Another impressive outing from Noah Syndergaard, another power display from Miguel Sano, and a no-hitter from a knuckleballer—this weekend had a little bit of everything.
Games of Friday, June 28
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Cory Mazzoni, RHP, Mets (Double-A Binghamton): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. I hate to say that I may have given a false sense of confidence to Mets fans, but I previously talked to a bunch of scouts that thought Mazzoni was going to stay as a starter moving forward. Recently, I’ve talked to more scouts who think that Mazzoni will be better utilized in the bullpen.
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Things went well for Keyvius Sampson and Max Stassi, and not so well for Patrick Wisdom, in yesterday's action.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K. potential plus fastball; potential solid-average changeup; fringy curveball. Sampson offers a major-league quality arsenal, but has yet to find consistent command. The stuff is more than enough to start, but he may land in the bullpen because of an inconsistent breaking ball and shaky fastball command; 59.1 IP, 18 ER, 24 BB, 60 K in 12 Double-A outings.
Position Prospect of the Day: Max Stassi, C, Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 8 RBI. Offensively, Stassi has a few question marks. He will expand the zone, which may cause the hit tool to only have a below-average ceiling. Some teams believe he has enough thump to make up for his contact deficiencies, but opinions vary throughout the scouting community. Defensively, Stassi is a fantastic receiver and has average arm strength that will play up due to accuracy. He will need to show he can hit enough to be put on a major-league roster, and his future is most likely to be in a backup role; .212/.280/.327 with 10 2B and 1 HR in 113 at-bats before tonight’s game.
Cubs righty Alberto Cabrera shined on a day when few notable prospects stood out on the minor-league diamonds.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Alberto Cabrera, RHP, Cubs (Double-A Tennessee): 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K; plus-plus fastball with life; potential solid-average slider; potential average changeup. The problem with Cabrera is that he has been very inconsistent in his minor league career. Cabrera has performed well thus far in 2013 and will hope to stay as a starter moving forward; 91.2 IP, 88 H, 36 ER, 34 BB, 94 K in 15 starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Willy Garcia, OF, Pirates (High-A Bradenton): 6-6, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Potential average hit tool; solid-average power potential; average runner; solid-average arm. After jumping onto the prospect radar in 2012, Garcia has shown some power in the Florida State League. Some scouts wonder if the hit tool will ever be good enough for him to play every day at the big league level; .378/.439/.622 with 3 2B and 2 HR in last 37 at-bats.
A tour around the minors, including looks at Oscar Taveras, Xander Bogaerts, Luiz Gohara, and Joey Gallo
Oscar Taveras, CF, Cardinals (Triple-A Memphis)
Taveras celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday by going 2-for-5 with a home run. His week ended on a sour note, however, as he was lifted from Sunday’s contest after appearing to aggravate his ankle injury, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The top prospect initially injured his ankle while sliding into second base on May 12th. He returned to the Redbirds’ lineup on June 8th. When I saw Taveras in Round Rock last week, his ankle certainly didn’t look healthy––he was limping all over the field (shown in this video).
While Taveras’ ailing ankle rendered him unable to run on the basepaths and in center field––and, despite the clear #want, left me wondering why he was attempting to play through an obvious injury––the other aspects of his game looked sharp. The Dominican Republic native displayed his gargantuan strength by fighting off a fastball and sending it off the wall to the opposite field on Friday. Taveras is a highly aggressive hitter who’s looking to tackle anything within his large hitting zone. But his elite hand-eye coordination and plate coverage (in addition to his strength and bat speed) enables him to make consistent loud contact. As a scout told me this weekend, “That’s what a future all-star hitter looks like.” –Jason Cole
Dodgers Low-A shortstop Corey Seager slugged two homers on Friday, kicking off a weekend with tons of exciting prospect action.
Games of Friday, June 21
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants (High-A San Jose): 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K. Crick entered the year as the Giants’ top prospect. He excelled in his return from the disabled list. Crick uses a potentially plus-plus fastball, an easy plus curveball, and a solid-average cutter. He has an athletic delivery and a front-of-the-rotation ceiling.
Today's update features Mariners righty Taijuan Walker, who showed off his outstanding stuff in a 12-strikeout outing for Double-A Jackson, and notes on 15 other prospects.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners (Double-A Jackson): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K. The 20-year-old Walker has front-of-the-rotation stuff. He features a plus-plus fastball, a potential plus-plus cutter, a potential plus curveball, and a fringy changeup. Walker may have to develop a splitter at the major-league level, but he has ace-level potential; 25.0 IP, 18 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 33 K in four June starts.
Position Prospect of the Day: Lewis Brinson, CF, Rangers (Low-A Hickory): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, 2 K. Something very in-depth should be coming on Brinson very soon. I know the strikeout rate is crazy high, but I believe in him.
After gaining polish over 13 Triple-A starts, Zack Wheeler is ready to prove that he belongs in the Mets rotation.
The Situation: With the Mets struggling at the big-league level and the “Super 2” timeline squarely in the rearview mirror, it was time for the club to call upon their other high-end pitching prospect to pair him with right-hander Matt Harvey. Zack Wheeler will make his major-league debut just down the road from where he grew up near Atlanta on Tuesday night against the Braves.
Background: Wheeler, the sixth-overall pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2009, joined the Mets in exchange for outfielder Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline in 2011. After two successful but inconsistent seasons in Low-A and High-A with the Giants, Wheeler got his first taste of the upper levels in 2012 with the Mets. In 19 Double-A starts Wheeler notched a 3.26 ERA with just 92 hits allowed in 116 innings. He walked a career-low 3.3 batters per nine innings and fanned better than a batter per inning, making progress in his development. The Mets promoted him to Triple-A Buffalo at the end of 2012 season, and he logged a 3.27 ERA in six starts. Returning to Triple-A to start the 2012 season, though this time in the high-octane Pacific Coast League, Wheeler has posted a 3.93 ERA with 61 hits and 27 walks yielded in 68-2/3 innings and an impressive 73 punchouts.
Rangers third-base prospect Joey Gallo showed off his power with three homers to earn the top spot in today's update.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Edwin Escobar, LHP, Giants (High-A San Jose): 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. Escobar is a lefty who relies on his FB/CH combination. The curveball is developing, but Escobar will depend on the changeup as his primary secondary offering; 55.2 IP, 51 H, 20 ER, 14 BB, 73 K in 12 outings this season.
Javier Baez's four-homer night stole the show, but plenty of prospects enjoyed their Monday.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Lucas Sims, LHP, Braves (Low-A Rome): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. Well, well well, another Braves pitcher with a major-league future. The Braves started the season by using Sims in relief to keep his innings down, but since being placed back in a starting role, Sims has flourished. Sims has everything you would want in a young pitcher: a plus fastball, a potential plus curveball, and a developing changeup that has a solid-average. 19.1 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 26 K in his last four starts
Your team may be tanking, and it may feel as though it's time to sell—but as Mike explains, you might actually be wise to wait.
If you are in a keeper league and your team is mired in the second division, you are at least considering packing it in and playing for 2014. However, depending on your league’s rules and the aggressiveness of your competitors, some of the teams in your league may have already thrown in the towel and begun to play for next year.
If this is the case, does this put your squad at a competitive disadvantage? Or is it possible to be patient, wait to cash in your chips, and wait as long as possible to play for next year?