There is always a bit of a lull between the end of the minor league playoffs in September and the start of the annual top prospects lists in early November. Because of that gap, I’m breathing new life into an old feature that I wrote for the site in FanGraphs’ infancy back in 2008 and 2009.
The series ‘A Minor Review of 2013? will look back on some of the major happenings in each MLB organization since the beginning of April as a primer for the upcoming FanGraphs Top 10+5 prospects lists. This series will run throughout September and October. I hope you enjoy the series and are eagerly anticipating the start of ‘Prospect List Season.’
The player listed in the sleeper section was featured in a pre-season series that looked at one fringe prospect in each organization that was expected to take a big step forward during 2013, chosen by myself, a scout or a front office talent evaluator.
The Graduate: Wily Peralta, RHP: Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge supporter of Peralta and he checked in with a modest freshman campaign for the Brewers in 2013. The Venezuela native struggled with his fastball command so he rarely found himself in counts to take full advantage of his slider, and his strikeout rate suffered as a result. Milwaukee is currently in a state of flux so Peralta will no doubt earn another shot to develop into an innings-eating, mid-rotation starter.
The Riser: Tyrone Taylor, OF: Taylor is a personal favorite of mine and he was a breakout prospect in an organization that badly needed one in 2013. The toolsy outfielder is still polishing his skills but the teenager flashes the potential to develop into a four- or five-tool talent. He does a nice job of making contact but he could stand to be more patient.
The Tumbler: Mark Rogers, RHP: It’s taken 10 years but Rogers’ career may finally be on life support. With less than 50 career big league innings under his belt, the right-hander pitched just 22.2 minor league innings while battling injuries yet again. He was removed off the club’s 40-man roster at the end of the season and could seek out a fresh start this off-season via minor league free agency.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Barrett Astin, RHP: The Brewers focused on hard-throwing relievers with a number of their selections in the first 11 rounds. Astin and his mid-90s fastball fit the bill and he has a chance to move quickly if he remains a reliever. Along with his heater he has a promising breaking ball that can help him rack up the strikeouts. Inexperienced hitters found it difficult to lift the ball against Astin and he produced an outstanding ground-ball rate.
The Sleeper: Josh Prince, OF/IF: Prince made a name for himself with a ridiculously good Arizona Fall League last October but it’s his versatility that could get him to the big leagues. He played six positions — three infield, three outfield — at the Triple-A level in 2013 but his bat failed to live up to the AFL hype. Despite the weak offensive output in the minors, he made his MLB debut and appeared in eight games.