Results tagged ‘ Chicago White Sox ’
By Sam Dykstra/MiLB.com
Wednesday was a big day in Minor League circles, and that was pretty evident on Twitter alone, as seen by the feeds of Adam Duvall, Stefen Romero and Tucker Barnhart. These were the reactions of players who had just been added to their parent club’s 40-man rosters before Wednesday’s deadline.
Of course, everyone didn’t enjoy the same fate, and for certain players (i.e. those who were signed when they were 19 or older and have been in pro ball for four years OR those who signed at 18 or under and have been in the game for five years), that means they’re eligible to be selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. You can read more about the Rule 5 Draft here, but these are the important points. Once a player is selected by another club in the Rule 5 Draft, they must stay on the team’s 25-man roster for the entire season. If he doesn’t (which is usually the case), he must be returned to his original organization.
In that vein, Rule 5 selections should be seen as second-chance tryouts with a different organization on the player side and low-risk, potentially high-reward moves on the team side.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some players who weren’t placed on 40-man rosters Wednesday and are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Andy Wilkins, first baseman, White Sox – Since being taken in the fifth round out of the University of Arkansas in 2010, Wilkins’ prospect stock has gone on a bit of a roller-coaster ride. He was ranked among the White Sox top 20 prospects following a solid campaign (.278/.349/.485, 23 homers) in 2011, only to drop out after last year (.239/.335/.425, 17 homers). He rebounded a bit in 2013, slashing .277/.353/.452 with 17 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He could provide a team with some decent left-handed power off the bench, and there’s a chance someone takes a flyer on him for that purpose. (Think Mike Carp Lite with the Red Sox this season.)
Brian Fletcher, outfielder, Royals – Like Wilkins, there’s lots of pop to Fletcher’s game that could catch a club’s eye. The 25-year-old left fielder battled injury issues last season but managed to hit 17 homers and put up a .505 slugging percentage in 78 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. The 2010 18th-rounder has hit 48 longballs in 305 Minor League games and owns a career .837 OPS. Considered a below-average defender, he spent a decent amount of time as a DH in 2013 and actually received most of his starts at first base at the Class A Advanced level in 2012 before the Royals decided to keep him in left. It’s likely that it’s his defense and low walk rates (5.4 percent in 2013) that kept the former Auburn slugger from being protected by the Royals, but another club might deem his big bat worthy of a look.
A.J. Schugel, right-handed pitcher, Angels – If you were to look at the back of Schugel’s baseball card, you probably wouldn’t like what you see from his time at Triple-A Salt Lake last season. A 4-6 record. A 7.05 ERA over 19 starts. A .324 batting average-against. That’s not particularly exciting. However, his peripherals look a little better. A 4.49 FIP. 7.66 K/9 (in line with career averages). 3.32 BB/9 (lowest for a full season in his career). And then there’s the .376 BABIP, which might suggest he wasn’t getting much help defensively. Since the college infielder made the move to the mound after being drafted in 2010, Schugel’s shown in flashes that he has dominant stuff, especially on the fastball side. That could be enough for a team to take him, although it’s likely that they’d do so with a relief role in mind.
Tommy Kahnle, right-handed pitcher, Yankees – This seems like a cut-and-dry pick here. Known as a high-velocity hurler, Kahnle has been known to rack up strikeouts by the handful. He finished with 74 strikeouts in 60 innings last season — a K/9 rate of 11.1 — to go with a 2.85 ERA for Double-A Trenton. A 6.75 BB/9 — a number that was raised when issued two or more free passes in five of his final six appearances — is cause for concern, but he’s shown the stuff to be more than effective in extended outings of the bullpen. That’s perfect Rule 5 bait.
Seth Blair, right-handed pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals – This might be the definition of a flyer, but hear me out on this one. Like Schugel, Blair’s numbers weren’t all that great in 2013 — 3-9, 5.07 ERA, 18 homers in 129 2/3 innings. That came at Double-A Springfield and followed a year after a tumor in his knuckle caused him to miss most of 2012. All that against him, scouts still seem to like him, and indeed he is currently ranked No. 12 among Cardinals prospects. His fastball is average, but his curveball projects to be a 60 on the 20-80 scale. Command issues were the biggest concern entering this year, and his walk rate dropped from 6.83 BB/9 in 2011 (his last full season) to 3.33 in 2013. The Cardinals would probably prefer that he iron out his other issues in their system, even if they didn’t add him to their 40-man roster. But another organization might be willing to give him a shot (and a new opportunity) as a long reliever/emergency starter.
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Before we get this going, let’s clear one thing up. No, this is not another attempt to squeeze another “Surprise” pun into our Arizona Fall League coverage. There are enough opportunities to do that more naturally each autumn, so there’s no point in forcing it here.
Instead, this is simply a look at which players have gone beyond expectations in what’s considered the prospect finishing school. This comes, of course, with the caveats that the AFL season is short (only 32 games) and not over (a week remains on the schedule).
But even then, we’re deep enough to see who has exceeded predictions for their Fall League production. Also, it should be pointed out that such performances can have effects on the future of a prospect. Rangers first baseman Chris McGuiness wasn’t one of the bigger names in the Fall League last year but eventually led the circuit with 27 RBIs in 25 games en route to being named MVP. He was rewarded when the Indians selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, giving him his first shot at a Major League job. (He was returned to the Rangers in the spring.)
With that in mind, here’s a look at five Fall Leaguers who have caught my eye for all the right reasons.
5. Mitch Haniger, Brewers outfielder, Surprise: Haniger sits at No. 12 in the Brewers’ system, according to MLB.com, after his first two professional seasons. The first was cut to 14 games due to a knee injury, and the second saw the 22-year-old put up decent numbers (.264/.348/.431) in 129 games between Class A Wisconsin and Class A Advanced Brevard County.
Milwaukee sent their 2011 first-rounder (38th overall) to the Fall League to see how he’d handle some more advanced competition, and the right-handed hitting outfielder hasn’t disappointed. In fact, he’s thrived. Haniger hit a grand slam in his first day and was named Player of the Week the opening week after going 9-for-16 with a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs in his first four games. He’s cooled off since but only slightly. Haniger owns a .313/.391/.525 line with three homers, eight doubles and an AFL-best 19 RBIs in 20 games (92 plate appearances) for the Saguaros. You can scream “Sample size!” if you want, but the fact remains that he only posted a monthly OPS higher than .916 once this year (.983 in May) and that came against Class A competition. It’ll be interesting to see if he can carry this impressive fall into the spring, when he’ll likely face the advanced arms of Double-A ball.
4. Tommy Collier, Tigers right-handed starter, Mesa: The 24-year-old made three starts at the beginning of the year in Class A Advanced Lakeland and then was forced to the DL for three months due to an undisclosed injury. At year’s end, his numbers weren’t eye-popping — 4.43 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 — in 67 innings, which included a five-frame start at Double-A Erie at the end of the year. Like many once-injured hurlers, he was sent to the AFL to pick up more innings.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander has done more than that. Collier, who is not ranked among the Tigers’ top 20 prospects, allowed just one run on 11 hits and two walks over 14 innings in four AFL appearances. He struck out 10 in the same span. His 0.64 ERA ranks second in the Fall League and his 0.93 WHIP seventh. Those will be the final numbers of his AFL campaign as he was dropped from the Mesa roster this week.
3. Derek Law, Giants right-handed reliever, Scottsdale: If you made a list of pitchers most likely to have a 0.00 ERA at this point in the AFL season, chances are Derek Law wouldn’t have been very high on it. And yet there he is without an earned run allowed though 10 1/3 innings for the Scorpions. Known for a funky delivery that has limited him to a relief role, Law has scattered seven hits, five walks and 13 strikeouts across nine AFL appearances. Not only is he the only qualifying pitcher with a spotless ERA, but his 1.16 WHIP is nothing to be ashamed of either.
Law enjoyed an impressive season with a 2.31 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 13.8 K/9 in 46 appearances across three levels. But the 23-year-old hasn’t sprung up on prospect lists yet because of his role as a reliever and his place in the lower levels. Such a dominant AFL campaign should get him noticed.
