Last week, we talked about how prospects are volatile and that they go through ups and downs with their development. Actually, we’ve done that a lot more than last week. We’ve done that for six months. Time flies.
This week, it’s a lot less fun. Sometimes, prospects fail, and that stinks. It stinks on ice, but it’s a natural part of the business. I will mention this again, but I hope I’m wrong about every single one of these players, and that this article gets shoved in my face like a shaving cream pie when five of these guys become Hall Of Famers.
Here’s my 2015 “Say something, I’m giving up on you” team.
C: Nick Ciuffo, Tampa Bay Rays – Ciuffo was a personal favorite coming out of the 2013 draft; showing the potential for plus power from the left side and a strong throwing arm behind the plate. That power hasn’t shown up at all in games – he’s slugging .324 this year with one homer at Low-A Burlington – and though he’s improved as a backstop, the offense has regressed. Giving up on a first-round pick two years ago is difficult to do, but you have to show some sort of progression to stay a top-tier prospect, no matter what the position.
1B: Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers – Guzman was given nearly $3.5 million dollars as an amateur in 2011, and was hyped as one of the more “complete” international hitting prospects in quite some time. Since entering the Texas system, however, Guzman hasn’t shown anything to deserve that kind of praise, struggling to hit for power – a major no-no at first base already – from a long swing that has swing-and-miss without the ripe rewards that can come from it. He’s also a 30 runner with a below-average arm, so he’s not going to provide much defensive value. At this point, Guzman looks more like organizational fodder than an actual prospect, and there’s no reason to think his value is going to shoot up any time soon.
2B: Sean Coyle, Boston Red Sox – There were some who believed that Coyle was the heir apparent to Dustin Pedroia at second base (whoops), and that he could play a role in helping the Red Sox compete for the AL East championship (double whoops). Coyle’s response was to post a .634 OPS in an injury-riddled 2015 campaign; and the above-average hit and solid-average power tool that many saw looked more like 40s (on the 20-80 scale) this season. Because of his speed and potential defensive versatility Coyle has a chance to be a utility player, but any chance of him becoming a regular has likely been quashed – though it was probably a long shot in the first place.
3B: Matt Davidson, Chicago White Sox – Maybe this one is obvious, but just in case some of you were holding out hope that the 24-year-old third baseman still had a chance to become a future regular at the hot corner, I’m here to let you know that’s not going to happen. Davidson’s swing has added length since the trade from Arizona, and the contact issues have gotten worse. He’s also regressed some defensively, though he was never going to be an asset with the glove anyway. After two straight years of struggling in Charlotte, it’s time to call Matt Davidson what he is – a disappointment.
SS: Roberto Baldoquin, Los Angeles Angeles – Giving up on a guy that was given $8 million just under a year ago and has had less than 300 plate appearances as a professional may seem extreme, but every report I’ve received on Baldoquin has been disappointing, and he wasn’t impressive in my limited viewing either. The discipline at the plate doesn’t exist – as evidenced by his nine walks this season – and the swing path gives him no chance of making hard contact into the gaps. Add in his below-average speed and a throwing arm that isn’t strong enough to compensate, and you can understand why I’m willing to write off Baldoquin so early in his career. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.
OF: Josh Hart, Baltimore Orioles – I wrote up Hart in Monday’s ten pack, but his struggles bear repeating. The 2013 compensation-round pick has shown no offensive upside at the plate – showing as poor of patience as Baldoquin with just as little power, if not less — and the defensive upside doesn’t make up for the 40 hit, 20 power he currently possesses.
OF: Steven Moya, Detroit Tigers – Listing Moya is sort of a cop-out, as I was never terribly high on him to begin with, but his poor 2015 has confirmed my suspicions. As good of an athlete as he is for being his size, Moya’s swing is entirely too long, and because he’s so aggressive at the plate, there’s no reason to throw him a secondary offering for a strike, which helps explain the strikeouts. Power and athleticism is nice, but it doesn’t make you a great prospect, and unfortunately Moya is proving that point.
OF: Courtney Hawkins, White Sox – This one sort of breaks my heart (prospects will do that, I’ve heard), and some of you will have a lot of fun laughing at how high I was even after his disaster of a 2013 season. I’m ready to admit that I was wrong, as Hawkins just hasn’t made any adjustments, and he’s lost some of the athleticism that made him a potential star coming out of the 2012 draft. I hope I’m wrong about all these players, but none more so than Hawkins, because when he’s been at his best he’s a lot of fun to watch. That hasn’t happened very much as a professional, though.
SP: Lucas Sims, Atlanta Braves – In order to be a starting pitcher, you have to A. have good stuff, B. be able to throw strikes and locate your pitches, and C. show some semblance of consistency on the mound. Sims definitely has A – the stuff rivals any pitcher in a very talented system – but B and C? Not so much, and it’s regressing rather than getting better. Giving up on a pitcher with three above-average pitches in a system that developed hurlers as well – if not better – than any may seem strange, but it’s the fact that he hasn’t made the necessary adjustments that concerns me, it should have happened by now, and it hasn’t.
Thank you for reading
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