Archive for Baseball

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 20, 2017)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Sunday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

1) Amed Rosario – New York Mets – Shortstop (1)
We continue to wait for his arrival, and while it’s frustrating his time should come before we know it.  There appears to be little reason for being pinned at Triple-A, as he’s in the middle of a 12-game hitting streak (22-54, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 15 R, 4 SB).  He’s not going to be much of a source of power (17 doubles, 7 triples, 7 home runs), but his value comes from his speed and pure ability to hit.  While you can argue that his .329 average isn’t realistic (.371 BABIP), he’s hitting the ball hard (21.7% line drive rate) and showing enough of an ability to make consistent contact (10.4% SwStr%, 14.9% strikeout rate). Read more

Grading the Prospects In The Yankees/White Sox Blockbuster

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For a team not expected to compete for another year or two, it was a mild surprise that the Yankees were willing to trade away four players (three prospects) in an effort to take advantage and go for it in ’17.  That said, both David Robertson (2018) and Tommy Kahnle (2018-2020) are more than rentals and Todd Frazier represents an obvious upgrade, even with his lackluster numbers, over the mess that the team has been marching out at 1B.

New York also has plenty of depth in their system, and were able to swing the deal without giving up the true top prizes they’ve accumulated.  There is still a lot of upside in Chicago’s return, so let’s take a look:

 

Blake Rutherford – Outfielder
A first round pick in 2016, Rutherford was ranked #7 on our preseason Yankee prospect list and has fared well at Single-A in ’17 hitting .281 with 2 HR and 9 SB over 274 AB.  Still just 20-years old he has driven the ball into the ground a lot (51.4% groundball rate), but there is reason to believe that the left-handed hitter will grow and mature into power in time.  Just look at the description of his approach/swing courtesy of MLB.com: Read more

Grading The Prospects In The J.D. Martinez Trade

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday we learned that J.D. Martinez was sent to Arizona for a three prospect package.  Martinez is a rental, which is going to limit the return, and helped Arizona to acquire him despite a relative lack of upside in their system.  That said, even in receiving just one of Arizona’s Top 10 prospects there is some intrigue heading to Detroit.  Let’s take a look:

 

Dawel Lugo – Third Baseman
Lugo is the best of the trio of prospects that the Tigers acquired, ranking as Arizona’s fourth best prospect prior to the season.  That said, there were concerns about his power potential and eye at the plate and that hasn’t changed much despite a strong performance at Double-A (.282, 7 HR, 43 RBI, 40 R, 1 SB).  He has added 21 doubles and 4 triples, while also reducing his groundball rate (45.3% in ’17), so there are at least signs of him tapping into the power. Read more

Why The Twins’ Nick Gordon Fell Short Of Our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospect List

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Twins’ Nick Gordon has often been a hyped prospect, which makes sense as the fifth overall selection in the 2014 draft.  It’s been a slow climb through the system, though the 21-year old has reached Double-A this season and it would appear that he’s started to put things together:

.301 (102-339), 6 HR, 48 RBI, 53 R, 10 SB

Considering those numbers and his pedigree, why is it that he fell short of our Midseason Top 50 prospect rankings?  There are actually several reasons where it would appear that the underlying metrics do not support the surface numbers.

The first problem, and probably the biggest, comes from his average.  While he’s hitting .301 he entered Sunday benefiting from a .382 BABIP.  He has the speed to maintain an elevated mark (though not elite), but this is extreme and is likely to regress.  When coupled with the rise in strikeouts, the warning bells should be ringing:

  • Single-A (2015) – 16.4%
  • High-A (2016) – 17.6%
  • Double-A (2017) – 22.5%

Read more

2017 Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects: Three New Names In Top 5 & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With the second half of the MLB season underway, now is the perfect time to update our Top 50 prospect rankings.  As you would expect there have been significant changes from the preseason, as there have been several graduations as well as some breakout performances.

