Atlanta targeted Ahmed with its second round draft pick in 2011 with the hope that he could move quickly through the system in need of middle infield depth. The shortstop is not flashy in the field but he’s steady, makes all the plays and has a strong arm. At the plate, he’s more if a No. 2 hitter with good barrel control and the ability to play small ball. He’s shown his ability to get on base early in 2012 by walking eight times in his first 11 games. He’s struck out just three times. Ahmed also possesses good speed and has stolen six bases in as many tries. He’s definitely worth keeping an eye on even if he’s currently stuck behind Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons on the shortstop depth chart.
Cabrera flirted with a no-hitter on Tuesday night, settling instead for a one-hitter in eight innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight. He has now given up just nine hits in his first 20 double-A innings. Cabrera shown good control with just two walks to go along with 18 strikeouts. He also has a tendency to induce a high number of ground-ball outs, which should serve him well while pitching in Colorado. The left-hander is a little undersized and is already 24 years old. He profiles as a No. 3 or 4 starter.
Two of my favorite over-slot deals in the 2011 draft included Goeddel and Matt Dean of the Toronto Blue Jays. Both prep third basemen had similar talent levels but the organizations’ handling of them has been much different. Dean is still playing at extended spring training and will likely be assigned to a short-season league in June. Goeddel, on the other hand, was given a more aggressive assignment to low-A ball. He’s gotten off to a nice start with an average at .371 and five extra base hits in nine games. On the down side, he’s struck out 10 times. Clearly the organization has a pretty talented guy already manning the hot corner at the big league level in Evan Longoria but Goeddel is still a ways away and he is athletic enough to move to another position if the need arises.
Head made his way onto my Top 15 list for the Red Sox before his trade to the A’s, which saw now-injured reliever Andrew Bailey head the other way. I took Head over some other interesting players because I really believed in his bat, even though Boston had pretty much given up on him as a third baseman and his future appeared to include a first baseman’s glove. With his trade to Oakland, though, Head has been given a second chance at the hot corner to a degree as he’s made four starts there this year (seven at 1B, one at DH). At the plate, the prospect has enjoyed his time in the California League with a batting average of more than .400, 20 hits in 12 games and nine extra base hits. Oakland’s third base position is a giant gapping hole so Head could become a valuable contributor even if he can only handle the position on a part-time basis.
Take a raw college athlete and then make him miss a full year of development time due to injury and you find yourself with Mitchell. The former first round pick has always been loaded with ability but he’s struggled to translate those skills to the baseball diamond. Despite hitting just .222 with 183 strikeouts in 129 games in 2011, the White Sox organization made the ballsy move of promoting Mitchell to double-A to begin the 2012 season. That decision had the chance to be very, very ugly but things have actually worked out OK so far. With a more patient approach thus far he’s shown some improvement. He has 11 walks in 13 games but strikeouts continue to plague him: He has 14 Ks. Mitchell still has a lot of adjustments to make but he’s starting to show some signs of figuring things out.
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