Player to watch: Chris Hess

Who?

I’m sure you’ve heard of a slew of prospects you’d like to see and/or discuss.  I want to discuss Chris Hess, because he’s an interesting case.  And in complete transparency, this is my blog, so we discuss who and what I’d like to discuss.

Hess played four seasons of college ball at Rhode Island then was a 17th round draft pick of the Yankees in 2017.  He played at three different levels in 2017, with decent but unspectacular production.

Here’s the interesting part:

Since joining the Charleston River Dogs full time this season, he’s not only the best player on his team but he’s one of, if not the, best player in the South Atlantic League.

Among 80 SAL players with 100 plate appearances, he’s 1st in the SAL in wRC+ with a ridiculous 171*, 3rd in OBP (.429) and 5th in SLG (.524).

So, glass half empty people:  A 23 year old in A ball who was a 17th round pick and a 126 PA sample size?  Pass.

But, glass half full: After a season of acclimation to wooden bats, adjustments on and off the field and good coaching, this kid has turned a corner.  He’s the best player at his level, and a .429/.524 in A ball is no joke.  So he chose college and is a little behind – a 23 year old who shows plate discipline and power can’t be dismissed.

And the Yankees have had good luck recently with late bloomers.  See: Judge, Aaron.  See also; Hicks, Aaron.  See also; Gregorius, Didi.

Keep an eye out for this kid’s name on the rankings of Yankee prospects.  I’ll keep an eye on him tonight when I see him play against the Lakewood Blueclaws.  If you’re at the game, let me know, I’ll let you buy me a beer.

 

*Weighted runs created plus.  Probably the best measurement of a player’s contribution with his bat.  It’s scaled that league average is 100, so 171 is 71% better than an average league player.  For some perspective, Aaron Judge’s wRC+ is 172.

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