Orelvis Martinez, Junior Caminero Headline 10 Statcast Standouts (April 22)


Image credit: (Photo by Tom DiPace)

Every Monday morning we’ll highlight 10 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 highlighted Jack Leiter’s stuff right before he got the call to the majors, and peeked into some high-upside arms in Jonah Tong and George Klassen. This week, we’re going to highlight a bevy of power-hitting infielders, and dive deep on a couple of interesting arms you might not know much about, and one you definitely know about.

You can access the data below via Baseball Savant.

Related prospect rankings

10 Statcast Standouts

Orelvis Martinez, 2B, Blue Jays

Orelvis has been a “Statcast Standout” of sorts for a while now, with our Geoff Pontes highlighting his data back in 2021:

He’s now playing second base and showing this kind of power:

Martinez sits atop our 90th percentile exit velocity chart. The color of his bubble shows how he’s able to lift the ball, averaging a 17.4 degree launch angle on his batted balls (last year he was at 19 degrees). This is further supported by a max exit velocity of 115.2, which is about five mph harder than the median MLB player. The only blemish on his profile is the whiff rate, which he’ll need to work on improving. This isn’t a minor blemish by any stretch, but he has true 30-homer potential and looks primed to be Toronto’s second baseman in the near future.

Junior Caminero, 3B, Rays

Caminero’s sample size is smaller because he’s working his way back from early-season injury. But he’s right where we expect him to be, clocking in at a 108.3 90th percentile exit velocity (70-grade raw), an ok-ish 33% whiff rate, but a rapidly improving approach as highlighted by his 12.5% swinging strike rate on the season. While he hasn’t accrued much time in Triple-A, he looks as ready as any 21-year-old can be to take on MLB pitching, clustering near Coby Mayo and Tyler Soderstrom.

Marco Luciano, SS, Giants

Prospect fatigue is a real thing, and Luciano has been a prospect a really long time. He first ranked in the Top 100 in 2020, checking in at No. 19, and has been a mainstay since, peaking at No. 12 in 2021. Luciano gradually slipping to No. 56 entering 2024. That’s five appearances for Luciano, and it demonstrates a significant pedigree.

Luciano appears to have made some important improvements over the offseason, specifically with regards to his plate discipline. You’ll find him in the chart above, next to Max Muncy, who we wrote about last week, and is next on this list. He’s not hitting the ball in the air, which might lower his offensive ceiling, but he’s cut his whiff rate by nine points from 39.4% to 30.9%, and his swinging strike rate from 17.1% to 10.4% which is a massive difference. He’s become much more selective, bordering on passive, allowing him to rack up 15 walks in 18 games so far this season, with a robust triple slash line of .296/.414/.366, which is subdued due to him not yet connecting on any home runs. It feels like he’s much older, but he’s still only 22 years old, only a few months older than Dylan Crews.

It appears that Luciano is making some real changes to be hit-over-power in the short term, and he has plenty of time to add the power back in once he establishes himself in the majors. His exit velocities are still plus, but he’ll need to lift the ball a little more to fulfill the 30-homer promise he showed earlier in his career.

Max Muncy, SS, Athletics

Players named Max Muncy are all currently hitting the ball at around major league average exit velocities, with lots of loft (greater than 21 degrees average launch angle), great patience and playing on the dirt. This writer finds the similarities in statistical profiles between current Athletics prospect Max Muncy and former Athletics infielder (and current Dodgers infielder) Max Muncy endlessly amusing. The younger Muncy has a chance to stick at shortstop and could be every bit as good as the elder on the offensive side of the ball.

The two Muncys are also very similar in that they don’t have standout tools anywhere, but just perform. In my opinion, Muncy’s probably a Top 100 prospect right now, but might graduate before he ever shows up on a list anywhere. He’s the type of prospect I love to highlight, the never-top-100 type who might become a plus major league talent.

Addison Barger, 3B/RF, Blue Jays

The Buffalo Bisons aren’t quite the Norfolk Tides, but they do have a lot of MLB-ready hitters ready to make the jump, and Barger is showing he’s ready for the next level.

In the early going this year, Barger has increased his 90th percentile exit velocity by almost two mph compared to last season, and has reduced his whiff rate from 25% to 20%, a significant improvement. His 8.2% swinging strike rate is exceptional at any level, and it all adds up to a player with an OPS over 1.000 in the early going. The Blue Jays have him playing mostly third base this season, which makes sense given where the team is at. We could be looking at a Barger-Bichette-Martinez-Guerrero infield in Toronto in the coming weeks.

Coby Mayo, 3B, Orioles

I resisted writing about Mayo last week, as he just continues to impress, week after week, and how many times can I write that he hits the ball really hard, hits it in the air, doesn’t swing and miss very much and is very young? So instead, I’ll just hope that he’ll be up in the majors soon so I don’t have to find new ways to express just how elite of a prospect he is.

Jordan Westburg’s emergence has perhaps clouded the immediate future for Mayo, but there’s no question he’s shown everything he needs to. He checks every analytical box, and hopefully the Orioles find a way to squeeze him into their major league roster soon.

Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Guardians

We promised a bevy of power-hitting infield prospects, and Manzardo will round out this part of the list. There’s a lot of similarities between Vinnie Pasquantino and Manzardo. They both hit the ball hard and don’t swing and miss. Manzardo has held on to his pristine 7% swinging strike percentage he posted after being traded to the Guardians, and has made important gains, adding 1-2 mph of exit velocity (average and top-end). He’s also getting the ball in the air, which will help his game power play above his raw power. He was a very buzzy name going into 2023, and despite not being quite as hyped this year, he’s improved and should be a very productive hitter when he gets the call.

Paul Skenes, RHP, Pirates

We could have led off with Skenes, but decided to leave him as a treat toward the end, as we finish this list with three pitchers. Skenes’ fastball shape was heavily criticized due to its lack of IVB, which is what typical pitchers need to make their fastball effective, but Skenes is not your typical pitcher.

We now have a sample of 112 fastballs from Skenes and he is still averaging over 100 mph on those pitches, with a 37% whiff rate (tremendous for a fastball) and a 17.9% swinging strike rate (tremendous for a fastball). So how does he do it? He attacks the batter up and way:

We see the largest boxes are typically up and away, with very few pitches in the lower-third portion of the zone. Against both righties and lefties, up and away gets the lion share of his targets. We see that his whiff rates are much lower when he doesn’t elevate, but this is what command of a 100 mph fastball looks like. The secret sauce is that the combination of elite velocity and lack of rise makes it very hard for batters to hit his fastball for a home run, allowing him to have his cake (get whiffs) and eat it too (limit home runs).

Skenes is also doing an incredible job locating his slider, down and in to lefties, and down and away to righties, and the pitch is dominating hitters, with a whiff rate north of 54% and a swinging strike rate of 25%. He’s also getting these results, while experimenting with a couple of slider shapes:

April 18: Probably a sweeper type shape.

April 12:Probably more of a gyro slider shape.

We’ll see where he settles with the pitch, or he may go with the sweeper/gyro slider combo. Theoretically, he’s in Triple-A to work on these things, so it’s a little surprising that he’s throwing his fastball 50% of the time, but on the flip side, he also wants to show the world he’s the best of the best, so I can see him being more performance-focused than development-focused.

He’s mixed in both a changeup at 91 mph and a splitter/splinker at 95 which both have swinging strike rates of 25% or better, in small samples. We’re talking about a five-pitch pitcher, with command of a 100 mph fastball. He and Jared Jones are going to be a formidable duo atop the Pirates rotation. Pittsburgh has done a better job with the development of recent arms like Jones and Skenes, and other arms such as Bubba Chandler are coming soon.

Franco Aleman, RHP, Guardians

Aleman is a potential future closer for the Guardians, but he’s rather unusual.

Aleman throws both a four-seam fastball and a sinker, and they share a lot of similarities, being very close in terms of shape (sinker drops 1-2 more inches and breaks about four inches more arm side) and velocity (95-96) mph. He throws them both to righties and lefties and what makes it work is that he attacks the top of the zone with both pitches:

Aleman’s low arm slot helps the pitch play up despite pedestrian IVB numbers, but it doesn’t explain the 47% whiff rate and 31% swinging strike rate on the fastball. My working theory is that it’s mostly a tunnelling/synergy effect based on the location, velocity and movement profiles of the fastball and sinker that makes it very hard for hitters to pick up.

Franco’s slider needs some work. There are two issues with the pitch, first, he only throws it 82 mph, so despite getting good depth, it won’t work, as it needs to be above 85 mph to really play up. If he can figure out how to throw it harder, it might become a viable third pitch for him that he can use at the bottom of the zone. Second, he releases it much higher than either his fastball or sinker, making it easy to spot:

It’s quite possible that he can be effective just mixing in the two fastballs, but I think he has elite closer potential if he can figure out that slider. The differences between a bad pitch and a plus pitch are often very small, it’s possible even just fixing the release point will work, but most likely he’ll need to fix both issues.

Charlee Soto, RHP, Twins

Soto has a lot of promising traits, with good velocity (95 mph) and what could be a five-pitch mix, which is exciting for such a young arm. Often with prep pitchers, you’re hoping they can develop a few pitches to complement a fastball, but that’s not the case with Soto.

His primary is a sinker, as he doesn’t have the type of fastball that gets IVB. The sinker gets almost no whiffs, but does a great job managing contact, generating a -11 degree launch angle. If he can cut the IVB on the sinker a little more, it could be a reliable primary for him.

His changeup is very promising, with great depth and a huge amount of run, getting a lot of whiffs (73%), but a lot of that has to do with Low-A batters chasing the pitch. His four-seamer is clocking in at a 19% swinging strike rate, but I don’t think the shape will play as he moves up the ladder, so he might be better served to scrap it entirely and focus on his other pitches.

Soto throws both a slider and a cutter, though they tend to blend together a little, and it looks like there may be a couple of sweepers in there. Both of these pitches looks like they could be viable offerings, and he’s a prime candidate to be a sinker/gyro/sweeper/changeup pitcher with or without a true cutter. The changeup will be key to his development, as he’ll need it to neutralize lefthanded batters.

I’m intrigued by what I’ve seen out of Soto so far, and his ability to throw five or six different pitches portends well for his future.

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