Top 10 Prospects (2017): Houston Astros: A Trio Of Potential Aces At The Top & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Houston Astros have long been viewed as the owner of one of the strongest farm systems in the league.  While that’s not necessarily the case anymore, thanks to a series of graduations, the system certainly isn’t void of talent.  As it is we’re omitting Yuliesky Gurriel, who theoretically is eligible, as there are a trio of impressive pitchers at the top.  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Francis Martes – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2017

Acquired from Miami back in 2014, Martes was impressive in his first full season at Double-A as he posted a 3.30 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.  His control took a small step backwards, though no one is going to complain about a 3.4 BB/9 (he was at 2.5 in ’15) when you generate a 9.4 K/9 and 1.00 GO/AO (he owns a 1.19 mark over the course of his career). Read more

Breakout Prospect: Why The Mets’ Tomas Nido Will Emerge Onto The Prospect Landscape In ’17

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know the Mets are on the lookout for an upgrade at catcher, and while Tomas Nido isn’t going to make an impact in 2017 could he earn the label of “catcher of the future”? He certainly gave us reason to believe in 2016, playing the season at High-A:

.320 (110-344), 7 HR, 46 RBI, 38 R

His defense isn’t a big question, it’s his bat that had everyone concerned. However he took a monumental leap last season in his plate discipline, going from a 25.7% strikeout rate to an 11.4% mark despite the jump in competition.

That helped to justify the average improvement, as there wasn’t a big increase in luck (.332 BABIP To .344). He also showed a bit of power potential, adding 23 doubles and 2 triples. The improvement in his approach, with the chance to gain some power, certainly should have the 22-year old on all prospect maps. Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Minnesota Twins: Is Nick Gordon An Overrated Prospect & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The name that arguably draws the most attention in Minnesota’s system, Nick Gordon, is hardly the team’s best prospect.  In fact he’s even a borderline Top 5 option, as a trio of unheralded pitching prospects lead the way.  Who are they?  How good could they be?  Let’s take a look at those three as well as the rest of the Top 10 prospects in the Twins’ system:

 

1) Fernando Romero – Right-Handed Pitcher
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2018/2019

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

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Detroit Tigers: Is There Any Upside In A Questionable System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There’s a reason the talk this offseason has been that the Detroit Tigers are primed to start rebuilding.  While there’s some intriguing upside in the top two names on this list, there’s a swift and dramatic falloff beyond that.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some intriguing prospects, even ones that could develop into solid Major League contributors.  It’s simply that they lack the overall appeal and upside, which is why the system can use an infusion of talent.  That said, let’s take a look at how things currently rank:

 

1) Matt Manning – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

The ninth overall selection in the 2016 draft is going to need time to develop, but he certainly made a tremendous first impression.  All he did in his 29.1 innings was rack up 46 K against 7 BB, which alone would turn heads.  At 6’6” and 190 lbs, there’s reason to believe that he’s just going to add strength and velocity, making him even more imposing. Read more

Prospect Profile: Out Of The Shadows, Can Mauricio Dubon Emerge In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Mauricio Dubon was originally slotted at #8 in a deep Red Sox farm system with a “B” grade.  Part of the package sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Tyler Thornburg, his outlook could improve as he no longer is going to be buried behind the likes of Yoan Moncada (though he too was traded) and Xander Bogaerts.

The 22-year old shortstop’s carrying tool is his ability to steal a base (30 SB each of the past two seasons), though he also produced impressive averages at both of his stops in 2016:

  • High-A (235 AB) – .306, 0 HR, 29 RBI, 53 R, 24 SB
  • Double-A (251 AB) – .339, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 48 R, 6 SB

Obviously the drop in SB upon his promotion raises a slight red flag, though he had 20 doubles and 6 triples to go along with his 6 HR.  Of course at 6’0” and 160 lbs. it’s going to be hard to project him for significant power. Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2017): Chicago White Sox: Breaking Down A Suddenly Stacked System…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Less than 24 hours after receiving a bounty for Chris Sale, the White Sox struck again as they acquired a trio of right-handed pitchers in exchange for Adam Eaton.  Prior to the Winter Meetings the White Sox farm system seemed barren, but now it is ripe with talent primed to make a quick impact.  How does it all fallout?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Yoan Moncada – Second Baseman (Previous – #1)
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – A

His MLB debut was a significant disappointment and may have fully exposed the warts to his game, as he struck out 12 times in 19 AB.  As he was hitting home runs (15) and stealing bases (45) in the minors it was an easy thing to overlook, but it is important to note that it was extremely prevalent there as well: Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2017): Boston Red Sox: What’s Left Of A Once Strong System…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The once deep Red Sox system has been drained, especially if you include the in season trade of Rick Porcello, and it would look even more barren had Andrew Benintendi not gotten injured (meaning he hasn’t officially “graduated” yet).  While there’s still a few interesting names, after yesterday’s trades for Chris Sale and Tyler Thornburg things are looking particularly barren.  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Andrew Benintendi – Outfielder (Previous – #2)
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – A-

Had it not been for injury he would’ve already graduated off this list.  That said it doesn’t mean he should be overlooked, after delivering 8 HR and 8 SB, courtesy of an impressive 11.4% strikeout rate, while playing at Double-A.  During his time in the Majors he showed his line drive approach (25.0%) while also showing an impressive eye considering his lack of professional experience: Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2017): Chicago White Sox: The Fallout From The Chris Sale Trade

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In light of the White Sox’ deal, sending Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Yoan Mocada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz, there obviously has been a significant change in the White Sox prospect listing.  Keep in mind that this could be the first bombshell for a franchise that could move significantly more pieces, but let’s take a look at how things now stand:

 

1) Yoan Moncada – Second Baseman (Previous – NR)
ETA – Already Arrived
Grade – A

His MLB debut was a significant disappointment and may have fully exposed the warts to his game, as he struck out 12 times in 19 AB.  As he was hitting home runs (15) and stealing bases (45) in the minors it was an easy thing to overlook, but it is important to note that it was extremely prevalent there as well: Read more

Was There Any Value In St. Louis’ Return For Jaime Garica?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last week the Atlanta Braves shipped a trio of prospects to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jaime Garcia.  Of course the potential upside of those prospects is questionable, at best.  Could any of the three make an impact?  Let’s take a look:

 

RHP Chris Ellis
Drafted in third round of the 2014 draft by the Los Angeles Angels, Ellis was acquired by Atlanta as part of the Andrelton Simmons trade.  Splitting time between Double and Triple-A last season, there was a vast split in his numbers:

  • Double-A – 78.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 4.0 BB/9
  • Triple-A – 67.2 IP, 6.52 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 6.9 BB/9

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Kansas City Royals: Is There Any Value In A Barren System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As they have been a successful franchise over the past few years, the Royals have dealt away some prospects to push towards a World Series title.  At the end of the day no one is going to complain with the results, but thanks to those moves and some failures among their prospects the system has been left extremely bare.  Is there anyone that catches our attention?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Hunter Dozier – Third Baseman/Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – Already Arrived

At 25-years old the time has come for the former eighth overall selection in 2013 to show his true value and upside.  He showed signs in 2016, including getting his first taste of the Majors, as he combined to hit 23 HR (as well as 45 doubles and 1 triple) across three levels.  He doesn’t have much speed, so the question comes down to how the power develops and if he can make consistent contact.  The latter has always been an issue, though he did make strides last season: Read more