2. Travis Shaw, Red Sox first baseman, Surprise: At the top of the list for both homers and OPS is a rather unsurprising name in Cubs first-rounder and Mesa third baseman Kris Bryant (six, 1.286). But just below him in both categories is Shaw (five, 1.194). The 23-year-old left-handed slugger has flashed some numbers in the past, particularly in 2012 when he led the Carolina League in OBP (.411) and slugging (.545), but ever since jumping to Double-A Portland late last season, they haven’t been there. He slashed .221/.342/.394 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs this year in the Eastern League and dropped out of the Red Sox top 20 prospects list as a result.
After his numbers slipped across the board, it must be encouraging for both Shaw and the Red Sox to see them bounce back in the AFL, especially in terms of power. Now, he’ll need to have that carry back to Portland or Triple-A Pawtucket next year.
1. Jared Mitchell, White Sox outfielder, Glendale: If you look just below Shaw in both homers and OPS, you’ll find Mitchell with four and 1.074. But the reason why Mitchell gets this spot and Shaw doesn’t is pretty simple: Mitchell couldn’t hit a lick during the regular season. He batted .132 with a .447 OPS in 14 games with Triple-A Charlotte and didn’t fare much better with a .174 average and .572 OPS in 76 games in Double-A Birmingham. (An oblique injury also caused him to miss much of May.) He walked plenty (14.1 percent rate, .297 OBP) but also struck out way too much (33 percent) in his time in the Southern League. He only collected 15 extra-base hits (five homers, two triples, eight doubles) all year.
Simply put, Mitchell wasn’t much of a candidate to challenge the top of any leaderboard, outside of perhaps strikeouts. And yet as of Friday, he was up there in homers, OPS, OBP (.449, fifth) and slugging (.625, third), not to mention he had lowered his strikeout rate (18.8 percent) while maintaining his walk rate (15.9). Mitchell isn’t just another former injured player making up for lost time in the AFL. He’s making the most of this chance to rebound a career that was going the wrong direction.
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
The Minor League season has come and gone, and sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up against next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.
A quick note: Though we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.
61. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins –
Stewart on his lone start in the Appalachian League this season:
“I didn’t really have the fastball command I wanted early in the game, so I ended up throwing a lot of pitches. … I got a feel for my changeup and slider only toward the end. And I didn’t have a curveball tonight.”
62. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros –
Foltynewicz on his strong 2013 performance:
“I’m real excited right now. … I’m finally proving to a lot of people that I’m the real deal. People who doubt me, who thought that the Lexington season [in 2012] was some kind of fluke or something, to show people why I got drafted and what I can do. … I’m just really, really happy to be here.”
63. Eddie Rosario, 2B, Minnesota Twins –
Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz on Rosario’s plate approach:
“[Rosario's] a little unorthodox, but his barrel stays through the zone for a long time. … The great ones at the big leagues, their bats stay in the zone for forever. Eddie does that. He has a special knack for finding the ball with the barrel.”
64. Courtney Hawkins, OF, Chicago White Sox –
Hawkins on missing time with an injury and dealing with a tough 2013 season:
“Harder than the whole getting back healthy part was the sitting out, seeing your team go out every day and you’re sitting on the bench, can’t contribute, can’t do anything. … So you just learn the game more, different situations, just a couple things a day with how the game was happening or a different situation you could pick up.
“Now I feel a bit more comfortable. Back into it the first day, I got a little anxious to get something started, making something happen, and it wasn’t a good day. But I’m feeling fine. People might not see it as me developing, because of my strikeout numbers — I know people are big on that — but as far as our coaching staff and me, we know it’s coming. Got a long way to go, but it’s coming.”
Kelly did not play in 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March.
66. Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals –
Goodwin was the third youngest player in the Eastern League to hit at least 10 homers and steal at least 10 bases, joining Jarek Cunningham and Michael Almanzar.
67. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona D-backs –
Davidson on his experience in MLB Spring Training and his goals for 2013:
“Obviously, this was my second time at big league camp in the spring, and I’m really just trying to focus on what kind of player I am and knowing exactly what works for me in this game. … In the Minor Leagues, you’re told so many different things about what to do in so many situations. But once you figure out what’s best for you, you’re able to take it all to the next level.”
Austin landed on the disabled list with a wrist injury in July but returned in time to play 11 games at the end of the regular season. In those games, the 22-year-old hit .375 with five extra-base hits. In six postseason games, he hit .304 with an .838 OPS and three more extra-base knocks.
69. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates –
Meadows reflecting on his pro debut:
“It’s just a good feeling, especially coming out here and not knowing what to expect. Getting used to life in the GCL, used to the whole schedule. Pretty much every day, you have to be as consistent as you can. The factors outside of baseball, like being away from home, friends, family — you have to push yourself through the hard times. Especially when you’re slumping, there’s nobody to go to.
“You have to be as consistent as you can. I had some tough times earlier, but the big thing about professional baseball is there’s always another day. It was definitely a good experience down there, and I’m glad it ended well for my first year.
“I always try to go out there and play the game hard. I took away a lot about the game. It’s definitely a lot different than high school and travel ball back in the day. Just every day, you have to have your mind right and be prepared for the next day and all that.”
70. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals –
Giolito reflecting on his first start outside the Gulf Coast League:
“It was something I’ve looked forward to for a while — pitching at a Minor League stadium under the lights, the crowd, the team atmosphere. … It was awesome to get up here and get this under my belt. … I feel back at 100 percent,” he said, “like I was before the surgery.”
Tennessee hitting coach Desi Wilson on Javier Baez’s leg kick (Baez smokes two more long balls):
“He didn’t shorten it. It’s just real slow right now. Real slow and getting down on time. He’s recognizing pitches, offspeed and breaking pitches and fastballs. He’s selective. He faced this pitcher last time, the lefty [Andrew Chafin], and he had an idea, just from watching video and talking about keeping the same approach against lefties. …
“I think, more or less, when pitches are in the zone, he’s laying off the sliders and getting his pitch to hit. That’s what we talk about every time in pregame. Talk about the pitcher you’ll face, what you’ll see. He’s a student of the game, and it’s paying off. He looks so comfortable at the plate.
“Last year, I think everything was speeding up for him. Basically, he was just swinging at everything they threw up to him. Everything was going so fast. He was just trying to do too much. Him going to big league camp, going to Spring Training and the work he’s done, it obviously has paid off because his leg kick is not as high as it was last year. Last year, he wasn’t selective at all. He was swinging early in the count. Now, he’s not afraid to fall behind 0-1, 0-2.”
Wilson on Smokies’ manager Buddy Bailey, who won his 1,700th game last week:
“He knows the game inside and out. It has been a blessing for me to work with a guy who has been in the game so long. You can see why he has 1,700 wins. He prepares the kids, the players on a daily basis. He’s hard on them, and he expects respect, excellence and hard work.
“You can see why, and I’m not surprised he has that because of the work he expects his players to do on a daily basis. It’s a grind, and the players respect Buddy for the way he prepares them on the daily basis. I’m very fortunate to be a part of that, this being my first year working with Buddy.”
“I think he’ll be a big part of the middle of our lineup. He seems like a professional hitter. He’s hitting around .500 in the short time he’s been here. He had three hits again tonight. He just seems to put the ball in play. I think, once he gets comfortable, the power numbers are going to start to show here, too. …
“His numbers in Mexico were off the charts. He had like 36 home runs and was hitting like .350 down there. He definitely knows how to put the ball in play. He seems awfully young at 26.”
Jackson’s Steven Proscia reflecting after belting three home runs (Proscia hits third three-homer game):
“It was a grind for me and our team as well. I battled some adversity this year. I actually was just recently called back up after being sent down for a month. I did work with our hitting coach in High-A in High Desert [Roy Howell], and he’s a guy I worked with last year. I did some things, some drills that he thought would help me. It was a matter of time before things started to click for me.
