A look at how the Tigers snatched Game 3 from the Bronx Bombers
On Sunday, it was Miguel Cabrera, one of the league's best hitters, beatingFreddy Garcia, a back-of-the-rotation survivor. On Monday, it was Brandon Inge, Ramon Santiago, and Don Kelly outlasting CC Sabathia, the Yankees ace, with Delmon Young delivering a late kick to the sternum of the Bronx Bombers' bullpen. By stars and by scrubs, the Tigers have taken a 2-1 lead over the Yankees in the AL Division Series, and they stand one A.J. Burnett start away from knocking the league's number one seed out of the postseason.
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While the playoff picture may be clear, those who will take the mound in each game are not.
When Josh Beckett hobbled off the mound with an ankle sprain during the fourth inning of Monday's start, he added an unwelcome layer of suspense to Boston's championship aspirations. Not that the Sox are in danger of missing the playoffs without him; their chance of bonus baseball stood at 99.7 percent even after losing extra innings. For all of the team's strengths, including its formidable offense and late-game bullpen, Beckett's sprain—which will cost him at least one start—spotlights the unsettled nature of the Red Sox’ October rotation.
Despite handling their young fireballer with kid gloves, the Yankees find themselves without one of their top relief pitchers for the next year.
Some 24 hours after placing Joba Chamberlain on the disabled list with what was reportedly a flexor strain, the Yankees announced that a dye-contrast MRI revealed that their star set-up man had suffered a torn ligament in his elbow. Instead of being lost for a matter of weeks, Chamberlain is almost certainly headed for Tommy John surgery, ending his season and leaving the Yankees’ bullpen in total disarray.
What went right (and wrong) on last year's Top 11 lists.
Arizona Diamondbacks No. 1 Prospect: Jarrod Parker, RHP (52nd overall) What Was Said: “...If he comes back 100 percent, he's an All-Star.” Analysis: As expected, Parker missed the entire year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but by all accounts, his recovery has been a success, as he's pitching to live hitters in the instructional league and already touching the mid-90s with his fastball. A lost year is never good for one's development, but for Parker, everything post-surgery has gone as well, if not better, than expected. Two Through Eleven: First baseman Brandon Allen (second) had an interesting season at Triple-A Reno, slugging 25 home runs and drawing 83 walks in just 107 games, but a .261 batting average in a hitter's paradise still leaves a lot of questions. Top 2009 pick Bobby Borchering (third) really didn't get going at Low-A South Bend until the end of the season, but at least he saved his prospect status. Shortstop Chris Owings (fourth) was the best player on the South Bend squad before foot issues cut his season short. Outfielder A.J. Pollock (fifth) missed the entire year following elbow surgery, while fellow flychaser Keon Broxton (sixth) had some of the best tools in the Midwest League and led the minors with 19 triples, but also hit just .228 with 172 strikeouts. A pair of slugging 2009 draftees, outfielder Marc Krauss (seventh) and third baseman, at least in name, Matt Davidson (eighth) both impressed with the bat in their first full seasons, but lefty Mike Belfiore disappointed (ninth) in his. Converted outfielder Leyson Septimo (11th) still has insane velocity for a southpaw, and still has no idea where it's going. Sleeper: Thick righty Josh Collmenter continued to succeed at High- and Double-A but the lack of a true out pitch caught up to him in the Pacific Coast League.
What went right (and wrong) with last year's prospect rankings.
Atlanta Braves No. 1 Prospect: Jason Heyward, OF (second overall) What Was Said: “...the potential to be a 'face of the franchise' talent.” Analysis: He certainly looks like he'll be just that, as a .277/.393/.456 line in the big leagues at age 20 is nothing short of a remarkable achievement. Two Through Eleven: Righties Julio Teheran (second) and Arodys Vizcaino (third) were as good as advertised, although the latter had some arm problems. First baseman Freddie Freeman (fourth) developed more power at Triple-A and is poised to take over the big-league job next year. Young catcher Christian Bethancourt (sixth) did not impress statistically, but the tools are still there, at least. lefty Mike Minor (seventh) was obviously way too low, but who knew he'd gain two to four ticks on his fastball? Power righty Craig Kimbrel (eighth) found the strike zone late in the year, made the playoff roster and could be closing next spring. Outfielder Cody Johnson (11th) saw his contact issues destroy him at Double-A. Sleeper: 5-foot-9 right-hander Benino Pruneda is a little closer to the big leagues after reaching Double-A and striking out 93 in 64 2/3 innings.
