Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on multiple rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.
Brandon Drury, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (Profile)
Level: High-A Age: 21 Top 15: 11th Top 100: N/A
Line: .297/.359/.563, 8 HR, 8.1 BB%, 16.2 K%
Acquired in the deal that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta, Drury has continued to build off an impressive 2013 campaign.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Diamondbacks organization to date but there are some good news stories to be found in the minor league system. Third base prospect Brandon Drury continues to blossom.
The 21-year-old infielder was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 13th round of the 2010 amateur draft. After three inconsistent seasons, he was dealt to the Diamondbacks in the six-player deal that saw Justin Upton land in Atlanta. Drury had a breakout season in 2013 at the Low-A ball level where he produced an .862 OPS with 51 doubles to go along with his 15 home runs in 134 games.
The Oregon native continues to show that 2013 was no fluke. Promoted to High-A for the ’14 season, Drury has a triple-slash line of .297/.359/.563 with eight home runs in 31 games. He’s an aggressive hitter (although he’s doubled his walk rate since moving from the Braves to the Snakes), but he’s also done a decent job of making consistent contact — especially given his power output — and his strikeout rate sits at 16%.
Incumbent third baseman Martin Prado — also acquired in the Upton deal — is signed through 2016. Drury projects to be ready for the Majors between late 2015 and mid-2016, which puts his minor league graduation date close to when the veteran infielder will be ready to move on.
The organization has some time to be patient with Drury and let things work themselves out. He doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster (and protected from the Rule 5 draft) until after the ’14 season and that will then buy him three minor option years so doesn’t have to officially stick in the Majors until after the 2017 season.
Entering the 2014 season, I ranked Drury as the 11th best prospect in the system and, based on his season to date, he’s continuing to slowly move up the rankings.
Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23 Top 15: N/A Top 100: N/A
Line: 14.2 IP, 5 K, 31/4 K/BB, 1.23 ERA, 0.48 FIP
Already the beneficiary of a promotion this season, Bedrosian has proceeded to strike out about half the Double-A batters he’s faced.
Bedrosian has been one of the most dominating relievers in the minor leagues in 2014. Originally assigned to High-A ball as a 22 year old, he struck out 15 batters in 5.2 innings of work. In other words, of the 17 outs he recorded — 15 came via the strikeout. The gaudy strikeout rate earned him a quick promotion to Double-A. He hasn’t been quite as dominant — his rate has dipped from 23.82 to 14.63 K/9 — but he’s recorded another 16 Ks in 9.0 innings of work.
Bedrosian is the son of former top closer Steve Bedrosian and was the 29th overall selection in the 2010 amateur draft out of a Georgia high school. Originally a starter, he blew out his elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011. He came back in 2012 with diminished stuff and posted a 6.31 ERA in 21 starts.
Things began to turn around for him in 2013 but few, if any, people saw his ’14 breakout coming. Even in a weak Angels system, I failed to ranked Bedrosian on the club’s Top 10 (+5) prospects list prior to the beginning of the season. I ranked him 15th overall prior to the ’13 season.
With a little more development, Bedrosian could be ready to help out the Angels at the big league level — perhaps in September of this year. Now in his fifth pro season, he’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster this November anyway to protect him from the Rule 5 amateur draft. His arm is not one that the Angels can afford to lose.
Ken Giles, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (Profile)
Level: Double-A Age: 23 Top 15: N/A Top 100: N/A
Line: 14.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 27/5 K/BB, 1.29 ERA, 0.60 FIP
After a somewhat difficult 2013 season, Giles has begun to demonstrate again the requisite command to complement his electric fastball.
Speaking of impressive relief prospects, Giles has once again raised eyebrows in the Phillies organization. The hard-throwing right-hander caught the attention of scouts and analysts alike when he struck out 111 batters (but also walked 50) in 82.0 innings of work in 2012. I personally ranked him as the 12th best prospect in their system prior to the ’13 season.
Unfortunately, injuries, inconsistencies and command issues reared their ugly heads and he posted a 6.31 ERA with 19 walks in just 25.2 innings. As a result, he was nowhere to be found on the pre-2014 prospect list. Luckily for the Phillies, though, the ’13 season appears to have been an aberration.
In 12 Double-A games in 2014, Giles has struck out 27 batters in 14.0 innings of work. What’s just as impressive is the fact that he’s been inducing a lot more ground-ball outs and doing a better job of pitching down in the zone.
Like the two players listed above him, Giles will need to be added to the 40-man roster after this season. With the state of the Phillies’ bullpen, it’s quite possible that he may see big league action by the end of the year. He likely has the ceiling of a set-up man in the Majors.
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