Prospect Stock Watch: Do The Twins Have Another Future Ace In Fernando Romero?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Prior to the season we were extremely high on the Twins’ Fernando Romero, ranking him as the team’s best prospect (B+ grade).  There was a lot to like coming off a strong 2016 campaign, as we said:

“After missing part of 2014 and all of 2015 it was easy to forget about Romero entering the 2016 season.  What he did once taking the mound, though, has got to catch your attention:

  • Single-A – 28.0 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8.04 K/9, 1.61 BB/9
  • High-A – 62.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.39 K/9, 1.44 BB/9

Seeing that type of control, after missing so much time, says a lot, as does his 1.54 GO/AO.  A hard thrower, the biggest question may be his size (6’0”) and if he is going to be able to hold up to a full workload.  He likely will be brought along slowly, which could ultimately delay his arrival, but he’s a pitcher who you need to keep a close eye on.”

While he’s had his share of struggles, with a 3.51 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, he continues to show all three skills we look for from a pitcher: Read more

Getting To Know: Sean Newcomb: Is The Top Prospect Destined To Disappoint (Initially At Least)?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With a Saturday double header against the Mets, the Braves will summon Sean Newcomb to make his MLB debut and start one of the games.  Acquired as part of the trade that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, fans have heard about the southpaw’s talent and upside since he was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft (15th overall).  Finally we will get a chance to see what he offers, after he’s thrived at Triple-A this season (2.97 ERA, 11.55 K/9).  That doesn’t mean he’s a lock to hit the ground running, as there are some obvious questions to overcome.  Let’s take a look:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Preseason – Braves #6 Prospect

Throwss – Left-Handed

Age – 23 (he’ll turn 24 on June 12)

What We Said In The Preseason:
“The biggest problem with Newcomb is his control, as he posted a 4.6 BB/9 in ’16 and owns a minor league career 4.7 mark.  Sure he can strikeout out a significant number of batters (9.8 K/9 last season), but he has taken a step back against more advanced hitters and he could continue to regress with another promotion.  It’s something worth watching, though you’d expect there to be enough (though if he can’t throw strikes it won’t matter).” Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (June 7, 2017)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Monday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

1) Amed Rosario – New York Mets – Shortstop (2)
The whispers of a Rosario promotion are growing a little bit louder, with Adam Rubin of Mets Blog reporting that GM Sandy Alderson will be traveling to Las Vegas to take a look at the team’s prospect for himself.  It’s possible that the showcase performance could lead to a one-way ticket to Flushing, where the Mets can certainly use a shot in the arm. Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Is The Phillies’ Scott Kingery Emerging As An Elite Prospect & More

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):

 

Scott Kingery – Philadelphia Phillies – Second Baseman
After spending 37 mediocre games at Double-A a year ago (.250, 2 HR, 4 SB) the Phillies started Kingery back at the level in 2017 and he’s responded in a big way.  Obviously the home runs are going to grab your attention (17 HR in 240 PA), but that’s not the only number that is eye-catching:

  • Strikeout Rate – 21.7% to 16.3%
  • Walk Rate – 3.0% to 10.0%
  • Stolen Bases – 13-for-15

That’s not to say that it’s all perfect, as you can argue that his 52.7% fly ball rate and 20.2% popup rate could pose long-term issues (those numbers don’t support his current .312 BABIP).  You also have the fact that he’s calling a hitter friendly ballpark home, though that notion can be dismissed given his performance on the road (.315 with 8 HR and 14 RBI). Read more

Closer of the Future: Could The Phillies’ Jesen Therrien Rise to The Role In ’17?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Phillies recently promoted closer Jesen Therrien to Triple-A, after he pitched 45.2 innings at Double-A over the last two seasons. It’s clear that he had little left to prove, with the bigger question being if he can evolve into a late inning option in Philadelphia before year’s end.

