I was in a discussion of Micheal Stanton's amazing talents in the Project Prospect Top 25 thread when a poster brought up something interesting. He said that a good, reasonable floor for Mr. Stanton was Joe Borchard, the former White Sox, legendary, bust OF and 1st round Pick in 2000.
I thought It was interesting that they shared some rather superficial similarities in that it looks like they were born in the same city, Panorama, California and in the same month, November (Stanon, November 8, 1989 - Borchard, November 25, 1978). I thought I'd see if they share any, more significant, similarities by doing a litlle study of thier season they have in common - in the AA Southern League.
Borchard played in the Southern League, in Birmingham in 2001, his first full pro season. He had a .892 OPS in 597 PA's, an excellent season.
Stanton, as of this writing is having a HISTORIC one, He has a 1.353 OPS for Jacksonville.
My question is this - what sort of ballplayers have a an .892 OPS in the SL at the age of 22? And, I would ask what sort of players have an OPS of 1.353 in the SL at the age of 20 - except, of course, there are no other players. So I though a reasonable compromise would be to look at players who had, say a 1.000 OPS at the age of 20 - assuming, for the sake of argument, that Stanton stayed in Jax and "slumped" to a season of .400OBP -.600SLG, reasonable, I think. (Posters Note: He left the Southern League with an OPS of 1.171)
A cool thing about the data at BBref.com: The cut off for ab's is 138 - this may be bad for SSS, but It doesnt leave out great players who are so good, that they dont get a full-season at AA - which is common, Here's what I found as far as similar players- Im starting in 1992 becasue thats the first season they have OBP data and so most will recognize the names involved, out of respect for the young'uns round here.
Joe Borchard's 2001 comps: .295/ .384/ .509 / .892 OPS in 597 Pa's
- 1993 Olmeado Seanz .999 OPS in 199 Pa's, was 22 all season. Decent career as Platoon/Ph
- 1993 Ozzie Timmons .898 OPS in 426 Pa's was 22 all season, actually a good hitter and not a great comp because he was a 1b/Of, and a bad one - Borchard is and was an oustanding OF as far I saw.
- 1995 Jaun Williams 1.010 Some guy named Jaun Williams had a 1.010 OPs 214 PAs, he was 22. Never played in the big leagues
- 1996 Frank Catalanotto! .891 Ops in 588 Pa's, turned 22 before the season. Finally a decent big leaguer!
- 1998 Kevin Haverbusch .917 184 Pa's. .Never played in the big leagues. Turned 22 mid-season.
- 1998 Gabe Kapler .976 Ops in 629 Pa's . Turned 23 in late July this year but a great UPSIDE comp for Borcharxd - lol. He knocked in 146 Runs in the Sl and has had a good career as a backup OF.
- 1998 Geoge Lombard .953 Ops in 507 Pa's. An excellent comp for Borchard- toolsy Of, lefty bat, highly touted, same age within a month, didn't amount to anything.
- 1999 Aubrey Huff .915 Ops in 561 Pa's. Jackpot! Huff became an above average ib/3b, as you know. He also K'd 77 times, as compared to Borchard's 158 - a rather large difference for them to be truly comparable, not to mention how they turned out :)
- 2000 Joe Crede .874 Ops in 610 Pa's. Another pretty good player. Crede turned into a league average 3b with the bat, and good one with the glove.
- 2000 Eric Hinske .859 Ops in 520 Pa's. Hinske turned out okay too.
Mike Stanton 2010 comps .275/ .400/ .600 1.000 OPS- estimated numbers for comparison
- 1992 Chipper Jones .961 OPs in half a season, turned 20 before the season
- 1993 Carlos Delgado .954 Ops in 581 Pa's, a tad of a stretch in that he turned 21 in late June, but very close in power and walk/k numbers
- 1993 Marc Newfield is sorta similar, he had a .904 OPS and turned 20 before the season started, like Stanton - and was a legendary bust as well, he however had 35 Ks in 336 Pa's, showing that players that bust ofeten just stop making hard contact, not just K too much. Its really a stretch though- just trying to be fair.
- 1996 Andruw Jones 1.107 Ops in 176 Pa's. Im gonna mention Andruw Jones because he was similar in performance and because hes the only player I could find, in 18 years of data, that was YOUNGER and comparable- there just arent many who can dominate the SL at age 19-20,
- 1996 Darek Lee .930 OPs in 575 Pa's
- 1997 Ben Grieve 1.065 in 466 Pa's. The man, the legend. Not exactly comparable because he was 21 for most of his season but, I'll mention because people like to mention him when saying that, busts happen. He was pretty great and had a few good, big league seasons - another example that controling the strike zone doesnt prelude you from being a disappointment. Many say he wasn't aggressive enough.
- 1998 Eric Chavez 1.014 Ops 384 Pa's. Another match, and another All-Star. Regardless of his recent injuries, he was a great player. Perhaps a better talent than Stanton because he was a GG 3b too.
- 2003 Miguel Cabrera 1.038 Ops in 303 Pa's. Not a perfect comp because Miggy struck out less, but he also hit for far less power at this age.
- Delmon Young was 19 in the SL in 2005 but, Im gonna stop here becasue there is too much debate as to how is career will go. I wanted to focus on players who's careers have been decided, for the most part.
I left off nobody who was similar,even if I didnt recognize thier name. Here is a list of players you may know who were not good enough to be similar to Stanton as 20 year olds in AA, Sean Green, Javier Lopez, Yadier Molina, JJ Hardy, Prince Fielder was 20 and had an .837 Ops in the SL in 2000. I wouldn't even mention these guys who played C- Ss-2b except for people who question whether Stanton will HIT or not, and these guys have been good Big League hitters. Point is that Stanton is much better than them.
The bigger point, of course is that when someone tells you that Joe Borchard is a reasonable comp for Mike Stanton you can say "Yeah, and Casey Kotchman is a reasonable comp for Albert Pujols " , its about as reasonable.
Players doing what Mike Stanton is doing turn into All-Stars, on average not in rare cases- Chipper, Delgado, Chavez, Miggy Cab, Darek Lee. When something goes wrong they may be Ben Grieve, or Delmon Young. When someone is doing what Joe Borchard did, they turn into nobodies, bench guys, Joe Crede, or Aubrey Huff. Not that there is anything wrong with that.