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A big week in prospect news as Anthony Rizzo, Dee Gordon, Jemile Weeks, Charlie Blackmon and Mike Moustakas received their respective invitations to the majors. Not to mention Brett Lawrie and his broken hand causing the the frequent waiver wire add/drop addicts to learn delayed gratification. Then there’s the psychotic mind-tease of the Rays, Diamondbacks, and Twins. Here are some other names to keep an eye on in the up coming weeks and year.

Desmond Jennings | TB | OF: How bad does Sam Fuld have to play before Jennings receives his call-up? He’s on a legitimate tear! Shows more power, continues to play excellent defense and remains a top prospect. Any day now, Rays. You can’t keep a 20/20 type player in them minors forever.

David Cooper | TOR | 1B: What do you call a first base prospect that has a plus .400 BABIP with only three home runs and gap power? A product of the PCL. He’s a .275, 15 home run hitter. So James Loney. There isn’t a place for him in the majors, but his early season call up is not indicative of his talent. Neither are his numbers this year at Triple-A.

Jose Altuve | HOU | 2B: I’ve been keeping a close eye on this young second base prospect for nearly two years. The epitome of a Sparky Anklebiter at a listed 5′ 7″, 166 lbs. Plays great defense, gap power, 10 to 15 home run potential, excellent baserunner and the prototypical number two hitter. He was recently promoted to Double-A after hitting ..408/.451/.606 (.295 BABIP) at High-A Lancaster, a notorious hitting environment. Currently sustaining similar success in a small sample size. Could be a Luis Castillo type player with slightly more power. ETA, 2012.

Jesus Montero | NYY | C: The power and plate discipline has been in remission while his strikeouts have increased. Then combined with the fact the Yankees have to stroke the ego of Posada, I don’t expect Montero to be up until the rosters expand in September.

Kyle Weiland | BOS | RHP (SP): The Red Sox recently called up Michael Bowden, even though he’s been pitching well this year, his history suggests otherwise. Next prospect could be Weiland who projects as a reliever, but has started at each level. Currently at Triple-A, he’s striking out over nine batters per nine-innings. He has a mid-90s sinking fastball and hard biting curve; changeup is still a work-in-progress. The perfect combo for a reliever.

Paul Goldschmidt | ARI | 1B: Another week, another home run. Okay, two more home runs. Blah, blah, blah. Be nice to see him called up but I wouldn’t hold my breath for one in June.

James Darnell | SD | 3B: Speaking of prospects who perform well but aren’t getting promoted. Darnell has done everything (.363/.459/.656, .379 BABIP) to be promoted to Triple-A. There are rumors of the Padres moving Chase Headley for some prospects. If this occurs, I would expect Darnell to see PT in the majors.

The next three prospects most likely won’t see time in the majors this year, at most, in September.

Austin Hyatt | PHI | RHP (SP): Has continued and improved upon his impressive 2010 season. With 9.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9, Hyatt has stymied Double-A hitters. Not a top-flight prospect, I do believe he has the ability to be a number four fantasy starter, or number three or four start in a normal rotation.

Eric Surkamp | SF | LHP (SP): I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves: 10.5 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, .4 Hr/9, 2.60 FIP. He has a heavy sinking fastball, a plus curveball and plus changeup. The Giants are breeding pitchers. Not as dynamic as Matt Moore, but equally as intriguing.

Edwar Cabrera | COL | LHP (SP): Slightly old for his level (22 at Single-A), he signed a contract when he was only nearly 21. He’s posting Matt Moore type numbers (11.9 K/9 [101 K's], 1.9 BB/9 in 78 IP) with a 91 to 92 MPH fastball with a deceptive and plus changeup. Scouts praise his ability to pitch and setup his changeup. He’s still refining his breaking pitch. I believe if he continues to pitch this well by year’s end, he’ll be raising sharply up prospect boards.

  1. bigboneded says:
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    I heart Surkamp, but don’t forget he’s in the pitcher friendly EL. Ryan Verdugo is also good.

  2. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    The Cards are apparently calling up Andrew Brown to replace Craig. Of any interest for fantasy baseball?

  3. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @VinWins: He has moderate power at best. In 200 AB he may get 7 home runs with a .265-.275 average. I’d avoid but in a deep league or NL-Only.

  4. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    @Stephen: Thanks.

  5. yankees2011 says:
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    Stephen,
    Excellent job keeping us posted on the Minors. Which one of the following 3 do you see as the best possible keeper for next season (6 X 6 12 Team H2H with Holds and OPS.) – Moustakas, Jennings or Lawrie. I have the first 2 and could grab the third (he was dumped recently).

