Results tagged ‘ Prospects ’

Minor League Report

 

Marc Krauss Visalia Rawhide 4634.jpg

Marc Krauss - Photography: Ken Weisenberger

 

By Dan Strittmatter

 

 

Triple-A Reno:

 

INF Ryan Roberts – July 4 & July 5 – 4-8, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1:1 K:BB.

 

Roberts put on a heck of a holiday fireworks display weekend at Reno, gathering an astounding 12 total bases in eight at-bats for the Aces. As shake-ups could occur on the Major League roster, Roberts is a strong candidate to receive some significant time in the big leagues later in the 2010 season.

 

 

Double-A Mobile:

 

LHP Wade Miley – July 4 – 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 K, 3 BB, 0 HR, W (1-0).

 

Continuing his complete dominance of the Southern League, Miley finally received his first decision by picking up the win against Jacksonville. While the strikeouts-to-walks ratio doesn’t grab your attention, the key for Miley on Sunday — as it has been in his entire time at Mobile — was his ability to induce ground ball outs. Miley recorded 12 ground ball outs, including his fourth GIDP in three starts, against the Suns. His ERA now sits at 0.84 in 21.1 innings for the BayBears, with a 4.22 groundout-to-flyout ratio.

 

 

Hi-A Visalia:

 

CF Alfredo Marte – July 4 – 5-9, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 1:1 K:BB (5-5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R on the fourth).

LF Marc Krauss – July 4 & July 5 – 5-9, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 2 R, 1:0 K:BB.

1B Paul Goldschmidt – July 4 & July 5 – 4-8, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2:0 K:BB.

3B Ryan Wheeler – July 4 & July 5 – 4-9, 1 3B, 3 R, 1:1 K:BB.

 

The heart of the order was unstoppable for the Rawhide over the past two nights against the Padres’ Lake Elsinore Storm. Combining all of these lines, we have: 18-35, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 13 R, 5:2 K:BB. That is a .514/.541/.971 BA/OBP/SLG line and a 1.512 OPS… from four consecutive hitters in the lineup. And the starting pitching on the mound for Lake Elsinore wasn’t too shabby, either. The Rawhide handed Juan Oramas (6-1) his first loss of the season, bringing his ERA up .62 points from 1.80 to 2.42, and battered Nick Schmidt (4.43 ERA) for five runs in two innings.

 

 

Low-A South Bend:

 

1B/DH Ramon Castillo – July 4 & July 5 (double-header) – 5-11, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R, has recorded a hit in each of his first 13 games for South Bend.

 

Castillo continued to shine in his first exposure to the Midwest League. On the season, he is now 17-49 with six doubles, two homers, 13 RBI, 5 runs, a 4:3 K:BB ratio, and even added a stolen base. His BA/OBP/SLG line stands at .347/.385/.592 for an OPS of .976.

 

 

Short-Season-A Yakima:

 

C Raywilly Gomez – July 4 – 1-2, 1 2B, 1 BB.

 

What is present in Gomez’s line from Sunday, while nice, isn’t particularly noteworthy. But what is noteworthy is what is not in Gomez’s line: a strikeout. As a matter of fact, strikeouts have been missing from all of Gomez’s stat lines in his first 14 games for the Bears in 2010. In 36 plate-appearances, Gomez has drawn five walks, struck out zero times, and recorded ten hits including three doubles, for a BA/OBP/SLG line of .323/.417/.419 and OPS of .836.

 

RHP Miguel Pena – July 4 – 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R (1 ER), 4:0 K:BB.

 

RHP Enrique Burgos – July 5 – 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3:2 K:BB.

 

The Bears received a couple of solid starting performances the last two days from Pena and Burgos. Pena continued his strong season, lowering his ERA to 3.94. He worked around two errors behind him to limit the Tri-City Dust Devils to three runs, and induced eight ground ball outs, including a GIDP.

 

Burgos had been struggling with his command for Yakima over his first three appearances, walking 14 in 12.1 innings of work. So even though he didn’t record a ton of punch-outs on Monday, giving up just two free passes is a very encouraging step forward.

 

 

Rookie-level Missoula:

 

RHP Robby Rowland – July 5 – 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1:0 K:BB, 0 HR.

 

This year’s third-round pick, Robby Rowland, has gotten his professional career underway for the D-backs at their Rookie-league affiliate, and had an impressive second outing for the Osprey. He didn’t pitch very deep into the game, as the team is monitoring his innings count after he just finished a full high school season, but he certainly was effective.

 

 

Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:

 

CF Wagner Mateo – July 3 and July 5 – 4-9, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 3 R, 1:0 K:BB, 1 SB (0 CS).

 

Mateo, despite being just 17 years old, has been a man among boys in the Dominican Summer League. Despite generally being a very low-scoring league, Mateo has posted a solid .255/.359/.445 BA/OBP/SLG line and .805 OPS for the DSL D-backs. He is 28-for-110 at the plate with nine doubles, three triples, two homers, 23 RBI, 22 runs, and a 35:18 K:BB ratio. Mateo has also flashed his speed on the base paths, stealing ten bases in 13 attempts.

 

Others of note:

         Mobile left-handed pitcher Leyson Septimo walked one batter in his inning of relief on Sunday, but didn’t allow a hit and struck out the side. Septimo now has an impressive 35 strikeouts in 26.2 innings of work at Mobile in 2010.

         Outfielder Collin Cowgill has collected three hits for the BayBears in his last two games, including a three-run home run against Jacksonville on Monday.

         Visalia right-hander Justin Mace was impressive in relief for starter Dan Taylor on the Fourth of July, throwing 2 2/3 no-hit innings, striking out two and walking just one.

         South Bend center fielder Keon Broxton has recorded four hits in the first three games of their series against Great Lakes, including a double and a pair of triples.

         Third baseman Raoul Torrez has gotten off to a strong start for Yakima, with three hits in his last two games–a double, a triple, two RBI, a run scored, and a strikeout.

         Richie Rowland, Robby Rowland’s brother, is also playing for Missoula, and the 21-year-old catcher/DH has 22 hits in his first 46 at-bats, with three homers, four doubles and a 1.281 OPS.

         2010 44th-round pick Eric Groff has also been impressive for the Osprey. He is 7-for-14 in his last three games, with two doubles, a homer, three RBI, four runs, and just one strikeout.

         Yiomar Camacho has been arguably the best starter for the DSL D-backs, with a 3.08 ERA in six starts spanning 38 innings, including four straight starts in which he has thrown seven or more innings. He is second on the DSL D-backs with 28 strikeouts.

Enright Gets the Call

Enright-JM.JPG

Photography: Jordan Megenhardt

By Dan Strittmatter

One of the many subplots of the 149-pitch Edwin Jackson no-hitter was how the team would give Jackson some extra rest to compensate for the fact that Jackson threw so many pitches in one outing. So when the news broke on Sunday that manager A.J. Hinch had decided to push back Jackson’s next start two day, it came as a surprise to nobody.

 

However, this opened up a hole in the rotation for Wednesday’s game in St. Louis, when Jackson was originally slated to start. The team did not have a day off between Jackson’s no-no and the Wednesday game, so any of the other members of the Arizona rotation would have had to pitch on short rest if they were to fill Jackson’s spot. Add in the fact that the D-backs rotation has already been heavily taxed in 2010, and it was clear that an alternative solution was needed.

 

So the team instead looked to the minor leagues, announcing that it will purchase the contract of Double-A Mobile right-hander Barry Enright, who will bring his fantastic command of his four-pitch mix to St. Louis for his Major League debut in Jackson’s place.

 

Enright was selected by the D-backs in the second round of the 2007 draft following his junior year at Pepperdine University, where he was a third team All-American. He threw 15 innings that year, split between Short-Season Yakima, Single-A South Bend, and Single-A Advanced Visalia. Enright then started 2008 back at Visalia, where he went 12-8 in 29 starts with a 4.44 ERA (3.34 FIP), a 143:35 K:BB ratio, and 17 home runs allowed in 29 starts spanning 164 1/3 innings.

 

Enright then moved up to Double-A Mobile in 2009, where he had a solid basic production – a 3.98 ERA in 27 starts spanning 156 innings. But he saw his impressive strikeout rate from Visalia dip, recording just 103 punch-outs, a rate of just 5.94 per nine innings. He remained effective by continuing to be stingy in allowing free-passes, keeping his FIP at a solid 3.82.

 

In 2010, the team invited Enright to Major League camp for Spring Training, and the club got an extended look at their polished right-hander, who put on an impressive display, with his overall numbers spiked by an unfortunate string of singles in his final appearance. There is video available of Enright’s fourth Spring appearance, when he walked just one and struck out four Cubs, including Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, and Alfonso Soriano, video here.

 

Due to upper-level depth of starting pitching in the system — with Kevin Mulvey, Bryan Augenstein, Cesar Valdez, Kris Benson and Billy Buckner then manning Triple-A Reno’s Opening Day rotation slots, subsequently followed by Matt Torra and Wes Roemer — Enright was assigned to Mobile again to begin 2010 and try to resurrect his strikeout rate.

 

The results have been everything the team could have hoped for, as Enright has struck out 83 in 93 2/3 innings over 14 starts, while still allowing just 15 free passes, giving him a D-backs’ system-best 5.53 strikeouts per walk. His ERA is a shiny 2.88, his FIP an equally-impressive 3.06, and his WHIP is a spectacular 1.02.

 

Mobile catcher Konrad Schmidt offered his scouting report of Enright when the news broke that Enright would be called up to the majors:

 

“He’s really a competitor on the mound,” Schmidt told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “He’s got good stuff and he’s really fun to catch. He’s got great command, throwing four pitches for a strike right now. There’s been some pretty potent lineups he’s gone against in this league and he’s done well. He’s like a bulldog.”

 

Prospects to Watch Part III

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If
the three days of prospects we’ve featured on this blog (part 1 is here and
part 2 is here), this is absolutely the best group. Must be something about
high-in-the-alphabet teams loading up on minor league talent (hey, it holds in
the Grapefruit League, too… Tampa Bay has the best set of prospects over there
and, probably, in all of baseball).

There
are some legitimate future All-Stars on this list — Neftali Feliz, Buster
Posey, Michael Taylor, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak. Get a good look at them
now.

As
I’ve noted before, if a player is on a Spring Training roster, and appears on
two of the Top 100 (or 101) lists posted by Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein and
Baseball America, we’re giving you a heads up.

Check
out those three lists for yourself here:

Goldstein:
http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10142

Law:
http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=4856310

Baseball
America:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2010/269546.html

Next
week, I’ll reprint the entry from the Spring Training edition of D-backs
Insider featuring Arizona prospects, perhaps with a quick look at how players
are doing so far.

Oakland Athletics
(March 12 in Tucson, March 18 in Phoenix)

Michael
Taylor

Goldstein:
20 – – – Law: 24 – – – BA: 29

There
is some debate, as you can see from the rankings, of which huge slugger should
be first in the Oakland rankings, the 6-foot-6 Taylor or the 6-foot-4 Chris
Carter. There is little debate that they both profile as middle-of-the-order
bats down the road, so they’re the type of prospects worth checking out at
Spring Training. Camp out on the outfield grass and hope to catch a home run.
Law gives the edge to Taylor because he’s more of a total athlete than the more
prototype slugger Carter. Says Law, “a good corner outfielder who hits
.300-plus with lots of walks and doubles and 15-20 homers is an above-average
player and not far below star caliber.”

Chris
Carter

Goldstein:
11 – – – Law: 33 – – – BA: 28

Carter
is more of your run-of-the-mill American League first base/DH type, and he
could wind up in the DH spot down the road. The D-backs sent Carter to Oakland
in the Dan Haren deal back when he was a little more raw in Single-A. In
addition to the home runs, his walk total his risen every year of his career,
which is a good sign for a power guy. Says Goldstein, “He made impressive
adjustments against more advanced pitching to close up some holes in his swing,
reducing his strikeout rate as the season wore on, leaving most to believe
he’ll hit for average as well.”

 

Grant
Green

Goldstein:
86 – – – Law: 93 – – – BA: 52

The
Athletics’ first-round pick out of USC in 2009 could be a quick riser.
Shortstop isn’t a position where the Athletics are loaded at either the Major
League or minor league levels, so he can earn his way up. He only played five
games at High-A last year, so there isn’t much of a statistical sample to look
at. He’s pretty big for a shortstop at 6-foot-3, so we’ll see if he sticks
there.

 

San Diego Padres
(March 22 in Tucson, March 29 in Peoria)

Simon
Castro

Goldstein:
47 – – – Law: 46 – – – BA: 57

Castro
took some big steps forward in 2009. With a promotion to full-season Single-A,
he went 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA in the Midwest League, but even more impressively,
improved his strikeout numbers and significantly improved his walk rate. Castro
throws hard and has three good pitches, so he’ll be fun to see if you catch him
before he’s reassigned. Says Law, “Castro led the Midwest League in strikeouts
in 2009, and while he wasn’t young for the level, his arsenal is legit and will
play at higher levels.”

