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October 27, 2009

Future Shock Blog

October 28

by Kevin Goldstein

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Fun with numbers

Grant Desme, OF, Athletics (AFL: Phoenix)
Yesterday's stats: 2-for-4, HR (8), R, 3 RBI

At this point it's getting a bit wacky, as Desme has gone deep in five straight games and seven of his last eight. His .442/.500/1.047 line is insane enough, but one can have even more fun with the small sample sizes once splits enter the picture. My current favorite is that with runners in scoring position and two outs, the 23-year-old outfielder is 3-for-6, with all three hits going over the fence. Any way you look at it, it's been an remarkable two weeks. Now we just have to figure out what it means for his prospect status. It's a move up; the question is just how big of one.

A lot of glove, and just enough bat

Zack Cozart, SS, Reds (AFL: Peoria Saguaros)
Yesterday's stats: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K

Cozart's solid offensive showing during his pro debut in 2008 was tempered by the fact that he was a bit advanced for Low-A, but a two-level jump to Double-A gave scouts a much better opportunity to figure out what the Reds have here, and more and more think that while he's not a star, he's a legitimate big league shortstop. An above-average defender, Cozart doesn't hit for much average, but he makes up for it with a solid number of walks and double-digit power. After slugging two home runs on Friday, Cozart followed that up with another good game with the bat. While he'll start 2010 at Triple-A, he has a good chance to finish it in the majors.

Finding his groove

Zach Putnam, RHP, Indians (AFL: Peoria Saguaros)
Yesterday's stats: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Few players in the 2008 draft generated more wide-ranging opinions than Putnam, whose maddening inconsistency led to several teams changing up their scouting schedules in order to see him as many times as possible to get an accurate evaluation. Fears of high bonus demands dropped him to the fifth round that June, but his over-slot $600,000 bonus fell somewhere around the median for how teams valued him. After impressing as a starter to begin the year, Putnam moved to the bullpen at Double-A Akron, and while his 4.13 ERA fails to impress, he came on strong late in the year when he began mixing in a true four-seam fastball that can get up to 95 mph with a plus splitter that he was beginning to depend on too much. The bullpen move was a temporary measure to see if he had any chance of helping a big league team desperate for relief help, and he'll return to starting next year.

Looking like an early steal

Aaron Miller, LHP, Dodgers (AFL: Peoria Javelinas)
Yesterday's stats: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K

Many pro scouts in baseball have little or no amateur coverage, so many are seeing Miller for the first time, and you know a player is gaining helium when a scout says to you, as one recently did about Miller, "How did this guy get past the first round?" A big, very athletic left-hander, Miller doesn't have monster velocity, but it sits about average and can get up to 92-93 mph when he needs to dial it up a bit, and his power breaking ball is a true plus offering. He cruised at Low-A after signing, with a 2.08 ERA in seven Midwest League starts, and he should reach Double-A at some point in his full-season debut.


Others of Note

  • Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies (AFL), 2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, K: Eight of his 13 hits have gone for extra bases so far, but scouts still have debates as to the size of the gap between his raw and present power.
  • Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs (AFL), 2-for-5, R, K, SB: In June, there wasn't much of a debate as to who the top prospect in the Cubs system was, but now Castro is making it interesting.
  • Ruben Tejada, SS, Mets (AFL), 2-for-3, BB, SO, SB: Batting .344/.417/.438 in eight games without an error, Tejada boasts outstanding fundamentals and average tools.

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

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

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SC

Should Met fans be hoping for a Tejada/Flores double play combo in 2013? If so, who slides over to 2b?

Oct 27, 2009 10:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think it's possible that neither is a shortstop. Tejada might be -- no way Flores ends up staying there.

Oct 27, 2009 10:57 AM
 
antoine6

Was the comment on Brown meant to be positive or negative? Was it "he's showing legit power now, and some scouts still think there's room to go even higher", or "he's showing power now, but some scouts still question whether it's legit"?

Oct 27, 2009 10:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

It's a positive. There are just a lot of thoughts as to just what his power ceiling is. Keep in mind that in 147 Double-A at-bats, he had only three home runs. Some scouts think he's an 18-25 home run in the end, some think there's much more to come.

Oct 27, 2009 10:59 AM
 
Eric

Kevin,

Any Ackley updates? Also, not related to the AFL, but any update on Inoa?

Oct 27, 2009 11:51 AM
rating: 0
 
Jeff Lewandowski

Kevin, I love your column. Another follow-up on the Brown/power discussion: can you define "present power" and "raw power"? Is raw power the same thing as "power potential", or just one factor in projecting power potential? I'm assuming present power is basically what a guy shows he can do in games, at this moment?

Oct 27, 2009 14:09 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Present power is what a guy has right now, also referred to often as game power. Raw power and power potential are somewhat related, or even mostly related, based on pure strength and what a guy can show you in BP.

Oct 27, 2009 14:21 PM
 
rweiler

When can we start asking "What's wrong with Buster Posey?" Granted, it is still early, but so far, he is near the bottom in just about every offensive category. What seems really odd is that his former teammates at San Jose, Thomas Neal and Brandan Crawford, are putting up adequate numbers roughly in line from what you would expect from their minor league season.

Oct 27, 2009 15:55 PM
rating: 0
 
brianpsmith
(832)

Isn't there a danger of overrating these AFL hitters? These are some of the best minor leaguers hitting off mostly journeyman and non-prospect pitchers in a warm and hitter-friendly environment. I was over there the first week of the season and saw 10 games, and for every Strasburg or Ian Kennedy there are about a dozen relief pitchers that even a serious fan has barely heard of.

When I see that a guy like Desme has hit a pile of homers in two weeks, I can only recall the struggles he had at times this year in advanced A-ball, including yes a lot of homers but also a ridiculous number of strikeouts. Domonic Brown, although I'd never seen him live before this month, seems to fit into that category too. Not to say that guys like that, and Dominguez and Stanton, won't eventually be stars, but are we making too much of inflated AFL numbers?

Oct 27, 2009 17:41 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Absolutely. There are just reports on guys, and I try to focus on overall reality as opposed to just these performances. Good or bad, they don't move the needle very far for me either way.

Oct 27, 2009 20:56 PM
 
yanks421

What is the injury to Romine (AFL) that has the Yankees shutting him down? Thanks the all the minor league updates!

Oct 27, 2009 19:10 PM
rating: 0
 
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