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 preseason 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: Kevin Gausman, RHP: This talented right-hander is a perfect reminder that not every top prospect excels immediately. Gausman posted respectable numbers in 15 minor league starts between Double-A and Triple-A, but he wasn’t as successful against big league hitters. Even so, his future remains bright.
The Riser: Mike Wright, RHP: The 2011 third-rounder took a step forward in his development in 2013, but he was inconsistent throughout the season — often, he would follow a strong month with a weaker month, and vice versa. Once he gains that consistency, the South Carolina native should be ready to settle into a big league role as a No. 3 or 4 starter.
The Tumbler: Xavier Avery, OF: I ranked Avery as the ninth-best prospect in the system prior to the 2013 season, but noted he was still a raw talent. After spending 2012 in Triple-A, the speedy outfielder was sent backwards to Double-A, where his bat picked up a bit. Unfortunately, he stumbled with the bat yet again after being promoted back to Triple-A, and the O’s sent him packing in the trade that netted them Michael Morse.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Chance Sisco, C: Selected in the second round, Sisco had an outstanding offensive showing — albeit in a small sample — and also showed a good understanding of the strike zone for a teenager, but he has work to do on defense to shake the “bat-first” label. Still, he adds some impressive depth to an organization that did not have a catcher on its preseason Top 15 prospects list.
The Sleeper: Josh Hader, LHP: A 19th-round selection from the 2012 draft, the hard-throwing lefty opened a lot of eyes during his full-season debut. He was so impressive that Houston coveted him when the two clubs matched up for the Bud Norris deal at the non-waiver trade deadline. He finished the season in Quad Cities, and should be ready for High-A Lancaster to begin his age-20 season.
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