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: Didi Gregorius, SS: Gregorius began the season on the disabled list but made it back in late April. His bat was scorching early on in the year but it got progressively worse and he was below replacement level at the plate in the second half. Despite his woes with the stick, Gregorius wowed with his glove, but it remains to be seen if he can put everything together to become a true impact player.
The Riser: David Holmberg, LHP: The Diamondbacks organization boasts some impressive young, high-ceiling arms with the likes of Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs but Holmberg is someone to keep an eye on, as well. The southpaw won’t wow you with his stuff but he could settle in as a back-of-the-rotation innings-eater and could be about half a season away from settling into the big league rotation.
The Tumbler: Adam Eaton, OF: Eaton was expected to provide a spark at the top of the Diamondbacks order in 2013 but he got hurt and was then ineffective, posting a -0.5 WAR on the year. Considered by some to be a ‘tweener’ and a future fourth outfielder, Eaton’s disappointing season — both at the plate and in the field — did nothing to dispel the concerns surrounding his overall ceiling.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Justin Williams, OF: Williams began his pro career at the age of just 17 but that didn’t stop him from playing at three levels — including three late-season games in Low-A ball after he turned 18. The 52nd overall pick in the ’13 draft, he hit just one home run in his debut (51 games) but he has impressive raw left-handed power that he should eventually tap in to. A high school shortstop, Williams was shifted to the outfield where he struggled with his reads.
The Sleeper: Jake Lamb, 3B: I really wanted to include Lamb on the Diamondbacks’ 2013 pre-season Top 15 prospects list but he ultimately fell just short and landed in the sleeper category. Arizona third basemen enjoyed a solid season and two prospects — Lamb and Brandon Drury (considered for The Riser section) — saw their values rise significantly. Injuries held the Washington native to just 69 games on the season so he’s currently getting extra work in during the Arizona Fall League.
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