Bear with me for a moment while I venture outside stateside baseball for a look at a marvelous moment in Korean pro ball. The always great Ben Badler of Baseball America brought this clip to my attention this past Wednesday, and you really gotta give this one a look. Outfielder Jun-Woo Jeon is the batter. His team is down two runs with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth. He recognizes the fat breaker, turns on it, and lifts it to left field. He thinks it’s gone and the game tied, so he flips his bat triumphantly and does one of those cool jogging finger points toward his dugout. It’s not gone. No, the ball dies at the track, and not long after, the opposition dies of laughter. This is why you never bat flip. #Scouting.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re some three weeks away from Major League Baseball’s First-Year Players Draft, during which droves of high school and college baseball players will be chosen by MLB organizations to fill their farm systems. Most all of the draftees will never make it further than the low minors. A handful of the college guys, however, are already too advanced for short-season or instructional ball. Mind you, this group is merely a tiny fraction of the overall draft class — there aren’t many guys worth noting for fantasy baseball purposes just yet. But there are some. So for the next few installments of this Scouting the Unknown series — which is typically reserved for already-pros — I’m going to highlight some draft prospects who could be bringing fantasy relevance to the not-so-distant future.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In my Week 4 MiLB report, I included a brief writeup on Blue Jays pitching prospect, Roberto Osuna, highlighting his hot start to 2013 season at Low-A Lansing. My blurb from that particular post: “Number five on my Blue Jays top ten from March, Osuna is a rather plump 18-year-old with a front-end arsenal. Through 18 IP at Low-A Lansing, he’s posted a 26/3 K/BB along with an ERA at 2.95 and a WHIP at 0.82. Some folks are concerned about his potentially tubby frame, but the stuff might just be good enough to overcome the weight issue.” Well Osuna was pulled from his most recent start with elbow discomfort. A subsequent visit to Dr. Andrews has revealed a UCL tear, and it’s now all but official that the Jays’ prized prospect will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The developmental setback is disappointing, but at age 18, Osuna was ahead of the developmental curve already. There’s still reason to remain optimistic about his future outlook, but it looks like it’ll be a full year before we see him pitching in a meaningful game again. And that sucks.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Brace yourselves for another revision of the prospect power rankings, this time with more turnover! There’s been plenty of movement in the past few weeks, both upward and downward, making room for five fresh faces in the top ten/next five. Nolan Arenado and Dan Straily, both top ten guys last time through, have surfaced in the bigs, while three guys fall from the ranks. Danny Hultzen drops out thanks to a shoulder injury, which has been deemed mild, but it’s concerning nonetheless. Nick Castellanos and Mike Zunino also slip out of the rankings, as both prospects are slumping severely at the dish. We also have a new #1, which is quite exciting — do try to contain your enthusiasm. Let’s get started.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Almost exactly a year after Aroldis Chapman was pulled over and arrested for driving well over 90 MPH in Ohio, Yasiel Puig, Champan’s Cuban countryman, was arrested for essentially the same thing. Puig was pulled over early last week for reckless driving after being clocked at 97 MPH in 50 MPH zone. The incident came at the tail end of a short stint on the DL, and the 22-year-old’s promising start to 2013 appeared to be unraveling thanks to injury and matters off the field. But Puig was unfazed by the arrest, cracking a homer the very next day, and another a few days later. His line on the year is .311/.364/.639 with 9 XBH (5 HR) in 66 PA. Promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque should take place before long, and arrival in LA shortly after.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Michael Wacha | RHP, Cardinals | Born: 7/1/1991
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve covered Wacha in the Scouting the Unknown series. I actually wrote a brief report on him a little less than a year ago while highlighting some notable draft prospects. You can read that post here. Now, it may seem like I’m double-dipping, and I suppose, technically, I am. But since last June, there are very few prospects whose stocks have soared quite like Wacha’s has. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of reason to revisit his outlook, applying what we’ve learned over the past year or so in watching the 21-year-old compete at the professional level.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Twins fans might be in for a frustrating year at the big league level, but trust me, the future is bright in Minnesota. No other organization can boast such a high-profile pair of hitting prospects as the Twins can with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Sano, who boasts raw power unmatched by any other minor leaguer, is simply on fire. The 19-year-old is hitting .370/.429/.765 with 9 homers in 91 trips to the plate with High-A Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Buxton, the 2nd overall pick last June, is having no trouble with his first taste of full-season baseball, batting .400/.524/.662 with 3 homers and 8 stolen bases through 82 PA. I went over my Byron Buxton fantasy the other week, in case you missed it. Judging by tools alone, these two are among the most exciting talents in baseball. The fact that they’re backing up their tools with such serious production on the field only vaults their stock to new heights — I’m talkin’ top ten overall for both. 2016 can’t arrive soon enough for Twins fans.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re back for our first revision of the prospect power rankings. For those who are new, or just kinda slow, this is where we’ll take a biweekly look at the best fantasy stashes in Minor League Baseball. To see the inaugural list, click that link. While there’s no change in the top two spots, there was quite a bit of shuffling around the rest of the way through. One notable guy dropping off the list is Travis D’Anaud, who suffered a broken foot. The injury will set him back a couple months — terrible news for the 24-year-old who missed most of last season to a knee injury.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ryan Zimmerman is hitting the DL with a hamstring strain, and to replace him, the Nats are calling up their top prospect, Anthony Rendon. Rendon showed he was big league ready during spring training, and many wondered if he might begin the season at the highest level. But in an effort to maximize the 22-year-old’s plate appearances, Washington opted to reassign him to Double-A Harrisburg where through 65 PA he’s hit .292/.462/.500 with 2 homers. With Zimmerman shelved, Rendon becomes the starting third baseman, and you should certainly grab him if he’s still available. Featuring a plus-plus hit tool and an advanced approach at the dish, he’ll help immediately in AVG and OBP categories, and he might even toss in a few homers. For more detail on Rendon, here’s my Nationals’ top ten, where he ranked #1. Also, check out this Scouting the Unknown post from last August.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Archie Bradley | RHP, Diamondbacks | Born: 8/10/1992
It’s rare that a club just gives away a first round investment for pennies on the dollar, but that’s exactly what D’Backs did this past December with Trevor Bauer. Less than two years after drafting him 3rd overall, Arizona decided they didn’t like his attitude, they didn’t appreciate his stubbornness, and so they shipped him to Cleveland for Didi Gregorius and a couple toss-ins. Again, teams just don’t do this sort of trade — they don’t give a front-of-the-rotation prospect a $3.4 million signing bonus, and then cut him loose 18 months later for a defense-first shortstop simply because the kid wouldn’t listen. The Diamondbacks did, though. And they did so because they felt they had the organizational pitching depth to offset the loss. A major factor in that decision was the guy they drafted four picks after Bauer in the 2011 draft, a guy named Archie Bradley.Please, blog, may I have some more?