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.
Christian Yelich | OF, Marlins – I covered Yelich a couple weeks back in a Scouting the Unknown post. He began 2012 a little late due to an elbow injury, but he’s really gotten going recently. In 111 PA, he’s up to five homers to go along with an OPS over .900 at High-A. There is enormous power potential for Yelich. It’ll be fun to see what he can do at Double-A later on this season.
Jurickson Profar | SS, Rangers – Profar has now hit safely in 21 straight games. And by “now” I mean Saturday afternoon, in case he effs it up tonight. The 19-year-old phenom is having little trouble adjusting to Double-A as he’s batting .273/.329/.492 after his first month in the Texas League. I only expect those figures to rise as he gets more comfortable.
Jake Odorizzi | RHP, Royals - In my 2011 Royals review, I noted that Odorizzi needed some more time at Double-A to refine his secondary stuff. Well, after posting a 3.32 ERA and an 0.97 WHIP while whiffing 47 through 38 IP, it doesn’t seem much more time will be necessary. He’ll be joining Mike Montgomery in Omaha before long, and given Monty’s early struggles, it’s fair to speculate that Odorizzi will arrive in KC first.
Dellin Betances | RHP, Yankees – In last Sunday’s post I wrote about how awful Betances had been. Then on Wednesday Betances pitched eight innings of two-hit baseball. He walked just two batters and allowed only one run. We’ll see if he can build from that positive outing and get himself back on track with Triple-A Empire State.
Jameson Taillon | RHP, Pirates – Taillon has posted a 36/7 K/BB through his first 36 IP at High-A Bradenton. He’s developing alongside 2011 No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole, and he’s outshining him so far. Taillon is the younger of the two and he’s shown outstanding command in the early going, helping him to a 1.47 ERA.
Cory Spangenberg | 2B, Padres – After a dreadful start at High-A, Spangenberg has finally started to catch his stride in the California League, now hitting .303/.338/.401. He’s baseball’s second best prospect at 2B behind Kotlen Wong of the Cardinals, and he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on for fantasy purposes.
Miguel Sano | SS, Twins – The 18-year-old hit his 10th homer for Low-A Beloit earlier this week. It was a game-winner and his admiration for the bomb nearly incited a Midwest League brawl. Here’s the story on that.
Matt Barnes | RHP, Red Sox - It was clear after his first Low-A start that Barnes was too advanced for the South Atlantic League. Well, Boston promoted him to High-A Salem not too long ago and the results are still impressive: 20 whiffs and one walk through his first 12 IP. He could be on the fast track if this keeps up.