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 (all stats are through Saturday):
Jorge Mateo – New York Yankees – Shorstop
His value sagged last season, despite stealing 36 bases, as he hit .254 and the SB total was less than half of what he posted in ’15 (82-in-99 attempts). With the addition of Gleyber Torres and talk of attitude issues, where Mateo fit in the Yankees’ plans was a significant question. Over the first two weeks of ’17 he’s proving that the organization needs to find a spot for him once again.
He’s hitting well (.333) and showing off his speed (9-for-10 on SB attempts). He’s also showing his versatility in the field, splitting his time between shortstop and centerfield (6 games at SS, 4 games in CF), showing that he can be flexible and carve out whatever role necessary. It’s likely that he’s the centerfielder of the future, and don’t be surprised to see him pushed to Double-A before long.
Jordan Humphreys – New York Mets – Pitcher
An 18th round selection in 2015, the right-hander has quickly made his mark in two starts. Over 12.2 IP he’s racked up 18 K vs. 1 BB, a year after posting a 10.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 75.1 IP split between Rookie Ball and Low-A. He has not been generating many groundballs (0.91 GO/AO), so it’s possible home runs could become a problem down the line. The 20-year old has not been a highly regarded prospect and could ultimately become a bullpen arm, however his start to the season and the Mets ability to develop pitching has got to open some eyes. Keep a close eye on him, as his prospect status could quickly explode.
Stock Stable (Though Uncertain)
Jeimer Candelario – Chicago Cubs – Third Baseman
More of a known prospect, having made his MLB debut in ’16 and having been ranked as our #4 Cubs’ prospect, that doesn’t mean that Candelario was particularly highly regarded. When people look towards Cubs hitters who could debut, the name that comes to mind is Ian Happ (who also has seen his stock sky-rocket thus far).
Still, if the need is at either 1B or 3B it’ll be Candelario who gets the first call. Playing at Triple-A he’s been an extra base machine, with 11 extra base hits over his first 35 AB (7 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs). That’s led to a lot of RBI (16), though he has struck out a fair amount (13 K) and he’s never been a big source of power. Thus far it’s good signs, but he needs to keep it going and prove that he should get the first opportunity.
J.P. Crawford – Philadelphia Phillies – Shortstop
It’s been a disastrous start for Crawford, who is repeating Triple-A (385 PA there in ’16). Could it be disappointment of not making the Majors? Perhaps, but he did hit .244 there last season and has always appeared to be more hype than substance from an offensive standpoint (a career .275 hitter with little power and not gaudy stolen base numbers). Getting off to a 3-35 start, including 12 K vs. 5 BB, is making you think that he may never live up to the hype. He can still turn things around, obviously, and could still be in line to make his MLB debut at some point in ’17. However for now he’s looking like a questionable “top prospect” from an offensive standpoint.
Sources – MILB, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings: