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February 26, 2013

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games: February 22-24

by Jason Martinez

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Baseball has finally arrived! And so has the much-anticipated Top 101 prospects list put together by Professor Parks and BP's minor league crew. With the opening of Spring Training, we get a mix of prospects from this list, less talented minor leaguers who still could have a big league future, and established veterans and superstars showing up in the same box score on a daily basis. I'll be keeping you updated on the performances of the more notable minor leaguers. By mid-March, many of the best prospects will be back in minor league camp getting much-needed at-bats. Some, however, have a legitimate shot at breaking camp with the big league club, a few will open some eyes before starting the season in the minors, and some could disappoint. Here's what's happened so far through the first four days worth of games ...

AL EAST
BAL

  • Jonathan Schoop, 2B: 1-for-1, RBI. The 80th ranked prospect on the Top 101 and likely "2B of the Future" for the O's, Schoop had an RBI single in his lone at-bat on Saturday while the oft-injured Brian Roberts had a pair of doubles on Monday in his quest to not allow Schoop to become the "2B of the Present". 
  • Dylan Bundy, SP: IP, 0 R, 2 H, BB, 2 K. Fourth on the Top 101 just behind top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, Bundy debuted with a scoreless inning on Saturday despite allowing three base runners. 
  • Kevin Gausman, SP: 1.2 IP, ER, H, 2 BB, 2 K. Coming in at #13 on the Top 101, the 22 year-old made his first ever Spring Training appearance on Sunday.
  • Mike Wright, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, K. Not in the same class as Bundy or Gausman, but Wright looks like a future back-of-the-rotation starter or setup man. 

BOS

  • Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B: 1-for-2, RBI. The 12th ranked prospect on the Top 101, the 20 year-old Bogaerts is getting some time at third base this spring as most scouts anticipate a move from shortstop in the future.
  • Jose Iglesias, SS: 2-for-6, HR (1), 2 RBI: Just a little bit of offense from Iglesias and he's a valuable commodity as a gold-glove caliber shortstop in the big leagues, but he'll be in Triple-A regardless of how he plays this spring with the addition of Stephen Drew on a one-year deal.
  • Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF: 3-for-6, 2B, RBI. The Sox are expected to give the majority of time in left field to Jonny Gomes, who is better-suited as half of a platoon that plays versus left-handed starters. If Bradley can open some eyes this spring, as he did during his three-hit game on Monday, he could be given the chance to become the other half of the left field platoon early in the season.
  • Allen Webster, SP: 2 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 4 K. Tagged for a run and two hits but struck out four while hitting 99 MPH on a radar gun, an impressive feat even if it may have been inaccurate by a notch or two.
  • Steven Wright, SP.: 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K. The knuckle baller, who is being tutored by Tim Wakefield this spring, had an impressive debut. Don't be surprised to see him debut in Boston at some point in 2013.

NYY

  • Zoilo Almonte, OF: 1-for-4, HR (1), 2 RBI. With Curtis Granderson out 10 weeks with a fractured forearm and limited options for the Yankees, Almonte becomes a wild card to win a roster spot. The switch-hitter, who posted an .808 OPS last season in Double-A, homered off Braves reliever Jordan Walden in his first spring game on Saturday.


TB

  • Leslie Anderson, 1B/OF: 4-for-6, HR (1), 5 RBI. Now 30 years old and three minor league seasons removed from signing a four-year, $3.75M major league contract out of Cuba, Anderson has yet to establish himself as someone who can contribute in the big leagues. But when the manager takes the time to tweet about you, it's a pretty good sign. Here's what Joe Maddon tweeted on Sunday after Anderson had two singles and three runs batted in, "Leslie Anderson is a different player since I saw him. He unequivocally looks good ...".
  • Wil Myers, OF: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI: The Rays will get to see Myers in their lineup often for the next five weeks before he very likely heads to Triple-A for the first few months of the season. According to this list compiled over at  MLBTradeRumors, the 22 year-old Myers will have his arbitration eligibility pushed back one year if he's called up after mid-June.
  • Chris Archer, SP: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, K. One of a few long shot candidates for the #5 spot in the Rays' rotation, Archer was chosen as the #29 prospect on the Top 101 list and could force his way into the rotation with a strong camp. 
  • Jake Odorizzi, SP: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 0 K. His Rays' debut was a success, although he has an uphill battle for a big league job with Jeff Niemann the leading candidate for the last rotation spot.


TOR

  • Ryan Goins, SS: 1-for-4, 3 RBI. The only middle infielder on the 40-man roster expected to start the season in the minors, Goins had a three-run homer off in his first at-bat of the spring.