    Also, where would you anticipate Bryce Harper coming out next season (ranking)?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  6. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @yankees2011: Moustakas, Lawrie, Jennings. re:Harper: September 2012, unless they start to aggressively promote him. I’d expect a similar Mike Trout talk about him next year. If I had to rank him for fantasy relevancy for 2012 it would be as an Honorable Mention unless I hear different from the GM or see him going from Low-Single-A to Double-A this year.

  7. Benson says:
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    Good stuff. Any news on Ackley and when he’ll be up?

  8. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Benson: I haven’t heard anything new to date.

  9. Eddy says:
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    Kevin Towers was quoted saying this about Goldschmidt and Cogwill and their promotions:

    “I wouldn’t say we’re at that point right now, but probably leading up to the All-Star Game, that’s when we’d probably have to decide to make moves,” Towers said. “I think we’re always looking for ways to improve the club, and the first place we’re going to look is internal.”

    Goldschmidt was recently put on my radar, but this is the first I here of Cogwill. He’s having a ridiculously excellent 2011 hitting .372-.437-.615 with 11 HRs, 41 RBIs, 54 runs and 19 SBs. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more fanfare with those numbers. What’s your take on him?

  10. Eddy says:
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    @Eddy:

    Cowgill*

  11. Eddy says:
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    Another, disappointing note: Yahoo has neither in their player universe. Here I was, all excited to get the jump on these guys once they got called up.

  12. Racehorse says:
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    Stephen,

    I know it’s a week late, but thanks for the attention you gave Yonder Alonso.

    That said, I heard ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian say, again last week, if the Mets were to become sellers that Jose Reyes would make a great fit for the Reds. While I know this is just speculation, the thought of Alonso being undoubtedly part of a package deal with the Mets and having to eventually hit for power at Metco makes the Egg McMuffin in my lower intestine curddle…

    Question: Alex Presley? I know he’s not really a prospect, but he’s having a pretty good year at AAA. The Pirates are lousy (but not as much as usual – at least for the moment)… what do you think he could do if given a shot?

    Thanks!

  13. Santos says:
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    Big Trade in Keeper League (10 team, keep forever)

    Price/Heyward/Moustakas

    for

    Haladay / Teixera

    Who do you like?

  14. yankees2011 says:
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    @Stephen: Thanks much. Good to see Moose is your projected first so I can hold off on grabbing Lawrie for now.

    I had no idea Harper was that not-so-far along.

    Enjoy the rest of the day.

  15. A2K says:
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    Stubbs and MooseTacos for Rasmus and Mariano, who wins? Trumbo or MooseClam for a CI spot?

  16. chadtopp says:
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    moustakas for hayward

  17. chadtopp says:
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    no keeper league…i have bourne…shin choo…granderson…craig…and hayward

  18. chadtopp says:
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    y 3b is betemit..from kc

  19. Benny says:
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    Stephen – do you still feel high on Chisenhall and do you think he’ll get regular at bats this year when he’s called up? Also, three years from now which guy will be better fantasy wise – Duffy or Shelby Miller?

  20. Benny says:
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    While I’m at it – for Stephen or any other fellow Razzballers – is it a given that Bard will be the closer in Boston next year? Or will they resign Paps / go with another guy?

  21. ltf says:
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    How about that James Darnell! I guess you changed your mind about him.

    Edwar Cabrera is shit, and a long way to go before moving up “prospect rankings.” If you want to write about the Rockies, the Tulsa Drillers have Ben Paulsen, Hector Gomez, Tom Field, and Tim Wheeler BREAKING OUT.

    It looks like you looked at MiLB strikeout leaders and wrote about names you might not have mentioned before.

  22. FNG says:
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    @ Everyone and Anyone

    A little off topic, but I give Lincecum and get Hamels & Rivera in a keeper league and need Saves.

    Do I do it?

  23. Mr2Bits says:
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    How sad is it that the Angels are getting shutout by Vin freaking Mazzarro?

  24. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Eddy: re:Goldschmidt: That’s excellent news. re:Cowgill: I have a lot of trepidation in his performance this year. He is hitting out of his mind, but it’s coming in a perfect hitter’s environment in addition to a .300 BABIP.

    @Racehorse: Re:Presley: Might be an option for NL-Only leagues. I don’t see him helping much in fantasy.

    @Santos: Heyward/Price/Moustakas side for longevity.

