Archive for Rotoprofessor

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Colorado Rockies: An Emerging System Flush With Intriguing Bats

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When we talk about some of the better minor league systems in the league the Colorado Rockies isn’t generally one that garners much attention.  That’s a mistake, however, as they’ve started to develop a slew of intriguing young hitters who should start making an impact in 2018.  While the pitching is a little bit behind, that’s something we’ve come to expect (and they also graduated a few of their more intriguing arms in recent years).  Which young hitters are most intriguing?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Brendan Rodgers – Shortstop
ETA – 2018
Grade – A-

Rodgers has long been viewed as the heir apparent to Troy Tulowitzki, and while Trevor Story’s breakout changed the narrative a few years ago that no longer is a deterrent.  Rodgers looked the part in ’17, splitting time between High-A and Double-A:

.336 (125-372), 18 HR, 64 RBI, 64 R, 2 SB Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Arizona Diamondbacks: A Trio Of Intriguing Prospects Steal The Show

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Arizona’s system isn’t necessarily going to blow you away with talent, but there are a few intriguing names that could all take significant leaps forward in 2018.  Pavin Smith, Jon Duplantier and Marcus Wilson could all emerge by mid-year, the question is who has the highest upside?  Are there any other names worth tracking?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Pavin Smith – First Baseman
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+

Smith was selected seventh overall in the 2017 draft, and playing at Low-A he quickly displayed why he was considered one of the better bats in the draft class.  Over 223 PA he hit .318, walking (27) more than he struck out (24) and displaying an ability to make consistent contact (6.7% SwStr%).  The problem was the lack of power he displayed, though he did show a propensity for extra base hits:

  • Doubles – 15
  • Triples – 2
  • Home Runs – 0

Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2018): Pittsburgh Pirates: The Gerrit Cole Trade Fails To Shakeup The System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

To be fair the Pirates have graduated a few of their better prospects in recent years, but there is an obvious lack of high-end talent in the system.  That hasn’t changed despite the trade of Gerrit Cole, and the failure to acquire a true top tier talent has got to be viewed as a disappointment.  That doesn’t mean that the newly acquired Colin Moran and Jason Martin don’t factor into the Top 10, but they aren’t “B+” or better prospects.  Where do they fit exactly?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Mitch Keller – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A
ETA – 2018

Keller is among the best pitching prospects in baseball, though he doesn’t get the attention he deserves.  That’s all going to change, especially with the potential that he reaches the Majors in ’18 after making six starts at Double-A and throwing 116.0 impressive innings overall.  The 21-year old showed off all three skills we look for from any pitcher: Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Minnesota Twins: The Potentially Overrated Nick Gordon & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Minnesota Twins do not own an elite system, and looking at the names that have graduated recently you wouldn’t expect it to be.  There is no questioning the strength, with three of their top four prospects currently listed as shortstops.  Of course by the time they all reach the Majors, if they even do so with the Twins, there’s a good chance they won’t be playing shortstop anymore (and there are questions about the upside as it is).  Joined by a potentially elite pitching prospect there is at least some intrigue (though also ample risk).  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Royce Lewis – Shortstop
Grade – B+
ETA – 2021

It’s easy to argue that Lewis wasn’t the best player available in the 2017 draft, yet he was the first person selected.  He’s not Mickey Moniak v2.0, though, as Lewis has the upside to be among the better shortstops in the game.  In his first taste of professional baseball (239 PA) he hit .279 with 4 HR and 18 SB.  As of today the speed is his best asset, though he’s expected to add power and refine his approach (10.0% SwStr%) as he matures.  Considering he won’t turn 19-years old until mid-June, there’s clearly plenty of time for him to figure it out.  Time and patience is the key here, and there will likely be growing pains along the way, but he should get there. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Kansas City Royals: Trying To Find Value From An Underwhelming System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As the Royals prepare for a rebuild at the Major League level, you could argue that they need one in the minors as well.  The system isn’t barren, but it also isn’t particularly good with questions up and down the board.  They lack a true elite talent, especially on the mound, and while there are a few bats who could take a step forward they are currently clouded by significant questions.  Who has the upside?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Khalil Lee – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2020

