CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (01/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Minor League Update: T... (01/02)
Next Column >>
Minor League Update: R... (01/09)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Fir... (01/03)

January 3, 2013

Minor League Update

Ten NL Prospects Who Could Start the Season in the Majors

by Jason Martinez

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Yesterday, I listed ten American League prospects that will be competing for a big league job in Spring Training and have a legitimate chance to start the season in the majors. Here's a look at ten National League prospects.

  • Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds: If Aroldis Chapman happens to start the season in the rotation, as has been discussed, the Reds would have just one lefty, Sean Marshall, locked in to a bullpen spot. While Cingrani appears to have a future as a big league starter, he could help out now as a second lefty out of the 'pen. The 23 year-old made three relief appearances during a September call-up, allowing a run in five innings with 2 walks and nine strikeouts. 
     
  • Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks traded center fielder Chris Young to the A's early in the offseason, which seemingly opened up the starting job for Eaton, a 24 year-old who had a .794 OPS in 22 September games. But the recent signing of Cody Ross clouds Eaton's immediate future because the team already has Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra, and Justin Upton on the roster. While they say they're happy to stand pat, which means Eaton would likely start in Triple-A, they are very likely to continue exploring a deal for Kubel or Upton so Ross can play a corner spot and Eaton can play center field. 
     
  • Evan Gattis, OF, Atlanta Braves: This offseason, the thinking was that the Braves would add two outfielders, allowing Martin Prado to move from left field to play third base full-time. As of now, they've only added one, center fielder B.J. Upton, leaving a platoon of Juan Francisco (3B) and Reed Johnson (LF) to fill the void. Recent talks, however, involve Gattis, a converted catcher who is playing left field in Venezuela, getting a shot to win a starting job in Spring Training. The 26 year-old had 34 homers in 2012 between Hi-A, Double-A, and Venezuela. 
     
  • Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres: The Padres could be content to allow Logan Forsythe to start the season as the starting second baseman but Gyorko's bat appears to be major league ready and he could break camp with the team if he clearly outplays Forsythe in Spring Training. Despite his defensive limitations, the Padres think he can handle the position and his bat should more than make up for it. The 24 year-old had 30 homers and a .921 OPS in 126 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. 
     
  • Kyle McPherson, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates: The Bucs now have solid veterans filling out the first four spots of the starting rotation and one spot up for grabs with McPherson among the candidates. The 25 year-old is coming off of a stellar season in which he walked just 16 batters and struck out 84 in 93.1 innings between Double-A, Triple-A, and the majors. He's not going to strike out a ton of hitters in the big leagues, but he throws strikes and should be a solid back-of-the-rotation innings-eater for a Bucs team that has ran out of gas in the second half of the past two seasons. 
     
  • Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: Something clicked for Miller in the second half of 2012 and he appears primed to make the permanent jump to the majors in 2013. After posting a 6.17 ERA in his first 17 starts, Miller dominated with a 2.88 ERA, 7 walks, and 70 strikeouts in his last 59.1 Triple-A innings and then pitched well after a late-season major league call-up. The Cardinals have excellent starting pitching depth, but Miller could force his way into the mix with a strong camp. 
     
  • Josh Prince, IF/OF, Milwaukee Brewers: Primarily a shortstop until 2012, when he played 128 games in center field for Double-A Huntsville, Prince has the versatility, speed, and on-base ability to help the Brewers in the near future. The 24 year-old hopes to parlay an impressive Arizona Fall League performance (1.064 OPS, 10 SB in 25 games) into an opportunity to win a super-utility role with Milwaukee. 
     
  • Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: A deep bullpen could allow the Cardinals to keep Rosenthal in the minors where he can continue to develop as a starter. But why do that when he could be a dominant late-inning reliever now? The 22 year-old posted a 2.78 ERA with 7 walks and 25 strikeouts in 22.1 big league innings in 2012 while flashing a fastball that reached triple digits and an assortment of secondary pitches. 
     
  • Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: His main competition for the last rotation spot, Trevor Bauer, was traded to the Indians, meaning Skaggs is now the front runner for the job. Many think the 21 year-old Skaggs would've won the job anyway, filling out an impressive rotation that includes right-handers Ian Kennedy, Brandon McCarthy, and Trevor Cahill, and All-Star lefty Wade Miley
     
  • Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves: On the prospect radar for years, the buzz surrounding Teheran had died down after a disappointing season in Triple-A. But once people remember he's only 21 years old and still has top-of-the-rotation potential, it's hard not to get excited about Teheran winning a rotation spot in the spring and pitching every fifth day for the Braves. He'll have to beat out Randall Delgado, although he already left a lasting impression with his last three starts in the Dominican Winter League (16.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 15 K).

14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

mattstupp

Travis d'Arnaud?

Jan 03, 2013 14:41 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

Mentioned him in the intro of my AL piece yesterday as an example of a top prospect that will stay in the minors to start the season to push back his arbitration and free agency clock.

Jan 03, 2013 14:50 PM
 
cnote66

Hi Jason,

Great stuff -- quick question on a few others:
Didi Gregorius (AZ)
Ryan Wheeler (COL)

Not sure Ruf is a prospect anymore, but he should be a lock in the Phillie OF, corect?

