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: Avisail Garcia, OF: The veteran-heavy Tigers are traditionally a difficult club to crack if you’re a rookie and it was no different for Garcia. He has a plus hit tool but his on-base average regularly takes a hit due to his overly-aggressive native. He intrigued the White Sox enough to ask for him during the three-team deal that sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Jake Peavy to Boston.
The Riser: Daniel Fields, OF: A native of Detroit, Michigan, Fields’ career was nearly knocked off the tracks when he was inexplicably assigned to High-A ball as a 19 year old in his first pro season. Three seasons later he may have finally got his career back on track. Fields, now 22, had a solid offensive season. He still strikes out too much but he could develop into a solid big league platoon player (The lefty posted a .684 OPS versus southpaws compared to .840 against righties).
The Tumbler: Tyler Collins, OF: Collins looked like a ‘tweener after his first full pro season in 2012. He hit .290 but slugged just seven home runs and didn’t show the kind of pop that teams look for from a corner outfielder. A year later, he sacrificed his batting average and on-base percentage to generate more power. It resulted in 21 home runs but his strikeouts jumped from 64 to 122 in an almost identical number of at-bats.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Buck Farmer, RHP: This right-hander was a solid value as a fifth round draft pick in 2013. A college senior, he’s expected to move rather quickly and has the repertoire and strong frame to excel as an innings-eating No. 4 starter. His fastball shows more pop in shorter stints, so a relief role is another possibility down the line.
The Sleeper: Jason King, 3B: King showed potential in 2012 but injuries took a bite out of his season. He was pushed up to high-A to begin the 2013 season but hit just .135 in 42 games and earned a one-way ticket back to Low-A ball. The switch-hitter still has a lot of adjustments to make to realize his full potential and succeed at the upper levels of the minors.
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