Let’s kick off our Prospect Tracker by looking at the early production of a dozen prospects. Have they excelled? Will they soon be pushing for a roster spot? Let’s take a look (remember, who we look at will rotate on a weekly basis, so check back every Friday for the latest):
Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians – Catcher
He got off to a red-hot start, hitting .364 with 4 HR, 14 RBI and 9 R at Triple-A. After bruising his knee, he’s missed the past few games, but that shouldn’t be enough to damper the expectations. With Lou Marson hitting .080 with 0 RBI, it would appear that it is only a matter of time before his presence is felt in the Major Leagues. Even those in one-catcher formats need to take notice, as he has the potential to be a Top 10 catcher this year. (For more on Santana, read my preseason article on him by clicking here).
Dustin Ackley – Seattle Mariners – First Base
He has started extremely slowly at Double-A, hitting .143 with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R and 2 SB through Wednesday. He hasn’t scored a run in a week. Both of his RBI came in one game. He doesn’t have a stolen base in his last 10. He was a long shot to make an impact at the Major Leagues in 2010 to begin with, and this type of start just makes it seem like he’s even further away. He has the potential to get hot and make a statement, but for now he should only be on the radar of deep keeper leaguers.
Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates – Third Base
The Pirates have gotten little-to-no production from their 3B this season (Delwyn Young leads the way hitting .233 with 4 RBI), turning everyone’s attention to one of the prime prospects in the game. Alvarez hasn’t been stellar at Triple-A, hitting .255, but he does have 4 HR and 12 RBI in his first 55 AB. His BABIP is .270, so there definitely is room for improvement in the luck department for improvement, so I wouldn’t get too concerned there. He’s likely just one hot streak away from getting a taste of the big leagues, especially given the struggles of the Pirates. A 20-0 loss? They certainly need some positive press and giving Alvarez a chance may be the best way to do it.
Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays – Pitcher
Lights out. That’s the only way to explain his first three Triple-A starts in 2010, isn’t it? He’s currently 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 21 Ks over his first 19 innings of work. He’s walked just three batters, one per start. I could go on and on with superlatives praising him (though, you do need to mention that he’s been a bit lucky with a .234 BABIP), but what’s the point? He just needs the opportunity and he will be in the Rays rotation. Stash him now if you are in need of help, though be careful given the division he’ll call home. (For more on Hellickson, read my preseason article on him by clicking here).
Dee Gordon – Los Angeles Dodgers – Shortstop
The resurgence of Rafael Furcal likely means that Gordon won’t be given an opportunity to make an impact in 2010. Still, the 22-year old has been impressive in the early going at Double-A. He’s hitting .313 with 0 HR, 3 RBI, 7 R and 3 SB in 48 AB. Granted, you’d like to see more stolen bases if he’s not going to hit for power, but he did swipe 73 last season, so you know it’s just a matter of time. He’s a good player to stash in all long-term keeper formats, but he’s clearly still adjusting to his first taste of the upper levels.
Anthony Slama – Minnesota Twins – Pitcher
When Joe Nathan went down, there was a lot of talk that Slama could be a dark horse option to fill the role. He hasn’t gotten that opportunity, but he has been incredibly impressive at Triple-A with a 2.00 ERA and 14 Ks over his first seven appearances (nine innings). If Jon Rauch were to struggle, he could still get a look, so keep a close eye on him.
Peter Bourjos – Los Angeles Angels – Outfielder
He’s a speed demon, despite his one stolen base in his first 49 AB at Triple-A in ’10. Want proof? He already has five triples. Enough said? The Angels don’t have a triple yet this season. They have no player with more than two stolen bases. If an injury opens an opportunity, he could be the sparkplug that the team sorely needs without Chone Figgins atop the order. If you are in need of stolen bases, keep his name in mind because it is just a matter of time.
Martin Perez – Texas Rangers – Pitcher
The lefty is at Double-A and is sporting a 2.08 ERA over his first two starts, but I wouldn’t get too excited quite yet. He clearly hasn’t been stretched out, going just 8.2 innings (4.2 in his first start and 4.0 in his second). That tells me temper my expectations. He is just 19-years old, so you have to expect the team to move him along slowly and protect his arm. The only way I see him making a major league impact is in the bullpen, but he clearly is one of the best prospects in the game, so we will keep a close watch on him all year long. (For more on Perez, view my preseason article by clicking here)
Alex Liddi – Seattle Mariners – Third Base
He was tremendous last season (.345, 23 HR, 104 RBI at Single-A), but he clearly has not yet gotten into a grove at Double-A. He’s hitting just .250 with 2 HR and 8 RBI through 44 AB. He strikes out a ton (already 14 Ks in 12 games), which is a huge red flag when it comes to his average (last season he had 122 Ks). Unless he is able to get that in order, he’s likely to struggle as he continues to move up the ranks.
Daniel Hudson – Chicago White Sox – Pitcher
I was high on him heading into the season (click here for my in-depth article) and so far he has been solid at Triple-A, though it’s an extremely small sample. He’s 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA, though he did give up 3 ER in 5.1 innings in his last start, so the overall number is a little deceiving. The biggest issue is how left-handed hitters have handled him thus far, hitting .292. While he has a groundball rate of 69.2% against right-handed hitters, lefties have produced a 26.7%. That is a huge concern, and unless he gets that corrected he’s going to have issues in the major leagues. Still, with Freddy Garcia the only thing standing in his way, he’ll likely get a shot at some point.
Brett Wallace – Toronto Blue Jays – Third Base
The power, which was a question, has been there in his first 13 games. Of course, he plays in the Pacific Coast League, so his five home runs should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt. I was nervous about him prior to the season (click here to view the article), and he has done little to dissuade me. He’s still striking out too much (26.1% early on). He’s still not driving in runs. The power can’t be taken too seriously. He needs to do a lot more to change my mind.
Jesus Montero – New York Yankees – Catcher
He’s one of the premier catching prospects in the league and at just 21-years old, has certainly held his own at Triple-A. In his first 44 AB he’s hitting .295 with 2 HR, 9 RBI and 4 R. Of course, the presence of Jorge Posada limits his opportunity, but an injury will mean a look. More likely, he’ll be a viable fantasy option in 2011, but keep a close eye just in case.
What are your thoughts on these prospects? Who is the most likely to make an impact in 2010? Which are you highest on?
For more looks at prospects, you can check out the following articles:
- Dustin Ackley
- Yonder Alonso
- J.P. Arencibia
- Jake Arrieta
- Phillippe Aumont
- Josh Bell
- Jason Castro
- Starlin Castro
- Allen Craig
- Aaron Crow
- Kyle Drabek
- Todd Frazier
- Christian Friedrich
- Jeremy Hellickson
- Daniel Hudson
- Jay Jackson
- Desmond Jennings
- Mike Leake
- Martin Perez
- Buster Posey
- Gaby Sanchez
- Carlos Santana
- Michael Saunders
- Anthony Slama
- Brett Wallace