MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (August 2, 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 Sunday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

1) Dominic Smith – New York Mets – First Baseman (6)
The assumption was that once Lucas Duda was up dealt (he ultimately landed in Tampa Bay) Smith would instantly be recalled to fill the void at first base.  If we’ve learned anything from the Mets’ handling of Amed Rosario it is that the team will keep to their timelines as opposed to feeling pressure to bring a prospect up sooner than desired. Read more

“Imminent” Arrival? Will Ronald Acuna or Francisco Mejia Arrive To The Majors In ’17

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Yesterday the news broke that the Mets would finally recall Ahmed Rosario for his MLB debut.  While that excitement lingers, you know people will start to wonder if other top prospects will soon be joining him.  Let’s take a look at a few of the hotter names in the minors right now and try to determine how likely it is that they arrive in ’17:

 

Ronald Acuna – Outfielder – Atlanta Braves
The 19-year old has had a special season, spanning three levels of the minor leagues and surprisingly reaching Triple-A.  Despite reaching the highest level of the minors, he appears to have not missed a beat:

LevelABAVGHRRBIRSB
High-A115.2873192114
Double-A221.3269302919
Triple-A66.318410132
Read more

Now In Detroit, Could Jeimer Candelario Make An Immediate Impact In The Majors?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While Isaac Paredes could ultimately prove to be the more valuable acquisition for the Detroit Tigers, he’s playing at Single-A, is just 18-years old and needs time to develop (though it’s clear he could develop some pop, with 25 doubles and 7 HR over 337 AB).  The other player, 3B Jeimer Candelario, has already appeared in the Majors and has the potential to make an immediate impact for Detroit.

Primarily a third baseman, Candelario has also seen time at first base this season and the added flexibility could help expedite his arrival.  Obviously the Tigers have both spots currently covered (Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos, as well as Victor Martinez in the DH spot), but injuries happen and the performance of Castellanos has never quite lived up to the hype.  That’s not to say that the team is going to make a change, but would it be a complete surprise if they wanted to see the newest piece to their puzzle?

For his part Candelario has performed well at Triple-A, hitting .266 with 12 HR and 52 RBI.  He’s added 27 doubles and 3 triples, showing that there’s more power for the 23-year old to tap into as he matures and gains experience.  His best asset, though, has always been his plate discipline: Read more

Did The Rebuilding White Sox Gain Any Value In Their Return For Melky Cabrera?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The rebuilding White Sox jettisoned another piece on Sunday, sending outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects.  Do either of the pieces have long-term potential?  Let’s take a look:

 

A.J. Puckett – Right-Handed Pitcher
The better of the two acquisitions, Puckett was a 2016 second round draft pick and has spent the entire season at High-A.  Over 108.1 IP he’s posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, as the underlying skills are somewhat questionable:

  • Strikeouts – 8.14 K/9
  • Walks – 3.82 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 48.9%

That backs up the lackluster scouting reports we’ve seen.  This one comes courtesy of MLB.com: Read more

Did Philadelphia Get A Steal (LHP McKenzie Mills) In Return For Howie Kendrick?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You would’ve thought that Philadelphia wouldn’t have been able to acquire much of a prospect for Howie Kendrick, considering the number of outfielders available on the trade market.  While lefty McKenzie Mills, a 2014 18th round draft pick, doesn’t get much attention (which is surprising, considering what he was doing in a depleted Washington system) but there is potential to develop into a viable MLB pitcher.

His numbers at Single-A this season (104.2 IP) are eye opening:

12-2, 3.01 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 10.15 K/9, 1.89 BB/9

Both the strikeouts and walks are vast improvements over his ’16 marks (7.76 and 4.73, respectively), which can be attributed to some growth and maturation.  Here’s how MLB.com describes his stuff: Read more

Making Sense Of The Mets Trade For A.J. Ramos & The Prospects They Dealt Away

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

On the surface it may seem like a surprise that the Mets shipped out a pair of prospects to Miami to acquire A.J. Ramos.  That said, with an eye towards ’18 it makes sense as Ramos could step in and form a formidable 1-2 punch with a hopefully healthy Jeurys Familia at the back of the bullpen.  Another twist to the deal, which could easily be overlooked, comes courtesy of Baseball America:

“Gonzalez and Cespedes are both eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter unless they were placed on the 4o-man roster, giving more context to why the Mets would be willing to trade two Top 30 prospects now.”

