Prospect Tracker: Bryce Harper & Collin Cowgill

Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals – Outfielder
Single-A (through June 18): .330 (75-227), 14 HR, 45 RBI, 44 R, 13 SB
His average has fallen since we last checked in on him (he was hitting .396 through May 11), but could you really expect him to maintain that forever?  We actually caught him when he was simply scorching hot, as he has been extremely consistent since the start of the season:

  • April (69 AB) – .333, 6 HR, 19 RBI
  • May (112 AB) – .330, 5 HR, 17 RBI
  • June (46 AB) – .326, 3 HR, 9 RBI

Sure, he hasn’t homered in 8 games (in fact, his only extra base hit in his past 8 games is a triple), but are we really going to split that hair?  He has been consistently good, especially amid all of the hype surrounding his arrival.

That’s not to say that everything is rosy.  In 227 AB he has struck out 55 times, a 24.23% strikeout rate.  Obviously he is still growing and maturing, so you don’t want to read too much into it, but it is something to watch (it’s not that he doesn’t understand the strike zone, with a walk rate of 14.02%).  As he moves up to the higher levels, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the number increase even more, meaning his average will likely slip (as it is, his .330 has come courtesy of a .386 BABIP) unless he can make an adjustment.  That, of course, is extremely possible.

Collin Cowgill – Arizona Diamondbacks – Outfielder
Triple-A (through June 18): .364 (96-264), 12 HR, 45 RBI, 63 R, 22 SB
Paul Goldschmidt has gotten most of the attention for Diamondbacks prospects, but let’s not overlook Cowgill, a 25-year old outfielder currently playing at Triple-A.  He’s been especially hot as of late, hitting .351 with 1 HR, 5 RBI, 11 R and 4 SB in his past 10 games.  Before we get too excited, however, you have to wonder how much of his success is based on playing in the Pacific Coast League.

He has never shown this type of power before, hitting 16 HR in 502 AB at Double-A last season, the first time in his career that he has had more than 280 AB.  He did hit 34 doubles and 4 triples, so maybe there is a little bit of an increase, but at 5’9”, 185 lbs., I wouldn’t anticipate him being able to maintain this type of power.

Obviously, the PCL has no impact on his stolen bases, and he has been running all over the place.  He has been caught just twice and already has 15 doubles and 5 triples.  He only stole 25 bases in 34 attempts in 2010, and Baseball America, who ranked him as the team’s 18th best prospect prior to the season said:

“Cowgill also is a slightly above-average runner and an instinctive basestealer.”

They also said that he “profiles better as a versatile fourth outfielder”, though he certainly has outperformed that statement thus for in 2011.  However, it also tells you to keep your expectations in check.  He doesn’t have the best speed and the power is buoyed by where he’s playing. 

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Tracker by clicking here.

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