“Like I said, it’s been a rough year, and I’m trying to take what he said, take what my hitting coach here [Cory Snyder] and also Alvin Davis, our roving hitting guy who has been in town. I was talking yesterday to him about some mechanical stuff, trying to get a better feel for what works best for me. I took some of their advice, I worked on it before the game, took it into [batting practice], and then whatever happens in the game happens.”
Philadelphia’s No. 14 prospect Andrew Knapp on transitioning from college to pro ball (Knapp’s four hits lift Crosscutters):
“It’s a different game from college ball. Instead of playing three games over the weekend then getting a couple of days off, every day you’re out there and in the lineup. There isn’t really that much downtime for you to take a break and go work on your swing, do stuff like that. …
“One of the things that I’ve been learning is how to play every day and try to have quality at-bats even though you’re maybe not feeling as good as you want.
“I think I have to learn how to catch every day and take care of my body. I have to be able to stay strong enough to go all nine innings for however many games you have to go in a row. I had a little arm thing going earlier in this year, just got tired from the college season and coming out and throwing so much in pro ball.”
Seattle’s 15th-round Draft pick Eddie Campbell on the development of his changeup (Campbell strikes out 12 for Pulaski):
“Actually, in high school and in my first year of college, I didn’t have a changeup. I really just had the fastball and the curve. Then, the summer after my freshman year, my pitching coach [Pat Mason] said that if I want to be a starter, I need to have a third pitch.
“That summer, I worked everyday on it, throwing the changeup while I was playing catch. I started working it into games. Now, I really trust that I can throw it in any count.”
The White Sox No. 5 prospect Chris Beck on what he’s learning in Double-A (Barons’ Beck gets first Double-A win):
“The mistakes you make are amplified. Against Tennessee, that’s a pretty experienced lineup, and depending on how you look at it, they’re maybe the best hitting team in the league. I left the ball up a few times, and they made me pay for it one-through-nine. …
“The quality of the strikes has to be different in what kind of strikes you’re throwing. It’s not just up in the zone. It’s about changing locations, up and down and in and out, changing eye levels on the hitter. You also have to try not to do too much. …
“I think it’s more mental for me. Early in the year, I had a lot of walks. I was really nibbling around the strike zone and getting myself into holes. I would go 2-1, 3-1, 2-0, 3-0, get into terrible counts. I was giving up hits or giving up walks, walking a lot of guys. Just being really passive.
“As a pitcher, the advantage is already in your favor. You have eight guys behind you ready to make the play. They have to hit the round ball with the round object. The odds are in your favor. There’s no reason not to be aggressive.”
Kansas City’s No. 15 prospect Sam Selman on mechanical adjustments he’s tried to make this year (Rocks’ Selman no-hits P-Nats for eight):
“I’m trying to work on everything [pitching coach Steve] Luebber has taught me over the last five months. He’s been a great help this entire season, helping me to find my mechanics.
“Tonight was an example of that. I’ve been working on keeping my weight back longer, being slower in my delivery so I don’t fly open as much. That’s helped with the command of my fastball and slider.
“Sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. I had my stuff and everything working today. The past couple of outings when I’ve walked the house, I’ve been unable to locate my fastball. I kind of fell into more hitters’ counts and had to throw too many fastballs. … Sometimes, you have you’re A-game, sometimes you have you’re C-game.”
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Earlier this month, I looked at the prospects I believe aren’t going anywhere come the July 31 Trade Deadline. Now that we’re just over one week away from one of the most exciting dates on the MLB calendar, here’s a look at some prospects that could be on the move between now and then. (Disclaimer: These are just thoughts and not at all guarantees that Prospect A will be moved.)
Tyler Skaggs, Arizona: We’ll start with by far the biggest name on this list. Skaggs, who was a fixture at the top prospect spot in the D-backs’ prospect list before “graduating” earlier this month, has already been traded once in his pro career — as the player to be named later in the 2010 deal that sent Dan Haren to the Angels — but I wouldn’t be surprised if the left-hander is moved again. The 22-year-old has been touch-and-go in both the Majors (2-1, 4.03 ERA in five starts) and Minors (6-6, 4.30 in 14 appearances between Triple-A Reno and Class A Advanced Visalia) this season, but because of age and potential, his stock remains quite high, meaning now might be the time to bite.
I’m not saying the D-backs should actively shop Skaggs this Deadline season. In fact, they’ve flat-out denied any interest in letting him go, although how often have we heard that story. If the right blockbuster deal is on the table though — think Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs — Skaggs could be on the move once more.
Mike Olt/C.J. Edwards/Neil Ramirez, Texas: These come straight from the headlines. Multiple outlets have reported that the Rangers and Cubs were discussing a deal for right-hander Matt Garza. Rumors began flying about who Chicago would get in return, although talks apparently broke down when the Cubs became concerned with the health of an unnamed prospect they’d receive. Still, these were the three most often discussed as the key prospect pieces heading Chicago’s way.
Olt, who is coming around at Triple-A Round Rock after early struggles caused by an eye issue, is listed by MLB.com as the Rangers’ top prospect but is obviously blocked at the hot corner by three-time All-Star Adrian Beltre. Although he’s been tried in the outfield and at first before, he hasn’t played another position outside third this year for the Express, so his role within the organization might be only as trade bait. The Cubs, who have used Luis Valbuena (.236/.345/.394) at third this season, would be a nice fit for his services.
On the other hand, Edwards would be another “strike while the iron is hot” candidate. Drafted in the 48th round in 2011, the 21-year-old right-hander has dominated the South Atlantic League this season, posting a 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings for Class A Hickory without allowing a home run. He has yet to be tested by the upper levels, but the numbers as they stand are quite encouraging. Chicago could certainly use pitching depth in the Minors pool, and Edwards could provide that and then some, even if his ETA isn’t for a few more years.
Ramirez could be the one where there were some hangups on the Cubs’ end. Texas’ No. 14 prospect had issues — among a laundry list of other struggles — with his back last season, when he went 8-13 with a 6.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He’s been much better for the RoughRiders this season (3.68 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, increase from 7.9 K/9 to 11.0), but he’s also had problems with his shoulder. If the Cubs (or another team) decide they want to look past those problems, the 24-year-old right-hander is certainly a candidate to be moved, now that the on-the-field results appear to be back.
Kolten Wong, St. Louis: Like Olt above, Wong finds himself blocked at second base in the Cardinals organization. Fresh off finishing a solid rookie season, Matt Carpenter has taken his game to another level this season with a .325 average (fifth-highest in the NL) and a senior circuit-leading 31 doubles. Wong — St. Louis’ No. 3 prospect — has held his own for Triple-A Memphis with a .301/.359/.464 slash line and 13 steals so far en route to a Futures Game nod last week. The University of Hawaii product could have broken down the door to his Majors debut by this point but hasn’t because of Carpenter’s All-Star contributions. With that, he could be a key piece that that the Cards are willing to let go of come the end of the month.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh: Imagine that. The Pirates might be the most well-equipped to make a big move this Trade Deadline season. Alright alright, they were one of the teams to make a fairly big trade last year when they acquired Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros. But it still feels a little weird to call the Bucs buyers at this point, right? With that in mind, the team was one of the most prominently named in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes that have seemingly ended. With the need for a right fielder still remaining — Travis Snider just isn’t cutting it — Alex Rios could be a different target.
What it takes to get him remains to be seen, but a package based around Polanco wouldn’t be out of the question. The 21-year-old center fielder broke out at Class A West Virginia last year, and a .312/.364/.472 slash line with 24 steals in 57 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton impressed the Pirates enough that they moved him up to Double-A Altoona. He’s ranked right now as Pittsburgh’s No. 4 and MLB.com’s No.52 overall prospect. That could be enough to get Rios or some sort of equivalent, especially if the other side eats some of the contract. An outfielder of the future for a steady outfielder of the present — not a bad trade for the Pirates in their pursuit of that elusive playoff spot.