It makes sense, though that doesn’t mean that Miami didn’t get value back.  Let’s take a quick look at the players they acquired:

 

Merandy Gonzalez – Right Handed Pitcher
The 21-year old has split time between two levels of Single-A this season, impressing at both stops:

  • Single-A – 1.55 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 8.40 K/9, 1.68 BB/9 over 69.2 IP
  • High-A – 2.23 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 5.94 K/9, 1.98 BB/9 over 36.1 IP

Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Has Casey Gillaspie’s Value Really Fallen This Far?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Entering the season Casey Gillaspie was ranked as our 4th best first base prospect.  That’s not to say that it was an impressive group, as he earned just a “B” grade, but he was coming off a solid season and there was still upside for growth.  As we said at the time:

You could call him a “safe” prospect, but there’s some upside potential.  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A last season Gillaspie hit .284 with 18 HR (as well as 34 doubles and 2 triples) and 64 RBI.  He’s also shown a good command of the strike zone at each stop, which is important for a player with his type of power potential:

  • Double-A (357 PA) – 22.1% strikeout rate, 16.2% walk rate
  • Triple-A (203 PA) – 18.7% strikeout rate, 10.8% walk rate

The fact that he’s a switch hitter who produced solid slashes against both RHP (.313/.387/.515) and LHP (.289/.396/.533) at Triple-A adds to the appeal.

Clearly the stock has fallen quickly, as he was sent to the White Sox yesterday in exchange for left-handed reliever Dan Jennings (he owner of a career 1.40 WHIP, 7.37 K/9 and 3.96 BB/9).  Has Gillaspie’s really fallen this far though? Read more

Trade Deadline Fallout: Is There Any Value In the Giants’ Return For Eduardo Nunez?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It should come as no surprise that the Red Sox acquired a player capable of manning 3B, though early indications are that they will still give Rafael Devers an opportunity to claim the spot (and he took a step towards that yesterday, connecting on his first home run).  Eduardo Nunez provides depth, in case he struggles, but also can play across the diamond and be utilized in a key utility role.  As far as the cost, let’s take a quick look at who Boston had to part with in return:

 

Shaun Anderson – Right Handed Pitcher
A 2016 third round pick, Anderson has the prototypical size for a starting pitcher (6’4”, 225 lbs.) and has fared well across two levels of Single-A.  Over 97.1 IP he owns a 3.42 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.  However the process of turning him into a viable starter could be a long one, as he was utilized as a reliever in college.  The stuff is there, as MLB.com described:

“Anderson has enough pitches to make it as a starter and the Red Sox want to see what he can do in that role. He has some feel for a fading changeup and can mix in a decent curveball to give hitters a different look. He lives in the strike zone and is tough to hit when he uses his tall frame to create downhill plane.” Read more

MLB Prospect Power Rankings: Top 10 On The Cusp Of Reaching The Majors (July 26, 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 Sunday and the number in parenthesis is the ranking from last week):

 

 

1) Lewis Brinson – Milwaukee Brewers – Outfielder (2)
Milwaukee finally grew frustrated enough with Keon Broxton to send him down to Triple-A to work out the issues.  While Brett Phillips is currently getting a chance to fill the void, it shouldn’t be long until Brinson’s time comes.  The Brewers are freefalling, and while Brinson hasn’t been hitting for power he is hitting .364 over his past 10 games and more importantly has just 7 K vs. 5 BB over this stretch (44 AB). Read more

Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: Is There Still Reason To Believe In Lucas Giolito?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just when we thought Lucas Giolito had finally figured things out, the once hyped prospect has quickly regressed once again.  Over his past two starts he’s allowed 8 ER on 10 H and 7 BB over 6.2 IP, and while one start does skew the numbers a bit (5 ER over 1.2 IP) it’s been an ugly stretch overall…

In fact it’s been an ugly season for Giolito, who owns a 5.38 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 19 starts at Triple-A.  We always talk about three skills we look for from a starting pitcher, and Giolito has flashed just one of them this season:

  • Strikeouts – 9.84 K/9
  • Walks – 4.45 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 40.5%

The lack of groundballs is a bit of a change, as he had consistently shown more in that regard in previous seasons in the minors (GO/AO): Read more