 

James
Darnell

Goldstein:
64 – – – Law: NA – – – BA: 90

The
Padres’ second round pick in 2008 slugged his way through the Midwest League
before earning a promotion to High-A midway through last year. He was a little
old for the league, hence his muted prospect status, but he’s definitely a
player worth keeping an eye on. Says Goldstein, “His plate discipline is
big-league ready, and he’s an adept hitter with above-average power and a feel
for contact rarely found in a slugger.”

I
was really hoping to get a look at outfielder Jaff Decker, a local product from Sunrise Mountain High School in
Peoria. Strangely, the player Decker sometimes gets compared to physically because
of his boxy shape (he’s 5-foot-10, 190 pounds) and power from the left side of
the plate is Matt Stairs, and the 42-year-old Stairs is actually in Padres
camp. Interesting. Anyway, it looks like we’ll wait until next year for Decker.

 

San Francisco Giants
(March 21 in Tucson)

Buster
Posey

Goldstein:
9 – – – Law: 4 – – – BA: 7

Prospects
don’t really come much bigger than Posey. The much-talked-about young catcher
is getting a good look this month after playing at the big league level and in
the Arizona Fall League last year. He bludgeoned High-A and Triple-A last year,
batting .325 with 62 walks (and only 68 strikeouts), 18 home runs and 31
doubles. Posey actually got in some time at first base against the D-backs out
in Scottsdale earlier this Spring. The Giants seem to be giving him as many
innings as they can to determine whether he’ll be at Triple-A to start the year
or in the big leagues, splitting time with Benjie Molina.

 

Madison
Bumgarner

Goldstein:
21 – – – Law: 28 – – – BA: 14

Bumgarner
is fighting for a rotation spot after making his big league debut last season. Talk
of him losing velocity has become so commonplace that there seems to be some
genuine debate over whether it’s an issue the team should worry about, or
whether it’s simply a natural case of finding a velocity to maintain over the
course of a full game and a full season. Either way, he’s definitely one of the
best lefty prospects in the game, and you’ll almost certainly see him in the
Majors this year. Says Goldstein, “When he’s on, Bumgarner can be electric,
touching 95-96 mph with a fastball that earns as much praise for its movement
as its velocity. He’ll show an excellent power breaking ball at times, and
earns high praise for his aggressive, fearless style.”

 

Seattle Mariners (March
15 in Tucson, March 20 in Peoria)

Dustin
Ackley

Goldstein:
12 – – – Law: 8 – – – BA: 11

While
Stephen Strasburg was the talk of the draft last summer, Ackley was the best
position player of the lot, and went to the Mariners with the No. 2 pick. Like
Strasburg and fellow first-round draftee Mike Leake (who faced Ackley’s North
Carolina Tar Heels in the College World Series, by the way), Ackley made his
pro debut in the Arizona Fall League. He was undaunted, it seemed, by the
advanced level of the players in the league, batting .315 with a .412 on-base
percentage in 20 games.

 

Michael
Saunders

Goldstein:
62 – – – Law: 74 – – – BA: 30

Saunders
made his debut with the big league club in 2009, but to contribute more to the
team in 2010 he’ll have to get through the Mariners’ glut of outfield/DH types,
including Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez, Ken Griffey, Milton Bradley and Eric
Byrnes. He’s been a good on-base type player throughout his minor league
career, posting a .364 OBP in 438 games, and showed some good power in 64
Triple-A games last year. Says Goldstein, “Saunders is a big, athletic
outfielder with plenty of upside. He’s combines plus raw power with good speed,
and his quick, compact swing gives him more contact ability than most with his
profile.”

 

Texas Rangers (March
14 in Surprise, March 30 in Tucson)

Justin
Smoak

Goldstein:
17 – – – Law: 9 – – – BA: 13

They
like Smoak enough that they went ahead and gave him a real big league jersey
number (12) in camp. Take note anybody who plays in an AL-only fantasy league
or even a deep regular league – there’s a decent chance you’ll be seeing him
play for Texas this year. Says Law, “Smoak is a very disciplined hitter with
similar swings from the left and right sides, centering the ball extremely well
and showing power to pull and to the opposite field.”