Whose stock is rising?  How does the top of our rankings shake out?  Let’s take a look: Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Has Ronald Acuna Emerged As A Top 10 Prospect?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

He entered the year considered a potential breakout candidate and thus far he’s far surpassed those expectations.  No we aren’t talking about the Nationals’ Juan Soto, who many expected to grow into one of the elite in the game, but the Braves’ Ronald Acuna.  Still just 19-years old (he won’t turn 20 until December 18), Acuna has made quick work of High-A and Double-A:

  • High-A (115 AB) – .287 with 3 HR, 19 RBI, 21 R and 14 SB
  • Double-A (221 AB) – .326 with 9 HR, 30 RBI, 29 R and 19 SB

Now comes the news that the Braves will continue their aggressive promotion, with Acuna being sent to Triple-A.  Suddenly on the precipice of the Majors, seeing him arrive in Atlanta in ’17 isn’t so far-fetched and you have to wonder if he’s going to follow in the footsteps of former Brave great Andruw Jones (who debuted as a 19-year old in 1996). Read more

Updated Chicago White Sox Top 10 Prospects: An Elite System Just Got Better (Including New #1)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

By now we all know that the White Sox pulled off another coup, getting a prospect bounty in exchange for Jose Quintana (among the four prospect package were the top two from our preseason Chicago Cubs rankings).  You can argue that their pitching prospects are among the best in baseball, after the slew of talent they’ve acquired since the offseason, and they also now have two of the top offensive prospects in the game.  Just how do the new prospects fit into the team’s Top 10?  Let’s take an updated look at the group:

 

1) Eloy Jimenez – Outfielder
Current Grade – A

This is a mild upset, and most will disagree.  He’s been limited to 42 games at High-A this season, but the newest acquisition has as much upside as anyone in the game.  His power is still developing, though he’s coming off a season where he had 57 extra base hits (40 doubles, 3 triples, 14 HR) and it’s just a matter of time before the 20-year old fully taps into it.  More impressive is his improving plate discipline, as he’s posted a 20.1% strikeout rate vs. 10.3% walk rate thus far.  The walks are a big jump from his mark in ’16 at Single-A (5.4%) and helps to show his development.  He is a year or two away, but he could be special. Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Why Walker Buehler May Not Be A Top 20 Prospect Yet

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Dodgers’ Walker Buehler may have seen his stock rise more than any player in baseball thus far.  Our preseason #7 Dodgers’ prospect (B- grade) has seen his name included in many of the mid-year Top 50/Top 100 lists (and in many cases ranking inside the Top 20), and for good reason.  Just look at the impressive numbers he’s posted:

LevelIPERAWHIPK/9BB/9GB%
High-A16.11.100.8014.882.7653.6%
Double-A45.12.981.0811.122.3852.3%

That’s the full skill set that we look for, though it doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions facing the soon to be 23-year old.

The big thing that we’ll watch is his ability to work deep into games.  Thus far he hasn’t gone more than 5.1 innings, as the Dodgers limit his workload after he missed most of ’16 due to Tommy John surgery (5.0 IP).  It’s not a major red flag at this point, given the circumstances, but it’s also not something to ignore since there were already questions about his ability to handle a starters workload. Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 12, 2017)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Sunday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

1) Amed Rosario – New York Mets – Shortstop (3)
With all the talk of how poor the Mets infield defense has been and the team having little reason to continue rolling the likes of Jose Reyes out there every day, a promotion for Rosario should be imminent (should is the key word here, as most would argue it should’ve come weeks ago).  Viewed as a plus defender, he also has little left to prove at the dish.  Currently hitting .327 with 7 HR (as well as 16 doubles and 7 triples) and 16 SB, including hitting .378 over his past 10 games and a 15.5% strikeout rate, and the time has come for his arrival.  If he’s not up right after the All-Star Break, you would think it wouldn’t be long after. Read more

Closers of the Future: Identifying Two Sleepers Who Could Emerge In 2017

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s not easy for a prospect to make the leap all the way to the closers role shortly after arriving in the Majors.  Teams tend to want some type of experience at the back of the bullpen, though there are times that pitchers have been able to force the issue (assuming the back of their team’s bullpen is in shambles).  There are a few relievers that are in situations where they could arrive quickly (due to recent injuries), so let’s take a look at who we should be watching:

 

Jimmie Sherfy – Arizona Diamondbacks
The questions are growing regarding Fernando Rodney, and while the Diamondbacks already have an alternative in the Majors (Archie Bradley) this is his first season operating in a relief role.  That’s not necessarily a knock, but the team is lucky enough to have a potential late inning reliever blossoming at Triple-A.

Over 32.1 IP in ’17 Sherfy has 41 K vs. 3 BB, with the strikeouts coming courtesy of a 12.6% SwStr%.  Those numbers have led to a 1.39 ERA and 0.74 WHIP, making you think that he’s a lock to produce upon reaching the Majors.  That said, there are some questions that need to be answered: Read more