A look at what PECOTA forecasts for 2015's rookie hitters.
If you’re into prospects—and I think it’s safe to assume that you are, given that you (a) clicked on this story on the BP website and (b) were on the BP website in the first place—then 2015 has been a fun season for you. Seemingly every week, a player featured on BP's Preseason Top 101 list has been called into his manager’s office and had his life changed forever. In Des Moines, Toledo, Pawtucket, and a score of other mid-sized American cities, they’ve called their families and friends, made frantic plans to meet up wherever they’re going, and boarded a plane to a better life.
Examining prospects with the sort of power/speed tandem that fantasy owners might covet down the road.
Joc Pederson was selected in the 11th round (352nd overall) of the 2010 draft, but it wasn’t until midseason 2013 that Joc Pederson found himself on a top-100 fantasy prospect list here at Baseball Prospectus. Although Pederson was given second-round money to sign with the Dodgers out of high school, many scouts were unsure of the totality of his physical tools and felt that he may struggle to hit left-handed pitching at higher levels. The lack of a plus hit tool scared away many, despite quality bloodlines. Joc’s father Stu was drafted by the Dodgers higher than he was (ninth round, 229th overall), taken four picks ahead of noted Tom Emanski product endorser (and borderline HOFer) Fred McGriffin 1981.
Fantasy owners certainly care about physical tools when evaluating a prospect, but they care more about the prospect getting the most out of them and consistently translating those tools into results on the field, which Pederson did at every minor-league level. Another reason why Pederson was slow to rise up the prospect rankings was that the Dodgers only gave him 60 plate appearances in a neutral hitting environment (the end of 2011 in the Midwest League, as a 19-year-old) before he reached Double-A Chattanooga in 2013. Many were quick to write off Pederson’s production in the Pioneer League and California League because of the great hitting parks he called home in Ogden and Rancho Cucamonga, respectively. After Pederson produced at Double-A in 2013 to the tune of a .878 OPS paired with 22 home runs and 31 steals, it was too late for many dynasty league owners to scoop him up and reap the rewards that he is currently providing in the majors.
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert.
With no International or Carolina League games on the schedule and torrential rains wiping out most of the Eastern League slate, the MLU is a little lighter than it would be on most Thursday mornings. Not to worry, however. It’s been 90 degrees all week down here in Florida, so there’s nothing stopping the Update from carrying on, even with a limited schedule.
Player of the Night: Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Royals (Northwest Arkansas, AA): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, K.
The pair of home runs Cuthbert hit on Wednesday night matched his total in 60 games in Wilmington last season. It’s important to see Cuthbert develop some power if scouts are going to continue to project him as a potential impact bat. Cuthbert has been pushed aggressively, but that can only be a crutch for so long.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Marlins lefty Andrew Heaney.
Hitter of the Night: Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (Albuquerque, AAA): 4-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB.
This is the kind of power production the Dodgers are going to need from Pederson if/when he shifts to a corner outfield position, though barring injuries, that won’t be happening in L.A. any time soon. Pederson looks like he’s close to being ready to help a major-league team right now, which could make him among the most sought-after prospects this July.
Pitcher of the Night: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Jacksonville, AA): 6 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K.
The Marlins are still searching for a minor-league level that will provide Heaney with a challenge, but it doesn’t look thus far like they’ve found it in the Southern League. He could continue to move quickly, even by Marlins standards.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including outfielders Courtney Hawkins, Billy McKinney, and Joc Pederson.
Best of the Day
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, K. The general consensus on Aguilar over the years has been that his hit tool is going to hold his power back enough to keep him from being an everyday player, and that as a right-handed-hitting first-base-only player, he doesn’t fit well on the bench. If that’s going to be wrong, he needs to put up really great offensive numbers, because his defense and baserunning will provide little to no value. If Aguilar keeps hitting like he did this winter and is thus far this season (now hitting .563), he’s going to prove us all wrong.
Mookie Betts, Travis d'Arnaud, and Jorge Soler are among those who came off the board between picks 29 and 56.
