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: Brad Miller, SS: The Mariners used 17 rookies in 2013 and Miller — who entered 2013 as Seattle’s eighth-ranked prospect — had the most success on the offensive side of things, while performing at a league-average level. It was nice to see the left-handed hitter stand in well against tough MLB southpaws. Catcher Mike Zunino has the highest ceiling of any rookie hitters that debuted for Seattle in 2013 but Miller isn’t too far off.
The Riser: Luiz Gohara, RHP: We heard a lot about Julio Urias in 2013 because of how polished he was in Low-A ball and, well, because he plays for a large market club like the Dodgers. Gohara also pitched at the age of 16 and actually possesses more upside. Although in a small-sample size, the left-handed Mariners prospect had a strikeout rate of 11.22 K/9 and hung in well against much older competition.
The Tumbler: Danny Hultzen, LHP: Hultzen appeared in just two games after April 19 because of lingering shoulder issues. He made a two-inning start on September 1 and has also been assigned to the Arizona Fall League so he’ll no doubt look to make up for some lost innings. Even with his injuriy woes, Hultzen is the best left-handed starting pitching prospect in baseball. If he can avoid the disabled list, the southpaw should join Taijuan Walker in the Mariners’ 2014 starting rotation.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Tyler O’Neill, OF: Even though he didn’t tap into the raw power that’s his calling card, O’Neill had a successful pro debut by hitting for a good average and showing understanding of the strike zone. The Canadian teenager played catcher as an amateur but settled into left field where he showed a strong arm.
The Sleeper: Tyler Marlette, C: The young catcher’s raw power hasn’t developed as expected just yet but that can often be the last tool to develop for a hitter, and the good news is that he’s made strides with his hit tool. As well, Marlette continued to see improvements on the defensive side of his game and his success throwing out base runners was maintained with a 38% caught-stealing rate.