Who? Bond has been kicking around the minor leagues since being selected by the Giants out of a Missouri high school in the 24th round of the 2007 draft. A pure hitter, he hit well over .300 during his three seasons in A-ball and double-A. He was then a triple-A all-star in 2010 before missing almost the entire year in ’11 due to injury. Healthy once again, Bond is hitting .385 with 10 walks and just nine strikeouts in 24 games. He’s always controlled the strike zone exceptionally well but has little-to-no power and doesn’t run much. As such, his offensive profile is limited because his value is tied solely to his ability to hit for average. He’s also an average fielder and has seen some time at second base, third base and left field. Bond, 26, could make an excellent 25th man – a switch-hitting pinch hitter and occasional infield back-up – for a National League club. As we’ve seen with the early 2012 success of pinch hitters like Chad Tracy and Mike Baxter, these players can be quite valuable.
The Texas organization does an amazing job of identifying amateur talent through the draft and while scouting the international free agent market. It scored once again – this time with former first round pick Loux who was the sixth overall pick by Arizona during the 2010 draft. He failed to come to terms with the Diamondbacks when a shoulder injury caused the organization to back away, not wanting to risk $2+ million on him. Then declared a free agent, Texas stepped in and signed him. Assigned to high-A in 2011, Loux pitched very well in high-A ball with 127 Ks in 109.0 innings. Moved up to double-A in 2012, the right-hander has been equally as good with 42 whiffs in 43.1 innings. He’s produced an above-average ground-ball rate but he’s already given up five home runs after allowing just six last year. If his health holds up (He also had elbow sugery in college for bone chips), Loux could develop into a solid No. 3 starter; he does have a relatively low stress delivery, which works in his favor.
There are not many hitters in all of baseball that are as hot as Myers. In his past 10 games the 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .371 with six home runs, 11 runs scored and 10 RBI. Repeating double-A for the second straight year, the former third round draft pick is hitting .343 with 13 home runs (25 extra base hits) in 35 games. Myers is one homer shy of his career high for a season (447 A-ball at-bats in ’10) and he hit just eight in 354 at-bats last year. The former catcher, who projects as a right-fielder, has been playing center field this season and recently spent some time at the hot corner to increase his versatility. With some hard work the athletic player could probably become at least average at the position but Kansas City already has a potentially-plus young defender at the hot corner at the MLB level in Mike Moustakas. Myers was promoted to triple-A today.
The 36th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Owens was aggressively assigned to full season ball in ’12 despite the fact he signed too late to play pro ball last year. The lefty has shown very promising stuff with 47 Ks in 29.1 innings of work. In his last three starts he hasn’t allowed an earned run and he’s given up just five hits with 18 whiffs in 15.0 innings. His control has been a big issue, though, with 21 walks. Standing 6’6”, it could take some time before Owens’ mechanics click. His stuff has started to show a noticeable improvement and if it continues he could become a solid big league starter. With fellow draft picks Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley also playing well the 2011 draft return in turning out to be outstanding for the Red Sox.
Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy has dominated low-A ball at the age of 19. Toronto’s Sanchez is in a similar situation at the same age. He’s given up just nine hits and two earned runs in 27.0 innings of work. He’s also whiffing hitters at a strong rate (33) and batters are having a heck of a time getting lifting the ball against Sanchez who has produced an exceptional ground-ball rate. The right-hander, and 34th overall pick of the 2010 draft, features a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a very promising curveball. Unlike Bundy, who is 19 and in his first full season, Sanchez entered pro ball at 17 and is now in his third year – first in full season ball. The organization has to be very excited about this youngster (Hat tip to Keith Law for identifying Sanchez’ breakout potential during his pre-season Top100/Top 10 lists).