Archive for Baseball

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Miami Marlins: Despite The Rebuilding Efforts, An Underwhelming System Persists…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For a team that aggressively tore things down a year ago, jettisoning players like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the cupboard is surprisingly bare.  While signing both Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. recently does give the system a little bit of a jolt, the overall feel is one of extreme risk and significant questions.  That doesn’t mean that no one is going to step up and emerge, because there is a little bit of intrigue, but there’s very little that we’d be ready to dub “locks” to perform.  How do things currently shake out?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Victor Victor Mesa – Outfielder
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

Mesa signed as a 22-year old, the thought is that it won’t be long before he arrives in Miami.  His speed will be his greatest asset, and while he should be able to add a little bit of power at 5’9” and playing half his games in Miami his ceiling won’t be extremely high in that regard.  He’s a top of the order hitter with the speed and athleticism to be a difference maker, assuming he can bring a solid approach. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Atlanta Braves: How Do We Rank A Rich System Deep In Pitching Prospects

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After spending time rebuilding their farm system the Atlanta Braves are ready to now go in the opposite direction.  They are now looking to go for it, seeing an opportunity, utilizing their young talent both on the field and as a way to improve their Major League roster.  Having developed one of the better systems in the league, flush with pitching prospects, let’s take a look at who are the best options:

 

1) Ian Anderson – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2019

Anderson, selected third overall in 2016, spent the bulk of his time at High-A last season (100.0 IP) but also made four starts at Double-A (19.1 IP) and impressed across the way with a 2.49 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.  He clearly has strikeout stuff, with a 13.3% SwStr% leading to a 10.71 K/9.  The questions are about his control (3.70 BB/9) and ability to keep the ball in the ballpark (46.0% groundball rate).  Both of those things are going to be key as he continues to advance up the ladder, though he’s thus far developed as expected since being drafted out of high school. Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2019): Seattle Mariners: Where Do The Pieces Acquired In The Cano/Diaz Rank (Kelenic & More)?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Mariners have been an aggressive team in terms of making deals, and to an extent it has left their farm system somewhat barren…  That was before a few deals have helped to restock their system, acquiring their newly minted top two prospects in trades for James Paxton and more recently the blockbuster sending Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets..  Even before the deals there was upside to be found, but it came full of questions.  As the team appears to be headed towards a rebuild it wouldn’t be surprising to see the system continue to change dramatically as the offseason progresses, though time will tell.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how things currently stand:

 

1) Justus Sheffield – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

Sheffield made three appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees last season (2.2 IP), but he should get an opportunity to slot into the rotation for the rebuilding Mariners.  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A last season he posted a 2.48 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while showing impressive strikeout stuff (12.4% SwStr% leading to a 9.54 K/9).  That’s not to say that there aren’t questions, however: Read more

Prospect Movement: Breaking Down The Intriguing Yan Gomes Return (Daniel Johnson/Jefry Rodriguez)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday the Indians shipped catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals, netting a pair of prospects and a player to be named later in return.  Considering the number of options there are in the catching department it’s hard to argue against the return, especially having received an outfielder who holds intriguing upside.  Let’s take a look:

 

Daniel Johnson – Outfielder
After hitting 22 HR in 2017 split between Single-A and High-A (497 AB), you have to wonder how much of his power outage in ’18 (6 HR in 356 AB at Double-A) was due to a broken hamate bone.  It’s likely that it at least played a role, though it wasn’t the sole problem having hit 1 HR in 203 AB between April and May.  That said there is still the potential for further development and it’s his speed that’s his best tool.  As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 described him:

He’s a burner and showed it both in the field and on the basepaths.  He also showed nice raw power in batting practice.  As a hitter, he made good contact but was extremely aggressive at the plate.  I was intrigued and wanted to see if he could build on the promise I saw last year. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Texas Rangers: Trying To Identify Upside After A Few Top Names

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There’s some intriguing offensive talent near the top of the system, but once you get past those you get to a series of pitching prospects that have questionable upside.  That’s not to say that they can’t emerge as starting pitchers, but there are going to be repeated questions as to whether or not they transition to the bullpen.  Who are the names worth targeting?  Who could emerge?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Leody Taveras – Outfielder
Grade – A-
ETA – 2020

The tools remain for Taveras, though the results weren’t there as a 19-year old at High-A in ’18 (.246, 5 HR and 19 SB).  He did show a propensity to make consistent contact (9.4% SwStr%), which led to a 16.6% strikeout rate and given his age that’s an impressive number.  He also has the speed to maintain much better than his .292 BABIP and he’s clearly still developing his ability to use that speed and translate it into stolen bases (19-for-30 last season). Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Seattle Mariners: A New #1 Emerges After James Paxton’s Dealt