 

Neftali
Feliz

Goldstein:
3 – – – Law: 13 – – – BA: 9

The
rare pitcher whose fastball reaches an MPH number higher than the temperature
numbers in a Texas summer, Feliz made his big league debut in 2009 and was as crazy
dominant as advertised. He’s a Major Leaguer now, so he’ll definitely still be
with the Rangers at the end of this month in Tucson. In his first 12 big league
outings, Feliz threw 22 innings, gave up one run (that’s a 0.41 ERA), and
struck out 28 batters while walking one. Yikes! Says Goldstein, “In shorter
stints out of the pen, Feliz was utterly dominant, with his normally mid-90s
fastball suddenly sitting at 96-98 and touching 101 mph. He makes the velocity
look effortless with a free and easy delivery.”

 

Tanner
Scheppers

Goldstein:
68 – – – Law: 78 – – – BA: 42

After
being picked by Pittsburgh in the second round in 2008, Scheppers didn’t sign
and wound up going to Texas in the first round last year. Between the drafts,
he started four games with the independent St. Paul Saints, putting up pretty
good numbers (1-1, 3.32 ERA, 20 Ks in 19 innings). Scheppers didn’t play in the
Rangers system until the Arizona Fall League last year, when he pitched 11
innings out of the bullpen. Dallas Morning News reporter Evan Grant wrote on
Twitter
that Scheppers was regularly hitting 96-plus MPG in his first spring
outing. 

If
you could make it to the back fields, this is a team where their minor league
camp might be as much — or more — fun to watch as big league camp. This organization
is just overrun with great prospects.

 

I’m
not sure I’ve ever used this blog to pump up the Arizona Fall League before,
but this entry is a good place to start. Nearly all of these guys have Fall
League experience and, as I noted above, Scheppers and Ackley actually made
their professional debuts there. It’s like watching a minor league All-Star Game
every day there.

 

Prospects to Watch Part II

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This is the second of three prospects entries on D-blog, you can check out the first one here.

 

If a player is on a Spring Training roster, and appears on two of the Top 100 (or 101) lists posted by Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein and Baseball America, we’re giving you a heads up.

 

Check out those three lists for yourself here:

 

Goldstein: http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10142

 

Law: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/columns/story?columnist=law_keith&id=4856310

 

Baseball America: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2010/269546.html

 

Next week, I’ll reprint the entry from the Spring Training edition of D-backs Insider featuring Arizona prospects, perhaps with a quick look at how our players are doing so far.

 

Colorado Rockies (March 14 in Hermosillo, March 31 at Hi Corbett)

Christian Friedrich – LHP

Goldstein: 22 – – – Law: 36 – – – BA: 33

The Rockies drafted this tall (6-4) lefty in the first round of the 2008 draft, and then he dominated his first full season of pro ball, posting a 2.41 ERA at two single-A levels in 2009. Friedrich struck out 159 batters in 119 2/3 innings. He may be reassigned before March 31, so you might not see Friedrich, who is probably looking at a 2010 debut if crushes Double-A. Law on Friedrich: “Friedrich has four pitches and misses bats with both his tight, almost-12-to-6 curveball and his cutter, while his fastball sits in the low 90s and his changeup is nearly an average pitch.”

 

Jhoulys Chacin - RHP

Goldstein: NA – – – Law: 48 – – – BA: 71

Chacin got his first taste of the Majors in 2009 when the Rockies needed some bullpen help and he struggled a bit. But at Double-A and Triple-A in 2009, he was excellent, going 9-8 with a 3.21 ERA. Depending on what the Rockies need and what they’re plan is for Chacin’s development, he could probably help the big league club in the bullpen today, and then perhaps ease into the rotation as the need arises. Law on Chacin: “His calling card is his excellent command, which carries across all three pitches, as well as plus control. His ability to locate within the zone has helped him carve up minor league hitters even in tough pitching environments.”

 

Kansas City Royals (March 19 in Tucson, April 1 at Surprise)

Mike Moustakas – 3B

Goldstein: 79 – – – Law: 69 – – – BA: 80

Mike Moustakas’ star has dipped a bit since he was the second pick in the 2007 draft (behind David Price, ahead of Josh Vitters, Matt Weiters, Matt LaPorta, Jarrod Parker, Madison Bumgarner, et al) because he just hasn’t shown the kind of plate discipline you’d hope a player would develop at this point. The power is there, hitting 38 home runs and 61 doubles over the last two years at Single-A and High-A, but the .297 on-base percentage he posted in 2009 isn’t going to cut it.

