Results tagged ‘ Billy Hamilton ’
Yeah, I know it’s early. Yeah, I know the Reds are in first place in the NL Central. Yeah, I know that after getting beaten down by the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon that Cincinnati fans are concerned about their team. There are reasons to be concerned, but it starts with the club’s philosophies.
After the club traded for Shin-Soo Choo, people in Cincinnati knew that they had an upgrade to their leadoff spot. Choo is now a career .312/.397/.502 hitter when he bats first over his career, and his five hit-by-pitches and five walks have allowed Choo to post a .511 on-base percentage early in the 2013 season. His three home runs are tied with Todd Frazier for the team lead, as well, allowing Reds’ fans to say: “Drew Stubbs, who?”
Well, Drew Stubbs the fine defensive center fielder. Drew Stubbs, who ranked as the 6th best defensive center fielder in baseball since arriving to the Queen City in 2009, posting a UZR/150 of 3.7, just behind Austin Jackson and in front of B.J. Upton in the rankings. Drew Stubbs, who was 14th in MLB from 2009 through 2012 with 110 stolen bases. Drew Stubbs, who scored 285 runs in 486 games for Cincinnati, despite a .312 on-base percentage, and a .244/.321/.372 line in 873 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter.
Drew Stubbs was everything wrong about Cincinnati Reds baseball, at least, that is what it seemed like. His free-swinging ways resulted in 588 strikeouts in 1,791 at-bats or 32.8 percent of his at-bats. However, he did provide two things that Choo still can’t, speed and defense.
Shin-Soo Choo has a tremendous arm, which he needs when compared to Stubbs defensively due to his -42.8 UZR/150 rating, meaning: Choo would be nearly 43 runs below average defensively than the league’s average outfielder. It isn’t like Choo’s lack of defensive skills were the reason that the Reds lost 10-0 on Wednesday, but with Ryan Ludwick out for the next several months after surgery to repair his labrum and Chris Heisey hitting just .161/.188/.323 in 34 plate appearances, should the Reds go to super-prospect Billy Hamilton now?
Calling up Billy Hamilton would do three things:
1) It would start Hamilton’s arbitration clock early, making him Super Two-eligible due to service time, which means that he would be expensive quicker than most Post-June callups, and potentially reach free agency sooner.
2) It would allow the Reds to put Shin-Soo Choo in left field where teams have hidden other awful defensive outfielders over the years, such as Adam Dunn in Cincinnati and Manny Ramirez in Boston. He may not be a liability in left, which would allow him to continue to be solid offensively while playing every day.
3) It would make the Reds have Hamilton, Choo, Votto, and Bruce as left-handed hitters in the every day lineup.
That third thing is probably more reasonable as to why the Reds wouldn’t want to call up Hamilton right now, though the arbitration figures could also factor in, as it seems unnecessary to rush Hamilton with such a small sample size out of Chris Heisey. It is, after all, just 34 plate appearances, but it is hard to ignore Hamilton’s .364/.417/.545 start in Triple-A, while stealing six bases in six games for the Louisville Bats.
Billy Hamilton isn’t ready to leadoff at the major league level. Billy Hamilton isn’t ready to become a game-changing talent from the very moment that he steps onto the field at Great American Ballpark. Billy Hamilton isn’t going to post a .962 OPS over the course of a major league or minor league season. However, Billy Hamilton could ignite the bottom of the Reds order by hitting seventh, bunting over Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier for Ryan Hanigan to get RBI opportunities with his fantastic contact skills (Hanigan has a career 137:163 K:BB in 1,347 plate appearances and a 10.2 percent strikeout rate).
Billy Hamilton provides speed that would benefit the Reds defensively. Michael Bourn, the Cleveland Indians’ new center fielder, has a UZR/150 of 11.1 since becoming a regular in 2007. B.J. Upton is second with a 4.1 UZR/150. Hamilton is still making the transition from shortstop to center field, but his speed alone makes him a Bourn-like defensive talent in center, and his 264 stolen bases since the start of the 2011 minor league season makes him worth bringing up now to impact the lineup.
While questions about team-control, arbitration, and the presence of another left-hander in the lineup are worth considering, the Reds have very little to lose and plenty to gain by calling up Billy Hamilton right now and putting him in center. As the club heads to Pittsburgh and PNC Park, a notorious pitcher’s park, will defense become more important than potential offensive production? While Devin Mesoraco rots on the bench due to Ryan Hanigan’s ability to handle the pitching staff, the Reds have already shown their philosophy. Now is the time for Billy Hamilton.
