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!
This past weekend saw some improved control, some extended hitting streaks, and a few prospects who might be worth watching after all.
Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees (Triple-A Empire State)
On April 12, in his second start of the year, Banuelos walked six over two innings and then hit the disabled list with a minor back injury. The back was clearly affecting his delivery, but control was an issue in 2011 as well, and whether it's getting healthy or just a good run, he's suddenly turned into a strike-throwing machine. Since his return to the rotation—and including six outstanding innings on Sunday—Banuelos has reeled off 14 2/3 innings without issuing a walk, and he's done it without ratcheting down his stuff in terms of velocity or break. It's too early to get excited here, but with both Banuelos and Betances pitching well of late, maybe the Yankees will trust their own this year when a need arrives.
A trio of very highly-regarded pitchers leads off Arizona's top prospect list, but they're not sure things.
Prospect #1: RHP Trevor Bauer Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources Who: Selected with the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer was seen by many as the most major league ready arm in the class, a pitcher that could ascend to the highest level in short order. Unfortunately known more for his torque-heavy delivery and idiosyncratic warm-up/cool-down routines than his arsenal, Bauer might have the deepest collection of pitches in the minors, a treasure chest of above-average offerings that he creates and crafts like a scientist on the mound; the 21-year-old righty has multiple fastballs thrown with varying velocity and movement, multiple breaking balls (including a plus slider and a plus curve), multiple change-of-pace offerings (including a plus changeup and a trapdoor splitter), not to mention pitches that are unique creations that observations fail to properly identify. His approach and commitment to pitching is as focused as you will find in the game and, despite some early professional struggles with command and control, the total package has a chance to be special. Assuming good health, Bauer will be a number three starter at worst, and if refinement occurs and efficiency improves, he could pitch atop a major league rotation in the very near future.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: The great irony of Trevor Bauer is that he is viewed as the ultimate baseball rat; he doesn’t breathe oxygen, he actually breathes pitching. From his long-toss routine, to his stretches, to his relentless pursuit of biomechanical-related scholarship, to his home-brewed arsenal, Bauer is consumed by his craft. But one of the knocks on Bauer has been that he often looks more like a thrower than a pitcher, showing an impressive arsenal, but lacking the feel to execute with efficiency. A few scouts suggested that his current inefficiency stems from his laboratory approach to pitching; his need to tinker with his deep arsenal to the point that he forgets his main objective is to coerce outs. These particular sources weren’t sour on his command profile, as they felt he could throw strikes if he made throwing strikes his objective, but they did mention that the poster boy for pitchability was struggling with his pitchability. If it’s really as simple as too much tinkering and not enough touch, Bauer is going to be just fine. He has a ton of toys and he’s still trying to figure out which ones belong in the toy box and which ones belong on the field. The minor leagues are the perfect environment for experimentation, so it’s hard to fault Bauer for striving to examine and refine this particular aspect of his game. However, with a little more focus towards efficiency and strike-throwing, Bauer could be at the major league level, bringing his unique brand of baseball to the biggest stage, and getting the results that could make him a star.
Ease up there, Hemingway, we're talking about pitchers, and whether we're missing a few from the last couple of decades.
When we see the level of offense go up or down in baseball-and it has been down dramatically this season-we tend to attribute it to everything other than the players themselves. In any given downturn, it's the bats, or the baseballs, or the ballparks, or the drugs that the players are injecting themselves with. Or all of those things. But what if it isn't all about context? What if, when offense is up, it literally does mean that there aren't very many good pitchers?