AL CENTRAL
CWS

  • Jared Mitchell, OF: 2-for-5, 3B, 2 RBI. The former 1st Round draft pick will likely begin the season in Triple-A, although he should get a decent chance in Spring Training to show off his combination of speed, athleticism, and power. 


CLE


DET

  • Nick Castellanos, OF: 2-for-5, HR (1), 2 RBI. After being named the 37th best prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus, Castellanos celebrated by homering off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.
  • Tyler Collins, OF: 4-for-6, 2B, 2 3B, 2 RBI. Early favorite for the guy who stays in big league camp much longer than expected, Collins is a 22 year-old lefty who posted an .800 OPS with 20 stolen bases in Hi-A Lakeland last season.
  • Jose Ortega, RP: 2 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K. Manager Jim Leyland named Ortega as a pitcher who has impressed thus far and the  24 year-old backed it up by tossing scoreless innings in his first two spring games. 
  • Bruce Rondon, RP: IP, 0 R, H, BB, 2 K. The 22 year-old projected closer for the Tigers pitched a shutout inning in his debut and also reportedly hit 100 MPH on the radar a couple times. 


KC

  • None

MIN

  • Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF: 3-for-6, RBI. After hitting .338 in 36 winter league games in Puerto Rico while playing mostly in the outfield, Rosario is back at second base this spring where he'll have the most value if he can become at least an average defender.
  • Kyle Gibson, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 2 K. Entering his first full season since Tommy John surgery, Gibson was reportedly hitting 96 MPH in his first outing of the spring. He has a chance to make the team out of Spring Training, although it's a better bet he gets the call around June when he'll be in Minnesota for good.

AL WEST
HOU

  • Nathan Freiman, 1B: 4-for-6, 2B, 2 RBI. The Rule 5 pick is a long shot after the Astros added Carlos Peña and Chris Carter to the mix but he'll still get a long look for a bench role, especially if he keeps hitting. 
  • Robbie Grossman, OF: 3-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI. With Houston's outfield situation far from settled, Grossman could enter the picture if he continues to produce throughout camp. 
  • Jarred Cosart, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K. Six up, six down for Cosart as he tries to convince the Astros that he's ready to contribute. Even if he proves to be one of the best five rotation options, however, the 22 year-old will still find himself in Triple-A to start the season. 


LAA

  • Kaleb Cowart, 3B: 1-for-2, RBI. The Angels' top prospect and #42 on BP's Top 101, Cowart will likely get a handful of at-bats before heading to minor league camp to prepare for his first season at Double-A. 


OAK

  • Michael Choice, OF: 5-for-7, HR (1), 2B, 4 RBI. Too bad the A's have such a crowded outfield or we could actually start making more of a story out of Choice's early surge. The 82nd best prospect in baseball, according to BP, Choice is likely be in Triple-A Sacramento for most, if not all, of the 2013 season.


SEA

  • Francisco Martinez, CF: 3-for-6, 2B, 3B. The converted third baseman had a disappointing season in 2012 but he's only 22 and still has plenty of upside. 
  • Danny Hultzen, SP: IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K. With probably the best chance of all the young prospects to break camp with the big league squad, Hultzen is off to a strong start with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3, seven-pitch inning.
  • Taijuan Walker, SP: IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 0 K. BP's #9 prospect, the 20 year-old Walker won't be the Mariners' "Ace of the Future" with Felix Hernandez signed long-term but he sure does look like the "#2 Starter of the Future".


TEX

  • Leury Garcia, IF/OF: 2-for-7, HR (1), 3 RBI. With the Rangers looking for a backup shortstop to fill a bench spot, the versatile Garcia has a legitimate shot to win a big league job.
  • Martin Perez, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K. Nice start for the leading candidate to win the #5 spot in the Rangers' rotation, although the 21 year-old has competition from Justin Grimm, Kyle McClellan, and Robbie Ross.
     

NL EAST
ATL

  • Evan Gattis, OF: 3-for-6, HR (1), 2B, 2 RBI. "El Oso Blanco" (the White Bear), who is coming off of a breakout 2012 season, is going to be hard to overlook for a bench job with the right-handed power he can provide off the bench. 
  • Sean Gilmartin, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 2 K. He'll push Teheran for the last rotation spot, but will likely settle for the title of "next in line" while he bides his time with Triple-A Gwinnett.
  • Julio Teheran, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, 2 K. After finishing the Dominican Winter League season on a roll, Teheran has carried that success over to his first Spring Training start. 

