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In the BP-esque All-Star game snubs op-ed’s, I’ve selected three – yes, three and not two like normal – minor league All-Stars who actually deserved that title. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I lied to commenter GopherDay when he asked if I would do a write up on Brett Jackson to which I replied, “I’d do a write up of him, but I did a Cubs player recently. I try to keep the StU’s spread around the league.” And that is me quoting myself. I reviewed a Braves prospect on June 9th, and a Cubs Prospect on May 19th. Doing some quick and complicated math, I discovered that I better go beyond the call of duty – a game I played 12 hours this weekend – and come up with another player besides Julio Teheran and the minor league homer run leader, Jerry Sands. I tip my hat to GopherDay and bow in humility to the rest of my column’s readers who keep me in check every week and say, thank you.

Julio Teheran | RHP-SP | Atlanta Braves | DOB: 1-27-1991 | 6’2” | 160 lbs | B/T: R/R | Signed in 2007 from Colombia | ATL # 3 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

I’m not sure why I missed Teheran this offseason when I wrote the Atlanta Braves Minor League Review, but he should have been mentioned. He was signed at the tender age of 16, and didn’t pitch much in his first pro season (15 innings) at age 17. Much of this was because of shoulder tendinitis. Not sure how a 17 year old pitcher has tendinitis, but I suspect it isn’t worth fretting over yet. He throws a 90 to 96 mph fastball with slight sink, a erratic and at times sharp mid-70′s curveball, and an above-average to plus-changeup. Depending on your source, his repertoire is described with different adjectives, but they all say his weeping willow branched frame produces an amazing heater with great command, mature mound presence, is an aggressive pitcher, and has great poise, which has been called cockiness by others. Some scouts worry about his “herky-jerky” mechanics caused by a, “long arm rotation on the back of his delivery,” and question his long term durability. Keith Law has Teheran ranked as the 63rd overall prospects in the minors and expects Teheran to be in the top quarter next year. MLB’s official website has Teheran as the 34th overall prospect. His potential – front-line starter. How has Teheran fared this year?

2010 Stats (A and A+): 10.5 K/9 | 2.2 BB/9 | 88 2/3 IP | 2.13 ERA | 2.74 FIP | 1.02 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 6.9 H/9 | .291 BABIP | 40 GB% | 13.6 LD% | 41.7 FB% | 5.1 Hr/FB%

Career:9.1 K/9 | 2.1 BB/9 | 185 IP | 3.16 ERA | 3.06 FIP | 1.12 WHIP | .5 Hr/9 | 8 H/9 | .314 BABIP | 46.2 GB% | 13.3 LD% | 33.6 GB% | 5.9 Hr/FB%

He pitched well enough in 49 1/3 innings at Class High-A (Carolina League) to warrant an All-Star game selection. In the South Atlantic League, he was dominating everyone, but he was also throwing in an extreme hitters’ park at Rome. With a 7.4 strikeout per nine-innings in 2009, John Sickels questioned past hand and shoulder injuries and wondered if Teheran was going to rebound. I would say quite firmly that he has rebounded! Although his ground ball rates have fallen this year from his career trend and, depending on your particular philosophy, this is either a bad thing or means nothing. However, it’s important to note that of Teheran’s 41.7 fly ball percent, 16.9 percent of those fly balls are infield flies, which also helps explain his relatively low home runs per fly ball. Don’t forget he is currently sporting a 10.5 K/9 with sparkling command, both this year (2.2 BB/9) and for his career (2.1 BB/9).

It’s Teheran that forced my hand to write about three prospects today. I didn’t want to be late to the Braves next top pitching prospect, considering I started writing this weekly article when Tommy Hanson was getting pimped by all the major fantasy websites. Pretty sure you now know what makes Teheran so special, and if you’re dynasty leagues with minor league roster space, go grab Teheran NOW! Like as of yesterday. You can thank me later.

Jerry Sands | OF-1B | Los Angeles Dodgers | DOB: 9-28-1987 | 6’4” | 210 lbs | B/T: R/R | 2008 25th rd from College | LAD #25 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

Here is a nobody that is killing minor league pitching this year. Don’t get too excite yet. Keith Law, in one of his weekly chats, had nothing positive to say. And I quote, “He’s in low-A. Way too old for his stats to have any meaning whatsoever.” This is true, at age 22 and drafted from college, where he set his school’s home run record (61), career walks (132), and career slugging percentage (.752). He probably should have been placed at High-A Inland Empire. An outfielder by trade and a first basemen by force, Sands has fought the Law and Sands won. It’s pretty clear that his best tool is power, and, prior to this year, he hit 29 homers in 119 pro games (now 52 homers in 198 games). He has the ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field, has good patience, better than average speed for a first baseman and a strong arm (Baseball America says that his arm is worthy of being slotted in right field). John Sickels, more pessimistic than Baseball America, noted, “strikeout spike at Class-A” was of concern, and “scouts have concerns over his swing being too long.” Which is straight legit. (Remember this tidbit for Brett Jackson.) Sands’ year so far this year:

2010 Stats (A and AA):.326/.421/.652 | 282 AB | 43 XBH | 23 Hr | .326 ISO | 14/2 SB/CS | 71:43 K:BB | .365 BABIP | 37.6 GB% | 21.6 LD% | 40.4 FB%

Career Stats: .296/.397/.594 | 695 AB | 96 XBH | 52 Hr | 20/3 SB/CS | 174:109 K:BB | .326 BABIP | 40.8 GB% | 16 LD% | 43 FB%

Oh, did I mention he was the Midwest (Class Low-A) All-Star game MVP and Player of the Week in the Southern League (Double-A) from 6-21 to 6-27-2010? After slugging 18 homers in the Midwest League (in a park that increases home runs but limits other extra base hits), he was promoted to Double-A. Guess what? He’s continued to hit the ball out of the park with five home runs in 39 at-bats in a pitchers’ park. His success has lead to a recent column about him being called a bargain draftee (25th round). I’d sure say so.

Although his BABIP is high, his career rate is more sustainable. His plate patience is clearly evident and his strikeout rate is similar to other prospects such as Mike Stanton and Pedro Alvarez. Going forward, I’d treat him as a tier two prospect that I like and will love if he continues to bash at Double-A. Remember, even Brennan Boesch was ranked as the Detroit Tigers number 25th ranked prospect this year. They both had similar minor league trends (power and strikeouts), but Sands takes more time at the plate (yes, that was for you video game lovers out there) and has the speed to get the 10 to 15 steals a season. His most optimistic upside would be 25 to 30 homers a season with a .260 to .275 average and 10 to 15 steals.

Bonus Player
Brett Jackson | OF-CF | Chicago Cubs | DOB: 8-2-1988 | 6’2” | 210 lbs | B/T: L/R | 2009 1st rd, #31 from College | CHC #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

Brett Jackson fell in the draft because of concerns over his signability; he signed early and got a half season of play in spite of all the naysayers. Blessed with all five tools every scout is looking for, and at a tough position – center field – he instantly became the Cubs best athlete within the farm system. He has a quick bat with natural loft to provide him with above-average power. He has plus-speed, a good arm, but strikeouts a lot. Those five tools are still relatively raw and aren’t quite skills. Projects to make the majors at the end of the 2011 season if the Cubs don’t rush him to the majors as they have with every other stud center field prospect in recent years. Here’s how Jackson has performed this year:

2010 Stats (A+ and AA): .322/.428/.534 | 292 AB | 38 XBH | 8 Hr | .212 ISO | 15/7 SB/CS | 79:48 K:BB | .402 BABIP | 43.5 GB% | 24.7 LD% | 31.4 FB%

Career Stats: .320/.424/.515 | 503 AB | 55 XBH | 16 Hr | .195 ISO | 28/9 SB/CS | 126:79 K:BB | .402 BABIP | 44.9 GB% | 21.1 LD% | 33.5 FB%

Also a Carolina League All-Star and recent Player of the Week (6-21 to 6-27) at the Florida State League, Jackson has played well during his short pro career. In roughly a whole season worth of at-bats, he has done a lot to get excited about. His strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t horrid, and he has shown moderate power and good speed on the bases. Although scouts rave about his naturally lofted swing, he doesn’t hit a lot of fly balls, at least not yet. This is offset by a high line drive percentage, which shows he has made a lot of quality contact. Within the last two weeks, Jackson was promoted to Double-A (36 plate appearances at the time of writing) and has played well.

All right, remember that quote about Sands that I told you to remember? Forgot it? Ok, here it is again, “’strikeout spike at Class-A’ was of concern, and ‘scouts have concerns over his swing being too long.’” The first one was John Sickels and Baseball America was the second quote. Here is what Sickels says about Jackson, “Plate-discipline is going to be an issue; he swings and misses an awful lot, and doesn’t work counts well.” And Baseball America, “Jackson will accrue his share of strikeouts but can keep them under control if he doesn’t get too aggressive.” [snark comment] Any strikeout hitter that doesn’t get too aggressive can keep his strikeouts under control. PSH! [/snark comment] Thing is, Sands and Jackson have similar strikeout-to-walk ratios, but with Jackson displaying more gap power than over-the-fence power. Another knock on Jackson is that his season and career numbers are boosted by an extremely high BABIP. Guess it helps to have pedigree and sexy five tool allure.

All in all, I see a 20 homer, 30 steals, and a .270 to .280 average in his fantasy future. I may sound down, but I think it’s just a Cubs thing as I was down on Josh Vitters, but I like Jackson more than it may sound. Just keep expectations in check. Also, his ETA is right on track if you believe Baseball America (end 2011).

  1. GopherDay says:
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    Stephen, do you know anything about Min SS prospect Miguel Sano? He is highly ranked in Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, but I can’t really find anything on him based on this year.

    Here’s what someone said about him when teams were trying to sign him: “Compares to Evan Longoria; in other reports Alex Rodriguez and Hanley Ramirez. Comparibles like this are worthless when the prospect is this far away, but color-by-number is a great way to quickly scan what kind of tools these kids have.”

    He sounds like he has considerable upside, but is flying somewhat under the radar, so I was wondering if you could provide some insight on him.

    Thanks for the Jackson bonus, I don’t have room on my dynasty league MiLB roster to add him, but he’s looking good so far!

    Also, on a different note, when do you think Bryce Harper will hit the big leagues?

  2. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: The amazingAaron Gleeman gives a brief outlook on Sano, who isn’t going to be a shortstop, but instead a third baseman. He’s “under the radar” because he just started playing in the Gulf Coast League (a rookie league). I’m not sure what to think about him until I see some numbers from at least from the single-a ball (high and low).

    re:Bryce Harper – If he is playing in the outfield, as fast as his bat can carry him. If this is the case, the earliest would be in late 2012. If he plays behind the plate, at least three full seasons. Earliest ETA then would be late 2013 September call-up and a mid 2014 season promotion. I hate to speculate, but he does have to prove a lot when he starts playing. Personally, this isn’t really a Strasburg situation, Harper isn’t ready for the big leagues.

  3. Shizzmeister says:
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    Hey Stephen,

    If you were on a desert island and were forced to use only one list for minors rankings, who’s would you use? (Besides your own)

    Thanks,

    The Shizzmeister

  4. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Okay thanks Stephen! In regards to Harper, it looks to me like he’ll be playing in the OF so they can fast track him to the big leagues. That and they have a top prospect in Norris who plays catcher.

    @Shizzmeister: http://www.scoutingbook.com/ has a good fantasy prospect rankings, which are updated throughout the year based on how well prospects are doing. I use that to easily search for minor leaguers and they provide a couple of paragraphs about the player. Upside is that its free, downside is that it isn’t that informative.

  5. Stephen says:
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    @Shizzmeister: Funny thing, I don’t have a list. I let others use their time to make them. If I had my own blog site however, there would be a list, probably for future fantasy baseball purposes. Nevertheless, I’d probably take Baseball America because they produce a great book with four writers/editors Top 50 lists and have major league front office connections. I’ve never owned a Baseball Prospectus but I should probably get on top of that sooner rather than later.

    @GopherDay: Top prospects, even “sure things” have been known to fail in the majors. Think of the Rangers for instance. They had a surplus of catching prospects as 2009. All of a sudden, they make a trade for Grandpa Molina (Bengie). Norris maybe good, but he has to still make it.