- Ryan Ludwick’s Injury Could Hurt The Reds For The Long Run (mlbreports.com)
- No Billy Hamilton for Reds yet (wcpo.com)
- Billy Hamilton: I’m a game-changer (wcpo.com)
- Billy Hamilton isn’t Reds’ top prospect (espn.go.com)
- Choo – Trading Defense for Offense (natinosebleeds.wordpress.com)
Below you’ll find the top 100 prospects in baseball. The top 25 have a short write-up and their career minor league statistics. I am not a major league scout, I am just a baseball fan/nerd who follows all levels. If someone is missing, feel free to make your opinions known in the comments section, but be prepared to get mocked for being a troll!
1) Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers, SS
Profar is the perfect blend of raw power, speed, and on-base skills, and it is all packed into a 19-year-old excelling in the upper levels of the minors. There are rumors that he could be called up to help the Rangers down the stretch, but it would be a shame to have him come off of the bench considering he is probably one of their top five players when he arrives in Arlington. It will be interesting to see where the Rangers work him in with Andrus and Kinsler around.
2) Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles, RHP
It will be interesting what Bundy can do when the O’s take their chains off and let him loose. He just recently reached the sixth inning in a start for the first time. He is well on his way to becoming an ace, and he could reach the Majors by the middle of next year.
3) Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays, OF
For whatever reason, Myers was “blocked” in Kansas City by Jeff Francoeur. The Royals moved the slugging outfielder in the James Shields trade, immediately becoming one of the Rays cornerstone players. He should be the starting right fielder in 2013, with Desmond Jennings in center and Matt Joyce sliding over to right. His right-handed bat fits nicely in the middle of the order, as he and Evan Longoria will sandwich Ben Zobrist.
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||134||488||82||136||34||2||21||79||13||68||129||.279||.369||.486||.855|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||22||84||19||31||7||2||5||18||2||9||18||.369||.427||.679||1.106|
|A (1 season)||A||68||242||42||70||19||1||10||45||10||48||55||.289||.408||.500||.908|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||99||388||66||118||15||5||24||79||2||45||98||.304||.378||.554||.932|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||58||205||28||71||18||2||4||38||2||37||39||.346||.453||.512||.966|
4) Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals, OF
He has been called the next Vladimir Guerrero…as long as his knees don’t deteriorate late in his career, that would make Taveras a near Hall of Fame player. Taveras is a hitter, pure and simple. He may only get better as he matures, which makes him a huge asset for the Cardinals moving forward. He could force management’s hands and get a shot at an everyday job in the spring of 2013.
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||60||241||40||73||14||3||8||45||9||13||46||.303||.342||.485||.828|
|A (1 season)||A||78||308||52||119||27||5||8||62||1||32||52||.386||.444||.584||1.028|
|AA (1 season)||AA||124||477||83||153||37||7||23||94||10||42||56||.321||.380||.572||.953|
|FRk (1 season)||FRk||65||237||35||61||13||8||1||42||9||28||36||.257||.338||.392||.731|
5) Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, SS
I have him higher than most, but give me a 19-year-old who can post these numbers any day of the week. Bogaerts is still playing shortstop, but he will end up at third base or be forced elsewhere due to the presense of Will Middlebrooks. Powerful, young, projectable frame. Bogaerts will be a total offensive monster.
6) Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians, RHP
For all of his poor warm-up practices, the fact remains that Bauer has an elite arm. He has trouble with command, but he posts ace-level strikeout potential. Moving to a pitcher’s environment in Cleveland from Arizona should make dynasty fantasy geeks drool at his potential. The Indians stole him by getting him for Didi Gregorius, Lars Anderson, and Tony Sipp. He’ll be their No. 1 starter sooner than one may think.
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||8||2||.800||3.18||12||12||65.0||53||26||23||3||34||86||1.338|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||5||1||.833||2.85||14||14||82.0||74||28||26||8||35||97||1.329|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||0||1||.000||3.00||3||3||9.0||7||3||3||1||4||17||1.222|
7) Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates, RHP
Cole still has more stuff than impressive results at this poing in his career, but the stuff could be so dominant, that you have to hold out hope that he figures things out. For a guy who can throw a 90 mph change and curve while topping out in triple-digits with his fastball, you would expect more dominance in his strikeout totals. If he figures it out, he could be #2 behind Profar on this list.
8) Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners, RHP
The Mariners pushed Walker by having him skip the dreaded California League, allowing him to thrive without being destroyed by the thin air and small parks of High-A. Having just turned 20, Walker has posted some solid numbers. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be a nice addition to the Mariners rotation in the coming years. He isn’t Felix Hernandez and won’t come close to him, but how many pitchers can?
9) Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners, LHP
Hultzen may just be what he is right now and nothing more, but that is still good. He will throw strikes and toss a lot of innings while having some great success. The college arm will be ready by next season and he could get a look early in the spring, but he will settle in nicely among a group of solid young arms that the M’s are developing. With the Jason Vargas trade, his arrival may have just been pushed forward a bit.
10) Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates, RHP
Taillon has been hyped with very little as far as results. He has looked pretty good for a 20-year-old in High-A, but if he is an ace like others say he is, you have to expect more. He is coming along nicely, but he could be more of a mid-rotation arm than an ace. He still has time, though.
11) Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds, OF
Hamilton was moved off of shortstop due to Zack Cozart’s success in his rookie season in 2012, and with Drew Stubbs gone and a one-year rental of Shin-Soo Choo, Hamilton should be ready for 2014. His speed is game-changing and he increased his on-base skills tremendously in 2012. He will be entertaining to watch, even if he gets on at a .320-clip in the majors. He looks like he will be better than that, though.
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||112||449||80||124||19||13||2||35||62||39||103||.276||.336||.390||.726|
|A (1 season)||A||135||550||99||153||18||9||3||50||103||52||133||.278||.340||.360||.700|
|AA (1 season)||AA||50||175||33||50||4||5||1||15||51||36||43||.286||.406||.383||.789|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||82||337||79||109||18||9||1||30||104||50||70||.323||.413||.439||.852|
12) Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, RHP
Miller has fallen out of favor with the Cardinals organization due to conditioning and other issues which continue to go unannounced. He has struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously a hitter’s league. He still has a bright future, but he could be someone who gets dealt if he continues to upset the Cards, who practically gave away Colby Rasmus due to his “issues.”
|A (2 seasons)||A||7||5||3.69||26||26||107.1||102||54||44||7||35||142||1.276|
|AA (1 season)||AA||9||3||2.70||16||16||86.2||72||28||26||2||33||89||1.212|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||11||10||4.74||27||27||136.2||138||78||72||24||50||160||1.376|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||2||3||2.89||9||9||53.0||40||20||17||2||20||81||1.132|
13) Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, RHP
There were rumors that Teheran’s breaking ball wasn’t up to par. There are also rumors that his attitude was shaky due to being sent to the minors. Whatever went on with him in 2012, it is cause for concern. His numbers in Triple-A were pretty awful, and his brief opportunities in Atlanta haven’t gone well, either. Teheran is still a top-flight prospect, but due to this bump in the road, he may not have what it takes to be an ace. He still has some work to do.
|A (2 seasons)||A||3||5||2.92||14||14||77.0||65||28||25||3||21||73||1.117|
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||3||3||3.68||13||13||58.2||54||29||24||4||11||56||1.108|
|AAA (2 seasons)||AAA||22||12||3.75||51||50||275.2||269||127||115||23||91||219||1.306|
|AA (1 season)||AA||3||2||3.38||7||7||40.0||29||15||15||2||17||38||1.150|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||4||4||2.98||10||10||63.1||56||22||21||6||13||76||1.089|
14) Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals, RHP
Martinez is compared to Pedro Martinez due to his electric stuff and his size. Between the comparisons of Martinez and Oscar Taveras, the Cards have a couple of potential Hall of Famers, huh? Martinez’s strikeouts were down a bit in 2012, but he was 20 and pitching in Double-A, putting up some impressive numbers. He could return to Double-A in 2013 to start the season, but he’ll be someone to watch closely in coming years, as he has ace potential.
