Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.
Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy. Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Futures Game will take place on July 14th at Citi Field as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities. Rosters were announced earlier this week. Of the various all-star contests throughout Minor League Baseball, the Futures Game is King. Instead of league-specific all-stars, the Futures draws its talent from leagues at all levels, class-A to Triple-A. What we’re left with, then, are rosters that are crammed with real-deal prospects. The format is USA versus the World, and there’s still time to vote on the final roster spot for each squad, although that poll closes today. I went with Nick Castellanos and Javier Baez on my ballot. Who you got? Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler was off to a great start at High-A Daytona, batting .435/.519/.739 with 2 homers through his first six games. The was promising news for the Cubs, who inked him to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. The 21-year-old Cuban is not a cost-controlled prospect — there’s an opt-out clause that would make him eligible for arbitration after three years service time, but both sides would be thrilled if it came to that. In any case, there’s incentive for the Cubs to develop him quickly in order to make sure the bulk of those nine years are spent at the highest level. Chicago was smart to make such a long-term investment in Soler — it gives them a little developmental cushion — but they’re still trying to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Things were going well in that department up until Wednesday, when Soler decided to brandish a baseball bat as he sprinted toward the opponent’s dugout following a benches-clearing incident. The league suspended him five games, which isn’t a huge setback, but the Cubs are reportedly investigating the matter further and could tack on more time. I doubt it’ll come to that, but the ordeal still raises some major character concerns. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and that the new regime in Chicago doesn’t enable such behavior as the old group did with headcases like Carlos Zambrano. Please, blog, may I have some more?
When one guy in a fight is named after a maximum security prison and the other guy is named after something Velma from Scooby Doo says when startled, who do you think is gonna win? Quentin took a pitch off his bicep. Nay. It grazed off his arm. Not just any pitch either. A 3-2 pitch. Are we to believe sweet, innocent, my fantasy ace, Zack Greinke in all his 12-year-old boyish looks would wait to throw a purpose pitch on 3-2? A 3-2 purpose pitch?! That makes sense. Maybe next time he’ll walk him, then toss a pick-off throw low so the 1st baseman has to slap the tag real hard on his leg. A 3-2 purpose pitch?! That’s fertilizer! Get off the ‘roids, Quentin, you have rage issues! So, Greinke has a fractured left collarbone. He’ll be out at least six weeks. My guess for his return is the All-Star break. Why does awful have to happen to my wonderful? Why, deity of choice?! Why?! Someone please tuck me into a sleeping bag of cashmere and rock me back and forth until I fall asleep. Please make this pain go away. Or hurt Quentin. That would help. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
PSYCHE! Before we get into today’s post I just wanted to inform everyone that the Stream-o-Nator has returned. It’s new and improved. Stream-o-Nator, “You know that sounds like a compliment, but it’s really implying I wasn’t that great last year. I’m gruff, but those things hurt my feelings.” So, this year the Stream-o-Nator no longer has numbers 1 thru 1000 (?). It’s now on a dollar scale like you’d find in a draft. A $30 starter is obviously great. A $1 starter is probably awful. Lower your dollar threshold to where it’s appropriate for deeper leagues, i.e., a $15 starter for 12 team leagues would be solid. $10 starter for 15-team leagues would be solid. $2 starter for AL-Only leagues that only use Astro and Indian pitchers is great, etc. Also, SON comes with ownership numbers for 12-team mixed leagues. So, go say thanks to Rudy, it’s all him. Anyway II, here’s the roundup: 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 Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.
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?
I don’t often interest myself with indie league baseball, but with this whole 50-year-old Roger Clemens comeback ordeal, I just had to watch. And from what I witnessed, Clemens was good. He allowed just one baserunner (a hit) over 3.1 IP, striking out two, showing good command of a fastball in the mid-upper-80s. After watching the outing, there’s no reason to believe that Clemens couldn’t be as effective as Jaime Moyer was when he pitched with the Rockies this year. A sideshow type return to the bigs seems plausible here — scouts from the Astros and the Royals were reportedly in attendance. Of course, my cynical mind wonders how, after five years away from the game, a 50-year-old man can compete at a major league level. I can’t help but think The Rocket’s return is PED-fueled — and it’s not like there’s no precedent with this guy. Clemens has an enormous ego. That’s no secret. The past five years have been brutal on his legacy, and a “legitimate” return to the majors could go a long way in repairing his image. I’m not familiar with the PED testing policy employed by the independent Atlantic League, or if there is one at all. And obviously this is purely speculative thinking. But, c’mon. Doesn’t it seem a little fishy? Please, blog, may I have some more?
In the wake of his promotion to Double-A, I figured now would be a good time to discuss this Xander Bogaerts guy who has Red Sox fans all hot and bothered. Middlebrooks is down, call up BOGAAAHHTS! To be clear: I don’t think that’ll come to pass this year, but Red Sox fans have good reason to be excited about this particular prospect. Bogaerts has huge power potential. That much was clear after he slugged 16 homers in just 296 PA a year ago in the South Atlantic League. In 2012, however, he’s worked hard to squash the one-dimensional projections, batting .302 and getting on base at a .378 clip through 100+ games at High-A. Those figures are up considerably from last year’s, meanwhile, his SLG (.505) hasn’t dipped. The more balanced production from Bogaerts surely contributed to Boston’s aggressive promotion of the 20-year-old. He’s now on track to reach Fenway at some point next year, although they’ll likely need to find a new position for him, as scouts don’t see his defensive tools cutting it in the bigs at shortstop. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler | OF, Cubs | Born: 2/25/1992
On Monday, the Cubs finalized terms with Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler. The $30 million contract will span nine years, and on the front-end, it appears to be a fantastic deal for the Cubs. The long term nature of the signing puts zero pressure on Chicago to rush the 20-year-old to the bigs. They’ll be able to develop him gradually, to ease him into stateside baseball. After this signing, plus a nice take at last week’s draft, and then assuming the pieces they’ll fetch in trades for Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, the rebuilding efforts of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are clearer than ever. Were I a Cubs fan, I’d be giddy about the future. I’m not. No, I’m a Cardinals fan and I loathe the damn Cubs, so this all frightens me a bit. Nonetheless, here’s a little of what to expect from the Northsiders’ newest prospect:
Standing 6-3, 225, Soler profiles as a big, athletic corner outfielder. Plus arm strength makes right field his most likely destination, but he’ll spend time at all three outfield posts on his way through the minors. The real attraction here is the bat. Soler’s ability to hit for average is the most debated tool in his arsenal. Some think he’ll fare ok in that regard, and some think the whiffs will pile up and he’ll struggle. No one, however, denies his power potential. Soler possesses raw power, which many liken to that of Giancarlo Stanton. That sort of pop will play big in the fantasy game. The Cubs will be patient with him, though. They’ll keep him in Arizona for instructional ball for a good month before they send him to A-ball (probably Low-A Peoria). If everything goes as planned, Soler arrives at Wrigley sometime in 2014. Please, blog, may I have some more?