After a poor 2012 campaign, Red Sox righty Anthony Ranaudo has surged back onto prospect radars with an excellent first 10 starts.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Red Sox (Double-A Portland): 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K; plus fastball with good life; curveball with easy plus potential; potential solid-average changeup. Ranaudo struggled mightily in 2012, but has come in and just flat-out shoved in 2013. I recently spoke with a scout who assumed Ranaudo will pitch in the Futures Game this year; 54.2 IP, 31 H, 9 ER, 15 BB, 58 K in 10 starts.
Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney impressed in his 2013 debut, fanning nine in 4 1/3 innings.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter): 4.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K; potential plus fastball; potential plus curveball; potential average changeup; first start of the 2013 season.
Carlos Contreras delivered a dominant outing for the Reds' High-A affiliate, but his future is likely in the bullpen.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Carlos Contreras, RHP, Reds (High-A Bakersfield): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K; potential plus fastball; potential plus changeup; fringy curveball; below-average command; most believe his future is in the bullpen.
Reds outfielder Jesse Winker has good offensive upside, but will need to reach his ceiling to be an everyday player.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers (Double-A Frisco): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K; plus fastball; potential plus slider; inconsistent changeup; get-me-over curveball; stuff will tick up in bursts; back-end starter or possible setup man; 43.0 IP, 21 H, 14 ER, 18 BB, 55 K in eight starts.
Mike continues his investigation of HITf/x data to glean more insights into whether pitchers can prevent hits on balls in play.
In the first part of this study, I used detailed batted ball speed information from HITf/x to examine the degree of skill that batters and pitchers had in quality of contact made or allowed. Here, I will look deeper into the question of why some batted balls fall for hits and others do not.
Who tops the tool charts? Who was the big story down on the farm in 2011?
Best Tools (Present Utility y Projection) Speed: Billy Hamilton (Reds) TCF: Well, he’s fast. Really fast. He’s 100 on the 20/80 scale fast. His speed inflates his prospect status, as I question how effective he will be against superior pitching. But Hamilton’s speed tool is elite, and it makes him a catalytic player, at least at this stage of his career. He stole 103 bases this season, which is an impressive accomplishment, regardless of his offensive projections (which I question and others champion). Hamilton should put up better [read: more impressive] numbers in the hitter-friendly California League in 2012, which should enhance the shine on his prospect star. I’ll remind people to be cautious despite the numbers, then Hamilton will probably develop into a top-tier talent at a premium position and I’ll look like a fool. Thanks, Hamilton.
Arm: Christian Bethancourt (Braves) TCF: With a handful of legit 80 arms in the minors, I decided to go with the catcher, because I like catchers, especially 20-year-old catchers that can pop in the 1.7 range. That’s just ridiculous, by the way. 1.7? I had a scout tell me he clocked him at 1.65. I just assumed the scout was on mescaline. Regardless, Bethancourt has an elite arm, and the utility of that arm is slowly gaining on the raw strength; his release is Usain Bolt quick, with clean throwing mechanics and improving accuracy. Bethancourt’s bat is his ticket to first-division status, but his defensive skills behind the plate will carry him a very long way. 1.7? Not even #TheLegend can hang with that.