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 Transaction Analysis: ... (05/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/20)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Amer... (05/14)

May 13, 2013

Monday Morning Ten Pack

May 13

by BP Prospect Staff

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.

Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
The Cardinals’ top pick in the 2012 draft, Wacha received an aggressive assignment to Triple-A Memphis despite logging just 21 pro innings last summer. He is proving plenty apt for the challenge, posting a 1.99 ERA while yielding just 27 hits in 40 2/3 innings. Regarded as a polished arm as an amateur at Texas A&M, Wacha has made some quick strides as a pro. The progression hasn’t really changed his projection as a no. 3 starter, but he’s perhaps closer to realizing that potential than initially thought.

The 21-year-old righty has shown lots of polish early this season, pounding the strike zone with a three-pitch mix that includes a 90-95 mph fastball. He generates a steep downhill plane from his 6-foot-6 frame. His secondary pitches play well off the fastball––particularly his deceptive low-80s changeup, which is already a plus offering. Wacha’s curveball has been a key development since college; it’s presently average to solid-average and should become a third plus in the near future.

With a projection for three 60-grade pitches, strike-throwing ability, and an overall mature approach to pitching, Wacha has all the makings of a durable no. 3 starter. He’ll likely reach St. Louis at some point this season. If the Cardinals aren’t in need of starters, he could make a short-term impact out of the bullpen, where he reached 98 mph in short bursts this spring. –Jason Cole

Rafael De Paula, RHP, Yankees (Low-A Charleston)
Unknown to many coming into the season—thanks to name/visa issues that kept the Dominican arm pitching on Dominican fields—De Paula has stepped out of the shadows in 2013 and emerged as a rising player in the Yankees org. On the back of a very good fastball that features well above average life and plus velocity, the 22-year-old De Paula is able to miss a high number of bats in the Sally League. In addition to the heat, De Paula shows flashes of a plus curve and a plus change, but both offerings need refinement before they join the fastball as major-league-quality pitches. The future is very abstract and combustible, but if you love a high ceiling, De Paula is one of the more interesting arms to follow in the minors. –Jason Parks

Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (High-A Ft. Myers)
In his second full-season campaign, Sano has blossomed into the premier power bat in the minors, possessing the rare 80-grade raw power and a knack for run production. So far in the Florida State League, the 20-year-old has hit for average and game power, using a highly leveraged swing to send exit-velocity rockets all over the yard. At times, he can be long to the ball and prone to swing and miss, but the overall hand-eye coordination is excellent and his extension and power through the ball is elite. Double-A will be the test, as better stuff and better command could exploit the holes in his game and force an adjustment, which will benefit the young hitter on his accelerated path to the majors. –Jason Parks

Miguel Almonte, RHP, Royals (Low-A Lexington)
I took some flack online this spring when I not only suggested Almonte belonged in the same prospect discussion as org-mate Kyle Zimmer, but that I would prefer the 20-year-old arm in the long-term. After a shaky start to Almonte’s season, fingers started pointing and I was asked on several occasions if I had changed my stance. Why? This kid has a very live arm and a very simple and easy release, and the stuff just explodes from the hand. The fastball is a plus offering, with velocity in the low-to-mid 90s and some sinking action. The money pitch is a darling of a changeup, thrown with fastball arm speed and above average movement to the arm side and down. Some sources have put a future 7 on the pitch, and based on what I’ve seen in several starts over the last calendar year, it’s one of the better changeups in the lower minors. He will show multiple breaking balls—a mid-70s curveball and a low 80s slider—both of which can flash some utility but neither has separated itself as the go-to breaker to pair with the rest of the arsenal. After a few mechanical tweaks, Almonte has been stellar in two May starts, missing bats and limiting the hard contact that he ran into to start the season. The ceiling is crazy high, but the product is far from finished, so bumps and bruises are to be expected on the journey. –Jason Parks

Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
A slow start to the season (by Taveras’ standards) had some voicing concern, especially when the bat produced only five extra-base hits in his first 76 at-bats. The familiar monster has since returned to the village to plunder and pillage and put the anxious minds at ease, showing off his brand of controlled violence at the plate. A natural hitter, Taveras has a lighting quick trigger and lighting quick bat speed, finding the best part of the ball with the best part of the bat. He’s a ferocious talent who just happens to reside in an organization that isn’t starving for his services at the highest level, which will allow the 20-year-old to rake in the minors until an opportunity becomes available. Once the door opens, expect Taveras to saunter through like a man who belongs, and the major-league production will follow suit. –Jason Parks

Ross Stripling, RHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)
With Wacha’s Triple-A assignment and Stripling’s promotion to Double-A last week, two-thirds of Texas A&M’s 2012 weekend rotation have already reached the upper levels. The 23-year-old righty made a dominant six-start stint in the High-A California League before tossing six innings of one-run ball in Saturday’s Southern League debut.

