Results tagged ‘ MLB Prospects ’

The Explosion of Javier Baez

Baez2After an incredible season in 2013 that saw him reach Double-A at the age of 20, Chicago Cubs’ shortstop (or third baseman…or outfielder) prospect Javier Baez seems to have enough helium in the world of prospects to reach the moon. Certainly, ripping 34 doubles and 37 home runs while driving in 111 runs and stealing 20 bases can lead to a lot of hype, and it appears to be warranted.

Prior to the 2013 season, Baez was already a top 20 prospect, earning the No. 16 ranking at both Baseball America and MLB.com, and No. 20 at Baseball Prospectus. So far this winter, that number has climbed significantly, mainly due to his extreme ceiling, while having very little to do with major league graduations. Just a quick look at the rankings that Baez has earned from prospect sites this off-season:

The Baseball Haven: No. 8

Baseball Prospectus: No. 4

MLB.com: No. 7

MinorLeagueBall.com: No. 8 (end of 2013, 9/27/13)

FantasyAssembly.com: No. 5

Prospect361.com: No. 5

TopProspectAlert.com: No. 11

RotoAnalysis.com: No. 2

FantasySquads.com: No. 10

Scout.com: No. 13

DeepLeagues.com: No. 13

There are, obviously, some differences in opinion on his true value, but Baez has quite a few nice things being said about him, as well:

“Baez could end a 40 HR shortstop. That’s his ceiling. That’s actually a possibility. Likely? Not sure. But its possible. How many prospects in baseball can make such a claim? That’s a truly elite ceiling. That’s a generational talent. That’s why he has a case for #1.” – Jason Parks, Baseball Prospectus

“The young infielder has all the ingredients necessary to be an all-star for the Cubs, regardless of where he ends up — shortstop, third base or even the outfield.” – Marc Hulet, FanGraphs

“Otherworldy bat speed and an aggressive approach plus the tools to (maybe) stay at shortstop if he can get the errors down. If not, he’d slot great at third base. There’s some risk here due to contact but I think he can be a Giancarlo Stanton-type hitter. The commonly-used Gary Sheffield comp works in terms of bat speed, but Sheffield had a much more refined approach and I don’t think Baez will hit for a Sheffield-like average. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a star.” – John Sickels, Minor League Ball

“There is no mistaking the bat as a game changing thumper. But what places Baez at #1 (in the Cubs’ system) is the fact that he is going to remain in the infield. A move to 3B is in the cards most likely where the Cubs have a dire need to finally fill the spot. Still on target with a 30 HR type with double digit SB and sticking in the INF. With an IsoP of .200+ the strikeout rate will be digestible and his approach should mature over time. Again, 37 HR over two levels with a total of 75 XBHs with 20 SB. His numbers were outstanding and through it all he actually improved the dismal walk rate from 2012 to 6.2% in High-A and then 8.1% in Double-A. A total IsoP number of nearly .300 on the season is other worldly. But that K rate is still a major issue although not one that will limit his ability to be a Major League regular. He handled SS really well and it looks like the Cubs are giving him every shot and being that Future SS. With the draft selection of Kris Bryant, the Cubs have a lot of flexibility with their future. I see Baez as the 3B answer.” - Thomas Belmont, Baseball Instinct

“The upside that Baez holds from a fantasy perspective is likely second to only Byron Buxton—and the likely gets added in there because Baez may actually have more, given his potential eligibility. The tools are crazy and even though he doesn’t have the strongest run tool, he’s still 46-for-55 in stolen bases during his 215 minor-league games. Even if you can’t put him at shortstop (which is far from a definitive outcome), you’d take 30 homers, 15-plus steals and a .280 average from just about anywhere on the diamond. He’s a no-doubt top-five fantasy prospect in baseball.” – Brett Sayre, Baseball Prospectus

Baez1The consensus seems to be an All-Star caliber talent with some flaws, as far as contact, who can become a game changer, in real-life or fantasy baseball, due to his quick hands and raw power. With Baez, Addison Russell, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Xander Bogaerts coming up through various systems, it appears that the game will be taken over by offensive-minded shortstops, as the Alex Rodriguez-Derek Jeter-Nomar Garciaparra-Miguel Tejada Era of Major League Baseball was impacted.

