Archive for Rotoprofessor

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

The Dodger’s Walker Buehler Earns An MLB Promotion, But Questions Still Exist

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Around mid-season we published an article entitled “Prospect Stock Report: Why Walker Buehler May Not Be A Top 20 Prospect Yet” amid all of the accolades being bestowed upon him.  There is no question that he has emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the game and his performance across three levels of the minors is eye opening (3.35 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 125 K, 31 BB over 88.2 IP).  So two months removed from our initial article, and with news of his promotion, it’s worth circling back to see if our outlook has changed.

The big concern wasn’t the skillset, and he continued to show all three skills we look for from a pitcher:

  • Strikeout Rate – 12.7 K/9
  • Walk Rate – 3.1 BB/9
  • GO/AO – 1.53

The walk rate was even better before he struggled a bit at Triple-A (including working as a reliever) with a 4.2 BB/9 over 23.2 IP.  So if the skills aren’t the question, what is? Read more

Do The Risks Outweigh The Potential For The Braves’ Luiz Gohara?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to David O’Brien of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution (click here for the article) the Braves could call up Luiz Gohara today.  It’s unknown what role he’d operate in, whether he’d start or pitch out of the bullpen, and while there is significant upside it doesn’t mean there aren’t questions.  As O’Brien notes:

There have been some questions about his maturity and conditioning, but no one questions the talent and “live arm” of the Brazilian lefty, who came to the Braves from the Mariners along with lefty relief prospect Thomas Burrows in a January trade for outfield Mallex Smith and reliever Shae Simmons to Seattle.

Gohara has pitched at three levels of the minors this season, producing at each one:

LevelIPERAWHIPK/9BB/9GB%
High-A36.11.981.189.662.4856.8%
Double-A52.02.601.1510.383.1244.4%
Triple-A35.13.311.3312.234.0840.0%
Read more

Getting to Know: Is The Blue Jays’ Richard Urena A Potential Solution At SS In September?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Troy Tulowitzki lost for the season the Blue Jays have been using Ryan Goins at shortstop.  Hardly an impressive option, it makes you wonder if they will give Richard Urena, a September callup directly from Double-A, an extended look.  While he struggled this season there is some upside, as the 21-year old has the potential to be a long-term solution.  Let’s take a look and get to know him a bit:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Blue Jays’ #6 Prospect

Hits – Switch

Age – 21

2017 Statistics:
Double-A – .247 (126-510), 5 HR, 60 RBI, 44 R, 0 SB

What We Said About Him:
It’s possible that he reaches the Majors in 2017, having gotten his feet wet at Double-A last season (124 AB), but a 2018 arrival is a bit more realistic.  That said, the biggest question hanging over him is what plus skill does he bring to the table, after posting 8 HR and 9 SB between High-A and Double-A last season.  It would appear that there’s a lot more speed potential, with 12 triples, though he’s hardly a blazer on the bases.  While he showed a strong ability to make consistent contact (strikeout rates of 14.8% and 14.4%), he hasn’t shown much ability to draw walks: Read more

Is The Royals’ Josh Staumont Ticketed For A Lights Out Reliever Role Or A Washout In Waiting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Royals’ Josh Staumont has impressive strikeout stuff, as the former second round draft pick has racked up 132 K over 119.0 IP.  That’s a number that’s going to open your eye and make you pay attention, as does this type of scouting report courtesy of MLB.com:

Staumont’s fastball is difficult to hit and difficult to control. He can maintain a 93-97 mph four-seam fastball and reach 99 as a starter, has been clocked as high as 102 as a reliever and has nice riding life. He also can run a two-seamer into the upper 90s with heavy sink but has even more trouble keeping that version in the strike zone.  His low-80s curveball has power and depth, giving Staumont a second pitch that misses bats and can be difficult to harness, and he also mixes in a changeup with splitter action.

While the pure stuff sounds impressive, can you follow the common trend in that report?  Control…  Control…  Control…  That’s the big story, and one that will ultimately ticket Staumont to the bullpen in short order. Read more

Grading The Prospects: The Tigers Receive A Haul In Exchange For Justin Verlander

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Detroit Tigers shocked everyone making not one, but two blockbuster trades on Thursday as they sent Justin Upton to the Angels and Justin Verlander to the Astros.  While the return in the Upton trade wasn’t significant, the prospects they got back in exchange for Verlander definitely impacts the team’s top prospect rankings.  Let’s take a look at how the three new additions grade out:

 

Franklin Perez – Right-Handed Pitcher
While he’s a name people may have not of heard of, you can easily argue that he’s the “prize” for the Tigers.  Splitting time between High-A and Double-A this season he’s compiled a 3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 78 K and 27 BB over 86.1 IP.  Just 19-years old there’s still a bit of projection to do, as he should continue to mature both physically (6’3”, 197 lbs.) and in talent, but he’s showing all the signs. Read more

Getting to Know: Concerns Regarding The Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty Ahead Of His MLB Debut

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a bit of a surprise when the Cardinals traded Mike Leake earlier this week, though they do have depth in the rotation and the move frees up money for the next few seasons.  One of the benefactors of the move will be one of the team’s top prospects Jack Flaherty, who will be recalled tomorrow to start against the San Francisco Giants.  Could he hit the ground running and make a September impact?  Let’s take a look and try to determine exactly what his upside may be:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Cardinals’ #6 Prospect

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 21

2017 Statistics:
Double-A – 63.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 8.81 K/9, 1.56 BB/9
Triple-A – 85.1 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.96 K/9, 2.53 BB/9

What Others Have Said:
There are certain expectations with young projectable-looking high school pitchers, that they’re going to add a ton of velocity as they mature. That was slow in coming with Flaherty, who had been more steady and consistent than exciting as a prospect, though he did start throwing harder in 2017, touching the mid-90s more consistently. He has three usable secondary offerings as well. His changeup could eventually be a plus pitch as his best option and he’ll throw both a solid slider and a slow curve to keep hitters off-balance. – MLB.com Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Is It Time To Write Off Austin Meadows & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Obviously there are always prospects whose stock is rising and falling, given their performances.  While it’s impossible to pinpoint all of them, here are a few players whose early season numbers are sending then to either soar or sink:

 

Austin Meadows – Outfielder – Pittsburgh Pirates
Considering the suspension to Starling Marte and the consistent injury issues for Gregory Polanco, we’ve been waiting for Meadows to emerge and rise to the Majors all season long.  However things have been a complete disaster, failing to impress at the plate (.261, 5 HR, 11 SB over 318 AB) and consistently battling injuries of his own.

The latest blow was an oblique injury on Sunday, but that’s just the latest in what has been consistent theme throughout his minor league career.  As Gerard Gilberto of MILB.com (click here for the article) documented Meadows: Read more