GMU (a/k/a Sue Dinem - not his / her real name) spotted the Adrian Gonzalez comp on the NatsProspects blog last year. The old link to GMU's blog on the WNFF Marrero thread got me a 404, but here is GMU's nice prospect list. http://nationalsprospects.com/watch-list-and-player-reports/
I'm not sue dinem, I just wrote an article on his site. I can't find the article on the internet, but here is the unedited version that is saved on my computer:
1B Chris Marrero is one of the Washington Nationals top prospects. The 21 year old product from Miami was drafted 15th by the Nationals in the 2006 MLB Draft. Marrero was ranked 6th in the Nationals farm system this past off-season according to Baseball America. To see if Marrero will become a star in the big leagues, we need to first compare him to the 1B in the big leagues to see if he compares favorably to those 1B numbers in the minors.
Here are the average Minor League numbers for the 25 qualified MLB players who played 1B this season when they were in their age 20 seasons.
Age HR HR/PA% BA OBP SLG OPS ISO
Avg 1B 22.3 16.3 3.4 .296 .382 .490 .872 .195
Marrero - 17 3.1 .282 .358 .452 .810 .168
*Age is the average age of the debut season for these 1B.
-Note: 8 of the 25 qualified 1B were not in professional baseball at the age of 20.
Marrero’s age is a plus. Marrero will turn 22 in July. He should be able to reach the big leagues by opening day 2011 (Age 22) or as a September call up (Age 23). 52% of the players in this sample reached the big leagues at age 22 or younger. 88% reached by age 23 or younger. Only 3 of the 25 qualified 1B reached after 23 (Ryan Howard, 24; Adam LaRoche, 24; Kevin Youkilis, 25). It’s not a bad sign to reach after 23 as these 3 players combined for 4 All-Star appearances, and 6 top 6 MVP finishes. Only 1 player in this sample reached the big leagues at age 20 (Miguel Cabrera).
11 out of the 17 1B who played pro ball at age 20 played at AA or higher. 2 of them made it to AAA that season (Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko).
Here is the percentile rank of where Marrero compares to the 25 1B’s minor’s numbers
HR HR/PA% BA OBP SLG OPS ISO
70 61 50 31 24 24 20
Marrero only finishes in the top half in 3 out of 7 categories and finishes in the bottom 3rd in 4 of the categories.
Marrero compares somewhat favorably to the others in both HR’s and HR/PA%. But, Marrero lags behind in all of the triple slash. What’s concerning is the fact that Marrero’s SLG% is 38 points behind the average. Baseball America was quoted with this on Marrero’s power: “Marrero's best tool is his plus-plus raw power to all fields, though he's still learning to tap into it.” So far, Marrero hasn’t shown that power yet. Another concern is that his isolated power has declined in each of the past 3 seasons (.209 in 2007, .203 in 2008, and .168 in 2009).
It’s hard to find a comparison to Marrero in this. Only 2 players had an OPS within 30 points of Marrero’s .810 (Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez), but Marrero compares the best with Adrian Gonzalez.
Player Level HR HR/PA% BA OBP SLG OPS ISO
Marrero A-AA 17 3.0 .266 .344 .437 .781 .171
Gonzalez AA 17 3.1 .282 .358 .452 .810 .168
Both players have almost identical amount of HR’s and HR/PA%. Both of them have similar ISO. Marrero edges Gonzalez in triple slash stats mostly due to better luck with balls in play and playing in A ball for half the season. Marrero had a 20.8 K%, 9.0 BB% Gonzalez had a 19.5 K%, 9.4 BB%.
After a disappointing Age 21 season (.692 OPS between 2 levels), Gonzalez had a solid Age 22 season (.821 OPS in AAA). Gonzalez went on to have a brief stint in the big leagues that season (16 games). At age 23, Gonzalez had a breakout season (.960 OPS in AAA) which lead to him being called up midseason to the Rangers big league club. In 2006, Gonzalez at the age of 24, became a full time big league player. That season, he started a streak of 4 straight seasons with a Slugging % of .500 or better culminating in a 2009 season where he finished in the top 5 in OPS. Gonzalez started showing his power at the age of 24. It will be interesting to see if Marrero can tap into his “Plus-Plus raw power to all fields” that Baseball America believes he has similar to the way that Gonzalez did. If Marrero becomes an Everyday 1B, it will mostly likely happen at age 23 or 24 like it did for Gonzalez.
It’s likely that Marrero ends up as a journeyman 1B for most of his career. Marrero’s stats do not have any special indicators that point to him being an average 1B for the future. Marrero’s best hope is to follow the Adrian Gonzalez path of breaking out at around age 23. Gonzalez, like Marrero, looked like a disappointment, but Gonzalez got traded from the Marlins to the Rangers. The Rangers were not patient enough with Gonzalez and he got traded to the Padres. The Padres were rewarded by watching Gonzalez become a franchise player. Hopefully, the Nationals won’t have to trade Marrero to see him breakout.