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.
Mike Trout | OF, Angels - Like Harper, Trout is getting his first action at the Triple-A level. Unlike Harper, though, Trout is off to a blazing start. Through 40 PA’s, Trout’s posted a slash line at .389/.425/.556 to go along with three stolen bases. If this keeps up, Trout could push his way through to the Angels’ outfield before mid-season.
Trevor Bauer | SP, D’backs – Bauer’s posted a 0.00 ERA and a 15.19 K/9 through two Double-A starts. He’s walking a few too many batters, but he’s better than Josh Collmenter right now and I can’t imagine the D’Backs will let Collmenter linger for too much longer if he continues to get pounded. If you have room to stash him, Bauer might be worth a speculative scoop already.
Dylan Bundy | SP, Orioles - Bundy has thrown just six innings as a pro: six perfect innings. The fourth overall selection by the Orioles last June is backing up the hype in the early going as he’s been utterly unhittable in his two appearances. Some are wondering if Bundy will be ready to debut in the bigs by year’s end. Reason tells me no. A few more perfect outings will have me believing otherwise, though.
Matt Adams | 1B, Cardinals – Lance Berkman is no beacon of health and there’s already cause for concern with regard to his well-being early on in 2012. Should Puma land on the DL, Matt Adams would be a candidate to fill that void. After an impressive spring in big league camp, Adams has continued to smash the ball in Triple-A. Through 33 PA’s he’s slashing .419/.455/.806 with three homers and a stolen base.
James Paxton | SP, Mariners - Paxton is one of a few high-ceiling arms in the Seattle system, but of that group, he’s off to the most noteworthy start. Through two Double-A outings, Paxton has a 0.87 ERA and a 14.81 K/9.
A.J. Griffin | SP, Athletics - Griffin has allowed just four baserunners through his first two outings (11 IP) while striking out 16 and posting a 0.00 ERA. He’s expanded his repertoire for 2012 and it’s paying dividends so far at the Double-A level.
Manny Machado | SS, Orioles – The O’s 19-year-old shortstop didn’t take long to adjust to Double-A. Having already smacked two homers, Machado has the early edge on the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar in the battle of AA teenage shortstops.
Anthony Rizzo | 1B, Cubs – Rizzo is having no trouble with PCL pitching so far as he’s already blasted three homers and knocked in ten through 33 PA’s. Unfortunate for Rizzo is that Bryan LaHair is off to an equally impressive start with the Cubs. Rizzo will need to stay hot while LaHair cools off considerably if he’s to reach Chicago by mid-season.
Kolten Wong | 2B, Cardinals – After skipping High-A, Wong has been impressive in his Double-A debut. Through 29 trips to the plate he’s hit .440/.517/.760. He’ll have to improve quite a bit defensively if he’s to supplant either Daniel Descalso or Tyler Green at 2B in St. Louis this year, but his advanced approach to hitting should allow him to be ready for full time duties with the Cardinals a year from now.