I’ve been a pretty big supporter of Chavez since his days in the Jays organization (He was part of the loot, along with Brandon League, for Brandon Morrow) so it was more than a little disappointing – but not entirely unexpected – to see him struggle at double-A in 2011. Still just 21, he saw his wOBA drop from .410 to .304. His power also dried up as he went from having an ISO rate of .262 in a potent A-ball environment to .144 in a lesser (but still above-average) offensive-minded league. Chavez’ BABIP swung wildly along the way from .364 to .268. The good news is that his plate discipline did not change that much. His strikeout rate climbed by 2.6% and his walk rate also climbed… by 1%. The strong-armed outfielder will likely repeat double-A in 2012 but he’s still ahead of the curve in terms of age/development. He’ll probably never hit for average in the high minors or Majors but he should be able to improve upon his .212 and get up into the .250-.260 range if he can learn to better handle the off-speed stuff.
History tells us that top-ranked, prep-drafted catchers will break your heart more often than not. The A’s organization is still hoping that Stassi is not falling into that grouping. He slipped to the fourth round of the 2009 draft due to signability concerns but was widely considered the best prep catcher available and the second most talented overall (behind Tony Sanchez, who eventually signed with Pittsburgh). Baseball American even ranked him ahead of Wil Myers (now with Kansas City) and Tommy Joseph (San Francisco). They said this about him at the time:
“Stassi carries on the family’s baseball tradition, and he has a chance to be the best offensive catcher in this year’s deep catching crop… For a high schooler, he’s an exceptionally advanced hitter. He attacks the ball, uses the entire field and has above-average bat speed. Defensively, Stassi is solid but not outstanding. Other catchers are superior in catch-and-throw skills, but scouts agree that Stassi should have no difficulty remaining behind the plate.”
To be fair, Stassi injured his right shoulder in his senior year of high school and it has never been right since, which could explain his troubles. He underwent surgery in May of 2011 to correct the issue and did not play the rest of the season. Still just 20 years old, the 2012 season should be a big one for the prospect as he tries to regain his reputation as a top prospect.
FanGraphs 2011 Top 10 Prospects
Decreased Value: ???
If you’re a Texas fan, you have to be pretty happy by the fact that I’m stumped. I tried to find a disappointing prospect among the 2011 Top 10 prospects but I came up empty. It was a nice year for the organization’s minor league system (yet again). There were a few players that developed slower than others and a few that were slowed by injuries, but none that I felt comfortable calling an overall disappointment. Jake Skole held his own in low-A ball but did not show much power (.125 ISO) and struck out too much (27.5 K%). Mike Olt was displaying some impressive power when he suffered a broken collar bone in a home plate collision. Tanner Scheppers missed significant time while rehabbing a back injury.
Both Bedrosian and Martinez basically had their seasons wiped out due to injuries. A 2010 top draftee, Bedrosian has pitched just 12.0 pro innings so far thanks to Tommy John surgery. The son of former top closer Steve Bedrosian, he’s an under-sized right-hander that had scouts questioning his durability pre-injury. The injury could help push the hard-thrower to the bullpen where he could develop into a high-leverage reliever like his father. As for Martinez, the missed development time could be huge. He needs significant work on his command and control (6.62 BB/9 in 2010) but he also possesses an explosive fastball. Like Bedrosian, he could end up in the bullpen but at the age of 21 he still has plenty of time to hone his craft.
Up Next: The NL East