    Thanks for the Scouting Book link. I’ve never found them before. Another source is always welcomed. The free aspect is great, but that just means they are missing some things. Also, their rankings seem a bit wonky to me, especially since they proudly claim that they constantly are updating their rankings. If this was the case, Michael Taylor would be ranked lower (and others like: Marin Perez (as he’s been awful this year), Aaron Hicks shouldn’t be as high either) and few other prospects a bit higher (i.e. Jamie Garcia, Desmond Jenning, Hellickson, Logan Morrison, Domonic Brown, Mike Moustakas, and Michale Pineda). Since all lists are subjective, I can’t complain to much, but it seems like they haven’t really updated that list since the early part of the season.

  6. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: Never mind the ripping of the rankings, they clearly state, “Updated many times daily from now until Opening Day as new data floods in from the prospecting world.”

    It all makes sense now.

  7. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, it isn’t the best, but I’m not going out paying for Baseball America or Prospectus or anything right now, so I’ll take what I can get.

    Another site I’ve found is http://www.mlbfantasyprospects.com/ They have regular posts about prospects on the upswing and on the downswing, telling you who to buy low and who to sell. http://rotoprofessor.com/baseball/ also has regular posts on prospects, but they are a more mainstream fantasy site.

    You mention if you had your own blog, is that something you would look into later on?

  8. Adam says:
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    Hey Stephen, nice post, and thanks for Jerry Sands. On another note, I’m pretty psyched to see what Dan Hudson can do as Peavy’s replacement.

  9. Adam says:
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    P.S. — Good job with your previous post on Carlos Peguero, and your cautious outlook. I was way too optimistic on him. I’m convinced he literally forgot how to swing a bat. He’s been absolutely terrible.

  10. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: If you get your Baseball America book early like I did, I paid $18.50 (ish) from Amazon. Cheaper than its retail price of $32.50

    I’ve been thinking about doing something with prospects, maybe a side page on Razzball. I haven’t really talked with Grey and Rudy about it yet (*sorry for making you read it here Grey and Rudy), so I am not sure what’s in store for any minor league prospect blog of my own. I am just worried I will wear myself out or that there isn’t much of an audience for a minor league prospect blog with Baseball America, Baseball Prospects, Keith Law, and John Sickels doing a lot the work already. Thanks for the additional sites too.

    @Adam: I’ve been patiently waiting for his major league start this year too. Thanks for the compliments.

    re:Carlos Peguero, I should have been even more cautious by the looks of things. It would have been better to ream more about his strikeout rates and high BABIP. Guess that is why they say hindsight is 20/20 (I always say it helps make future articles better.

  11. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: Do you like the structure of MLB Fantasy Prospects and Rotoprofessor’s prospect layouts for their articles or mine (or any other site’s article/column structure)? Thanks for your response advance.

  12. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Yeah, I think that could work. You know, the main problem (And kind of annoyance) is the lack of fantasy based prospect analysis. Like in Baseball America, a player might be ranked higher because he has tremendous defensive skills, but since I need the information for fantasy purposes, I don’t give a care how good defensively players are.

    Coming from the avid fantasy player who is invested in a dynasty league with minor league rosters, the main problem with all the sites you stated is that they all cost money to get the information. I’m not saying the information isn’t worth it or anything, I just don’t think I, personally, need to invest in it. But if they were free, I’d check them all the time! In other words, I think all the sites you mentioned are cutting out the people who casually keep up with prospects, and the more avid followers, I’d think, would be very interested in another opinion.

    Those are just some of my thoughts. Personally, I’d love to see a prospect section of Razzball in the future. Maybe you could have a trial run to see what could work with you, and what would wear you out?

  13. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Well, I like how on MLB Fantasy Prospects, they tell you very frankly if the players are on the upswing/swaying backwards, then explain their reasoning. One thing I don’t like though is how sporadic they lay out the stats backing up what they are saying. I get kind of lost in it, and I think it takes away from the article, so I like the way you lay out your stats.

    As per Rotoprofessor, I think what y’all are doing is different. He seems to just follow many of the top prospects and checks up on them throughout the season to see how they’re doing and if they could be called up soon. So there really isn’t much to compare to your’s because its just different.

  14. GopherDay says:
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    Hope that helps!

  15. Adam says:
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    I agree with Gopher, and vote for a prospect section on Razzball. I’ll even help write some articles if you guys lack the manpower.