Joey Terdoslavich, Atlanta: Justin Upton. B.J. Upton. Jason Heyward. Despite the struggles of the latter two this season, this seems to be the Braves outfield of the long-term future, leaving Terdoslavich on the outside looking in for a starting spot. The 24-year-old switch-hitter, who ranks as the Braves’ No. 14 prospect, ranked among the International League leaders with a .318 average, .926 OPS, 18 homers and 58 RBIs for Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up to Atlanta when Jordan Schafer hit the DL earlier this month. The sixth-round pick from the 2010 Draft, who has played in left, right and first base with the Braves, may never look better to potential suitors than he does right now, and Atlanta might be wise to cash in.
Drake Britton, Boston: Britton, whose year didn’t get off to a great start when he was arrested for a DUI in Spring Training, put together a fine half-season at Double-A Portland, going 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). The 24-year-old southpaw moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he gave up five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings during his debut. Despite his struggles in that one game, the Red Sox moved him to the big club just before the All-Star break with the idea of him joining the relief corps. (He allowed just one hit and one walk over two scoreless innings against the Yankees the past two days, the first time he’s ever worked back-to-back days.)
Still, that smells very much like an audition for potential suitors. Between names like Barnes, Webster, De La Rosa, Owens, Ranaudo and Workman, the Red Sox have an abundance of potential Major League arms in the system, so they can deal from a position of strength when they go looking for additional bullpen arms, beyond the recently acquired Matt Thornton or even starting pitching, if it looks like Clay Buchholz will be out longer than expected. Britton, who hadn’t posted a season ERA below 4.00 since 2010 entering this season, could be the one they are most likely to let go.
By Jonathan Raymond
We’re about halfway through the Minor League season, so we’re going to start identifying 10 prospects from each full-season league who significantly improved their stock through the first half of the Minor League season. By the very nature of already being highly ranked within their organizations, it’s hard for top-10 prospects to do much more climbing, so we’ll stick to prospects that were either ranked outside their team’s top 10 — as rated before the season by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo – or who went unranked entirely.
What he did: .281/.355/.480, 13 HR, 23 2B, 45 RBIs, 22 steals in 25 tries in 89 games. One of the youngest regulars in the league, who will spend the entire season as a 21-year-old, Alcantara managed to rank sixth on the circuit in OPS. The Dominican Republic native broke out a bit last year with a .302/.339/.447 line in 85 games with Class A Advanced Daytona, but has shown improved patience and power this year while being a very efficient base stealer.
Where he might rank now: He seems very likely to at least have worked his way up to near 10th.
What he did: .266/.386/.423, 10 HR, 15 2B, 33 RBIs, 16 steals in 20 tries in 89 games. The 22-year-old University of California product has acquitted himself nicely at Double-A after he hit .273/.362/.471 in 107 games last season with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. Semien’s plate approach is much more advanced than most — he has more walks (63) than strikeouts (59) and a .386 OBP that ranks third in the league.
Where he might rank now: Chicago’s collection of prospects right after 10 has arguably had a better year, all told, than its 5-10 prospects, giving Semien an outside shot of leaping up to something like 9th.
What he did: 3-8, 4.30 ERA, 71 K/35 BB in 83 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old has had an impressive advancement through the Atlanta system for a 23-year-old. Ignore the deceptive win-loss record and the middling ERA and you’re left with a pitcher who has a 7.64 K/9 that compares favorably with peers in the league, a better than 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and strong groundball tendencies.
Where he might rank now: He’s probably slated for a slight bump, 9th or 10th.
What he did: .310/.372/.444, 5 HR, 9 3B, 13 2B, 26 RBIs, 14 steals in 24 tries in 89 games. The 23-year-old out of Parkland Junior College in Illinois put himself on the map. An average that high might have some luck attached to it after he hit .260/.363/.359 last year with Class A Advanced Charlotte, but the speed is very real and he can get on base, which are valuable characteristics for a center fielder.
Where he might rank now: For a 31st-round pick, it’s amazing he’s made it as far as he has at all. I don’t quite think he’d crack the Tampa Bay top 20 just yet, but it’s remarkable that he’s put himself in the conversation.
5. Kyle Hendricks, SP (Tennessee) — 2011 Draft, 8th round, Cubs unranked
What he did: 8-3, 2.13 ERA, 81 K/24 BB in 101 1/3 innings. Hendricks’ development into a quality prospect just adds to the bounty Chicago reaped when it dealt Ryan Dempster to Texas for the 23-year-old and Christian Villanueva in 2012. With a better than 3.00 K/BB and a league-leading ERA, he’s shown his numbers between Myrtle Beach and Daytona last year (2.99 ERA, 123 strikeouts, 18 walks, 147 2/3 innings) are no fluke.
Where he might rank now: The Cubs have had more than a few nice years out of their system, so not likely to get much higher than 15th, at least for now.
What he did: 3-3, 2.42 ERA, 60 K/20 BB in 63 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old UCLA product, acquired last year from Houston for John Ely had probably the best run of his career in the Southern League. He struck out exactly three times as many batters as he walked and notched a K/9 of 8.53.
Where he might rank now: He’s made his move to Triple-A Albuquerque, an extremely tough environment to pitch in. If he thrives, or even holds his own, he could rise up to 13th or 14th.
What he did: .237/.354/.498, 16 HR, 16 2B, 42 RBIs in 70 games. His average was also just .234 with the Suns in 132 games last year, but he’s shown his secondary skills are excellent all the same. The contact abilities will be something to improve in Triple-A, but he ranked third in OPS in the league on the strength of a .117 isolated OBP and .261 isolated slugging percentage.
Where he might rank now: I’d guess he ranks right at the back of the top 20, maybe even 20th exactly or a tick higher, unless his stint with New Orleans adds to his shine.
8. Alberto Cabrera, SP (Tennessee) — 2005 international signing, Cubs No. 18
What he did: 9-3, 3.20 ERA, 107 K/39 BB in 112 2/3 innings. The Dominican Republic native has already been around forever and seen everything, it seems, but lost in tough stints at Triple-A and even the Major Leagues, and a switch last year to the bullpen, it’s easy to forget that 24 years old is still plenty young. This is the most time he’s been given at any one level in his entire career, and the stability has served him well — the 8.55 K/9 and the 3.20 ERA are some of the bests he’s ever produced as a starter.
Where he might rank now: A modest jump to something like 15th could be in line. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares as a full-time starter again when he gets another full shot at Triple-A.
What he did: 6-5, 2.70 ERA, 51 K/30 BB in 76 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old former first-rounder out of Kent State doesn’t have entirely promising peripherals, but it’s encouraging to see him limit homers (just two allowed) and get outs. And since the beginning of June, he’s shown improvement in his secondary numbers, with 31 strikeouts to 15 walks in 46 2/3 frames.
Where he might rank now: Like a lot of the other prospects on this list, a modest jump of two our three spots, perhaps to 12th or 13th, might be what most likely is in store.
10. Edward Salcedo, 3B (Mississippi) — 2010 international signing, Braves No. 15
What he did: .257/.324/.421, 10 HR, 19 2B, 44 RBIs, 13 steals in 20 tries in 88 games. Salcedo was considered a top international talent when the Braves inked him out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, and though his performance record has been mixed, it’s helpful to keep in mind he’s always been quite young for his level. Still just 21, he’s held his own in a league and level tough on offensive prospects. His .746 OPS is, in fact, the best of his career. With steady improvement and youth on his side, he may yet have a deal of untapped potential.
Where he might rank now: I’d probably argue he’s done enough so far to work his way to around 10th in Atlanta’s system.
By Ashley Marshall
It includes nine batters — eight position players and one DH — assembled into a batting order. Like real-life lineups, mine includes players with high on-base percentages and good speed at the top of the order, the most productive hitters in the heart of the lineup and a mixture of power, discipline and speed in the lower third.
1. Micah Johnson, 2B
2. Anthony Aliotti, 1B
3. Ryan Mount, 3B
4. Matt McBride, RF
5. Josh Phegley, C
6. Jordan Lennerton, DH
7. Corey Dickerson, LF
8. Joe Sclafani, SS
9. Rico Noel, CF
• Micah Johnson (Kannapolis Intimidators, White Sox) does everything you want a leadoff hitter to do. He hits for average and draws walks, and when he gets on base he runs. A lot. No Minor Leaguer at any level or any position stole more bases than Johnson in May (27). Part of the reason that he had so many chances to victimize battery mates was a .446 OBP, crafted via a .357 average and 17 walks in 28 games for Kannapolis.
