by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Whenever a prospect moves a step closer to the Majors, especially one who is widely viewed as having a high ceiling, it’s easy to get excited. Should that change our outlook on the player, though? Let’s take a look at two recently promoted prospects and check in and what our expectations/grade currenty looks like:
Nick Gordon – Shortstop – Minnesota Twins
Gordon has earned a promotion to Triple-A, after starting off strong at Double-A:
.333 (54-162), 5 HR, 20 RBI, 22 R, 7 SB
It was his second time through the level, having spent all of 2017 there (.270, 9 HR, 13 SB), so it made sense that he was ready for a new challenge. The big key to his development this season, and why he was posting a much stronger average, was his strikeout rate (23.2% to 14.9%). Is it a believable improvement, though?
His SwStr% tells a little bit of a different story:
- 2017 – 12.0%
- 2018 – 11.8%
That would make you think that his strikeout rate is going to balloon against much tougher competition. For a player without significant power (last season he had 29 doubles, 8 triples and 9 HR), that’s going to be a negative. There also is the belief that he could be a source of stolen bases, much like his brother Dee Gordon, but that’s a bit of a misconception. As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 said:
He’s far from a burner and also struggles in getting great jumps. However, there is enough speed that he should steal 15 to 20 bases annually.
He’ll likely be compared to his brother for the first few years of his career but they are different players. Nick doesn’t have the double-plus speed of his brother but should develop more pop.
Gordon currently profiles as more of a 10/15 type player, but one that could come with far too much swing and miss for the skillset. There’s obviously potential, but there’s also a lot of risk of exposure and struggles (especially initially).
- Preseason Grade – B
- Current Grade – B (despite the stronger average, the same questions remain)
Jo Adell – Outfielder – Los Angeles Angels
A first round pick in 2017, Adell has been bumped from Single-A to High-A after getting off to an impressive start:
.326 (31-95), 6 HR, 29 RBI, 23 R, 4 SB
He’s shown a lot of extra base power, with 7 doubles and 1 triple, and he was always viewed as an intriguing power/speed threat. The key for Adell is his ability to make consistent contact, and he posted a 24.1% strikeout rate while at Single-A with a 12.8% SwStr% raising a significant red flag. He only recently turned 19-years old, so there obviously is time for him to learn/mature but a SwStr% that high at a lower level could ultimately prove to be an issue.
The strong average came courtesy of a .391 BABIP, which is an unrealistic number, and if the strikeouts start climbing even further (as we’d expect) a poor average will be in the cards. That’s not to say that there isn’t upside, but he needs time to learn/develop. It will be interesting to see how he grows at High-A, but don’t be surprised if the numbers aren’t there today.
- Preseason Grade – B
- Current Grade – B (the same strikeout risk remains, and until we see signs of improvement it’s hard to improve his grade)
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Prospect 361
Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings? Make sure to check it out by clicking here. Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists: