Archive for Prospects

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 22, 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) Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers – Outfielder (4)
In his first three games since coming off the DL Pederson is trying to prove that he needs to be brought to the Majors immediately.  All he’s done is go 4-10 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R and 4 SB, so basically just another ho hum performance.  He’s only struck out twice, while walking four times as well.  Obviously the strikeouts are the biggest concern with him, at 28.1% for the season (though he’s at 23.5% in 34 PA in July), as there is no questioning his ability to both hit for power and steal bases.

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Dynastic Direction: Three Catching Propects: Swihart, Coulter & Murphy

by Ivar G. Anderson

No rest for the dynasty owner, even during the All-Star break shortened fantasy week, as it’s time to look at some backstops working their way up the ladder of the minor leagues. One of these players may be on a MLB team by the time 2015 arrives, but a little longer development time is probably in store for all three of the catchers profiled below.

 

Blake Swihart BOS C (Double-A Portland Sea Dogs/Eastern League) When the Red Sox unceremoniously let A.J. Pierzynski go and promoted Christian Vazquez from Triple-A Pawtucket, it was thought that Swihart would move up a rung. Not so fast, says Boston GM Ben Cherington. The current thought is to let the Double-A Eastern League All-Star continue to develop where he is currently stationed. He is still learning the position, having been primarily a third baseman in high school. In fact, if Vazquez works out to be the Red Sox catcher of the future Swihart may find himself moved back to the hot corner.

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MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 15, 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) Andrew Heaney – Miami Marlins – Starting Pitcher (4)
There’s a good chance he’s going to return to the Majors after the All-Star Break, as the Marlins have been operating with four starters since his demotion.  While he struggled in his first taste of the Majors, we all know there’s often a learning curve with young pitchers and having to face more advanced hitters.

Heaney displayed solid control (2.61 BB/9) and enough groundballs (47.0%) in four starts, though he failed to generate strikeouts (5.66 K/9).  An 8.7% SwStr% indicates more upside there, as does an 8.95 K/9 in the minors.  While the groundballs may not be quite up to the level he’s shown thus far (42.6% in the minors) an improved strikeout rate, continued control and a favorably home ballpark hardly makes that potential “regression” a concern.

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Dynastic Direction: Three Single-A Outfielders: Bell, Tapia & Williams

by Ivar G. Anderson

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at some outfield prospects. This week, our focus is on three young players at the Single-A level.

 

Josh Bell OF PIT (High-A Bradenton Marauders/Florida State League) A 21-year-old switch hitter, Bell has shown power potential that excites the Pirates. He has stroked nine homers this season in 320 at bats, as well as 20 doubles (and three triples). He hit 13 home runs in 459 AB in 2013 with 37 doubles tossed in, so it is easy to see that he can pound the baseball.

Both his contact and strikeout rates have improved with the move to High-A ball, although his walk rate has dropped at the same time so he needs to work on his batting eye a bit. Most of his 2012 season was lost to a knee injury and his speed has been affected by the recovery process, sitting now at only average. As he recovers strength in his knee, and barring any setbacks it is possible that some of his fleetness will return, but most likely not enough to let him become anything more than a corner outfielder (probably based in left due to the lack of a dynamic arm).

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Quick Hit: Christian Vazquez Starting For Red Sox Tonight, But Is There Fantasy Appeal?


Thoughts:
It’s obvious that the Red Sox are starting to look past 2014, with this being the first of likely many moves (if rumors or true, a trade of Jake Peavy or John Lackey may not be far behind).  It also means that struggling youngsters like Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts should get a longer leash, as the results may not be seen as quite as important.

In regards to Vazquez, he is much better known for his defense than his offense.  At Triple-A this season he was hitting .279 with 3 HR, 20 RBI, 35 R and 0 SB over 244 AB.  While he did hit 18 HR at Single-A back in ’11, he has a total of 15 HR since.  This year he also owns a 51.5% groundball rate, limiting any potential. It clearly appears that ’11 was the aberration.

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MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 Prospects On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 8, 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) Jimmy Nelson – Milwaukee Brewers – Starting Pitcher (1)
It was just another solid performance from Nelson his last time out on July 2, tossing 6.2 shutout innings allowing 4 H and 1 BB, striking out 5.  That pushes his season numbers to a 1.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.52 K/9, 2.60 BB/9 and 56.7% groundball rate.  How much more does he really need to prove?

The Brewers have continued to give Marco Estrada opportunities to right the ship, and he has done better with 4 ER over 12.1 IP in his past two starts.  How many more chances are they really going to give him, though?  It may just take one more implosion, especially if it’s soon, for a change to be made.

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