Javier Baez seems like an athletic freak, producing power from his 6’0″, 195 pound frame. Below is a video of highlights from Baseball Instinct (via YouTube), where you can observe all of the otherwordly power and bat speed that was suggested by prospect insiders:

The term “generational talent” doesn’t get thrown around very often, although the label has been given to the likes of Mark Prior, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout over the last decade. Injuries can always be a deterrent for players to reach their full, long-term potential, but the types of seasons that those four players have provided, even if it is just two to four seasons of that production, would be welcomed by any club. Risks aside, Baez is worthy of the high praise, the high rankings, and the sudden discussion of his eventual rise to dominance and stardom in Chicago. With all due respect to Starlin Castro, Baez shouldn’t have to move off of shortstop once he reaches Chicago – his potential dwarfs that of Castro, who has quickly become an afterthought to the hype of the Puerto Rican slugger.

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Prospects to Watch, 6/16

You should all know who Anthony Rizzo, Dylan Bundy, and Zack Wheeler are at this point, but some guys are still flying under the radar.  That is what this post is all about.  If you are in a fantasy baseball keeper league or you just want to keep up on prospects, here are some guys to look out for.

Daniel Rosenbaum, LHP, Washington Nationals

7-2, 1.94 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 88 IP, 55:14 K:BB

Rosenbaum, 24, has been consistent for parts of four minor league seasons since being selected in the 22nd round out of his hometown Xavier University in Cincinnati in the 2009 MLB Draft.  He has a career 25-16, 2.27 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 440.1 IP, and a 343:116 K:BB.  He may not post incredible strikeout numbers to be a sexy prospect, but he keeps the ball in the park (just 15 HR allowed in his 440.1 career innings) and he keeps his team in games.  As a left-hander in Double-A for the Nationals, he could become excellent trade bait near the deadline, when Washington collects pieces for their playoff run.

Alfredo Marte, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks

.289/.364/.569, 16 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 5 SB, 40:16 K:BB in 204 AB

Marte, 23, leads the Double-A Southern League in OPS, .932, over fellow D-Backs prospect Matt Davidson.  He wasn’t among the top 20 prospects in the system according to John Sickels, but he has been productive this season after suffering through an injury shortened 2011, in which he hit .289/.338/.455 in 277 at bats.  He has improved his strikeout rate, his power is up, and Chris Young is only guaranteed a job through 2013, as his 2014 option has a $1.5 million buyout if Arizona doesn’t want to pay him $11 million.  Marte may not be hyped, but production eventually opens eyes, and he has been very productive in 2012.

Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

8-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 75 IP, 71:24 K:BB

Thornburg, 23, could provide the Brewers with the help they need in the rotation if or when the team starts dealing their pieces for the future as they fall farther out of contention.  With the failure of Manny Parra and the struggles of top prospect Wily Peralta, the pitching rich Major League roster could be very, very thin if the Brewers do become sellers.  Thornburg could be a huge part of the team’s future with his career 19-7 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 269:93 K:BB in 235 innings.  Even ranked as the Brewers number two prospect, he flies under the radar.

Barret Loux, RHP, Texas Rangers

11-0, 2.81 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 67.1 IP, 62:24 K:BB

Loux was the sixth overall pick by Arizona in the 2010 MLB Draft, but when the Diamondbacks chose not to sign him due to injury concerns, he signed with the Rangers, like they needed more top-level prospects, for $312,000.  Loux has stayed healthy to this point, producing a 19-5 record, 3.42 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 189:58 K:BB in 176.1 innings.  With Yu Darvish suffering from arm fatigue and Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz suffering from shoulder woes, Loux could be called on this season as the Rangers continue to battle for the AL West crown.

Miles Head, 1B, Oakland A’s

.382/.434/.706, 22 2B, 6 3B, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 3 SB, 52:23 K:BB in 262 AB

Do you think the Red Sox regret the trade for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney yet?  Josh Reddick’s breakout 2012 is one thing, but when you look at the minor league leaders, Miles Head’s name is all over it.  Head hit 22 home runs over two levels as a 20-year-old in 2011, and while the California League helps inflate numbers, it doesn’t take away from the potential that Head has shown.  He is a couple of years away still, but the A’s have to be excited about what they have here, especially with Daric Barton and Kila Ka’aihue struggling so mightily before Brandon Moss took over at first base recently.

Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

6-2, 1.45 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 74.1 IP, 91:17 K:BB

A 9-4, 1.58 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 125.2 IP, 171:23 K:BB in 26 starts since being selected in the third round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Rice University isn’t enough to get Cingrani hyped like other prospects, but he will get there soon if he keeps this up.  The Reds started Cingrani in the California League, even though they had other top arms, like Daniel Corcino, skip the hitter paradise.  He responded with a 5-1 record and 1.11 ERA, with a 71:13 K:BB in 56.2 innings.  He is now in Double-A and has pitched well in three starts.  Cingrani can’t be traded until August, but he could be a “player to be named later” as a trade chip, or he could be a fixture in the rotation by this time next year.  A lefty that hits the mid-90′s with his fastball is a nice asset, either way.

