Results tagged ‘ Prospect Uniformed ’

Prospect Uniformed: Maikel Franco’s journey through the Minors

By Ashley Marshall

After a slow introduction to life in professional baseball, Philadelphia Phillies infield prospect Maikel Franco burst onto the scene in 2013 with his breakout season.

Despite hitting just five homers in his first two seasons — and only 19 in total in his three-year career — the third baseman slugged 31 long balls across two levels between the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers and Double-A Reading Fightin Phils.

Franco led the Minors with 308 total bases in 2013, and he was one of just four players — regardless of age, team or level — to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 or more runs. He was nominated for MiLB.com’s end-of-season MiLBY Award in the Breakout Prospect category. You can see all the nominees and cast your vote here.

Here’s a look at some of the uniforms Franco has worn in the Minors throughout the years, from his time with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in 2010 to the Eastern League, where he finished 2013.

Click on any of the images below to see the full-screen gallery.

Photos: Checking in on some top talent

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By Danny Wild

As the photo editor for MiLB.com, it’s an annual mission to get the latest, freshest images of baseball’s top prospects with their new teams. Some of MLB.com’s top prospects were promoted to new levels for Opening Day 2013, like Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras and Jose Fernandez, a Marlins right-hander who made the jump from Class A Advanced Jupiter to Miami.

Others, like Wil Myers, moved from one Triple-A team to another (Omaha to Durham, following his trade) and some, like Pirates No. 2 prospect Jameson Taillon, stayed right where they were.

Above, Profar helped the Round Rock Express turn a double play against the Omaha Storm Chasers on April 4, 2013 (Photo by Robert Backman). Baseball’s No. 1 prospect, who missed the cycle by a double on April 12, is batting .265 with a homer, six RBIs, three steals and a .432 on-base percentage in 10 games since joining his Pacific Coast League affiliate.

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Taveras (I have a Minor League hold on him in fantasy) had a four-hit night on April 12 and is batting .289 with a homer, four RBIs and one steal in 10 games. Allison Rhoades of the Memphis Redbirds snapped this image on April 10.

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Some anticipated Myers would begin the year in Tampa Bay, but the Rays are showing patience (some may term it otherwise) with the young outfielder — at Durham, he’s batting  an even .300 with 11 RBIs and three extra-base hits (no home runs) in his first 13 games.  Myers hit 37 homers last year but hasn’t gone deep yet, although he owns a .393 OBP. Thanks to Carl Kline for the snapshot above.

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Taillon is back in Curve, Pa., as they call it, for his second season at the Double-A level. The Altoona 6-foot-6 right-hander (photographed above by Mark Olson) has been really sharp so far with 20 strikeouts and just two earned runs allowed in 18 innings over three starts. Taillon, ranked below No. 1 overall Draft pick Gerrit Cole, is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA (not a typo).

I spoke with Taillon last week after his 10-strikeout effort against Harrisburg, a start in which he faced two of Washington’s top prospects in Anthony Rendon and Brian Goodwin.

“I felt good, felt strong,” Taillon said. “The last strikeout was the best fastball coming out of my hand all night. They were pretty competitive walks, they were all real close pitches on 3-2 counts. [Nationals top prospect Anthony] Rendon and Souza, I wasn’t going to let those guys beat me.”

Taillon has some interesting stuff to say about scouting reports and how much attention he pays to them. In a time where video and analysis is looked over constantly by fans and players alike, Taillon had a throw-back approach to pitching.

“I was talking to my [pitching] coach, we had a general idea how we’d want to attack them,” Taillon explained. “But I don’t like scouting reports — when it comes down to it, it comes down to my gut, whatever I feel. I see what the hitter does and I throw my pitches and keep going from there.”

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To close, I made it out to Citi Field two weeks ago to photograph Jose Fernandez’s Major League debut against the Mets. Citi Field is a nice place to shoot with the secondary photo wells behind home plate, and Fernandez looked pretty composed in his first start.

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Here’s some more photos of Fernandez’s big league debut.

Prospect Uniformed: Rangers Shortstop Jurickson Profar with Spokane, Hickory and Frisco

You know who this guy is. You saw him in Prospect Flashback. Now…

Here is Profar at Class A Short-Season Spokane (2010), Class A Hickory (2011) and Double-A Frisco (2012) in advance of potentially his first assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, where would begin but perhaps not stay too long this month. Click on any picture to begin a slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: White Sox Outfielder Jared Mitchell in His Every MiLB Jersey, Plus More on His Strikeouts

Jared Mitchell is fast, so naturally people expected him to move fast … through the White Sox’s system. That hasn’t happened due to injuries and stunted development. Mitchell, the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 Draft, is now 24 and Chicago’s fifth-ranked prospect entering his fifth season of pro ball, what he hopes will be his third full season of pro ball.

The sheer speed and athleticism that helped Mitchell (bio, stats here) excel as a college football receiver has shown up in Mitchell’s outfield defense, baserunning ability and, occasionally, his gap-to-gap power at the plate. He remains a mystery as a hitter, however. In 259 games spread over three clubs — Class A Advanced Winston-Salem, Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte — the last two seasons, he has batted .230 and struck out a whopping 362 times. Those are not ingredients of an everyday Major League outfielder.

Mitchell is too good at too many things, however, to not ultimately reach and contribute in the bigs. If the Sox think his bat will never fully develop, they could make him a fourth or fifth outfielder as early as Opening Day. Could he have already played his last day in the Minors?

