#15 – Juan Francisco, 3B-ish, Cincinnati
Francisco was on last year’s iteration of this Team, and has really only become more like Juan Francisco in the meantime, slashing .286/.325/.565 (.332 BABIP) in 329 Triple-A plate appearances last season and posting a 4.9 BB% against a 26.3 K%. It’s pretty clear that Francisco’s hold over the strike zone is tenuous, but his power is real and his swing exudes unbridled enthusiasm for swinging. (I’ll direct your attention to all of these videos, but especially this one.) Bill James has Francisco projected at .280/.313/.513. Brian Cartwright’s OLIVER has him at .273/.308/.513. I’d be surprised if Francisco batted as high as .270 in the majors, but I wouldn’t be surprised — at all — by an ISO north of .230.
#14 – Tim Collins, LHP, Kansas City
Tim Collins is, essentially, a walking Feel Good Story. He’s just 5-foot-7 and 155 pounds, went undrafted out of Worcester (Mass.) Techinical High School, is only entering his age-21 season, and yet all he does is strike people out. Regard: in 223.0 minor league innings, the lefty Collins has recorded 329 strikeouts, or 13.3 per nine. Nor is it as though he’s merely feasting off younger competition: Collins made it to Triple-A last season as a 20-year-old. Despite a circuitous path (he went from Toronto to Atlanta in the Yunel Escobar trade and then to Kansas City, along with others, for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth), Collins has succeeded at every level, including 20.1 Triple-A innings last season that saw him record 21 K and 8 BB. Apparently, a 12-to-6 curveball is his great weapon.
#13 – Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Atlanta
Mostly, I echo the sentiments expressed by Jackie Moore in his piece on Kimbrel from back in January — in particular, his (i.e. Jackie’s) point concerning “the mystery of [Kimbrel’s] inexperience.” To said piece, I will add only this one point, as follows:
#12 – Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati
My instinct with Chapman is not to explain why he’s a member of the Squad, but why he’s only twelfth on the list. Because, based on watchability-cum-performance, Chapman is one of the best players in all of baseball. But as I noted in the introduction to this brief series while making reference to Joe Posnanski’s Movie Expectation Formula, one consideration for inclusion on this list is the possibility of a player producing far above expectations. While Colby Lewis came out of relative obscurity to post a 4.4 WAR season, the baseball-watching public’s expectations of Chapman are already considerably high. So that’s one thing. Another, somewhat related thing, is that Chapman has the potential to evolve into a totally heartbreaking work. There’s little precedent for humans throwing the ball 105 mph. There’s even less precedent for a pitcher who does that and who has also left his family, girlfriend, and child behind in a country from which he’s defected. One imagines that any on-field difficulties that Chapman encounters could be exacerbated by the less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding his presence in the US.
#11 – Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF, Los Angeles (NL)
Like a couple other players so far on this list (Collins, Eric Farris), Cavazos-Galvez was one of the players that appeared on my non-prospect list in the Second Opinion. It was there that I wrote about Cavazos-Glavez,
There are some pretty clear strikes against [him]. First, there’s the fact that he was a 23-year-old in the [low Class A] Midwest League. Second is the fact that he’s taken a total of just 22 walks in 791 minor league PAs. The good news is that he’s toolsy and, unlike some other players who’re described like that, appears to have pretty sweet contact skills. He struck out just once in 30 Dominican Winter League at-bats, and projects to have both power and speed at the Major League level if and when he arrives.
The encouraging thing about Cavazos-Galvez’ age is that it’s not due to him having failed at any level, but rather to the fact that he’s an older college draftee (12th round in 2009) who just hasn’t been promoted aggressively. And, again, those contact rates coupled with that athleticism present an exciting package.
Team Joy Squad 2011 (w/ Picks #11 – #25):
C Chris Iannetta, C, COL 1B Gaby Sanchez, 1B, FLA 2B 3B SS LF Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF, LAD CF RF DH Juan Francisco, "3B", CIN B Eric Farris, UTIF, MIL B Brent Morel, UTIF, CHA B Mitch Moreland, 1B, TEX B Cameron Maybin, OF, SD B Robinson Chirinos, C, TB SP SP SP SP SP P Aroldis Chapman, LHP, CIN P Craig Kimbrel, RHP, ATL P Tim Collins, LHP, KC P Manny Parra, LHP, MIL P Felipe Paulino, RHP, COL P Jordan Zimmermann, WAS
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