    @yankees2011: Harper is a great prospect, but he’s still playing at Single Low-A. I don’t really expect him to be pushed past Single High-A this year. Which would me he’d start 2012 season at Double-A if all goes well. Subsequently, that means that June 2012 would be the earliest he’s called up.

    @Chadtopp: Heyward.

    @Benny: re:Chisenhall: I still really like him, he’s just not getting the call up. re:Shelby Miller vs. Danny Duffy: Miller.

    @ltf: I am turning more positive for Darnell. I still don’t think he’s going to be a high producing fantasy third basemen. He’ll have more real world value. 15 to 20 home runs top with a solid OBP.

    re:Edwar Cabrera: You’re right that I noticed his name on the MiLB strikeout leader board. You would also note that he’s been in the top 5 for quite some time. Additionally, he does have the ability to positively progress towards the minors. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as other prospects, you’re correct. Then again, no one thought Brandon Beachy would make it to the majors either, let alone succeed. I did write about Tim Wheeler just last week. His breakout has been against RHP.

    As for Hyatt and Surkamp, I’ve been keeping an eye on them since winter 2010/11.

    Lastly, I could spend each article writing about the best prospects in the game. However, Single-A, High-A, and Double-A prospects are about targeting in the future. Few will make it to the majors this year, or ever. Even if they do, they aren’t a lock.

  25. A2K says:
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    @Stephen from Third Eye Blind
    Got no opinion on my comment?

  26. @A2K: Sorry for the delay. I want the Moustakas side for both options.

  27. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    another fine job sir

  28. Dale says:
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    This website keeps pushing Jennings, but he has to stay down until early July in order to preserve his super-two status. He spent quite a lot of time on the roster last September, even though he wasn’t playing all the time. So if you grab him now, you’ll likely have to sit on him for three weeks or so.

  29. thorbs says:
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    I know he’s too old to really be a prospect, but I can’t imagine the Pirates traded for Michael McKenry other than to give him a cup of coffee in the bigs.

    He had a solid slash line this year at AAA…is he worth a flier in a 14-team 2-catcher league?

  30. Quintero says:
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    Are we giving up on Danny Duffy collectively? Or he just needs more time?

  31. BlinkULDHC says:
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    Asked around last week about everyone’s best H2H week.

    This has by far been my most prolific:

    .314, 49 runs, 24 HRs, 53 RBI in about 160 at-bats for my lineup… insane. Thanks to Fielder, Kemp, Granderson, ARod, Cruz and Reyes, although J. Upton put up a goose egg. Unreal.

  32. ltf says:
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    @Stephen: Um, Darnell’s bat is going to play in MLB regardless of positions at this point. Edwar Cabrera is crap, he gives up way too many home runs for his age in the Sally.

    What the hell does Edwar Cabrera have in common with Brandon Beachy? Scouts didn’t project either well, that’s about it. If you watched Brandon Beachy pitch today or through his minor league career, he’s comparable to James Shields, and just a guy scouts missed because he isn’t “projectionable.” Cabrera doesn’t even have enough command to get out of the Sally League. Chad Bettis in the Rockies’ system is a SP for the Modesto Nuts and has started giving up a few HR in his last few starts, but he deserves a write-up before Cabrera.

  33. ltf says:
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    Danny Duffy quit baseball for about a month last year, but he’s still one of the better pitching prospects in the game. He’s got solid mechanics and there won’t be a better rookie pitcher coming up this year that can contribute as well as he can.

    I haven’t seen any of his MLB starts live or on video, but I wouldn’t give up on him yet.

  34. It'llonlyhurtforasecond says:
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    @Stephen:

    re: Goldschmidt is NOT in a hitter’s environment. The Sally is NOT the PCL. Just stop. You lose all credibility there. EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. OF. IT.

  35. ltf says:
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    Wait, Desmond Jennings projects to hit 20 HR a year? hahahaha. He’s 25, and he probably wouldn’t even be playing baseball if he didn’t fuck up his scholie to Alabama with a 2nd degree statutory rape a grand jury charged him with that later went away. I don’t know why people are so willing to buy into such a high ceiling for this guy.

    I remember you comparing Jerry Sands needing more time to figure it out, like Alex Gordon. Seriously, do you watch these guy pitch or swing live, or at all? The power projections alone are head scratching.

  36. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Quintero: Not for his career, but he hasn’t done anything in the majors to instill confidence for this year. His stuff is good and he has the ability to be more than an adequate major league pitcher.

