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November 6, 2009

Future Shock Blog

by Kevin Goldstein

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From overrated to underrated?

Wilin Rosario, C, Rockies (AFL: Scottsdale)
Yesterday's stats:3-for-4, 2 HR (3), 3 R, 3 RBI, SB

After a breakout year in the Pioneer League in 2008, Rosario hit just .266/.297/.404 at High-A Modesto this season, but there are plenty of mitigating factors, as he was one of the youngest players in the league at the toughest position and constantly beset by injuries. He clearly found a grove towards the end of the season, batting .319/.365/.507 after the break, and now he's swinging the bat well in Arizona. Ignore the overall numbers; he's still an outstanding catching prospect.

More convincing than ever

Andrew Cashner, RHP, Cubs (AFL: Mesa)
Yesterday's stats: 4 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

After giving up three runs over two innings in his first start for the Solar Sox, Cashner has given up just one in his last three-a span of 11 2/3 innings. The 2008 first-round pick has been sitting at 93-97 mph with his fastball, to go with his plus to plus-plus slider and, arguably more importantly, he's been throwing a ton of strikes, including 35 of 49 pitches on Thursday. The debates as to his future being a reliever or starter still goes on, but more and more are ending up on the side of the latter.

Better than you might think

Danny Espinosa, SS, Nationals (AFL: Phoenix)
Yesterday's stats: 3-for-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB

Espinosa remains an unheralded talent. A true shortstop with a high baseball IQ, Espinosa does have a tendency to strike out, but he hits for a decent average and has outstanding secondary skills for the position, with a bit of power and a very patient approach. He's behind Ian Desmond on the depth chart for now, and we'll know much more about his prospect status after he begins 2010 in Double-A.

A friendly competition

Corey Brown, OF, Athletics (AFL: Phoenix)
Yesterday's stats: 2-for-5, HR (5), R, 3 RBI, BB, K

Overshadowed in many ways by teammate Grant Desme, Brown is having an impressive showing in the AFL as well, now batting .315/.367/.630 in 17 games. His tools are similar to Desme, in that he has power, speed, and an alarmingly high strikeout rate. While both have played all three outfield positions for the Desert Dogs, Brown has the better shot at staying in center. Injuries slowed him during the regular season, and now he's basically at the same level of development as Desme, so it will be interesting to watch the two battle for a spot in the big leagues over the next few years.


Others Of Note

  • Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (AFL), 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K: He's now at .433 (26-for-60), including 8-for-17 in his last four games. Some scouts say that of the three big Cubs prospects in Arizona (Castro, Cashner, Vitters), this is the guy they prefer.
  • P.J. Phillips, OF, Angels (AFL), 3-for-4, 2 2B, HR (1), 2 R, RBI, K: If you see Phillips for one day, the tools can still blow you away. Unfortunately, those 'one days' only occur about twice a month.
  • Jordan Brown, OF, Indians (VEN), 2-for-4, 3B, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, K: Brown gets labeled as a classic Quadruple-A hitter, but 'hitter' is really the key word here, as he produces no matter where you put him.

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

Related Content:  AFL

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