The Situation: Heading into yesterday’s game, Houston first basemen were hitting .181/.269/.291 as a group. With Singleton boasting a .267/.397/.544 line for Triple-A Oklahoma City and his contract extension freshly signed, the Astros summoned him to the majors to provide some pop—and in his debut, he did.
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Oscar Taveras and Marcus Stroman earn their diplomas, but Gregory Polanco is still waiting.
The Graduates: Oscar Taveras (2), Marcus Stroman (15)
It only took a year longer than many thought, but Taveras has finally taken his rightful place in the Cardinals’ outfield and lineup. With the ankle injury finally in the rearview mirror, the stud prospect is ready to start hitting for average and power immediately at the major league level. If reading about Taveras is your thing (and frankly, that’s all of us), he got the full Call-Up treatment on Saturday by Jason Parks, with fantasy analysis from yours truly. Stroman, on the other hand, is getting his second shot this season, but this time in the role he was born to play: starting pitcher. In his starting debut, Stroman went six innings while striking out six and allowing five base runners. He should stick and although the performance may be up and down, he’ll be worth owning in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixed.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers catcher Jorge Alfaro and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Hitters of the Night:
Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-5, 3 R, 3B, HR.
There aren’t too many catchers who possess an 80-grade arm and can hit triples, which gives you a good idea of Alfaro’s unique and impressive skill set.
We’ll keep the introduction short this week, but it’s the perfect time to touch on a very important topic, both when trying to predict which prospects will have both 2014 and long-term value.
Minor league statistics are deceiving. That’s not to say they can’t be informative, because they do tell the story of what has actually happened in professional games, but they don’t come close to explaining the whole picture. Take Eddie Butler for example—he’s been pitching well in Triple-A, but with the lowest strikeout rate of his minor league career. You could read this as a bad sign when you’re flipping through his Baseball Reference page, but the reality is that the stuff is still just as good as 2013 (if not better), and the Rockies are asking him to pitch to contact more.
Javier Baez retains the top spot, but there's a new hot prospect ranked second.
Yes, there was no Stash List for the past two weeks, but that was all part of the plan. Any changes would be extremely minimal, as no one wants more overreaction to small sample sizes and there was never going to be much roster movement. Of course, then the Astros go and call up George Springer, and now everyone is eyeing the prospects on their benches and asking “why not me?”
Well, realistically, not for a while. The most impactful area of this column for the first two months of the season deals with prospects, and if you haven’t read Zachary Levine’s analysis on service time, it’s extremely important for stashers like you and me. We all know about Super Two, approximately when the deadline is and why teams do it. But it’s often forgotten that there are some big prospects who come up in the second half of April, once their teams have ensured that they don’t lose a full year of control.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Astros first baseman Jonathan Singleton and Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman.
Hitter of the Night: Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Astros (Oklahoma City, AAA): 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, HR, K.
Apparently the mantle of “best hitter in Oklahoma City” isn’t too much for Singleton to handle now that George Springer is in the big leagues. He won’t be too far behind Springer, though the Astros will probably wait until June to promote him.
Pitcher of the Night: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (Buffalo, AAA): 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.
Remember when Stroman struggled badly this spring and everyone worried about whether a short pitcher would be able to generate enough downward plane to miss bats? Well, he’s still short. When Stroman keeps the ball down, he’s lights out, thanks to a plus change-up. He can get hurt when he misses up, but who doesn’t?
Notes on prospects who stood out during the past three days, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.
Friday, April 11
Mike Montgomery, LHP, Rays (Durham, AAA): 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 5 K. It should tell us something about where Montgomery stands within the Rays organization that, even after two solid starts to begin this season and with a rash of injuries to their majo- league pitching staff, Montgomery is still in Triple-A. He’s off to a good start, missing bats and throwing strikes, but his inconsistent mechanics and fringy off-speed stuff still have him destined for a bullpen role.
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: