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: Jurickson Profar, SS: Profar hasn’t had the kind of impact that was expected of him in 2013. He backed up at four different positions — second base, third base, shortstop and left field — while posting a .290 wOBA. Just 20, some growing pains are to be expected and his bat could take off once he’s allowed to focus on one defensive position.
The Riser: Rougned Odor, 2B: Odor has been on the fast-track since signing out of Venezuela in 2011 as a 16 year old. He reached Double-A in the second half of 2013 while still a teenager and, prior to that, was a force to be reckoned with at the plate in High-A ball. His emergence just adds to the Rangers’ embarrassment of riches in the middle infield and shines a very favorable light on the organization’s international scouting department.
The Tumbler: Cody Buckel, RHP: It was a very unfortunate year for Buckel, who entered the season as a young, promising arm who looked like he could be a fast-riser through the system. When the season began, though, the right-hander was unable to find the strike zone. He threw just 10.2 official innings in 2013 and issued 35 free passes. The meltdown was completely puzzling considering Buckel displayed above-average control for his age and experience level prior to 2013.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Cole Wiper, RHP: U of Oregon alum Wiper earned a $700,000 bonus as a 10th round draft pick in 2013. He was a top prep pitcher but his signability caused him to slide and the Blue Jays — who drafted him in the 14th round back in 2011 — were unable to get his signature on a pro contract. Wiper, 21, missed a good chunk of time in college after undergoing Tommy John surgery and wasn’t at full strength prior to the ’13 draft. He had a nice introduction to pro ball and could develop into a real steal for the Rangers.
The Sleeper: Odubel Herrera, 2B: An offensive-minded infielder, Herrera impressed me with his offensive potential in 2012. Unfortunately, he found Double-A to be more of a challenge and the 21-year-old finished the year back in High-A ball after being passed on the depth chart by fellow middle infield prospects Odor and Luis Sardinas. The 2014 season will be a key one for Herrera, who needs to avoid getting completely lost in the shuffle.
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