Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, plus an obligatory Gregory Polanco update.
Friday, May 16
Miles Head, 1B, A’s (Midland, AA): 3-4, R, HR. Head is struggling once again, now in his third go-round in Double-A. It was already a tough profile as a right-handed-hitting first baseman, but Head’s power outage is enough to diminish his status as a prospect. For what it’s worth, Head also homered again on Sunday.
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Notes on prospects who stood out over the weekend, including outfielders Victor Roache and Raimel Tapia.
Friday, May 2
Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Iowa, AAA): 0-4, 2 K. When Baez homered in the I-Cubs’ final April game, we all hoped it would be the boost he needed to turn the page on a rough month. Instead, Baez is now 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts in May, including an 0-for-12 weekend that included eight punchouts. He’s not close right now.
Aaron Sanchez leads off the second half of the list.
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2014, our second-annual prospect book, which will collect all of BP's offseason prospect content (plus exclusive prospect and fantasy offerings) in book and e-book form. Here's a look at last year's book; expect an even more meaty offering this time around.
To read part one of this list, published yesterday, click here.
Kyle Crick, Colin Moran, and Stephen Piscotty come off the board to kick off picks 57 through 98.
Continuing with the theme of less filler and more of the good stuff, let’s jump right in here. If you want to revisit the parameters of the draft, they are all in the initial post of the series. If you don’t, you may skip right over this:
Notes on prospects playing in the desert and abroad, including Astros righty Matt Heidenreich and Dodgers outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez.
Hitter of the Day: Brian Cavazos-Galvez, RF, Dodgers (Glendale Desert Dogs): 3-4, R, 3 2B. BCG’s days as a prospect are pretty much over, given that he’ll turn 27 next season, but he still has an interesting bat. He’ll never get regular at-bats in the Dodgers lineup now that they’re spending over $200 million a year, but he could be a useful bench bat with some pop.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Heidenreich, RHP, Astros (Peoria Javelinas): 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Heidenreich needed a strong fall to wash the taste of a terrible summer out of his mouth. He’s accomplished just that, with his strong final start lowering his AFL ERA to 2.14.
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.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Between the weather, the Mythbusters, and Full House reruns, life's pretty good in San Francisco. But that doesn't mean their top prospects can't fail like the rest of us.
Prospect #1: OF Gary Brown Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources Who: A first-round selection in the 2010 draft, Brown emerged as a near-elite prospect in 2011, showing above-average offensive potential to match his well above-average defensive skill set. The 23-year-old center fielder has all the qualities to become a frontline defensive force, with top-of-the-chart speed that gives him a very broad coverage area, a very solid glove, instincts for the position, and solid-average arm strength. His bat isn’t in the same league as his glove, but the hit tool has promise, with some scouts projecting it to be a plus weapon at the major league level. Without much pop, Brown’s game is more contact and speed, limiting his overall offensive impact, but making him a realistic leadoff option. His defense at a premium position will be his ticket to the majors, and the development and utility of the stick will determine whether Brown becomes a fringe starter or an All-Star. Opinions on the ultimate projection are quite mixed.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: “Brown’s offensive skills aren’t as average as his 2012 numbers might suggest, but they aren’t as top-shelf as his 2011 numbers either. The reality is somewhere in between. He’s a good hitter, but he’s not a great hitter.” This is a tasty quote from a very good source, and it represents the majority of opinion I received when I asked around about Brown. His struggles in Double-A can be attributed to his weakness against quality right-handed pitching, most notably arms that can locate velocity inside or drop sharp breaking stuff out of the zone. He has good bat control and a stroke designed for contact, but he either fails to recognize and adjust to such off-speed offerings, or his appetite for unhittable breaking balls is so intense that he is compelled to swing despite knowing that his attempts will be for naught. I’m assuming it’s the former. If he can refine this skill, Brown should be more than adequate at the plate, with contact ability and enough speed to turn weak contact into base hits. Power is never going to be a big part of his game—his swing is built for the gaps rather than the seats beyond the fence—but he can put the good part of the barrel on the ball. His value is elevated by his ability to play center field at a high level, so anything you can get from the bat will only add to his worth. If the bat fails to develop to major league standards, Brown will still reach the level thanks to his glove and his speed. If he can hit for some average, his overall profile will make him a starter. If the bat explodes, he will be a star.
Interesting backstories dominate after this weekend's games, with surprise performances, defensive shifts, reclaimed prospect status, disappointing contracts, and accelerated big-league arrivals all on display.
Matt Barnes, RHP, Red Sox (High-A Salem)
Throughout the entire month of April, it was pretty clear that Barnes didn't belong in Low-A, as the 2011 first-round pick allowed just one run over 26 2/3 innings while striking out 42. On Saturday, Barnes showed that he might not belong in High-A either, as he whiffed 12 over six four-hit innings in his Carolina League debut. Just as important as the numbers, Barnes has started to break out the secondary stuff, as after relying primarily on a fastball that can touch 97 in Greenville, he was generating swings and misses with a curveball that has been an inconsistent pitch in the past. His ceiling hasn't changed yet, but his timetable is quickly accelerating.