Prospect Tracker: Lawrie, Ackley & Hellickson

It’s time to check in on three more prospects from around the minor leagues.  Are any of them primed to make an impact in the not too distant future?  Let’s take a look:

Brett Lawrie – Milwaukee Brewers – Second Baseman
Double-A: .300 (92-307), 6 HR, 40 RBI, 48 R, 17 SB
He is one of the premier second base prospects in the game and it likely won’t be long before he forms a dynamic pairing with Alcides Escobar up the middle.  That’s not to say that he doesn’t have things to work on, however.  While the stolen base total is impressive, he’s actually been caught 8 times this season.  Last year at Single-A, he was 19-for-30.  Having the wheels is nice, but being effective is more important.  The 2008 first round pick has been an extra base machine, with 21 doubles and 10 triples to go along with the home runs.  That is tremendous production and leads you to believe that the 20-year old could add some power as he continues to mature (he hit 13 HR in 372 AB last season at Single-A).  He appears to have the potential to be, at a minimum, a 20/20 player, with 30/30 possible as well.  He’s not likely to get a look in 2010, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him reach the big leagues at some point in 2011.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on his progress the rest of the year.

Dustin Ackley – Seattle Mariners – First Baseman
Double-A: .250 (60-240), 2 HR, 24 RBI, 39 R, 8 SB
He’s picked things up a bit, hitting .314 (32-103) since we last checked in on him in late May.  However, the power still has not gotten going, with 1 HR and 3 SB over that span, and he’s actually fallen into a slump once again.  In his last ten games he’s hit just .243 (9-37).  For someone that people had hoped would rise quickly and potentially reach the majors in 2010, he has fallen quite flat.  The potential is there and he should settle down, but this is his first taste of professional baseball (he was the second overall selection in the 2009 draft), so the struggles should not be a huge surprise.  The lefty hasn’t been able to hit southpaws well (.205 average), which is something he’s going to have to improve.  He’s going to have to getting going in the second half or the doubts are going to continue to grow.

Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays – Pitcher
Triple-A: 2.19 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 97 K, 22 BB, 10 W
He would be on a major league roster if he pitched for almost any other organization.  For now, he just has to continue to produce at Triple-A and wait for an opportunity to present itself.  His success has not been entirely luck based, with a BABIP of .313.  He has allowed just 3 HR, which may be a bit of an aberration as it’s not like he has been generating significant groundballs (36.2%).  With a fly ball rate of 38.5%, you could look for a regression there, but that’s about it.  The strikeouts (minor league career K/9 of 9.9) and walks (minor league career BB/9 of 2.0) are extremely for real.  His most impressive statistic, however?  The right-hander has held lefties to a .194 average.  Just keep him stashed, his time is going to come sooner or later in 2010.

What are your thoughts on these three?  Who is going to make an impact in 2010?  Who has the best long-term potential?

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7 comments

  1. M J says:

    Lawrie is an interesting prospect but there are still some concerns as to whether he can handle second base. He seems to have the ability to do so, but I think he eventually moves to a corner outfield or third. None the less, he is a good prospect.

    But outside of Mike Trout who I like a lot, I still say Wil Myers is one of the most promising prospects you have yet to mention. He projects to have some big time power. His plate discipline is already well advanced for such a young age. And he’s a catcher who the Royals will do everything possible to make sure he stays there. Even if he can’t stick behind the plate his bat will play anywhere…..possibly centerfield.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    One note about Lawrie…. He has been moved all over the place, in terms of position, but I am pretty sure that he is going to stick at 2B. Here’s why:

    This is the first year that he has played 2B, and he has had his fair share of errors (he leads the league in them), but management is not shying away from him at this position.

    The Brewers current 2B, Rickie Weeks, has his contract expiring after the 2011 season. And it just so happens that, completely by accident (yeah right), that Lawrie is learning the 2B position. Well this is just too convenient. It appears that Lawrie might be taking over for Mr Weeks fulltime in 2012.

    As far as the Mat Gamel/Casey McGeehee situation goes. One of them is more suited to be a corner OF than Lawrie. So there you have it folks!

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Thanks to both of you for the comments about Lawrie. It certainly will be interesting to see what position he progresses at, but there certainly is something to Nick’s comments about Weeks. On top of that, the team needs to protect itself in case of injury (we all know Weeks’ history).

    And MJ, don’t worry. Myers is joining the mix very, very soon! :)

  4. M J says:

    Thanks Roto.

    Lawrie has moved all over the place (I believe he originally came up as a catcher). He definitely has the athleticism to play all over the field and I do think it is Milwaukee’s hope he will be ready to take over 2B in a few years. That being said, I’m just not sold on him being able to stick. We’ll see though.

  5. Chris B says:

    laawrie is an over hyped prospect. trade him to toronto for some pitc hing so you can get more from feilder this offseason when you trade him.

  6. Nick Tenaglia says:

    How is Lawrie over hyped?

    At 20 years old in AA (not too many players are 20 @ AA), he is hitting:
    .299 Avg in 321 AB
    51 Runs
    .483 Slugging with 21 Doubles and 6 HR
    41 RBI
    22:9 Stolen Bases to Caught Stealing
    30:70 BB to K ratio

    Let’s compare those numbers to other top prospects in the Southern League…
    Lorenzo Cain:
    Age: 24
    .324 Avg in 244 AB
    .434 SLG with 6 2B, 6 3B and 3 HR
    45 Runs and 18 RBI
    21:2 SB to CS ratio
    34:52 BB to K ratio

    Given Cain’s advanced age, these stats are worse than Lawrie’s

    Alex Liddi:
    Age: 22
    .280 Avg on 286 AB
    .451 SLG with 19 2B, 6 3B and 6 HR
    42 Runs and 52 RBI
    3:5 SB to CS ratio
    29:75 BB to K ratio

    Very similar numbers to that of Lawrie, but his BB:K ratio is worse, and he is 2 years older.

    The best Comp that I have seen is Mike Stanton from 2009. In ’09 Stanton got 299 ABs in the Southern League and was 20 years old. Here were his numbers:
    Age: 20
    .231 AVG on 299 AB
    .455 SLG with 15 2B, 2 3B and 16 HR
    49 Runs and 53 RBI
    1:1 SB to CS ratio
    31:99 BB to K ratio

    In 2010 I think we all know how Mike Stanton played in Double-A, incredible.

    What’s more amazing to think about is that in 2009, Stanton was in his 3rd season as a professional, having come up through the GCL and New-York Penn League in ’07, the Sally League in ’08, started ’09 in the FSL and ended ’09 in the Southern. This is only Lawrie’s 2nd season as a pro.

    So when I say to people that he is going to be next year’s Mike Stanton, you can now see why I say that.

  7. MJ says:

    “So when I say to people that he is going to be next year’s Mike Stanton, you can now see why I say that.”

    I like Lawrie, but he doesn’t compare at all to Stanton. They are two completely different types of hitters. Stanton has a ton of raw power and in his prime could end up being the next Ryan Howard (.260 to .270 average, and a lot of homers). Lawrie doesn’t have that type of power but should hit for a better average. I’m not sure exactly who in the majors I would compare him to, but it wouldn’t be Stanton.

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