Prospects Progress: John Andreoli

john andreoliIt took him 189 games and very nearly 800 plate appearances in High A before it happened, but in June of 2013 outfielder John Andreoli finally got his promotion Double A. He kept right on producing.

Now that we have a good idea what Andreoli can do in Double A we can start to refine the projections on him and pin down just what kind of a prospect he is. We already knew that Andreoli was a quality guy to have in the organization, but now he looks very much like someone I think will have a major league future, possibly even a bright one.  How bright?

We’ll dig into that after we cover the basics. The goal here is not to re-rank the prospects (that comes next year) or to assess the strengths and weaknesses of farm as a whole (that also comes next year). The goal for this series is to take each prospect individually, study the progress made so far, and see what we can learn about the future for that player.

If you are looking for candidates to make a surprise appearances in the majors this year, Andreoli might be your dark horse.

John Andreoli, OF
Born: June 9, 1990
Acquired: Another member of that impressive 2011 draft class, the Cubs picked Andreoli in the 17th round out of the University of Connecticut.

Season Summary

I honestly think the only thing holding Andreoli in Daytona so long was the presence of Jae-Hoon Ha and Matt Szczur, both similar players, in Tennessee. About the time the Cubs moved Ha to Iowa they finally gave Andreli the ticket to Tennessee. In that lengthy stay with Daytona, spread across two seasons, Andreoli put up a combined slash line of .300/.399/.388 with 78 steals and one home run. If we were going to wish for anything, looking at those numbers, it would probably be a little more power.

Wish granted. Sort of.

He posted a SLG of .405 for Daytona in just 2013 (up from a .376 in 2012), but I think the more notable positive news is that in 59 games and 226 plate appearances at Double A the Andreoli hit .289/.358/.398 with 17 steals and two homers. His doubles total for Double A (12) exceeded his total for 2013 High A (11) despite having played eight more games for Daytona. That suggests some ballpark and league effect depressing his High A power numbers. He still isn’t a slugger, but I don’t think we need to worry about Andreoli having difficulty getting the ball out of the infield.

What Andreoli does do, if you had not picked up on it already, is get on base and make things happen with his legs. His Tennessee OBP of .358 was good for 26th in that league, and many of the 25 who surpassed him were a fair bit older than he was. For his minor league career he has 98 steals in 123 chances and 16 triples in 258 games. It is pretty evident that once he reaches base, he has a the ability to make things happen.

Add it all up and we find a Double A wOBA of .350 and a wRC+ of 122, and a Tennessee line that was pretty even against both right and left handers. Those aren’t future All-Star numbers, but they are the numbers of a guy who probably has a major league future.

As far as the glove goes, I’m not worried. He can handle any of the outfield slots.

Projection

So long as you keep your expectations modest, there is a lot to like with Andreoli. While I do think he has a major league future, if only as a fourth outfielder, I don’t see stardom here. He’s not in the same prospect category as a guy like Albert Almora, but I suspect he will produce enough to hold down a starting job for quite a few teams and would be a valuable bench addition for just about anybody.

His game is and always will be all about getting on base and using his speed. In that sense he is sort of like Tony Campana, only better in all aspects of the game except raw speed. And unfortunately, I suspect those Campana comparisons are going to be clouding the perception of Andreoli until he demonstrates that he can have major league success.

If he can keep up the walk rate and maintain the fairly even splits, I like his chances to be a quality fourth or fifth outfielder for the Cubs a year or two from now.

Prognosis

He could open the year in Iowa, depending on how many outfielders are signed and moved before the start of the season.  Whether in Iowa or in Tennessee, though, he should get plenty of starts all over the outfield.  He will also very likely be the leadoff hitter for his team for much of the season.

The two main numbers to watch with Andreoli are his steals (I’d like to see him be a little more aggressive), and his walk rate.  The more walks and steals, the better his odds of claiming a major league job.

And he could reach the majors this season.  It isn’t too likely, but if some holes open up at fourth or fifth outfielder later in the summer, the Cubs might prefer to bring up a guy like Andreoli who projects best as a bench player rather than bring up a potential outfield starter to sit on the bench.  It isn’t a likely outcome, granted, but I can see a couple scenarios in which Andreoli makes it to Chicago by year’s end.

