Archive for Baseball

Top 10 Third Basemen Prospects (Preseason 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The upcoming class of third base prospects is intriguing, even though many of them aren’t necessarily viewed as “elite”.  After you get past the first two names on the list, you get an interchangeable group of intriguing players who could all become solid Major Leaguers.  Who do we prefer?  Let’s take a look:


1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays
Grade – A
ETA – 2019
Blue Jays’ #1 Prospect

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

Top 10 Second Basemen Prospects (Preseason 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Second base is not a wasteland of talent at the Major League level, but on the prospect front things look somewhat barren.  Sure there’s one top talent and maybe there are a few intriguing names that could rise up the rankings, but for the most part there’s little to get excited about in regards to the current wave of prospects.  Who should we be paying attention to?  Who are the sleepers worth watching?  Let’s take a look at how our current Top 10 looks:


1) Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies
Grade – A-
ETA – 2018
Phillies’ #1 Prospect

There were calls for him to arrive in 2017, but it never made sense for the Phillies to push the envelope when they didn’t have to add him to the 40-man roster in the offseason.  That’s going to change this season, and you have to think that the Phillies will clear a spot to give him an opportunity after he dominated at both Double and Triple-A last season: Read more

Identifying Four Relief Pitcher Prospects Who Could Rise To The Closer’s Role In ’18

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Relief pitching prospects are often overlooked, though the game is quickly changing.  No longer do starting pitchers work deep into games, putting more emphasis on the bullpen (and leading to pitchers being developed for the role).  There are quite a few young relievers who could play a significant role in their team’s bullpen, despite their rookie status, so let’s take a look:


Dillon Maples – Chicago Cubs
2017 Statistics – 63.1 IP, 2.27 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 14.21 K/9, 5.26 BB/9

Maples pitched across four levels in ’17, including 5.1 innings in the Majors, impressing along the way with a big strikeout rate and an impressive 63.3% groundball rate.  With a 15.0% SwStr% there’s obviously a lot to like, the question is going to be if he can limit the walks just enough.  The other skills can overcome a bloated walk rate, if he can keep it in the 4.50-5.00 range.  If it’s better than that?  He could be among the best in the league.  As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 described him: Read more

Top 10 First Basemen Prospects (Preseason 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

First base prospects are often ignored, for better or worse.  There is currently a group of intriguing prospects at the position, many of which have the potential to emerge as Top 10 options shortly after they arrive in the Majors.  Who are they?  Let’s take a look:

(Note – We have not included the Rays’ Brandon McKay on these rankings, as he will be listed among the Left-Handed Pitchers.  If he were to be included he’d be ranked #5, though splitting his focus adds extra risk that can’t be ignored.)


1) Yordan Alvarez – Houston Astros
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+
Astros’ #4 Prospect

Alvarez played at Single-A (139 PA) and High-A (252 PA) and showed a good approach as he posted an 8.6% SwStr% and 10.7% walk rate.  He didn’t show much power, with 12 HR (as well as 17 doubles and 3 triples), but listed at 6’5” and 225 lbs. he looks the part of a power hitter.  We’ve also seen players with terrific strike zone presence mature and develop power as they progress (think Josh Bell) and it’s possible that Alvarez takes a similar path.  He won’t turn 21-years old until June, and it’s possible the power comes quickly. Read more

Top 10 Catching Prospects (Preseason 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There are always questions about catching prospects, because they need to focus on their defense and ability to handle a pitching staff (which could take away from their surface numbers at the plate).  There also is the risk that if someone shows the offensive potential they are moved out from behind the plate, with the thought being that they can stay healthy and in the lineup every day.  Those are two obstacles to keep in mind as we dive in and look at our Top 10 catching prospects:


1) Francisco Mejia – Cleveland Indians
Grade – A-
ETA – Already Arrived
Indians #1 Prospect

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

Now In Pittsburgh, Will Colin Moran Get His Break Out Opportunity In 2018?

by Ray Kuhn

Opportunity… For young players looking to establish themselves in the big leagues it’s critical.  The trade to Pittsburgh, along with the Pirates subsequently trading Andrew McCutchen, took care of that for Colin Moran. Prior to the trade Houston was working to add to the corner infielder’s versatility, giving him time in left field. As currently constructed Pittsburgh has a spot open in the outfield after trading their franchise cornerstone, but there is even less resistance at third base. At this point in his career David Freese likely will not offer up much in the way of an obstacle to regular playing time for Moran if he produces.

