Archive for Prospects

Dynastic Direction Young Southpaws: Rob Kaminsky, Henry Owens & Eduardo Rodriguez

by Ivar G. Anderson

If I had it to do all over I would have taught my eldest son, a natural left hander, how to throw a baseball much earlier in his development since teams always have a need for left handed pitchers. That is except for maybe the Rockies, as they rolled out a lefty starter for 20 consecutive games this summer, but that is an aberration. Normally teams are searching for left-handed starters for their rotations, and their bullpen too. That is how we got the term LOOGY. So, this week, we are taking a look at some left handed pitchers showing promise in the minors.

 

Rob Kaminsky LHP StL (Low-A Peoria Chiefs/Midwest League) Kaminsky is not an overwhelming presence on the mound, standing 5’11” and tipping the scale at 191 pounds, but has the stuff to turn heads. He was drafted out of high school and can dial up his fastball to 94 MPH, but typically throws his hard stuff in the high 80s/low 90s. He also possesses a superb curve and an average change up, so he has the three pitches scouts want to see in a starting pitcher.

He does throw strikes, witnessed by his 76:30 K/BB ratio over 95.2 innings in 2014. He has a stellar 1.69 ERA and 1.01 WHIP this season, and has been allowing hits at a rate of .69/IP. I like my pitchers to allow less than a run per inning, and he certainly fits the bill. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 26, 2014)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (the number in parenthesis is the prospects ranking from last week):

 

1) Jorge Soler – Chicago Cubs – Outfielder (2)
There’s been a bit of an adjustment for Soler at Triple-A, though we also know that he was playing over his head at the lower levels.  Still, a slash of .262/.356/.563 is respectable in 103 AB and we all know he’s part of the future plans for the Cubs.  They’ve already shown us Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez, and there’s a good chance Soler joins the duo come September.

He’s shown a good eye at the plate all season long, with a 13.6% walk rate.  Maybe his Triple-A average is more believable, and the power will likely regress (25.0% HR/FB), but there’s more than enough upside to like.  He is a lesser talent than Pederson, long-term, but he’s more likely to get regular AB in September.

(Update – It’s now been reported that Soler will be recalled and join the Cubs) Read more

Dynastic Direction: High-A Outfielders: McKinney, Roache & Taylor

by Ivar G. Anderson

This week we return to the realm of hitters, eschewing minor league relief specialists for its once-a-season appearance. Specifically, I will provide a short profile about three highly-valued players who currently are slotted in at an outfield position (two actually are playing as teammates down in Florida).  Let’s take a look:

 

Billy McKinney OF CHC (High-A Daytona Cubs/Florida State League)
McKinney plays in the same league as the other two players below, but not on the same team (it would have been fun to profile a minor league team’s entire outfield at once). McKinney came over to the Cubs in the deal with the Oakland A’s, partially in exchange for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. That actually hurts his ability to move up the ladder quickly, as he was a much higher rated prospect at High-A Stockton in the A’s system. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 19, 2014)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (the number in parenthesis is the prospects ranking from last week):

 

1) Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox – Outfielder (1)
At this point what does Betts really have left to prove in the minors?  Every time he is returned to Triple-A, after a fruitless tenure with the Red Sox, he simply picks up right where he left off.  In his last 10 games (through Saturday) he was hitting .349 with 7 RBI, 7 R and 3 SB putting him at .328 with 5 HR, 31 RBI, 31 R and 11 SB in 180 AB at the level.

Read more

Dynastic Direction: Minor League Relief Pitchers: Leathersich, Montgomery & Chris Rearick

by Ivar G. Anderson

This installment let’s take a bit of a divergent track and look at some minor league pitchers that have been used almost exclusively in relief during their minor league careers. If you study how pitchers come up through the lower levels of baseball, you will be surprised at how few are used exclusively out of the bullpen. Maybe the team wants to see how their arms hold up to the strain of extra innings or the longer stints give the coaches a better chance to evaluate their offerings, but it is a rare thing to be able to track a pitcher that has a chance to make the big league club who has a big goose egg in the Games Started column. Here are three that meet those qualifications:

 

Jack Leathersich LHP NYM ( Triple-A Las Vegas 51s/Pacific Coast League) Left handed relievers are a sought after commodity in baseball, and those that rack up Ks in prodigious numbers are considered gold by their organizations. Leathersich has been a dominate pitcher for his entire minor league career, posting a 15.4 K/9 rate during his four seasons in pro ball to date. Probably due to his southpaw nature he has not seen many chances to collect saves, but he has pitched in 50+ games both in 2012 and in 2013.

Read more

Prospect Report: Who Is Buck Farmer & Should We Pay Attention?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Tigers have suddenly become desperate for arms and today will turn to a 23-year old pitcher named Buck Farmer, who has made just two starts of Single-A. A 2013 fifth round draft pick, there isn’t much known about the right-handed starter except that the numbers thus far have been fairly impressive.

In 147.2 innings he owns a 2.74 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Couple those numbers with a 9.75 K/9, 2.13 BB/9 and 43.0% groundball rate (as well as a .317 BABIP) and there’s an awful lot to like. Of course, we also have to take the numbers with a little bit of a grain of salt considering the levels they came at.

MLB.com has pushed him to the team’s eighth best prospect, saying that his fastball “has operated at 92-94 mph”. He also throws a slider that they described as having “gotten harder and more consistent, giving him a second weapon”. Read more