• Anthony Aliotti (Midland RockHounds, Athletics) had a huge month for Midland, batting an even .400 in 29 contests. He flashed some power (six homers and 10 doubles), gave the RockHounds some production (24 RBIs) and showed patience at the plate (22 walks). His 72 total bases ranked third in the Minors in May, while his 18 extra-base hits fell two shy of the lead league.
• Arguably the hottest hitter in the Minors last month, Ryan Mount (Rancho Cucamonga, Dodgers) has been crushing the Cal League. He hit a Minors-best .460 in 23 games for Rancho Cucamonga and had a .500 OBP. He had a career-high 15-game hit streak from May 3 to May 19 and he recorded 14 multi-hit games in total, including a 5-for5 outing in Lake Elsinore. With five homers and 16 extra-base hits, only Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa and Rochester outfielder Chris Colabello had a better OPS than Mount’s 1.289.
• Matt McBride (Colorado Springs, Rockies) tied for the Minors lead with 11 homers in May and he ranked first with 31 RBIs in 25 games. He saw time as a right fielder, a catcher and a DH, but his versatility was matched only by his output. He went deep in three straight games against Iowa and Omaha, and he had a pair of two-homer games — one a six-RBI game, the other a five-RBI game. Making his tally even more impressive is that he struck out just nine times over that span.
• Josh Phegley (Charlotte, White Sox) hit .356 with seven homers, 10 doubles and 19 RBIs in just 22 games in May. No full-time catcher had more total bases (65) than Phegley, who raised his average 62 point from April and more than doubled the number of extra-base hits (18) from the previous month (eight).
• Jordan Lennerton (Toledo, Tigers) was one of the few players who had a slugging percentage over .600 and an OPS over 1.100 for the month of May. The secret to those numbers? He hit .387, smacked seven homers and drew 21 walks. His average ranked eighth in the Minors in May, while his 43 hits were two short of the lead across all levels.
• While Cameron Flynn led the Minors with a .551 on-base percentage in May, Corey Dickerson (Colorado Springs, Rockies) led the Minors with 82 total bases. He hit for power (five homers, eight doubles) and he showcased elite speed (seven triples). Add a .375 batting average, 18 RBIs and the ability to swipe the occasional base, and you can see why he’s a perfect choice for that No. 7 spot. Only his discipline (seven walks in 127 plate appearances) stop him being a leadoff-type hitter, but his power and production stop him from slipping any lower.
• Joe Sclafani (Lancaster, Astros) put together a nice month that saw him bat .357 with a .488 OBP. He’s not a guy that will hit for power (just eight extra-base hits in 26 games), but at this spot in the lineup it’s more about reaching base and setting the table for the guys at the top. He walked more than he struck out (23:15), he stole eight bases in 10 tries and he scored 24 runs. His on-base percentage ranked 10th in the Minors this month.
• Rico Noel (San Antonio, Padres) would serve as a great secondary leadoff hitter because of his speed. He hit .326 and drew 16 free passes, giving him a terrific .436 on-base percentage. Once on base, he stole 17 bags in 22 attempts in 28 games for San Antonio. With guys like Mount and McBride providing the power in this fantasy All-MiLB team, having the balance of a fleet-footed center fielder like Noel in the No. 9 spot is a blessing most teams would love to have.
With the 2013 MLB Draft starting Thursday, we thought we’d take the next few days to run down how some of the more intriguing picks out of the top rounds from the last few Drafts have fared. On Monday, we looked at 2009. On Tuesday, we looked at 2010.
Today, we turn our attention to 2011.
The 2011 Draft had some noteworthy storylines, ranging from two UCLA Bruins being selected in the first three picks to two Oklahoma pitchers being taken in the top seven. The Rays punched up their farm system with a league-high 10 picks in the first and sandwich rounds, starting with Taylor Guerrieri at No. 24 and finishing with James Harris at 60. But with only one full-time Major Leaguer among its ranks thus far, the book on the Class of 2011 still largely remains to be written.
- Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh (2013: Triple-A Indianapolis) – The 6-foot-4 right-hander has shot up the Pirates’ ladder and should be expected to make his Major League debut within the next few months before taking a more permanent role in the rotation next season.
- Danny Hultzen, Seattle (2013: Triple-A Tacoma) – The southpaw got Mariners fans excited by going 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA through his first four starts in the hitter-happy PCL this season. But he’s been shut down ever since with a rotator cuff strain and tendinitis.
- Trevor Bauer, Arizona (2013: Triple-A Columbus, MLB Indians) – Bauer was shipped to the Indians system as part of the deals that sent Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati and Didi Gregorius to Arizona last offseason. He’s played the role of spot starter at the Major League level this season, going 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts for the Tribe but hasn’t shown enough consistent command (11-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 1/3 innings) to earn a more permanent spot.
- Dylan Bundy, Baltimore (2013: injured) – MLB.com’s No. 2 prospect has yet to take the field due to elbow stiffness but has been cleared to begin throwing again. He will not undergo surgery.
- Bubba Starling, Kansas City (2013: Class A Lexington) – The Royals were slow to bring the center fielder along by not allowing him to make his full-season debut until this year. He’s struggled at the plate so far, batting .206 with a .649 OPS in 49 games for Lexington.
- Anthony Rendon, Washington (2013: Double-A Harrisburg, Triple-A Syracuse, MLB Nationals) – Rendon, who turns 23 on Thursday, tore up the Eastern League (.319/.461/.603) and even earned a promotion to The Show when Ryan Zimmerman hit the DL. He made a short stop in Syracuse but is back in the big leagues — this time as a second baseman — due to Danny Espinosa’s recent injury.
- Archie Bradley, Arizona (2013: Class A Advanced Visalia, Double-A Mobile) – At 7-1 with a 1.18 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 12 starts between two levels, the 20-year-old right-hander has made a case to claim the best statistical season by a pitcher in the Minors thus far.
- Francisco Lindor, Cleveland (2013: Class A Advanced Carolina) – The reviews on the 19-year-old’s defense have always been high, but he looks like he’s taking the next step forward at the dish (.306/.375/.427) so far with the Mudcats.
- Javier Baez, Chicago (2013: Class A Advanced Daytona) – The Puerto Rico native has a lot of pop in his bat for a shortstop, although that’s not necessarily where he’ll stick given Starlin Castro’s place there for the Cubs. Through 51 games at Daytona, 33 of his 59 hits have gone for extra bases. He’s walked, though, just 23 times in 577 career plate appearances.
- Cory Spangenberg, San Diego (2013: Class A Advaned Lake Elsinore) – Spangenberg finds himself back in the Cal League after a concussion and hitting woes kept him from having a solid first full season. He’s improved in his second trip with the Storm however — his OPS is nearly 150 points higher — and his speed continues to be his calling card.
- George Springer, Houston (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi) – The University of Connecticut product could be the game’s next big thing, given his start to 2013. His 17 homers in the Texas League lead all Minor Leaguers, a hopeful sign for any Astros fan desperately looking for one.
- Taylor Jungmann, Milwaukee (2013: Double-A Huntsville) – Jungmann has yet to take off and, with a 4.78 ERA in 10 starts with the Stars, will need more seasoning before he or the Brewers can even entertain any thoughts about a promotion.
- Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets (2013: Class A Savannah) – The Mets have taken a similar approach to the Royals with their 2011 first-rounder, allowing Nimmo to finally make his full-season debut this season. He missed nearly a month in May, however, with a hand contusion and a back issue.
- Jose Fernandez, Miami (2013: MLB Marlins) – The first member of the Class of 2011 to become a full-time Major Leaguer, Fernandez has been one of the few bright spots for the Fish this season and remains a candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, despite having never previously pitching higher than Class A Advanced.