Just look at what he’s done at Double-A:

2.17 ERA
0.92 WHIP
61 Strikeouts
8 Walks
1.13 GO/AO

Those are amazing numbers, as he has checked off all the boxes that we look for from a pitcher. While he wasn’t generating many strikeouts and he struggled with his control at the lower levels, it’s clear that something has finally clicked. This wasn’t a week or two that he was generating big strikeouts and avoiding walks, that’s almost the equivalent of a full season at Double-A with significant success. Read more

Getting To Know: Austin Slater: Should We Be Skeptical About His Potential Impact?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After watching their right fielders post a .344 SLG, just barely ahead of the Kansas City Royals for the worst mark in the league, the San Francisco Giants decided to summon Austin Slater from Triple-A.  Despite his rather productive numbers (.322, 4 HR, 4 SB), it is fair to wonder just how much of an upgrade he really represents.  Let’s take a look at the upside and try to determine what he could be capable of in his first taste of the Majors:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Preseason – Not Ranked

Hits – Right-Handed

Age – 24

What We Said In The Preseason:
“Slater already had established himself as one of the better hitters in the system, showing good hand-eye coordination and not trying to do too much at the plate. His newfound power made pitchers respect him more, with his walk rate jumping from 5 percent in 2015 to 13 percent last year. Scouts want to see more before they anoint him as an everyday player, but he could be at least a platoon option after bashing left-handers at a .382/.473/.600 clip in 2016.” Read more

Getting To Know: Eric Skoglund: Despite An Impressive Debut, Should We Be Skeptical?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you see a pitcher listed at 6’7” you instantly think he’s going to be a hard thrower, but likely struggle with his control.  That’s simply not the case when it comes to the Royals’ Eric Skoglund, who isn’t going to intimidate hitters with his pure stuff but fills the strike zone (2.1 BB/9 over his minor league career) and lacks in strikeouts (7.7 K/9 in the minors).

He showed that type of makeup in his MLB debut against the Tigers, with 5 K vs. 1 BB over 6.1 shutout innings.  Now the question is if he can replicate this type of performance, or is he destined to disappoint?  Let’s take a look and get to know him:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Preseason – Unranked

Throwss – Left-Handed

Age – 24 Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (May 31, 2017)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Which prospects are on the verge of making an impact in the Major Leagues? This weekly column will rank the ten who are closest (as well as other names that are being closely considered). Keep in mind that while talent is factored in opportunity plays a major role, so there may be some “lesser” prospects who rank fairly highly on the list (please note all stats are through Monday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

1) Franklin Barreto – Oakland A’s – Shortstop (1)
While Adam Rosales produced initially, as expected he’s fallen off a cliff and the team should be looking for an upgrade.  With Marcus Semien’s return date unknown, Barreto could soon find himself in the mix.  His plate discipline is a concern (27.8% strikeout rate, 5.3% walk rate) and he’s also benefited from a .408 BABIP, but you could argue that he has little left to prove.  Over 192 AB at Triple-A this season he’s hitting .307 with 6 HR (as well as 9 doubles and 4 triples) and 3 SB.  He has more speed than that (30 SB in ’16, 29 in ’14) and there’s reason to believe that he can fix the strikeout issues (17.8% at Double-A in ’16).  The upside is immense, it’s just a matter of Oakland deciding to make the call. Read more

Getting To Know: David Paulino: Can He Make The Most Of His Opportunity?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After missing the start of the season on the DL the Astros’ David Paulino made his 2017 debut on May 11 and now has three starts under his belt.  He hasn’t impressed in those outings, with a 4.50 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, though after being scratched from a scheduled start yesterday he appears to be on the precipice of joining the Major League club.  He could operate out of the bullpen initially, but there is a need for help in the rotation and Paulino could ultimately get an opportunity.

Don’t let the early season numbers deceive you, he certainly deserves that opportunity.  Why?  Here’s what you need to know:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Preseason – Astros #3 Prospect (B+ Grade)

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 23 Read more

Prospect Stock Report: The Falling Stock Of Josh Hader & Two Under-The Radar Options

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):

 

Ranger Suarez – Philadelphia Phillies – Left-Handed Pitcher
Suarez wasn’t on radars entering the season, and it’s likely he’s still being lost in the shuffle behind rotation mate Sixto Sanchez (and others).  However with the way he’s started the season we need to pay attention as he has the potential to fully breakout as a viable prospect before long.

Besides being left-handed, reports have his velocity up this season (touching 94 mph).  It’s a small sample size (44.2 IP) and the 21-year old has only thrown 248.2 IP over parts of six seasons in the organization.  That said, his underlying metrics this season are eye-popping:

  • Strikeout Rate – 11.28 K/9
  • SwStr% – 12.4%
  • Walk Rate – 2.62 BB/9
  • Groundball Rate – 63.0%
  • GO/AO – 3.06

Read more