Jackie Bradley, CF, Boston Red Sox

.363/.485/.535, 26 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 16 SB, 38:51 K:BB

Bradley was one of the best players in college baseball at the University of South Carolina, leading the team to a title in 2010 before injuries ruined his 2011 season.  He was still the 40th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft.  His excellent skills have returned with his health.  Bradley looks like a potential star leadoff hitter for the Red Sox, and he is ready for Double-A, having posted the numbers above in High-A.  He isn’t going to hit a lot of home runs, but he will get on base in other ways, and he could be a nuisance on the basepaths.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins

.258/.330/.500, 10 2B, 1 3B, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 6 SB, 59:25 K:BB in 236 AB

Ozuna can hit the ball far.  He also strikes out a lot, but he is improving on those numbers this season.  As a 20-year-old, Ozuna had 28 2B, 5 3B, 23 HR, and 17 SB in 552 at bats in 2011.  He doesn’t have Mike/Giancarlo Stanton power, but the Marlins have a couple of great outfielders in High-A Jupiter in Ozuna and Christian Yelich.

Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees

.330/.406/.656, 19 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 14 SB, 56:27 K:BB in 218 AB

This is Austin’s first attempt at full-season ball.  Needless to say, it is going well for the 20-year-old outfielder.  Sickels had Austin ranked as the ninth best prospect in the Yankees system, but it has been quiet for the youngster to this point.  Austin was said to have an advanced bat for a high school draftee, and he looks to be putting it all together.

Prospect Notes 4/13

It is early and top prospects are adjusting, like Bryce Harper and his current .222/.276/.333 slash in Triple-A, while guys you’ve possibly never heard of are posting some eye-popping numbers.  Here is a look at some of those guys performing well early on.

Brad Miller, SS, Mariners, High-A

.371/.463/.914, 13 for 35, 12 R, 3 2B, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 9/6 K/BB

Miller is a lefty swinging college bat out of Clemson.  He is playing the whole season at the age of 22, and he should be advanced and hitting well, but the California League may result in Miller becoming a legend.  Miller is now hitting .398 in 88 professional at bats, so he is someone to monitor this year, even if he has Nick Franklin ahead of him in the Mariners system at short.

Alen Hanson, 2B, Pirates, Low-A

.412/.474/.824, 14 for 34, 11 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB, 6/4 K/BB

Henson is a long way off, but he has a solid eye and solid speed, while seemingly spraying the ball all over the field.  He is a switch hitter and he looks like he could be a potential leadoff hitter for the Bucs down the road.  Neil Walker is under team control until 2017, but if he becomes too expensive through arbitration, Pittsburgh could toss the job Henson’s way in 2015.

Jose Fernandez, RHP, Marlins, Low-A

1-0, 1.64 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 11 IP, 5 H, 18/4 K/BB

Fernandez is a known name as the Marlins first round pick from 2011.  The youngster from Cuba is a high upside arm that turns 20 in July.  He could be a fast mover in the Marlins system, especially if he keeps pitching like he has in his first two starts.

Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers, High-A

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 10 IP, 4 H, 16/3 K/BB

Buckel has only thrown 111 2/3 innings but he now has a 145/31 K/BB.  He is another chip in an absolutely loaded Rangers system.  He’ll be 20 in June, but he seems to be picking up where he left off from last season when he posted a 2.61 ERA and 120/27 K/BB 23 games (17 starts).

Andrew Chafin, RHP, Diamondbacks, High-A

2-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 11 IP, 5 H, 18/2 K/BB

The California League eats pitchers for breakfast, so when a guy dominates there, like Tyler Skaggs did last year, you need to take notice.  Chafin is a college arm, so he’ll be 22 this year, and he had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed the entire season.  The Kent State product was the 43rd pick in the 2011 draft and he does seem to have the stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, with a plus fastball and slider.  If he develops his change, he could become much more.

A.J. Griffin, RHP, Athletics, Double-A

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP, 11 IP, 2 H, 16/2 K/BB

Griffin is 24, a 2010 13th round pick out of San Diego by the A’s.  In 2011, Griffin pitched at four levels, finishing with an 11-7 record, 3.47 ERA, 160 2/3 innings pitched, and a 156/32 K/BB.  Not overly impressive until you look at his splits.  He was impressive early on, posting a 9-3 record, 2.71 ERA, 122 2/3 innings pitched, and 128/19 K/BB between 20 Low-A and High-A starts.  He didn’t fare as well at the higher levels (2-4, 5.92 ERA), which is why he’s back in Double-A this year.  He has solid breaking stuff and very good control, so he could be a back-end starter, possibly a Joe Blanton-like innings eater.