A fifth-round senior sign who largely worked between 88-91 mph in college, Stripling has consistently sat at 92-93 since signing, topping out a tick higher on occasion. He’s a short strider but has done a better job of using his lower half to increase the velocity. The 6-foot-3 hurler throws strikes, gets good tailing life to his fastball, and works downhill. His polished curveball/changeup mix should give him three average-or-better offerings and lend to a no. 4 starter projection with a perfect-world no. 3 ceiling. –Jason Cole

Gabriel Guerrero, OF, Mariners (Low-A Clinton)
I was all over Guerrero this spring, watching as many workouts and games as I possibly could, almost becoming obsessed with the potential of Vlad’s nephew. He not only looked the part—with legs longer than lifetimes and the familiar gait of a future Hall of Famer from the same bloodline—but the talent was showing up in game action. Jumping from the complex level to full-season ball is quite the leap, especially for a young prospect asked to go from the warm climates of the Dominican Republic and Arizona to the less-than-ideal environments of the Midwest League in April, and it didn’t surprise many when Guerrero struggled in his first month. But the hands and coordination are simply too good to stay dormant for long, and so far in May, the high-ceiling 19-year-old is finding his stroke. I don’t expect a statistical bouquet bright enough to illuminate a room, but I do expect Guerrero to flash his immense potential during season and set himself up for a big breakthrough in 2014. The talent is there. He just needs to find his rhythm, and the rest is already written. –Jason Parks

Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (High-A Modesto)
Story broke out in his full-season debut in 2012, and a move to the California League in 2013 was expected to provide even more fuel to his prospect fire. The performance so far has been disappointing, as the swing-and-miss tendencies from last season have been magnified and the contact has been quiet. The approach needs work, but a source suggested his swing mechanics were the scariest villain so far this season. The bat speed that drew praise last season isn’t receiving the same glory this season, but all hope is not lost. A few tweaks and a few hits are often all it takes to put a hitter in a confident state, and Story still has the raw physical tools to develop into an offensive force at a premium position. –Jason Parks

Nick Williams, OF, Texas (Low-A Hickory)
On the internet side of the prospecting business, it’s common to get caught up in the hype and hope of a prospect’s physical gifts at the expense of the one carrying tool that can make or break a position player: the hit tool. Nick Williams is a very promising athlete who can make the game look both incredibly easy and incredibly hard—depending on when you see him-- but he can put his bat on a baseball, and that is something you just can’t teach. For all the physical gifts and all the tool-based promise, Williams shows a preternatural feel for hitting—with early recognition, a fast trigger and incredible bat speed—and despite some of the rawness in his overall game and areas that need considerable amounts of refinement, the one tool that could make him a major leaguer stands above his teammates’ on the Hickory roster, and that roster ain’t no sippin’ tea. This kid can hit. Keep a close eye on him.  –Jason Parks

James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals (Double-A Springfield)
A true leader in his four seasons at Florida State, Ramsey gained Jeter-type status in Tallahassee before being selected in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals last year. The Cardinals started him off at High-A Palm Beach where he struggled at the plate for most of the season. This year, however, his bat has showed why the Cardinals believed he was a worthy first-round selection. Starting this season at Palm Beach again, Ramsey put up a .361/.481/.557 line while drawing 12 walks in 77 at-bats. He was promoted last week to Double-A Springfield. Ramsey doesn't have any eye-popping tools, but the kid is a gamer and he has made several mechanical adjustments to his swing and as a result, his bat is quicker and stays in the zone longer. His approach has always been above average and he's now drawing more walks. Ramsey doesn't project to hit for too much power, but after seeing him this season I can envision him as a very productive top-of-the-order-bat who hits for a high average. –Chris King

 

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

BP Comment Quick Links

psugator01

"the rest is already written" on Guerrero sounds a bit silly. just because he's Vlad's nephew doesn't mean he's going to be Vlad.

May 13, 2013 04:32 AM
rating: -3
 
Behemoth

Good thing the article didn't say that, then.

May 13, 2013 04:38 AM
rating: 7
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I want to live in a world where any and all relation to Vlad Guerrero guarantees exceptionalism.

May 13, 2013 07:28 AM
 
Schere

does he use batting gloves?

May 13, 2013 07:36 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Nope.

