Reeling from injuries and falling behind in the standings, the Diamondbacks turn to a powerful third-base prospect for help.
The Situation: With Eric Chavez hitting the disabled list due to knee and hip soreness, Arizona has called up third baseman Matt Davidson from the Reno Aces. Martin Prado was expected to see the bulk of the playing time at the hot corner during Chavez’s absence, with Davidson in reserve, but with Cody Ross now out with a dislocated hip, it remains to be seen whether the 22-year-old right-handed hitter is pressed into more consistent action.
Background: The Diamondbacks selected Davidson as a sandwich pick in 2009 out of Yucaipa High School (Yucaipa, CA). The third baseman immediately began to flash the power he had been touted for, belting 18 home runs in his first full professional season between A-Ball and High-A in 2010. After posting a .277/.348/.464 line in the California League with Visalia in 2011, Davidson was tasked with the challenge of Double-A and proving he wasn’t the product of a hitter-friendly league in 2012. He did not disappoint. Davidson put up a .836 OPS and launched 23 bombs with Mobile to begin solidifying himself as a prospect on the rise. The 22-year-old continued to prove the bat is trending in the right direction this year in Triple-A, and was named MVP of this year’s Futures Game after his go-ahead home run. Davidson entered the year ranked fourth on Baseball Prospectus’ Diamondbacks Top 10 Prospects list.
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Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts headlines this batch of six intriguing minor leaguers.
It has been fun putting together prospect lists, organizational rankings, and the like this offseason, but I absolutely love getting out onto the field. There’s something about dissecting a handful of players on a given night, watching for certain trends over a series of games, or just deciding to put the isolated camera on one player.
Spring training served as a warm-up to sharpen the eyes, while getting in general scouting on a large group of players. Now, with the season underway, it’s time to start peeling back the onion on prospects, tracking their development, and getting down to business. I’ll cover multiple leagues this season and should get a chance to scout a wide array of players. So, expect some different flavors in these reports over the course of the year. Today’s article highlights some initial impressions on a handful of prospects in the Eastern League that I feel will be themes to continue to check back on during the season.
The young Red Sox center fielder shows up earlier than expected, but is he ready to contribute right now?
The Situation: With an injury to David Ortiz creating room on the roster, outfielder Jackie Bradley has officially made the Red Sox Opening Day roster after much buzz during spring training. The initial expectation was that the 22-year-old would start the season in the minors, with a potential call to the Show in the cards later in the season. However, Bradley showed such a high level of polish and maturity in camp that the organization deemed him capable of making the jump from Double-A to fill in while Ortiz mends, granting him a spot in the lineup and in left field.
Background: A standout at South Carolina in his first two seasons, Bradley entered his junior year as a projected mid-first round pick. A wrist injury ended up cutting his year short, and the outfielder fell to Boston in the supplemental round. Since entering the professional ranks, he hasn’t stopped hitting. Bradley received an accelerated placement to start 2012 in the Carolina League and took the competition by storm. A .359/.480/.526 line in 67 games with Salem offered a clue that he was trending ahead of the curve, with personal scouting looks revealing that he was in need of a greater challenge. Bradley got the mid-season bump to Double-A and continued to acquit himself well both offensively and defensively (with the scouting reports to match the stats) in the Eastern League. The 22-year-old entered 2013 the second-ranked prospect in the Red Sox farm system and 27th overall, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Chris reports on a quartet of prospect works in progress he scouted during his recent trip to Florida.
Each year I head down to spring training to begin building my scouting knowledge base for the upcoming season. This year I saw four organizations over the course of a week in Florida, which gave me a large pool of players to cover.
With two or three games going on at once out on the backfields, the scouting looks are a little less in-depth than the opportunities you get during the regular season, but it’s still possible to pick out strengths and identify areas of weakness. For today’s report, I’ve highlighted a player from each of the teams I saw who needs work in one particular area. I’ll be watching for signs of development in those areas during subsequent trips to the field throughout the season.
Some scouting mistakes as as memorable and valuable as scouting successes.
Everyone loves a good prospect list. Before each season and at various points throughout the year, prospect lists give us a preview of the talent on the way for each team and allow us to see how each system stacks up against the others. From the reader’s perspective, these lists might seem to spring fully formed from their authors’ minds. But a good prospect list is the product of weeks of behind-the-scenes work.
Part Two of Chris' four-team Fall Instructional League visit sees some top prospects and some unknowns from two AL East teams.
One of the major reasons I like Fall Instructs is that I get to see a cluster of prospects that would otherwise be spread out during the season. It also serves as a nice way to close out the year, while also building a scouting base for the next one. Despite the positives, though, finishing up with Instructs is always bittersweet, since I know it’s my last time out at the field until spring training. Like I mentioned on Tuesday, this year’s Instructs were particularly exciting since I was expanding my coverage, and I’m already eager to go again in 2013.
Today’s report focuses on the other two organizations I covered during this past week’s trip down to Fort Myers. Given my familiarity with the Red Sox, the featured players are ones I was either targeting for follow-up looks, or players I knew I’d be getting my first crack at and who I feel may begin to make some moves this coming season. I usually see the majority of Orioles’ prospects in the Eastern and International Leagues, but the lower levels were uncharted waters, so today’s Orioles players are those who left an early impression out of the ones I was able to see.
Recent BP addition Chris Mellen files from the Instructional Leagues, where he covers other people's recent additions.
Fall Instructional League, or “Instructs,” is great for several things: doing follow-up scouting from the season, getting a first look at recently signed players, or getting a first glimpse at players coming over to the United States for the first time. The teams in Instructs are typically composed of the younger prospects from the lower levels and rehabbing players from the upper minors. Teams go through workouts in the morning, then play games in the afternoon against the other teams in the area. So between the morning and the afternoon, you have plenty of chances to lay the eyes on the developing prospects.
Fort Myers has served as my home base for Instructs since I’ve been coming down, and it’s always a productive trip. This year, the Twins, Red Sox, Orioles, and Rays have been playing a rotation of games against each other; for the last six years, I was covering the Red Sox and no one else, so this year sees me expanding my scouting base considerably. It’s been challenging given the large volume of players to see and heightened sense of attention needed, but it’s been fun getting outside of my comfort zone. So these reports will be of selected players from each organization who have stood out for one reason or another. Today we’ll start with the Rays and Twins, with the Red Sox and Orioles to follow later.
The Royals summon one of their top pitching prospects to the majors for some major-league seasoning.
The situation: With the Omaha Stormchasers’ season ending this past weekend, the Royals have decided to call up top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi and give him a late-season start or two in what should be an initial gauge of whether he is ready for a spot in next year’s rotation. Odorizzi was not on the 40-Man roster, and given his Rule 5 eligibility this off-season, the promotion takes care of an inevitable roster move early while also giving him his first taste of the Show.
We kick off a retooled Monday Morning Ten Pack, complete with new contributors.
The Ten Packs lives! The Ten Packs lives! The light of the season will soon dim, and this weekly romance will retreat into quiet slumber until the dawn of a new season tickles our eager horizons. But until we disappear into that evening cave, please allow us to present some prospect froth for your Monday morning routine.
Or something like that. Just a quick introduction to let you know the Ten Pack will continue on Baseball Prospectus, although the construction will be slightly different. With a host of talented minor league minds currently attached to the site—and several more on their way—finding intelligent opinion will be a luxury we will have in abundance. To take advantage of this talent pool, the Ten Pack will morph into a communal affair, where the eyewitness accounts and first-hand experiences of our minor league staff will enhance the product and hopefully take the Ten Pack to the next level.