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05-19

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3

Prospect Profile: The Reevaluation of Dominic Smith
by
Jeff Moore

05-12

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0

Prospect Profile: Byron Buxton: 'So far, so good'
by
David Lee

05-09

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7

Prospect Profile: Ceiling vs. Command
by
Jeff Moore

05-05

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1

Prospect Profile: Carlos Tocci
by
David Lee

05-01

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2

Prospect Profile: Austin Meadows
by
Jeff Moore

09-10

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5

Prospect Profile: Francisco Mejia
by
Chris Mellen

02-14

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7

Prospect Profile: Domonic Brown
by
Hudson Belinsky

02-07

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4

Prospect Profile: Joe Benson
by
Hudson Belinsky

01-25

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2

Prospect Profile: Jersey Boys
by
Hudson Belinsky

01-10

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1

Prospect Profile: Tyler Beede
by
Hudson Belinsky

01-03

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9

Prospect Profile: Three Late-Inning Relievers
by
Hudson Belinsky

12-21

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2

Prospect Profile: Josh Vitters and Tim Beckham
by
Hudson Belinsky

11-14

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1

Prospect Profile: Kyle Kaminska
by
Kristy Robinson

11-08

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3

Prospect Profile: Gary Brown
by
Hudson Belinsky

10-25

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9

Prospect Profile: Dan Straily
by
Hudson Belinsky

10-18

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7

Prospect Profile: Avisail Garcia
by
Hudson Belinsky

10-12

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2

Prospect Profile: Maikel Franco
by
Hudson Belinsky

10-04

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3

Prospect Profile: International Focus
by
Hudson Belinsky

09-27

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1

Prospect Profile: Kaleb Cowart
by
Hudson Belinsky

09-20

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11

Prospect Profile: Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco
by
Hudson Belinsky

09-14

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4

Prospect Profile: Austin Hedges
by
Hudson Belinsky

09-06

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1

Prospect Profile: Brian Flynn
by
Hudson Belinsky

08-30

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14

Prospect Profile: Dylan Bundy
by
Hudson Belinsky

08-23

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9

Prospect Profile: Bruce Rondon
by
Hudson Belinsky

08-16

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18

Prospect Profile: Michael Ynoa
by
Hudson Belinsky

03-15

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0

Prospect Profile: Yasmani Grandal
by
David Laurila

03-11

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2

Prospect Profile: Grant Green
by
David Laurila

03-04

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4

Prospect Profile: Brett Jackson
by
David Laurila

02-14

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2

Prospect Profile: Anthony Gose
by
David Laurila

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November 14, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Kyle Kaminska

1

Kristy Robinson

A special look at Arizona Fall League ERA leader Kyle Kaminska.

Kristy Robinson attended Kent State University for Broadcasting and the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising for Fashion Design and Communications. Robinson has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates for the past two seasons as a beat reporter. Robinson grew up in East Liverpool, Ohio.

Despite pitching in a hitter-friendly league, right-hander Kyle Kaminska has looked very good in the Arizona Fall League. He quietly put together solid numbers after coming over to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization (along with Gaby Sanchez for Gorkys Hernandez and a draft compensation pick) at the trade deadline in 2012, and while his name may not have topped the list of prospects when the AFL kicked off on October 9, he’s beginning to make quite a name for himself.

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Is Brown still San Francisco's center fielder of the future? Only if his hit tool plays, which many aren't convinced of.

Fifteen months ago Gary Brown was viewed by many as an elite prospect, destined to lose Gold Gloves to inferior defenders and lead the Giants to the Promised Land. People were amazed that 23 players were selected before Brown in the 2010 draft. When teams would inquire on Brown, the Giants would show reluctance to part with him to shore up their club in the short term. Many expected him to make it to the majors quickly and become the team’s center fielder of both the present and future.

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October 25, 2012 8:55 am

Prospect Profile: Dan Straily

9

Hudson Belinsky

From org guy to major league starter in a year. Did anyone see that coming?