May 13, 2013 07:44 AM
 
Schere

OK, I'm on board.

May 13, 2013 10:54 AM
rating: 7
 
psugator01

your comment made me laugh

May 13, 2013 07:57 AM
rating: 0
 
mblthd

Wilton did not disappoint.

May 13, 2013 09:10 AM
rating: 2
 
Sharky

Really like this article. Covers many of the top names we've been wondering about -- in enough detail and with a clear point of view. Thanks!

May 13, 2013 05:42 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

It's so much better than Cats. I'm going to read it again and again.

May 13, 2013 06:46 AM
rating: 8
 
Ogremace

So what is DePaula's ceiling? Assuming some development on the offspeed pitches could he be an ace? Or is it more like #2-3 kinda guy?

May 13, 2013 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
sungods7n

Ramsey has 70 grade Swisher mannerisms. Too bad his name is James instead of Jack, I would enjoy some Tom Selleck in Runaway commentary from Jason.

May 13, 2013 08:23 AM
rating: 0
 
rrvwmr

Wacha's Ks are down this year. He didn't strikeout a batter per inning in his final college season, so I wasn't expecting 17+ K/9 like last year...but his 5.3 mark is rather disenchanting. Where do scouts stand on his ability to miss bats, and is anyone hearing what the difference is aside from the obvious level of competition?

May 13, 2013 08:57 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Cole
BP staff

He's never going to be a huge K guy, but I wouldn't be at all worried about the K numbers right now. If he had a 5.00 ERA in Triple-A right now, I don't think anybody would be too worried either. You won't find a more aggressive assignment for a starter just out of college. But the biggest thing is that the stuff has been good and he's pitching very well at the level. I think he'll grow into the strikeouts (and he's actually K'ing more since his first few outings already).

May 13, 2013 09:10 AM
 
BarryR

I saw him pitch in spring training against the Mets -which is a lot like AAA. His curve looks like it could be a nasty strikeout pitch, at least it was that day.

May 13, 2013 10:00 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jason Cole
BP staff

I won't see Wacha until sometime next month, but I did get one report from early April that said––in that one start, at least––his curveball was ahead of the changeup. I think the change is more consistent right now, but they both project as 6 offerings that really play well off his fastball. I've even heard potential 7 on his changeup from one scout.

May 13, 2013 10:11 AM
 
amazin_mess

Guys - this column is awesome. Wow...great stuff.

May 13, 2013 10:17 AM
rating: 0
 
mattro12

What do you guys make of Adam Brett Walker? He's lighting up the box scores right alongside Buxton.

May 13, 2013 12:05 PM
rating: 0
 
saucyjack88

Stupid question alert: Why is it you go with team nicknames for each player except for Nick Williams, who is in the "Texas" system? There aren't two Ranger teams. I mean, this isn't the CFL here...

May 13, 2013 16:05 PM
rating: 0
 
BarryR

It was Jason Parks, who likes to say Texas any time he can.

May 13, 2013 16:49 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

This.

May 14, 2013 08:09 AM
 
mblthd

It prevents us from assuming incorrectly that he's talking about a hockey player in New York.

May 14, 2013 08:05 AM
rating: 1
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (05/13)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pac... (05/20)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Amer... (05/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Quarter-Season Odds Report
West Coast By Us: Day 2: Taco the Town
Going Yard: The Near Perfection of Pederson
West Coast By Us: Day 3: Nice
BP Boston
West Coast By Us: Day 4: There Are Two L's I...
BP Bronx

MORE FROM MAY 13, 2013
Premium Article Painting the Black: The Helpless Hitter Who ...
Perfect Game Presents: PG Pre-Draft to be Li...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Jays Power Up, Offens...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, May 13
The Week in Quotes: May 6-12
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: May 13, 20...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Dumping Targets, a Look B...

MORE BY BP PROSPECT STAFF
2013-05-24 - Premium Article Eyewitness Accounts: May 24, 2013
2013-05-23 - Premium Article Eyewitness Accounts: May 23, 2013
2013-05-16 - Eyewitness Accounts: May 16, 2013
2013-05-13 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 13
2013-05-06 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 6
2013-04-29 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: April 29
2013-04-22 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: April 22
More...

MORE MONDAY MORNING TEN PACK
2013-06-03 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: June 3
2013-05-28 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 28
2013-05-20 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 20
2013-05-13 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 13
2013-05-06 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: May 6
2013-04-29 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: April 29
2013-04-22 - Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: April 22
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-06-24 - Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of June 21-23
2013-05-16 - Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: National League, Week Seve...