Archive for Prospects

Prospect Report: Could The Cardinals’ Marco Gonzales Make An Impact In 2015?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When fantasy owners think about young St. Louis Cardinals starters their minds generally go to Carlos Martinez (who could ultimately end up in the bullpen).  Few think about Marco Gonzales, the team’s 2013 first round pick, who reached the Majors in 2014.  They may not have been a successful 34.2 innings (4.15 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), but that doesn’t mean that he’s a player to ignore.

Across three levels of the minors (122.0 IP) he posted a 2.51 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, displaying enough in all three metrics we tend to look at for pitchers:

  • Strikeout Rate – 8.63
  • Walk Rate – 1.99
  • Groundball Rate – 43.0%

He’s not known for overpowering stuff (his fastball averaged 89.5 mph in the Majors).  Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 recently hammered that point home, describing Gonzales’ arsenal by saying: Read more

2015 Prospect Rankings: Top 10 Pitchers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Has there ever been a time in baseball when there was so much top level young pitching both in the Majors and on the horizon?  It makes narrowing any prospect list down almost impossible, because there are at least 20 pitchers who probably could make the list.  Who do we view as the best of the best?  Let’s take a look:

1. Julio Urias – Los Angeles Dodgers
ETA – 2016
This is aggressive, but couple his age (18), upside and what he accomplished in High-A last season (2.36 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.19 K/9 over 87.2 IP) and it’s hard not to walk away impressed.  It’ll be interesting to see if the Dodgers take the shackles off this season, but they may not be able to suppress the southpaw for long.

2. Lucas Giolito – Washington Nationals
ETA – 2016
The Washington Nationals already have arguably the elite pitching staff in the game, yet they also have one of the best pitching prospects on the horizon.  It almost doesn’t seem fair, does it?  Since being selected 16th overall in 2012 all Giolito has done is post a 9.88 K/9, 2.77 BB/9 and 50.7% groundball rate.  Exactly what is there not to like? Read more

2015 Prospect Rankings: Top 10 Outfielders

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There are certainly a lot of outfield prospects with the potential to make an impact in the not too distant future.  We are going to leave Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas off this list (and they’d both have certainly been Top 5 options had they been included), but there are plenty of alternatives waiting in the wings.  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:

1. Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins
ETA – Mid-2015/2016
He needs to stay healthy, as he lost most of 2014 due to various injuries (137 PA over 31 games).  Had he stayed on the field he may have already made his Major League debut and is already among the elite prospects in the game (regardless of position).  He hit .334 with 12 HR and 56 SB in 574 PA in ’13 and should rise quickly once he proves he’s over last season’s issues.

2. Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers
ETA – 2015
The Dodgers shipped Matt Kemp to San Diego in an effort to clear playing time for Pederson.  That should tell us all we need to know.  He has shown power and speed as he’s moved up the ladder, including at Double-A (22 HR, 32 SB over 519 PA) and Triple-A (33 HR, 30 SB over 553 PA).  He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, with a 26.9% strikeout rate at Triple-A, but he has a great eye at the plate (13.6% walk rate since ’11) and few bring a similar combination of power and speed. Read more

2015 Prospect Rankings: Top 10 Shortstops

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Is there a position with as much talent on the horizon as shortstop?  You could easily argue that the top three names are among the ten best prospects in all of baseball, with numerous other guys who could emerge as upper echelon prospects before long.  How do we rank them?  Let’s take a look:

1. Carlos Correa – Houston Astros
ETA – 2016
Correa is arguably the top prospect in the game, proving those who doubted him as the #1 overall pick in 2012 wrong.  A broken leg ended his 2014 season prematurely, but he was hitting .325 with 6 HR and 20 SB over 249 AB at High-A before going down.  Even better was his impressive strikeout (15.4%) and walk (12.3%) rates, while also having the potential for more power to develop.

2. Addison Russell – Chicago Cubs
ETA – 2015
He was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to Oakland and owns a minor career slash of .299/.379/.523.  The big question isn’t his abilities, but where he will fit for the Cubs given their impressive depth at shortstop (Starlin Castro and Javier Baez are also in the mix). Read more

Prospect Report: Could Daniel Norris Emerge As The Best Young Blue Jays Starter?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

\When we think of young Blue Jays’ pitchers Marcus Stroman is obviously the first name that comes to mind. Second? Given what he showe last season and potential to be a dominant closer, Aaron Sanchez is likely second.

Sure Daniel Norris reached the Majors in 2014, but he made little impact. That said, is there a chance that he’s actually the best of the bunch? The 2011 second round pick spent time at three minor league stops, compiling an 11.77 K/9 and 3.10 BB/9 over 124.2 IP.

The success isn’t surprisimg. Just look at what some are saying about his stuff:

“The arsenal has a chance to be special with a fastball that sits 91-93 MPH with plenty of 4’s and 5’s when he needs it. The fastball plays up a grade as he gets nice downward plane and a lot of late movement given his long stride and extension to the plate. His secondary pitches can miss a ton of bats. He has a double-barrel slider/change-up combination that jump up on hitters, partially because of the movement he gets but also through his deceptive delivery. Both grade out to be above-average if not future plus offerings. He also throws a show me curve ball that over time could be an extremely useful pitch.” — Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 Read more

2015 Prospect Rankings: Top 10 Third Basemen

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Remember when third base was viewed as a weak position? Remember when there appeared to be few options for fantasy owners to turn to? That’s no longer the case and there is even more talent on the horizon. Who are the best third base prospects in the minors? Let’s take a look:

(We are releasing these rankings live, so make sure to keep refreshing the page to see the latest)

1. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
ETA – 2015
We all know about the power he possesses and there is no question that he’s going to make an impact. The strikeout total cannot just be overlooked, however, with a 28.6% mark at Triple-A (which will help to limit his average potential). Of course, players who can launch 40+ HR while chipping in double-digit stolen bases simply don’t grow on trees.

2. Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins
ETA – Mid-2015/2016
If he hadn’t missed all of 2014, would he be pushing Bryant for the top spot? Would he already be in the Majors? There are questions now, especially considering the strikeout potential that was already in his game (29.3% over 276 PA at Double-A in 2014). Still, there is no questioning his overall potential. Read more