Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23) | 2009 (16) | 2008 (30)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] International League — Charlotte
AA: [63-76] Southern League — Birmingham
A+: [87-51] Carolina League — Winston-Salem
A: [61-78] South Atlantic League — Kannapolis
Arizona Fall League Players — Salt River Rafters
Andre Rienzo (RHP); Santos Rodriguez (LHP); Salvador Sanchez (RHP); Taylor Thompson (RHP); Carlos Sanchez (2B); Andy Wilkins (1B); Trayce Thompson (OF)
Graduated Prospects of Note
Addison Reed (RHP); Jose Quintana (RHP); Hector Santiago (LHP)
The Run Down Please, blog, may I have some more?
The MLB Divisional Series are still raging and, for most, it’s a little early to start digging into 2013 previews of any sort. Alas, we have a schedule to maintain here. As usual, we’ll ease you into these team-by-team minor league previews, starting from the bottom, and working our way toward the more compelling organizations as we approach Opening Day 2013. So, here we are in the cellar: the Chicago White Sox. And believe me, it doesn’t get any lower than this. Perhaps, though, it’s unfair to bash the Sox for their lousy farm system. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and President Kenny Williams have consistently approached their organization from a MLB-first perspective — they don’t spend much in drafts and their player development systems are lagging. But the White Sox aren’t ignorant to these flaws; they just don’t care. They’re a principled franchise, and they’re reasonably successful in what they do and how they do it. Frankly, I don’t endorse this baseball operations model — it kinda goes without saying that I’m a prospecty, build-from-within sort of dude. But while I watch other organizations tiptoe the line between development-first and MLB-first organizational philosophies, I must admit that it’s refreshing to see Sox standing their ground, flippin’ the bird to all the Keith Laws out there.
Okay, it’s more of a blog post than an awards show, but it’s still really effing prestigious. Well, maybe it’s not prestigious either, but no one watches sports award shows anyway, and I think we can all agree that the ESPY’s would be much better if it were simply a short-form blog post. I’ll be digging into team-by-team 2013 previews in the coming weeks, so what we have for you here is one last look around the 2012 Minor League Baseball action. Enjoy. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Minor League Baseball season has reached it’s glorious culmination. Well, actually, it’s not very glorious. No, no one really cares who wins in the New York-Penn semis, or the International League title, or the Midwest League championship. It’s just not that interesting. Not even for me. Sure, organizations do their best to instill winning attitudes throughout their farm systems, and I absolutely agree that’s important. It’s why Jeff Luhnow is still tweeting crap like “#JETHAWKS WIN”. Yay, Jethawks… It’s fun for the players, I suppose. It’s fun for the small-town fans, too. And it’s a small source of pride for player development types. But that’s about the extent of it. All that said, the various MiLB playoffs are still worth keeping an eye on, if only for the handful of real-deal prospects who’re performing on a slightly grander stage than usual. So, to wrap up this year’s Minor Accomplishments series, I leave you with a brief rundown of what’s happening with some of the more notable prospects in their respective postseasons:
Mike Zunino | C, Mariners – The third overall pick this past June has been simply incredible since signing. His dominance has continued in the Double-A Southern League playoffs: Zunino’s blasted 3 homers and posted a .400+ AVG for Jackson. Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s been 29 years since we’ve had simultaneous 100-steal season in Minor League Baseball, but the wait is over, people. Billy Hamilton swiped his 100th bag, like, back in May or something, and he finished up with 155 on the year. He was joined in triple-digit land earlier this week by Delino DeShields, who ended 2012 with 101 stolen bases. It was an outstanding year for the Astros’ 2010 first-rounder, one that would’ve drawn far more praise had it not been overshadowed by Hamilton’s record-breaking season. The kicker here, though, was Delino’s pop — the 20-year-old hit 12 homers between Low-A and High-A, becoming the first MiLB player in history to collect 10+ homers while stealing 100+ bases. The future is bright for this one. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last Wednesday, I joined Rudy and Nick for the Razzball Baseball Podcast. On the show, we counted down my top 15 prospects, but truth be told, I was fully prepared to discuss my top 20. So, with the MiLB season winding down and all, I thought now would be a good opportunity to put the entire list out there in written form. This is a preliminary ranking — I’ll roll out more official and specific ranks during the off-season, once the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to gather more intel. Please keep in mind that this list is limited to prospects still in the minors prior to September 1st call-ups. Also, in the interest of not being too farsighted, I included only guys who’ll be making their impacts within the next year or two (which is certainly a matter up for debate). Anyway, my top 20:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers – Current Level: MLB Age: 19 – Five-tool shortstop projects to go 20/20 annually, and he’s certainly gifted enough to do more. