Kevin Towers: Where the Diamondbacks Are Going

Courtesy: HalosHeaven.com
Courtesy: HalosHeaven.com

Maybe this is an overreaction, but Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers appears to be crippling the future of the team by making some strange trades. Certainly, Towers has many years of experience, holding the San Diego Padres GM position from 1995 through the 2009 season before being fired in October, then taking over in the desert in late September of 2010. As with any operational move completed by a baseball franchise, some will work and some won’t, but the last three major moves by Towers appear to be crumbling the foundation of long-term success for the Diamondbacks.

Skaggs
Angels new LHP Tyler Skaggs

When the club acquired Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels last week, they added a powerful bat, but they also added a first baseman and designated hitter who will be playing the outfield, as current first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, was already present and had an MVP-caliber season in 2013. The Diamondbacks first had to acquire an additional arm to trade to the Angels, and they did so by dealing Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox for left-handed starter Hector Santiago. Towers then packaged Santiago with 22-year-old prospect Tyler Skaggs, who was rated the No.10 prospect in baseball by MLB.com prior to the 2013 season, in the deal for Trumbo, while acquiring a couple of fringy players, outfielder Brandon Jacobs and right-handed pitcher A.J. Schugel, as players who were named later in the deal. Eaton, who turned 25 in early December, was listed as the Diamondbacks’ starting centerfielder prior to the deal, and he has been supplanted by A.J. Pollock, who turned 26 in early December and appears to have a lot of Drew Stubbs to his game (solid defender, good power and speed, and a lot of swing and miss). Eaton was highly regarded by many saber-guys for his .450 career minor league on-base percentage and .951 OPS, and giving him up for Santiago, a back-end rotation starter (along with his five years of team-control), to acquire Trumbo was odd, but then Towers moved Skaggs. While Skaggs was pretty terrible in a very difficult league for pitchers in 2013 (4.59 ERA, 1.47 WHIP), he managed to strikeout 9.3 batters per nine as a 21-year-old in Triple-A. After watching Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran go from a 5.08 ERA and 1.44 WHIP as a 21-year-old in Triple-A in 2012 to 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.17 WHIP as a 22-year-old in the majors in 2013, could the Diamondbacks have just given up the arm that they appear to now covet in free agency, as they have been rumored to be interested in both Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka. Power may be in short supply around the league and you may never know how a prospect will turn out, but if Arizona had kept Skaggs and Eaton and signed Shin-Soo Choo, wouldn’t they be just as likely to contend?

Speaking of a powerful bat…

Upton
Braves OF Justin Upton

With power in such short supply, as Kevin Towers so boldly claimed after acquiring Trumbo, wouldn’t dealing Justin Upton and his team-friendly contract, along with third baseman Chris Johnson, to the Atlanta Braves for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, and minor leaguers Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury have been considered a bad idea when using that philosophy? There were a lot of underlying issues that led to the Diamondbacks apparent “need” to deal Upton last off-season, but, considering the type of prospect that they just gave up to get a player with a career .768 OPS, shouldn’t Towers have aimed higher in dealing Upton, who has a career .830 OPS? Certainly, Martin Prado is a fine player and his versatility is very useful, but his bat doesn’t play all that well as a full-time third baseman, where he will be playing in 2014, and heading into his age-30 season, it is fair to wonder if he should have been the centerpiece in an Upton deal, especially as Upton enters his age-26 season in 2014, making him younger than even Trumbo! If power is so valuable, why would Upton not be worth a legitimate prospect and a player, considering his contract and disregarding whatever “issues” were making him so useless to Arizona?

Furthermore, the trade that sent Matt Albers, Trevor Bauer, and Bryan Shaw to the Cleveland Indians for Lars Anderson (designated for assignment on 1/24/2013), Tony Sipp (designated for assignment on 11/20/2013), and Didi Gregorius is just as questionable as the package that is highlighted by Skaggs. Bauer was rated as the No.14 prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2013 season and the Diamondbacks seemed to sour on him due to his desire to train and prepare in a way that is strange to nearly all people who have had the pleasure of viewing him, with long-tossing from foul pole to foul pole and a crow hop seed from the pitchers mound to the catcher as his first warm-up pitch being a part of his hour long pitching preparation. Still, at just 23 on Opening Day of 2014, his long-term outlook is very good and drafting Bauer 3rd overall in the 2011 MLB Draft and dealing him nearly 18 months later for a slap-hitting, defensive-minded shortstop seems very odd, even with defensive metrics and shortstop values being taken into consideration. When looking at the value that the Indians received in Shaw and Albers, along with the fact that the Diamondbacks no longer roster two players that they received in the deal, this was a steal by the Cleveland Indians…and that is all before looking at how Gregorius may lose the everyday shortstop job to a prospect who was in house when the Bauer deal happened, Chris Owings, since Aaron Hill won’t be giving up the second base job.

Diamondbacks' GM Kevin Towers - answering serious questions?
Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers – answering serious questions?

It is easy to question the style that a franchise is taking and it is even easier to say that you could make better deals than your favorite team’s general manager, but when you consider the recent track record of Kevin Towers in Arizona, most fantasy baseball managers agree – they could do a better job. Is Arizona now the New York Yankees of the west, trading all of their top minor league talent to fill their major league holes? Well, the Yankees never seemed to give away their top prospects without certain, immediate help. Can the Diamondbacks catch the Dodgers? Matching power with Los Angeles doesn’t seem to be an option, as a full season of Matt Kemp (if he isn’t traded), Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and others will likely make the Dodgers that much more dangerous, and Arizona doesn’t have enough “grit” to overcome the L.A. payroll and talent – especially when they are trading the pieces that could get them over the top for veterans who have shown what they can do. Trumbo and Prado aren’t winning the Diamondbacks any championships, and, while they will make Arizona a bit more competitive, it is the front-line, affordable pitching that would have helped the Diamondbacks slither into contention.

Kevin Towers doesn’t seem to have a clear philosophy of where he is taking the Diamondbacks, and if the moves that he has made this season don’t work out, it is fair to wonder if he can make intelligent decisions going forward for any organization, experience be damned.

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The Hot Stove Has Caught On Fire

It certainly hasn’t taken long for teams to begin dishing out large contracts that they’ll probably regret in a couple of years with free agency well under way. However, the last 24 to 48 hours have supplied the greatest number of gifts, with a lot of examples of “huh”, “why”, “seriously”, and “come again” worthy reactions.

The Trades

The Doug Fister Trade

Detroit Tigers get: 2B Steve Lombardozzi, LHP Ian Krol, and LHP Robbie Ray

Washington Nationals get: RHP Doug Fister

FisterIt has to be called the Doug Fister trade because no one really cares about any of the players that the Tigers got back, right? If this wasn’t a total salary dump, I don’t know what it was, as the “prize” return for the Tigers is Ray, who was a 10th round pick in 2010 and had a 6.56 ERA in 2012 in his first attempt at High-A Potomac before bouncing back and having a solid season between High-A and Double-A in 2013, really doesn’t seem like a tremendous prospect; though, we have been proven wrong by Dave Dombrowski before. After the Tampa Bay Rays received one of the top young prospects in baseball, Wil Myers, in return for two controllable seasons of James Shields, you would think that the Tigers could have received more for Fister, who had managed to post an impressive 32-20 record to go along with a 3.29 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 440.2 innings with Detroit. Fister now joins Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, and Gio Gonzalez within the Washington rotation, making the Nationals strong contenders for first-year manager Matt Williams in 2014.

Winner: Washington Nationals.

Smelling Fowler

Houston Astros get: CF Dexter Fowler

Colorado Rockies get: RHP Jordan Lyles and OF Brandon Barnes

Fowler1Fowler seemed to be on the trading block for some time, but he was finally dealt on Tuesday. The Astros get two affordable seasons (two-years, $11.6 million) of Fowler while they wait for George Springer to prove himself ready, or…they just acquired a nicer trade chip than what they gave up. Jordan Lyles may still be just 23 years old, but he hasn’t put it together in 377 major league innings, posting a 5.35 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and a 6.2 K/9, and it seems very unlikely that shifting to Coor’s Field is going to assist his progression to sudden success. Brandon Barnes has some ability, but it isn’t as an everyday player, as his atrocious 127:21 K:BB and .635 OPS over 445 plate appearances goes to show. Barnes could be a fourth outfielder for the Rockies, with Carlos Gonzalez sliding over to center and Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson battling it out for the left field job, or Colorado could look to free agency to upgrade in center. This deal didn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Rockies unless they saw something in Lyles and didn’t feel that Fowler would ever live up to his hot start from 2013, when he posted a 1.032 OPS and then fell off of the face of the earth. Even if Fowler doesn’t live up to those numbers, he is the most valuable piece in the deal.

Winner: Houston Astros.

The Unimpressive Three-Way

Cincinnati Reds get: LHP David Holmberg.

Tampa Bay Rays get: RHP Heath Bell and cash from Arizona, and C Ryan Hanigan from Cincinnati.

Arizona Diamondbacks get: RHP Justin Choate and a PTBNL

The Rays are always viewed as a smart club and they were able to land another potential closer after losing Fernando Rodney to free agency, leaving the club with Heath Bell and Juan Carlos Oviedo to battle it out for the gig. On top of that, they received an excellent framing catcher in Hanigan, who has proved to be quite valuable to Cincinnati over the last several years in game-calling, while inking the backstop to a three-year extension upon the completion of the deal. The bad part, though, is that both Bell and Hanigan weren’t very good last season, with Hanigan, in particular, looking like a nightmare offensively, posting a .198/.306/.261 line over 260 plate appearances, leading to the Reds leaning on Brayan Pena, who was signed to a two-year deal earlier this winter, and Devin Mesoraco, the young, power-hitting catcher who will finally get a full-time look in Cincinnati. The Diamondbacks dumped some salary while dealing Bell for a young, breathing body. Choate pitched in the New York-Penn League in 2013 at the age of 22 and he isn’t much of a prospect. The Reds dumped Hanigan, who was arbitration-eligible, while getting a 22-year-old left-handed starter, who posted a 2.75 ERA in 26 Double-A starts in 2013 with a 116:50 K:BB in 157.1 innings. While Holmberg wasn’t as sexy as Tyler Skaggs or Archie Bradley within the Diamondbacks system, he could become a solid back of the rotation arm or a Sean Marshall-like relief pitcher for the Reds. The good news for Cincinnati is that Mesoraco gets his shot and Holmberg adds some near-ready pitching depth after the likely departure of Bronson Arroyo via free agency.