The knock on Lee is going to be his strikeout rate, with a 32.1% mark over 532 PA at Single-A.  Of course he also posted a 12.2% walk rate and while a 12.7% SwStr% is high considering the level, he is still just 19-years old and it doesn’t support as high of a mark as he had.  An improvement there is going to go a very long way, as he has already displayed some power (47 extra base hits, including 17 HR) and speed (20 SB in 38 attempts).  Obviously seeing an improvement in his efficiency would also help, but the athletic ability is there.  If he can continue to adjust/improve at the plate (think .260ish or better), he could profile as a solid outfielder with the potential to produce across the board. Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2018): Toronto Blue Jays: Updating For The Solarte Trade

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You can argue that the Blue Jays’ system is a bit top heavy, with a pair of impressive prospects at the top, a few intriguing names following them and then everybody else.  Things got even shallower when they traded outfielder Edward Olivares, who had been ranked #9 (B- grade) on our original Top 10 as part of the deal to acquire Yangervis Solarte.  Let’s look at how the rankings now look:

 

1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Third Baseman
Grade – A
ETA – 2019

The son of potential Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, as an 18-year old who split time between Single-A and High-A he showed a highly impressive ability to make consistent contact:

  • Strikeout Rate – 11.8%
  • Walk Rate – 14.4%
  • Swinging Strike Rate – 8.4%

Read more

Grading The Prospects: Trevor Oaks Highlights Thursday’s Three-Team Trade

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Late on Thursday the Royals, Dodgers and White Sox combined for a three-team trade that will generally fly under-the-radar.  The key pieces being relief pitchers, most notably LHP Scott Alexander landing with the Dodgers, but there were a trio of prospects that changed hands as well.  Let’s take a look:

 

Trevor Oaks – Right-Handed Pitcher
Acquired by Kansas City Royals

Oaks was limited to 84.0 innings pitched in ’17 due to an oblique injury, but when on the mound he showed an intriguing mix of skills:

  • Strikeouts – 7.95 K/9
  • Control – 1.87 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 51.5%

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Detroit Tigers: An Unassuming System That’s On The Rise

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Detroit Tigers are primed for a rebuild, and while they have acquired some intriguing prospects thus far (most notably from the Justin Verlander trade) the system is not currently in the best shape.  That could change quickly, as they have quite a few prospects who could take significant leaps forward this season, with a few currently “B” or “B-“ prospects potentially moving into the “B+” or maybe even “A-“ range.  Who should we be watching?  Where is the upside?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Franklin Perez – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B

Perez is widely considered the Astros’ best prospect, and splitting time between High-A and Double-A last season he posted a solid 3.02 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 86.1 IP.  Of course his strongest skill was his control, to an extent:

  • Strikeouts – 8.13 K/9
  • Walks – 2.81 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 35.7%

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Cleveland Indians: Finding Potential Beyond The Top 2 (Bobby Bradley & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Cleveland Indians may not be considered among the elite farm systems in the game, but they have some strong pieces at the top.  That’s not always common for a contender who has made moves in recent years to push towards a World Series title, but here we are with a fresh crop of youngsters primed to start producing.  Are they all going to be elite prospects?  Of course not, but there are some intriguing pieces that need to be monitored.  Who are they?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Francisco Mejia – Catcher
Grade – A-
ETA – Already Arrived

We all know Mejia is one of the premier prospects in the game, regardless of position.  The Indians appear to be tinkering with him at 3B, where the bat may not profile quite as well though he began tapping into his power more (14 HR, 37 total extra base hits, in 347 AB) while continuing to show an ability to consistently make contact (13.8% strikeout rate, 9.0% SwStr%) while at Double-A.  That gives him the profile of a catcher who could hit .280+ with 20 HR, a rare commodity (think Buster Posey-esque, as the average could easily climb higher).  That should give the team incentive to keep him behind the plate long-term, especially as a switch-hitter. Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2018): Tampa Bay Rays: Where Does Christian Arroyo Fit?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Tampa Bay Rays have generally been viewed as a team built around a solid farm system that they’ve consistently been able to tap into.  Things are a little bit different these days, though there is still some impressive talent at the top.  After an impressive Top 3, there is a definite falloff and while there are some productive options they may never develop into difference makers.  That said there’s a lot of intriguing talent, and it should continue to supplement the Major League team.  Who are the players we need to know about?  Are there any emerging sleepers?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Brent Honeywell – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A
ETA – 2018

There were cries for Honeywell to be promoted last season, but the Rays opted to keep him in the minors (mostly at Triple-A) where he thrived:

  • Double-A (13.0 IP) – 2.08 ERA, 0.62 WHIP, 13.85 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 47.4% GB%
  • Triple-A (123.2 IP) – 3.64 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 11.06 K/9, 2.26 BB/9, 41.2% GB%

Read more