With the First-Year Players Draft a little more than a week away, we’re continuing our discussion of some of the more advanced amateur prospects — guys who’ll be popping up on your fantasy radars within the next year or two. Last week we went over Braden Shipley, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Gray. You can read that post here. Today, three more draft prospects:Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the constant influx of new talent, new names, new statistics, it can be easy to lose sight of a prospect who’s fallen from grace. A little more than a year ago, in their 2012 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked Joe Benson as the #2 overall prospect in the Twins organization. Benson was coming off a 2011 in which he hit .285/.388/.495 with 16 homers at Double-A New Britain, finishing the year with a call-up to the big club and a spot on the 40-man. He was on the fantasy radar before injuries delayed his 2012 debut, but he hasn’t been relevant since then. Across four levels in 2012, the former 2nd round draft pick managed a line at .202/.288/.336. And after watching him hit .192/.256/.285 through 43 games at Triple-A Rochester this season, the Twins had seen enough and released Benson to make room for P.J. Walters. The Rangers claimed him have assigned him to Double-A. At 25 years old, there’s still a glimmer of hope for the toolsy outfielder, but that will fade quickly if the horrendous hitting continues.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Baseball’s purest prospect has been called up. Jurickson Profar has surfaced in Texas, and if you’re just learning this now, you’re far too late. Don’t sweat it too much if you didn’t get your hands on Profar — I don’t see much room for him in the Rangers lineup once Kinsler returns. If you did happen to scoop him, though, he’s a wonderful lotto ticket with an even bigger potential payout given 2B eligibility. In other close-to-the bigs news, Houston prospect, Jonathan Singleton, will debut at Low-A next week after serving a 50-game suspension. He’ll join MiLB home run leader, George Springer, at Double-A before long, and proceed to Triple-A where he’ll likely stay for most of the year. In a different organization, Singleton and Springer would find themselves on the cusp of breaking through, but I don’t see the Astros starting their clocks while the team is in rebuilding mode. Until further notice, those two remain outside the scope of these power rankings.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.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?