Last one -- Tim Federowicz (LAD), should be a caddie for Ellis, but will probably make the team out of Spring?

Thanks!

Jan 03, 2013 15:48 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

Gregorius: I think they let Pennington handle SS duties while Gregorius gets a couple months of at-bats in AAA. Only has 48 games of experience there.

Wheeler: I think he'll get a shot but I like him more in a bench role. Chris Nelson had an OPS in the high .800's in August and September so I think he's the front runner for the 3B job.

Had Ruf on the original list but missed the cut. More of a part-time role for me and even more likely to be limited to pinch-hitting.

I have Federowicz on the projected Dodgers roster. There are still a bunch of veterans available, though, so it's not a lock quite yet.

Jan 03, 2013 17:36 PM
 
cnote66

Thanks Jason!

Jan 03, 2013 18:46 PM
rating: 0
 
ttt

Do you think Wheeler will come up sooner than what would be normal because the Mets want to keep him away from the launching pad in Las Vegas?

Jan 03, 2013 15:51 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

No. I think it's more important that they push back his arbitration and free agency. And I really don't think he'll have much trouble in Vegas. If that was the case, they'd just keep him in Double-A for a few months.

Jan 03, 2013 17:27 PM
 
BillJohnson

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think a #2 starter, which I believe Trevor Rosenthal is quite capable of becoming, is more valuable than a wipe-out 7th-inning reliever, which his performance at the end of last year suggests he may already be. The question is: does it interfere with his development into the former role if he's pressed into season-long major-league service in the latter one? I don't know, but if it does, he'll start the year in the minors, as St. Louis has made it clear that they'd like him to be a starter.

Incidentally, it is mildly inaccurate to say Rosie "flashed" a 98-mph fastball. In fact he "sat at" 97-98, deep into games as a starter in the minors, while "flashing" triple digits on a non-trival number of major-league pitches in September and October. This kid has a big-time arm.

Jan 03, 2013 17:08 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

I know there are examples of prospects pitching out of the 'pen in their first season or two and then moving into the rotation when there is more of a need. I think organizations have different philosophies, though. Maybe the Cards don't want to mess with his development. On a less competitive team, I'd think that would more likely be the case. Since they are clear contenders in the NL, maybe they say, "We have a much better chance to win our division with him in a setup role in 2013' and then worry about building up his innings again over the winter.

Fixed the 98MPH fastball comment. My mistake!

Jan 03, 2013 17:26 PM
 
gdragon1977

Is Hechavarria going to start the season in Miami?

Jan 03, 2013 19:38 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

Yes. Not even a competition so I didn't list him. SS job is his to lose.

Jan 03, 2013 19:52 PM
 
onegameref

What about Hudson with DBacks? Is he out for good?

Jan 03, 2013 20:37 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jason Martinez
BP staff

Recovering from Tommy John surgery. Could return in 2nd half.

Jan 03, 2013 21:38 PM
 
DarinRuf18

It's really quite unfortunate that the Phils aren't willing to platoon Ruf and Howard. I know it sounds crazy, but Ruf mashed lefties last year, and Howard hasn't hit lefties well since Little League. As it stands now, I think you've got Revere in center, Dom Brown in right, and Mayberry in left, with Ruf on the bench. Quite frankly, I'd rather see Ruf out there in left as we know what Mayberry can do, and it's not that impressive. I know his defense would likely be among the worst in the league, but it's not like Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez exactly lit it up for a decade straight.

Jan 05, 2013 15:57 PM
rating: -1
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (01/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Minor League Update: T... (01/02)
Next Column >>
Minor League Update: R... (01/09)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: Fir... (01/03)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Expert League Auction Recap: CBS AL-Only
Fantasy Article State of the Position: Relief Pitcher
Fantasy Article The Quinton: Market Corrections and Underval...
The Week in Quotes: February 23-March 1, 201...
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: You Can't Predict Padres
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: It's the Latest Johan ...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Target: Relief Pitchers

MORE FROM JANUARY 3, 2013
Premium Article Skewed Left: Has Baltimore Been Busy Enough?
On the Beat: The Hall of Fame Ballot
In A Pickle: That Blank Expression
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Thursday, January 3
Premium Article Prospect Profile: Three Late-Inning Reliever...
Fantasy Article The Keeper Reaper: First, Third, and DH for ...
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: Fantasy Shakeups

MORE BY JASON MARTINEZ
2013-01-21 - Premium Article BP Unfiltered: MLBDepthCharts Mailbag
2013-01-10 - Premium Article BP Unfiltered: MLBDepthCharts Mailbag
2013-01-09 - Minor League Update: Rosters/Depth Chart Mai...
2013-01-03 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Ten NL Prospects Who Co...
2013-01-02 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Ten AL Prospects Who Co...
2012-12-28 - Premium Article Minor League Update: 25-Man Roster of Prospe...
2012-12-21 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of December 20
More...

MORE MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
2013-01-28 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Potential Impact Rookie...
2013-01-22 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Potential Impact Rookie...
2013-01-09 - Minor League Update: Rosters/Depth Chart Mai...
2013-01-03 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Ten NL Prospects Who Co...
2013-01-02 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Ten AL Prospects Who Co...
2012-12-28 - Premium Article Minor League Update: 25-Man Roster of Prospe...
2012-12-21 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of December 20
More...