FanGraphs Prospect Stock Watch

Charlie Culberson, IF, San Francisco Giants:
Current Level: AAA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR
Current Value: Leveling Off

After making 75 errors playing on the left side of the infield between 2008-09, Culberson has found more consistency on the right side of the field at the keystone. In truth his offensive profile fits better at second base too and he’s shown some nice gap power. Unfortunately he has an overly aggressive approach which hindered him at double-A in 2011 and his wOBA sat at just .303. Moved up aggressively to triple-A this season the 23-year-old infielder has walked just four times in 26 games. He also has 21 strikeouts and whiffs too much for a player with modest home run power. With experience at three infield positions Culberson’s future big league role will probably come as a utility player and the organization with have to look elsewhere for its second baseman of the future.

Brett Jackson, OF, Chicago Cubs:
Current Level: AAA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 2nd
Current Value: Monitor Closely

Pro ball hasn’t been entirely kind to Jackson, the 31st overall pick of the 2009 draft. The outfielder has had an up-and-down pro career so far and 2012 has been no different. Playing at triple-A Jackson is showing good on-base numbers with 14 walks in 23 games but he’s also struck out an eye-popping 29 times. The left-handed batter is hitting just .209 against right-handed pitchers and his average is buoyed by a .407 average against southpaws, a small-sample number that’s not going to help him for long. The organization hopes that Jackson, 23, will be the club’s starting center-fielder of the future but he’s currently looking like an average regular at best rather than a star.

Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers:
Current Level: A+
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 1st
Current Value: Looking Up

A first round draft pick out of the University of Texas in 2011 Jungmann signed too late to pitch during the regular season. Assigned to high-A ball to being 2012 the right-hander has gotten off to a quick start. He’s striking out batters at an average rate while also producing above-average ground-ball rates. As a result, Jungmann has given up just one home run in his first 36.1 pro innings. Jungmann should move rather quickly through the system and could reach double-A by the end of the season and the Majors by the end of 2013. He has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.

Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals:
Current Level: AA
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 4th
Current Value: Monitor Closely

Former Brewers prospect Odorizzi came over to the Royals organization prior to the 2011 season in a trade for the talented Zack Greinke and he spent his first year in the system split between high-A and double-A. He’s back in double-A to begin 2012 and his results so far have been inconsistent in five starts. Nine of his 12 runs came in two starts on April 12 and 17. He’s allowed just three runs combined in his other three starts. He’s also been an extreme fly ball pitcher so far this season, a disturbing trend that began last season. Odorizzi has solid stuff but he’s probably not going to have great results in the Majors unless he finds a way to work down in the zone on a more consistent basis.

Cory Vaughn, OF, New York Mets:
Current Level: A+
2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: 10th
Current Value: Leveling Off

Vaughn, who just turned 23 on May 1, is off to a nice start in high-A ball, his second attempt at the level. The outfielder posted an wOBA of just .317 in 63 games last season after producing solid results at low-A ball in the first half of 2011. This year, the son of former big leaguer Greg Vaughn has slugged six home runs in 22 games, hinting at some of the raw strength that his father possessed. Vaughn, a former fourth round draft pick, still needs to trim his strikeout rate with 21 whiffs in 22 games. He’s struggled as a run producer this year, as well, hitting just .185 with runners in scoring position and all six of his home runs have come with the bases empty.

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

8 Responses to “FanGraphs Prospect Stock Watch”

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  1. Telo2 says:

    Brett Jackson!! He’s a beast

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    • dscottncc says:

      Can’t wait to watch Jackson on the big league club in the second half. He might strike out a lot, but the tools are still there.

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  2. TheBigStapler says:

    I noticed that you brought up Vaughn’s trouble hitting with runners in scoring position. Do you consider this a real issue with regard to his prospect status?

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      No… but with only a month’s worth of stats/results to go by I like to point out some interesting early trends.

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  3. Illinois' top oil producer says:

    I’ve heard great things about Brett Jackson, but in their 2012 prospect handbook Baseball America makes an absolutely ridiculous statement that Jackson “has the upside of Jim Edmonds at the plate, if not quite the same Gold Glove ability.” They project him with future 55 hit tool, 60 power. How is that Jim Edmonds??? Did they not see Edmonds in his prime putting up more than 30 bombs every year with around a .300 BA?? Sorry, this post isn’t really about Jackson, but this is something I’ve had on my mind for awhile now.

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    • Preston says:

      Jim Edmonds is one of my all time favorites and a hugely under-rated player. Scouts usually make ridiculous comparisons like this. It is only because they want to make a comparison they are sure everybody will remember. What they mean is if Brett Jackson panned out to be everything he could possibly be he might have a couple of seasons like Jim Edmonds, except apparently not on defense, which really defeats the comparison, for as great as Edmonds was at the plate his true brilliance was with the glove.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Yes. “Has the upside of” means if things break right that’s his upside. Nothing wrong with saying that if that’s what scouts think.

        Jim Edmonds age 22 in PCL 1992 (Edmonton):

        .299/.343/.490, 25.9% K rate 6.6% walk rate in 194 at-bats

        Brett Jackson age 22 in PCL 2011 (Iowa):

        .297/.388/.551, 29.8% K rate, 13% walk rate in 185 at-bats.

        In fairness to Edmonds, he wwalked at a 14% rate in AA that year. But he also struck out at a 28.7% clip. And that was in Midland, I believe a notorious hitters haven.

        Jackson strikes out too much, but he does walk and have power. Edmonds at same age struck out too much but he walked and had power. Same league. Different parks different era 9although if anything offense was more pronounced back then-not sure how PCL compares to back then).

        Edmonds seems a legit comp with the bat, although looks like generally he had minor league batting averages. They specifically said not a glove comp from what Mr. Illinois says.

        Most folks on fangraphs know Edmonds was pretty damn good, as do many less sabr savvy folks. Although sure, he was underrated. But he was a 4 time all-star, 30 bombs, 8 gold gloves, highlight reel catches (on ESPN constantly), long career, silver slugger, 2 mvp top 5s, championship team (albeit late in his career), many playoff appearances.

        I wouldn’t get too worked up, though, about someone thinking Jackson might have that upside with the bat. Their age 22 seasons are indeed comparable just results wise. I’ve never seen Jackson hit and didn’t see Edmonds in the minors.

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  4. saucypony says:

    I’ve completely lost faith in the Royals’ minors’ pitching coaches.

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