For any of those to happen, though, he needs to keep producing.  If he does that, look for him in Chicago no later than late 2015.

(Picture via John Andreoli’s Twitter.)

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation. He can be found on Twitter as ltblaize.

41 responses to “Prospects Progress: John Andreoli”

  1. Senor Cub

    He sounds very promising…..me likes!

  2. Blackhawks1963

    I like Andreoli. He’s far from a top line prospect, but the thing is he can flat out hit. His ceiling isn’t great, but it is guys like Andreoli who often end up in the majors and carve out productive careers. The “professional hitter” label applies to Andreoli.

  3. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Sounds like the 2nd coming of Scott Posednik. Lead off type, disruptive, High energy. Why wait?

  4. C. Steadman

    any Reed Johnson comparisons? maybe not as good of hitter but higher BB rate and more speed?

    1. FarmerTanColin

      That alone seems like enough to find a different comparison. Unless you group all those “gritty” 4th OFers together.

  5. Matt

    This reads like a scouting report of James Adduci in 2009. Similar to Adduci, next year is huge for him, if he has a bad year and gets demoted he may never get a legitimate MLB shot based on his age. If he hits .300/.380/.400 he probably forces his way into a real look. Somewhere in the middle he likely repeats AAA and maybe has a chance as a 4th/5th OF. He would be more interesting to me if he were left handed.

  6. johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Runs scored is just as important as RBI can’t have 1 without the other. HR’s are overrated i.e. Dunn. Time for Ozzie ball on the north side. If you can’t beat’em RUN.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      It is hard to overrate homers: the single biggest correlation with winning is net home runs, after all.

      Unfortunately, there is no correlation between speed and winning. Still, if you have a lineup where you can put a guy like Andreoli in the #8 spot and a clever manager, then you might be able to nurse a few extra runs. Andreoli has a good batting eye (he should be more damaging to the “walks are because pitcher fear” than MIke Trumbo is!) and he’s fast. If a guy like that posts a 0.350+ OBP in the #8 slot, then you can have him steal in front of the pitcher fairly frequently. Steals are much more valuable in front of bad hitters than in front of good ones: the pitcher can either bunt Andreoli to 3rd OR in the 1:14 or so chance they get a hit, drive him home. Over a year, that could be 10-15 more runs than the usual #8 hitter creates.

      1. C. Steadman

        i think the single biggest correlation to winning is OPS

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          If you use compound statistics, then yes. In fact, you can improve just a smidgen with wOBA: but that is almost circular, because they redo wOBA yearly to adjust the correlation between individual event statistics and runs-scored. And, of course, run-differential then tops either for predicting wins-loses.

          (I tacitly was referring to specific event statistics: my bad!)

          1. C. Steadman

            ah gotcha!

          2. kscubfan

            Ok, all I got from that was use OPS…and thanks.

            1. kscubfan

              OK I just got done googling what you wrote…and i am still didn’t get it. Still using OPS. It is just me or is this going to be a long off season : )

            2. hansman

              http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/woba/

              But wOBA and OPS correlate VERY well so you will be just fine using OPS for rough valuations of a player.

              1. kscubfan

                Now I get it…thanks. most baseball sites don’t list wOBA so maybe that’s why I just use OPS.

      2. cubsfan08

        That made me randomly think about how well our pitchers hit. Wood can obviously rake. Samardzija takes home run hacks. So I was looking up some of the hitting stats of our other pitchers…Edwin Jackson has really regressed as a hitter!

        2011: .267 avg
        2012: .228
        2013: .077

        WTF!

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Small sample size no doubt is most of it.

        2. dumbledoresacubsfan

          By the way, slightly off topic–it always really pisses me off when Samardzija’s speed in any kind of baseball video game is, like, 55. He was an All-American wide-out for Pete’s sake.

          This is all to say that we have some pretty versatile/athletic pitchers.

      3. Eternal Pessimist

        I would have though a high OBA guy who can get into scoring position (and out of double play position) would be ideal for leadoff.

  7. Cedlandrum

    Here is the biggest problem that Andreoli has. He is similiar to Ha and Sczcur as you said, but with less pop and he isn’t as good defensively as either of those guys. Now on the flip side he is a better baserunner and better at getting on base. Either way though he is probably 3rd in that pecking order of prospect status.