    @ltf: Most importantly, because I think you expect me to be writing from a MLB Scout prospective, and if that was the case, I wouldn’t be able to write for Razzball, I’d have a job working as a MLB Scout. This site is designed for Fantasy Baseball. Consequently, my point of view when writing is for fantasy success. There are many prospects that are far more valuable to their MLB team than they ever will be for fantasy baseball. For example, James Darnell may reach a higher ceiling than expected and reach the ceiling you seem to have in place for him. However, for fantasy purposes, he doesn’t have the same ability to produce numbers, or the hitting environment in the majors, as say, Moustakas, Chisenhall, or Lawrie. If I play in a standard 5×5 with 12 teams a 3B with a .275 average and 15 to 20 home runs isn’t very enticing. Then you rip Desmond Jennings for his age, but Darnell is 24 (same age as Jennings) and still at Double-A. Darnell is a fine prospect for real life, but for fantasy purposes, he’s more of an afterthought. Darnell’s OBP will play in the majors. His bat is average. His defense will help make the majors too; he has the skills and talent to make it to the majors.

    Cabrera’s command has been good this year and I am not saying he’s going to be the next Julio Teheran. I stated he’d be someone worth putting sleeper attention to, nothing more. Beachy wasn’t projectable because his stuff wasn’t enticing or overpowering. If there is anything that is frustrating with prospecting is that projectable stuff will always win over results at multiple levels. However, he, Beachy, pitched well, year in and year out. That’s all you can hope for from a darkhorse prospect. As for your player/prospect recommendations, I am glad you’re a Rockies fan, but I cannot just write about the Rox’s every prospect.

    @It’llonlyhurtforasecond: I never stated Goldschmidt was in the PCL, I stated Cogwill was. Which is true when you play in Triple-A Reno. Not sure where you see me referencing the Sally league as the PCL.

    @ltf: re:Jennings: His ceiling of 20 home runs? Yeah, blame Baseball America and every scout that gives him a ceiling of 20 home runs. Most people continue to buy Crawford and Upton as possible 20 home run hitters; same with Joe Mauer who’s not a prototypical power hitter to begin with. You buy into the ceilings of prospects because it provides exciting hope for the future.

    re: Gordon vs. Sand: I never compared them on an equal talent level. Compared them on the fact that Sands didn’t appear to have the skills to sustain success in the majors upon his first call-up, the ability to flounder and learn on the job. Looks like his .200/.294/.328 slash line in 125 AB with 33 strikeouts helps prove my point.

    As for watching “these guy pitch of swing live … the power projections alone are head scratching.” I’ve stated this before, I don’t get many opportunities to watch prospects because I work more than full time, I write as a hobby, read additional sabermetric information on the prospects and I utilize Baseball America, John Sickels and Keith Law for my main resources. The projections usually have qualifiers when I first start writing about a prospect. Eventually, I cannot write an entire article with qualifiers and expect my readers to have their own ability to sift through the information as well. Subsequently, most projections are far more reserved than most scouting resources or informative articles I find initially. Furthermore, most power projections I state are the high-end, and I try to make that clear.

    I’ve seen enough “can’t miss” prospects bust and flame out in the last two and half years that I am reserved on most of my projections and expectations. I’ve heard scouts rave about a hitters ability only to watch him never make it in the majors. I’ve heard about pitchers ability only to watch them lose all composure in the majors.

  37. ltf says:
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    @Stephen: Haha, I don’t think anyone confuses you with an MLB scout, or being able to work as one. Darnell’s hitting is far advanced compared to Jennings, there’s not really much of a comparison to be made there. You’re trying to tell me someone who has hit well at every level wouldn’t at AAA? If you have two guys who are in their mid-20s, and one has an advanced bat while the other has a game predicated on speed in every aspect, who do you think is hurt more by supposed mishandling or being relegated to the minors?

    Quit asking yourself easy questions, or giving easy answers nobody asked for. Cabrera is shit and there is much better prospects worth writing about in the Rockies’ system, You don’t have to be a Rockies fan to notice this, it’s quite obvious. I’ve heard scouts say it since his first year that they blew it on him. He’s James Shields part 2 and nobody caught it. It happens. Some people can admit their mistakes Stephen.

    I don’t see it in Jennings’ swing to get to 20, it will have to be due to his athleticism if it happens. I’d compare Darnell’s swing to Justin Upton easily, not really sure how Jennings comes close to it.

