In my Week 4 MiLB report, I included a brief writeup on Blue Jays pitching prospect, Roberto Osuna, highlighting his hot start to 2013 season at Low-A Lansing. My blurb from that particular post: “Number five on my Blue Jays top ten from March, Osuna is a rather plump 18-year-old with a front-end arsenal. Through 18 IP at Low-A Lansing, he’s posted a 26/3 K/BB along with an ERA at 2.95 and a WHIP at 0.82. Some folks are concerned about his potentially tubby frame, but the stuff might just be good enough to overcome the weight issue.” Well Osuna was pulled from his most recent start with elbow discomfort. A subsequent visit to Dr. Andrews has revealed a UCL tear, and it’s now all but official that the Jays’ prized prospect will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The developmental setback is disappointing, but at age 18, Osuna was ahead of the developmental curve already. There’s still reason to remain optimistic about his future outlook, but it looks like it’ll be a full year before we see him pitching in a meaningful game again. And that sucks.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (27) | 2008 (18)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [61-101] NL Central
AAA: [53-87] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [72-68] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [59-74] Florida State League – Daytona
A: [63-75] Midwest League – Peoria (Kane County beginning 2013)
A(ss): [37-39] Northwest League — Boise
Arizona Fall League Players — Mesa Solar Sox
Dae-Eun Rhee (RHP); Kevin Rhoderick (RHP); Nick Struck (RHP); Tony Zych (RHP); Logan Watkins (2B); Rubi Silva (OF); Matt Szczur (OF)
Anthony Rizzo (1B); Steve Clevenger (C); Welington Castillo (C)
The Run Down
Since Theo and his gang arrived, it’s been evident that the Cubs are on a better track. They traded for Anthony Rizzo, they signed Jorge Soler, they drafted well (it seems that way, at least), and they’ve added much-needed depth to their farm system via deals with Atlanta and Texas. In just one year’s time, it’s quite impressive how improved this system is. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when 2011 draftees, Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach, break out with huge statistical years. Still, the bottom-up impact that the Epstein-Hoyer regime has had on this organization cannot be denied. If it’s lacking anywhere, it’s in the starting pitching department — there simply aren’t many high-impact arms coming up. But the Cubs have ample dough to work around that shortcoming with signings at the big league level. It might be a few more years until they’re contenders in the NL Central, but it’s clear that that they’re headed in that direction. Oh, and there’s quite a bit of fantasy impact in the names below.
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?
Once considered an elite prospect, Brett Wallace now has few lingering believers. The 2008 1st round pick has already been with four organizations, and is currently passing time in the Pacific Coast League at Oklahoma City, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros. Houston gave Wallace ample opportunity to prove his worth in 2011, but he effectively squandered the 350+ PA, posting a .259 AVG and a .110 ISO, which is pretty miserable coming from a 1B. During a brief stint in the bigs earlier this year, the 25-year-old was much improved, batting .333/.429/.583 in 42 PA. Granted, it’s a small sample, but it conjured memories of why we touted Wallace in the first place — outstanding plate coverage, lightning-quick hands, beautiful lefty stroke, advanced approach, power potential… the works, really, from a hitting perspective. Jeff Luhnow — Houston’s brilliant 1st-year GM, and the man who drafted Wallace in 2008 while handling player procurement for the Cardinals — recently acknowledged that the first baseman should resurface in the bigs before long, which is kind of an ambiguous timetable. Regardless, Wallace’s Triple-A production has been big of recent (.371/.476/.600 through last ten), and he could be useful in NL-Only and deep mixed formats should he return to Houston anytime soon.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Dan Straily | RHP, Athletics | Born: 12/1/1988
Dan Straily hype was virtually nonexistent during the preseason. It wasn’t yet a thing. It’s definitely a thing now, but back in the off-season, Baseball America didn’t feature him as a top 30 Oakland prospect, and Kevin Goldstein didn’t include him in his top 20 A’s prospects over at Baseball Prospectus. Fangraphs didn’t highlight him. Neither did we. Credit where credit is due, however: John Sickels ranked Straily #18 on his A’s preseason list at Minor League Ball. Outside of Sickels, though, you’d have to do some significant digging to find much info on the 23-year-old righty. Of course, it’s hard to stay under the radar when you’ve struck out 171 batters in 132 IP. Or when you’ve posted a 0.92 ERA and a 0.72 WHIP through seven starts in the Pacific Coast League. So now, along with all the other folks who ignored him preseason, I’m writing about Dan Straily.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?
Many saw Mark Appel as the odds-on No. 1 overall pick in last month’s First Year Player Draft. Signability concerns, however, caused his stock to slip, and the tall, athletic RHP out of Stanford fell to Pittsburgh at No. 8 overall. In retrospect, he should’ve fallen further, as Appel refused a signing bonus worth $3.8 million, opting to return to Stanford for his senior season. Must be frustrating for Pirates fans. A larger offer from the club would’ve forfeited their 1st-round pick for 2013 under the new CBA terms. Instead, their first selection for 2012 was for naught. With arms like Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole already in their minor league ranks, the addition of Appel would’ve given Pittsburgh one of the most impressive collection of starting pitching prospects in the game. Certainly much of the frustration here needs to be directed toward MLB’s new draft slotting system. After paying above-slot bonuses to several later-round picks, the Pirates were handcuffed when it came time to negotiate with Appel and his agent Scott Boras. Still, better foresight from Pittsburgh a month ago could’ve avoided this unfortunate situation. Appel should be near the top of next year’s class once again. For more on him, here’s a brief scouting report I wrote pre-draft.Please, blog, may I have some more?