In the first episode of the BP Mock Expert Draft, we went over the backstory and parameters of this draft, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Plus I know you’re all just going to skip past the intro anyway to see who else got picked and when. Sometimes you just have to give the people what they want.
So, without any further ado, here are the next two rounds (three and four) of the Baseball Prospectus Expert Mock Prospect Draft with analysis from the participants themselves:
A flashback to the high-school and college days of Archie Bradley, Eddie Butler, Austin Hedges, and many more top prospects.
As part of Perfect Game's partnership with Baseball Prospectus, David Rawnsley, Todd Gold, and Patrick Ebert will be conducting a “Before They Were Pros” series, providing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in baseball from when they were in high school attending PG events. This six-part series (one for each division in MLB) will appear once Baseball Prospectus has provided their own detailed scouting reports of the top prospects, team-by-team, as part of their “Prospects Will Break Your Heart” series.
We continue by looking at select top prospects from National League West teams. Be sure to read Baseball Prospectus' features on each of these five teams:
Notes on the prospects who stood out abroad, and on a handful who were protected from the Rule Five Draft.
Prospect of the Day:Billy Hamilton, CF, Reds (Cangrejeros de Santurce, PRWL): 3-6, K, 3 SB. Now that’s a Billy Hamilton-esque game. The Reds speedster has struggled to get on base this winter, thus negating his speed, but he’s still a game-changer when he does. He also threw a runner out at second base from the outfield.
Notes on eight prospects, including Braves outfielder Joey Terdoslavich and Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco.
Prospect of the Day: Joey Terdoslavich, LF, Braves (Toros del Este, DWL): 3-4, 2B, 3B, K. International league rosters are in constant flux, and Terdoslavich was a late addition to the Toros. He went 3-4 in his first game, showing the extra-base power that makes him an attractive bench option for the Braves. He won’t be playing first base (his natural position) for them any time soon, but he’s playing the outfield this winter to gain more experience at his new secondary position.
Notes on 14 prospects, including first-overall pick Mark Appel, plus a minor-league veteran who notched double-digit strikeouts in relief.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Brad Allen, RHP, Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend): 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. In tonight’s edition of the non-prospect who shoved, I feature Brad Allen. Allen is a right-handed pitcher out of Arkansas State, and is pitching in Low-A at the age of 24. He had it all working tonight, racking up 10 strikeouts in relief.
Position Prospect of the Day: Joc Pederson, CF, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Joc makes it back on the list, and the story won’t change on my end. I believe in Pederson as an everyday player, and the makeup may give him a chance to overachieve.
Reds third-base prospect Seth Mejias-Brean turned in a walk-off grand slam to earn the top position-player spot in today's update.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Joan Gregorio, RHP, Giants (Low-A Augusta): 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K. Gregorio has a fastball that can touch 94 with life. He is able to miss bats with a curveball that has good shape, and uses a changeup that is still early in the stages of development. Gregorio is 6-foot-7 and has extremely long levers, which allows his stuff to play up; 60.2 IP, 50 H, 21 ER, 13 BB, 73 K in 11 starts this year.
Position Prospect of the Day: Seth Mejias-Brean, 3B, Reds (Low-A Dayton): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 6 RBI, K. Scouts feel that Mejias-Brean can be at least a solid-average hitter, and they also believe in his ability to play third base. The underlying problem is that most scouts do not feel that he will hit for enough power to fit an everyday hot-corner profile; .452/.500/.643 with 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 1 SB in last 42 at-bats.
Notes on the prospects who shined at Citi Field in the annual showcase on Sunday.
C: Austin Hedges, Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore): 0-2. Hedges had a very solid batting practice session, which gave me confidence that he will have enough bat to stay in the lineup every day. Hedges also showed off his defensive ability, gunning down XanderBogaerts on a steal attempt and displaying solid receiving skills behind the plate.
1B: C.J. Cron, Angels (Double-A Arkansas): 2-4. The results in the game were nice, but I'm not sure Cron’s swing will lead to a high rate of success at the highest level. He really drifts and his hips can get out of line in his swings. The raw power is unassailable, but I have concerns about whether it will consistently work.