We are all always looking for the next big thing, but it’s generally easier said than done. We could think that someone is a can’t miss option, but even the surest prospects have their stumbles. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few prospects who are making some noise and try to determine if they are worth or attention or nothing more than a mirage:
Anthony Kay – New York Mets – Pitcher
According to reports Kay has been promoted to Triple-A, after dominating Double-A for 12 starts (66.1 IP). Over that time he posted an impressive 1.49 ERA and 0.92 WHIP and given the Mets’ lack of depth at the Major League level it’s easy to get excited now that he’s a stones throw from Flushing. At the same time, when you start to look at the “skills” it’s fair to have questions:
- Strikeouts – 9.50 K/9
- Control – 3.12 BB/9
- Groundballs – 35.2%
He has been missing bats (12.9% SwStr%), but what of the other two skills should excite us as he faces more experienced hitters? Home runs haven’t been an issue yet (0.27 HR/9) but you have to think that they soon will be and he owns a minor league career 3.43 BB/9. Maybe he develops and is capable of making an impact, but he needs time. Don’t let the numbers and promotion deceive you, the southpaw’s stock is stagnant and not truly on the rise.
Stock – Stagnant
Mario Feliciano – Milwaukee Brewers – Catcher
Talk about a scorching hot prospect, Feliciano is hitting .281 with 14 HR and 47 RBI over 217 AB this season at High-A, but he’s been even hotter over the first nine games in June (.438 with 5 HR over 32 AB). While a .356 BABIP is the first red flag, it is far overshadowed by the extreme strikeout rate he’s carried (31.3%). That said, we’ve seen a bit of an improvement during this scorching hot stretch:
- April – 32 K in 92 AB
- May – 36 K in 93 AB
- June – 7 K in 32 AB
Overall he’s carried a 19.2% SwStr%, so it’s hard to believe that he’s improved this much so quickly… Or could he have? Prior to the season Baseball America said this:
When healthy, Feliciano projects as an offensive player. He has a smooth swing with good barrel-to-ball ability that generates hard contact to all fields. He has shown a natural feel for hitting at a young age and should hit for average with health and experience.
If he can maintain the improvement in his contact the upside is definitely there, as he’s added 12 doubles and 1 triple. Keep a close eye on him moving forward, as he could emerge as a solid option in all formats.
Stock – Rising (but needs to keep the strikeouts in check)
Other notable performers:
- Nate Pearson – Toronto Blue Jays (RHP) – His push to Double-A has not slowed him down, with a 2.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 24.2 IP. We would still like to see more groundballs (40.7%), but it’s an improvement over his time at High-A (35.1%) and he’s showing tremendous strikeout stuff (10.22 K/9) and control (1.82 BB/9). Stock Rising
- Brent Honeywell – Tampa Bay Rays (RHP) – Obviously the news that he’s going to miss the rest of the season with a fractured right elbow is a concern, but the fact that it come as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery just further impacts the outlook. It’s going to be over two years between professional pitches, whenever he’s ready to return in 2020 (his last appearance was September 3, 2017) and it’s impossible to predict what he will be able to bring to the table. Stock Falling
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America