Is The Royals’ Josh Staumont Ticketed For A Lights Out Reliever Role Or A Washout In Waiting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Royals’ Josh Staumont has impressive strikeout stuff, as the former second round draft pick has racked up 132 K over 119.0 IP.  That’s a number that’s going to open your eye and make you pay attention, as does this type of scouting report courtesy of MLB.com:

Staumont’s fastball is difficult to hit and difficult to control. He can maintain a 93-97 mph four-seam fastball and reach 99 as a starter, has been clocked as high as 102 as a reliever and has nice riding life. He also can run a two-seamer into the upper 90s with heavy sink but has even more trouble keeping that version in the strike zone.  His low-80s curveball has power and depth, giving Staumont a second pitch that misses bats and can be difficult to harness, and he also mixes in a changeup with splitter action.

While the pure stuff sounds impressive, can you follow the common trend in that report?  Control…  Control…  Control…  That’s the big story, and one that will ultimately ticket Staumont to the bullpen in short order. Read more

Grading The Prospects: The Tigers Receive A Haul In Exchange For Justin Verlander

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Detroit Tigers shocked everyone making not one, but two blockbuster trades on Thursday as they sent Justin Upton to the Angels and Justin Verlander to the Astros.  While the return in the Upton trade wasn’t significant, the prospects they got back in exchange for Verlander definitely impacts the team’s top prospect rankings.  Let’s take a look at how the three new additions grade out:

 

Franklin Perez – Right-Handed Pitcher
While he’s a name people may have not of heard of, you can easily argue that he’s the “prize” for the Tigers.  Splitting time between High-A and Double-A this season he’s compiled a 3.02 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 78 K and 27 BB over 86.1 IP.  Just 19-years old there’s still a bit of projection to do, as he should continue to mature both physically (6’3”, 197 lbs.) and in talent, but he’s showing all the signs. Read more

Getting to Know: Concerns Regarding The Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty Ahead Of His MLB Debut

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It was a bit of a surprise when the Cardinals traded Mike Leake earlier this week, though they do have depth in the rotation and the move frees up money for the next few seasons.  One of the benefactors of the move will be one of the team’s top prospects Jack Flaherty, who will be recalled tomorrow to start against the San Francisco Giants.  Could he hit the ground running and make a September impact?  Let’s take a look and try to determine exactly what his upside may be:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Cardinals’ #6 Prospect

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 21

2017 Statistics:
Double-A – 63.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 8.81 K/9, 1.56 BB/9
Triple-A – 85.1 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.96 K/9, 2.53 BB/9

What Others Have Said:
There are certain expectations with young projectable-looking high school pitchers, that they’re going to add a ton of velocity as they mature. That was slow in coming with Flaherty, who had been more steady and consistent than exciting as a prospect, though he did start throwing harder in 2017, touching the mid-90s more consistently. He has three usable secondary offerings as well. His changeup could eventually be a plus pitch as his best option and he’ll throw both a solid slider and a slow curve to keep hitters off-balance. – MLB.com Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Is It Time To Write Off Austin Meadows & 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:

 

Austin Meadows – Outfielder – Pittsburgh Pirates
Considering the suspension to Starling Marte and the consistent injury issues for Gregory Polanco, we’ve been waiting for Meadows to emerge and rise to the Majors all season long.  However things have been a complete disaster, failing to impress at the plate (.261, 5 HR, 11 SB over 318 AB) and consistently battling injuries of his own.

The latest blow was an oblique injury on Sunday, but that’s just the latest in what has been consistent theme throughout his minor league career.  As Gerard Gilberto of MILB.com (click here for the article) documented Meadows: Read more

September Callups 2017: Hitter Six-Pack: Who Will Get An Opportunity (Verdugo, Candelario & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Whether you like the September roster expansion or not, there’s little doubt that it affords some opportunity to young players who may not get it otherwise.  Of course all situations aren’t created equal, and just because a young player is recalled doesn’t mean that they are going to get a chance to play regularly.  Let’s take a look at a few players who we’d expect to be recalled and determine what type of potential opportunity they will be given:

 

Jeimer Candelario – Detroit Tigers
There has been talk about Nick Castellanos shifting to the outfield, which obviously would be one way to get Candelario into the MLB lineup.  However with Victor Martinez potentially lost for the season there’s another avenue available, not to mention the suspension/struggles for Miguel Cabrera.  It would appear like Candelario is a lock to find his way into the MLB lineup not long after September 1, and he is one of the few who have the potential to see regular AB down the stretch. Read more

Is The White Sox’ Alec Hansen Emerging As A Top Pitching Prospect Or A Disaster In Waiting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The White Sox have accumulated a lot of prospects, and that depth has allowed 2016 second round pick Alec Hansen to fly relatively under-the-radar.  That’s about to change, as he’s recently been promoted to Double-A and has posted gaudy strikeout numbers in his first full professional season.  Among the minor league leaders, he has shown his stuff at two levels of Single-A thus far:

