Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Over the next month, we'll take a look at the best prospect performances of 2012. Keep in mind that this is not a traditional top prospect list because it focuses entirely on 2012 contributions. I rank guys according to advanced metrics which, for position players, include batting runs above average, positional adjustment, defense, and a replacement level calculation that scales the total to "Wins Above Replacement" (though the concept of replacement level doesn't really apply to minor leaguers). I use a standard "runs allowed based" WAR formula for pitchers. I also incorporate the "bullpen chaining" adjustment derived by the Halosphere's own rallymonkey5.
19) Michael Snyder, 22, 3B/1B - 2.3 WAR, +14 bat, -2 glove. .332/.393/.531 with 8 HR and 3 SB
Baseball America said Snyder had the best power tool of any of the Angels' 2012 draftees, which includes fellow college mashers Jonathan Walsh, Wade Hinkle, and Zach Wright. I buy it; I saw him lift a couple of pitches to right-center with backspin, one for a double off the wall, and the other for a deep flyout on less than perfect contact. I don't know if he sticks at third, because his defensive rep isn't exactly stellar, and his .883 fielding percentage fails to inspire much confidence. Maybe his pro career arc will be the inverse of his big brother's, the Pirates' Travis Snyder, where he outperforms moderate expectations, instead of the other way around.
18) Wade Hinkle, 22, 1B - 2.4 WAR, +26 bat, -6 glove. .338/.443/.586 with 15 HR and 1 SB
As the latest college masher to torch the Pioneer League, Hinkle has attracted attention for his power/patience thing from the left side. That's cool. Sadly, gaudy offensive stats in the Pioneer League have zero correlation with performance at the next level, so we really won't know anything about Hinkle from a statistical standpoint until he takes his shot at A-Ball pitching. To put things in perspective, here are our top performances from college mashers in Orem over the past few years: Roberto Lopez (.400/.480/.667), Carlos Ramirez (.376/.500/.638), Frazier Hall (.355/.391/.575), Brandon Decker (.341/.429/.653), and Dillon Baird (.372/.452/.567). All of them posted A-Ball numbers in the next year that were far more indicative of their value to the organization. And, unlike a lot of those guys, Hinkle doesn't bring a lot of value with the glove, so the pressure on his bat his huge.
Man, I am in a glass-half-empty mood this morning. As Principal Skinner once said, "Prove me wrong children, prove me wrong."