 

Aaron Crow – RHP

Goldstein: 54 – – – Law: 87 – – – BA: 40

As you can see from the rankings, there is a little bit of disagreement on Aaron Crow, partly because no one is quite sure what his long-term role will be. He’ll be given a chance to start, but could wind up being a closer down the road. Goldstein on Crow: “He’s lanky, wiry-strong, and an excellent athlete who maintained his stuff deep into games during his college career. He pitches with a bit of a nasty streak, and seems to relish pitching inside.”

 

Los Angeles Angels (March 17 in Tempe)

Hank Conger – C

Goldstein: 81 – – – Law: 52 – – – BA:

Conger can be a fun player to watch, since you’re not going out to a Spring Training matchup to see him call a good game. You want to see him hit and this switch-hitting catcher can do that. He had a hard time staying on the field until last year (he played 87 games in 2007 and 73 in 2008), but he certainly hit in 123 Double-A games in 2009, batting .295 with 11 home runs and 20 doubles. Law on Conger: “The best-case scenario on Conger is that he’s an offensive catcher who hits in the middle of a lineup with power and some patience while helping control the opposition’s running game.”

 

Trevor Reckling – LHP

Goldstein: 92 – – – Law: 77 – – – BA: NA

The Angels’ eighth-round pick in 2007 has gotten it done at every level of the minors, posting a 2.99 ERA in 342 2/3 innings. He doesn’t turn 21 until late May, so the Angels will be in no mad rush to get him to the big leagues, but he was terrific at Double-A last year, going 8-7 with a 2.93 ERA. Goldstein on Reckling: “Both his power breaking ball and highly advanced changeup project as true big-league out pitches. He’s a fantastic athlete for his size, and he fields his position well.”

 

Los Angeles Dodgers (March 13 in Tucson)

Most of the Dodgers’ best prospects are in the lower levels of the minors, so you’re not going to see them in Spring Training unless you’re hanging out on the back fields. The non-roster invitees in this camp are a lot of old names — Eric Gagne, Justin Miller, Ramon Ortiz, Josh Towers, Jeff Weaver, Angel Berroa, Brian Giles. There’s nobody you’ll be telling your grandkids you saw in big league camp.

 

The best prospect in camp is probably outfielder Trayvon Robinson, who Law ranks as the sixth-best prospect in the system.

 

Milwaukee Brewers (March 28 in Tucson, April 1 at Maryvale)

Alcides Escobar – SS

Goldstein: 19 – – – Law: 54 – – – BA:

After the team traded J.J. Hardy to the Twins in the offseason, Escobar now has the shot to start for the Brewers after making pretty good contact (.304 average) in 38 games in 2009. The fact that the Brewers intend to play him every day is a good thing, since the D-backs don’t play them until the last week in Spring Training. Many prospects who have been invited to camp aren’t necessarily around that late in the month. Goldstein on Escobar: “He’s developed into a good line-drive hitter who uses all fields and can occasionally drive balls into the gap. He has enough speed to produce 30-40 stolen bases annually.”

 

It looks like you’ll need to wait another year to see second base prospect Brett Lawrie.

 

 

Parker on KLAW 100

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Just one player on the Keith Law 100 over at ESPN, and not surprisingly it’s ace righty Jarrod Parker.

It should be noted, however, that Law expects an influx of D-backs on next year’s KLAW 100. In the organizational rankings released on Wednesday, he wrote:  “I could see them landing five or six more spots next year after they had the best draft of any club in 2009. The system was all but barren before that draft, however, and it’s going to take some time for that new talent to percolate on to the master ranking.”

Here’s what Law wrote about Parker. (Here’s the full entry, Parker is No. 37):

Parker was his usual 92-97 mph and even touched 99 in his last outing, and he had made more progress with his changeup after deliberately working on it more in games, to the point where on his best days he could show four above-average or plus pitches….

…Once rebuilt — and there is the technology — he should resume his march to the top of a big league rotation after another full year or two in the minors.

Good to hear another writer (we mentioned Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein last week) who is confident that Parker can return to his potential All-Star form when he’s recovered from Tommy John.