- Jed Bradley, Milwaukee (2013: Class A Advanced Brevard County)
- Chris Reed, LA Dodgers (2013: Double-A Chattanooga)
- C.J. Cron, LA Angels (2013: Double-A Arkansas)
- Sonny Gray, Oakland (2013: Triple-A Sacramento) – The A’s only pick in the first or supplemental rounds, Gray was merely OK (4.14 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) in his first full season in the Texas League a year ago, but the right-hander is trending up once more after a solid start (2.40 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 10 appearances) with the River Cats.
- Matt Barnes, Boston (2013: Double-A Portland)
- Tyler Anderson, Colorado (2013: Class A Advanced Modesto)
- Tyler Beede, Toronto (2013: did not sign, Vanderbilt) – Beede was the highest selected player who elected not to sign in 2011. The Auburn, Mass., native instead chose to play at Vanderbilt, where he went 14-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings and was named a Golden Spikes Award finalist Tuesday. He will be draft eligible next season.
- Kolten Wong, St. Louis (2013: Triple-A Memphis) – The University of Hawaii product forms just one part of a very strong Cardinals system and has performed admirably at each step up the ladder. He’s already garnered a handful of honors — Texas League All-Star, Futures Game selection, AFL Rising Star — and should join Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez in making his Major League debut by this September at the latest.
- Alex Meyer, Washington (2013: Double-A New Britain) – Meyer moved to the Twins organization last offseason in the trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals. He’d be the top prospect in the system if not for stellar sluggers Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. As it stands, the 6-foot-9 titan is MLB.com’s No.38 prospect and remains part of a promising future for those in Minnesota.
- Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Joe Ross, San Diego (2013: Class A Fort Wayne)
- Blake Swihart, Boston (2013: Class A Advanced Salem)
- Robert Stephenson, Cincinnati (2013: Class A Dayton) – The Reds chose to bring the right-hander along slowly, not allowing him to make his full-season debut until this year in the Midwest League. He did not perform well out of the gate, going 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in five April starts but has since shown flashes of dominance. He was 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA in May for the Dragons.
- Sean Gilmartin, Atlanta (2013: Triple-A Gwinnett) – The left-hander advanced to Triple-A in his first full season and finds himself back there once again, where he’s been mostly solid. At 23, it’s still early in his professional development, and plenty of time remains for him to pitch his way into the already logjammed Atlanta rotation.
- Joe Panik, San Francisco (2013: Double-A Richmond) – Panik has shown an ability to hit for average and reach base at every level, and that’s continued in the Eastern League where he’s batting .286 with a .375 OBP.
- Levi Michael, Minnesota (2013: Class A Advanced Fort Myers)
- Mikie Mahtook, Tampa Bay (2013: Double-A Montgomery) – The tools are there for the Rays’ No. 11 prospect, even if the results necessarily haven’t been quite yet. The LSU product is batting just .240 for the Biscuits this season, but he’s shown some pop as well as speed. Of his 53 hits thus far, 24 have gone for extra bases, including seven triples.
- Jake Hager, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Advanced Charlotte)
- Kevin Matthews, Texas (2013: injured) – The left-hander has yet to pitch in 2013 due to an impingement in his left shoulder.
- Brian Goodwin, Washington (2013: Double-A Harrisburg)
- Jacob Anderson, Toronto (2013: Unassigned in Blue Jays Org) – The 20-year-old outfielder couldn’t muster anything in the way of results (.194/.271/.304, 72 strikeouts in 191 at-bats) with Rookie-level Bluefield last year. As such, the Jays held him back from making his full-season debut this year and will look for him to grow in the short season once more before a trip to Lansing is considered.
- Henry Owens, Boston (2013: Class A Advanced Salem) – Owens, a lanky left-hander, showed some promising signs at Class A Greenville last year especially in the strikeout department, where he collected 130 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings. He seems to have taken another step forward in 2013, where he is 3-2 with a 3.53 ERA and 62 K’s in 51 frames. The southpaw could be in Double-A before his 21st birthday in July.
- Zach Cone, Texas (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
- Brandon Martin, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Larry Greene, Philadelphia (2013: Class A Lakewood)
- Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston (2013: Triple-A Pawtucket, MLB Red Sox) – A breakout spring led to calls from Red Sox Nation to have Bradley on the team’s Opening Day roster, and the outfielder indeed found himself in the lineup in Game 1, only to be optioned back down in mid-April after struggles and inconsistent playing time necessitated the move. After a successful turn with the PawSox, he’s back up with the big club now due to Shane Victorino’s trip to the DL, and the former South Carolina star hit his first Major League home run Tuesday night.
- Tyler Goeddel, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Jeff Ames, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Andrew Chafin, Arizona (2013: Class A Advanced Visalia, Double-A Mobile)
- Michael Fulmer, New York Mets (2013: DNP) – Like fellow Oklahoman Bundy, Fulmer has yet to take the mound this season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in March.
- Trevor Story, Colorado (2013: Class A Advanced Modesto)
- Joseph Musgrove, Toronto (2013: Unassigned in Astros Org) – The 6-foot-5 right-hander was traded to the Astros as part of a 10-player deal last July. He’s pitched in only 41 2/3 innings in the pros since being taken in 2011 and hasn’t made his official Astros organization debut yet, although that will come when short-season leagues start soon.
- Keenyn Walker, Chicago White Sox (2013: Double-A Birmingham)
- Michael Kelly, San Diego (2013: Class A Fort Wayne)
- Kyle Crick, San Francisco (2013: Class A Advanced San Jose) – Crick’s stellar 2012 campaign in Augusta vaulted him to the top of the Giants’ prospect list entering 2013. Three starts into this season, however, he developed an oblique injury and has been sidelined ever since. He’ll bring a plus fastball and solid slider to the California League when he does return.
- Travis Harrison, Minnesota (2013: Class A Cedar Rapids)
- Dante Bichette Jr., New York Yankees (2013: Class A Charleston) – The name alone garnered some attention in 2011, and an MVP season in the Gulf Coast League only added to that. But Bichette hasn’t been able to put it together at the Class A level, which he is repeating this season. Even so, he’s posted just a .623 OPS through 53 games with the RiverDogs — a number that is 30 points lower than the one he put up in 2012.
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Dwight Smith Jr., Toronto (2013: Class A Lansing)
- Brett Austin, San Diego (2013: did not sign, NC State) – The Padres couldn’t lure the Charlotte native away from a scholarship at NC State. The catcher/outfielder just helped lead the Wolf Pack to the Super Regionals, where it will take on Rice.
- Hudson Boyd, Minnesota (2013: Class A Cedar Rapids)
- Kes Carter, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Advanced Charlotte)
- Kevin Comer, Toronto (2013: DNP, Unassigned in Astros Org) – Like Musgrove, Comer was part of the Blue Jays movement to take young high school arms that would be projects but could be big-time prospects if everything ironed out. Also like Musgrove, Comer was sent to the Astros and has yet to make his debut with the organization.
- Jace Peterson, San Diego (2013: Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore)
- Grayson Garvin, Tampa Bay (2013: injured)
- James Harris, Tampa Bay (2013: Unassigned in Rays Org)
By Ashley Marshall
With the 2013 MLB Draft starting Thursday, we thought we’d take the next few days to run down how some of the more intriguing picks out of the top rounds from the last few Drafts have fared. On Monday, we looked at 2009.
Today, we turn our attention to 2010.
The 2010 Draft had a little bit of everything, both at the time of the event and — retrospectively — in the three years that have passed.
While Bryce Harper, a highly touted outfielder from a junior college in Southern Nevada, made the most news, the Draft stands out for several other reasons.
Two right-handers taken inside the first 15 picks chose to attend college rather than sign with a Major league team. One — Karston Whitson — missed the entire 2013 college season with a shoulder injury while the other — Dylan Convey — may never have a pro career after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
The Draft also saw a toolsy young shortstop called Manny Machado draw comparisons with Alex Rodriguez and baseball’s current No. 5 prospect Taijuan Walker selected 43rd overall as the Mariners only pick as compensation for the loss of Adrian Beltre.
Eight first-rounders from this Draft class have already made it to the Majors, while four others are ranked inside MLB.com’s Top 100.
