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 Pebble Hunting: Cautio... (04/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Future Shock: 2011 Dra... (04/18)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Five Slo... (04/25)
Next Article >>
Out of Left Field: Des... (04/23)

April 23, 2012

Future Shock

Monday Morning Ten Pack

by Kevin Goldstein

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.

Dylan Axelrod, RHP, White Sox (Triple-A Charlotte)
The fact that Axelrod even reached the big leagues is quite an achievement. A 30th-round pick in 2007 by the Padres, Axelrod lasted a year and a half before landing in Indy ball, but all he did was get better. His primary skill is the ability to throw strikes. He pounds the strike zone with an 88-91 mph fastball, has a decent slider, and a somewhat-less-than-decent curve. He has no changeup, but he hits his spots and keeps hitters off balance; while that's the kind of pitcher who should hit a wall, he just hasn't yet. With 7 2/3 shutout innings on Sunday, he now has a 1.08 ERA in four starts for the Knights to go with 26 strikeouts and just four walks. He's already a great scouting find for the White Sox, and has to upgrade that status by becoming a usable arm as a No. 5 starter or middle reliever, which exceeds any expectation ever put on him.

Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros (Low-A Lexington)
Houston's first-round pick in 2010, Foltynewicz' full-season debut was far from a rousing success last year, as he earned a return engagement to Lexington after put up an ERA near five and striking out just 88 in 134 innings despite one of the best pure arms in the system. His struggles were not a big surprise, as he was coming from a rural Illinois high school without much exposure to quality competition, but he seams to have learned some lessons; after allowing one run over six four-hit innings on Saturday, he now has a 1.66 ERA after four starts with 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. A power righthander who sits in the 92-94 mph range while touching 97, Foltynewicz is showing much improved secondary offerings in his curveball and changeup, and at 20, he's still a very young player in the early stages of development. There's considerable growth potential here, and one poor full-season debut is never enough to write off a first-round pick.

Luke Jackson, RHP, Rangers (Low-A Hickory)
Another Sally League repeater, Jackson was the 45th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and like Foltynewicz, he struggled at the level last year, as while he struck out 78 in 75 innings, he finished with a 5.64 ERA, mostly because of command and control issues. With a 92-94 mph fastball that can touch 97, as well as a power breaking ball and good changeup, Jackson has plenty of stuff, and the statistics are starting to catch up. After firing six shutout innings while allowing two hits and striking out seven on Saturday, Jackson has 29 whiffs in 20 2/3 innings while allowing just 12 hits and seven walks. At this rate, he won't need a full second season at Low-A.

Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Braves (Low-A Rome)
On the surface, the 2011 draft for the Braves might be described as boring, as Atlanta did not select a high school player until the 11th round, and the picks beforehand were best defined by their polish than their upside. The third-round pick out of Texas State, Kubitza has a chance to be an exception. A long, wiry-strong athlete, Kubitza has some swing-and-miss in his game, but he has a good approach and plus raw power, and after four more hits over the weekend—including his fourth home run of the season—he's hitting .317/.388/.700 in 15 games, with 12 of his 19 hits going for extra bases. While he has the tools to stick at third, his defense is a work in progress, but progress is the key word, as he's coming just one error in 10 games at the hot corner. There are all sort of things going in the right direction here, and he could end the year at High-A Lynchburg.

Kyle Lotzkar, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield)
The 53rd-overall pick in the 2007 draft, Lotzkar has long had one of the better arms in the Reds system, he's just been so rarely able to show it off, as a series of elbow issues—including a Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2009—have him still short of 200 career innings despite being in his sixth year as a professional. With a power frame and power stuff, including a fastball that still gets into the mid-90s, the 22-year-old still has upside, and after delivering six shutout innings on Saturday while allowing two hits, he has a 1.69 ERA in three starts for the Blaze. Despite having yet to reach Double-A or log more than 66 2/3 innings in a single season, in many ways there is some serious mileage on this arm, and scouts wonder if a move to the bullpen might get him moving quicker before the engine gives out.

Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (Triple-A Pawtucket)
Middlebrooks has been a constant feature in this year's reports, but he keeps making it impossible to ignore him. Because of rain on Sunday, his streak of four straight multi-hit games with a home run is intact, and with six bombs in his last eight, he's now hitting .379/.406/.742 on the season. That's the good news. The bad news, at least for Middlebrooks, is that there's just no clear path to Boston at this point. Still, the Red Sox need some good news, and Middlebrooks is just that.

Derek Norris, C, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)
Norris walked in 18.2% of his plate appearances in 2011, and then he got traded to Oakland. Perfect, right? And no, I won't use the M-word here. But a funny thing happened between 2011 and Norris heading to the Pacific Coast League: Norris didn't draw a single walk until his 12th game of the season. However, with five hits over the weekend, and walks two and three on Sunday, he's now hitting .333/.348/.583 in 15 games. This might be a good thing in the long run. If anything, Norris was too passive a hitter in the past, looking more for a walk than a pitch to drive. If he can find that delicate balance between disciplined and aggressive, he could take off.

James Paxton, LHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson)
Your official poster boy for getting too excited about tiny samples. The No. 59 prospect in baseball entering the year, Paxton was a big power lefty coming off a big late-season performance in Double-A during his full-season debut. Command and control issues were some dings against him, but he came out of the gate firing bullets this season, with 17 strikeouts and just one walk over 10 1/3 innings in his first two outings. All of a sudden he looked like a monster who was close to punching his ticket to Seattle. Then he walked eight in his next outing, and on Saturday he had a disastrous start, giving up seven runs before getting out of the third inning while walking five more. The funny thing is, when you add all four starts up, they're not too far over or under expectations like they were individually.

Jean Segura, SS, Angels (Double-A Arkansas)
The Angels had a tough decision concerning Segura's 2012 assignment. Technically, Double-A was the next stop, but at the same time, he played just 44 games at High-A Inland Empire last year due to hamstring issues while also learning his new position, one of the most challenging on the field. Ultimately, he was sent to the Texas League, and after a slow start, he's reeled off a seven-game hitting streak that includes a 5-for-10 weekend that included a double and two triples to raise his season averages to .283/.338/.417. The Angels have precious few position prospects at the upper levels, and playing in the shadow of Mike Trout has left Segura a bit underrated.

Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
A minor elbow injury delayed the start of Yelich's season, but he's quickly making up for lost time since joining the Hammerheads last Sunday. In the eight days since, all he's done is reach base 19 times in seven games, including a 7-for-12 weekend that included a double, triple and two home runs to raise his small sample-size line to a stupid .500/.613/1.000 in his first 32 plate appearances. With an outstanding approach, plus or better hit tool and above-average raw power, Yelich is looking more and more like a future middle-of-the-order force who could be ready for a look in Miami come September of 2013.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

lemppi

Kevin, Steven Moya at West Michigan has, in the early stages, cut his K-rate dramatically (and "dramatically" is an understatement compared to his whiff-erific ways).....how far along into the season does he need to show this new trait for it to be considered a true advancement?

Apr 23, 2012 05:15 AM
rating: 0
 
Eddie Bajek

I saw Moya in the spring, and it's a bit shocking that he's cut his K rate. He was whiffing up a storm in all three back field games (and BP!) I saw him in.

Apr 23, 2012 07:43 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Anytime you have a guy with his size (he's like 6-7, 230) doing something good, you are going to be interested. as far as your question as to when it's a true advancement, I'd be more excited by the end of May or so.

Apr 23, 2012 08:22 AM
 
sitdancer

What are the reviews of Segura's fielding at SS so far this year?

Apr 23, 2012 06:36 AM
rating: 0
 
Lvess01

His future seems cloudy with the Angles now that Kendrick and Aybar both received big extensions. Does he become trade bait later this year?