Winner: Everyone looks like a winner here, as the deal worked well for all three teams, but the Rays received the most help in assisting the team win in 2013.

Why Did Beane Make That (Michael) Choice?

Texas Rangers get: OF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick

Oakland A’s get: OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom

ChoiceThis seemed like an odd deal for Oakland and GM Billy Beane, as Gentry is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and Lindblom has been pretty terrible since being traded from the Dodgers to the Phillies in the 2012 Shane Victorino deal, as he has posted a 5.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over 54.2 innings since leaving Los Angeles (2.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 77.1 innings prior to the trade). Maybe a return to the west coast is what Lindblom needs to be a useful reliever, but by getting the elite defensive skills and increasing salary of the light-hitting (.280/.355/.366 in 763 plate appearances), 29-year-old Gentry, and giving up the potential that still exists in the bat of Michael Choice, who is 24 and isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2017, Beane showed that he may be looking beyond three years from now and that he could be putting the A’s in win-now mode. Bostick is a nice second base prospect, having posted a .282/.354/.452 line over 555 plate appearances as a 20-year-old in Low-A in 2013, but the Rangers have quite a few young, up-the-middle prospects (Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar, and Luis Sardinas) and they don’t seem to have a need there, while the A’s have run Jemile Weeks out of town in a trade with Baltimore and Eric Sogard was very…meh…in 2013 at the major league level. Winning now is important, but it doesn’t seem like the A’s really acquired anyone who can really help them in 2014 to get over the hump.

Winner: Texas Rangers.

The Free Agent Splashes

The Yankees Spend Like Crazy…Again.

Who They Signed: C Brian McCann (five-years, $85 million); OF Jacoby Ellsbury (seven-years, $153 million);

McCannWhy It Matters: Notice that the Yankees have committed nearly $240 million after having been rumored to be on a mission to avoid the $189 million threshold of the payroll luxury tax, while not having signed their All-Star second baseman, Robinson Cano, just yet. And, don’t forget, the team is rumored to be interested in signing Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who could be had at a lesser amount after the posting fee was limited to a maximum $20 million bid on Wednesday. McCann is a huge upgrade over the combined .213/.289/.298 triple slash that Yankees’ catchers posted in 2013, while Ellsbury provides great defense and speed as the Yankees try to move on from all of the injuries that suffocated their success this past season. Even if the Yankees are done with the big name signings, including Cano, they should be a better team in 2014.

Twinkies Filled Their Rotation

Who Minnesota Signed: RHP Phil Hughes (three-year, $24 million); RHP Ricky Nolasco (four-year, $49 million);

Why It Matters: The Twins starting pitchers posted a 5.26 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP in 2013, worst in the majors, and the ERA was a whopping 0.45 points higher than the Toronto Blue Jays’ starters (4.81), who finished 29th. Hughes still has youth and potential, but he needs to start tapping into that potential after posting a horrific 5.19 ERA over 29 starts and 145.2 innings. Shockingly, Hughes’ numbers would have made him a solid number three starter for the Twins in 2013…they were that bad. Adding Nolasco was special, but he isn’t an ace. He will likely be the Twins’ Opening Day starter in 2014 by default and he should make the rotation slightly better; although, it couldn’t get much worse.

Kazmir Rejuvenates and Cashes In Athletically

Who Oakland Signed: LHP Scott Kazmir (two-year, $22 million)

Why It Matters: Signing Kazmir to a lucrative contract could lead to another movie about the Oakland A’s after the success of Moneyball. While Kazmir’s resurgence was quite surprising, an eight-figure deal, after making all of one total appearance in the majors in 2011 and 2012 due to severe shoulder woes, was even more surprising. Possessing a mid-90’s fastball and a left arm appears to be all that it took to find a big deal. Kazmir’s story is worthy of attention and praise, but it is a story that needs to be monitored to see if he can maintain the same success in Oakland over the next two seasons. His presence will allow the A’s and Beane to shop LHP Brett Anderson at the winter meetings next week, which could net the club some additional win-now resources.

The Tigers No Longer on the Prowl for a Closer

Who Detroit Signed: RHP Joe Nathan (two-year, $20 million)

Why It Matters: Detroit needed a lockdown closer after shuffling through Jose Valverde, Phil Coke, Jose Veras, and Bruce Rondon at closer before Joaquin Benoit took over and did a nice job over the rest of the season. They got their man after signing Joe Nathan away from the Texas Rangers. Nathan closed 80 games out the last two seasons, while posting a 2.09 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, and at 38 years of age, he doesn’t look to be slowing down after missing the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery. After dealing Prince Fielder to improve at second base with Ian Kinsler, moving Miguel Cabrera back to first, and plugging Drew Smyly into the rotation (after dealing Fister), the Tigers will have a completely new look in 2014. With their strong rotation, Nathan’s shutdown ability makes them quite dangerous.

Fish Hook Their Catcher and the Red Sox Snag Another

Who Miami Signed: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (three-year, $21 million)

Who Boston Signed: C A.J. Pierzynski (one-year, $8.25 million)

Why It Matters: With a lot of focus heading towards catcher defense and framing, highlighted by the Rays commitments to Jose Molina and Ryan Hanigan this winter, other clubs continue to look towards offensive-minded catchers, and the Miami Marlins and Boston Red Sox locked down their backstops this week. The Marlins seem to have very little hope for a quick turnaround and Saltalamacchia isn’t going to be the other piece to help Giancarlo Stanton and Miami to an NL East title, but it is a start…as long as they don’t trade him before the 2014 season starts. Pierzynski will be on his fifth organization and, despite being hated by some of his competition, he could be a tremendous asset to the character and chemistry that existed within the Boston World Series clubhouse. I guess he is better to have on your team than to play against him.

 

 

2013 MLB Surprises

iglesiasWhile the season isn’t quite so young anymore with roughly 100 games remaining, the early season surprises and the small sample sizes that went along with them aren’t nearly so odd. Who is legit? Who will fall off? Who is still surprising?

Jose Iglesias, INF, Boston Red Sox

Surprise, surprise. When you look at Iglesias’ career .257/.307/.314 line in four minor league seasons, and then you look at this:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2013 23 BOS 22 83 74 13 33 7 0 1 7 1 6 11 .446 .494 .581 1.075 188 43
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Iglesias’ success would still qualify as a small sample, given his 83 plate appearances, but considering his struggles in the minors, especially his .202/.262/.319 line at Triple-A in 2013, his production is absolutely incredible. His likelihood to maintain this success is slim to none, unless, of course, Iglesias was just bored playing in the minor leagues. The 23-year-old appeared to be nothing more than organizational depth or a glove-based defensive replacement as recently as a month ago. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

CuddyerMichael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies

Not many guys have their best seasons in their mid-30’s without “the cream” or “the clear”, but that is exactly what Cuddyer is doing this season:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 34 COL NL 45 194 174 25 59 14 1 10 37 5 16 34 .339 .397 .603 1.000 105
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Cuddyer is on pace to shatter his career highs in OPS, AVG, and OBP, while posting productive numbers across the board. The Colorado lineup has been tremendous this season, leading to their current 2nd place ranking in the NL West standings. With Cuddyer’s ability to fill in for the oft-injured Todd Helton at first base and solidifying one of the most productive outfields in baseball, along with Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez, he continues to be a valuable, under-appreciated asset to fantasy teams and “real-life teams” alike.

Brown1Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

What appeared to be a super-productive May has continued into June:

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
May 28 27 109 109 17 33 4 1 12 25 3 0 21 .303 .303 .688 .991 75 .276
June 9 9 37 33 8 13 2 1 4 11 3 4 6 .394 .459 .879 1.338 29 .391
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Brown is a superstar and his early-career parallels to Braves outfielder Jason Heyward have finally reached fruition. If you take at look at his overall numbers, below, you can see how unproductive he was during the first month of the season:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 25 PHI NL 63 243 228 33 66 9 2 19 47 6 13 44 .289 .329 .596 .926 136
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Can pitchers make adjustments to make him an afterthought again in Philadelphia? It appears highly unlikely, as Brown looks like an All-Star, who is capable of reaching 30-35 home runs this season, while pacing an aging Phillies’ lineup.

DonaldsonJosh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics

Donaldson has always had a solid, gap-power approach at the plate, posting a career minor league line of .275/.365/.470 over 2,302 plate appearances. That game has finally transitioned to the big show, as his overall line shows:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2013 27 OAK AL 64 270 238 33 77 18 1 9 42 2 28 45 .324 .393 .521 .914 124
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

With Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie, Donaldson is giving the A’s a somewhat formidable lineup to team with its young pitching, and at 38-27 and in 2nd in the AL West, Oakland will once again be a threatening team down the stretch.

Corbin1Patrick Corbin, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

At no point during his time in the minor leagues did Corbin appear to be on the same track as Tyler Skaggs or Trevor Bauer for Arizona, a top-tier starting pitcher. Corbin seemed to have back-end stuff after posting a career 3.78 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 430.2 innings. Then, the 2013 season happened:

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 23 ARI NL 9 0 1.98 12 1 0 81.2 63 19 18 4 22 65 200 1.041 6.9 2.4 7.2 2.95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Corbin has dominated in several starts this season and remains unbeaten after 12 starts. While he doesn’t possess shutdown, strikeout stuff, Corbin keeps the opposition off-balance and looks like the 2013 version of Wade Miley, the Diamondbacks lefty who has struggled mightily this season, but posted a 16-11 record and 3.33 ERA in his rookie season in 2012. He’ll eventually lose a game, but Corbin should continue to solidify himself as, at least, a mid-rotation starter, capable of becoming a Tom Glavine-like winner if he maintains his success, something that could be very challenging when he is pitching half of his games in the thin, desert air in Arizona.