  • Single-A (72.2 IP) – 2.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.85 BB/9
  • High-A (58.1 IP) – 2.93 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 12.65 K/9, 3.86 BB/9

The 22-year old always had the potential to move quickly, with the biggest question being whether or not the 6’7” righty could consistently throw strikes.  As MLB.com stated:

“Hansen doesn’t always show that kind of arsenal and has little history of throwing strikes because his upper and lower halves get out of sync in his delivery and he doesn’t stay online to the plate. Chicago kept things simple in his pro debut, having him focus on staying taller and getting the ball out of his glove more quickly, and the results were impressive.” Read more

Getting to Know: Will The Reds’ Tyler Mahle Make The Most Of His Opportunity?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Reds’ rotation has been a bit of a carousel all season long, as the team takes a look at both veterans and an array of rookies.  While they’ve found some potential gems (like Luis Castillo), there are still obvious rotation opportunities for 2018 and beyond.  The next up to get a look is Tyler Mahle, who has thrived between Double and Triple-A this season and will be recalled to start on Sunday.  Can he make the most of his opportunity?  Let’s take a look:

Rotoprofessor Rankings:
Reds’ #7 Prospect

Throws – Right-Handed

Age – 22

2017 Statistics:
Double-A – 85.0 IP, 1.59 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 9.21 K/9, 1.80 BB/9
Triple-A – 59.1 IP, 2.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7.74 K/9, 1.97 BB/9

What Others Have Said:
Mahle is a command and control specialist, albeit it one with decent stuff. His fastball typically sits in the low 90s, but he adds and subtracts frequently, reaching as high as 96 mph when he wants to. He throws two distinct breaking balls and has good feel for a changeup, though all of his secondary stuff grades out as Major League average. When he’s at his best, he sets up hitters and mixes his pitches well, though he can rely on his plus-plus fastball command too much at times. Read more

Pushing For A Promotion: J.P. Crawford’s Second Half Resurgence Deserves Our Attention

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There was a lot of hype surrounding J.P. Crawford heading into the season, but he was horrendous in the first half stumbling to a .211 average with 6 HR, 34 RBI and 40 R over 279 AB.  It was easy to write him off and forget about him, but things dramatically changed in the past few weeks.

Since the Triple-A All-Star Break he’s slashing .292/.374/.519, and you can argue that his success goes back even further than that:

  • July – .281 with 8 HR, 18 RBI, 21 R
  • August – .297 with 3 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R

He had hit just 2 HR over the first three months, but since the calendar turned to July he’s been an extra base machine (9 doubles, 4 triples and 11 HR).  The development of his power has helped to spike his rebound, because he’s actually shown good plate discipline all season long (17.4% strikeout rate, 13.6% walk rate entering play on Wednesday) with his 5.3% SwStr%. Read more

Prospect Stock Report: Angels Edition: Is A Top 50 Prospect Emerging From The Weak System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We often overlook the Angels’ farm system, as it certainly isn’t one of the more impressive in baseball.  That said there is a potential gem emerging, though another potential productive player fading, so let’s take a quick look and identify who deserves our attention:

 

Jahmai Jones – Outfielder
He was our preseason #1 ranked prospect in the system, though he received just a “B” grade.  However he’s outperformed that as he’s split time between two levels of Single-A and looked good at each:

  • Single-A (346 AB) – .272 with 9 HR, 30 RBI, 54 R and 18 SB
  • High-A (122 AB) – .344 with 4 HR, 13 RBI, 26 R and 8 SB

He’s added 27 doubles and 6 triples, showing that he’s tapping into his power more than expected.  As MLB.com said, “He’ll use a refined up-the-middle approach and he’s already starting to grow into his power, showing the ability to backspin balls into the right-center field gap.” Read more

Ace Emerging? Could The Astros Forrest Whitley Develop Into A Top Starter?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In his first full season of professional baseball, 2016 first round draft pick Forrest Whitley is making quick work of the minor leagues.  He’s already pitched at three levels, including making his Double-A debut on Thursday, and has impressed with each step.  Over 83.2 IP all he’s done is post a 2.80 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 13.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.

His first start at Double-A may have been his post impressive, striking out 11 over 6.0 shutout innings.  Just to put his stamp on the performance he gave up just 2 H without walking a batter.  The most impressive number we can point to this season is that walk rate, as it is generally the last thing to develop for a 6’7” pitcher, especially one who was drafted out of high school.  However he’s actually improved with each promotion:

  • Single-A – 4.1 BB/9 over 46.1 IP
  • High-A – 2.6 BB/9 over 31.1 IP
  • Double-A – 0.0 BB/9 over 6.0 IP

Only twice has he walked more than 4 batters in a game this season, just further bringing belief that he can maintain the mark. Read more