Archive for Rotoprofessor

Prospect Watch: Could The Royals’ Eric Skoglund Make An Impact In ’17?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A third round pick in 2014, the Royals’ Eric Skoglund put his name on the map in 2016 while pitching at Double-A.  The 24-year old southpaw may not blow you away with any one number, but the sum of the parts looks like it could produce in the Major Leagues:

156.1 Innings
3.45 ERA
1.11 WHIP
134 Strikeouts (7.71 K/9)
38 Walks (2.19 BB/9)
0.97 GO/AO

Standing 6’7” you would think that he’s a flame-thrower who is going to blow people away, though that’s not the case.  Prior to last season MLB.com described his arsenal by saying:

“Though Skoglund lacks a plus offering, his 88-92 mph fastball plays above its velocity because he gets great extension in his delivery. His mid-70s curveball and fading changeup are reliable if not overpowering.” Read more

Breakout Potential: Could The Dodgers’ Keibert Ruiz Emerge As An Elite Prospect?

The Dodgers have plenty of prospects that draw our attention, so it’s easy to overlook an 18-year old catcher who hasn’t played above Rookie Ball. However Keibert Ruiz, signed out of Venzuela, deserves our attention.

He got 222 AB last season, split between two levels of Rookie Ball, hitting .374 in the process. While maintaining that type of mark isn’t feasible, his ability to make consistent contact, at his age, is noteworthy:

  • Arizona League – 11.2%
  • Pioneer League – 10.3%

There is a question regarding his power and if he will develop any after hitting just 2 HR last season. He did add 22 doubles and 3 triples, and he obviously has plenty of time to continue developing physically (he’s listed at 6’0″ and 165 lbs.). Time will tell, but if he can continue to show his strong approach all he will need is to develop into a 10-14 HR type hitter. Especially as a switch-hitter, the value would be there.

MLB.com recently gave a good report on his approach and his power, indicating that there was the potential for him to reach that type of mark:

“Ruiz shows more pop from the left side and a more contact-oriented approach from the right side. He has precocious feel to hit and makes consistent contact rather than trying to do too much. As he gets stronger, he could develop double-digit home run power.”

He should get an opportunity thanks to his defense, which is said to be good already (outside of his arm). As per John Sickels:

“threw out just 20% of runners and arm is just so-so but defense is otherwise extremely good, very reliable and mobile, strong leadership ability”

Obviously he has plenty of time and the Dodgers will have to be patient. This season will be telling towards his development, but even a step back shouldn’t be a significant concern. Keep a close eye on him, as he has the potential to fly up prospect rankings with another strong campaign.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Minor League Ball

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

Prospect to Watch: Could The Reds’ Sal Romano Make An Impact In ’17?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Cincinnati Reds have been trying to stockpile young pitching, with names like Amir Garrett and Luis Castillo garnering a lot of attention.  It’s easy to overlook a former 23rd round draft pick back in 2011, Sal Romano, but he’s starting to open some eyes.

The 23-year old righty has slowly been working his way up the ranks, spending all of 2016 at Double-A.  The results certainly justify our attention:

156.0 IP
3.52 ERA
1.22 WHIP
8.31 K/9
1.96 BB/9
1.17 GO/AO

Over his minor league career he owns a 7.3 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9, so it’s obvious that last season was a significant step in the right direction.  Here’s how MLB.com recently described his repertoire, highlighting the improvements that he’s made: Read more

MLB’s Top 50 Prospects (Preseason 2017 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve broken down the top prospects for each team (click here for the index) and we’ve broken them down by position (click here for the index), so all that’s left to do is throwdown our Top 50 Prospects!  There’s little question regarding who the top prospects around the game are, but how do they rank?

It shouldn’t be surprising that the list is once again dominated by Pitchers, Shortstops and Outfielders, as that is clearly where the talent is focused.  With that said, how do things shake out?  Where do the top prospects at the other positions fit in?  Let’s take a look: Read more

With His Demotion To Triple-A, Is There Reason To Give Up On Dan Vogelbach?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday Greg Johns, via Twitter, reported:

“Mariners option Vogelbach to AAA. Surprising move.”