Raise your hand if you not only knew who Dan Straily was this time a year ago, but also knew that he’d become a top prospect and reach the majors in 2012. Keep your hand raised if you’re a liar. During the 2011 season, Straily was seen as a solid org guy with a non-zero chance of making it. He was still young, but most people saw him as a guy with underwhelming stuff who could have an outside chance at making it to the big leagues because of his above-average command and 80 makeup.

The A’s liked Straily all along. He was always athletic and could always repeat his delivery, which enabled him to control the ball effectively. His stuff wasn’t bad, but he was barely distinguishing himself from the rest of the pack. Low 90s velocity is nice, but it isn’t enough to build a major league career on.

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October 18, 2012 9:56 am

Prospect Profile: Avisail Garcia

7

Hudson Belinsky

The Tigers have a youngster who made big jumps in levels this year, but is he ready for the majors?

In the Moneyball movie, a Mets’ scout, attempting to reassure the Beane family that Billy can play professional baseball, says:

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October 12, 2012 9:56 am

Prospect Profile: Maikel Franco

2

Hudson Belinsky

Hudson saw a transformation in Maikel Franco this season from raw player to prospect; will the momentum carry into 2013?

Watching players throughout the season, I tend to develop prospect crushes. It started with Jesus Montero in 2009, and then continued with him in 2010. In 2011 it was Domingo Santana, who had huge five o’clock power and fit the classic right field profile. This past season, I had several reasons to plant myself behind home plate in Lakewood. Maikel Franco might have been the most fun of those reasons.

Franco probably won’t appear on many lists of top prospects this winter, but I loved what he showed me throughout his season. Early in 2012 he was a raw baseball player who was a bit overexposed in a full-season league. Later in 2012, he looked more like an impact prospect.

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October 4, 2012 9:18 am

Prospect Profile: International Focus

3

Hudson Belinsky

The Twins have signed a few players from unlikely countries recently. Is this a new direction, and is it going to pay off?

Baseball teams often look for market inefficiencies when they acquire players. In recent years we’ve seen some teams target players with excellent defense, some spend aggressively in the draft, and some invest in off-the-field talent. By examining these things, we can often extract specific organizational strategies: team X trades controllable players for plenty of prospects; team Y employs a specific draft strategy. It certainly looks like the Minnesota Twins might be employing a new strategy in the international market, as in recent years they’ve expanded their efforts to include Australia, Africa, and Europe.

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September 27, 2012 8:41 am

Prospect Profile: Kaleb Cowart

1

Hudson Belinsky

While he's not yet tested at the upper levels, the Angels might have something in third baseman Kaleb Cowart.

Chone Figgins had an amazing season in 2009: he posted a .289 TAv and, because of a lofty defensive rating (16.7 FRAA), finished the year with a remarkable 7.2 WARP. Baseball Prospectus 2010 put it best: “Talk about a walk year: in the final season of his contract, Figgins burnished his credentials as an elite leadoff hitter by leading the AL in bases on balls and ranking second in both times on base and runs scored, third in steals, and fourth in pitches per plate appearance.” Figgins would decline the Angels’ offer of arbitration and would instead sign with Seattle, leaving the Angels with nothing. Nothing, except for a pair of draft picks, one of which they used on Kaleb Cowart.

The Angels nabbed Cowart with the 18th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Cook HS in Adel, GA. He wasn’t a monster, but he was a switch hitter, had excellent tools, and was something to dream on. A late signing limited his time on the field in 2010, so he was still in rookie ball for 2011. With the Orem Owlz, Cowart posted a modest .283/.345/.420 line with seven home runs. He struck out 81 times and picked up just 25 bases on balls in 72 games, so there was some cause for concern about his approach.

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September 20, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco

11

Hudson Belinsky

Breaking down a pair of position player prospects who made major strides in the Pirates' system this season.

Evaluating talent on the international market can be even more difficult than it is on the domestic side. Often, prospect writers become enamored with bonus babies and neglect many of the talented players who sign for smaller bonus figures. Every year, a few of these under-the-radar prospects raise their profiles considerably. This season, the Pittsburgh Pirates system saw two Dominican players burst onto the prospect scene: Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco.