Here is a gallery of Mitchell in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

(On a related note: Ashley Marshall, my MiLB.com colleague, has been teasing his LSU baseball products-turned prospects story — a story that involves Mitchell — over @AshMarshallMLB. Look for it on MLB.com next Wednesday, Feb. 20). 

Prospect Uniformed: Indians’ Trevor Bauer in His Every MiLB Jersey, Plus More on The Montero Kerfuffle

(John Amis/AP)

(John Amis/AP)

Like or dislike him, Trevor Bauer is his own man. He’s shown that with his pitches, his preparation and his preaching. Since being the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft, whether he’s been at Class A Advanced Visalia or Double-A Mobile or Triple-A Reno, Bauer has been, well, himself.

The 21-year-old right-hander (bio, stats here) was also authentic in his first try at the Majors — a four-start stint in Arizona last summer. Which explains why he didn’t exactly get along with everyone in the D-backs clubhouse. In case your Spring Training coverage hasn’t included the Bauer-Miguel Montero duel, this story ought to send you down the worm-hole.

I covered Montero on a near-daily basis in 2010 and found him to be a smart, genial interviewee as well as a fiery, not-always-aware competitor. (He also had a run-in with the even-keeled Ian Kennedy that season.) I’ve also interviewed Bauer nearly a dozen times and have found him to be highly intelligent and, yeah, ultra-competitive and perhaps a little stubborn.

So that’s what I chalk the former battery mates’ battle up to: two guys who both want to be the best at what they do but have different ideas about how to do it. Luckily, they’re now in opposite leagues and no longer teammates. With the offseason deal that sent Bauer from the D-backs to the Indians, the unique if not eccentric righty could begin the season in Cleveland. Triple-A Columbus is also a possibility. In case he’s gone from the Minors for good…

Here is a gallery of Bauer in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: Royals Infielder Christian Colon in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

Christian Colon is not going to be the star some envisioned he might be when the Royals snagged him with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 Draft.

But Colon is going to be a good one.

Now Kansas City’s No. 10 prospect, the 23-year-old infielder overcame  some freakish injuries in 2012 (he broke his toe stepping on a bat early in the season and fouled a ball off his face late) but still composed a .301/.376/.413 slash line in 85 games across three levels. Colon (bio, stats here) finished ’12 at Triple-A Omaha and may resume playing there should he not win a Royals roster spot next month. He’s a strong fielder — better at second than he is at shortstop — with a strong bat and could be a part of K.C.’s winning ways this decade.

Here is a gallery of Colon in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: @Brewers Righty Starter John Hellweg in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

Earlier this week, I detailed the lofty expectations of a tall lefty in the Red Sox system. Expect high praise of this right-hander, too: John Hellweg — the Brewers’ No. 4 prospect — stands 6-foot-9 and is seen as a potential impact starter. Potential being the operative word. Hellweg, now 24 and on his second organization following last July’s Greinke-to-the-Halos trade, has stuff to be a No. 2 starter but has yet to command much of it on a consistent basis. He finished 2012 in the Double-A Huntsville bullpen (bio, stats here) and, while that was simply to keep his innings in check down the stretch, don’t be surprised to see him end up in the ‘pen sometime in the future.

Here is a gallery of Hellweg in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: Braves Lefty Starter Sean Gilmartin in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

When the Braves pried All-Star-caliber outfielder Justin Upton from the D-backs late last month, they gave up two pitchers but neither was among their top four pitching prospects: right-handers Julio Teheran, Lucas Sims, J.R. Graham and a lefty by the name of Sean Gilmartin. I was somewhat surprised Arizona didn’t insist on one of the quartet heading westward.

Gilmartin, 22, may be the most sure thing in that group. The 2011 first-rounder (bio, stats here) excelled in 20 Double-A starts in his first pro season in 2012, then acquitted himself well at Triple-A down the stretch. He’s likely back at Gwinnett this spring, but it may not be long before he becomes a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter in a Major League rotation — the Braves’, not the D-backs’.

Here is a gallery of Gilmartin in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: Phillies Catcher Tommy Joseph in Every Minor League Uniform He’s Worn

Tommy Joseph is not the next Buster Posey, but at least now he’s no longer blocked by Buster.

If you recall, Joseph — the No. 3 Phillies prospect and the No. 8 overall catching prospect in baseball entering the 2013 season — was involved in last summer’s Hunter Pence-to-the-Giants trade. As a result, the 21-year-old backtop merely switched Eastern League clubs, going from Richmond to Reading. And after a full year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley beginning this spring, he could be ready for a full-time, big-league job in ’14. That would never have occurred had he stayed in the Giants organization and behind Posey, one of the game’s greats.

Here is a gallery of Joseph (career bio, stats here) in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

Prospect Uniformed: Dodgers Right-hander Zack Lee in Every Minor League Jersey He’s Worn

Zach Lee did not have a completely healthy season — or a particularly good one — in 2012. The Dodgers’ right-hander (bio, stats here) was one of a handful of prospects I zeroed in on last week when examining the up-and-down trends of our Top 100 List: Lee fell from No. 42 at the end of ’12 to No. 78 at the start of ’13. Something tells me that Lee, who enjoys the spotlight, only uses something like this as motivation. And why wouldn’t he?

Here is a gallery of the 2010 first-round Draft pick, in every uni he’s donned to date. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Uniformed, head here.

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