Perhaps Bryan LaHair isn’t quite the slob I thought he was. Through 110 PA, LaHair is batting .359/.455/.717 with eight homers and it no longer looks as if he’ll be simply stepping aside to make room for top prospect Anthony Rizzo. If Rizzo is to arrive this season, the Cubs are going to have to find a way to build a lineup that accommodates both players. LaHair made 14 appearances at OF last year, one so far this year, and slotting him permanently at a corner OF post would appear to be the move. With other players (Soriano) complicating the matter, though, it might take another trade from the Cubbies to make space available. Meanwhile, Rizzo’s OPS at Triple-A Iowa sits at 1.077 and with every game that passes, it becomes clearer that he’s too advanced for minor league ball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Taijuan Walker | RHP, Mariners | Born: 8/13/1992
The Double-A Jackson Generals have quite an impressive rotation. With Danny Hultzen and James Paxton alone, it’d be among the best rotations in Minor League Baseball. Toss in Taijuan Walker, however, and now we’re looking at a truly special Double-A collection of arms, the likes of which doesn’t come around very often.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I don’t think I saw an organizational ranking all off-season that didn’t have the White Sox dead last. Not that they deserve to be ranked higher – the Sox simply refuse to spend big money in the draft, and their presence in the Latin markets has been lacking of recent. The first month of the 2012 baseball season, however, has brought a bit of good news to the Southsiders, as former top prospect Jared Mitchell has reemerged as an elite outfielder in Double-A. Mitchell, who had a rough go at High-A in 2011 after missing all of 2010 with an ankle injury, has posted a .962 OPS through 28 games with Birmingham. He’s gathered 13 XBH and 6 SB within 120 PA. Mitchell’s hot start is greatly encouraging for a system in need of a boost.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mike Olt | 3B, Rangers | Born: 8/27/1988
The Rangers are flush with high ceiling prospects. At every level you’ll find top-round draftees and highly touted Latin ballplayers, all of whom signed for big money. Perhaps the most glaring example of this impressive collection of youthful talent lies with Double-A Frisco, and more specifically, with the left side of the Roughriders’ infield. Frisco SS Jurickson Profar currently occupies the No.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, it’s not how the Nationals envisioned the arrival, but Bryce Harper is here. The promotion is based more on necessity than performance – Harper’s hitting just .250/.333/.375 in the early going at Triple-A Syracuse. Looks like he’ll occupy the 7th spot in the Washington batting order while Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse are shelved on the DL. It’s probably unrealistic to expect too much out of Harper just yet, but he’s the No.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Matt Barnes | RHP, Red Sox | Born: 6/17/1990
As I’m writing this, Matt Barnes is on the bump for Low-A Greenville versus Delmarva, the Orioles South Atlantic League affiliate. Delmarva is starting Dylan Bundy. It’s a matchup of 2011 first-rounders and one could not handpick a better pitchers duel from SAL rosters. Now, Bundy is the more highly touted prospect of the two, and I’m not disputing that. But while Bundy already registers on fantasy radars, it’s about time we note Matt Barnes.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Cubs reportedly have completed a deal with the Red Sox which will send Marlon Byrd and some cash to Boston for RHP Michael Bowden and a player to be named later. Theo and Jed have been firm on their plan to be patient with prospects Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo, but in the aftermath of this deal, one has to speculate if their timetables will be altered. At .242/.342/.484 through 73 PA, Jackson’s performance in the early going at Triple-A Iowa isn’t demanding a call-up, but he could immediately be used to fill the void in center. On the other hand, Rizzo’s numbers (.367/.406/.733) are indicative of a guy who’s ready for the next level. The Cubs could surely shift David DeJesus to center and move LaHair to a corner outfield post. That’d make room for Rizzo at first. Perhaps most likely, though, the Cubs go with Tony Campana as their everyday guy in center – at least until the weather warms in Chicago, at which point I think Rizzo will get the first look, provided he’s still mashing, of course.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Gerrit Cole | RHP, Pirates | Born: 9/8/1990
As the first overall selection in the 2011 draft, signed out of UCLA to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a bonus worth $8 million, Gerrit Cole has arrived in pro baseball with large expectations. The hype isn’t without merit, though. Cole’s heater tops out at 102 mph and he counters with a deadly slider and a plus change. His arsenal is impressive, and at an athletic 6-4, 220, Cole’s frame projects wonderfully. He’s simply oozing with ace-potential. Trevor Bauer, his teammate at UCLA, has captured most of the fantasy-prospect-to-watch headlines this spring, and based on his proximity to the majors, rightfully so. Looking long-term, however, Cole figures to be the safer bet to reach and sustain fantasy ace status. The major factor holding him back for the time being is command.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Razzball’s weekly look around the minors is back for 2012. In case you’ve forgotten, this is where we’ll highlight notable performances by fantasy-relevant prospects. We’ll keep track of any minor league storylines which might carry fantasy significance here, too. In this first edition we’ll get things started with baseball’s top prospect, Bryce Harper, who’s off to a slow start at Triple-A Syracuse. Harper’s collected just two XBH’s in 29 trips to the plate through Friday. It’s his first taste of Triple-A pitching, so the early struggles aren’t necessarily surprising. Harper has the tools to adjust and turn things around in a hurry, though. I suspect he’ll heat things up before long.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24) | 2007 (11)
2011 Affiliate Records
MLB: [71-91] AL Central
AAA: [79-63] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [73-64] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-72] Carolina League –Wilmington
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Kane County
R: [33-43] Pioneer League – Idaho Falls
The Run Down
Even after graduating guys like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Danny Duffy, the Royals system is still flush with future stars. Ownership has granted baseball development personnel a generous budget over recent years for both the draft and the international markets, and it must be satisfying for Royals fans to see those investments paying off. Still, I doubt we’ll see the same arrival of highly touted prospects in 2012 that we saw in 2011. It seems more likely that this group will reach fantasy relevance from 2013-2015. I suppose Mike Montgomery has a shot to make an impact with KC later this year, but I’m confident that the Royals’ back-end starters will hold up. Realistically, relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera might be the best positioned guy of the group to crack your fantasy roster this year. The kid touches 100 with his heater and could certainly work his way into some save opportunities if Broxton/Holland/Crow aren’t effective.Please, blog, may I have some more?