2012 MLB Prospects to Watch
These are guys who you should keep an eye on as they advance to higher levels in the Minors in 2012. You may know some of the names, you may not…that’s why you’re reading this anyway. There are reasons why I name these guys: achievement based on age at current level, advanced plate discipline, doubles power (which may or may not become homerun power as a player matures), and position value.
Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa: Lee is a speedy middle infielder. He may not ever hit for power, though he has 37 XB hits this year, he will play well with what the Rays do with speed and their lineup. Hell, they found value in Sam Fuld! Lee made it to Double-A this season at the age of 20, and the South Korean can play. He could get a taste by the end of next season if he plays well in Montgomery.
Joseph Terdoslavich, 1B, Atlanta: The Braves should probably move him off of first with Freddie Freeman firmly entrenched there in Atlanta, but you have to take note of what Terdoslavich has done this season. He is a little old for his level (High-A, turns 23 on 9/9) but he was a college bat. Terdoslavich is a switch hitter who smashed 52 doubles, 2 triples, and 20 homers in the Carolina League, which has been a pitcher-friendly league for years. His plate discipline isn’t spectacular, especially for a more advanced hitter, but it’ll work if he hits like that. As he continues adjusting to wood bats, he could become an offensive force. He just has to hurry it up a bit based on his age.
Daniel Carroll, OF, Seattle: You certainly need to take the California League as a grain of salt when you rank players coming out of there. It’s like a wiffle-ball league in your backyard as a kid, the ball just goes out, you just want to see how many homers you can actually hit. Carroll isn’t a homerun hitter, though he did hit 18. He is interesting even though he struck out 157 times. He interests me because he is just 22, he had 20 doubles, but he took 88 walks and stole 62 bases. His gap power and speed combo could play amazingly well in Seattle. They won’t get Ichiro-in-his-prime type of numbers from Carroll, but he could be an asset if he gets moving through Seattle’s system.
Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego: When you look for potential power guys, this is one that could make you drool. At the age of 20, Liriano had 30 doubles, 8 triples, and 12 homers while stealing 65 bases and posting a .383 OBP. He could become useless in Petco but you have to wonder if that speed and gap power could make him an asset there, much like Carroll for Seattle. Liriano did his damage in Low-A this year, though he did get a taste of the California League. He could put up ridiculous numbers in a full season there next year and improve his prospect status. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis: Adams skipped High-A and went on to dominate Double-A in 2011, posting a .300/.357/.566 slash with 23 doubles, 32 homers and 101 RBI in the Texas League. A left-handed hitter, Adams is probably a bit too large (6’3″, 230 lbs) to move to the outfield, so he is one to monitor if the Cardinals do lose both Berkman and Pujols to Free Agency. He just turned 23 and he was a college bat, so he is what he is right now. He’s an intriguing prospect for a team that may need a long-term solution at first.
Grant Green, SS, Oakland: If you’ve been living in a cave in Afghanistan, you may not know who Green is. He isn’t the “Moneyball”-type of player that Oakland used to stash, but he is productive, ripping 33 doubles and 9 homers in the Texas League. He’ll be 24 for all of next season and he’ll be in Triple-A to start the year. It will be interesting to see how Oakland handles him with Cliff Pennington doing a solid but not spectacular job at short this season, and Jemile Weeks looks like a solid addition at second.
Scott Van Slyke, 1B, L.A. Dodgers: Why should you watch a 25-year-old, Double-A first baseman? Because James Loney made $4.8 million this year to be a waste of space and Frank McCourt may actually do something smart and not give him a raise in arbitration. If the Dodgers do that, Van Slyke could get a shot. He posted a .345/.427/.595 slash at Double-A where he was repeating after spending just 65 games there last year. His 45 doubles, 20 homers, and a 100/65 K/BB in 130 games was very impressive. I know my dad would love to root for another Van Slyke, so we’ll see if or when he gets a shot.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati: A 5’11″ right-handed Dominican pitcher…not named Johnny Cueto…Sure. He turned 21 in August and posted a 156/34 K/BB in 139 1/3 innings this season for Low-A Dayton. He could go to Bakersfield in the California League next season, which could destroy his confidence and abilities, but if he does well, we’ll know that he is a legit prospect. They could just send him to Double-A, too, though.
Trevor May, RHP, Philadelphia: May is 6’5″, 215, built to be an innings-eating machine for a team that doesn’t really need more studly pitchers. He pitched the whole season at the age of 21 in High-A, posting a 208/67 K/BB in 151 1/3 innings pitched. His overall 10-8 record and 3.63 ERA shows that he can improve, but he has stuff that could make him useful to someone if the Phillies don’t need him.
Chad Bettis, RHP, Colorado: Bettis pitched great this season in the California League and his career 2.70 ERA over 236 2/3 innings and 240/58 K/BB shows that it wasn’t a fluke. He was a 2nd round pick out of Texas Tech in 2010 and he should continue moving up the Rockies system to become a solid #3 starter. He could become more if he does what he did this year in the upper levels.