George and J.J. share their bold predictions, featuring two starter sliding into the elite and a potential well-kept secret star on the left side of the infield.
Forecasting the future is notoriously difficult. Just ask PECOTA. One of the most compelling reasons we watch baseball is that it serves as a daily reminder that reality is infinitely complex and nothing is ever certain. Mike Trout’s greatness is the lone constant in the baseball universe. This week at Baseball Prospectus, we're giving a new look and feel to the bold predictions pieces that generally are written in the second half of March. Yes, those are written to help you with drafts, but those drafts are ancient history at this point. What we're aiming at here is what we still believe to be true after two weeks of games are in the books. So, call them bold predictions if you will, but these are some things that we believe.
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The Reds infielder's multi-position eligibility, including shortstop, could make him an underrated fantasy asset.
Suarez was signed out of his native Venezuela by the Tigers in 2008, and spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as a part of Detroit’s Venezuelan Summer League squads. He posted a .311/.389/.396 line in 261 plate appearances in 2010 before coming stateside to the Gulf Coast League to start the 2011 season, where he was moved up to the New York-Penn League after just 12 games. Playing his age-19 season in the NYPL, Suarez hit for a .749 OPS with five home runs and nine steals in 229 plate appearances, before being moved up to the Midwest League for the entirety of the 2012 season, where he put himself on the prospect map by hitting for a .288 AVG and showing strong on-base skills (.380 OBP), walking in just under 11 percent of his 603 plate appearances while adding six home runs and stealing 21 bases (in 30 attempts). His breakout campaign placed him at no. 9, in Jason Parks’ eyes, among a relatively barren Tigers system at the time. His 2013 season began in the Florida State League, but he only stuck around for 25 games, hitting for a .311 AVG before his promotion to Double-A Erie, where he spent the remainder of the year and the start of the 2014 season. In 153 games at the Double-A level, Suarez hit for a .261/.336/.417 line with 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases (in 29 attempts), while walking nine percent of the time. After his strong start at Erie in 2014, he moved up to Triple-A Toledo for 12 games and was promoted to Detroit after Jose Iglesias’ season-ending injury.
Notes on prospects who stood out on Thursday, including Tigers infielder Eugenio Suarez and Mets lefty Steven Matz.
Hitter of the Night: Eugenio Suarez, SS, Tigers (Erie, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
We were hoping to see more from Suarez’s bat in a return trip to Double-A, and while he’s still hitting just .250 and doesn’t walk much, his pair of home runs on Thursday gives him five, halfway to his previous career high.
Pitcher of the Night: Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (St. Lucie, A+): 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K.
Matz used a fastball that sat 93-94 and a good changeup to carve through Palm Beach hitters on Thursday. He mixed in a hard curveball to keep hitters from both sides of the plate honest.