If you purchased the 2012 Rotoprofessor Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, you got my Top 5 prospects for 2012 for each team. Unlike most other prospect lists, this was geared towards the plays who were most likely to make an impact just for this season.
With the minor league year behind us and the MLB season quickly coming to a close, let’s continue to take a look back at each team and see how every prospect fared:
1) Ryan Lavarnway – Catcher
Minor Leagues – .295, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 52 R, 1 SB, 319 AB (Triple-A)
Major Leagues – .157, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R, 0 SB, 153 AB
There have always been questions about his ability to stick behind the plate, but there wasn’t supposed to be questions about his bat. While there was some poor luck surrounding his Major League performance (.196 BABIP), he failed to hit the ball with authority (13.2% line drive rate) and also wasn’t overly impressive at Triple-A.
That’s not to say that he should be written off, because he shouldn’t be. There is no questioning his power potential and he was a .286 hitter in the minor leagues (courtesy of a realistic .326 BABIP). Depending on what happens with David Ortiz and/or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway should have a role with the Major League team in 2013. With his potential, that is really all fantasy owners should need to know.
Granted, 2012 was a disappointment but I would expect much better things come 2013.
2) Will Middlebrooks – Third Baseman
Minor Leagues – .333, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 18 R, 3 SB, 93 AB (Triple-A)
Major Leagues – .288, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 34 R, 4 SB, 267 AB
It was a tremendous rookie campaign for Middlebrooks, which we will discuss in great detail over the coming weeks. You have to wonder if his explosion onto the Major League scene (which helped to expedite the departure of Kevin Youkilis) will cause him to be significantly overvalued entering 2013.
Is he going to be a good player? Absolutely, but the fact is that he isn’t this good and there are a few indicators that have to have us worried. First is his HR/FB, which was 21.4%. While Fenway Park could help, seeing him regress is a very real possibility. It becomes even more concerning when we take into account that his season was ended by a wrist injury.
Second is his eye at the plate. He posted a 24.5% strikeout rate vs. a 4.5% walk rate. That is potentially concerning, because it could mean an issue in the average department. If opposing pitchers know they don’t have to throw him strikes, they simply aren’t going to.
As I said, we’ll go into much more detail, but consider his 2012 a success (if we were re-ranking today he would have been atop this list, obviously). However, there is a lot of room for regression and for him to be overvalued entering the season.
3) Jose Iglesias – Shortstop
Minor Leagues – .269, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 47 R, 13 SB, 361 AB (Single-A/Triple-A)
Major Leagues – .118, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 5 R, 1 SB, 68 AB
Is he going to be Rey Ordonez v2.0? He had a decent season in the minors, but it is becoming clear that his ticket to a professional career is a little bit of speed and a very good glove. From a fantasy perspective, does that really hold value?
The fact that he spent a decent amount of time in the Majors in ’12 is a good thing, from an experience perspective. However, it is hard to imagine them utilizing a bat that is this unproductive.
4) Felix Doubront – Starting Pitcher
Major Leagues – 11-10, 4.86 ERA, 167 K, 71 BB, 161.0 IP
He spent the entire season in the Red Sox rotation, justifying his place on these rankings. However, the results were not impressive (especially when you take into account his 1.45 WHIP). However, showing a potential to strikeout a batter per inning, there is definitely hope for an improvement.
He could easily better his BABIP (.312) and strand rate (70.0%), which obviously would lead to better numbers across the board. He also lost his control after the All-Star Break (36 BB in 65.0 innings), something that is not indicative of what he showed in the minor leagues. Over his minor league career he posted a 3.00 BB/9, including a 3.52 mark at Triple-A and 3.67 mark at Double-A.
In other words, while pitching in the AL East makes him a risky option, as a matchup play he could hold value.
5) Juan Carlos Linares – Outfielder
Minor Leagues – .316, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 58 R, 0 SB, 412 AB (Double-A/Triple-A)
He spent a little time at Triple-A in 2011, which is why he found his way onto this list. However, it was a longshot that he ever made an impact in ’12.
Things look a lot better for 2013, however, especially as the Red Sox are in the process of rebuilding. He had 28 doubles and 2 triples, showing that there is plenty of power upside in his bat. He also made good contact, striking out just 66 times. While we’d like to see a few more walks (29), especially at Triple-A (3.2%), there is more than enough here to consider him a lock to repeat his spot on this list in 2013.
Make sure to check out our previous Prospect Reviews: