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.
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.
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.
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.
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.