LockeJeff Locke, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Something clicked for Locke when he reached Triple-A Indianapolis within the Pirates organization. After posting a career 3.92 ERA over 629 innings prior to reaching Indianapolis, Locke posted a 2.44 ERA over 170 innings there before struggling in brief auditions in Pittsburgh in both 2011 and 2012. The 2013 season has been quite different, though:

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 25 PIT NL 5 1 2.39 13 0 0 75.1 56 21 20 5 35 55 1.208 6.7 4.2 6.6 1.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Locke, like Corbin, doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, and, unlike Corbin, he flirts with disaster, at times, due to command. While Locke still does a solid job of keeping runners off of the base paths when he is throwing strikes, it isn’t wrong to wonder if he could succumb to another Pittsburgh flop, as the team remains without a winning record since 1992. It would be nice for the organization to have a veteran arm to rely on once Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are ready for Pittsburgh, and with A.J. Burnett dominating and potentially becoming trade fodder, Locke could be that guy. If he doesn’t improve either his walk rate or strikeout rates, though, he could be heading towards a drastic decline over the rest of the 2013 season.

Wood1Travis Wood, LHP, Chicago Cubs

A tremendous athlete, Wood is finally showing the skills that made him such a highly regarded young player when he came up with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and thrived. Things hadn’t gone so well the last couple of seasons, but things are back on track in 2013:

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 26 CHC NL 5 4 2.65 12 0 0 78.0 53 24 23 5 26 56 1.013 6.1 3.0 6.5 2.15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2013.

Not only has he been effective on the mound, but Wood could be one of the Cubs’ best hitters, having posted a .910 OPS with two home runs and seven RBI in just 26 at-bats – they should pinch-hit for the struggling Starlin Castro with him! With Wood and Jeff Samardzija around in the rotation, the Cubs have a couple of solid arms to build around…if they could just figure out a way to get rid of that now awful Edwin Jackson contract. Like Locke, Wood has spurts of control issues, but he is leading the NL in hits per nine and could well be on his way to establishing himself, along with Samardzija, as a dominant arm on the constantly rebuilding Cubs squad.

Dodgers Can’t Dodge Confusion

crawfordbeckettgonzoMoney, and lots of it, has been thrown around in the Los Angeles area since Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers to the Guggenheim group last season. The trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford out west was just the beginning, as the team spent $159 million on Zack Greinke, bid against themselves by giving Brandon League $27.5 million to (possibly) steal the closer’s job from Kenley Jansen, and $61.7 million (including the $25.7 million posting fee) on Hyun-Jin Ryu, a 25-year-old, seven-year veteran of the Korean Baseball Organization.

With the addition of Greinke and Ryu, the Dodgers have a loaded starting rotation; however, is it too loaded?

greinketruebluelaClayton Kershaw will lead the group as the ace and even before signing and acquiring Greinke, Ryu, and Beckett, the team still had Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, and Ted Lilly signed for the 2013 season.

But, you have to wonder whether the Dodgers spent money in the right places this winter. Surely, there wasn’t a large market of free agent third baseman, but is Luis Cruz the real answer there in 2013? The club had Hanley Ramirez playing there last season, but they’ve moved him back to shortstop, even with Dee Gordon, who struggled in 2012 as a rookie but can change a game with 56 stolen bases in just 143 games, still with the organization and probably going to Triple-A.

HanRamThe club had pursued Scott Rolen before he decided to take some time to think about his options after the Cincinnati Reds moved on from the veteran. He could still become an option if the club doesn’t move Ramirez back to third or actually go with Cruz all season. Based on MLBTradeRumors.com Free Agent Tracker, the only remaining free agents at the hot corner are Rolen, Orlando Hudson, Adam Kennedy, and Miguel Cairo…not really the cream of the crop.

The issue becomes, is any team willing to part with a third baseman that could actually improve the Dodgers lineup?

Jordan Pacheco, Ryan Wheeler, or Chris Nelson could be a decent fit, and the Colorado Rockies seem to be a team constantly in need of starting pitching help, but as the team is finding its identity, why would they take on a veteran when they could give a rotation spot to Juan Nicasio, Christian Friedrich, or Tyler Chatwood?

With the Arizona Diamondbacks acquiring Martin Prado, could Matt Davidson, a slugging third base prospect, become expendable? While it would be a nice addition, the Diamondbacks are loaded at pitching right now, with Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, and Randall Delgado, not to mention Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, and a soon-to-return Dan Hudson, so why would they need another arm?

deegordonWhile the Dodgers may want Ramirez at short, he’s probably better off at third so that the club can play Dee Gordon and see what they have in the 25-year-old, but the abundance of pitching will still be an issue. Can they keep Harang, Capuano, and Lilly in a relief role? Should they deal the veteran starters for any kind of minor league depth, considering the current state of the farm system for the Dodgers?

It’s great to have a lot of money, but that doesn’t change the fact that each team keeps 25 players active and has a 40-man roster…nothing more. While the additions of Greinke and Ryu could lead the Dodgers to the World Series, they were a part of a series of questionable moves considering the pieces that were already in place and the money that was spent.

Top 100 MLB Prospects for 2013

Courtesy: ESPN.com
Courtesy: ESPN.com

Below you’ll find the top 100 prospects in baseball. The top 25 have a short write-up and their career minor league statistics. I am not a major league scout, I am just a baseball fan/nerd who follows all levels. If someone is missing, feel free to make your opinions known in the comments section, but be prepared to get mocked for being a troll!

1) Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers, SS

Profar is the perfect blend of raw power, speed, and on-base skills, and it is all packed into a 19-year-old excelling in the upper levels of the minors. There are rumors that he could be called up to help the Rangers down the stretch, but it would be a shame to have him come off of the bench considering he is probably one of their top five players when he arrives in Arlington. It will be interesting to see where the Rangers work him in with Andrus and Kinsler around.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 A- 63 252 42 63 19 0 4 23 8 28 46 .250 .323 .373 .696
2011 18 A 115 430 86 123 37 8 12 65 23 65 63 .286 .390 .493 .883
2012 19 AA 126 480 76 135 26 7 14 62 16 66 79 .281 .368 .452 .820
3 Seasons 304 1162 204 321 82 15 30 150 47 159 188 .276 .367 .450 .817
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.
Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles
Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles

2) Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles, RHP

It will be interesting what Bundy can do when the O’s take their chains off and let him loose. He just recently reached the sixth inning in a start for the first time. He is well on his way to becoming an ace, and he could reach the Majors by the middle of next year.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2012 19 A+-A-AA 9 3 2.08 23 23 103.2 67 29 24 6 28 119 0.916
2012 19 A 1 0 0.00 8 8 30.0 5 2 0 0 2 40 0.233
2012 19 A+ 6 3 2.84 12 12 57.0 48 20 18 5 18 66 1.158
2012 19 AA 2 0 3.24 3 3 16.2 14 7 6 1 8 13 1.320
1 Season 9 3 2.08 23 23 103.2 67 29 24 6 28 119 0.916
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

3) Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays, OF

For whatever reason, Myers was “blocked” in Kansas City by Jeff Francoeur. The Royals moved the slugging outfielder in the James Shields trade, immediately becoming one of the Rays cornerstone players. He should be the starting right fielder in 2013, with Desmond Jennings in center and Matt Joyce sliding over to right. His right-handed bat fits nicely in the middle of the order, as he and Evan Longoria will sandwich Ben Zobrist.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 18 Rk 22 84 19 31 7 2 5 18 2 9 18 .369 .427 .679 1.106
2009 18 Rk 18 68 18 29 7 1 4 14 2 9 15 .426 .488 .735 1.223
2009 18 Rk 4 16 1 2 0 1 1 4 0 0 3 .125 .125 .438 .563
2010 19 A-A+ 126 447 70 141 37 3 14 83 12 85 94 .315 .429 .506 .934
2010 19 A 68 242 42 70 19 1 10 45 10 48 55 .289 .408 .500 .908
2010 19 A+ 58 205 28 71 18 2 4 38 2 37 39 .346 .453 .512 .966
2011 20 AA 99 354 50 90 23 1 8 49 9 52 87 .254 .353 .393 .745
2012 21 AAA-AA 134 522 98 164 26 6 37 109 6 61 140 .314 .387 .600 .987
2012 21 AA 35 134 32 46 11 1 13 30 4 16 42 .343 .414 .731 1.146
2012 21 AAA 99 388 66 118 15 5 24 79 2 45 98 .304 .378 .554 .932
4 Seasons 381 1407 237 426 93 12 64 259 29 207 339 .303 .395 .522 .917
AA (2 seasons) AA 134 488 82 136 34 2 21 79 13 68 129 .279 .369 .486 .855
Rk (1 season) Rk 22 84 19 31 7 2 5 18 2 9 18 .369 .427 .679 1.106
A (1 season) A 68 242 42 70 19 1 10 45 10 48 55 .289 .408 .500 .908
AAA (1 season) AAA 99 388 66 118 15 5 24 79 2 45 98 .304 .378 .554 .932
A+ (1 season) A+ 58 205 28 71 18 2 4 38 2 37 39 .346 .453 .512 .966
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.
Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com
Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com

4) Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals, OF

He has been called the next Vladimir Guerrero…as long as his knees don’t deteriorate late in his career, that would make Taveras a near Hall of Fame player. Taveras is a hitter, pure and simple. He may only get better as he matures, which makes him a huge asset for the Cardinals moving forward. He could force management’s hands and get a shot at an everyday job in the spring of 2013.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 17 FRk 65 237 35 61 13 8 1 42 9 28 36 .257 .338 .392 .731
2010 18 Rk 60 241 40 73 14 3 8 45 9 13 46 .303 .342 .485 .828
2010 18 Rk 53 211 39 68 13 3 8 43 8 12 41 .322 .362 .526 .889
2010 18 Rk 7 30 1 5 1 0 0 2 1 1 5 .167 .194 .200 .394
2011 19 A 78 308 52 119 27 5 8 62 1 32 52 .386 .444 .584 1.028
2012 20 AA 124 477 83 153 37 7 23 94 10 42 56 .321 .380 .572 .953
4 Seasons 327 1263 210 406 91 23 40 243 29 115 190 .321 .381 .525 .906
Rk (1 season) Rk 60 241 40 73 14 3 8 45 9 13 46 .303 .342 .485 .828
A (1 season) A 78 308 52 119 27 5 8 62 1 32 52 .386 .444 .584 1.028
AA (1 season) AA 124 477 83 153 37 7 23 94 10 42 56 .321 .380 .572 .953
FRk (1 season) FRk 65 237 35 61 13 8 1 42 9 28 36 .257 .338 .392 .731
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

5) Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, SS

I have him higher than most, but give me a 19-year-old who can post these numbers any day of the week. Bogaerts is still playing shortstop, but he will end up at third base or be forced elsewhere due to the presense of Will  Middlebrooks. Powerful, young, projectable frame. Bogaerts will be a total offensive monster.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 FRk 63 239 39 75 7 5 3 42 4 30 37 .314 .396 .423 .819
2011 18 A 72 265 38 69 14 2 16 45 1 25 71 .260 .324 .509 .834
2012 19 A+-AA 127 476 71 146 37 3 20 81 5 44 106 .307 .373 .523 .896
2012 19 A+ 104 384 59 116 27 3 15 64 4 43 85 .302 .378 .505 .883
2012 19 AA 23 92 12 30 10 0 5 17 1 1 21 .326 .351 .598 .948
3 Seasons 262 980 148 290 58 10 39 168 10 99 214 .296 .366 .495 .861
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

6) Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians, RHP

For all of his poor warm-up practices, the fact remains that Bauer has an elite arm. He has trouble with command, but he posts ace-level strikeout potential. Moving to a pitcher’s environment in Cleveland from Arizona should make dynasty fantasy geeks drool at his potential. The Indians stole him by getting him for Didi Gregorius, Lars Anderson, and Tony Sipp. He’ll be their No. 1 starter sooner than one may think.