- Bryce Harper, Washington (2013: MLB Nationals)
- Jameson Taillon, Pirates (2013: Double-A Altoona)
- Manny Machado, Orioles (2013: Baltimore) — A two-time Futures Game selection, Machado has played almost one-third of his total professional games in the Majors. The shortstop — the first one drafted by the O’s in the first round since 1974 — appeared in 51 regular-season games with the Orioles in 2012 and he’s currently hitting .327 with 30 RBIs in 57 contests this year. He’s the only high schooler from the 2010 first round to make the Majors so far.
- Christian Colon, Royals (2013: Triple-A Omaha)
- Drew Pomeranz, Indians (2013: Triple-A Colorado Springs) – Acquired by the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal in 2011, Pomeranz is one of only two left-handers from the first round of this Draft class to reach the Majors. He is 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 26 big league starts over two seasons, numbers that are part of why he’s back at Triple-A Colorado Springs again this year. In 11 2013 PCL games, he is 6-1 with a 4.26 mark.
- Barret Loux, D-backs (2013: Triple-A Iowa) — The D-backs opted not to sign Loux due to injury concerns, but he signed as a free agent by the Texas Rangers on Nov. 18, 2010. Last November, he was dealt to the Cubs for former teammate Jake Brigham.
- Matt Harvey, Mets (2013: MLB Mets) — Few rookies have ever made the impact that Harvey has this year. In 12 starts with the Mets, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA. The North Carolina product — who went 20-10 in the Minors — showed glimpses of this potential in 10 starts in 2012, but nobody expected the level of production he’s given the big club in the first two months of the season.
- Delino DeShields, Astros (2013: Class A Advanced Lancaster)
- Karsten Whitson, Padres (2013: none; Draft eligible) — Whitson turned down a $2.1 million signing bonus to attend the University of Florida. He went a combined 12-1 in 33 games between 2011 and 2012, but he missed the entire 2013 collegiate season with a shoulder impingement. He may draw interest from teams in this year’s Draft, but he is not ranked in MLB.com’s Top 100 Draft prospects.
- Michael Choice, Athletics (2013: Triple-A Sacramento)
- Deck McGuire, Blue Jays (2013: Double-A New Hampshire)
- Yasmani Grandal, Reds (2013: MLB Padres)
- Chris Sale, White Sox (2013: MLB White Sox) – Of all 50 first-rounders from 2010, none have posted a greater WAR than Sale (12.2). He posted a 1.93 ERA in 21 games in 2010, and he saved eight games the following year. Converted to a full-time starter last season, Sale went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 30 games, striking out 192 batters in as many innings en route to finishing sixth in AL Cy Young voting. This season, he’s 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA in nine starts.
- Dylan Covey, Brewers (2013: none; Draft eligible) — Convey chose to attend the University of San Diego rather than going pro after being diagnosed with diabetes days before the signing deadline. In his sophomore year at college in 2012, he went 6-3 with a 3.32 ERA while holding opponents to a .247 batting average over 81 1/3 innings. He had just a 5.05 ERA in 16 appearances this spring for the Toreros.
- Jake Skole, Rangers (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
- Hayden Simpson, Cubs (2013: released) – Released at end of spring training, Simpson hasn’t pitched this year. For his career, he sports a 6.42 ERA over 30 starts and 26 relief appearances with Chicago’s Minor League system. He did not pitch professionally the year he was selected after suffering from mononucleosis, and he never lived to the promise of the Cubs only first-round pick that year.
- Josh Sale, Rays (2013: suspended) – Sale has not endeared himself to Tampa Bay. In August he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for methamphetamine and an amphetamine. He came off the restricted list and was added to the roster of the Charlotte Stone Crabs, but before he had a chance to make his season debut he was suspended indefinitely for throwing two quarters at a dancer in a strip club and then posting about it on Facebook.
- Kaleb Cowart, Angels (2013: Double-A Arkansas)
- Michael Foltynewicz, Astros (2013: Double-A Corpus Christi)
- Kolbrin Vitek, Red Sox (2013: Double-A Portland)
- Alex Wimmers, Twins (2013: Double-A New Britain; injured) — Wimmers missed most of 2012 with a right elbow injury, and he has not pitched in 2013. A two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year at Ohio State, he has pitched in just 19 games in his professional career.
- Kellin Deglan, Rangers (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach)
- Christian Yelich, Marlins (2013: Double-A Jacksonville)
- Gary Brown, Giants (2013: Triple-A Fresno)
- Zack Cox, Cardinals (2013: Double-A Jacksonville) — Acquired by the Marlins from the Cardinals in July, Cox originally improved his Draft stock by 20 rounds after going to the University of Arkansas instead of signing with the Dodgers in 2008. He saw time at Triple-A Memphis last summer before being dealt to the Marlins for Edward Mujica last July. He’s been with Double-A Jacksonville since the trade.
- Kyle Parker, Rockies (2013: Double-A Tulsa)
- Jesse Biddle, Phillies (2013: Double-A Reading)
- Zach Lee, Dodgers (2013: Double-A Chattanooga)
- Cam Bedrosian, Angels (2013: Class A Burlington)
- Chevy Clarke, Angels (2013: Class A Burlington) – Los Angeles took outfielder Clarke one pick after they selected pitcher Bedrosian, who grew up just 50 miles from Clarke in Georgia. Both 21 years old, they have been teammates in the Arizona and Midwest Leagues together and they both started 2013 a bit behind schedule in Burlington.
- Justin O’Conner, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Bowling Green)
- Cito Culver, Yankees (2013: Class A Charleston)
- Mike Kvasnicka, Houston (2013: Disabled list in Twins Org) – Drafted by the Astros as a catcher, Kvasnicka struggled in his first two years of pro ball when the organization tried him at third base and as a corner outfielder. The 24-year-old was traded to the Twins — the team that tried to sign him in the 31st round of the 2007 Draft out of high school — in March, but surgery to repair a broken hamate bone has seen him sidelined this season.
- Aaron Sanchez, Toronto (2013: Class A Advanced Dunedin)
- Matt Lipka, Atlanta (2013: Class A Advanced Lynchburg) – A shortstop at McKinney High School in Texas, Lipka has transitioned to the outfield. He tore his hamstring last summer, and that limited him to 199 at-bats in 2012. Back with the Hillcats for a second year, he’s looking to get back on track. He’s already hit for the cycle this season.
- Byrce Brentz, Boston (2013: Triple-A Pawtucket) – Overlooking the fact that Brentz hit .198 in his rookie year in Lowell, he batted .298 with 47 homers and 170 RBIs across four levels over the past two years. A hitter through and through, Brentz — who moved from left field to right without any issues — is already on pace to better his 2012 power numbers from Double-A Portland this year in Pawtucket.
- Taylor Lindsey, LA Angels (2013: Double-A Arkansas)
- Noah Syndergaard, Toronto (2013: Class A Advanced St. Lucie) – Acquired by the Mets in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays in December, the 6-foot-6 prep right-hander is looking to build on his 2012 successes with Lansing. Syndergaard has the stuff to record a strikeout per inning in the Florida State League (59 in 57 2/3 IP), and there’s every chance he can post a sub-3.00 ERA (currently at 2.81).
- Anthony Ranaudo, Boston (2013: Double-A Portland) – LSU has seen one of its players drafted in the first round each year since 2009. Ranaudo went 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA in the Eastern League last year, but he’s 6-1 with a 1.48 mark this year at the same level.
- Ryan Bolden, LA Angels (2013: Unassigned in Angels Org) – Drafted as an 18-year-old out of Madison Central High School, Bolden has spent each of the past three years in the Arizona League. The right fielder hit .187 in his rookie year but saw his average drop in each of the following two seasons. He has not played yet in 2013.
- Asher Wojciechowski, Toronto (2013: Triple-A Oklahoma City) – Acquired by the Astros in part of a 10-player deal with the Blue Jays last July, Wojciechowski is looking to build on a 2012 season that saw him go 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA between two organizations. After six superb Texas League appearances to start 2013, he was promoted to the RedHawks of the PCL.
