Top 10 Prospects (2018): New York Mets: Is There Value To Be Found In A Depleted System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A strong Mets farm system has taken a significant hit in recent years, whether it was due to trades in order to supplement a playoff push or recent graduations of some of their elite prospects (i.e. Ahmed Rosario and Dominic Smith).  It has led to fewer top level options being present, but don’t take that to mean that they are void of talent altogether.  There are some intriguing names developing, so let’s take a look at how the system currently shakes out:

 

1) David Peterson – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

The Mets’ 2017 first round pick (20th overall) has the size that teams look for, listed at 6’6” and 240 lbs.  He may not be your 100 mph flame thrower, but reports are that he saw an uptick in velocity and brings a four pitch mix to the table. Read more

Meet Mitch Keller: The Elite Prospect You May Not Know, But You Should

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Pirates’ Mitch Keller has quietly been emerging as one of the top pitching prospects in the game, though after 2017 the secret is probably out of the bag.  Primarily pitching between High-A and Double-A he had the full skill set on display at each level amassing all of the numbers we look for:

LevelInningsERAWHIPStrikeout RateWalk RateGroundball Rate
High-A77.13.141.007.452.3353.1%
Double-A34.23.121.0411.682.8648.1%

He owns a minor league career 9.5 K/9, so don’t be deceived by the High-A mark on it’s own.  He has the stuff to continue striking out over a batter per inning, coupled with an ability to generate groundballs (1.31 GO/AO over his minor league career) and fill the strike zone (2.5 BB/9 in the minors). Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Miami Marlins: Is There Any Potential Upside To Be Found?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Marlins were already considered to own one of the worst farm systems in baseball, yet they still thought it was a prudent decision to trade Luis Castillo prior to ’17.  How does that look today?  If he were still part of the system he would be the clear top rated prospect, but instead they are left with significant questions and a potential lack of upside.  Health concerns have definitely helped push things down, and maybe things look different a year from now, but we are where we are.  Let’s take a look at one of the most underwhelming systems in the league:

 

1) Trevor Rogers – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

Rogers takes the top spot, though basically by default.  The 2017 first round pick (13th overall) has not yet thrown a professional pitch and there are questions about his pure stuff.  Reports have his fastball sitting in the low 90s and his secondary stuff is still developing.  He does have the size (6’6”), some deception and is a southpaw, and that’s all going to give him an opportunity.  He could develop into a solid MLB starter, but a future ace is not a label we’d be willing to give. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Atlanta Braves: An Enviable Depth Of Riches

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While there is some controversy hanging over Atlanta, there is little doubt that they own one of the elite farm systems in the game.  While no one is going to question who the top prospect is, after Ronald Acuna you could argue the order for the next 12-15 names.  Who do we view as good enough to include on this list?  Who are the best of the best?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Ronald Acuna – Outfielder
Grade – A
ETA – 2018

It was a meteoric rise for Acuna, as he nearly forced a promotion to the Majors as a 19-year old.  Playing across three levels of the minors he thrived at each one:

  • High-A – .287 (33-115), 3 HR, 19 RBI, 21 R, 14 SB
  • Double-A – .326 (72-221), 9 HR, 30 RBI, 29 R, 19 SB
  • Triple-A – .344 (76-221), 9 HR, 33 RBI, 38 R, 11 SB

Read more

Is The Cubs’ Adbert Alzolay A Prospect On The Rise? Don’t Be So Quick…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Cubs have sold a lot of their assets (as well as graduated a few others) over the past few seasons, as they built a World Series champion and have an eye towards a second.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that the cupboard is barren, though the names may not be well known.  One example is right-handed pitcher Adbert Alzolay, who has no name recognition but may be the team’s top prospect.

Alzolay isn’t a new name, having signed out of Venezuela in 2012, but he’s now coming off a career year:

  • High-A (81.2 IP) – 2.98 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.60 K/9, 2.42 BB/9
  • Double-A (32.2 IP) – 3.03 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.27 K/9, 3.31 BB/9

It was a nice step forward in his strikeout rate (7.7 K/9 over his minor league career), though he continued to show strong control (2.3 BB/9).  There’s a lot to like, with a fastball that MLB.com described as: Read more

Post-Hype Prospect: Is It Time To Believe In Tyler O’Neill?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It had looked like Tyler O’Neill was going to be a bit of a washout, hitting .174 in April and totaling 5 HR over the first two months of the season.  He had started showing signs prior to being traded to St. Louis (in exchange for Marco Gonzales), and at the end of the day the numbers were right around where we’d have expected:

.246 (122-495), 31 HR, 95 RBI, 77 R, 14 SB

Obviously everyone likes to see the power and speed combination, with the batting average being the red flag.  After posting a 26.1% strikeout rate at Double-A in ’16 the fear was that it would balloon even further upon reaching Triple-A.  However he was able to keep it in check, regardless of which affiliate he was playing for:

  • Mariners (396 PA) – 27.3%
  • Cardinals (161 PA) – 26.7%

Read more

Prospect Stock Drop: Cody Sedlock: Has He Already Earned A “Bust” Label?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Orioles’ farm system was not highly touted entering the season, though they did see a few prospects take a step forward and emerge. However they also had one extremely disappointment in RHP Cody Sedlock, who was the team’s first round draft pick in 2016 and our preseason #1 for the system (B+ grade). At the time we said:

“The team’s first round pick this past year, he only tossed 27.0 innings in the minors this season and it will be interesting to see how quickly the team builds up his workload after operating as a reliever in college early in his career. The big question that came about in his first taste of professional baseball is his control (13 BB), as he demonstrated strikeouts (25) and groundball stuff (2.00 GO/AO). Obviously it was an extremely small sample size, though as we said that’s part of the problem.

He has the repertoire and size (6’3”) to make it as a starter, though there are obvious questions (and that doesn’t even mention the team’s history of injuries among their starting pitcher prospects).”

While it was fair to have some concerns, no one could’ve expected him to be as bad as he was at High-A. Pitching to a 5.90 ERA and 1.72 WHIP over 90.0 innings, the underlying marks didn’t offer much hope: Read more

Breakout or Mirage: Why The Marlins’ Merandy Gonzalez’s “Breakout” May Not Be For Real

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a bit of a surprise when the New York Mets shipped a pair of prospects to the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline.  Obviously it was a move made with 2018 in mind, as they secured A.J. Ramos who should be a key part of their bullpen.  However it’s the Marlins, who needed help to bolster a lackluster farm system, who could walk away as the winners of the deal.  One of the players they acquired was right-handed pitcher Merandy Gonzalez, and in the short-term the results have been promising as he’s split time pitching for three different teams in ’17:

130.1 IP, 1.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 7.11 K/9, 1.80 BB/9

The numbers are obviously impressive, though is there really enough here to be buying?  The control looks elite, but MLB.com’s scouting report helps to show that throwing strikes isn’t the only part of control:

“While he’s generally around the strike zone, he does leave balls in the middle of the plate at times. With good athleticism and a repeatable delivery, his command should improve over time.” Read more

2017 Breakout Prospect: Is The Diamondbacks’ Jon Duplantier For Real?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When the Diamondbacks selected Jon Duplantier in the third round of the 2016 draft it would’ve been hard to envision him developing as he has.  Splitting time between Single-A and High-A the 23-year old righty was dominant as the accolades are already starting to be bestowed upon him.  The newly dubbed MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year shined at both levels that he played:

  • Single-A – 72.2 IP, 1.24 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 9.66 K/9, 1.86 BB/9, 50.0% GB%
  • High-A – 63.1 IP, 1.56 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12.36 K/9, 3.84 BB/9, 51.9% GB%

Those are eye-popping marks, but we also can’t get cloudy eyes and ignore the potential negatives.  Let’s take a look at both the good and the bad:

 

The Stuff (as per MLB.com):
Duplantier is athletic and physical, with the repertoire to succeed in a rotation. He can throw his sinking fastball in the 91-96 mph range with excellent extension, making it appear to get on hitters more quickly. He has a power curve that flashes plus when he stays on top of it. When he doesn’t, it gets slurvy. He also shows a good feel for a changeup. Read more

Prospect Breakout: Just How Good Is The Newly Recalled Austin Hays?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A 2016 third round pick, Austin Hays has seen a meteoric rise.  It was nearly impossible to see this coming, as the 22-year old evenly split time between High-A and Double-A this season and thrived at each step of the way.  Now comes a surprising promotion to the Majors, and the question is whether or not he’s going to get an opportunity to make an impact.  Plus, if that opportunity does come can he continue to rake?  Let’s take a look and get to know him a bit better:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Unranked (Preseason)

Hiss – Right-Handed

Age – 22

2017 Statistics:
High-A – .328 (86-262), 16 HR, 41 RBI, 42 R, 4 SB
Double-A – .330 (86-261), 16 HR, 54 RBI, 30 R, 1 SB

What Others Have Said:
Hays makes the ball jump off his bat with above-average bat speed and a short, handsy swing from the right side of the plate. Hays doesn’t waste a lot of motion and has shown the ability to drive the ball across the whole field. Scouts believe he’ll develop into an above-average hitter with similar power, and he’s shown plenty of over-the-fence thump across two levels in his first full season. Read more