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Happy Wednesday gang, hope you’re ready for this week’s Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems - our weekly glance at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, which will in turn lead to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping before your mates, in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Kyle Wren, an OF for the Atlanta Braves (Okay, insert your homer comment here!!!) [Jay's Note: Will do. Homer.].

 

 

The name sounds familiar (of course it does), so yes, he’s the son of Braves’ GM Frank Wren. However, he’s not one of those kids that was drafted because he comes from a “baseball family” as many draft-nicks liked to note when the organization selected Kyle in the 8th Round of the 2013 Draft. Wren signed with Georgia Tech following a great career at Landmark Christian High School (named to the All-State Team three times) and earned Freshman All-America recognition (5 lists)  in 2011 while being one of only two Freshmen named to the All-ACC team that season. Originally drafted by Cincinnati in the 30th Round of the 2012 Draft as a draft-eligible Sophomore, Kyle chose to return to Tech. He finished his Yellow Jackets career with a .319/.394/.426/.820 slash line, piling up 60 SBs to go with an impressive 98/92 BB/K Ratio.

After cashing his $50,000 signing bonus check, he logged 53 games (47 in the SALLY League with Rome, 1 AB with Lynchburg) in the low levels of the Braves’ system and compiled a .335/.391/.472/.863 line in 218 ABs with 14 2Bs, 5 3Bs, and 42 runs scored while showing off his speed (35/42 in SB attempts) and good plate awareness (19/24 BB/K Ratio) . The Braves sent him to Lynchburg (High-A) to begin this season to pair him with Jose Peraza (the organization’s likely long-term answer at 2B) to form a dynamic OBP/speed pairing at the top of the lineup, and he responded with a .296/.359/.357/.716 line in 291 ABs to go along with 10 2Bs and 4 3Bs, while continuing to be a serious threat on the basepaths (33/42 SBs) and show great plate discipline (30/39 BB/K Ratio). His performance in Lynchburg earned him a promotion to AA Mississippi at the end of last week, and Kyle’s 4/10 with a double and 2 SBs in his first two games there.

Wren didn’t make any of the major 2014 Top 10 Lists (BA/MLB/Sickels), but should figure significantly when pundits compile their midseason rankings.

While the big club has been struggling to get guys on base in front of Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, and Evan Gattis all season (much less production from them) so far, it’s obvious that help is finally coming – Tommy La Stella has been promoted already, and Peraza and Wren are quickly working their way into consideration as pieces of the big club’s roster as early as next spring. All three youngsters look like players who can finally help offset the well-profiled swing-and-miss in Atlanta’s lineup with high contact %/good OBP hitters.

With B. J. Upton under contract through 2017 when the new stadium opens, there’s no clear path to a regular CF gig for Kyle unless the team decides to trade Upton, but his skill-set could vault him past Jordan Schafer, Todd Cunningham, and Jose Constanza as the team’s potential 4th OF as early as 2015.

 

 Remember, you can always hit me up on Twitter @clvclv, as well as in the comments section here.

From Around The Web

  1. Jonesy says:
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    I’ve got an offer to give up Jordy Mercer to get Kyle Zimmer. We do a prospects draft mid-year where you take 3 players with no MLB experience, and you can keep a total of 3 of them for that year and two more. I only have Taillon left, though our draft is coming up next week where ill get three more. So Zimmer would be one of 5 that i would have to choose 3 from before the start of next year. I’m pretty much out of the race this year, so I would be considering this as a bit of a lottery ticket. I may also be able to do Lowrie and Mercer for Dee Gordon and Zimmer, but seems a bit like a sell-low/buy-high scenario. Thoughts?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Jonesy:

      Love the Mercer for Zimmer angle, think I’d have to have already jerked someone’s arm off if I could get Gordon AND Zimmer for that package.

  2. Al koholic says:
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    nice post,whens Alcantara coming up?

    • @Al koholic:

      Noticed a blurb on MLBTR or somewhere yesterday that mentioned that he’s caught the Cubs coaches’ eye with his performance recently – should be soon.

  3. Eddy says:
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    Watched him all throughout college at Georgia Tech. Kid can play. Good write up.

  4. Swfcdan says:
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    Right then Chris what do you think about Franco’s struggles in AAA, anything to be worried about? Know he was a top 25 prospect coming into this year.

    It’s looking like I’ll have to sell up and Franco is one of the prospects being offered to me. Want to make sure he’s not selling me a cold salmon though, and that Franco’s long term outlook is still high.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Swfcdan: @Swfcdan:

      Hey Dan – sorry for the delayed response having a little trouble with notifications that we’re getting ironed out. Which Franco? Assuming you mean Maikel, I do have concerns. He’s certainly not the first Phillies’ big-time hitting prospect to “flame out” as he’s reached the higher levels and seen more advanced pitching of late. Dominic Brown had some success and appeared to turn a bit of a corner last year, but he’s regressed substantially as the book on him has become more defined at the MLB level. Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, Carlos Tocci, and Aaron Altherr have all struggled to reach base consistently as they’ve moved up. None of them have been particularly selective or shown a willingness to draw walks as they’ve advanced, and that’s always going to be a problem when Pitchers throw more strikes that AREN’T over the center of the plate (see Upton, B. J. among others).

  5. Jonesy says:
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    Hey Chris, our league has a mid-year prospects draft where we each pick 3 players with no MLB experience, and we get to keep them for this year plus two more. Given that some of the sexy names are off the board from being taken in prior prospect drafts, I’m looking for updated prospect lists to do my research. Any suggestions on where my best bet is to provide UPDATED

    • Jonesy says:
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      @Jonesy: (didn’t finish my thought)…Basically I’m looking for updated detailed prospect listings. Most of the stuff I can find are from pre-season prospect lists that are now stale, but I assume you may have some good online sources you can share?

      • Chris

        Chris says:
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        @Jonesy:

        You can subscribe to BA’s daily e-mail prospect reports that come to your inbox. There used to be a convenient feature at firstinning.com that allowed you to select whatever prospects you liked and it would track them for you on “Your Page” when you registered (free registration), but it seemed to fizzle out a little over a year ago and there hasn’t been any updated info from their Twitter feed since June 11, 2013.

        Unfortunately we’re all left to do our own digging for prospect info just as you are. I can suggest that you follow all of the Razzball columnists on Twitter – these guys know their stuff. I haven’t been quite as active there when it comes to things that aren’t Braves’-related in the past, but that will change as I get more settled in here.

      • Chris

        Chris says:
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        @Jonesy:

        BTW, my Midseason Top 50 Prospect Rankings will be rolling out next Sunday – hopefully it’ll be of at least some help!!!

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