Sunday, February 22, 2015

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: #7

Prospects Month is in full swing and we're already up to our 7th best prospect in the farm system, Jacob Lindgren. Lindgren looks to be knocking on the door to the Bronx after being drafted with the Yankees first pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft. Lindgren has already been nicknamed the strikeout factory and I personally cannot wait to see him in the Bronx in 2015 and beyond. 

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Lindgren:

Current Level/Age: AA/21.9, 5’11/180, L/L
Drafted: 55th overall (2nd round) in 2014 out of Mississippi State by NYY for $1.018 million bonus
Fastball: 55/60, Slider: 60/65, Changeup: 45/50, Command: 45/50

Scouting Report: To give you an idea of how much Lindgren improved in his junior season at Mississippi State, I saw him pitch as a sophomore and he was so generic that I didn’t even pull out my camera to get a couple pitches to refer back to later.  He was a starter and mostly worked 87-90 mph with average stuff and some moxie. He was a 6th-10th round type prospect, maybe lower, but he noticed in side sessions, summer ball and scrimmages that he was more comfortable and threw significantly harder in short stints, sitting in the low-90’s on the Cape in short bursts. Lindgren went to his coaches and said he wanted to be relief only in his junior year and hit 96 mph in the fall before his draft spring, letting scouts know they had a new prospect to follow.

Lindgren’s numbers were completely stupid in relief for the Bulldogs: 55.1 innings, 23 hits, 25 walks, 100 strikeouts. He was sitting 91-94 and hitting 95 mph with a 65 slider, usable but rarely used changeup and average command. After signing, the Yankees sent him from Rookie ball to Low-A to High-A to Double-A, and Lindgren’s combined line continued being stupid: 25 innings, 12 hits, 13 walks, 48 strikeouts. In the span of a year, he went from generic pitchability lefty in the SEC to completely untouchable in Double-A and arguably the best relief prospect in the game. He also was part of the Mississippi State bullpen’s rap group The Bench Mobb (Lindgren’s rap name is Chunky) with predictable results at 1:55 of the track.

About the Ranking: I had Lindgren near the end of the top 10 this entire process, then a couple scouts told me to move Lindgren up and started asking me would I trade Lindgren for (some player I had below him). I had already thought about the value of starters/hitters versus relievers, but the didn’t realize that Lindgren isn’t just a reliever, but a slam-dunk big league contributor in 2015 that could be closer-level by the end of the year.  Mateo is ranked just below Lindgren and his most notable experience is a few weeks in instructs that we don’t even have stats from. Mateo will go to Low-A next year, with the hope that he’ll be big league ready in 3-4 years. Mateo’s upside is higher, but there’s waiting time, risk and very little other than raw tools to judge by. Lindgren may have racked up 5+ wins and be in his arbitration years before Mateo even makes it on the 40-man roster.

Summation: I feel like a Lindgren for Mateo trade this offseason, while obviously impossible, would reflect the higher-than-expected value we’re seeing the industry put on prospects that might be a 50 next year with six years of control.  It’s implicit in these lists that when players have the same grade or are within a few spots of each other, you can feel free to flip the order a bit, but I think this is where Lindgren belongs.

This means that 25 pro innings shot Lindgren from the 55th best prospect in his draft class to 15th or 20th. Prospect writers are hesitant to jump a player that much that quickly after a pretty comprehensive draft ranking process months earlier; this is a bias I talked about around the 16 minute mark in this week’s podcast that I’m trying to get past. Maybe his value craters next year and future draft studies just see him as a bust that looked good for a minute, but there’s significant trade value here and that’s the definition of a good pick: creating value.

FV/Role/Risk: 50, Late Setup/Closer, Low (2 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA/MLB, 2016: MLB

7. Jacob Lindgren
8. Ian Clarkin
9. John Ryan Murphy
10. Luis Torrens
11. Tyler Austin
12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Miguel Andujar
14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr.
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato

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