As the season progresses, feel free to name a few unheralded prospects of interest in the comments section. Additionally, please continue to discuss, dissect, and critique each review and prospect. The more dialogue, the more information that is gained about each prospect. Without further ado.
Tyler Skaggs | LHP (SP) | Arizona Diamondbacks | D.o.B: 7/13/91 | 6’4″ | 195 lbs | B/T: L/L | 1st Rd, 2009 | ARI #2 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player Page
The centerpiece to the Dan Haren trade in 2010, Skaggs is your prototypical left-handed pitcher. He throws a 88 to 92 MPH fastball with good sinking action, an above-average low 70s curveball that is his best pitch – best in the system too – which he commands and locates well, and a changeup that could grade out as a plus pitch if all goes according to projectability. His lanky, lean and athletic body projects well according to the Baseball America’s scouting report; his fastball could add two to three MPH, but not a guarantee. Pitches aggressively, is confident and poised on the mound; a ground ball pitcher (1.63 GO/AO in 2010) that projects to be a number three to a high number two starter.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): 10.3 K/9 | 2.7 BB/9 | 206 IP | 3.19 ERA | 1.16 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 7.8 H/9
2011 Stats (A+): 11.1 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9 | 97 2/3 IP | 3.23 ERA | 2.68 FIP | 1.15 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 7.2 H/9 | .302 BABIP | 72.2 LOB%
His numbers have been highly impressive since becoming a pro. Statistically has progress with few, if any, outliers. “Luck” (BABIP) hasn’t ever been an issue, he doesn’t strand runners (LOB%) at an unsustainable rate and he keeps the ball in the park (.6 Hr/9 career rate and a 1.63 and 1.46 GO/AO in 2010 and 2011 respectfully). With only 206 innings of pitching, he has proven he is able to control and command his pitching against lesser developed prospect and sustain a high-strikeout rate. I don’t have any updated information on progress of refining changeup or if his fastball has added any speed. If both of those occur, his trajectory becomes a stellar number two starter. If he stays as is, then a number three starter. I do know that if his current stats follow him to Double-A, and there isn’t anything suggesting they won’t, he’ll quickly rise to the majors in 2012.
J.D. Martinez | RF/LF | Houston Astros | D.o.B: 8/21/87 | 6’3″ | 195 lbs | B/T: R/R | 20th rd, 2009 | HOU #6 ranked prospect per Baseball America 2011 | MiLB Player Page
Martinez has flown under the radar and someone I’ve been eying since both 2009 and 2010 in the Houston Astros Minor League Reviews. Although he has physically bloomed later than most, he has a good, flat, line-drive swing. He is able to drive the ball well and generates good gap power with moderate home run power (15 to 20 home run ceiling). Does possess an unorthodox swing (front foot goes down early) which has caused initial concerns, but his timing is solid and natural. Does not struggle recognizing breaking pitches, stays back and squares up well. In 2010, he won the South Atlantic League MVP in 2010 (in 348 ABs) before being promoted to Double-A (189 AB). Defensively, his average arm strength and strong accuracy is able to play right field, but his mediocre running speed projects better in left field. A solid prospect in his own right, but labeled a “second division regular,” by Baseball America (which means a regular on an average to below average team). A poor man’s Hunter Pence without the steals.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): .341/.403/.545 | 1043 AB | 128 XBH | 38 Hr | .204 ISO | 6/2 SB/CS | 184:96 K:BB
2011 (AA): .335/.399/.517 | 242 AB | 27 XBH | 8 Hr | .182 ISO | 0/0 SB/CS | 43:28 K:BB | .371 BABIP
I’ve been watching him for several years now and am modestly excited about his progression. The tentative hesitation comes with the extreme BABIP territory (BABIP at Single-A: .398; at Double-A: 371). The moderate power has been displayed both this year (18 doubles and 8 home runs) and last year (40 doubles and 18 home runs). Plate discipline is average at best; at Double-A, he has a 19.7 K%-rate (431 AB – 85 K’s) and walks at a 8.9 BB% rate (43 BB in 479 PA). Statistically reminds me of what Nick Markakis did in the minors. To be clear, I do not think Martinez is graded at the same level as Markakis was, but they have put up similar minor league numbers. If I were forced to place a fantasy line on him over a full season, I’d say 60/18/75/.275/2; this would be the high end. Baseball America stated that if Carlos Lee is ever moved, Martinez would be the natural replacement. ETA, 2012.