The Arizona Fall League generally gives us a little bit more information regarding some promising prospects. While there will be some names that are going to surprise us, over the next few weeks I am going to look at some of the prospects I will be paying closer attention to since they could make an impact as soon as 2013 (and a strong showing will definitely help get them there).
Let’s kick things off with a look at the infielders:
Nick Franklin – Shortstop – Seattle Mariners
Franklin was a player many thought could reach the Majors in 2012, especially after showing 20/20 ability in 2010 and getting off to a good start in 2012 at Double-A (.322, 4HR, 9 SB in 205 AB). He struggled at Triple-A, however, and you have to start to wonder if 2010 was more of an aberration than anything. A good showing would definitely help his status, especially after he didn’t perform well in the AFL a year ago (.258, 2 HR, 1 SB). The promise is still there, but unless he starts to give us an indication that he is going to realize it, he is going to start sliding out of relevancy.
Kolten Wong – Second Baseman – St. Louis Cardinals
He as a real chance to win the Cardinals starting job in 2013, or at least make his debut at some point. He was strong at Double-A this season, hitting .287 with 21 SB. While there isn’t much power (9 HR and 38 total extra base hits), there is a lot of potential in his bat. A left-handed hitter, he actually posted a .281 average in 146 AB against southpaws. That’s a very impressive number, especially from a 21-year old who was drafted in 2011. He has the ability to develop into a solid middle infield option, at the least, all he needs to do is improve on his BABIP (.318). Having shown more power in his 2011 debut, a strong showing in the AFL is definitely going to thrust him onto radars.
Anthony Rendon – Third Baseman – Washington Nationals
Limited to just 133 AB in 2012, this will be our first real look at the #6 pick of the 2011 draft. Is he going to back up the hype? Is he going to struggle? Time will tell, but it is going to be interesting to watch.
Tim Beckham – Shortstop – Tampa Bay Rays
Drafted first overall in 2008, Beckham continued his disappointing career in 2012. He spent his time at Triple-A, but a 50 game suspension for a positive drug test (not performance enhancing drugs) limited his time on the field. Is this his last chance to prove himself? Who knows, but even if he thrives it will take more to get him into the Rays mix. Still, it would at least be a step in the right direction and, after seeing time at Triple-A and the Rays potential need at shortstop, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to get an opportunity.
What are your thoughts of these four players? Who is going to make an impact? Which other infielders are you watching?