- Drew Vettleson, Tampa Bay (2013: Class A Advanced Charlotte) – He spun three no-hitters as an ambidextrous pitcher in high school, and he turned down a commitment to play for Oregon State University to play with the Rays. Now a right fielder, Vettleson set a Bowling Green franchise record with 139 hits in 2012.
- Taijuan Walker, Seattle (2013: Double-A Jackson) – MLB.com’s No. 5 prospect was a Southern League midseason All-Star and a Futures Game selection last year. Still just 20 years old, he’s repeating the league after going 7-10 with a 4.69 ERA there in 2012, and early signs are that he’ll make his way up to Triple-A by the end of the year.
- Nick Castellanos, Detroit (2013: Triple-A Toledo) – A third baseman in high school, the Tigers felt Castellanos was more suited to the outfield in order to help the big club in the near future. MLB.com’s No. 20 prospect finished third among all Minor League players in 2012 with 172 hits and he’s on pace to set new career highs in homers and RBIs in the International League this year.
- Luke Jackson, Texas (2013: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach) – Jackson did not start pitching until ninth grade, but that did not stop the Rangers from drafting him 45th overall out of Florida’s Calvary Christian High School. The right-hander is repeating the Carolina League where he’s 4-4 with a 2.74 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 23 walks in 46 innings.
- Seth Blair, St. Louis (2013: Double-A Springfield)
- Peter Tago, Colorado (2013: Unassigned in Rockies Org) — Ranked 17th in the Rockies Top 20 prospects, Tago has not pitched in 2013. He walked more batters than he struck out in each of his first two years in pro ball, and his poor debut in Asheville in 2011 saw him reassigned to the Northwest League in 2012
- Chance Ruffin, Detroit (2013: Double-A Jackson)
- Mike Olt, Texas (2013: Triple-A Round Rock) – Of the eight first-rounders from the 2010 class to reach the Majors so far, none were drafted later than Olt, a supplemental pick for the loss of free agent Marlon Byrd. His big 2012 season — including 28 Double-A homers — saw him promoted to Texas, but he’s struggled in his time in the PCL, batting .139 with five extra-base hits in 20 games. He recently missed a month with vision problems, which may now be resolved.
- Tyrell Jenkins, Cardinals (2013: Class A Peoria)
By Sam Dykstra
Last week, we took a look at the surprising batters of the start of the 2013 season in the Minor Leagues. Now, it’s time to look at the hurlers they’ve faced.
International League: Jose Alvarez, LHP, Toledo – Alvarez has shown promising command in the past — he led the Southern League by allowing just 1.66 walks per nine innings last season — but that hasn’t necessary led to the best results. He went 6-9 with a 4.22 ERA for Double-A Jacksonville a season ago. So when the Tigers signed him as a free agent in the offseason and put him at Toledo for his Triple-A debut, they probably weren’t hoping for more than rotation depth for the Mud Hens. Instead, Alvarez has a case for best IL starter at this early juncture. He ranks in the league’s top three in ERA (1.98, second), WHIP (1.01, third) and strikeouts (55, third). The command hasn’t gone anywhere either. His 1.48 BB/9 also ranks third.
Pacific Coast League: Chris Dwyer, LHP, Omaha – Being that he’s the Royals’ No. 16 prospect, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Dwyer has found success this year with the Storm Chasers. But at the same time, it kind of is. Due to command issues, the 25-year-old left-hander never really got it together at the Double-A level — 5.60 ERA in 27 starts in 2011, 5.25 ERA in 17 appearances last season — and the ERA was only worse (6.97) in a nine-game stint with Omaha last year. But he didn’t allow more than two runs in his first six starts of 2013 and tossed eight innings of one-run ball on Thursday to give him a 2.83 ERA through nine outings. If he can return to his early form and continue to refine his command, Dwyer has a chance to meet the potential the organization first saw in him.
Eastern League: Warwick Saupold, RHP, Erie – After signing out of Australia last year, Saupold worked mostly out of the bullpen for Class A West Michigan and Class A Advanced Lakeland with ERAs of 2.79 and 3.77 respectively at each stop. But as the saying goes, the biggest jump in Minor League Baseball is making that move from Class A Advanced to Double-A ball, and that jump became more treacherous for the 23-year-old as he would begin his first full year as a starter on American shores. Still, he’s held his own in the Eastern League, going 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA — fifth-best in the circuit — with a 1.20 WHIP in his first nine starts for the SeaWolves.
Southern League: Spencer Arroyo, LHP, Birmingham – Since being selected by the Phillies in the 31st round of the 2008 Draft, Arroyo is already in his second organization and has yet to find big-time success at the full-season level — until now. After putting up a 4.59 ERA and .280 opponents batting average with the Barons last season, the 25-year-old has brought both numbers down to 2.10 and .208 through nine starts this year. In fact, he’s only gotten better as the season has progressed. In four May starts, the southpaw is 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA.
Texas League: Jake Buchanan, RHP, Corpus Christi – There was a chance Buchanan would be good for the Hooks this season — he was a Cal League All-star in 2011, and we even named him an Organization All-Star the same year — but no one thought he’d be this good. The 24-year-old has flourished in the Astros’ piggybacking system, hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 26 (six appearances, 27 2/3 innings) and leads all Minor Leaguers in ERA (0.84) and WHIP (0.73). He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in an outing yet this season, so he’s been spared from facing Texas League lineups a third time through. But you still have to like the results as they stand on paper.
California League: Daniel Winkler, RHP, Modesto – Since being taken by the Rockies in the 20th round of the 2011 Draft, Winkler has had a penchant for the strikeout — his 136 punchouts ranked second in the Sally League last season — but it hadn’t necessarily translated into results (4.46 ERA, 1.37 WHIP). The 23-year-old seems to be coming into his own for the Nuts this season, however. His 2.61 ERA ranks third in the circuit while his 0.89 WHIP is right up there at the top. And yes, his 58 strikeouts (in 51 2/3 innings) rank second.
Carolina League: Taylor Hill, RHP, Potomac – There was ample reason for excitement when the P-Nats started the year with Robbie Ray and Taylor Jordan — Washington’s No. 10 and 17 prospects respectively — in their rotation. But Hill, who owned a 4.91 ERA between Class A Hagerstown and Potomac last season, has been right there with them and has often been better. He ranks first in walk rate (1.18 BB/9), tied for first in WHIP (0.99), second in ERA (2.31) — behind only Jordan (1.24), who is now with Double-A Harrisburg — and third in wins (4). He’s also thrown the only solo shutout of the Carolina League season. That’s the kind of stuff that commands attention at any level.
Florida State League: D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Fort Myers – Make what you will of the wins stat for pitchers, but nobody has done a better job than Baxendale of compiling them as a full-time starter in the Minor Leagues this year. He’s a perfect 7-0 for the Miracle through nine starts, but none of those wins have been of the vulture variety. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any start en route to an FSL-best 0.94 ERA, and that comes from being nearly untouchable (0.78 WHIP, .166 opponents’ average). Coming out of the University of Arkansas, Baxendale was a breakout candidate after sliding to 10th round last June, but this is at a different level.
Midwest League: Brandon Sinnery, RHP, South Bend – Sinnery has been one of the feel-good stories of the early 2013 season. I recommend reading my colleague Jake Seiner’s story on his journey to affiliated ball, but here’s a quick Sparknotes version. Undrafted out of the University of Michigan, the right-hander moved onto two separate independent league teams before catching the eye of the D-backs, who signed him and sent him to the Midwest League this season. He’s thrived ever since, putting up a 2.25 ERA and 1.07 ERA over eight appearances (six starts).
South Atlantic League: Jake Cose, RHP, Kannapolis – The 2011 27th-rounder was OK (4.38 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) in his first pro season as a starter in the Appalachian League a year ago, but he seems to have taken things to a new level in 2013. He’s maintained a 1.61 ERA — second-best in the Sally League — thanks to an ongoing run of four straight starts, spanning 24 2/3 innings, without having allowed an earned run. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has also struck out 46 batters and walked just 16 in 44 2/3 total frames while holding batters to a .211 average.