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 two prospects who are quickly rising and try to determine if they could make an impact this season or not:
Brady Singer – Kansas City Royals
The Royals own the second worst team ERA entering play on Tuesday, with a 5.25 mark (one of seven teams above 5.00), and among the five starters to make at least six starts four of them have ERA of 4.43 or higher:
- Brad Keller – 4.43 ERA (11 starts)
- Jacob Junis – 5.58 ERA (11 starts)
- Homer Bailey – 6.13 ERA (10 starts)
- Jorge Lopez – 6.79 ERA (10 starts)
There’s obviously a need, and with the 22-year old Singer (he’ll turn 23 in August) reportedly being promoted to Double-A you have to wonder if he could make an impact this season. Drafted in the first round of 2018 (18th overall), he dominated High-A to the tune of a 1.87 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 57.2 IP while showing all of the skills we look for (53 K, 13 BB, 2.06 GO/AO).
He was deemed to be near MLB ready at the time of the draft, with the question being about his changeup and if it would develop into a viable third pitch. Here’s how Baseball America described his arsenal prior to the season:
His fastball sat 91-94 mph, which was close to his college velocity, with good movement down in the zone. His lower arm slot helps him get plenty of run on his fastball. He has good feel for his sharp slider, which comes in around 83 mph. He didn’t have to use a changeup much in college and the pitch still is inconsistent for him. Singer has yet to become comfortable throwing it frequently, but it has potential to give him another above-average offspeed weapon.
Maybe going all the way to the Majors this season is a stretch, especially due to 40-man roster management on a team that isn’t going anywhere. That said he belongs on your radars as he has the potential to make an impact.
Stock – Rising (though it’s unlikely he makes an impact in ’19)
Isan Diaz – Miami Marlins
Starlin Castro appears to be done, or at least a complete non-factor, as he’s hitting .227 with 3 HR and 1 SB over 198 AB. That said there could be help on the horizon, with Diaz appearing close to being ready to contribute at the highest level. Already on the 40-man roster, he’s raking at Triple-A hitting .268 with 10 HR over 179 AB.
Even more important has been his ability to continue to show a strong approach despite playing at the highest level:
- 2018 – 27.4% strikeout rate, 9.8% SwStr%
- 2019 – 21.2% strikeout rate, 10.6% SwStr%
The 2019 numbers were entering play on Sunday, and he also has been able to compliment them with an ability to take a walk (11.8%). The surface numbers are closer to what we’d expect, and there’s no question that there’s some power potential. While he’s coming off a poor year in ’18 (.232 with 13 HR), the upside was always greater than that. He’s getting close, and the impact could be there before long.
Stock – Rising (and he could be up very soon)
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America