Saturday, July 24, 2010

Post All-Star Break Prospects to Watch

posted by Jon Williams
I have been asked by a couple of readers for lists of prospects to look for in the second half of the season. Apparently you guys want to know both the prospects that should be up soon and the prospects that will be making cameos before making their impacts next season. I am nothing if not obliging.

Impact Call-Ups to Expect
(in no particular order)

Dominic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies - At two levels, he has already surpassed his high home run total. He doesn't have the discipline of Jason Heyward or the power of Michael Stanton but he is in their class as a prospect. Brown has often been compared to Daryl Strawberry and that is a very good comparison. He has 30-plus homerun power and he has the speed (if not the skills) to steal 20 to 30 bases annually. He has solid plate discipline (for a 22-year old and should draw enough walks to provide strong on-base percentages. He does strikeout a bit but more in the power hitter range than the outrageous (Mark Reynolds) range. Brown is waiting for something to happen in the Phillies outfield, whether that is Jayson Werth* being traded or Raul Ibanez being benched has yet to be determined.

*For some reason I keep reading that Jayson Werth is having a bad season. That is simply not the case. The only real difference (at least in a negative sense) between 2010 and 2009 is the homerun pace. Otherwise he is batting for a better average, getting on base and slugging just as much. His teammates are collectively having an off year due to injuries and slow starts and slumps and that has slowed his Runs and RBI pace. But Werth was a .382 wOBA player in 2009 and is at .376 so far in 2010. He may not be having the perfect fantasy season but his real baseball season is just fine.
Brett Wallace, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays - One of my favorite hitting prospects, Wallace is showing improved homerun power. He is a disciplined hitter, although his patience seems to have slipped just a bit. He should eventually hit for high averages, with very nice OBAs, good power (say 20-30 homers annually), and provide zero speed. Lyle Overbay is still in the way at first base. Overbay's sub-par season has not helped the Blue Jays in their attempts to move him. The Jays are also trying to move Jose Bautista (selling high, just as you would) which would also open a spot, though Travis Snider may get the first opening.

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
- Hellickson has everything you want to see in a pitching prospect. He wins. He induces strikeouts. A large chunk of the flyballs he allows are of the harmless infield variety. When you subtract the infield flies from the other variety he induces more groundballs than fly outs. He has excellent command (3.55 K/BB) and is just 23-years old pitching in the International League. He should already be in the majors.

Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins
- He induces groundballs on almost 60 percent of the balls put into play. He induces strikeouts at nice rate and his improving changeup promises that that rate can improve even further. With the Twins appearing reluctant to part with their better prospects in a trade for pitching, Gibson looks like a nice option down the stretch.

Jerry Sands, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Right now, no one is talking about Jerry Sands, but all he does is hit. He hits for average (batting .319/.422/.636 at two levels) and he hits for power (27 homers in 332 at-bats). He draws walks and makes pretty good contact for a slugger. This 25th-round pick from the 2008 draft looks unstoppable right now. The Dodgers could certainly use an unstoppable slugger in their lineup. Who couldn't?

Thomas Diamond, RHP, Chicago Cubs
- He was left for dead by the Rangers. Okay, they sacrificed his place on the roster for a fresher crop of prospects. This is all to the Cubs benefit. He looks exactly like the talented rotation starter he was expected to become a few years ago. He is still just 27-years old. The Cubs have absolutely nothing to lose by promoting him into the major league rotation.

Brock Bond, 2B, San Francisco Giants
- Bond is not the type of player that usually gets put on fantasy-oriented prospect lists. But his .417 OBP in 4 seasons is exactly the style of player the Giants need at the top of their lineup. If they make the move watch him get on base and score runs like crazy.

Cameo Appearance Only
(the real impact will come in 2011)

Michael Pineda, RHP, Seattle Mariners - He pitches in the high 90's. He has three plus or better pitches and he has the ideal power pitcher's body. He will also graduate into the best pitchers park in the American League. The hype is growing. He induces strikeouts, groundballs and infield flies. He has excellent command and is going to challenge Felix Hernandez for his throne atop the Mariners rotation.

Blake Beavan, RHP, Seattle Mariners
- He has become more of a pitcher and less of a hard thrower since being drafted by the Rangers. He was one of the prospects sent to the Mariners in the recent Cliff Lee trade. He does not strike out batters at the rate we fantasy owners like to see but he can still toss it past a batter when he needs to. He survives with incredible command and by inducing a ton of groundballs and infield flies. He should look spectacular behind King Felix and Prince Pineda some day.

