Good morning fellow prospect nuts – one more week in the books, the trade activity picking up steam, and the prospects are beginning to move around all over the place. All this action prior to the juiciest rumored pieces being dealt in advance of this week’s non-waiver trade deadline gives us hope that there’s much more activity to look forward to and that we may get a look at some of the players that may be competing for 2015 MLB jobs during camp next spring earlier than September.
Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to The Show, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Sunday Twelve-Pack.
1.) Aristides Aquino, OF, CIN
Aquino’s adjustment curve has been a little longer than some guys we’ve looked at, but the Reds’ 2011 Dominican signee appears to be settling in nicely here in his age 20 season. He’s now logged 143 2014 ABs with Billings (Rookie), slashing .315/.361/.636/.998 with 12 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 10 HRs, and 7 SBs in 9 tries. Contact is a concern as it is for most youngsters (9/32 BB/K Ratio), but when he’s seeing the ball well he looks like a premium prospect in the making – .390/.457/.829/1.286 over his last 10 games with 3 2Bs, 5 HRs, 17 RBIs, and 3 SBs (drawing 4 of his 9 total BBs). Aristides won’t be appearing in the Great American Small Park anytime soon, but he’s someone worth keeping your eye on.
2.) Lucas Giolito, RHSP, WAS
Another prospect we don’t expect to see at the MLB-level in 2015 with the Nationals in the middle of a playoff push, Giolito’s shown that he’s ready for a tougher challenge to move him closer to that point. Lucas is coming off another dominating appearance against Kannapolis (Low-A) Friday night – 6 IP, 1 hit, 7 Ks, 0 BBs – further lowering his season numbers to a very impressive 2.34 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, with only 52 hits allowed and a .186 BAA. Lucas now owns a 88/25 K/BB Ratio covering 77 IP and has only allowed 6 HRs while pitching in several hitter-friendly SALLY League parks.
3.) Addison Russell, SS, CHC
Russell has been mentioned by several scouts as potentially the best defensive SS option in the Cubs’ crowded stable, and it looks like his bat is starting to catch up as well. Addison had 2 two-homer games this week and is slashing .278/.350/.722/1.072 over his last ten games for Tennessee (AA). Javier Baez logged a little time at 2B for Iowa recently, but (as we’ve learned the hard way with Theo and Jed piloting the ship) that may or may not mean anything. If nothing else, it at least signals that they realize they’re going to have to start finding other places for someone to play soon.
4.) Brian Johnson, LHSP, BOS
While the Jake Peavy trade may not create space in the big club’s rotation it should at least frame the next steps for several Boston farmhands, and in the (still unlikely IMO) event that the Red Sox’ brass chooses to sell high on Jon Lester we could see Johnson and/or others before the end of 2014. Brian’s coming off of an impressive Friday showing at New Britain (AA) where he limited the Rock Cats to 1 hit over 7 IP, striking out 12 hitters while walking three. The 2012 31st overall pick out of Florida is now 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .219 BAA, and a 74/25 K/BB Ratio in 84.2 IP since his earlier promotion to Portland.
5.) Cody Bellinger, 1B, LAD
Adrian Gonzalez is under contract through 2018, but the Dodgers have yet another good-looking left handed 1B in the system that’s worthy of watching as he develops. Bellinger was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2013 Draft and is spending this season competing in the rookie-level Pioneer League – where he’s 2.5 years younger than the average player. He returned from a separated shoulder last Friday and has gone 12-32 with 4 2Bs, 1 HR, and 10 runs scored since then. Given the injury he’s dealing with, his season line of .385/.442/.564/1.006 looks like something solid to build on.