Looking at what went right (and wrong) on last year's lists.
Los Angeles Angels No. 1 Prospect: Mike Trout, OF (53rd overall) What Was Said: “...will be a dynamic center fielder who hits leadoff, or maybe more in the middle if the power comes.” Analysis: Putting a late first-round pick as the best prospect after just 39 games was a bit risky, but Trout's scouting reports out of Arizona bordered on unreal. He lived up to every expectation and more, and is now on the short list of candidates as the best prospect in the game. Two Through Eleven: Catcher Hank Conger (second) and righty Jordan Walden (third) both got to the big leagues, but at this point it looks like Walden will make the bigger impact. Lefty Trevor Reckling (fourth) went backward, yet was still young for the level. Righties Fabio Martinez (fifth) and Garrett Richards (sixth) both showed power stuff and inconsistency in their full-season debuts. Peter Bourjos (seventh) had a good year at Triple-A in a great hitter's park, but speed and defense can't make up for how little he's hit with the Angels. Their '09 first-round pick, Randal Grichuk, (eighth) was injured much of the year and finished strong, but his approach remains a mess. Lefty Tyler Skaggs (ninth) was one of the better arms in the Midwest League and went to Arizona in the Dan Haren deal. Young arms Jon Bachanov (10th) and Tyler Kehrer (11th) both scuffled in their first exposure to full-season ball. Sleeper: Catcher Carlos Ramirez showed power, patience, and very good defense at Low-A Cedar Rapids, but also hit just .226.
Looking at what went right and wrong on this year's lists.
Baltimore Orioles No. 1 Prospect: Brian Matusz, LHP (18th overall) What Was Said: “...has as much polish as any pitching prospect in the game.” Analysis: While Matusz's 4.59 ERA might not impress, he's been outstanding at times, and the potential to be a consistent 15-18 game winner is still there as he learns how to pitch with his full arsenal to overcome an inability to miss bats. Two Through Eleven: Lefty Zach Britton (fourth) was too low, and while third baseman Josh Bell (second) and Jake Arrieta (third) both reached the big leagues, Britton has the best chance to make a difference for this team long-term. The team's first-round pick in 2009, Matt Hobgood (fifth), was given a bit of a mulligan for his velocity dip, but it never came back this year. Some readers were upset that first baseman Brandon Snyder (seventh) didn't rank higher, but as it turned out, he didn't even deserve that ranking. Catcher Caleb Joseph (ninth) fell dramatically at Double-A, while corner infielder Brandon Waring (10th) hit tons of home runs but still strikes out far too much. Sleeper: Named as a potential lefty power reliever, Ashur Tolliver had shoulder problems and then scuffled in the New York-Penn League.
Looking and what went right and wrong on this year's lists.
Chicago White Sox No. 1 Prospect: Daniel Hudson, RHP (55th overall) What Was Said: “...a good third starter at best.” Analysis: Obviously, Hudson has been much better than that since his trade to Arizona, but I'm not convinced it will last. The league will obviously catch up to him a bit, but he's still likely going to exceed that projection. Two Through Eleven: The team's two other four-star prospects had nightmare years, as 2009 first-round pick Jared Mitchell missed the entire year due to injury, while catcher Tyler Flowers regressed heavily. In the end, third baseman Brent Morel was too low at sixth, and control issues caught up to power reliever Clevelan Santeliz (seventh) at Triple-A. All in all, it was a bad year down on the farm for the White Sox. Sleeper: Catcher Miguel Gonzalez collapsed at Low-A with a .218/.260/.276 line, but his defense was still outstanding, as he gunned down half of opposing base stealers.
BP's in-house guru takes his shot at projecting how team's top picks go next week.
1. Washington Nationals: This is now a no-brainer. Over the course of the spring, we've slowly gone from "Will they take Harper?" to "Will they sign Haper?" to "How much will they pay Harper?" He's going No. 1, and you could even end up seeing a creative deal that, on paper, gets him more than Stephen Strasburg received.