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Back in May, while previewing some draft prospects, I mentioned that Marcus Stroman was well suited to climb the ladder quickly. And then just three weeks ago in my Week 18 MiLB report, I reiterated that sentiment, this time suggesting that Stroman might even be in line for a September call-up. Well, a lot can change in just a few weeks, especially when, during those few weeks, you test positive for something called Methylhexaneamine. That’s what Stroman did. And in case you hadn’t deduced it already, Methylhexaneamine is banned substance in baseball. Hence: Stroman was slapped with a 50 game suspension. The Jays’ first-rounder won’t see a pro ball field ’til late next May, and that’s truly bad news for a guy who should’ve been competing for a spot on the big club in spring training. With big time heat to go with a plus slider, Stroman has immediate high-leverage reliever potential. He certainly could’ve entered 2013 with hype similar to that with which Addison Reed entered 2012. Not anymore. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I don’t often interest myself with indie league baseball, but with this whole 50-year-old Roger Clemens comeback ordeal, I just had to watch. And from what I witnessed, Clemens was good. He allowed just one baserunner (a hit) over 3.1 IP, striking out two, showing good command of a fastball in the mid-upper-80s. After watching the outing, there’s no reason to believe that Clemens couldn’t be as effective as Jaime Moyer was when he pitched with the Rockies this year. A sideshow type return to the bigs seems plausible here — scouts from the Astros and the Royals were reportedly in attendance. Of course, my cynical mind wonders how, after five years away from the game, a 50-year-old man can compete at a major league level. I can’t help but think The Rocket’s return is PED-fueled — and it’s not like there’s no precedent with this guy. Clemens has an enormous ego. That’s no secret. The past five years have been brutal on his legacy, and a “legitimate” return to the majors could go a long way in repairing his image. I’m not familiar with the PED testing policy employed by the independent Atlantic League, or if there is one at all. And obviously this is purely speculative thinking. But, c’mon. Doesn’t it seem a little fishy? Please, blog, may I have some more?
Trayce Thompson | OF, White Sox | Born: 3/15/1991
As usual, roster activity around the minors has increased greatly as the MiLB regular season approaches its final weeks. A slew of notable prospects are on the move to new clubs at new levels, and I’ve been doing my best to keep y’all informed in my weekly Minor Accomplishments posts. Well this past Sunday, I neglected to mention that Trayce Thompson, a big swinging outfielder in the White Sox system, was bumped up to Double-A Birmingham in the Southern League. The reports on Thompson have always been consistent: extremely toolsy, but extremely raw. With a huge swing from the right side he generates big time bat speed, translating to plus-plus power. Thompson hit 24 homers and posted an ISO of .216 last year at Low-A, and the power didn’t cease this year when the Sox moved him to High-A: 55 XBH (22 HR) in 510 PA, .232 ISO. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Given how much he was touted during the preseason, you’d think Shelby Miller would’ve already surfaced in St. Louis after injuries to big league starters Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia. But a poor spring training followed by a brutal first half in the Pacific Coast League forced the Cardinals to turn to Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly instead. Whatever was bothering Miller during the first four months of 2012 — mechanics, command, velocity… all of the above — whatever it was, he seems to have worked through it. In 40.2 IP over his last seven outings with Triple-A Memphis, he’s posted a 42/4 K/BB along with a 3.32 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Miller is once again commanding his mid-90s fastball and he truly looks to be back on track as an elite prospect. With the Cardinals welcoming back Jaime Garcia to their rotation today, however, it seems unlikely that we’ll see him pitch in the bigs this year. Still, at just 21-years-old, Miller’s ceiling remains enormous. He should help in all formats next year. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I was gonna write about Jurickson Profar and his possible call-up here, but Grey ran with that yesterday and my take wasn’t offering different advice. Add him in keepers if he’s not already owned, but don’t waste much energy on him in re-draft formats as playing time will be spotty and he’s still five-or-so years away from peaking. Anyway, just one name to dig into this week:
Anthony Rendon | 3B, Nationals | Born: 6/6/1990
Prior to the 2012 season, Nationals execs would’ve been very pleased at the idea of Anthony Rendon reaching Double-A in his first year of pro baseball. In April, though, those hopes and expectations were put on hold after the 2011 1st round pick broke his left ankle on the basepaths. Injuries happen. Clubs are well versed in coping with injured prospects, with not allowing time spent rehabbing to impact player development. In Rendon’s case, however, a lengthy history of heal problems — right ankle in 2009 & 2010, right shoulder in 2011 — made this most recent setback particularly concerning. Please, blog, may I have some more?