Moran, formerly a high draft choice by the Marlins, has a solid pedigree as a prospect and last season, we saw Moran take a few critical steps in potentially establishing himself as a contributor at the major league level. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Texas Rangers

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Rangers have two potentially impact prospects, one of which could rise into the “A-” grade range, though there are questions hovering over both of them.  After we get past those two, though?  There’s talent, but is it truly “impact” talent?  Unfortunately not necessarily, though there are a few intriguing arms.  Let’s take a look at the names you need to know:


1) Leody Taveras – Outfielder
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

His numbers from last season won’t blow you away, having hit .249 with 8 HR and 20 SB over 522 AB at Single-A.  Remember that he played the year as an 18-year old (he turned 19 in September) and it’s easy to put the numbers into perspective.  As it is, considering his age the plate discipline is impressive:

  • Strikeout Rate – 15.9%
  • Walk Rate – 8.1%
  • SwStr% – 9.0%

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Seattle Mariners: A Depleted System Lacking Much Upside…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Mariners system is not an impressive one, especially with their top prospect facing health questions.  A healthy Kyle Lewis would help, but the team hasn’t been shy about trading away their prospects in an effort to win at the Major League level (like Luiz Gohara and Tyler O’Neill recently) at that has left things virtually barren.  Are there some intriguing names?  Possibly, but we really have to dig to find it.  Let’s take a look:


1) Kyle Lewis – Outfielder
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+

Lewis was selected 11th overall in 2016 and there were high expectations, though a serious knee injury sidelined him for nearly a year and left him limited upon his return in ’17.  In 187 AB between Rookie Ball and High-A he hit .257 with 7 HR and 3 SB, struggling to make consistent contact (16.4% SwStr%) and often burying the ball into the ground (53.3% groundball rate).  It’s easy to write off the issues, considering the missed time and need to get his timing back. Read more

Prospect Spotlight: Is Miguel Andujar Primed To Become A Fixture At 3B For The Yankees?

by Ray Kuhn

A salary dump, there is no other way to describe the deal that sent Chase Headley and Brian Mitchell from New York to San Diego in exchange for Jabari Blash. What we aren’t used to is that it is the Yankees who are the ones doing the dumping.  While Mitchell could be a deep sleeper in the back end of San Diego’s rotation, the true fantasy impact takes us back to the Bronx.

With the Yankees attempting to remain under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, even after acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, they had to shed salary. The move have left potential voids at both 2B and 3B.  Gleyber Torres could fill one of the spots, but he Ahas to complete his recovery and make up from lost time from his Tommy John surgery last summer.  That leaves Miguel Andujar with the potential to stake his claim at 3B (especially now that Todd Frazier has signed with the Mets).

Following last season, regardless of the Headley trade, Andujar was beginning to knock on the door (he had eight plate appearances last summer) and was going to force the Yankees to take a closer look. For now it appears, they don’t have a choice, and that isn’t exactly a problem. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2018): Oakland A’s: Does The Upside Outweigh The Obvious Questions?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Oakland A’s do not own a system that is particularly impressive, though the selection of A.J. Puk and the return they received for Sonny Gray helped to bolster the system.  There are questions, especially with the actual upside of Franklin Barreto (though he’s still ranked #2 in the system), but there are some intriguing names that carry upside.  Let’s take a look at how things currently shake out:


1) A.J. Puk – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2019

When you look at his 4.03 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 125.0 IP between High-A and Double-A you are going to be somewhat disappointed.  However a .361 BABIP and 63.6% strand rate show that there was a lot of poor luck behind the numbers.  Just look at these key numbers: Read more