of the plate. The swing and miss (from both sides) are a large red flag, and are well below playable at this point. If we were to only look at the data, we’d probably ignore Arias completely. Perhaps dropping the righthanded swing will help his data catch up to the scouting profile.

Deyvison De Lost Santos, 3B, D-backs

Last week, De Los Santos launched a ball 471 feet, leaving the bat at a sizzling 114 mph with a 23 degree launch angle. He also had a 116 mph double a couple of days earlier. Most major league batters max out at around 110 mph, so just those two batted balls can tell you a lot about his raw juice.

De Los Stantos vs RHPs:

De Los Santos is a classic free swinger, but he shows an exceptional ability to make a lot of contact, in and out of the zone, even without the platoon advantage. He absolutely crushes fastballs, averaging almost 100 mph against them vs righties. It’s very difficult to sneak a fastball by him in the zone. Punishing fastballs gives him a productive floor as a major leaguer.

Deyvison De Lost Santos vs LHPs:

He sees the ball a lot better when he has the platoon advantage. His zone contact rates are exceptional against lefties. For some reason, he hasn’t hit four-seam fastballs particularly hard. Given the 90th percentile exit velocities, along with the overall power profile, I lean toward assuming that’s a small sample size blip.

It’s hard to say how much the chase rates will hold back De Los Santos. We can, however, look at Salvador Perez for inspiration:

Andre Lipcius, 2B/3B, Dodgers

Rather frequently, I think about just how many extremely talented baseball players sit right around that “Quad A” level. It’s somewhere between a very good Triple-A player and an MLB bench player. Players like Lipcius don’t typically get much fanfare despite a long track record of production at every level in the minor leagues. This season, he’s hitting .304/.376/.585 which is roughly 32% above league average, and includes 17 home runs in just 63 games.

Let’s give Lipcius some love today and show you what the Dodgers might have seen to snag him from the Tigers for cash considerations. Instead of the usual LHP/RHP splits, let’s look at his profile year-over-year to see if he’s made any meaningful changes. Here’s what he looked like in Triple-A last season:

Last year, Lipcius showed below-average raw power, about average plate discipline, and a well above-average ability to make contact on pitches he chased out of the zone. Not an exciting profile, nor one that the data would scream “GET THIS GUY NOW.” But scouting and player development is about more than just raw numbers. This year, he’s hitting the ball harder with more loft:

Average exit velocities can sometimes be noisy. We can see that his 90th percentile exit velocity is up against all pitch types. He’s getting much more loft, especially against fastballs. Lipcius is sacrificing some contact, in and out of the zone, but the trade-off appears to be working early on. He’s doing much more damage when he gets his bat on the ball. It’s possible the Dodgers simply took a low-risk chance on a 26-year-old, told him to swing harder, and may have helped him find his optimal power/contact trade-off balance. Will it work in the major leagues? That remains to be seen, but I’m always rooting for the below-the-radar guys like Lipcius.

Ryan Ward, OF, Dodgers

How about another Dodgers Triple-A player that has taken a huge leap this year and already has 18 Triple-A home runs? Last season, Ward hit a paltry .234/.324/.424, which was well below league average. This season, he’s cruising with a .281/.325/.674 line, and has almost eclipsed his entire home run output from last year. So what’s changed? Almost nothing, except for one very important thing: he learned how to lift the ball.


In 2023, he averaged about 11 degrees of loft on his batted balls, with above-average raw power (55 to 60 grade raw based on his exit velocities). He was also aggressive in the zone, likely at the expense of aggression out of the zone (higher chase rates).


This year? We see an almost identical profile, with similar chase rates, contact rates and exit velocities. In fact his average EV and 90th percentile EVs are each within 0.3 mph of last season’s numbers. The one big change we can point to is his average launch angle, which went from a below-average 11.3 degrees last year, to a well above-average 19.7 degrees this season, which perhaps has come at the expense of some in-zone contact ability.

Ward has somehow managed to unlock his power by raising his average launch angles, which is quite unusual, but also a significant, meaningful change. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the poster child for a player that minimizes his power by bashing the ball into the ground. Ward gives us all hope that our favorite young hitters (I’m looking at you Jordan Walker) will learn how to maximize their raw power by hitting the ball in the air. More and more, I’m looking for players that are already hitting the ball in the air, with at least average raw, rather than guys who absolutely smoke the ball, but hit too many ground balls, with the exception of James Wood, who will headline again whenever he returns from the IL.

Matt Wallner, OF, Twins

Wallner struggled to open the season, and continued to struggle after he was demoted to Triple-A. Wallner is showing plus-plus power and elite damage on contact. He hits the ball really hard, with plenty of loft. However, as we see with all the purple, he really struggles to make contact, even against righthanders, which is the matchup he should get most of his plate appearances against. He’ll need to improve his contact quality against four-seam fastballs, which is curiously poor, and he might need to sacrifice some contact quality against other pitch types to perform better against four-seamers.

I’m not usually a proponent of writing off a batter as a platoon-only guy, but Wallner really doesn’t do much against lefties:

He should get as many reps as possible against them while still in Triple-A, but a team looking to win won’t be able to give him many plate appearances in the majors against lefties. This is still a premium power bat, but the ability to make contact looks like he’s still very much a boom-or-bust type of player.

Blaine Crim, 1B, Rangers

Ignore Crim’s .220/.323/.377 batting line. He is a really good hitter that has gotten a little bit unlucky in the early going. His underlying metrics are very similar to what he put up last season when he produced a .891 OPS. He’s perhaps a bit too aggressive against fastballs out of the zone, which may be what’s holding back his quality of contact against those pitches. As a righthanded first baseman, he’ll need to really perform to be a viable major leaguer, but he has the raw power, contact ability and loft to be a quality major league, should he get the chance.

Braxton Ashcraft, SP, Pirates

Ashcraft was recently promoted to Triple-A, so we can get some granular details about his repertoire. He throws a fastball with above-average velocity at 96 mph, which is offset by sub-par ride, around 1 inch less than a pitcher with his velocity, height and release characteristics would get. His fastball only got three whiffs in his Triple-A debut. It doesn’t have the bat-missing shape you want to see in a four-seam fastball.

His slider looks like a weapon, and should play well off the high-velocity fastball. Fastball velocity is one of the crucial aspects related to slider quality. His slider ticks a lot of the right boxes–low spin efficiency, velocity above 86 mph, good spin rates, and strong fastball velocity. His slider only generated one swing and miss in his first Triple-A start, but it’s a plus pitch and should play well when commanded. He was mostly fastball-slider to righties in his first start. While it doesn’t look like a dominant pair, it should be good enough, though he may benefit from mixing in the curve a bit more.

Against lefties, he has a 90 mph changeup and the hard curve at 84, at the expense of the slider. I think his slider is his best pitch, so I’d love to see him up the usage. Ashcraft has the building blocks to be a useful back-of-the-rotation type starter.

Adam Serwinowski, LHP, Reds

The Reds might have something with the 6-foot-5 lefthander. Serwinowski has a 94 mph fastball with great shape. He pairs it with a gyro slider that sometimes morphs into a mini-sweeper, but I think he settles on the more platoon-neutral version that is closer to 0 inches of horizontal break. The data says he throws a sinker as well, but it may just be the four-seam with more horizontal break. He may not be a starter with just the two pitches, so he either develops a curve and change, or he gets moved to the bullpen, where his fastball/slider combo should be a lethal combination.

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