    1. FarmerTanColin

      You’re right in a way he is third at this momement. But if the first two fail then he’s in or if 2 of them prove to be solid players then we can move one of them for something. Have redundancy is such a good thing. For Andreoli I see your point but it also gives him an idea on where he needs to be so he can improve and try to jump those guys.

  8. FarmerTanColin

    By the numbers he lines up to a similar projection as Gregor Blanco of the Giants. League average offense, 10+% walk rate. Speed and defense *could* make him a 2-3 war player. Craig Gentry has put up a couple 3-4 win seasons based on that criteria as well. His value could defintiely be maximixed as a super 4th OFer.

  9. Blackhawks1963

    Andreoli can rake. That is his calling card more than anything. He’s got a beautiful swing and he just flat out hits. These professional hitter types like Andreoli (even though its singles) often carve out good major league careers. He is not remotely in the same comp league of Tony “One Tool” Campana.

  10. Sacko

    He could come up as a bench spot rather then a starter that comes off the bench.
    Is that what they did with Watkins?

    1. cub2014

      When you are headed for or in the playoffs a speed
      guy who can play defense all over the OF is what
      you will need. Hopefully when are OF is set in the
      next 2 years he will fit nicely in the #4 bench spot.

      1. cub2014

        I think Andreoli & Bruno or Saunders would
        make a good versatile core of the bench.
        Obviously if they continue to progress.

  11. Edwin

    Is it worth paying attention to Triples in the minor leagues, at least as a sign of speed? Also, what kind of arm does he have as an OF?

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Triples are incredibly fickle, even for speedsters. They often represent ball-park effects and miscues by OFers that are not classified as errors.

      I find lumping 2B+3B is a more stable and predictive statistic. We just get to remember that with his speed, Andreoli will always be a threat to stretch a double into a triple. That often isn’t any better than a double, but it’s *never* worse.

      1. Eternal Pessimist

        …although speedsters often “force” the errors, so I wouldn’t discount the triples as long as they can have them consistently.

  12. Edwin

    Hmmm. His ISO was just .109.

  13. abe

    Do you think he will get a chance after the trade deadline? The cubs are going to trade some part of there outfield platoon and there should be a spot open

  14. abe

    Luke how would you rank Sczcur, Ha, and Andreoli? Who has the most potential?

  15. AA Correspondent

    IN AA last season I was very impressed with Andreoli. He had the type of at bats that reminded me a lot fo what Logan Watkins provided when he was in TN: Professional level at bats where he worked the count and simply made things happen. He never gave away at bats, and he worked as hard as anyone.

    Unless there are some planned departures from AAA, I see Andreoli opening up back in Tennessee. (Ha, Sczcur, Jackson??) I actually could see the Cubs pulling the plug on Jackson……I like the idea of a TN outfield of SIlva, Soler and Andreoli.

    1. dumbledoresacubsfan

      I like that outfield in AA as well, but I want Soler to hit out of it real quick.

      When’s the MLB ETA on Silva? He seems like a solid player..

  16. AA Correspondent

    I actually am also looking forwward to seeing what Anthony Giansanti can do in his 2nd look with Tennessee in 2014. I don’t think he ever got a real shot at playing time in TN in 2013….but it was clear that he became a clubhouse leader in Daytona as they pushed to the FSL title.

  17. Greenroom

    Thanks, Luke! Been waiting for an Andreoli write-up. good stuff~

  18. fromthemitten

    He hits right handed… I could see him being called up to platoon with Sweeney/Schierholtz if the Cubs decided to flip Ruggiano at the deadline

  19. dAn

    None of Ha, Szczur or Andreoli look like likely MLB starters, but between the three of them, one may be. However, the one who does make it will probably take a bit of a circuitous route to being an MLB starter. It’s not going to happen anytime soon, IMO.

    Andreoli has a lot in common with guys like Doug Dascenzo and Sam Fuld. He’ll probably have a similar career, although it’s too early to rule out the possibility that he could be more than that. Dascenzo, in fact, put up better MiLB numbers than Andreoli in most categories, and was a truly dominant college player.

    1. AD

      Szczur is the most likely to emerge from that group. He has all of the tools, just needs to put it all together. Looking forward to seeing him in Iowa.

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