Desmond Jennings, OF, Tampa Bay Rays - A spring wrist injury and slow start probably conspired to keep Jennings from contending for American League rookie of the year in 2010. He has the tools and is developing the skills to be the perfect replacement (or complement) to Carl Crawford. If I ran the Rays, I'd toss B.J. Upton out on his butt and let Crawford, Jennings, and Ben Zobrist man the outfield for the next ten years.

Zach Britton, LHP, Baltimore Orioles - I have expressed my great man-love for Zach Britton many times. He has a 65.8 percent GB rate this season and that isn't even a shocking number for him. He strikes out batters at a decent rate (enough to know he can deceive batters). Baseball America has pushed him into their mid-season Top Ten Prospects. The 2011 rookie of the year, you heard it here first.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals - Many fantasy analysts were jumping off the Moustakas band wagon after a couple of not bad but disappointing seasons. He has roared back into their hearts. He was contending for the Texas League Triple Crown and has already pushed former phenom Alex Gordon out of the Royals infield. The Royals are getting it together.

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds - The Cuban lefty is impressive but has not developed as quickly as some expected. He has the raw stuff to blow it past any batter but lacks the finesse and command necessary to dominate in the long term. I think it was a mistake to start him at Triple-A. I think a quick journey from the lower minors as the Nats did with Stephen Strasburg would have been the better move. It would have built his confidence and given him a chance at Strasburg-like hype. The Reds have moved him to the bullpen (it seems like a short term move but that's hard to say) to speed his advancement and for possible help in a late season playoff run. Don't let the cooling of the hype turn you off, he's still going to be very good.

Chris Carter, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics - Carter hasn't hit for average this season but his power is top shelf. However, thanks to a nice hot streak he has dragged his slash to .241/.350/.504 with 23 homers in 365 at-bats. Most prospect junkies thought Carter would be up by now, but apparently the Athletics want to see improvement in his plate discipline first.

You Will Not See Them in 2010 But DAMN!
(Damn = Drooling Already so Make Note)

Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels - He has all the tools, and is developing the skills to become one of the great ones. He has a .353/.445/.519 slash with 45 steals (just 11 cs) and developing power. Grab him now while you still have a prayer of getting him on the cheap.

Aaron Hicks, OF,Minnesota Twins - The tools are way ahead of the skills at this point. But this potential Torii Hunter clone is going to put it together very soon.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, Kansas City Royals
- The Royals system is getting stronger and stronger. Hosmer has more power than his numbers may suggest and he even steals a few bases to go with his awesome batting average. Dayton Moore is doing something right at least.

Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians - When you watch him swing you get the sense that he could be the next Chipper Jones but the numbers aren't there yet. He is an excellent player to stash in deeper farm systems.

Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
- He has 18 homers and 18 stolen bases in 332 at-bats. Franklin has probably surpassed Carlos Triunfel as the Mariners' shortstop of the future. Can you hear the pigs in space like reverb on that?

Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves - Every prospect analyst in his right mind is drooling all over Teheran's tools. He has the potential to be as good as any pitcher out there.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Pauly said...

Awesome article Jon.

One request? How about AAA HR leader J.P. Arencibia?

Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 1:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jon Williams said...

I left Arencibia off because I do not believe he'll be called up and his defense at catcher has degraded to such a level that there is no way he'll be a factor at the position in the near future. He is leading the PCL in passed balls and throwing out just 20 percent of basestealers. If he can bring his defense up to an acceptable level I think he'll be a fine offensive catcher along the lines of Miguel Olivo (maybe a little more consistent than that). That's a fine description of a fantasy catcher but I didn't believe he'd earned a spot on what I feel is a pretty exclusive list.

Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 4:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger 3FingersBrown said...

Nice stuff, well researched! I've been waiting for the Jays to trade the Overfiend and bring up Wallace all year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as we head towards the deadline.


Hell Boy is another one that I want to see, but I don't think he'll be fantasy relevant since it sounds like we'll see him come out of the pen ala Price in '08. Wouldn't be surprised to see Chapman called up to come out of the pen either.

Trout sounds like a beast!

I want to see Tyler Flowers too but I don't think the ChiSox will move A.J. now that they're back in the hunt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 4:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think that Logan Morrison is someone to watch. He just got called up to the majors and has legit power to all fields. He's also an OBP machine, which will serve him well on any roster.

Thoughts?

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 5:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jon Williams said...

@Anonymous (why so secretive?) You are right. Logan Morrison is defeinitely worthy of attention. I didn't think he'd get more than a September look if even that. Mostly because the outfield was already crowded and Sanchez has been pretty good at first base. The Coughlan injury really gave him a chance to show his stuff.

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 5:09:00 PM EDT  

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