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Mariners have been an aggressive team in terms of making deals, and to an extent it has left their farm system somewhat barren…  That was before yesterday’s blockbuster, sending James Paxton to the Yankees in return for Justus Sheffield and two more prospects.  There was already upside to be found, but it came full of questions.  As the team appears to be headed towards a rebuild it wouldn’t be surprising to see the system continue to change dramatically as the offseason progresses, though time will tell.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how things currently stand:

 

1) Justus Sheffield – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

Sheffield made three appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees last season (2.2 IP), but he should get an opportunity to slot into the rotation for the rebuilding Mariners.  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A last season he posted a 2.48 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while showing impressive strikeout stuff (12.4% SwStr% leading to a 9.54 K/9).  That’s not to say that there aren’t questions, however: Read more

Quick Hit: Grading Trent Thornton, The Blue Jays’ Newest Prospect (Acquired for Aldemys Diaz)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In acquiring Aldemys Diaz, who will likely step in as the replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, the Astros parted ways with right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton sending him to the Toronto Blue Jays.  No one is going to confuse Thornton with an elite pitching prospect, though he at least showed a little something while throwing 124.1 innings at Triple-A last season:

  • Strikeout Rate – 8.83 K/9 (11.4% SwStr%)
  • Walk Rate – 2.24 BB/9
  • Groundball Rate – 41.6%

A fifth round selection in 2015, it will be interesting to see if he has the stuff to thrive in the rotation long-term.  Listed at 6’0” and 175 lbs., there are going to be questions as to if the now 25-year old will be able to handle a starter’s workload. Read more

Breaking Down The Pirates New Pitching Prospects (Could A Sleeper Emerge?)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As part of the five-player trade between the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh acquired a pair of young pitchers.  While neither have posted intriguing numbers to date, we all know that it’s not always about the numbers.  Is there upside in either of the two?  Let’s take a quick look at the prospects and see if either of them should be on our radars:

 

Tahnaj Thomas – Right-Handed Pitcher
The 19-year old posted a 4.58 ERA over 19.2 IP at Rookie Ball last season and has thrown just 58.0 IP since being signed out of the Bahamas.  It’s far too small of a sample size to draw any definitive conclusions, the key here is his size (Thomas is listed at 6’4” and 190 lbs.) and the potential development of his stuff.  After the trade Baseball America described him by saying: Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Oakland A’s: Is There Much Behind A Pair Of Potential Aces?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While A.J. Puk is recovering from Tommy John surgery he’s still part of a clear Top 2 for the A’s.  The question is whether or not someone can develop behind the two potential aces, and while there are some intriguing names there’s also a clear drop in upside (at least presently).  Can anyone take a big leap forward?  Let’s take a look at the A’s Top 10 prospects and who could emerge:

 

1) Jesus Luzardo – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A
ETA – 2019

With Puk sidelined Luzardo took the position as the team’s top prospect.  Pitching across three levels, including four starts at Triple-A, he posted a 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 10.62 K/9 and 2.47 BB/9 over 109.1 IP.  He did struggle at Triple-A, with a 7.31 ERA over 16.0 IP, but he’s also just 20-years old so you have to give him a little bit of a pass. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2019): Los Angeles Angels: A System On The Rise Thanks To Numerous Intriguing Names

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Angels have a clear top prospect in Jo Adell, but after that things get somewhat muddled.  That’s not to say that there isn’t some intriguing talent that could make a significant impact, but there are questions and it’s not quite at the same level.  When looking at these rankings consider it Adell and then “The Field”, meaning everyone is somewhat interchangeable depending on your preference…  Or are they?  We saw a prospect breakout in ’18 and while he’s still not getting the credit he deserves he needs to be on our radar.  With that in mind, let’s take a look:

 

1) Jo Adell – Outfielder
Grade – A-
ETA – 2020

There may have not been a prospect who saw his stock rise more than Adell, who went from Single-A to Double-A and raked all along the way (.290 with 20 HR and 15 SB over 396 AB).  He did struggle at Double-A, hitting .238, but it came in just 63 AB so we can’t draw any conclusions.  The fact is he showed power (he added 32 doubles and 4 triples) and speed, the problem is going to be whether or not he can make consistent contact.  Just look at the strikeout rate at each level: Read more