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||5||5||4.33||17||17||79.0||78||43||38||2||40||82||1.494|
|A (1 season)||A||3||2||2.33||8||8||38.2||27||10||10||1||14||50||1.060|
|AA (1 season)||AA||4||3||2.90||15||14||71.1||62||27||23||6||22||58||1.178|
|FRk (1 season)||FRk||3||2||0.76||12||12||59.0||28||8||5||1||14||78||0.712|
15) Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks, LHP
Skaggs overtook Trevor Bauer as the club’s future ace, which made dumping Bauer due to his odd techniques a bit easier. He has command of his pitches and has posted incredible numbers the last two seasons. The Diamondbacks have solid depth at starting pitcher, but Skaggs should get a look in 2013.
|A (1 season)||A||9||5||3.29||23||18||98.1||91||38||36||7||25||102||1.180|
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||9||5||2.69||23||23||127.1||108||47||38||12||36||144||1.131|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||0||0||1.80||5||2||10.0||9||4||2||0||2||13||1.100|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||4||2||2.91||9||9||52.2||49||22||17||4||16||45||1.234|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||5||5||3.22||17||17||100.2||81||39||36||6||34||125||1.142|
16) Travis d’Arnaud, New York Mets, C
D’Arnaud missed time due to a torn PCL that he suffered in late June. His strikeout rate was pretty alarming, but the power numbers and on-base totals were pretty impressive, still. D’Arnaud could be an offensive force for the Mets, who snagged the catcher from Toronto trade. J.P. Arencibia‘s presence ahead of him, and, for some reason, the re-signing of Jeff Mathis for two-years, $3 million (throwing away money?), made d’Arnaud expendable in Toronto, and David Wright better be praying that d’Arnaud establishes himself quickly because the Mets look awful outside of Wright and Ike Davis.
|A (2 seasons)||A||142||546||83||142||43||1||15||76||8||46||85||.260||.323||.425||.748|
|AA (1 season)||AA||114||424||72||132||33||1||21||78||4||33||100||.311||.371||.542||.914|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||41||141||18||34||3||0||4||20||4||4||23||.241||.278||.348||.626|
|A- (1 season)||A-||48||175||21||54||13||1||4||25||1||18||29||.309||.371||.463||.833|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||67||279||45||93||21||2||16||52||1||19||59||.333||.380||.595||.975|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||71||263||36||68||20||1||6||38||3||20||63||.259||.315||.411||.726|
17) Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, 3B
28 home runs at the age of 19 with a drastic improvement in his walk rate is all that you need to know about Sano. He does strike out a lot, but that is typical of power hitters, especially those that are this young. Minnesota fans should be excited about Sano, although he is probably two to three years away.
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||107||415||81||121||32||7||24||78||7||33||120||.292||.347||.576||.922|
|A (1 season)||A||129||457||75||118||28||4||28||100||8||80||144||.258||.373||.521||.893|
|FRk (1 season)||FRk||20||64||11||22||2||1||3||10||2||14||17||.344||.463||.547||1.009|
18) Mike Olt, Texas Rangers, 1B/3B
Olt arrived in the Majors to showcase his power at the corners in 2012, though he didn’t get much of an opportunity. He was rumored in potential deals for the Rangers, but they may be better off keeping him and putting him at first base. He is ready to mash, like the Rangers needed more offense…
19) Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins, 1B
Yelich is a pure hitter, much like Oscar Taveras. While Yelich has posted solid speed numbers, he appears to be an intelligent runner than a true burner. An excellent hitter with surprising power for a stick figure, Yelich will move quickly to fill a suddenly disturbing Miami Marlins 25-man roster.
|A (2 seasons)||A||128||484||75||152||34||1||15||79||32||56||108||.314||.387||.481||.869|
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||7||28||3||10||1||1||0||3||1||2||7||.357||.400||.464||.864|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||106||397||76||131||29||5||12||48||20||49||85||.330||.404||.519||.922|
20) Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs, SS
Baez could be a force at short for the Cubs. Just drafted in 2011 out of high school, the Cubs have already moved the youngster to High-A ball, having started the 2012 season late due to concerns about the weather. Regardless, he will continue moving quickly, especially if he keeps hitting like he has.
21) Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins, RHP
If you missed the Futures Game, you didn’t see how big Fernandez is already. The guy has a monstrous frame that makes him look like he could step right into a Major League rotation. His results are impressive to this point and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Marlins rush him next year.
22) Zack Wheeler, New York Mets, RHP
Wheeler was acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran in 2011. He was a talented arm at the time and has established himself as the Mets top prospect since being acquired. Wheeler could still refine his command before he is a finished product, but he has the ceiling to be a top of the rotation starter.
|A+ (1 season)||A+||9||7||3.52||22||22||115.0||100||50||45||7||52||129||1.322|
|A (1 season)||A||3||3||3.99||21||13||58.2||47||27||26||0||38||70||1.449|
|AA (1 season)||AA||10||6||3.26||19||19||116.0||92||46||42||2||43||117||1.164|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||2||2||3.27||6||6||33.0||23||13||12||2||16||31||1.182|
23) Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers, 3B/OF
The Tigers have moved Castellanos to the outfield due to Miguel Cabrera occupying third base. Castellanos is an interesting talent. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t really walk much, while his power numbers are lagging. However, he is just 20 and his 32 doubles show that there is power in there somewhere. If Castellanos beefs up a little, that will help the power numbers, and then he can help the Tigers
24) Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants, OF
Brown’s 2011 numbers were likely the product of the California League, but he still showed solid speed and glimpses of power in Double-A in 2012. His 32 doubles and 33 steals show his potential. Since the Giants have thrived with a lack of pow er production since Barry Bonds left San Francisco, Brown could contribute as a speedster at the top of the order by 2014.
25) Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians, SS
For a team with such a terrible offense, Indians fans sure do love this slick fielding slap-hitter. Lindor is young and has gap power, but he isn’t as valuable to the Tribe as current shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera because he can’t produce runs like Cabrera can. However, Cabrera is only signed through 2014 and Lindor should be ready by about the same time that Cabrera is leaving town. Lindor is a switch-hitter and has very good on-base skills. If he gets bigger, Lindor could become a more valuable offensive weapon. As it stands, he is a solid leadoff or No. 2-hitter.
26) Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals, OF
27) Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, SS
28) Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs, OF
29) Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP
30) Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP
31) Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros, 1B
32) Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles, RHP
33) Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, 2B/3B
34) Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners, C
35) Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, C
36) Tyler Austin, New York Yankees, 3B/OF
37) Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies, 3B
38) Martin Perez, Texas Rangers, LHP
39) Cody Buckel, Texas Rangers, RHP
40) Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies, SS
41) Jon Schoop, Baltimore Orioles, INF
42) Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets, RHP
43) Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners, SS
44) Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres, 3B
45) Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs, OF
46) Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox, RHP
47) Jake Marisnick, Miami Marlins, OF
48) Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers, RHP
49) Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins, OF
50) Mason Williams, New York Yankees, OF
51) Justin Nicolino, Miami Marlins, LHP
52) George Springer, Houston Astros, OF
53) Michael Choice, Oakland Athletics, OF
54) Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics, RHP
55) Daniel Corcino, Cincinnati Reds, RHP
56) Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds, LHP
57) AJ Cole, Oakland Athletics, RHP
58) James Paxton, Seattle Mariners, LHP
59) Kolton Wong, St. Louis Cardinals, 2B
60) Addison Russell, Oakland Athletics, 3B
61) Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins, RHP
62) Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins, OF
63) Avisail Garcia, Detroit Tigers, OF
64) Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals, RHP
65) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins, 2B/OF
66) Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres, OF
67) Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics, RHP
68) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs, OF
69) Christian Bethancourt, Atlanta Braves, C
70) Cheslor Cuthbert, Kansas City Royals, 3B
71) Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees, LHP
72) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers, 3B
73) Jackie Bradley, Boston Red Sox, OF
74) Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins, RHP
75) Matt Davidson, Arizona Diamondbacks, 3B
76) Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates, SS
77) Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners, SS
78) Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF
79) Trevor May, Minnesota Twins, RHP
80) Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals, RHP
81) Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP
82) Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP
83) David Dahl, Colorado Rockies, OF
84) Dan Vogelbach, Chicago Cubs, 1B
85) Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF
86) Miles Head, Oakland Athletics, 3B
87) Wilmer Flores, New York Mets, SS
88) Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres, C
89) Zack Cox, Miami Marlins, 3B
90) Ryan Wheeler, Arizona Diamondbacks, 1B/3B
91) Hak-Ju Lee, Tampa Bay Rays, SS
92) Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers, OF
93) Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF
94) Aaron Hicks, Minnesota Twins, OF
95) Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF
96) Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF
97) Kaleb Cowart, Los Angeles Angels, 3B
98) Mike Montgomery, Tampa Bay Rays, LHP
99) Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres, LHP
100) Zach Lee, Los Angeles Dodgers, RHP
This is video of Hamilton’s inside-the-park home run from Sunday. He was timed at 13.8 seconds by J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. I can’t even drink a glass of water that fast and he hit a baseball and ran 360 feet of basepath.