“Surprisimg” may not be the right word, as Vogelbach was fully expected to share first base duties starting from Opening Day. Instead an extremely poor spring showing, hitting .228 with 1 HR in 57 AB, appears to have cost him that role. While we obviously aren’t about to give up on him, you have to at least wonder…

Vogelbach struggled with strikeouts this spring, with 19 K. That had not been a problem coming up through the minors, showing a good command of the strike zone for two different Triple-A teams in 2016 (strikeout rate // walk rate):

  • Cubs (365 PA) – 18.4% // 15.1%
  • Mariners (198 PA) – 17.2% // 21.2%

Read more

Breakout or Bust: Could Jacob May Seize The White Sox CF Job?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Entering the spring the assumption was that Charlie Tilson would open the season as the White Sox centerfielder.  The addition of Peter Bourjos on a minor league contract clouded the issue, at least somewhat, but could another youngster be forcing his name into consideration?  With Tilson looking like he’s going to open the season on the DL, there should be room for Jacob May and he’s done everything he can this spring to earn the job (stats are through Monday):

.349 (15-43), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 8 R, 4 SB

At this point his battle was with fellow prospect Adam Engel, who he has out-performed (Engel is hitting .222 with 1 SB and was recently optioned to the minors).  There seems to be a good chance that May, a 2013 third round pick, breaks camp with the White Sox and should get some playing time.  Can he take advantage of it, though? Read more

Top 20 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects: #11-20 (Preseason 2017 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor

Earlier this week we kicked off our rankings of the Top 20 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects (click here to view).  Who fills out the rankings?  Let’s take a look:

 

11) Triston McKenzie – Cleveland Indians
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

We can nitpick and say that we’d like to see more groundballs, having posted a 0.66 GO/AO between two levels of Single-A.  We also have to hope that he adds a little bit more bulk to his frame (listed as 6’5” and 165 lbs.), as there will otherwise be questions asked about his ability to handle a full workload.  That said, in his 83.1 IP he racked up 104 K vs. just 22 BB as he already has a trio of pitches that he can rely on.  He has the potential to develop into a top of the rotation starter, so make sure to keep a close eye on his development. Read more

Overhyped Prospect Alert: Is Nick Gordon Destined To Disappoint?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We often talk about players whose name value may outweigh their on-the-field production, though generally that’s geared towards long established veterans.  However, the Twins’ Nick Gordon has the potential to be that type of player, butthe 21-year old still has time to put things together.

The son of former MLB pitcher Tom Gordon and the brother of Miami’s Dee Gordon, Nick doesn’t fit the same 50+ SB as his brother.  If that’s the type of player you are looking for, you would be wise to look elsewhere.  Sure he stole 25 bases at Single-A in ’15, but he showed some issues last season at High-A:

19 Stolen Bases
13 Caught Stealing
59.3% Success Rate
Read more

Top 20 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects: #1-10 (Preseason 2017 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As you would expect, some of the premier prospects in the game can be found on this list.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be questions, especially when it comes to control, and the injury to Alex Reyes does put a damper on things a little bit.  Still, when you start looking at the names you see the future and it’s bright.  Let’s take a look at how they stack up heading into 2017:

 

1) Lucas Giolito – Chicago White Sox
Grade – A
ETA – Already Arrived

Giolito made his debut in 2016, though it was rather underwhelming (6.75 ERA, 4.64 K/9, 5.06 BB/9).  No one is about to question the pure stuff, including a minor league career 9.7 K/9, though he did have some issues with his control while at Double-A (4.3 BB/9 over 71.0 IP).  That raised a bit of a red flag, though it hasn’t been the norm (3.0 BB/9 for his career).  At 6’6” it is possible that it takes him a little bit of time to fully harness his stuff, but last year’s issues should not be viewed as a significant red flag. Read more

Quick Hit: Could Tyler Jay, Now A Full-Time Reliever, Emerge As Minnesota’s Closer?

Thoughts:
Jay had operated as a closer in college, though when the Twins selected him in the first round of the 2015 draft it was with an eye towards starting.  However it took 102.0 innings, including 14.0 at Double-A, for that to change.

There is no questioning the stuff, considering his career minor league marks as a starter:

  • Strikeouts – 8.7 K/9
  • Control – 3.0 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 1.29 GO/AO

Read more