Rather than re-printing the BP Prospect Staff Midseason Top 50 debates—much of which involves discussion of multiple players at the same time—we thought it would be interesting to call out some of the more interesting pairings of players who have been in consideration for the #BPTop50 and allow an advocate for each to make his case as to why that player should be ranked ahead of the other.
Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, plus an obligatory Gregory Polanco update.
Friday, May 16
Miles Head, 1B, A’s (Midland, AA): 3-4, R, HR. Head is struggling once again, now in his third go-round in Double-A. It was already a tough profile as a right-handed-hitting first baseman, but Head’s power outage is enough to diminish his status as a prospect. For what it’s worth, Head also homered again on Sunday.
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Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Nationals righty Lucas Giolito and Astros outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.
Friday, May 9
Delino DeShields, OF, Astros (Corpus Christi, AA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. By now, you’ve probably seen the photo of DeShields after he got hit in the jaw with a pitch. He returned to action on Friday in tremendous fashion with a pair of home runs, something he doesn’t normally contribute.
Notes on the prospects who stood out over the weekend, including Reds right-hander Robert Stephenson and four top shortstops.
Friday, April 4
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (Norfolk, AAA): 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Gausman was on a strict pitch count, leaving the game after 71 pitches, and it’s likely that the Orioles are going to build his endurance up early in the minor-league season so that he has something left in the tank for when he’s in the majors down the stretch, hopefully in meaningful games.
From Xander Bogaerts to Gary Sanchez and everyone in between.
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2014, our second-annual prospect book, which will collect all of BP's offseason prospect content (plus exclusive prospect and fantasy offerings) in book and e-book form. Here's a look at last year's book; expect an even more meaty offering this time around.
In an age where there’s more statistical information available on players than ever before, you’ve come to the right place to differentiate yourself from your league-mates. Even if you don’t play in a keeper or dynasty league where you can own minor leaguers without wasting roster spots, the importance of reading scouting reports and knowing who these players are becomes obvious when a few years later you are faced with the dilemma of choosing them for your roster.
Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa could spearhead another growth spurt at a position where the players keep getting bigger.
If your Creator or your chromosomes or whatever combination of the two you deem responsible for such things didn’t make you short enough to play shortstop, then you just have to get that short yourself.
That’s Xander Bogaerts’ key to being a tall shortstop. The superb Red Sox prospect and rookie big leaguer is listed at 6’ 3”, claims 6’ 2”, and realizes that when he’s at the position, he has to act like he’s 5’ 9”.
Scouts' takes on Xander Bogaerts, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Burch Smith, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio)
Smith has been perhaps the most impressive pitcher in the Texas League this month, posting a 1.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts and just four walks over 26 innings. The 23-year-old has flashed plus command of a dominant fastball that sits between 93-96 mph and reaches up to 98. Although Smith doesn’t create much downhill plane and doesn’t have a ton of fastball life, he has a highly deceptive delivery and hides the ball extremely well. The deception enables his big velocity to play up a tick and induce a number of late swings.
When I saw Smith in action early last week, he also showed a potential average changeup and fringy curveball. The Texan may profile as a late-inning reliever due to the dominant fastball and lack of a plus secondary pitch. But some scouts believe he can stick in a starting role, and his ability to hold plus velocity and command his arsenal with deception could give him a chance. —Jason Cole
Looking at the early-season returns on shortstops who might stick at the position.
In part one of the series, we checked in on the pure shortstops in the minors, the players who stand above the rest with the leather and project to stay at position all the way up the chain. The criterion for inclusion in this particular series was a placement on the Baseball Prospectus 101, a team top 10 list, or a mention as an “On the Rise” candidate for the individual team prospect ranking series, so the pool of talent is by no means the entire ocean. By breaking down these featured prospects, the goal is to highlight the extreme depth at the position in the minors, while also shedding some light on the early season developments of the talent in question.
Part 2 will focus on the players housed in the tier below the pure leather wizards in the minors, but ones who still have the quality to stick around at the position despite some whispers to the contrary. It needs to be remembered just how difficult it is to profile as a shortstop at the highest level, as only a select few can stand above the crowded field of highly skilled individuals and wear the badge of the position. The “Pure Enough” tier features prospects known more for their offensive potential than their defensive heroics, but we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss their skill at the position just because the profile lacks the cloak of the magus. These combo prospects have some of the highest ceilings in the minors, with impact potential bats and the actions and arms to make plays at a premium position on the diamond.