Year Age Lev W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 20 AA-A+ 1 2 .333 5.96 7 7 25.2 27 17 17 3 12 43 1.519
2011 20 A+ 0 1 .000 3.00 3 3 9.0 7 3 3 1 4 17 1.222
2011 20 AA 1 1 .500 7.56 4 4 16.2 20 14 14 2 8 26 1.680
2012 21 AAA-AA 12 2 .857 2.42 22 22 130.1 107 40 35 9 61 157 1.289
2012 21 AA 7 1 .875 1.68 8 8 48.1 33 12 9 1 26 60 1.221
2012 21 AAA 5 1 .833 2.85 14 14 82.0 74 28 26 8 35 97 1.329
2 Seasons 13 4 .765 3.00 29 29 156.0 134 57 52 12 73 200 1.327
AA (2 seasons) AA 8 2 .800 3.18 12 12 65.0 53 26 23 3 34 86 1.338
AAA (1 season) AAA 5 1 .833 2.85 14 14 82.0 74 28 26 8 35 97 1.329
A+ (1 season) A+ 0 1 .000 3.00 3 3 9.0 7 3 3 1 4 17 1.222
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

7) Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates, RHP

Cole still has more stuff than impressive results at this poing in his career, but the stuff could be so dominant, that you have to hold out hope that he figures things out. For a guy who can throw a 90 mph change and curve while topping out in triple-digits with his fastball, you would expect more dominance in his strikeout totals. If he figures it out, he could be #2 behind Profar on this list.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2012 21 A+-AA-AAA 9 7 2.80 26 26 132.0 113 55 41 7 45 136 1.197
2012 21 A+ 5 1 2.55 13 13 67.0 53 24 19 5 21 69 1.104
2012 21 AA 3 6 2.90 12 12 59.0 54 28 19 2 23 60 1.305
2012 21 AAA 1 0 4.50 1 1 6.0 6 3 3 0 1 7 1.167
1 Season 9 7 2.80 26 26 132.0 113 55 41 7 45 136 1.197
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

8) Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners, RHP

The Mariners pushed Walker by having him skip the dreaded California League, allowing him to thrive without being destroyed by the thin air and small parks of High-A. Having just turned 20, Walker has posted some solid numbers. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be a nice addition to the Mariners rotation in the coming years. He isn’t Felix  Hernandez and won’t come close to him, but how many pitchers can?

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2010 17 Rk 1 1 1.29 4 0 7.0 2 3 1 0 3 9 0.714
2011 18 A 6 5 2.89 18 18 96.2 69 33 31 4 39 113 1.117
2012 19 AA 7 10 4.69 25 25 126.2 124 70 66 12 50 118 1.374
3 Seasons 14 16 3.83 47 43 230.1 195 106 98 16 92 240 1.246
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

9) Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners, LHP

Hultzen may just be what he is right now and nothing more, but that is still good. He will throw strikes and toss a lot of innings while having some great success. The college arm will be ready by next season and he could get a look early in the spring, but he will settle in nicely among a group of solid young arms that the M’s are developing. With the Jason Vargas trade, his arrival may have just been pushed forward a bit.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2012 22 AA-AAA 9 7 3.05 25 25 124.0 87 49 42 4 75 136 1.306
2012 22 AA 8 3 1.19 13 13 75.1 38 14 10 2 32 79 0.929
2012 22 AAA 1 4 5.92 12 12 48.2 49 35 32 2 43 57 1.890
1 Season 9 7 3.05 25 25 124.0 87 49 42 4 75 136 1.306
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

10) Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates, RHP

Taillon has been hyped with very little as far as results. He has looked pretty good for a 20-year-old in High-A, but if he is an ace like others say he is, you have to expect more. He is coming along nicely, but he could be more of a mid-rotation arm than an ace. He still has time, though.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 19 A 2 3 3.98 23 23 92.2 89 45 41 9 22 97 1.198
2012 20 A+-AA 9 8 3.55 26 26 142.0 120 60 56 10 38 116 1.113
2012 20 A+ 6 8 3.82 23 23 125.0 109 57 53 10 37 98 1.168
2012 20 AA 3 0 1.59 3 3 17.0 11 3 3 0 1 18 0.706
2 Seasons 11 11 3.72 49 49 234.2 209 105 97 19 60 213 1.146
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

11) Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds, OF

Hamilton was moved off of shortstop due to Zack Cozart’s success in his rookie season in 2012, and with Drew Stubbs gone and a one-year rental of Shin-Soo Choo, Hamilton should be ready for 2014. His speed is game-changing and he increased his on-base skills tremendously in 2012. He will be entertaining to watch, even if he gets on at a .320-clip in the majors. He looks like he will be better than that, though.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 18 Rk 43 166 19 34 6 3 0 11 14 11 47 .205 .253 .277 .530
2010 19 Rk 69 283 61 90 13 10 2 24 48 28 56 .318 .383 .456 .839
2011 20 A 135 550 99 153 18 9 3 50 103 52 133 .278 .340 .360 .700
2012 21 A+-AA 132 512 112 159 22 14 2 45 155 86 113 .311 .410 .420 .830
2012 21 A+ 82 337 79 109 18 9 1 30 104 50 70 .323 .413 .439 .852
2012 21 AA 50 175 33 50 4 5 1 15 51 36 43 .286 .406 .383 .789
4 Seasons 379 1511 291 436 59 36 7 130 320 177 349 .289 .364 .389 .753
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 112 449 80 124 19 13 2 35 62 39 103 .276 .336 .390 .726
A (1 season) A 135 550 99 153 18 9 3 50 103 52 133 .278 .340 .360 .700
AA (1 season) AA 50 175 33 50 4 5 1 15 51 36 43 .286 .406 .383 .789
A+ (1 season) A+ 82 337 79 109 18 9 1 30 104 50 70 .323 .413 .439 .852
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

12) Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, RHP

Miller has fallen out of favor with the Cardinals organization due to conditioning and other issues which continue to go unannounced. He has struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously a hitter’s league. He still has a bright future, but he could be someone who gets dealt if he continues to upset the Cards, who practically gave away Colby  Rasmus due to his “issues.”

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2009 18 A 0 0 6.00 2 2 3.0 5 3 2 0 2 2 2.333
2010 19 A 7 5 3.62 24 24 104.1 97 51 42 7 33 140 1.246
2011 20 AA-A+ 11 6 2.77 25 25 139.2 112 48 43 4 53 170 1.181
2011 20 A+ 2 3 2.89 9 9 53.0 40 20 17 2 20 81 1.132
2011 20 AA 9 3 2.70 16 16 86.2 72 28 26 2 33 89 1.212
2012 21 AAA 11 10 4.74 27 27 136.2 138 78 72 24 50 160 1.376
4 Seasons 29 21 3.73 78 78 383.2 352 180 159 35 138 472 1.277
A (2 seasons) A 7 5 3.69 26 26 107.1 102 54 44 7 35 142 1.276
AA (1 season) AA 9 3 2.70 16 16 86.2 72 28 26 2 33 89 1.212
AAA (1 season) AAA 11 10 4.74 27 27 136.2 138 78 72 24 50 160 1.376
A+ (1 season) A+ 2 3 2.89 9 9 53.0 40 20 17 2 20 81 1.132
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

13) Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, RHP

There were rumors that Teheran’s breaking ball wasn’t up to par. There are also rumors that his attitude was shaky due to being sent to the minors. Whatever went on with him in 2012, it is cause for concern. His numbers in Triple-A were pretty awful, and his brief opportunities in Atlanta haven’t gone well, either. Teheran is still a top-flight prospect, but due to this bump in the road, he may not have what it takes to be an ace. He still has some work to do.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2008 17 Rk 1 2 6.60 6 6 15.0 18 12 11 2 4 17 1.467
2009 18 Rk-A 3 4 3.65 14 14 81.1 78 37 33 4 18 67 1.180
2009 18 Rk 2 1 2.68 7 7 43.2 36 17 13 2 7 39 0.985
2009 18 A 1 3 4.78 7 7 37.2 42 20 20 2 11 28 1.407
2010 19 A+-AA-A 9 8 2.59 24 24 142.2 108 45 41 9 40 159 1.037
2010 19 A 2 2 1.14 7 7 39.1 23 8 5 1 10 45 0.839
2010 19 A+ 4 4 2.98 10 10 63.1 56 22 21 6 13 76 1.089
2010 19 AA 3 2 3.38 7 7 40.0 29 15 15 2 17 38 1.150
2011 20 AAA 15 3 2.55 25 24 144.2 123 46 41 5 48 122 1.182
2012 21 AAA 7 9 5.08 26 26 131.0 146 81 74 18 43 97 1.443
5 Seasons 35 26 3.50 95 94 514.2 473 221 200 38 153 462 1.216
A (2 seasons) A 3 5 2.92 14 14 77.0 65 28 25 3 21 73 1.117
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 3 3 3.68 13 13 58.2 54 29 24 4 11 56 1.108
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 22 12 3.75 51 50 275.2 269 127 115 23 91 219 1.306
AA (1 season) AA 3 2 3.38 7 7 40.0 29 15 15 2 17 38 1.150
A+ (1 season) A+ 4 4 2.98 10 10 63.1 56 22 21 6 13 76 1.089
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

14) Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals, RHP

Martinez is compared to Pedro Martinez due to his electric stuff and his size. Between the comparisons of Martinez and Oscar Taveras, the Cards have a couple of potential Hall of Famers, huh? Martinez’s strikeouts were down a bit in 2012, but he was 20 and pitching in Double-A, putting up some impressive numbers. He could return to Double-A in 2013 to start the season, but he’ll be someone to watch closely in coming years, as he has ace potential.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2010 18 FRk 3 2 0.76 12 12 59.0 28 8 5 1 14 78 0.712
2011 19 A+-A 6 5 3.93 18 18 84.2 76 41 37 3 44 98 1.417
2011 19 A 3 2 2.33 8 8 38.2 27 10 10 1 14 50 1.060
2011 19 A+ 3 3 5.28 10 10 46.0 49 31 27 2 30 48 1.717
2012 20 AA-A+ 6 5 2.93 22 21 104.1 91 39 34 6 32 92 1.179
2012 20 A+ 2 2 3.00 7 7 33.0 29 12 11 0 10 34 1.182
2012 20 AA 4 3 2.90 15 14 71.1 62 27 23 6 22 58 1.178
3 Seasons 15 12 2.76 52 51 248.0 195 88 76 10 90 268 1.149
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 5 5 4.33 17 17 79.0 78 43 38 2 40 82 1.494
A (1 season) A 3 2 2.33 8 8 38.2 27 10 10 1 14 50 1.060
AA (1 season) AA 4 3 2.90 15 14 71.1 62 27 23 6 22 58 1.178
FRk (1 season) FRk 3 2 0.76 12 12 59.0 28 8 5 1 14 78 0.712
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

15) Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks, LHP

Skaggs overtook Trevor  Bauer as the club’s future ace, which made dumping Bauer due to his odd techniques a bit easier. He has command of his pitches and has posted incredible numbers the last two seasons. The Diamondbacks have solid depth at starting pitcher, but Skaggs should get a look in 2013.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2009 17 Rk 0 0 1.80 5 2 10.0 9 4 2 0 2 13 1.100
2009 17 Rk 0 0 4.50 2 0 4.0 5 4 2 0 1 6 1.500
2009 17 Rk 0 0 0.00 3 2 6.0 4 0 0 0 1 7 0.833
2010 18 A 9 5 3.29 23 18 98.1 91 38 36 7 25 102 1.180
2010 18 A 8 4 3.61 19 14 82.1 78 35 33 6 21 82 1.202
2010 18 A 9 5 3.29 23 18 98.1 91 38 36 7 25 102 1.180
2010 18 A 1 1 1.69 4 4 16.0 13 3 3 1 4 20 1.062
2011 19 A+-AA 9 6 2.96 27 27 158.1 126 59 52 10 49 198 1.105
2011 19 A+ 5 5 3.22 17 17 100.2 81 39 36 6 34 125 1.142
2011 19 AA 4 1 2.50 10 10 57.2 45 20 16 4 15 73 1.040
2012 20 AA-AAA 9 6 2.87 22 22 122.1 112 49 39 12 37 116 1.218
2012 20 AA 5 4 2.84 13 13 69.2 63 27 22 8 21 71 1.206
2012 20 AAA 4 2 2.91 9 9 52.2 49 22 17 4 16 45 1.234
4 Seasons 27 17 2.98 77 69 389.0 338 150 129 29 113 429 1.159
A (1 season) A 9 5 3.29 23 18 98.1 91 38 36 7 25 102 1.180
AA (2 seasons) AA 9 5 2.69 23 23 127.1 108 47 38 12 36 144 1.131
Rk (1 season) Rk 0 0 1.80 5 2 10.0 9 4 2 0 2 13 1.100
AAA (1 season) AAA 4 2 2.91 9 9 52.2 49 22 17 4 16 45 1.234
A+ (1 season) A+ 5 5 3.22 17 17 100.2 81 39 36 6 34 125 1.142
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

16) Travis d’Arnaud, New York Mets, C

D’Arnaud  missed time due to a torn PCL that he suffered in late June. His strikeout rate was pretty alarming, but the power numbers and on-base totals were pretty impressive, still. D’Arnaud could be an offensive force for the Mets, who snagged the catcher from Toronto trade. J.P.  Arencibias presence  ahead of him, and, for some reason, the  re-signing of Jeff  Mathis for two-years, $3 million (throwing away money?), made d’Arnaud expendable in Toronto, and David Wright better be praying that d’Arnaud establishes himself quickly because the Mets look awful outside of Wright and Ike Davis.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 18 Rk 41 141 18 34 3 0 4 20 4 4 23 .241 .278 .348 .626
2008 19 A–A 64 239 33 73 18 1 6 30 1 23 39 .305 .367 .464 .831
2008 19 A- 48 175 21 54 13 1 4 25 1 18 29 .309 .371 .463 .833
2008 19 A 16 64 12 19 5 0 2 5 0 5 10 .297 .357 .469 .826
2009 20 A 126 482 71 123 38 1 13 71 8 41 75 .255 .319 .419 .738
2010 21 A+ 71 263 36 68 20 1 6 38 3 20 63 .259 .315 .411 .726
2011 22 AA 114 424 72 132 33 1 21 78 4 33 100 .311 .371 .542 .914
2012 23 AAA 67 279 45 93 21 2 16 52 1 19 59 .333 .380 .595 .975
6 Seasons 483 1828 275 523 133 6 66 289 21 140 359 .286 .343 .474 .816
A (2 seasons) A 142 546 83 142 43 1 15 76 8 46 85 .260 .323 .425 .748
AA (1 season) AA 114 424 72 132 33 1 21 78 4 33 100 .311 .371 .542 .914
Rk (1 season) Rk 41 141 18 34 3 0 4 20 4 4 23 .241 .278 .348 .626
A- (1 season) A- 48 175 21 54 13 1 4 25 1 18 29 .309 .371 .463 .833
AAA (1 season) AAA 67 279 45 93 21 2 16 52 1 19 59 .333 .380 .595 .975
A+ (1 season) A+ 71 263 36 68 20 1 6 38 3 20 63 .259 .315 .411 .726
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

17) Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, 3B

28 home runs at the age of 19 with a drastic improvement in his walk rate is all that you need to know about Sano. He does strike out a lot, but that is typical of power hitters, especially those that are this young. Minnesota fans should be excited about Sano, although he is probably two to three years away.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 Rk-FRk 61 212 34 65 16 1 7 29 4 24 60 .307 .379 .491 .870
2010 17 FRk 20 64 11 22 2 1 3 10 2 14 17 .344 .463 .547 1.009
2010 17 Rk 41 148 23 43 14 0 4 19 2 10 43 .291 .338 .466 .804
2011 18 Rk 66 267 58 78 18 7 20 59 5 23 77 .292 .352 .637 .988
2012 19 A 129 457 75 118 28 4 28 100 8 80 144 .258 .373 .521 .893
3 Seasons 256 936 167 261 62 12 55 188 17 127 281 .279 .368 .547 .915
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 107 415 81 121 32 7 24 78 7 33 120 .292 .347 .576 .922
A (1 season) A 129 457 75 118 28 4 28 100 8 80 144 .258 .373 .521 .893
FRk (1 season) FRk 20 64 11 22 2 1 3 10 2 14 17 .344 .463 .547 1.009
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

18) Mike Olt, Texas Rangers, 1B/3B

Olt arrived in the Majors to showcase his power at the corners in 2012, though he didn’t get much of an opportunity. He was rumored in potential deals for the Rangers, but they may be better off keeping him and putting him at first base. He is ready to mash, like the Rangers needed more offense…

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 21 A- 69 263 57 77 16 1 9 43 6 40 77 .293 .390 .464 .854
2011 22 A+-Rk 73 254 41 67 15 0 15 46 0 49 75 .264 .381 .500 .881
2011 22 Rk 4 14 2 3 0 0 1 4 0 1 5 .214 .267 .429 .695
2011 22 A+ 69 240 39 64 15 0 14 42 0 48 70 .267 .387 .504 .891
2012 23 AA 95 354 65 102 17 1 28 82 4 61 101 .288 .398 .579 .977
3 Seasons 237 871 163 246 48 2 52 171 10 150 253 .282 .391 .521 .912
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

19) Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins, 1B

Yelich is a pure hitter, much like Oscar Taveras. While Yelich has posted solid speed numbers, he appears to be an intelligent runner than a true burner. An excellent hitter with surprising power for a stick figure, Yelich will move quickly to fill  a suddenly disturbing Miami Marlins 25-man roster.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 18 Rk-A 12 47 5 17 3 1 0 5 1 3 13 .362 .400 .468 .868
2010 18 Rk 6 24 3 9 1 1 0 3 1 2 7 .375 .423 .500 .923
2010 18 A 6 23 2 8 2 0 0 2 0 1 6 .348 .375 .435 .810
2011 19 A 122 461 73 144 32 1 15 77 32 55 102 .312 .388 .484 .871
2012 20 A+-Rk 107 401 76 132 29 5 12 48 20 49 85 .329 .402 .516 .918
2012 20 Rk 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500
2012 20 A+ 106 397 76 131 29 5 12 48 20 49 85 .330 .404 .519 .922
3 Seasons 241 909 154 293 64 7 27 130 53 107 200 .322 .395 .497 .892
A (2 seasons) A 128 484 75 152 34 1 15 79 32 56 108 .314 .387 .481 .869
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 7 28 3 10 1 1 0 3 1 2 7 .357 .400 .464 .864
A+ (1 season) A+ 106 397 76 131 29 5 12 48 20 49 85 .330 .404 .519 .922
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

20) Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs, SS

Baez could be a force at short for the Cubs. Just drafted in 2011 out of high school, the Cubs have already moved the youngster to High-A ball, having started the 2012 season late due to concerns about the weather. Regardless, he will continue moving quickly, especially if he keeps hitting like he has.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 18 Rk-A- 5 18 2 5 2 0 0 1 2 0 4 .278 .278 .389 .667
2011 18 Rk 3 12 2 4 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 .333 .333 .500 .833
2011 18 A- 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 .167 .167 .167 .333
2012 19 A-A+ 80 293 50 86 13 6 16 46 24 14 69 .294 .346 .543 .888
2012 19 A 57 213 41 71 10 5 12 33 20 9 48 .333 .383 .596 .979
2012 19 A+ 23 80 9 15 3 1 4 13 4 5 21 .188 .244 .400 .644
2 Seasons 85 311 52 91 15 6 16 47 26 14 73 .293 .342 .534 .876
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

21) Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins, RHP

If you missed the Futures Game, you didn’t see how big Fernandez is already. The guy has a monstrous frame that makes him look like he could step right into a Major League rotation. His results are impressive to this point and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Marlins rush him next year.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 18 A–Rk 0 1 10.38 2 2 4.1 5 6 5 0 4 7 2.077
2011 18 Rk 0 0 0.00 1 1 2.0 1 1 0 0 1 3 1.000
2011 18 A- 0 1 19.29 1 1 2.1 4 5 5 0 3 4 3.000
2012 19 A-A+ 14 1 1.75 25 25 134.0 89 28 26 2 35 158 0.925
2012 19 A 7 0 1.59 14 14 79.0 51 16 14 2 18 99 0.873
2012 19 A+ 7 1 1.96 11 11 55.0 38 12 12 0 17 59 1.000
2 Seasons 14 2 2.02 27 27 138.1 94 34 31 2 39 165 0.961
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

22) Zack Wheeler, New York Mets, RHP

Wheeler was acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos  Beltran in 2011. He was a talented arm at the time and has established himself as the Mets top prospect since being acquired. Wheeler could still refine his command before he is a finished product, but he has the ceiling to be a top of the rotation starter.

Year Age Lev W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2010 20 A 3 3 3.99 21 13 58.2 47 27 26 0 38 70 1.449
2011 21 A+ 9 7 3.52 22 22 115.0 100 50 45 7 52 129 1.322
2011 21 A+ 2 2 2.00 6 6 27.0 26 6 6 0 5 31 1.148
2011 21 A+ 7 5 3.99 16 16 88.0 74 44 39 7 47 98 1.375
2012 22 AA-AAA 12 8 3.26 25 25 149.0 115 59 54 4 59 148 1.168
2012 22 AA 10 6 3.26 19 19 116.0 92 46 42 2 43 117 1.164
2012 22 AAA 2 2 3.27 6 6 33.0 23 13 12 2 16 31 1.182
3 Seasons 24 18 3.49 68 60 322.2 262 136 125 11 149 347 1.274
A+ (1 season) A+ 9 7 3.52 22 22 115.0 100 50 45 7 52 129 1.322
A (1 season) A 3 3 3.99 21 13 58.2 47 27 26 0 38 70 1.449
AA (1 season) AA 10 6 3.26 19 19 116.0 92 46 42 2 43 117 1.164
AAA (1 season) AAA 2 2 3.27 6 6 33.0 23 13 12 2 16 31 1.182
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

23) Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers, 3B/OF

The Tigers have moved Castellanos to the outfield due to Miguel  Cabrera occupying third base. Castellanos is an interesting talent. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t really walk much, while his power numbers are lagging. However, he is just 20 and his 32 doubles show that there is power in there somewhere. If Castellanos beefs up a little, that will help the power numbers, and then he can help the Tigers

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 18 Rk 7 24 5 8 2 0 0 3 0 4 5 .333 .414 .417 .830
2011 19 A 135 507 65 158 36 3 7 76 3 45 130 .312 .367 .436 .803
2012 20 AA-A+ 134 537 72 172 32 4 10 57 8 36 118 .320 .365 .451 .815
2012 20 A+ 55 215 37 87 17 3 3 32 3 22 42 .405 .461 .553 1.014
2012 20 AA 79 322 35 85 15 1 7 25 5 14 76 .264 .296 .382 .678
3 Seasons 276 1068 142 338 70 7 17 136 11 85 253 .316 .367 .443 .810
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

24) Gary Brown, San Francisco Giants, OF

Brown’s 2011 numbers were likely the product of the California League, but he still showed solid speed and glimpses of power in Double-A in 2012. His 32 doubles and 33 steals show his potential. Since the Giants have thrived with a lack of pow er production since Barry Bonds left San Francisco, Brown could contribute as a speedster at the top of the order by 2014.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 21 A–Rk 12 44 8 7 1 1 0 2 2 6 12 .159 .296 .227 .524
2010 21 Rk 6 22 6 4 1 0 0 0 2 4 5 .182 .333 .227 .561
2010 21 A- 6 22 2 3 0 1 0 2 0 2 7 .136 .259 .227 .487
2011 22 A+ 131 559 115 188 34 13 14 80 53 46 77 .336 .407 .519 .925
2012 23 AA 134 538 73 150 32 2 7 42 33 40 87 .279 .347 .385 .731
3 Seasons 277 1141 196 345 67 16 21 124 88 92 176 .302 .374 .444 .818
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

25) Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians, SS

For a team with such a terrible offense, Indians fans sure do love this slick fielding slap-hitter. Lindor is young and has gap power, but he isn’t as valuable to the Tribe as current shortstop Asdrubal  Cabrera because he can’t produce runs like Cabrera can. However, Cabrera is only signed through 2014 and Lindor should be ready by about the same time that Cabrera is leaving town. Lindor is a switch-hitter and has very good on-base skills. If he gets bigger,  Lindor could become a more valuable offensive weapon. As it stands, he is a solid leadoff or No. 2-hitter.

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 17 A- 5 19 4 6 0 0 0 2 1 1 5 .316 .350 .316 .666
2012 18 A 122 490 83 126 24 3 6 42 27 61 78 .257 .352 .355 .707
2 Seasons 127 509 87 132 24 3 6 44 28 62 83 .259 .352 .354 .705
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/19/2012.

26) Bubba Starling, Kansas City Royals, OF

27) Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, SS

28) Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs, OF

29) Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP

30) Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP

31) Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros, 1B

32) Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles, RHP

33) Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, 2B/3B

34) Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners, C

35) Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, C

36) Tyler Austin, New York Yankees, 3B/OF

37) Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies, 3B

38) Martin Perez, Texas Rangers, LHP

39) Cody Buckel, Texas Rangers, RHP

40) Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies, SS

41) Jon Schoop, Baltimore Orioles, INF

42) Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets, RHP

43) Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners, SS

44) Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres, 3B

45) Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs, OF

46) Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox, RHP

47) Jake Marisnick, Miami Marlins, OF

48) Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers, RHP

49) Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins, OF

50) Mason Williams, New York Yankees, OF

51) Justin Nicolino, Miami Marlins, LHP

52) George Springer, Houston Astros, OF

53) Michael Choice, Oakland Athletics, OF

54) Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics, RHP

55) Daniel Corcino, Cincinnati Reds, RHP

56) Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds, LHP

57) AJ Cole, Oakland Athletics, RHP

58) James Paxton, Seattle Mariners, LHP

59) Kolton Wong, St. Louis Cardinals, 2B

60) Addison Russell, Oakland Athletics, 3B

61) Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins, RHP

62) Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins, OF

63) Avisail Garcia, Detroit Tigers, OF

64) Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals, RHP

65) Eddie Rosario, Minnesota Twins, 2B/OF

66) Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres, OF

67) Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics, RHP

68) Albert Almora, Chicago Cubs, OF

69) Christian Bethancourt, Atlanta Braves, C

70) Cheslor Cuthbert, Kansas City Royals, 3B

71) Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees, LHP

72) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers, 3B

73) Jackie Bradley, Boston Red Sox, OF

74) Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins, RHP

75) Matt Davidson, Arizona Diamondbacks, 3B

76) Alen Hanson, Pittsburgh Pirates, SS

77) Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners, SS

78) Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF

79) Trevor May, Minnesota Twins, RHP

80) Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals, RHP

81) Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP

82) Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays, RHP

83) David Dahl, Colorado Rockies, OF

84) Dan Vogelbach, Chicago Cubs, 1B

85) Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF

86) Miles Head, Oakland Athletics, 3B

87) Wilmer Flores, New York Mets, SS

88) Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres, C

89) Zack Cox, Miami Marlins, 3B

90) Ryan Wheeler, Arizona Diamondbacks, 1B/3B

91) Hak-Ju Lee, Tampa Bay Rays, SS

92) Leonys Martin, Texas Rangers, OF

93) Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF

94) Aaron Hicks, Minnesota Twins, OF

95) Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates, OF

96) Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers, OF

97) Kaleb Cowart, Los Angeles Angels, 3B

98) Mike Montgomery, Tampa Bay Rays, LHP

99) Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres, LHP

100) Zach Lee, Los Angeles Dodgers, RHP

2013 MLB Top 50 Prospects

Jurickson Profar, Rangers; Faketeams.com

I have updated this list as of 12/20/12 here.

Below you’ll find the top 50 prospects for 2013. Some players may make a big impact (Machado, Profar, Olt) and lose rookie and prospect eligiblity, but, as of right now (8/15/12), this is how I would rank them. Let me know what you think in the comments!

1. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles, 11/15/92, Double-A, 8-3, 2.01 ERA, 20 GS, 89.2 IP, 106:22 K:BB, .186 BAA

  • It will be interesting what Bundy can do when the O’s take their chains off and let him loose. He just recently reached the sixth inning in a start for the first time. He is well on his way to becoming an ace, and he could reach the Majors by the middle of next year.

2. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers, 2/20/93, Double-A, .285/.363/.470, 25 2B, 7 3B, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 15 SB, 70:54 K:BB in 438 AB

  • Profar is the perfect blend of rare power, speed, and on-base skills, and it is all packed into a 19-year-old excelling in the upper levels of the minors. There are rumors that he could be called up to help the Rangers down the stretch, but it would be a shame to have him come off of the bench considering he is probably one of their top five players when he arrives in Arlington. It will be interesting to see where the Rangers work him in with Andrus and Kinsler around.

3. Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals, 12/10/90, Triple-A, .316/.392/.625, 25 2B, 5 3B, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 6 SB, 127:53 K:BB in 443 AB

  • While Jeff Francoeur regressed to his pre-2011 abilities, the Royals just sit back and watch their future slugger continue to mash in Triple-A. With Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in the middle of their long-term lineup, Myers powerful right-handed bat is a perfect fit. He should be a full-time player next spring if he isn’t in September.

4.  Xander Bogaerts, 3B/SS, Boston Red Sox, 10/1/92, Double-A, .308/.380/.521, 29 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 4 SB, 87:43 K:BB in 403 AB

  • I have him higher than most, but give me a 19-year-old who can post these numbers any day of the week. Bogaerts is still playing shortstop, but he will end up at third base or be forced elsewhere due to the presense of Will Middlebrooks. Powerful, young, projectable frame. Bogaerts will be a total offensive monster.

5. Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 7/13/91, Triple-A, 9-5, 2.38 ERA, 21 GS, 117.1 IP, 112:35 K:BB, .236 BAA

  • Skaggs may have overtaken Trevor Bauer as the club’s future ace. He has command of his pitches and has posted incredible numbers the last two seasons.

6. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners, 8/13/92, Double-A, 7-7, 4.25 ERA, 21 GS, 103.2 IP, 99:43 K:BB, .259 BAA

  • The Mariners pushed Walker by having his skip the dreaded California League, allowing him to thrive without being destroyed by the thin air and small parks of High-A. Having just turned 20, Walker has posted some solid numbers. He has top of the rotation stuff and will be a nice addition to the Mariners rotation in the coming years. He isn’t Felix Hernandez and won’t come close to him, but how many pitchers can?

7. Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners, 11/28/89, Triple-A, 9-5, 2.42 ERA, 20 GS, 108 IP, 120:56 K:BB, .195 BAA

  • Hultzen may just be what he is right now and nothing more, but that is still good. He will throw strikes and toss a lot of innings while having some great success. The college arm will be ready by next season and he could get a look in September, but he will settle in nicely among a group of solid young arms that the M’s are developing.

8. Manny Machado, 3B/SS, Baltimore Orioles, 7/6/92, Majors, .266/.352/.438, 26 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 13 SB, 70:48 K:BB in 402 AB

  • Can we just call him “The Macho Man” now? Machado has been on fire since arriving in Baltimore last week, having won co-AL Player of the Week in his first week in the bigs. Not a bad introduction. he was on fire in Double-A when the Orioles called him up. He will probably be a third baseman long-term and his bat will only improve. He is a monster, just like Bogaerts, with speed and a glove that could still handle short.

9. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals, 6/19/92, Double-A, .321/.382/.574, 31 2B, 7 3B, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 9 SB, 53:39 K:BB in 427 AB

  • Taveras can do it all. He could take over right field for the Cardinals right now, but Allen Craig and the on-again/off-again season of Lance Berkman have blocked him. His power makes him a threat to the NL Central for years to come.

10. Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins, 7/31/92, High-A, 12-1, 1.89 ERA, 22 GS, 119 IP, 142:31 K:BB, .192 BAA

  • If you missed the Futures Game, you didn’t see how big Fernandez is already. The guy has a monstrous frame that makes him look like he could step right into a Major League rotation. His results are impressive to this point and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Marlins rush him next year.

11. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 9/8/90, Double-A, 8-5, 2.89 ERA, 22 GS, 109 IP, 112:34 K:BB, .229 BAA

  • Cole still has more stuff than impressive results at this poing in his career, but the stuff could be so dominant, that you have to hold out hope that he figures things out. For a guy who can throw a 90 mph change and curve while topping out in triple-digits with his fastball, you would expect more dominance in his strikeout totals. If he figures it out, he could be #2 behind Bundy on this list.

12. Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers, 3/4/92, Double-A, .349/.386/.488, 29 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 7 SB, 96:28 K:BB in 459 AB

  • The Tigers have moved Castellanos to the outfield due to Miguel Cabrera occupying third base. Castellanos is an interesting talent. He strikes out a lot and doesn’t really walk much, while his power numbers are lagging. However, he is just 20 and his 29 doubles show that there is power in there somewhere. If Castellanos beefs up a little, that will help the power numbers, and then he can help the Tigers.

13. Mike Olt, 1B/3B, Texas Rangers, 8/27/88, Majors, .288/.398/.579, 17 2B, 1 3B, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 4 SB, 101:61 K:BB in 354 AB

  • Olt has arrived in the Majors to showcase his power at the corners. He was rumored in potential deals for the Rangers, but they may be better off keeping him and putting him at first base. He is ready to mash, like the Rangers needed more offense…

14. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs, 12/1/92, High-A, .311/.363/.553, 11 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 21 SB, 56:11 K:BB in 235 AB

  • Baez could be a force at short for the Cubs. Just drafted in 2011 out of high school, the Cubs have already moved the youngster to High-A ball, having started the 2012 season late due to concerns about the weather. Regardless, he will continue moving quickly, especially if he keeps hitting like he has.

15. Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets, 5/30/90, Triple-A, 10-6, 3.20 ERA, 21 GS, 126.2 IP, 128:50 K:BB, .219 BAA

  • Wheeler was acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carlos Beltran last year. He was a talented arm at the time and has established himself as the Mets top prospect since being acquired. Wheeler could still refine his command before he is a finished product, but he has the ceiling to be a top of the rotation starter.

16. Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, 10/10/90, Triple-A, 8-9, 5.22 ERA, 23 GS, 112 IP, 125:46 K:BB, .274 BAA

  • Miller has fallen out of favor with the Cardinals organization due to conditioning and other issues which continue to go unannounced. He has struggled in 2012 in the Pacific Coast League, which is notoriously a hitter’s league. He still has a bright future, but he could be someone who gets dealt if he continues to upset the Cards, who practically gave away Colby Rasmus due to his “issues.”

17. Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox, 6/17/90, High-A, 7-4, 2.65 ERA, 22 GS, 108.2 IP, 127:26 K:BB, .216 BAA

  • If Barnes continues pitching this well, he could be with the Red Sox next season while Josh Beckett and John Lackey are in AA meetings, playing golf, eating fried chicken, and trying to get Bobby Valentine fired. Barnes was good college arm, picked in 2011 out of UConn, and he should continue to move up the ranks as the Saux top prospect.

18. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians, 11/14/93, Low-A, .260/.353/.366, 20 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 25 SB, 66:52 K:BB in 415 AB

  • For a team with such a terrible offense, Indians fans sure do love this slick fielding slap-hitter. Lindor is young and has gap power, but he isn’t as valuable to the Tribe as current shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera because he can’t produce runs like Cabrera can. However, Cabrera is only signed through 2014 and Lindor should be ready by about the same time that Cabrera is leaving town. Lindor is a switch-hitter and has very good on-base skills. If he gets bigger, he won’t turn 19 until Novemer, Lindor could become a more valuable offensive weapon. As it stands, he is a solid leadoff or No. 2-hitter.

19. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies, 4/16/91, Double-A, .274/.332/.414, 33 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 0 SB, 51:36 K:BB in 442 AB

  • After a solid season full of production in the California League in 2011, Arenado has disappointed a bit due to the drop in his power numbers. The 33 doubles are pretty encouraging for future output, but the 21-year-old was thought to be capable of more home runs. He still has solid plate discipline and a clear path to the Colorado third base job, but we’ll have to see how aggressive the Rockies are with him when spring training rolls around.

20. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros, 9/18/91, Double-A, .279/.389/.488, 25 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 4 SB, 111:75 K:BB in 402 AB

  • The future at first base for the Astros, Singleton is developing into a solid power hitter with a nice approach at the plate. He will be a cornerstone to the Houston rebuild. With the club rebuilding, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him manning first in April of 2013.

21. Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves, 1/27/91, Majors, 7-7, 5.05 ERA, 23 GS, 114 IP, 80:38 K:BB, .290 BAA

  • There were rumors that Teheran’s breaking ball wasn’t up to par. There are also rumors that his attitude was shaky due to being sent to the minors. Whatever is going on with him, it is cause for concern. His numbers in Triple-A are pretty awful, and his brief opportunities in Atlanta haven’t gone well, either. Teheran is still a top-flight prospect, but due to this bump in the road, he may not have what it takes to be an ace. He still has some work to do.

22. Travis D’Arnaud, C, Toronto Blue Jays, 2/10/89, Triple-A, .333/.380/.595, 21 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB, 59:19 K:BB in 279 AB

  • D’Arnaud has missed time due to a torn PCL that he suffered in late June. His strikeout rate was pretty alarming, but the power numbers and on-base totals were pretty impressive, still. D’Arnaud could be an offensive force for the Jays, who have a nice lineup developing in Toronto and in their minor league system. J.P. Arencibia is ahead of him, and, for some reason, the Jays just re-signed Jeff Mathis for two-years, $3 million (throwing away money?), so his future may be on hold.

23. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals, 3/27/90, Triple-A, 12-4, 3.22 ERA, 21 GS, 120.1 IP, 118:41 K:BB, .252 BAA

  • Odorizzi was a piece in the Zack Greinke deal from the Brewers. When he was drafted, he was compared to Greg Maddux due to his diverse arsenal and great command over his pitches. To this point, Odorizzi has looked great. He could make an appearance for KC this September or battle for a rotation spot in the spring.

24. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 8/10/92, Low-A, 10-5, 3.86 ERA, 23 GS, 114.1 IP, 120:72 K:BB, .173 BAA

  • More hype than production to this point, but Bradley could be the best arm in the Diamondbacks top-heavy (Bauer and Skaggs) system. He has issues with his command, as his .173 average allowed is truly dominant, and the 72 walks have been the culprit of his inflated 3.86 ERA. If he gets his nasty stuff under control, he’s going to be in the top 10 by the end of 2013.

25. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 11/18/91, High-A, 6-8, 3.83 ERA, 22 GS, 120 IP, 95:36 K:BB, .227 BAA

  • Just like Bradley, Taillon has been hyped with very little as far as results. He has looked pretty good for a 20-year-old in High-A, but if he is an ace like others say he is, you have to expect more. He is coming along nicely, but he could be more of a mid-rotation arm than an ace.

26. Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins, 12/5/91, High-A, .323/.395/.528, 26 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 18 SB, 72:41 K:BB in 341 AB

27. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins, 5/11/93, Low-A, .259/.380/.521, 24 2B, 4 3B, 24 HR, 90 RBI, 7 SB, 129:74 K:BB in 397 AB

28. Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 9/9/90, Double-A, .315/.412/.431, 20 2B, 13 3B, 2 HR, 41 RBI, 139 SB, 95:73 K:BB in 448 AB

29. Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks, 3/26/91, Double-A, .267/.375/.483, 25 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB, 109:60 K:BB in 424 AB

30. Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees, 8/21/91, High-A, .298/.346/.474, 22 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 20 SB, 47:24 K:BB in 359 AB

31. Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, 9/21/91, Double-A, 4-5, 2.89 ERA, 18 GS, 87.1 IP, 74:25 K:BB, .238 BAA

32. Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees, 9/6/91, High-A, .318/.400/.567, 27 2B, 6 3B, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 19 SB, 83:45 K:BB in 349 AB

33. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals, 8/3/92, Rookie League, .294/.388/.542, 7 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB, 52:21 K:BB in 153 AB

34. Miles Head, 3B, Oakland A’s, 5/2/91, Double-A, .335/.396/.601, 30 2B, 8 3B, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 3 SB, 107:36 K:BB in 409 AB

35. Trevor Story, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies, 11/15/92, Low-A, .264/.356/.484, 35 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 11 SB, 102:52 K:BB in 409 AB

36. Michael Choice, OF, Oakland A’s, 11/10/89, Double-A, .287/.356/.423, 15 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 58 RBI, 5 SB, 88:33 K:BB in 359 AB

37. Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees, 3/13/91, Triple-A, 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 6 GS, 24 IP, 22:10 K:BB, .299 BAA

38. Joey Gallo, 1B, Texas Rangers, 11/19/93, Rookie League, .293/.435/.733, 10 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 43 RBI, 6 SB, 52:37 K:BB in 150 AB

39. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers, 12/7/90, High-A, .382/.475/.912, 0 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, 7:6 K:BB in 34 AB

40. Jackie Bradley, OF, Boston Red Sox, 4/19/90, Double-A, .319/.429/.491, 40 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 59 RBI, 24 SB, 81:80 K:BB in 436 AB

41. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals, 6/6/90, Double-A, .304/.415/.594, 5 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 14:12 K:BB in 69 AB

42. Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets, 3/27/89, Majors, 7-5, 3.68 ERA, 20 GS, 110 IP, 112:48 K:BB, .233 BAA

43. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins, 9/28/91, Low-A, .305/.361/.492, 27 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 9 SB, 52:30 K:BB in 321 AB

44. Christian Colon, SS, Kansas City Royals, 5/14/89, Triple-A, .301/.376/.413, 13 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 13 SB, 28:37 K:BB in 312 AB

45. Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners, 3/25/91, Double-A, .366/.471/.723, 10 2B, 0 3B, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 1 SB, 26:19 K:BB in 112 AB

46. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees, 12/2/92, High-A, .294/.353/.493, 28 2B, 0 3B, 16 HR, 72 RBI, 15 SB, 96:31 K:BB in 381 AB

47. Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, 8/26/90, Double-A, 7-6, 3.25 ERA, 23 GS, 127.1 IP, 113:56 K:BB, .221 BAA

48. Barret Loux, RHP, Texas Rangers, 4/6/89, Double-A, 13-1, 3.51 ERA, 21 GS, 110.1 IP, 84:35 K:BB, .250 BAA

49. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners, 11/6/88, Double-A, 7-4, 3.09 ERA, 18 GS, 90.1 IP, 93:46 K:BB, .242 BAA

50. Wilmer Flores, 3B, New York Mets, 8/6/91, Double-A, .290/.336/.450, 23 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB, 51:31 K:BB in 420 AB

10 Prospects to Watch for in the Second Half

Josh Vitters; Courtesy: baseballinstinct.com

With several teams falling out of contention and the trade deadline a little over two weeks away, there will be several new names making their debuts in the coming weeks. Here are some names to watch out for or grab in keeper leagues.

Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs, 22

.304/.359/.509, 26 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 52:24 K:BB in 326 AB

Vitters was taken 3rd overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. His journey to this point has been a struggle at times, having hit .262/.310/.413 from High-A to Double-A prior to arriving in Triple-A this season. He had poor plate discipline while showing signs of power. He has put it all together this year, even though it is a hitter’s league, and while he may be a liability at third base defensively, his offensive upside is worth a gamble by the Cubs. He certainly won’t be moving to first base with Anthony Rizzo across the diamond.

Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers, 23

5-8, 5.10 ERA, 90 IP, 79:49 K:BB, 4 HR allowed

Peralta hasn’t had a very good season in Triple-A this year, but he is a legitimate prospect still. With Zack Greinke’s name coming up in trade rumors so frequently, the Brewers will need to fill the void left if they do move their prized right-hander. Peralta could get a look. Peralta will need to throw more strikes at the major league level to be successful, as he did when he averaged over 9 K/9 in 2011. He has the build (6’2″, 240) of an innings eater, so we’ll see if he has the stuff to be more than a back-end starter shortly.

Jedd Gyorko, 3B, San Diego Padres, 23

.313/.376/.543, 20 2B, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB, 60:34 K:BB in 348 AB

Gyorko would get the call to be the Padres every day third baseman if or when the Friars trade Chase Headley. Gyorko has produced the numbers above between Double-A and Triple-A this season, but he has done nothing but hit since starting his professional career, posting a .320/.387/.525 in 1192 at-bats. While Petco will sap his ability to hit for power, it won’t take away his ability to get on base and find the gaps. He could be an All Star, even in San Diego.

Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, 23

.286/.348/.484, 16 2B, 12 3B, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 18 SB, 79:25 K:BB in 339 AB

Marte is a potential Gold Glove center fielder. Too bad the Pirates have one of the top center fielders and overall players in Andrew McCutchen. Marte will probably be trade bait, and he could be a centerpiece in a deal to acquire Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, as the Pirates look to establish themselves as a team that matters in the second half of 2012. Marte still struggles to make contact and hasn’t figured out how to use his speed (12 caught stealing), but he is a very valuable asset for whoever he will be playing for.

Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 21

7-4, 2.80 ERA, 86.2 IP, 83:24 K:BB

Skaggs could join Trevor Bauer in the Diamondback rotation at some point this season, having already started three games in Triple-A after a recent promotion. Joe Saunders just returned from the disabled list, but if Arizona wants to get a look at what they have, Skaggs could easily get a look when they fall out of contention or become sellers. With Bauer, Skaggs, Wade Miley, Ian Kennedy, and Trevor Cahill, the Diamondbacks have a really good looking group of young pitchers. When Daniel Hudson returns from Tommy John surgery next year, it will only make them that much better.

Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, 21

.319/.408/.437, 18 2B, 10 3B, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 108 SB, 73:51 K:BB in 348 AB

Hamilton is an absolute freak. He will easily break Vince Coleman’s professional record for steals in a season, and he will be capable of helping the Reds this September by acting as a pinch runner, stealing games as a late-inning replacement. Hamilton has just 11 at-bats in Double-A, but he has a sickening amount of speed. This type of talent will get fans in the seats at Great American Ballpark. His long-term position is still up for debate, but if he keeps getting on base and stealing bases at this rate, the Reds will have to make room for him.

Matt Harvey, RHP New York Mets, 23

7-4, 3.39 ERA, 98.1 IP, 102:42 K:BB

Harvey is rumored to be getting the call to take Dillon Gee’s turn in the Mets rotation next week, but the Mets want to get one more look at him in Triple-A. The North Carolina product has the stuff and build of an ace, but he still needs to work on his ability to throw strikes. Harvey is a special arm, so it is not strange to see the Mets getting excited about bringing him to New York, but since they are in contention for the NL East at the moment, they need to be careful with each game. With that being said, Harvey is better than Miguel Batista right now, so they should go ahead with their plans.

Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets, 22

8-4, 2.62 ERA, 92.2 IP, 88:35 K:BB, 1 HR allowed

Speaking of New York prospects, Wheeler is another future ace for the Mets. He, like Harvey, has some battles with his control, but he could also get a look. Wheeler is more likely to serve as rotation depth if the Mets are unfortunate enough to deal with another significant injury to their rotation, such as another Johan Santana shoulder issue. Wheeler is more likely to get a bump to Triple-A than he is to the majors in 2012, but he could still get a look in September, so keep an eye on the future number one starter.

Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers, 23

.292/.403/.574, 14 2B, 1 3B, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 4 SB, 85:51 K:BB in 291 AB

Olt will probably never see the field at the Ballpark at Arlington while wearing a Texas Rangers uniform. With Adrian Beltre locked into the third base position in Texas, Olt is nothing more than trade bait, and great bait at that. Olt is a mashing, power-hitting prospect, and while he strike out a lot, he still possesses a very good eye at the plate. He has been rumored to be a centerpiece to a deal for Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, as the Rangers look to build a super team for their run to the World Series.

Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies, 24

.266/.314/.416, 10 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB, 36:13 K:BB in 173 AB

Brown is currently tearing up instructional leagues while he rehabs his right knee injuries, but he could get a look in the Phillies outfield if they become sellers this month. Brown was once the prospect equal to Atlanta Braves slugger Jason Heyward, but their careers have taken a severe fork in the road, especially since the Phils seem to be so hesitant to give Brown a long-term look. Brown has already lost his rookie eligibility and has spent parts of three season in Triple-A for Philadelphia, so if they aren’t going to use him, I’d love for anyone else to give him a look. He seems to have an attitude or motivational issue this season more than anything. Remember that he hit .327/.391/.589 with 20 home runs in 343 at-bats in 2010 between Double-A and Triple-A before the Phillies started screwing up his development by calling him up and letting him sit on the bench.

Are there any young players you’re watching out for over the second half? Seattle fans may want to see Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, or Taijuan Walker, right? Would Cincinnati fans like to see Daniel Corcino or Tony Cingrani come up? Comment guys you’re looking forward to seeing!