  16. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: @Adam: Thanks for the wonderful feedback on the articles and blog idea. I’ll look more into this who endeavor too. I love hearing feedback on my writing, whether that is the style, grammar, arguments for/against, players I’m choosing ETC. I really do appreciate all the helpful comments. As for MLB Fantasy Prospects, I’ll see if I can incorporate some of the “upswing/swaying backwards” type of analysis into my weekly article.

  17. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: No problem, your articles are really good and I appreciate that very much!

    As far as the “upswing/swaying backwards” analysis goes, I like it because it lets me know who I should try and get in a trade, and who I should hold off on for the meanwhile.

  18. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: Alright, so that means I kind of do that already but in different words. Thank you for the clarification.

  19. elwood blues says:
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    I saw Jackson in spring training he looks like he could be a good one.

  20. Stephen says:
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    @elwood blues: Scouts think the same thing. It will be fun to see his rise to the majors.

  21. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Ha! That’s incredible! Great minds think alike?

    I’ll check that site out in the morning and will get back to you about it.

  22. Stephen says:
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    @Adam: I’m trying to figure that out too. I usually woudl say at-least half a season worth of at-bats (250 AB, or 300 PA). However, there is still a lot of room for other random occurrences. For instance, Belt had a .437 BABIP in the California League (http://www.minorleaguesplits.com/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?pl=474832). His strikeout-to-walk ratio is great, he’s young, he’s been running on the base path quite a bit, and he remains an enigma. It’s important to note that San Jose (his home field) isn’t a hitters park within the Cal-League, matter of fact, its probably one of third to fourth worst places to hit (overall) and it has the lowest run-factor rating from 2006 to 2008.

    Personally, he looks like a potential (optimistic outlook) .300 hitter with 15 to 20 homers and 5 to 7 steals a year. Maybe a James Loney type hitter.

    Looking at the printed sources, Baseball America doesn’t even have him ranked. John Sickels say he has power potential but scouts don’t think his swing will translate into homers. He continues to say Belt is athletic and has good plate discipline.

    Hopefully this is helpful.

  23. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Well, I guess what you do, and I guess what I would envision a razzball fantasy prospect site to be like, would be similar to what they are doing over there. But with such a wide world of prospects, I don’t foresee y’all doing the exact same prospects all the time. I mean if one is doing really well, I could see both sites doing the same prospect, but with so many out there I don’t really foresee y’all always covering the same prospects.

    Does that answer your question? Sorry if it doesn’t.

    Also, would you rather have Chris Carter (A’s) or Mike Moustakas on your minor league roster? I’ve got Pujols cemented into 1B on my major league squad, but Bautista as my 3B. (I have Wood also, but he been terrible lately!) I haven’t checked on them in a while, but hasn’t Moustakas been tearing up the place, while Carter has been struggling?

  24. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: Yeah, that definitely answers the question and thank you for answering.

    As for Moustakas v. Carter, Moustakas is probably a wee-bit further away than Carter, even with Carter struggling. At least Carter is struggling at Triple-A and not anything lower. And his struggling is all related to his AVE. If you already own both, I’d trade Carter, if you’re picking them up with the roster you have, I’d take Moustakas, but if you had anything less than a tier two 1B, I’d say Carter.

  25. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: Well I currently own Carter, and I’m hoping to be able to trade him in a deal for Moustakas. My main problem is that I don’t have a long term option at third, and I’d probably need one.

  26. Adam says:
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    @Stephen: Perfect. Thanks again

  27. Stephen says:
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    @GopherDay: Do you have Corner Infield Spots available? Then it might be worth holding onto Carter and finding an other filler for third. You could always grab Miguel Sano and wait half a decade, or try getting Lonnie Chisenhall. Is it possible to get Moustakas without giving up Carter? Also, where did you find this league you play in with all the minor league roster spots?

    @Adam: You’re welcome.

  28. GopherDay says:
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    @Stephen: No CI slots, but there is an IF slot. So I guess I could just keep Carter. I’ll see if I can get Moustakas without moving Carter.

    Well during the offseason I randomly found this post on the Yahoo forums about an open slot in a dynasty league. I didn’t really know much about the league when I joined, but there is a website where it runs different leagues. There are two different dynasty leagues with minor league rosters that have been running for about 3 years now. The competition is pretty stiff!

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