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: Adam Warren, RHP: This former fourth rounder was a godsend for an organization where not much else went right with the pitching staff in 2013. He was a valuable long man out of the bullpen after making every one of his pro appearances as a starter prior to this past season. With the Yankees’ starting rotation in a state of flux for 2014, Warren could receive consideration for a shift in roles.
The Riser: Peter O’Brien, C: Rafael de Paul came close to receiving this nomination but a late season meltdown after his promotion from Low-A to High-A gave the slot to O’Brien. The offensive-minded catcher survived his promotion much better than his teammate and showed consistent power production throughout the season. There are still some question marks surrounding his defensive work but the bat is intriguing.
The Tumbler: Tyler Austin, OF: Austin entered the 2013 season with his prospect value on the upswing but talent evaluators were underwhelmed by his performance. His production was hindered by nagging injuries but there were also questions about the effort and drive he was displaying on the field. At 22 years of age, time is fortunately on his side even if he has to open 2014 back in Double-A.
The 2013 Draft Pick: Gosuke Katoh, 2B: Despite playing the entire season at the age of 18, Katoh showed an advanced bat by hitting .310 with strong plate discipline and surprising pop. It remains to be seen how high his ceiling actually is but he could be a quicker mover through the system for a prep draftee.
The Sleeper: Greg Bird, 1B: A strong summer (June and July) really made Bird’s season. He hit more than .300 and slugged 11 of his 20 home runs during those two months. He shows outstanding raw power and a willingness to take a free pass but his propensity for the strikeout will likely hinder his ability to hit for average as he moves up the ladder — unless he makes adjustments.
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