Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.
All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.
All write-ups were published during all-star week.
Prospect #30: 1B Brady Whalen
Drafted in the 12th round of the 2016 draft
At the beginning of the season, Peoria was the most fun affiliate to watch. Sure, their pitching really struggled, but that offense was alive! Anchored around stud prospect Nolan Gorman, one of the many hitters that excelled early was Brady Whalen. In the past, Whalen showed signs of being the hitter that we saw early in the 2019 season, but he had yet to fully put it together.
Over his first 36 games of the season (half of his total games on the night that I'm writing this), Whalen hit 300/358/508 with 12 doubles and five home runs in 148 plate appearances. His K% was 24.3% and his BB% was 6.8%. Both of those rates left something to be desired, but everything else was looking good, especially that wRC+ of 146. Whalen was becoming the hitter that we knew he could be, all while playing a very good and athletic first base. He was also developing great chemistry with Nolan Gorman.
However, it's been rough for both Whalen and the Peoria offense since. On May 16th, Whalen hit his 5th home run of the season. Since then, a span of 39 games and 158 plate appearances entering play on July 5th, Whalen hasn't hit one home run. He's slashing 230/310/317 with a wRC+ of 84 over that time period.
Now, here's where it gets fun. Over that time period, Whalen has also dropped his K% to right around 20%, while raising his BB% to just below 11%. The rates are doing what you'd hope, but nothing else is. It's a bit irregular to see that, and the hope is that it's just a blip of struggle while adjusting and working towards success. Of course, only time will tell.
The other concern with the switch-hitting Whalen is that he's really struggled over a small sample of 46 plate appearances while hitting left-handed. He hasn't hit a home run left-handed, and he's only produced five doubles while striking out 14 times and hitting 214/283/286 from the left side.
It's interesting that this seems to be the trend for Peoria as a team, and it's something that I hope to dig into. Mid-May was about when Nolan Gorman's bat started to go quiet, as well. So there might be more to it than just the surface struggles of prospects. What I know for sure is, I really like it when Brady Whalen is hitting, and he's an intriguing bat from both sides of the plate when he's slugging. Even with the struggles over his last 40 or so games, Whalen has been one of the bright spots at the plate for the lower levels of the full-season affiliates.
Thanks to Fangraph for the stats!
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