FanGraphs Prospect Stock Watch – 06/15/12

Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
Current Level: A
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 14th
Current Value: Underrated

The 29th overall selection in the 2010 draft, Bedrosian was one of my favorite prep arms available that year. He made just five appearances, though, before hurting his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Just 17 when he was draft, the right-hander is still just 20 years old so time is on his side. Bedrosian currently has a modest 4.50 ERA in nine starts but he’s given up just one home run and 32 hits in 36.0 innings. His control has been off – which is typical with pitchers returning from this particular surgery – and he’s walked 21 batters. We really shouldn’t read too much into the California native’s numbers this year and I remain excited about his potential – either as a high-leverage reliever like his father Steve Bedrosian or as a mid-rotation starter.

Lucas Bailey, C, Tampa Bay Rays
Current Level: A+
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR
Current Value: Penny Stock

Bailey, now 21, was a fourth-round pick of the Rays out of a Georgia high school in 2009 but he was a first-round talent and compensated accordingly. The young catcher injured his elbow late in his high school career and underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s rebounded defensively but his offense has never caught up. After hitting a ‘career high’ .223 at low-A ball in 2011, Bailey has slipped to .196 in 2012 at high-A ball. He’s appeared in just 14 games, though, after missing most of April and all of May with another injury. Known as a potential offensive stud coming out of high school, it’s hard to believe that he’s been this bad (career high OPS is .679) and it’s equally difficult to envision a future for Bailey that involves a big league call-up – unless he finds a way to turn things around quickly.

Carter Capps, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: Sleeper
Current Value: Underrated

Capps has been a fast riser in the Mariners system and deserves more attention than he’s received to this point. Selected in the supplemental third round of the 2011 draft, he was given a very aggressive opening day assignment to double-A but he hasn’t looked back. The hard-throwing right-hander has 50 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work. His ERA currently sits at 1.39 and he’s allowed just 22 hits. The fly-ball pitcher has also given up just two home runs. Capps, 21, was selected out of a small college and he’s helping to make up for the club’s inability to sign top prep hitter Kevin Cron, who was selected in the third round of the same draft. Capps has a mid-90s fastball as well as a very good slider. He also had a curveball and changeup in college but he doesn’t need a four-pitch mix in the bullpen. He could be a key contributor to the big league club in 2013 and has high-leverage potential.

George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
Current Level: A+
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 2nd
Current Value: Volatile

I have to admit that I was not a Springer fan as the 2011 draft approached and was not excited to see him go 11th overall to the Houston Astros. An athletic but raw college player, the outfielder was given an aggressive assignment to high-A ball this year and his numbers look OK on the surface but he’s also playing in the California League. He’s showing power with 14 home runs and 29 extra base hits overall, and he’s also hitting for a solid average (.294). On thing the league can’t do is inflate his walk rate and it’s above 10%, which is nice to see. On the down side, though he’s struck out 74 times in 60 games and his strikeout rate is almost 27%. He’s also being helped by a .361 BABIP. I recommend a wait-and-see approach with Springer, who should spend the entire year in high-A ball. Double-A ball will be a huge test for him. If he reaches his potential, he could be a 20-20 player, albeit it with a modest batting average.

Ryan Wheeler, 3B/1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Current Level: AAA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR
Current Value: Inflated

It’s hard to gauge Diamondbacks hitting prospects because almost all their affiliates are in parks or leagues that inflate offensive numbers. Wheeler was original a fifth round draft pick out of Loyola Marymount in 2009 and entered pro ball with few expectations. He caught the attention of prospect watchers when he hit .363 with a 171 wRC+ in his pro debut in short-season ball. Now in triple-A, the 23-year-old corner infielder is scorching the ball again after a couple of ‘meh’ seasons in high-A and double-A. He has a 149 wRC+ and a .366 batting average in 63 games. Wheeler, 23, is not a great fielder and his best position is first base but he has shown improvements at the hot corner. Even so, he’s likely a future bench player and left-handed-hitting pinch-hitter in the mold of Eric Hinske.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


11 Responses to “FanGraphs Prospect Stock Watch – 06/15/12”

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  1. byron says:

    Springer’s wRC+ is 135, 13th in the California league, so his league isn’t inflating anything. You don’t need to look at “surface” stats and then wonder how the league is affecting them. You can look it up on this very site.

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    • Royo says:

      wRC+ is league adjusted but not park adjusted for the minors, right?

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      • byron says:

        Yes, Marc explained that for me yesterday. That would matter greatly if a hitter’s home park were much, much more offense-friendly than the majority of other parks in his league. Usually, though, we hear about whole leagues that inflate stats, which means league average will still be a pretty appropriate measuring stick. If a player played in a park with a 135 HR factor and the other parks in his league averaged 85, wRC+ would not be an effective stat for evaluating his production (pretending that you can objectively determine park factors).

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        You realize Springer’s home park is one of the most offensive friendly in the minors, right? Lancaster has a 139 HR park factor and a 113 wOBA park factor for RHB per StatCorner. Those both rank second in the already hitter friendly CAL.

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      • Royo says:

        Others would know better than me, but isn’t that league filled with extremes? High Desert, Stockton, & Lancaster are extreme hitter parks and Inland, Elsinore, and Modesto being extreme pitcher parks? So maybe wRC+ may not be the best for that league? There must be some trustworthy ML park numbers somewhere.

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      • byron says:

        Nitram, you’re right. Does StatCorner computer minor league park factors within the league? It looks that way, since the majority of parks in the “inflated” California league have sub-100 RHB wOBA factors. His home park really stands out with its 113.

        Royo, StatCorner seems to back up the idea that it has extremes in both directions, though if StatCorner determines each league individually, the extreme pitchers’ parks could still be hitters’ parks compared to baseball as a whole. That does make wRC+ a bad fit to judge prospects from that league. It makes me wonder why Marc cited the league as a reason to worry his numbers were inflated, when it seems to be a park issue.

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      • GUY says:

        @Byron:
        He didn’t do anything of the sort:
        “It’s hard to gauge Diamondbacks hitting prospects because almost all their affiliates are in parks or leagues that inflate offensive numbers”
        Parks or leagues, and so I think it’s safe to assume he was referring to the park factors in this case.

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      • GUY says:

        Wow, my apologies, for some reason I read ‘Springer’ as ‘Wheeler.’
        Time to rest my brain for awhile.

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  2. Christian says:

    Springer has more power and better defense than you’re giving him credit for, Hulet. He could be a 30 HR guy with +5-10 run defense in center field in the majors. He won’t hit for a high average, but he’ll draw walks.

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  3. I like the Hinske comp for Wheeler.

    Capps can seriously bring the heat and is also extremely deceptive. He’s gotta be on the short list of the game’s top relief prospects.

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  4. RogerClemensNeedle says:

    YEa, couldn’t be farther off with Springer. Do the guys that write for this site actually believe that people think they know what they are talking about?

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