MIA

  • Jacob Marisnick, OF: 2-for-3, 3B, RBI. One of the key players in the offseason blockbuster deal with Toronto, Marisnick will get a look early in camp before starting the season in Double-A  as part of what will likely be a very impressive outfield with Yelich and Marcell Ozuna
  • Christian Yelich, OF: 3-for-5, RBI. The top position player prospect in the system and #23 on BP's Top 101, the 21 year-old could be in the big leagues by the end of 2013.


NYM

  • Zack Wheeler, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, H, BB, 2 K. The fifth ranked prospect in baseball, and the third pitcher behind Cole and Bundy, Wheeler will likely start the season in Triple-A before joining Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, and company in the New York rotation by mid-season.

PHI

  • None

WAS

  • Anthony Rendon, 3B: 2-for-6, HR, 2 RBI. All he does is hit -- just ask Marlins reliever Ryan Webb, who allowed a homer to Rendon on Sunday -- but the Nats don't appear to be in a hurry to move him off of third base to speed his path to the majors.


NL CENTRAL
CHC

  • Javier Baez, SS: 1-for-3. The talented prospect will get a few starts to show off his immense talent at the plate before heading to minor league camp to prepare for his 2013 season, which is likely to start with Hi-A Daytona and end in Double-A Tennessee. 

CIN

  • Neftali Soto, 1B: 4-for-9, 2B, 2 RBI. Soto's production dropped significantly in 2012, as did his value. He'll repeat Triple-A, where he'll need to have a big season or fall off the prospect radar for good.


MIL

  • Michael Olmsted, RP: 2.2 IP, 0 R, H, 2 BB, 5 K. Considered one of the steals of the offseason, the Red Sox did not add him to the 40-man roster after the season and instead allowed him to walk as a minor league free agent. The Brewers immediately signed him and added him to their 40-man roster and he's now in the mix for a bullpen spot.  


PIT

  • Kyle McPherson, SP: 2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 0 K. With Francisco Liriano expected to start the season on the DL, McPherson has a good shot to break camp in the Pirates' rotation. His top competition could be Jonathan Sanchez, who's trying to bounce back from a nightmare 2012 season but he pitched two scoreless innings in his Bucs debut with only one walk and one hit batter.


STL

  • Matt Adams, 1B: 2-for-4, 2 RBI. Blocked at first base by Allen Craig, Adams could hit the trade market if the Cardinals' starting pitching depth gets any thinner. 
  • Kolten Wong, 2B: 2-for-6, 2B, SB. Don't rule out Wong for the starting second base job because he can very likely hold his own in the big leagues right now. I wouldn't count on it, though, as Daniel Descalso, Matt Carpenter, and Ronny Cedeño should hold down the fort for at least a few months.
  • Seth Maness, SP: 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K. The 24 year-old put himself on the map in 2012 with 2.97 ERA, 10 walks, and 112 strikeouts between Double-A and Hi-A and now makes good in his first appearance of big league camp.
  • Michael Wacha, SP: 2 IP, 0 ER, H, 0 BB, 3 K. Last year's 1st Round draft pick out of Texas A&M, the 21 year-old had an 0.86 ERA with four walks and 40 strikeouts in 21 innings between Double-A, Hi-A, and the Gulf Coast League in his pro debut. 
     

NL WEST
ARI

  • Adam Eaton, OF: 4-for-9, 2 RBI. The Diamondbacks' projected leadoff man and center fielder is already making things happen early in camp with four hits in his first two games.
  • Eric Smith, RP: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K. Being added to the 40-man roster before the season certainly improves his chances of making the team, as does two scoreless outings to start the spring. 

COL

  • Corey Dickerson, OF: 1-for-3, HR (1), 2 RBI. The 23 year-old has hit at every level of the minors and will now get a shot at the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League (Triple-A) to start 2013. 
  • Tim Wheeler, OF: 2-for-4, HR (1), RBI. Hoping to bounce back from a disappointing, injury-plagued season in Triple-A last year where he hit just two homers in 92 games after finishing the 2011 season with 33 in 138 Double-A games.

LAD

  • None

SD

  • Jedd Gyorko, 2B: 3-for-9, HR (2), 8 RBI. Gyorko could be considered the early leader for the second base job after hitting two homers and knocking in eight runs in his first few games while Logan Forsythe is off to an 0-for-6 start. Lucky for Forsyythe there is still about five weeks before the Padres have to make a decision.  
  • John Barbato, RP: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K. The odds aren't good for a 20 year-old reliever who pitched in Lo-A last season, but Barbato has a big-time arm and could move up the ladder quickly.

SF

  • Gary Brown, OF: 1-for-4, 2B. The Giants' current left field platoon of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres shouldn't be much of a road block for Brown if he gets off to a strong start in Triple-A Fresno.

 

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