    No you mentioned Alex Gordon’s name as if it was a good example of a path Jerry Sands can follow. He can’t play the outfield, at least he has an above average arm to throw it back in when he has to run to the outfield wall for all the balls that get past him. He got ate up by offspeed pitching, and he has terrible balance at the plate. You want to compare him to Mark Teixeira and Carlos Pena too?

    I work part time, play college ball, and love to follow baseball. If you want to call it a hobby or rely on Sickles, Law, and other mass media prospect guides as the last word, that’s on you. If I wanted their opinions, I would get it from them.

  38. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @ltf: I appreciate the feedback and criticism. Thank you. It reminds me to continually refine my writing, to be more specific and unassuming. I cannot rely on all readers having the background knowledge of past articles, access to resources, pool of prospect knowledge and name recognition. I will need to continue to try and develop analogies that expand beyond some larger known prospects so the casually readers will follower.

    I know when I am wrong. I’ve been wrong on multiple occasions, see: Stubbs, Drew; Bautisia, Jose; Alderson, Tim, Pineda, Michael; Carter, Chris (OAK). I’ve also been right with Hellickson, Valencia, Beachy, Britton, Kimbrell, Peguero, Michael Taylor. There are both negatives and positives in both lists. I recognize this fact. Then there are the hundreds of other prospects I’ve mentioned that haven’t moved out of the minors or moved forward. I know I am missing some for both of the lists. Just search through and read my Minor League Review Articles on all 30 teams. You usually get better details of each team’s prospects, and depth.

    I changed on Darnell due to continued positive improvement. I now want to see it happen against more advanced pitching (AAA or MLB). His age reduces elite prospect status. He’s still a good prospect, but I’m not drooling over his fantasy upside. Onto the remainder of your reply.
    I never stated that Darnell couldn’t hit at Triple-A. As for Darnell’s “elite” prospect status that you seem to be applying to his abilities, he should be up in the majors, at least Triple-A. Jennings’ value lays a lot in his speed, yes. Even at 10 home runs a year with 30 steals and plus defense in center, Jennings holds good value. As for “mishandling,” and being hurt by stated assumption, at this point, it would appear that they are both being negatively affected.

    Beachy had few supporters and at this point is hindsight bias at best. If he would have failed during his early season outings, everyone would have stated, “I told you so.” I’m not dismissing the fact scouts ignored Beachy because he lacked projectability. No, I am stating that just because a prospect appears to have not projectability, doesn’t means they should be completely dismissed. Cabrera is not an elite prospect. Not even a Grade B prospect. He’s a fringe grade C prospect, at best.

    The Rockies farm system is stout, yes. Then again, I am hesitant to praise an entire farm system on success of a few prospects in half a season, or even one hot/cold season. The Royals are the perfect example of this occurring. Every major prospect outlet significantly depressed the value of Hosmer and Moustakas after down years in 2009, even though it they played in poor hitting environments. Consequently, the Royals farm system ranking tanked. Then in 2010, everything went right, and their farm system became ranked number one. Hosmer and Moustakas, along with their breadth of pitching ranks, were there during the majority of this time. The prospect market is volatile and bi-polar. There are prospect stories of expected performance that work out (Joe Mauer), there are prospect stories of expected performance that tank (Ben McDonald), stories that last (Arthur Rhodes, who was once a top 5 overall prospect), and stories that struggle to happen (Alex Gordon).

    I don’t personally expect Jennings to be reaching 20 home runs. 12 to 15 home runs? Yeah. He’s more B.J. Upton than Carl Crawford.

    Again, the comparison of Sands to Gordon was never on talent alone. Sands is a 1B and only a first base men. He has great power when he connects. He’s more Mark Reynolds than anyone you mentions, or I’ve mentioned in the past.

    The “mass media” information and guides are each different, and when combined together provide perfect second/third hand knowledge (since their writing from a first/second-hand perspective due to their collaboration). Obviously you like something I say due to the quote, “If I wanted their opinions, I would get it from them.”

    Lastly, I write and view prospect through the lens of a fantasy baseball website and vantage point. Everything about the prospect for me when writing is tied into fantasy baseball relevancy. If I wanted to speak from a strict scouting perspective, my comments would be substantially different, the analysis more projectable, the expectations within the entire game instead of strictly offensive performance. Within this view, a pitcher able to strikeout a better each inning is more valuable than an innings eater, or a hitter who plays great defense and is serviceable with the bat.

  39. Anthony says:
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    @Santos:

    Easily take Heyward, Price, and Moustakas.

    EASY

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