Prospect ranking season is just around the corner. In anticipation of that, we present an intro series looking at some of the players who deserve mentioning but probably will not be appearing on their teams’ Top 10 lists. The popular series is back for the second year. Previously, we looked at the Colorado Rockies.
The Graduate: Everth Cabrera | SS
A Rule 5 draft pick, Cabrera helped to fill a glaring hole in the middle of the diamond with his play at shortstop. Just 22 and with no experience above A-ball prior to 2009, the speedy infielder hit .267/.344/.366 in 358 at-bats. He also stole 24 bases but was caught seven times. He’ll also need to work on becoming more consistent, but that should come with experience. At worst, he looks like a big-league utility player.
The Riser: Sawyer Carroll | OF
There were a number of prospect who really stepped forward this year for the Padres organization but Carroll gets the nod here. He hit for average over three levels and his combined line on the year was .317/.413/.489 with 40 doubles in 479 at-bats. As a right-fielder, Carroll could stand to increase his power output (eight homers) but the .171 ISO is a step in the right direction. His plate rates were very nice with an 18.0% walk rate and a 19.5% strikeout rate. The 23-year-old left-handed batter has hit very well against southpaws in his short pro career, including .333/.423/.500 in 2009.
The Tumbler: Allan Dykstra | 1B
It came down to a coin flip between Dykstra and Kellen Kulbacki, but the former won out because the latter’s season was ruined by injury. Dykstra was the club’s No. 1 draft pick in 2008 but he’s struggled since entering pro ball and he was less-than-impressive in low-A in 2009. His line of .226/.397/.375 was just plain bad, although his walk rate of 20.2% was eye-popping. He may have actually been a little too passive at the plate for his own good. Dykstra hit just .204 with the bases empty versus .249 with runners on base. Despite the bad numbers, the 22 year old should move up to the California League in 2010. It’s a league that tends to inflate hitters’ numbers.
The ’10 Sleeper: Nick Schmidt | LHP
You have to feel sorry for Schmidt, who was cursed the moment he was taken as a first-round draft pick by the organization. He missed the 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He opened 2009 in low-A ball where he dominated (as he should have given his age and experience level). He allowed just 38 hits in 51.2 innings of work and posted a strikeout rate of 10.28 K/9. His walk rate was poor at 4.01 BB/9 and it suggested that he might struggle at higher levels. That is exactly what happened when he moved up to high-A. Schmidt posted a walk rate of 5.06 BB/9 and his strikeout rate dropped to 5.06 K/9. He allowed 68 hits in 48 innings. Control is the last thing to come back after surgery, so Schmidt stands a good chance of improving in 2010.
Bonus: The ’08 sleeper was Eric Sogard. He had another underrated season, this time in double-A where he hit .293/.370/.400 in 457 at-bats. The left-handed batter doesn’t hit southpaws well (.214 in ’09) and he’s not a great defensive player so he’s likely headed for a career as a platoon or utility player.
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