In Law’s Top 10 by Organization (here’s the link), he does have a few differences from Goldstein:

Arizona Diamondbacks
1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
2. A.J. Pollock, CF
3. Matt Davidson, 3B
4. Bobby Borchering, 3B/1B
5. Mike Belfiore, LHP
6. Brandon Allen, 1B
7. Chris Owings, SS
8. Marc Krauss, LF
9. Ryan Wheeler, 1B
10. Enrique Burgos, RHP

– Law mentioned Burgos last year as a guy to look out for and a potential Top 100 guy, saying: “(Burgos’) pitches sit at 91-92, touching 95, with easy velocity, and has good depth on his breaking ball. He’s 6-foot-5 with a good frame and has a lot of room to fill out.”

Burgos did not have a great season at Missoula last year, but his combination of size and stuff definitely makes him somebody to keep an eye on.

– Law wasn’t quite as high on Brandon Allen as Goldstein is, but it’s worth noting that he is quite a bit higher on 2009 first-round pick A.J. Pollock, who D-backs Scouting Director Tom Allison raved to us about last year. Definitely keep your eye on Pollock; he’ll be a fast riser through the minors.

– Law has Davidson just a tick ahead of Borchering, while Goldstein had Borchering significantly higher than Davidson. This debate actually goes back to the draft, when baseball people seemed split between the two (which explains why they were drafted so close together: Borchering, 16… Davidson, 35). In short, Davidson was generally seen as the better power guy (some saying he had the best power in the draft), while Borchering has the big advantage of being a switch hitter.

 

This One Goes To Eleven

J Parker.jpg

(Photo: Ken Weisenberger)

For prospect-info nerds like me, today is like a second Christmas.

Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus released the Top 11 Prospects (because that’s better than 10) for the D-backs today. Here’s the link: http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9958 (subscription required).

Goldstein does a fantastic job with these lists — one for every organization. He’s very thorough with his research.

The promotion of prospects to the Major Leagues over the last four years (Drew, Upton, Reynolds, etc.) and trades — Dan Haren, for example — left the D-backs’ system a little thinner than it had been earlier in the decade. That’s not necessarily a bad problem to have, since it generally a sign of rapid big league promotion among your young players.

So in that vein, you’re going to see a lot of new names. A stunning eight of the top 11 were drafted in 2009.

Anyway, on to Goldstein’s list.

Four-Star Prospects
1. Jarrod Parker, RHP
2. Brandon Allen, 1B
Three-Star Prospects>
3. Bobby Borchering, 3B
4. Chris Owings, SS
5. A.J. Pollock, OF
6. Keon Broxton, OF
7. Marc Krauss, OF
Two-Star Prospects
8. Matthew Davidson, 3B
9. Mike Belfiore, LHP
10. Ryan Wheeler, 1B
11. Leyson Septimo, LHP

A few thoughts:

– Goldstein sees Parker as an elite prospect, which is good to see. He noted in the comments section that Parker surely would have been a five-star prospect — and probably a top 25 overall prospect — if not for the arm injury that will sideline him in 2010. However, his rehab is going well, so while it may cost him a year of development, it may not actually cost him any of that excellent ability that made him a top prospect to begin with.

Goldstein note on Parker:
Perfect World Projection: If he comes back 100 percent, he’s an All-Star.

– Goldstein is still high on Brandon Allen, which is great. Allen took some flak for struggling at the plate in the Arizona Fall League, but the D-backs still believe in him long-term. There shouldn’t be any rush on Allen — he’s due for a full year at Triple-A anyway — so the signing of Adam LaRoche takes the pressure off, and hopefully leads to Allen raking for a year at Reno.

Goldstein Note on Allen:
The Good: Allen has a solid approach and enough bat to profile as an everyday first baseman in the majors, combining plus power with a surprisingly solid contact rate, leaving scouts to project him as a .280+ hitter with 20-25 home runs annually.

– It’s great to see Ryan Wheeler on this list. The fifth-round pick last year stunned a lot of prospect watchers with his huge professional debut. Wheeler is definitely a guy to keep your eye on this year.

– Right in the middle of this list is Keon Broxton. Keep your eye on him, too. And be patient. Even at the time of the draft, it was clear that he was a total upside pick. He’s got some work to do to, but he’s a pretty spectacular athlete (he played wide receiver at Florida International University).

We can’t reprint everything here, so you’ll have to head over to BP to check it out.

If you don’t have a Baseball Prospectus subscription, they aren’t that expensive, and definitely worth it.

In related news, Keith Law’s Top 100 prospects over at ESPN is due to be released on Jan. 28. We’ll check back in then to see what we’ve got for a D-backs presence on that list. 

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