A Look at Logan Warmoth

Toronto Star photo

Over the next few weeks, I’ll address some of the prospects I’ve been asked about. Disclaimer: I’m not a scout, but I do talk to enough people throughout the minors to get more of an “insider’s” perspective on players.

So, let’s start with the Blue Jays 1st round pick in 2017: North Carolina SS Logan Warmoth. He’s shown some early season pop that has had people asking.

Drafted 22nd overall, six slots ahead of Nate Pearson, Warmoth was viewed as the safe pick. The Blue Jays had been following Warmoth since he was a Florida high schooler, and were thrilled to get him, according to then Amateur Scouting Director Steve Sanders:

He’s a player we’ve scouted for a long time….he wasn’t a propsect out of High School, but he steadily improved at North Carolina, and that really showed this year. He’s very steady and a well-rounded player, with a chance to stay at SS and hit for power. His make up is off the charts, and he has the intangibles to be a top of the lineup hitter.

Warmoth’s draft report from BaseballAmerica in 2017 predicted a likely big leaguer, if not a star:

A starter since early in his freshman season at North Carolina, Warmoth started to emerge offensively as a sophomore, hit well in the Cape Cod League (.270 with four home runs) and was having an All-America-caliber season as a junior. Warmoth’s older brother pitched for Stetson and Florida State and has reached Triple-A with the Angels, and the younger Warmoth has an accurate, plus arm that rates as his best tool. His arm strength, good hands and solid range give scouts confidence Warmoth can stay in the middle of the diamond, and many believe he’ll stay at shortstop. Other see him as an offensive second baseman, and his offensive performance was pushing Warmoth into first-round consideration. His power is mostly to his pull side, but Warmoth has the ability to use the whole field and has a solid offensive approach, looking for pitches he can drive and showing the ability to make adjustments. Scouts see him as a high-floor, safe bet big leaguer who could exceed his offensive projections.

Sent to Vancouver to start his pro career, Warmoth had a solid debut, posting a .306/.356/.419 line, and doing a lot of little things that don’t necessarily show up in box scores – taking the extra base, and being a leader on the infield. Named the Northwest League’s 6th top prospect by BA seemed to indicate Warmoth’s career was trending in the right direction.

The following season, Warmoth was skipped over Low A to begin 2018 with High A Dunedin, but he never really got on track. Injuries didn’t help – he missed a month and a half – and scouts began to wonder about what happened to the former 1st rounder. There were even suggestions that his work ethic and attitude were not the best. Sent back to Dunedin to start 2019, Warmoth rebounded, and after posting a .803 OPS in 36 games in Florida, he was on his way to AA.

But Warmoth proved to be overwhelmed by the better pitching at that level, and he stumbled to a .200/.290/.277 slash line, and the organization began the process of converting him to a utility role. A decent Arizona Fall League showing help restore some of his prospect lustre, but Warmoth’s prospect stock had truly fallen:

Pro scouts who saw Warmoth for the first time in 2018 were puzzled at how Warmoth was a first-round pick. Scouts highest on Warmoth in his draft year saw a player who was solid across the board with a high baseball IQ and no weaknesses. But in 2018, he gave scouts more of a vanilla look. Warmoth has some stiffness to his swing, though he does consistently put the ball in play. He doesn’t drive the ball with much impact, and his power is below-average. He’s an average runner with an above-average arm and steady hands at shortstop, though a lot of scouts think he’s better suited for second base. Baseball America

The Blue Jays still think highly of Warmoth, and he was sent to Buffalo (or more accurately, Trenton) to start the year. He doesn’t profile as a big league regular at this point, but he’s showed some promising power, homering three times in 56 PAs so far in the young minor league season.

But that power has come at the expense of contact, as his K rate has jumped from the mid-20s to over 37% – a development that doesn’t predict future big league success. Warmoth has started using the field more, however, and has turned his swing into more of a line drive type:

Fangraphs.com

The increase in K rate does appear to come from Warmoth’s willingness to go all in with his swing, even with two strikes. His SwStr rate is only 15%, a rate that you would think would be higher with that K rate, but it’s fairly obvious that Warmoth feels his path to the bigs is via the long ball. He can still put the ball in play, but has been reluctant to cut that swing down when he’s in pitcher’s counts.

Is he a prospect at this point? Barely. He’s not a Top 40 guy on Fangraphs’ list, and his future lies in his versatility, and maybe some injuries at the big league level will be about the only was we’ll see him in a Toronto uniform at least in the short term.

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