Author Archive

Prospect Watch: Borenstein, Sappington

Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.

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Zach Borenstein, OF, Los Angeles Angels (Profile)
Level: Double-A   Age: 23   Top-15: 15th   Top-100: N/A
Line: 58 AB, .241/.333/.448, 2 HR, 8 BB, 20 K

Summary
Coming off of a strong offensive season in the California League, Borenstein’s performance in 2014 will help determine if he’s a true prospect or a suspect.

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Prospect Watch: Montgomery, Bethancourt

Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.

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Mike Montgomery, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Profile)
Level: Triple-A   Age: 24   Top 15: N/A   Top 100: N/A
Line: 0.90 ERA, 10 IP, 10.80 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, 1.00 WHIP

Summary
No longer an elite prospect, the left-handed Montgomery appears to have adapted well enough to reduced velocity to provide some future value at the major-league level.

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2014 Top 10 Prospects: Washington Nationals

The Nationals don’t have an overly deep system but a willingness to gamble on draft picks like Lucas Giolito could pay off in the long run. Shrew trades have also brought Top 10 talent into the organization from other teams such as Tampa Bay and Arizona. Slowly but surely, this system is turning itself around. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers

At first blush, the Dodgers’ system doesn’t look that impressive but there are a number of pitching prospects that could be poised to take big steps forward in 2014. Add those players to the already-impressive bats in Corey Seager and Joc Pederson, and you have a solid system. The real knock, though, is the lack of depth but it’s getting better. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers get knocked for having a bad system but trades and some decent drafting has helped infuse some young talent into the organization. With that said, the depth still has a ways to go. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 10 Prospects: Oakland Athletics

Oakland has an interesting system because a lot of the players on the Top 10 list are unproven. The 2014 season will be an interesting one for the organization as many of those players are poised to either take big steps forward or big steps backward. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have one of the strongest systems in baseball. The club boasts both depth and impact talent. What’s also impressive is that fact that the club has impressive prospects both on the mound and in the field. The Pirates have also done a nice job of acquiring talent through both the amateur draft and the international free agent market. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox system is loaded with talent. A lot of the players in the 11-15 range would be on most other clubs’ Top 10 lists. If there is one area of weakness in the organization, it’s pitching — due to a lack of high-ceiling talent. Many of the arms project as mid-rotation arms or are in the lowest levels of the system. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Texas Rangers

The Rangers’ reliance on the minor league system to fill holes at the big league level has ensured that the depth is not quite as deep as it used to be. However, the organization still has an enviable system and some exciting talent on the way — especially in the infield. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

Some weak draft results and limited international budgets have hindered Atlanta’s ability to build depth throughout the minor leagues. Some interesting names are beginning to bubble to the surface although most of the key names are still in the low minors. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: St. Louis Cardinals

A strong crop of rookie performers in 2013 and a so-so amateur draft has hurt the organization’s minor league depth. However, the club still has some intriguing prospects on the way. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 100 Prospects

This year’s Top 100 Prospects list comes with a warning: This might be the thinest compilation of the top 100 players, in terms of future ceilings, since I’ve been writing about prospects (approximately 10 years).

Most teams are now more willing to save money by entrusting starting roles to rookies, rather than overpay for modest performances from established and overpaid (replacement level or worse) veterans. Although I don’t have specific numbers to back up the following comment, it seems as thought clubs, for the most part, are also more willing to aggressively push their top prospects (especially pitchers) through their systems — with players such as Jose Fernandez, Michael Wacha, Archie Bradley and Robert Stephenson as recent examples.

In the case of the pitchers, it could be a matter of front offices wanting to ensure the players’ most effective seasons occur at the big league level during cost-controlled years while also ensuring the club can closely monitor their investments in an effort to mitigate injuries. It’s also possible that more of the top pitching talents are rising through the minors with premium velocity, which allows them to better hold their own as inexpensive, replacement-level talents (ie. No. 4/5 starters), or better, while working on their secondary offerings and command/control at the big league level.

Click on the players’ names to see their player pages and full stats breakdown. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians have an intriguing system with some high-ceiling talent mixed in with some “safer” prospects. The system definitely boasts more depth on the hitting side than the pitching side. The front office has done a nice job of utilizing the draft, trade market and international free agency to build a solid farm system. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds system is thin on impact talent, as well as overall depth. The organization boasts a potential No. 1/2 starter but things drop off dramatically from that point. There are a lot of fringe-average regulars, utility players, No. 4 starters and middle relievers in the making. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: New York Yankees

In its current state, the Yankees’ system is rather pedestrian, or middle of the road, when compared to the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball. The talent in the upper levels of the system underwhelmed in 2013 and many of the top prospects also dealt with significant injuries. The good news, though, is that the club has drafted extremely well and paired that with a strong international scouting presence, which made good use of their limited budgets. If a few of the lower level sleepers break out in 2014, this could turn into a Top 10, if not Top 5, system in short order. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies system starts off nicely but drops off rapidly after the third slot. Serious injuries have taken a huge bite out of the rankings for players such as shortstop Roman Quinn, catcher Tommy Joseph, as well as pitchers Shane Watson and Adam Morgan. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Colorado Rockies

The Rockies’ Top 10 list includes two young pitchers with the potential to develop into No. 1 or 2 starters, as well as an outfielder with five-tool talent. So, in other words, there is some high-ceiling talent in this system but the overall depth in the organization is not overly compelling. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Kansas City Royals

The Royals have a solid system with depth and impact talents — both on the mound and in the field. Kansas City is one of few organizations with two potential top-of-the-rotation arms that could be ready to contribute at the big-league level by the end of 2014. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

The strength of the Rays organization is depth. The club lacks a true impact talent at the top of this list, although both Taylor Guerrieri and Hak-Ju Lee have the tools to be outstanding players if they can put injuries behind them. Read the rest of this entry »


2014 Top 10 Prospects: Chicago Cubs

The system is strong although it’s somewhat top heavy. The Top 10 list starts to taper offer after No. 8 but I’d consider the overall depth to be above average. The Cubs feature one of the most enviable one-through-four group of prospects in the game. Read the rest of this entry »