The Arizona Fall League is a chance for some of the brightest prospects to square off and show their ability. Let’s take a look at some of the early shiners and their potential outlook both in 2013 and long-term:
Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs – Shortstop
.280, 2 Hr, 9 RBI, 2 R, 0 SB in 25 AB
He has added two doubles, but he also has struck out 8 times and not drawn a walk. The latter numbers we’re not indicative of what he showed in the minor leagues this season (69 K in 293 AB), and the level of competition could be a good reason why. At just 19-years old he is still a few years away from making an impact, as the Cubs have no reason to rush him to the Majors. That said, the 4 extra base hits (as well as some speed that he hasn’t shown off yet), gives us an idea about his potential. It will be very interesting to see how he adjusts throughout the AFL season, but long-term he has tremendous upside.
Chris McGuinness – Texas Rangers – First Baseman
.360, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 0 SB in 25 AB
He also has added two doubles while striking out 5 times and walking twice. He hit 23 HR in 456 AB at Double-A this season, but also struck out 107 times (though he did draw 69 walks). The contact is the biggest question and, if he can continue at the pace he has shown early on in the AFL, he could really improve his stock. However if the strikeouts start to mount, the questions about his potential will go with it. As it is what the Rangers do this offseason will determine if he has any potential to make an impact in 2012. He is on the prospect periphery and is definitely worth monitoring to see if he puts himself on the map.
Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners – Catcher
.278, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 0 SB in 18 AB
It’s a small sample size for the third overall selection in the 2012 draft, but the 21- year old has shown he can hit and could be on the fast track to Seattle. He has not appeared to be over matched (4 K) and has added a double and two triples. At this point, is it impossible to think he could debut in 2013? We will to continue to monitor his progress, but it certainly isn’t out of the question (despite the Mariners having depth at the position).
Rymer Liriano – San Diego Padres – Outfielder
.375, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R, 3 SB in 24 AB
A well regarded prospect, there are some serious concerns over his ability to make consistent contact (119 K over 465 AB in 2012). It’s a small sample, but it is nice to see him having whiffed just 5 times thus far in the AFL. He does have power upside (despite hitting just 8 HR, as he had 32 doubles and 4 triples in ’12), and has 2 doubles to go along with his home run. He also has speed, with 32 SB this season. The question is going to be if he can adjust his approach and make consistent contact. If he can continue what he’s done thus for in the AFL, he has a ton of potential and could reach San Diego at some point in 2013.
What do you think of these prospects? Who else are you watching closely?