Apr 23, 2012 07:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

They've been encouraging. He's not Ozzie Smith there, but he could be average.

Apr 23, 2012 08:23 AM
 
bloodface

Thanks for covering Kubitza! He's looking great in his first full year in the minors. Do you have any grasp on what his ultimate projection is? The K rate is a bit high, but he's also walking and smacking the ball with authority. More importantly, what about his Home/Away splits? He seems to be doing considerable better at home than on the road. Youngster jive or park effects (or just a small sample size)?

Apr 23, 2012 07:04 AM
rating: 0
 
jpjazzman

Obviously one huge game isn't going to get someone on the ten pack, but curious what your thoughts are these days on Chris Carter. What should expectations be for him at this point?

Apr 23, 2012 07:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I still have some optimism. Right-handed power often takes a long time to develop.

Apr 23, 2012 08:24 AM
 
acmcdowell

Have you seen anything different in Middlebrooks' approach? The main knock on him has always been his free swinging ways and high strikeout rate, but he seems to have trimmed his strikeouts this season.

Apr 23, 2012 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Avery

Much appreciation for the info on Kubitza. The Braves are kinda light on position prospects, so news of a guy with some tools is exciting!

Apr 23, 2012 08:49 AM
rating: 0
 
Joe

If he wasn't 6'4", I'd propose the nickname Little Lord Foltynewicz.

Apr 23, 2012 09:36 AM
rating: 2
 
pobothecat

The evolution of Norris, Taylor and Mitchell impossible to ignore, Peacock looking sharp, Parker and Ross already up ---interesting days in Sacramento.

Apr 23, 2012 10:54 AM
rating: 1
 
Ian Miller

Tons of talent on that Grizzlies squad right now.

Apr 24, 2012 09:10 AM
rating: -1
 
delatopia

That would be the River Cats. There isn't tons of talent on the Grizzlies (Giants AAA) squad right now, I assure you.

Apr 26, 2012 08:43 AM
rating: 0
 
19braves77

Any thoughts on Alfredo Marte's start in Mobile ? He cant weigh 190 wet.

Apr 23, 2012 14:18 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

I just want to say thanks for this. I don't want the Ten Pack taken for granted.

Apr 24, 2012 08:52 AM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Cautio... (04/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Future Shock: 2011 Dra... (04/18)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Five Slo... (04/25)
Next Article >>
Out of Left Field: Des... (04/23)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
BP Wrigleyville
Fantasy Rounders: The Young and the Splitles...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Bummed!
West Coast By Us: Day 1: In The Land Where E...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Quarter-Season Odds Report
Going Yard: The Near Perfection of Pederson

MORE FROM APRIL 23, 2012
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Cautiously Sizing Up April S...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Theo Flips Boston The ...
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: Keep Calm and Carry...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Humber's Change in Process
Premium Article Collateral Damage Daily: Monday, April 23
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, April 23
What You Need to Know: Monday, April 23

MORE BY KEVIN GOLDSTEIN
2012-04-25 - Premium Article Future Shock Blog: Minor League Update: Game...
2012-04-24 - Premium Article Future Shock Blog: Minor League Update: Game...
2012-04-24 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Jarrod Parker
2012-04-23 - Premium Article Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack
2012-04-20 - Premium Article The Call-Up: Drew Hutchison
2012-04-20 - Future Shock Blog: Minor League Update: Game...
2012-04-20 - BP Podcast: Episode 90: Lemonade Breeds Too ...
More...

MORE FUTURE SHOCK
2012-04-30 - Premium Article Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack
2012-04-26 - Premium Article Future Shock: Midwest League Notebook
2012-04-25 - Premium Article Future Shock: Five Slow Starts
2012-04-23 - Premium Article Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack
2012-04-18 - Premium Article Future Shock: 2011 Draft Class
2012-04-16 - Premium Article Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack
2012-04-11 - Premium Article Future Shock: Miguel Sano and Jorge Bonifaci...
More...