I tried embedding the video but it didn’t work, follow the link to see him fly:
With several teams falling out of contention and the trade deadline a little over two weeks away, there will be several new names making their debuts in the coming weeks. Here are some names to watch out for or grab in keeper leagues.
Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs, 22
.304/.359/.509, 26 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 52:24 K:BB in 326 AB
Vitters was taken 3rd overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. His journey to this point has been a struggle at times, having hit .262/.310/.413 from High-A to Double-A prior to arriving in Triple-A this season. He had poor plate discipline while showing signs of power. He has put it all together this year, even though it is a hitter’s league, and while he may be a liability at third base defensively, his offensive upside is worth a gamble by the Cubs. He certainly won’t be moving to first base with Anthony Rizzo across the diamond.
Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers, 23
5-8, 5.10 ERA, 90 IP, 79:49 K:BB, 4 HR allowed
Peralta hasn’t had a very good season in Triple-A this year, but he is a legitimate prospect still. With Zack Greinke’s name coming up in trade rumors so frequently, the Brewers will need to fill the void left if they do move their prized right-hander. Peralta could get a look. Peralta will need to throw more strikes at the major league level to be successful, as he did when he averaged over 9 K/9 in 2011. He has the build (6’2″, 240) of an innings eater, so we’ll see if he has the stuff to be more than a back-end starter shortly.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres, 23
.313/.376/.543, 20 2B, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB, 60:34 K:BB in 348 AB
Gyorko would get the call to be the Padres every day third baseman if or when the Friars trade Chase Headley. Gyorko has produced the numbers above between Double-A and Triple-A this season, but he has done nothing but hit since starting his professional career, posting a .320/.387/.525 in 1192 at-bats. While Petco will sap his ability to hit for power, it won’t take away his ability to get on base and find the gaps. He could be an All Star, even in San Diego.
Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23
.286/.348/.484, 16 2B, 12 3B, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 18 SB, 79:25 K:BB in 339 AB
Marte is a potential Gold Glove center fielder. Too bad the Pirates have one of the top center fielders and overall players in Andrew McCutchen. Marte will probably be trade bait, and he could be a centerpiece in a deal to acquire Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, as the Pirates look to establish themselves as a team that matters in the second half of 2012. Marte still struggles to make contact and hasn’t figured out how to use his speed (12 caught stealing), but he is a very valuable asset for whoever he will be playing for.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 21
7-4, 2.80 ERA, 86.2 IP, 83:24 K:BB
Skaggs could join Trevor Bauer in the Diamondback rotation at some point this season, having already started three games in Triple-A after a recent promotion. Joe Saunders just returned from the disabled list, but if Arizona wants to get a look at what they have, Skaggs could easily get a look when they fall out of contention or become sellers. With Bauer, Skaggs, Wade Miley, Ian Kennedy, and Trevor Cahill, the Diamondbacks have a really good looking group of young pitchers. When Daniel Hudson returns from Tommy John surgery next year, it will only make them that much better.
Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 21
.319/.408/.437, 18 2B, 10 3B, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 108 SB, 73:51 K:BB in 348 AB
Hamilton is an absolute freak. He will easily break Vince Coleman’s professional record for steals in a season, and he will be capable of helping the Reds this September by acting as a pinch runner, stealing games as a late-inning replacement. Hamilton has just 11 at-bats in Double-A, but he has a sickening amount of speed. This type of talent will get fans in the seats at Great American Ballpark. His long-term position is still up for debate, but if he keeps getting on base and stealing bases at this rate, the Reds will have to make room for him.
Matt Harvey, RHP New York Mets, 23
7-4, 3.39 ERA, 98.1 IP, 102:42 K:BB
Harvey is rumored to be getting the call to take Dillon Gee’s turn in the Mets rotation next week, but the Mets want to get one more look at him in Triple-A. The North Carolina product has the stuff and build of an ace, but he still needs to work on his ability to throw strikes. Harvey is a special arm, so it is not strange to see the Mets getting excited about bringing him to New York, but since they are in contention for the NL East at the moment, they need to be careful with each game. With that being said, Harvey is better than Miguel Batista right now, so they should go ahead with their plans.
Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets, 22
8-4, 2.62 ERA, 92.2 IP, 88:35 K:BB, 1 HR allowed
Speaking of New York prospects, Wheeler is another future ace for the Mets. He, like Harvey, has some battles with his control, but he could also get a look. Wheeler is more likely to serve as rotation depth if the Mets are unfortunate enough to deal with another significant injury to their rotation, such as another Johan Santana shoulder issue. Wheeler is more likely to get a bump to Triple-A than he is to the majors in 2012, but he could still get a look in September, so keep an eye on the future number one starter.
Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers, 23
.292/.403/.574, 14 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB, 85:51 K:BB in 291 AB
Olt will probably never see the field at the Ballpark at Arlington while wearing a Texas Rangers uniform. With Adrian Beltre locked into the third base position in Texas, Olt is nothing more than trade bait, and great bait at that. Olt is a mashing, power-hitting prospect, and while he strike out a lot, he still possesses a very good eye at the plate. He has been rumored to be a centerpiece to a deal for Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, as the Rangers look to build a super team for their run to the World Series.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies, 24
.266/.314/.416, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB, 36:13 K:BB in 173 AB
Brown is currently tearing up instructional leagues while he rehabs his right knee injuries, but he could get a look in the Phillies outfield if they become sellers this month. Brown was once the prospect equal to Atlanta Braves slugger Jason Heyward, but their careers have taken a severe fork in the road, especially since the Phils seem to be so hesitant to give Brown a long-term look. Brown has already lost his rookie eligibility and has spent parts of three season in Triple-A for Philadelphia, so if they aren’t going to use him, I’d love for anyone else to give him a look. He seems to have an attitude or motivational issue this season more than anything. Remember that he hit .327/.391/.589 with 20 home runs in 343 at-bats in 2010 between Double-A and Triple-A before the Phillies started screwing up his development by calling him up and letting him sit on the bench.
Are there any young players you’re watching out for over the second half? Seattle fans may want to see Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, or Taijuan Walker, right? Would Cincinnati fans like to see Daniel Corcino or Tony Cingrani come up? Comment guys you’re looking forward to seeing!
Looking ahead to next season, though the Reds are currently in first place in the NL Central, the Reds have some interesting roster issues to address. Not only do they have arbitration eligible players who can increase payroll significantly, but they’ll have key players with extensions kicking in. Take a look at guaranteed contracts for 2013:
Joey Votto: $17 M
Brandon Phillips: $10 M
Jay Bruce: $7.5 M
Johnny Cueto: $7.4 M
Aroldis Chapman: $2 M
Bronson Arroyo: $11.5 M
Sean Marshall: $4.5 M
Ryan Madson: $2.5 M buyout OR $11 M
Nick Masset: $3.1 M
Ryan Hanigan: $2.05 M
Ryan Ludwick: $500K buyout OR $5 M
Jose Arredondo: $1.2 M
If the Reds buyout Ludwick and Madson, they have $69.25 M locked into 12 players, with only 10 of them returning. If they take on the contracts of both Ludwick and Madson, it goes up to $82.25 M for 12 players. However, it doesn’t end there. The following players are eligible for arbitration after the 2012 season:
Pre-arbitration – players who can have their contracts renewed at the league minimum:
Arbitration-eligible – players who can be non-tendered or signed through arbitration and receive a raise, with 2012 salaries listed in parenthesis:
Homer Bailey ($2.4 M)
Mat Latos ($550K)
Bill Bray ($1.42 M)
Wilson Valdez ($930K)
Paul Janish ($850K)
Drew Stubbs ($527,500)
Mike Leake ($507,500)
Chris Heisey ($495K)
Alfredo Simon ($487K)
The Reds would be wise to let Homer Bailey walk by being non-tendered, as he shouldn’t be getting a raise considering the inconsistencies that he has shown. He would earn between $3.5-4 M in arbitration. Valdez and Janish are veteran utility players who can be replaced with others who can play defense and not hit…just like them! Stubbs, Leake, and Heisey should all still be affordable in their first year of arbitration, but Latos could be an issue. He will get expensive quickly due to his early success, though it wasn’t with the Reds.
So, buyout Ludwick and Madson and keep Heisey in left and Chapman at closer and go from there.