After a decent showing (statistically speaking) in the Gulf Coast League, Hanson advanced to full-season ball in 2012. He entered the season as the Pirates’ no. 17 prospect, according to Kevin Goldstein, described as a “young infielder [with] speed and an idea at the plate.” Now, one could make an argument that Hanson is the Pirates’ top position prospect.

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September 14, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Austin Hedges

4

Hudson Belinsky

The Padres' top catching prospect is superb behind the plate, but will he hit?

With the 82nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, the San Diego Padres selected Austin Hedges, a catcher out of Junipero Serra Catholic HS in southern California. While the story of his rise through the minor leagues begins there, his path to the majors started much earlier.

Brett Kay is the head coach at Junipero Serra. Kay caught in 142 minor-league games, making it to High-A before his career came to a close in 2003. He wasn’t a big leaguer, but his experience made him an excellent instructor. In 2006, Kay had the chance to coach a promising young catcher. The kid was shy and skinny, but his athleticism and skillset were obvious. Austin Hedges was already showing the makings of a top prospect.

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September 6, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Brian Flynn

1

Hudson Belinsky

The least-prominent player in the Tigers' big deadline trade might amount to something in Miami.

Every year, dozens of prospects are traded. We don’t expect much from most of them. This year, the Detroit Tigers made a trade to help their big league club, acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante for a trio of prospects (the clubs also swapped draft picks). The centerpiece of the prospect package headed to Miami was Jacob Turner, one of the more well-known pitching prospects in the game. Another player in the deal was the athletic catcher Rob Brantly, who had just played in front of a national audience at the Futures Game in Kansas City. The Tigers did give up one more player, but he came with almost zero hype. That was a big lefty named Brian Flynn.

Flynn, like last week’s Prospect Profile subject, Dylan Bundy, attended Owasso High School in Sperry, Oklahoma. A natural athlete, he played basketball and baseball in high school, but he struggled to maintain his grades during his first two years. Coach Larry Turner decided to keep him in the program anyway. Flynn had yet to succeed in high school baseball, but he had shown some promise on the summer circuit, and before long, his capabilities became obvious.

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August 30, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Dylan Bundy

14

Hudson Belinsky

The Orioles' most promising prospect probably won't be bound for Baltimore this season, but regardless of when he arrives, he seems destined for the top of the O's rotation.

“Early on I just had that feeling that he was going to be a little bit more special than the others,” said Larry Turner, the head baseball coach at Owasso High School in Sperry, Oklahoma. He was reminiscing about Dylan Bundy. “The first time I saw him pitch he was probably about 10 years old,” Turner continued. “[Usually] you have some kids that were way ahead of others when they were young, and the other ones seem to catch up by the time they get to high school.” But Bundy “was the exception to the rule.”

Turner coached Bundy during his formative years, and he gives a lot of credit for Bundy’s success to the right-hander’s parents, specifically his father Denver. Dylan and his older brother Bobby, who also pitches in the Orioles’ farm system, learned the value of hard work from their father. “His work ethic is just unmatched,” Turner said of Dylan. “He’s a maniac about working out and doing everything he can to reach his potential.”

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August 23, 2012 5:00 am

Prospect Profile: Bruce Rondon

9

Hudson Belinsky

The next hard-throwing right-handed Tigers reliever has made great strides this season and isn't far from Detroit.

Bruce Rondon entered professional baseball in 2008 as a member of the Detroit Tigers’ Venezuelan Summer League club. At the time, he was just another kid, a 17-year-old with a fastball that sat in the high 80s and low 90s and a fringy slider. He struggled to command his pitches and, as a result, spent all of 2008 and most of 2009 in the VSL. In 2010, his velocity ticked up and his slider became an average offering, helping him build some steam as a prospect. By 2011, Rondon had a fastball that consistently received grades of 75 and 80 from scouts.

Not surprisingly, scouts and player development officials really like Rondon. While some envision him as a future closer waiting for the right opportunity, others liken him to a former Tigers flamethrower who excelled in a setup role. “He’s pretty similar to a guy they had a few years ago, Joel Zumaya,” one scout opined. Rondon is a classic fastball/slider pitcher, but his ability to harness triple-digit velocity makes him stand out. “The stuff is all there,” the scout added. “He just needs to show better command.”

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