It’s been 29 years since we’ve had simultaneous 100-steal season in Minor League Baseball, but the wait is over, people. Billy Hamilton swiped his 100th bag, like, back in May or something, and he finished up with 155 on the year. He was joined in triple-digit land earlier this week by Delino DeShields, who ended 2012 with 101 stolen bases. It was an outstanding year for the Astros’ 2010 first-rounder, one that would’ve drawn far more praise had it not been overshadowed by Hamilton’s record-breaking season. The kicker here, though, was Delino’s pop — the 20-year-old hit 12 homers between Low-A and High-A, becoming the first MiLB player in history to collect 10+ homers while stealing 100+ bases. The future is bright for this one.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last Wednesday, I joined Rudy and Nick for the Razzball Baseball Podcast. On the show, we counted down my top 15 prospects, but truth be told, I was fully prepared to discuss my top 20. So, with the MiLB season winding down and all, I thought now would be a good opportunity to put the entire list out there in written form. This is a preliminary ranking — I’ll roll out more official and specific ranks during the off-season, once the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to gather more intel. Please keep in mind that this list is limited to prospects still in the minors prior to September 1st call-ups. Also, in the interest of not being too farsighted, I included only guys who’ll be making their impacts within the next year or two (which is certainly a matter up for debate). Anyway, my top 20:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers – Current Level: MLB Age: 19 – Five-tool shortstop projects to go 20/20 annually, and he’s certainly gifted enough to do more.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Storylines in Minor League Baseball are sometimes too good to ignore. Take this past Wednesday, for example, when Sacramento (OAK) battled Tacoma (SEA) in an 18-inning Pacific Coast League affair. The game got away from the managers as it reached deep into extras. Having exhausted their respective bullpens, both skippers resorted to calling on position players to take the mound. Tacoma opened the top half of the 18th with Scott Stavastano, a utility player, on the bump. The 26-year-old pitched a clean frame; 1-2-3. Sacramento countered with outfielder Shane Peterson on the mound for the bottom half. Peterson had struck out the first batter when Stavastano, the utility man/pitcher of record came to the plate in a 1-1 tie. You probably can guess where I’m headed with this — Stavastano worked a full count, then bombed. A walk off to give himself the W on the box. Neat stuff.Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is always painful, but it’s also necessary. What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will. To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid. Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out. Anyway, let’s cut to it:
1.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Rangers have promoted two pitchers from their minor league ranks to fill openings in the big league rotation. Familiar fantasy face, Roy Oswalt, is one of the two. The other is 23-year-old Justin Grimm, who debuted last week and was rather effective. Grimm was having a nice campaign in Double-A — nothing eye-popping, but he was among the most efficient pitchers in the Texas League, which is surely why the Rangers are giving him a look. I’m not so sure he’s worth the same look in the fantasy game, however. He’s slotted to throw twice next week, so if you’re two-start streaming… whatever. But he’s hardly rosterable outside of AL-Only formats. What’s interesting to note here is that Grimm leaped over the Rangers’ top pitching prospect Martin Perez. Perez had been having a lousy year in the PCL, so it’s not necessarily surprising that Grimm was given the nod, but the move seems to have ignited Perez. He’s surrendered only two runs through his last two outings, one of those being a complete game (only 90 pitches, too). Featuring a plus fastball with sneaky velocity, a plus-plus change, and a sharp curve, Perez has frontline stuff. It’s hard to say how long the Rangers will have room for either Grimm or another arm, but if Perez continues this recent hot streak, I’m confident he’ll supplant Grimm. Should that scenario come to pass, add Perez in all formats.Please, blog, may I have some more?
You walking out of your H2H draft, “I might have overspent on Tulo but, as long as I have him in September, I’m fine. Now where are those cigars I’ve been saving for the birth of my firstborn? I need a stogie up in here!” You might’ve just got your wish.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The fantasy baseball world waits impatiently for the arrivals of Anthony Rizzo and Wil Myers. Some owners have been stashing one or the other on their rosters for months now, as folks like me keep spewing lines like “arrival is imminent” — whatever that means. Truth is, these call-ups are utterly unpredictable. They’re based more on opportunity than readiness, and “opportunity”, it seems, is defined differently by every GM in baseball. Both Jed Hoyer and Dayton Moore are claiming patient approaches with their prospects, hinting that we won’t see either player in the majors this year. But who can believe these guys? Rizzo and Myers have combined for 55 homers on the season, and I’d love to see them join Trout and Harper in MLB’s 2012 prospect party. When that might happen, though, is tough to gauge. Until then, arrival is imminent.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We went over Danny Hultzen in our last fantasy baseball podcast, but that was a bunch of jibber-jabbering, you want the facts! Well, actually, there were some facts in there. Rudy, for instance, stated he thought Hultzen would be up by June 26th. Okay, that’s more of an opinion. Okay, facts. 1) When Hultzen was drafted last year, he was one of the top pitchers in the country and seemed most “major league ready.” 2) “Major league ready” is scout-speak for safe. 3) Fat Jonah Hill fired all the scouts. 4) He throws over 100 MPH. 5) I bet you didn’t know Fat Jonah Hill threw that fast. 6) Hultzen, on the other hand, throws his fastball 91-95 MPH. 7) His ceiling is slightly lower than the top arms in the minors. G) He walked a bunch of batters when he first arrived at a high level of competition, this might translate to the majors.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’ve recently devoted a bit of time to the discussion college ballers, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to lead with this absurdly awesome catch from Derrick Salberg of Lower Columbia College. The context of the moment makes the grab even more unbelievable: two outs, bottom of the ninth, one runner on, LCC leading 4-2. If Salberg is available in your NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges) leagues, I probably wouldn’t grab him (.262 AVG, 4 XBH in 120 PA). But if you haven’t yet seen the catch, please check out that link — it’s truly one of the more amazing plays you’ll ever see in baseball. Now, some real prospects:
Anthony Gose | OF, Blue Jays — Colby Rasmus has been pretty much worthless.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A week ago, I updated Jurickson Profar with news that his hitting streak had reached 21 games. Well, Profar’s streak has now swelled to 29, the longest in pro ball this year. With the graduations of Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Matt Moore, Profar takes over as the game’s top prospect and it’s not too soon to start considering how and when he fits in with the Rangers. With Ian Kinsler signed through 2018, and Adrian Beltre through 2016, it seems Profar won’t have a clear path to Arlington ’til Elvis Andrus hits free agency after the 2014 season. I have to assume he’ll be ready before then, however, which leads me to speculate about a transition to outfield or a trade, perhaps. I suppose this is a good problem to have from the Rangers’ vantage point. It’ll be interesting to watch how the situation plays out.Please, blog, may I have some more?