The unfortunate side effect of being your loyal Prospector in Chief, is my leaguemates read my articles. Why is this at all relevant to today’s post? Well, because my annual opening first year player draft of the season began, as it always does, on December 1st. In addition to all 2017 draftees, any and all unowned players under the minor league limits are up for grabs. As part of the preparation for this league every year, I make a list of prospects that might have slipped under the cracks. One of those prospects happens to be today’s subject Akil Baddoo. See, I had to draft Baddoo before I could ever do something as grandiose as devote an entire post to him. Lucky for you I scooped up Baddoo at 40th overall. That’s not to say I haven’t discussed Baddoo in the past, he was actually on my Sleepers for 2018 Dynasty post from earlier this off-season. But I guess nobody noticed.
Baddoo isn’t a fit for every size league, this happens to be an 18 team dynasty league where you can own up to 31 minor league players. So upwards of 500 prospects are owned, and at this point I would say he’s a fit for leagues of 200+ minors owned. Enough about my leagues, let’s talk about why you need to add Baddoo in your deeper dynasty leagues.
Let’s get something straight, the best type of prospects to take a gamble on, in my humble opinion, are toolsy athletic outfielders. For whatever reason while everyone is caught up in the hype of shortstops and pitching prospects, all these toolsy outfielders slip through the cracks, but pay dividends for those that buy in early. Think Jahmai Jones, Estevan Florial, Taylor Trammell, and that Ronald Acuna guy. These were all players that started generating buzz after strong rookie ball campaigns, or short season showings. In this grand tradition, Akil Baddoo steps forward with his 2017 statline of .323/.436/.527, 4 homers, 29 RBI, and 9 steals in 53 games. Across two levels of rookie ball Baddoo showcased advanced plate approach, walking at a 14.8% clip, while only whiffing at a 13.2% rate. So, here we have an 18 year old with athletics gifts of speed and power (.204 ISO), who walks more than he strikes out. “Sounds good Ralph, tell me more.” No problem random voice inside my head, I gladly will!
Not only does Baddoo’s plate approach, and natural talents support his future success, so does his batted ball profile. He has the sort of balance you want to see from a hitter with speed, he hits a high amount of ground balls (47%), but exceeds 30% in flyball rate, and 20% in line drive rate. He’s also not that pull happy, actually going the other way more often than to his pullside during his time in the Appy League. That’s a good sign from a batting average perspective, because he’s not relying on pullside flyballs, which will make you easy to shift on as a lefthanded batter. Now take all this with a grain of salt, because Baddoo is just 18, and has yet to earn a full season assignment, but he has the tools for it to come together as a true 5 category asset.
Now that said, there are concerns that Baddoo will only develop just average power, and that his speed will slowly disappear over time. But to that I say, first, he’s not without speed or power, second, I’ll gladly bet on the young player with great bat control and understanding of the strike zone and hope he uses his natural ability, and athleticism to tap into his power. Or you can look at the below gif and wonder how the hell he hit this out of the park, and didn’t just popup to the catcher.
In closing, if you’re looking for a hitter who spent last season in rookie ball with a real shot to hit top 100 lists by mid-season 2018, take a look at Baddoo.