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How Rookie Hitters Are Performing So Far This MLB Season — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

How Rookie Hitters Are Performing So Far This MLB Season — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

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Andy Pages (Photo by Wilfred Perez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Two weeks ago, we examined the performance of rookie starting pitchers so far this season. Today, we’ll dive into rookie hitters.

It’s been an interesting year, as many top prospects haven’t met lofty expectations early on. Jackson Chourio and Wyatt Langford have been 30% worse than the league average, while Jackson Holliday was quickly sent back to Triple-A after his initial cup of coffee.

As a group, rookie hitters have their lowest wOBA since 2015. However, that’s partly due to the league-wide run environment, as we’re now firmly outside the Juiced Ball Era. By wRC+, this year’s group has been in the middle of the pack over the past decade. It feels as if they’ve been worse, though, due to some high-profile strugglers.

Below, we’ll start with a top-down view of the 2024 hitter class (min. 70 PAs). From there, we’ll dive deeper into a few of the most interesting names.

Andy Pages, OF, Dodgers

Pages was almost traded to the Angels in 2020. He remained with the Dodgers after that deal fell through, and he erupted for 31 homers at High-A the following season, the most among all minor leaguers age 20 or younger.

It seems like the Dodgers always have productive rookies waiting in the wings, and Pages has fit right in. Through 97 plate appearances entering Monday, he’s hitting .287/.330/.483 with four homers and a 130 wRC+. Alongside Teoscar Hernández, he’s been the team’s most valuable outfielder.

The 23-year-old’s power has been firmly on display, but it’s worth noting his approach is quite aggressive. Pages didn’t draw his first walk until his 18th game in the majors, and his 56.1% swing rate is tied for 15th-highest among all batters with at least 90 PAs.

The good news is Pages consistently lifts the ball and makes good contact in the strike zone, as shown in the table below. That formula should lead to 30+ homers eventually, along with plenty of counting stats in a loaded lineup.

Jackson Chourio, OF, Brewers

Chourio broke out as an 18-year-old in 2022, dominating Low-A before posting impressive historical numbers at High-A (given his age). The hype was enormous entering last season, where Chourio began at Double-A and had to deal with the Southern League’s pre-tacked ball.

Unsurprisingly, his numbers improved once he no longer had to deal with it:

Chourio was fast-tracked to the…

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