Malcom Nunez

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    AvatarBob Reed


    Malcom Nunez hit more homers in 164 at-bats than 10 different DSL teams did.
    He hit more homers than the combined totals of the two DSL Royals teams in 4,399 AB’s.

    “Bottom line is there is a lot to be excited about.”

    Not according to Fangraphs. They don’t think there’s anything at all to be excited about. They rank Nunez 28th in what they consider a below average St. Louis farm system. Their writeup includes nothing about Nunez winning his league Triple Crown, much less the fact that he did so while missing nearly 40% of the season.

    Also nothing about how Nunez dominated the Cuban youth leagues, and also dominated competitions on behalf of Cuba against his international age peers. (You know, the kind of stuff that made Bryce Harper a Sports Illustrated cover boy in High School.) A guy who hits .415 and has a “cannon arm” or “huge arm” depending on who you read, gets a 55 grade from Fangraphs on his hit tool, and a 55 for throwing. Really odd. But here, you can read them in their own words:

    “Already to be taken with a healthy grain of salt, DSL numbers are often faulty when the prospect in question is more physically mature than his peers, and the hefty Nuñez is a classic case. He will likely need to move to first base, perhaps even while he’s still in the minors, putting a ton of pressure on his admittedly prodigious bat to fully actualize. There’s not much physical projection here, so the raw power Nuñez currently has is pretty close to what he’ll have at peak, meaning the bat-to-ball component is what will drive his stock going forward.”

    A lot of half-truths and nonsense to wade through there. First, DSL numbers are often faulty when the prospects are older than their peers. Age is the key, not the physique. It is actually a good thing to be strong. Always a good thing.

    Nunez is not “hefty.” Nunez is powerful for his age, not unlike Nolan Gorman, with a strong base.

    Shifting from 3rd base to first base would not put a ton of pressure on his bat. Over the past three years the average MLB 1st baseman posted an OPS just 26 points higher than the average 3rd baseman. Now, fifteen or twenty years ago there was indeed a much bigger gap between the two. Specifically, from 1997-2002 the gap was over 80 points per year of OPS, separating the hot and cold corners. But no more.

    There is no such thing as a 17-year-old who is “pretty close” to their power peak. There never has been and never will be. This baloney reminds me of Baseball America’s dismissive writings about Jack Flaherty, when they omitted him from their Midwest League top 20 list a few years back.

    They said Flaherty was “not projectable” because he grew up in California and played a lot of travel ball. Of course that was complete malarkey, as 99.9% of teenage pitchers who are 6′ 4″ and 195 pounds have plenty of time to grow, and room to grow. And no surprise whatsoever, Jack has filled out over the past three years and added 2 or 3 ticks to his fastball.

    Anyway, back to Nunez. Based on their rankings from last year, when 321 players were graded 45’s and above, and 739 guys were graded 40 and above, the estimated Fangraphs ranking for Malcom Nunez right now would be roughly 630th, as he’s in the bottom third of the Redbird grade 40 prospects.

    Well it could be worse. At least he’s not Joerlin De Los Santos. Per Fangraphs, Nunez is merely too strong. De Los Santos is both too strong AND too fast, so he’s graded much, much lower than Nunez. I’ll bet you never knew that strength and speed were such liabilities for ballplayers, huh?


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    By and large, your posts make life justifiable, Bobby! I would not hesitate for a second to share these fangraph findings….or thoughts, with young Malcom. If he’s a true blue chipper, he’ll use it as motivation. I can’t wait to see Malcom in action this coming season…..would love to see him start the year in Peoria and finish it in Palm Beach.

    AvatarBob Reed


    Thanks so much for the generous words, Pugs.
    When I re-read my posts, I feel they are like life itself. Lengthy and tedious, but punctuated by boredom.
    I do try not to sound too strident in my indictments of other so-called prospect evaluators, but I’d rather be blunt and thorough than just scratch surfaces.

    It would really be something if Malcom Nunez got to Peoria in 2019, but as the song says, one never knows. I get to a few Peoria games every year, and I’m very much looking forward to some of the Redbird talent on the way. Gorman to start the year, and maybe Jhon Torres, perhaps Ivan Herrera, almost certainly Leandro Cedeno. Not a lot of young pitching, I’m afraid. But bats galore.

    Take it easy, Pugs.

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