by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Which prospects are tearing it up down on the farm? Obviously we can’t name them all, but here are six names that are currently streaking and need to be on all radars:
David Peterson – Left-Handed Pitcher – New York Mets
His performance on Saturday night, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 10, over 8.0 IP is going to catch everyone’s attention. However it’s just the latest in what has been an extremely strong season at Single-A for the 2017 first round pick. The owner of a 1.82 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 59.1 IP, just look at these metrics:
- Strikeouts – 8.68 K/9
- Control – 1.68 BB/9
- Groundballs – 2.80 GO/AO
That’s the total package, and from a southpaw to boot! Over his last four starts (28.2 IP) he has 32 K vs. 0 BB and he hasn’t allowed more than 2 ER in seven straight starts (he’s only allowed more than 2 ER in one of his nine starts this season). How many innings and how hard the Mets push him this season remains to be seen, but the 22-year old could make quick work of the farm system with the way he’s throwing the ball right now.
Darren McCaughan – Right-Handed Pitcher – Seattle Mariners
While he’s pitched most of the year at High-A, McCaughan was bumped all the way to Triple-A for a spot start but that’s done little to slow him down. After tossing 7.0 shutout innings in his return to High-A, he’s now thrown 21.2 shutout innings in his past three starts (including 6.1 innings at Triple-A) and has allowed 1 ER or fewer in each of his past seven starts. While the 2017 12th round selection has yet to show big strikeout stuff (7.51 K/9 courtesy of an 8.9% strand rate), he has shown more than enough in the other two skills we look for:
- Control – 1.40 BB/9
- Groundballs – 50.5%
If the 22-year old could show a strikeout rate in the 8.50ish range he’d be getting a lot more attention, but as it is he’s on quite the roll of late and could move quickly.
Danny Jansen – Catcher – Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are currently using Russell Martin and Luke Maile behind the plate, but for a team looking towards the future could Jansen force his way into the picture? After going 2-5 with 1 R on Saturday night he’s hitting .320 with 3 HR, 31 RBI and 27 R at Triple-A. He’s never shown significant power, though 14 doubles and 1 triple indicate there’s a little bit more upside, but it’s his approach that has to garner our attention:
- Strikeouts – 25
- Walks – 23
He’s been an RBI machine over his current six game hitting streak (9-26 with 1 HR and 10 RBI) and he entered Saturday with a highly impressive 26.6% line drive rate and 4.4% SwStr%. All he needs to do is develop into a 10-12 HR hitter to make an impact, and that could come quickly for the 23-year old.
Triston McKenzie – Right-Handed Pitcher – Cleveland Indians
One of the top pitching prospects in the game, he falls under the “hot” category thanks to finally making his 2018 debut (as well as his Double-A debut). That alone would’ve garnered our attention, but throwing 5.0 shutout innings while allowing 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, makes it that much better. At 20-years old it’s unlikely he arrives in the Majors this season, though it’s not impossible (and 2019 would appear to be almost a given).
Alex Verdugo – Outfielder – Los Angeles Dodgers
Verdugo went 3-4 on Saturday night, his second straight three hit game (and third in his past four). There’s no questioning his ability to hit, at .329 overall at Triple-A and .378 over his past 10 games. Over his current six game hitting streak he’s gone 12-28 with just 1 K. The problem, and what limits his ceiling right now, is his inability to hit for much power (4 HR over 152 AB, along with a 2.11 GO/AO) or contribute much speed (2 SB). There’s no arguing what he’s doing right now, but it’s also hard to get overly excited.
Randy Cesar – Third Baseman – Houston Astros
He may not be the highest level prospect, but the 23-year old held a 31-game hitting streak through Saturday and owns a .349 average with 8 HR, 37 RBI and 35 R at Double-A. Of course he also entered that game benefiting from a .447 BABIP and the owner of a 24.6% strikeout rate and 4.9% walk rate. His performance is worth mentioning, but that doesn’t mean we should get overly excited.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com
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: