Last week finished up the the Minor League Reviews. Now we’re focusing on top prospects in the game, providing a detailed analysis on specific players. As the season progresses, the prospects might become a bit more obscured.
Danny Duffy | KC | LHP (SP) | D.o.B: 12-21-88 | Royals #7 ranked prospect per Baseball America (2011)
Duffy throws a 95 to 97 MPH fastball with ease, typically running in the 92 to 95 MPH range. He also throws a changeup that rates from slightly above-average to a potential plus pitch, a slow curveball that John Sickels calls a plus pitch and a slider. Scouts state that Duffy knows how to pitch, not just throw hard. Scouts also praise his good command, solid control and mound presence. One area of past concern was that he left baseball during spring training of 2010 amidst an arm injury to reassess if baseball was his future. He returned in late April and started to throw in June. His 2010 season was spectacular.
Career – 5 Seasons (incl. 2011): 10.6 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9 | 340 IP | 2.51 ERA | 1.09 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 7.0 H/9
2011 (AAA): 11.5 k/9 | 2.0 BB/9 | 32 IP | 2.25 ERA | .97 WHIP | .8 Hr/9 | 6.8 H/9
When pitching, Duffy has been solid at each level. His 2011 season started on fire. His plus changeup, curveball and mid-90s fastball have been blowing Triple-A hitters out of the water. Before the season started, most prospect mavens were expecting Mike Montgomery to be the first Royals pitching farmhand called up. However, Duffy’s impeccable command and control in concert with the great strikeout rates have catapulted him up the prospect charts. Come June, we are looking at a solid rookie pitcher with the potential for a 8 K/9 rate with solid control (think ~3.0 BB/9).
Mike Trout | LAA | CF | D.o.B: 8-7-91 |Angels #1 prospect (number two overall in baseball) per Baseball America (2011)
Trout was the Midwest League MVP in 2010 and he only spent half a season there. He possesses all five-tools to go along with a strong compact stroke. In combination with excellent strike zone judgment, scouts have been raving on his ability to hit for moderate power (think 20-25 home runs ceiling) and good average. Defensively, he is able to play above-average at center field. Rated as an 80 on the speed scale, Trout can reach first base in 3.65 second. Two areas of weakness is his power ceiling and throwing arm, yet they both still rank as average. Some scouts don’t believe his power will reach full potential. He’s projected to reach majors in 2012 at age 20. There aren’t many openings at the major league level with Peter Bourjos playing good defense and hitting adequately; in addition to Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter’s massive contracts eating the corner outfield positions.
Career – 3 seasons (incl. 2010: .340/.424/.502 | 783 AB | 74 XBH | 17 Hr | .172 ISO | 74/19 SB/CS | 137:109 K:BB
2011 (AA): .313/.407/.594 | 116 AB | 12 XBH | 6 Hr | .281 ISO | 5/2 SB/CS | 18:14 K:BB
Trout has displayed more power this year than in the past while continuing to sustain solid strike zone judgment. Albeit, the steals are not coming as fast as they were in the past. Last year, he stole 56 bases in 71 attempts between Single-A and High-A. What is there to not like? Really, not much. The power ceiling won’t be reached for several more years, and until then, we’re looking at a Jacoby Ellsbury/Andrew McCutchen-type player, except Trout’s ceiling will be a few more home runs with a few less steals. A player hitting 15 home runs and 35 to 45 steals for the next few years is more than fantasy worth.