5 Hitting Prospects Trending Up

Outfielders

1. luis robert, CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Speedy center fielder Luis Robert has made a ton of noise early on this season with his bat. In 2018, Robert did not hit a single home run in 208 plate appearances, but this year, he has slugged eight dingers in just 84 A+ plate appearances, and his batting average was .453. This incredible performance earned him a quick promotion to the Birmingham Barons (White Sox double-A affiliate). In 27 games (between A+ and AA), Robert has stole eleven bases and driven in 27 runs (1 RBI/game). The biggest concern for Robert at this point is his plate discipline (4.8% BB; 23.8% K at A+).

It’s worth noting that Luis Robert may have altered his swing/approach at the plate. His FB rate is a staggering ~57% (up 25% from last year according to FanGraphs), which has most definitely contributed to his increased power output.

2. Monte Harrison, Miami Marlins

Deemed by many as an above defender in center, whether or not Monte Harrison’s offensive game could hold up in the majors has been the real question facing scouts. After 27 games at AAA (122 PAs), it appears Harrison has made some strides towards becoming a more mature hitter. While strikeouts remain an issue (31.1% K, down 5.8% from last year [at AA]), Harrison is now drawing walks at a higher rate (10.7% BB, up 3.2% from last year). He’s hitting fewer fly balls (21.4% FB, down 12.5% from last year) and more line drives (31.4% LD, up 14.8% from last year). Expect for him to receive a September call up, assuming he keeps it up.

Infielders

3. Aramis Ademan, CHICAGO CUBS

Shortstop Aramis Ademan is putting up great numbers as a twenty year old in high A ball. Last year, he undoubtedly struggled there (.207 AVG, .291 OBP, and 3 HRs in 452 PAs), but he was much much younger (only 19) than the rest of his competition (~22.4 average age). This year, his batting average stands at .241, and Ademan is walking at an extremely high frequency (18.0%, up 9.6% from last year — 4th highest rate among A+ hitters with at least 80 PAs). He has already hit two home runs, and Ademan is generating fewer grounds ball (39.3%, down 10.4% from last year) in favor of fly balls (44.6%, up 10.1%).

4. Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies

Alec Bohm, selected 3rd overall in the 2018 draft out of Wichita State, is off to a great start to the 2019 campaign. In fact, he was recently promoted to high A. In 93 single A plate appearances, he hit to the tune of a .367 AVG, also slugging three home runs and nine doubles. His walk rate at A was 12.9%, and he only struck out only 15.1% of the time there.

Photo: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

5. Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies

Highly touted middle infield (2B/SS) prospect Brendan Rodgers, another former 3rd overall pick (2015), is absolutely tearing the cover off the baseball for the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA-affiliate). Last year, Rodgers struggled mightily in AAA (albeit he only played 19 games there), hitting for a .232 AVG and walking merely 1.4% of the time. In 2019, however, Rodgers has demonstrated his readiness for the major leagues. His batting average is a robust .339, and his plate discipline has improved dramatically (10.2% BB; 14.6% K [vs 2018 K% at AAA: 22.2]).

Photo: Zimbio

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