6.) Gabby Guerrero, OF, SEA
Yes, Vlady’s nephew looks like him, but much more importantly for Mariners fans he hits like him too. The 2014 Futures Game participant is coming off a 12-28 week (3 2Bs, 2 HRs, and 5 RBIs) for High Desert (Hi-A), and his power production away from the hitters’ haven there has been consistent with his home output. He’s now slashing .313/.353/.464/.817 with 22 2Bs, 1 3B, 12 HRs, and 14 SBs in 399 California League ABs. He also reminds observers of Uncle Vlad by swinging at anything he thinks he can hit – sporting a 26/98 BB/K Ratio. He’s got development to do, but there’s little question that the 20 year old deserved his Futures Game invite.
7.) Cory Spangenberg, 2B, SDP
The Chase Headley drama appears to have finally drawn to a close in San Diego (so Jay can finally devote more time to prepping for the upcoming football campaign) just as Spangenberg heats up for San Antonio (AA). While Alexi Amarista and Chris Nelson man the hot corner for the time being, the trade that sent Headley to the Bronx could finally open up 3B for Jedd Gyorko and open 2B up for Spangenberg (or the recently acquired Taylor Lindsey) come Opening Day 2015. Spangenberg’s coming off a hot week, and is slashing .349/.387/.479/.867 over 146 Texas League ABs with 14 XBHs.
8.) Alex Meyer, RHSP, MIN
Meyer turned in another nice outing against Durham (AAA) Wednesday night, striking out 8 hitters and allowing 5 hits over 6 shutout IP. Most importantly for him (and Twins fans) he didn’t walk anyone. He’s now struck out 115 International League hitters in 101.1 IP and has only allowed 4 earned runs during his 4 quality starts this month. Alex should be getting his call the next time there’s a chance to slide someone into the big club’s rotation.
9.) Andrew Lambo, OF/1B, PIT
A bit old compared to most of the players typically on this list, Lambo looks to be a player who could be getting a call soon in the hopes he can add a little spark for a playoff contender’s offense. The Pirates have gotten very little pop from their 1B platoon (Ike Davis/Gaby Sanchez), and Gregory Polanco has cooled significantly following his impressive MLB debut. Pittsburgh’s been hanging in there, but the Central is going to be a tough division to win. Lambo could be just what they need, and he’s currently slashing .350/.395/.575/.970 for AAA Indianapolis (including an 0-3 effort before he was hurt back on May 4th).
10.) Raimel Tapia, OF, COL
With a pair of struggling 23 and 24 year old OFs currently ahead of him in Modesto, we may see the Rockies call on Tapia to follow former teammate David Dahl to find out just how much of his production has been influenced by McCormick Field soon. The home of the Asheville Tourists (Lo-A) – the oldest minor league park in regular use – is almost as famous for being a hitters’ paradise as it is for being one of the settings for “Bull Durham”.Raimel’s slash line (through Friday) is now .333/.388/.464/.852 over 360 SALLY League ABs and should at least earn him a look to see if his awkward swing will produce positive results against more advanced pitching.
11.) Michael Taylor, OF, CHW
Another older than normal addition (a 2007 5th Rounder by the Phillies),Taylor’s someone we could see called up if the White Sox deal an OF this week. The Stanford alumnus (and A’s 2013 #12 prospect according to MLB.com) has put together a solid 2014 season in Charlotte (AAA), slashing .308/.383/.490/.874 with 10 2Bs, 3 HRs, and a 14/26 BB/K Ratio over 110 ABs. Taylor’s not someone you should target for the long-term, but he might be someone you could take a look at if he gets the call and you own a White Sox OF that gets dealt in an AL-Only league.
12.) Tyler Glasnow, RHSP, PIT
And (of course) our “DUH!!!” addition is Glasnow. His early back injury cost him the first three weeks of his season, but his Tuesday outing against Dunedin (6 shutout IP, 4 hits, 11 Ks, 2 BBs) was his third straight without allowing an earned run and his second double-digit strikeout performance in his last three starts. Tyler now boasts a 1.64 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, .178 BAA, and 10.3 K/9 in 82.1 IP against Florida State League hitters. It’s past time to provide him a new challenge.