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.

Prospects to Watch in the 2nd Half

These guys are or will be in the Majors by the end of the 2011 season or will be carving out a dramatic increase in their future value in their current systems, in other words, breakout prospect stars.

Mike Trout, Angels, CF: He is already up, having played in two games.  Trout is just 19 and his power/speed blend is going to make him rival Eric Davis in his prime.  He probably won’t produce on the levels that he has the last season and a half in the Minors (.335/.416/.506) right away, but this is as intriguing as a prospect can get.  He will head back to the Minors when Peter Bourjos returns from injury, but he should be up for good by next April.

Mike McDade, Blue Jays, 1B: McDade led the Arizona Fall League in doubles (11), was 3rd in Batting Average (.375), and was 2nd in hits (33).  Now, at 22-years-old, he is tearing apart the Double-A Eastern League, leading the league in hits (103), doubles (30), and total bases (175), while ranking 5th with 14 homers, and 2nd in RBI (60).  He is a big guy like Prince Fielder (6’1″, 270 lbs), and his contact rate could use some improvement (22.1% K rate), but he looks like a hitter that could be very valuable to the Blue Jays in the next year or so.

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, 1B: First base has been a revolving door for the Diamondbacks, as Russell Branyan, Juan Miranda, and Xavier Nady have struggled to take control of the position this year.  It shouldn’t be long until the D-backs reach to the Minors for their slugging prospect.  Just 23-years-old, Goldschmidt has hit 87 doubles, 78 homers, and a .621 slugging percentage since his professional career started in 2009.  He has played in 298 games and averages a homerun every 9.23 AB.  He has greatly increased his plate discipline this year, and he could settle in nicely in the middle of the lineup for years to come.

Tim Wheeler, Rockies, CF: Dexter Fowler – FAIL, Charlie Blackmon – Injured, Cole Garner – Organizational Depth.  What does this mean?  The Rockies are going to move on from what they’ve used so far and find a real centerfielder.  Carlos Gonzalez could more than handle the position if called upon, but they may want to look to Double-A Tulsa, where Wheeler has been a monster this season.  Though he has struckout 90 times (26.5% of at bats), Wheeler has posted a .999 OPS to go along with 18 doubles, 22 homers, and 15 stolen bases.  Now 23-years-old, Wheeler has put together the tools that made him a first round pick in 2009 out of Sacramento State.  If he can keep the power/speed combo and improve his contact rate, he should be a lesser version of a healthy Grady Sizemore, a 6’4″, 205 pound slugging centerfielder.

Drew Pomeranz, Indians, LHP: The Indians fortunes only look like they will improve.  Pomeranz was the top college lefty in the 2010 draft, taken 5th overall out of Mississippi.  He should be up by the middle of 2012, but he could be a lefty specialist for the Tribe down the stretch this season.  His numbers against lefties are very impressive, in 15 2/3 innings against lefties, he has a 32/2 K/BB and a .130 BAA.  Overall, Pomeranz has a 1.87 ERA over 77 IP with a 95/32 K/BB and .202 BAA.  He has lights out stuff and, though he is just in High-A right now, will finish off this season in Double-A, if not the Majors.

Jake Odorizzi, Royals, RHP: A little pitching to go with the hitting prospects who have reached the Majors, right?  The Royals received Odorizzi from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal and he has many similarities to Greinke.  He has great control and a variety of pitches that make him a top of the rotation candidate.  Odorizzi has moved up to Double-A, so he could get a shot at the rotation next April if he finishes strong.  Posting a 2.92 ERA over 16 starts, his most impressive stat is the 107/24 K/BB in 83 1/3 IP.  He will add to the list of Lamb, Montgomery, Duffy, and Crow, as the Royals try to build a winner from within the organization.

Trevor May, Phillies, RHP: The Phillies need more pitching right now, right?  This young man, just 21, has a 123/44 K/BB in 95 IP in High-A.  He will probably move up to Double-A for the 2nd half.  May has a very projectable frame, standing 6’5″, 205 pounds.  He could become trade bait if the Phillies want to upgrade down the stretch, but he could become a solid #3 for them, settling in behind Halladay and Lee by the middle of next season.

Others you should know who could make an impact:

Julio Teheran, Braves, RHP

Yonder Alonso, Reds, LF

Brandon Belt, Giants, 1B/OF

Kyle Gibson, Twins, RHP

Leonys Martin, Rangers, CF

Jason Kipnis, Indians, 2B

Desmond Jennings, Rays, OF

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays, 3B

Devin Mesoraco, Reds, C

Ryan Lavarnway, Red Sox, C

 

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