A Prospect (Q&A) Roll Call

You deserve the truth. Here it is. Many of my MiLB editorial colleagues and I (at least, those of us willing to admit it) actually look forward to the offseason. Don’t get me wrong. We love baseball as much as you do. But after six months of ballgames… well, you get the picture.

Trayce Thompson (By Roger Peterson).

But we also look forward to the offseason — at least, I do, and I can only speak for myself — because this time gives us a chance to spend time reporting on prospects we perhaps missed during the season, when things are undoubtedly busier. One of the vehicles for this reporting is our recurring “Prospect Q&A” feature (previously called “Ten Questions with…”

I like this story format because it’s done in a casual, conversational form but can still yield quality content. I use it as an opportunity to test my educated opinion, too, on who might be among the next great group of prospects. How did I do last year in identifying these guys? Here are the seven I wrote around this time last year:

  1. Prospect Q&A: Carpenter’s trade-off – 03/19/12 — Cubs-turned-Red Sox right-hander Chris Carpenter told me he was “startled to learn he was “traded” for Boston-turned-Chicago exec Theo Epstein … then he missed the first half of the season after undergoing minor surgery on his throwing elbow but finished the season in the Red Sox’s bullpen.
  2. Prospect Q&A: Doolittle does more – 03/05/12 — A’s slugger-turned-pitcher Sean Doolittle told me had a “whole new energy for the game” after overcoming multiple injuries as a position player … then he dominated in the Minors, needing just 16 combined relief appearances at three levels before becoming the setup man for the American League West Division champ.
  3. Prospect Q&A: Hamilton a humble thief – 02/20/12 — The Reds’ Billy Hamilton told me about the baserunning advice he “stole” from Delino DeShields and Joe Morgan … then, in the wake of Mike Trout’s promotion to Majors, he became the Minors’ most exciting player and — oh, by the way — the single-season thefts record-holder.
  4. Prospect Q&A: ‘Reck’ turns to Langston – 02/06/12 — Angels top prospect-turned-forgotten farmhand Trevor Reckling told me former Halos hurler and fellow lefty Mark Langston was getting him back on track … then he struggled at the Class A Advanced level, was released and (despite his Twitter bio) appears unemployed.
  5. Prospect Q&A: Thompson has tools – 01/23/12 — The White Sox’s Trayce Thompson, the son and brother of NBA players, told me hadn’t yet scratched the surface of his athletic potential … then hit 25 home runs at age 21, finished the season at Triple-A after starting it at High-A and went from unranked to No. 1 on Chicago’s list.
  6. Prospect Q&A: Dominguez goes fishing – 01/09/12 — Marlins-turned-Astros third-baseman-of-the-future Matt Dominguez told me he needed to be a more consistent hitter … then, post-trade, he batted .298 at Triple-A and .284 in Houston to complement his gold glove-caliber defense on the hot corner.
  7. Prospect Q&A: Friedrich and free time – 12/05/11 — Rockies left-hander Christian Friedrich told me about escaping his offseason man cave to find a catch partner … then pitched well in his first five Triple-A starts before having a feast-or-famine 16-start campaign in Colorado.

OK, so I swung and missed on Carpenter and Reckling. But I’m pretty proud of that Doolittle-Hamilton-Thompson trio. Yeah, Hamilton was already a known quantity, having stole 103 bases in 2011, but Doolittle and Thompson really saw a spike in their value as prospects and ballplayers.

So who is next on my radar? Below is a list of MiLBers my colleagues and I are considering interviewing this winter for your reading enjoyment. My choices are denoted in italics.

Byron Buxton (By Roger Peterson).

Most important — this is the real reason for this blog post — is who is NOT on this list. Is there a prospect or two you’d like to see us catch up with November through March? If so, who and why? Use that ever-so-lonely comment section below, please.

  • Matt Barnes (Red Sox)
  • David Dahl (Rockies)
  • Addison Russell (A’s)
  • Byron Buxton (Twins) 
  • Josh Bell (Pirates)
  • Michael Wacha (Cardinals)
  • Max Kepler (Twins)
  • Mike Zunino (Mariners)
  • Richie Shaffer (Rays)
  • Kolten Wong (Cardinals)
  • Kevin Gausman (Orioles)
  • Jorge Soler (Cubs)
  • Jackie Bradley (Red Sox)
  • George Springer (Astros)
  • Dan Straily (A’s)
  • Brandon Nimmo (Mets)
  • Tony Cingrani (Reds)
  • Joe Panik (Giants)
  • Christian Yelich (Marlins)

3 Comments

Glad to see Jackie Bradley is on the list…he was going to be my suggestion.

Trevor Story (Rockies) should be on your list. 5-tool shortstop on the minors team with the best Win-Loss record of 2012 and League champions. Up there with David Dahl and Nolan Arenado as top Rockies prospects. Great guy with great walk-up song “She’s Country”.

Thanks for the comment, Barry. You’re absolutely right about Story. Not sure why’s so underrated. And the walk-up song does help his case.

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