The Astros' shortstop vacancy is now full. Thank you for your service, Jed.
The situation: The Astros have been the best team in the American League but have lost four straight, scoring just 12 runs in those four games. To help with the offensive “woes,” Houston has called on arguably the best offensive prospect in baseball, in the form of Carlos Correa.
Background: Correa was a somewhat surprising first overall selection of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy in, you guessed it, Puerto Rico—though most believed he was a lock to go in the first four or five picks—and all he has done since becoming a member of the Astros organization is put up sensational numbers and impress the heck out of scouts and fans alike. The 20-year-old right-handed hitting shortstop has posted a career .882 OPS, and after a slow start, he was hitting a very respectable .266/.336/.447 in 107 plate appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma.
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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.
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