Catchers: Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Brandon Phillips
3B: Todd Frazier
SS: Zack Cozart
LF: Chris Heisey
CF: Drew Stubbs
RF: Jay Bruce
Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake, and OPEN
Jose Arredondo, Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall, and Aroldis Chapman
Clearly, the Reds would need to fill the bench with about three players: a utility infielder, a super-utility player (infield and outfield), and a good fourth outfielder. They will need to look to free agency to fill those roles. The following players will be free agents and would be worth a look for the Reds:
Jose Lopez – Lopez can play first and third comfortably and second if or when needed. He has done so for the Cleveland Indians in 2012. He is making $800K in 2012 and will be 29 in 2013
Scott Hairston – Hairston may end up on the expensive side of bench players, as his power and versatility will be very valuable on the open market. He currently has an .840 OPS with 10 HR and 31 RBI in just 157 at bats for the New York Mets. Hairston is making $1.1 M in 2012 and has played all three outfield spots this season and some second base in his career.
Grady Sizemore – Injuries MIGHT be gone when he hits free agency after the 2012 season. Sizemore hasn’t had a healthy season since 2008. He is making $5 M in 2012 but hasn’t played in a single game. An incentive-laden contract is a necessity for Sizemore to prove his worth and as a former gold glove caliber center fielder, he can handle all three outfield positions…if healthy.
Ryan Theriot – Theriot is making $1.25 M for the San Francisco Giants while playing primarily shortstop. He played left field late in a game and has played second, short, third, and outfield in recent years.
The open rotation spot should be left to Tony Cingrani, the young left-hander out of Rice, who has dominated the minors this season to the tune of a 7-2 record, 1.47 ERA, 86 IP, 109:21 K:BB, .196 BAA, 0.95 WHIP, including a 15 strikeout, eight shutout inning outing on Wednesday night. It’s worth seeing what you have there. Alfredo Simon or Sam LeCure could fill the number five spot if the Reds don’t sign another veteran arm like: Aaron Cook, Kevin Correia, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Marquis, Joel Piniero, or Chris Young, who could all be cheap options.
It’s never too early to wonder what your team will look like in the future. Maybe Billy Hamilton moves to center and Drew Stubbs or Chris Heisey becomes the team’s fourth outfielder? As the season goes on, trades could be made involving Cingrani or Hamilton to upgrade for 2012, as well. Regardless, the Reds look like an excellent team for this season and could get better by cutting some of the dead weight, namely their entire bench and Scott Rolen.
The Reds need another top of the rotation starter, but they don’t need to give up their top four prospects to make that happen. This would take out James Shields (who is already off the market) and Ubaldo Jimenez (who probably wasn’t ever really on the market to begin with). You don’t need an outfielder when you can’t find time to give to Chris Heisey, a guy who would be a regular for half of the league. However, the Reds are apparently still shopping for a left-fielder despite their logjam with Jonny Gomes, Fred Lewis and Heisey. So lets stick with a starting pitcher. Who should that be? The top starter available if Shields and Jimenez are gone would be Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers. Kuroda has been solid this season, despite his win-loss record of 6-12. The 36-year-old, who is a free agent after this season, has posted a 3.19 ERA over 20 starts, averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. Kuroda won’t be nearly as expensive as Shields or Jimenez would have been, but he should still cost a top-tier prospect. Who would I trade if I was the Reds GM?
Billy Hamilton. Billy Hamilton is the type of player that Cincinnati fans love until they make it to the Majors. Not yet 21, Hamilton has had an average season at Low-A Dayton, hitting .253/.317/.338 over 379 at bats. He has struck out 91 times but he has stolen 74 bases. His game is build on speed. The issue that I see with him is that people love his speed but don’t see through his inability to hit at this point. People sometimes say that college players are “old” when they are 24 in Triple-A. Hamilton will be 21 in September, just as Dayton’s season has closed out. He will spend a season in High-A, Double-A, and maybe a full season in Triple-A. He’ll have to stay healthy to do that, too, something that speed players sometimes struggle with due to leg injuries. He has game-changing speed, but he has a LOT of work to do before he is a legitimate prospect, despite being ranked by Baseball America as the Reds #2 prospect (behind Aroldis Chapman and in front of Devin Mesoraco). Let someone else gamble on the tools and get a pitcher, while a rental, who would make a difference down the stretch, while also showing the fans that you’re making an effort.