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November 4, 2009

Future Shock Blog

November 4

by Kevin Goldstein

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Jack of all trades

Marcus Lemon, IF/OF, Rangers (AFL: Surprise)
Yesterday's stats:4-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI

Marcus Lemon isn't going to make anyone's prospect list, nor should he, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a future. After splitting time between second base and shortstop at Double-A Frisco during the regular season, Lemon is now adding center field to his resume in Arizona, while batting .313/.371/.469 in 10 games. As a left-handed batter with a good approach, gifted with the kind of fundamentals one expects from the son of big leaguer, and theoretically possessing the ability to play five positions, he'll get there.

He reminds me of someone, and not necessarily in a good way

Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Tigers (DOM: Licey)
Yesterday's stats: 2-for-4, RBI

Ramirez is a difficult player to evaluate. Always one of the toolsier players in Detroit system, he's made significant progress in translating those tools to skills. In the last two years, he's slugged 36 home runs and stolen 60 bases, but there's still the hack-tastic approach keeping him back. The Tigers don't really have a spot for him and, if anything, he's reminiscent of another toolsy Dominican who once roamed the Detroit outfield: Juan Encarnacion.

An opportunity to rant

Chris Marrero, 1B, Nationals (AFL: Phoenix)
Yesterday's stats: 2-for-6

Marrero could be my poster boy for why I hate first-base prospects. The 2006 first-round pick put up decent numbers once again this year at High-A Potomac, batting .287/.360/.464, but that's it. The numbers are just decent, and they're in line with what he always hits. Perfectly fine numbers for an up-the-middle player, but if you want to be a first baseman, you better mash, and Marrero just doesn't do that, and he's not alone. It's a position that historically has led to many overrated prospects, but if that's all you can play, and you don't project as a middle-of-the-order run producer, your future isn't bright.

A friendly reminder

Jackson Melian, OF, Caracas
Yesterday's stats: 3-for-5, HR (1), R, 5 RBI

It's great to get excited about the international free agents, but they're still exceedingly young and exceedingly risky. Before there was Miguel Sano, there was Jackson Melian, who signed a seven-figure bonus in 1996 with the Yankees. Internet coverage of baseball wasn't exactly the same in 1996, so few probably remember, but Melian was most definitely the next big thing, a five-tool outfielder with unlimited potential who some saw as the best outfielder to come out of Venezuela in recent memory. In the end, he played 1141 minor league games, lastly with Round Rock in the Houston system in 2008, finishing with career averages of .257/.324/.402 and not a single game in the big leagues. Just a quick reminder that there are no guarantees in baseball.


Others Of Note

  • Dustin Ackley, OF, Mariners (AFL), 2-for-4, R, BB, K: Ackley has had back-to-back multi-hit games, upping his batting average to .333, but he's yet to really show the kind of power he did as a Tar Heel.
  • Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (AFL), 2-for-4, 3B, HR (1), R, RBI, K: Castro is clearly a reader of the daily updates, as the day I complain about a lack of secondary skills, he goes deep in the fourth and later adds a triple.
  • Max Ramirez, C, Rangers (VEN), 4-for-5, 2B, K: Ramirez is trying to recover some of his prospect status after a miserable regular season at Triple-A.
  • Michael Taylor, OF, Phillies (MEX), 2-for-4, R, RBI, K: He is 9-for-20 in his last five games and hitting .362/.404/.468 overall.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (AFL), 3-for-4: Vitters still hits everything, but unfortunately swings at everything as well. The hand injury that bothered him in second half of the regular season still seems to be sapping him of power.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

6 comments have been left for this article.

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