The Fringe Five is a weekly exercise (introduced last month) wherein the author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own heart to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.
Central to this exercise, of course, is a working definition of fringe. Currently, for the purposes of this column, it’s any prospect who was absent from all of three notable preseason top-100 prospect lists. (A slightly more robust meditation on the idea of fringe can be found here.)
Three players retain their place this week among the Five: Mets infield prospect Wilmer Flores, recently promoted (to Triple-A, that is) Marlins left-handed prospect Brian Flynn, and Cardinals Double-A outfielder Mike O’Neill. Departing from the Five are promising Cleveland pitcher Danny Salazar — largely because shoulder soreness might be an issue — and Cubs infield prospect Ronald Torreyes, who did nothing in particular to lose his spot except fail to amuse the author completely.
All those points having been made, here are this week’s Fringe Five.
Wilmer Flores, 2B/3B, New York NL (Profile)
The salient points regarding Wilmer Flores remain unchanged since last week’s edition of the Fringe Five — remain unchanged, in fact, since the series’ inaugural dispatch in April. Flores is still just 21; he still controls the strike zone; and his primary offensive indicators (regressed home-run and walk and strikeout rates) remain roughly equal to those currently being posted by both Jurickson Profar and Oscar Taveras in the Pacific Coast League. Here’s his line over the past week: 20 PA, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 K.
Brian Flynn, LHP, Miami (Profile)
Flynn makes his second consecutive appearance among the Five this week — and fourth overall among either the Fringe or Next Five. Despite a merely passable start this past week with New Orleans (5.1 IP, 24 TBF, 5 K, 0 BB, 2 HR, 8 H), he remains a 6-foot-7 and (probably) 240-pound left-hander with what appears to be above-average command.
Rafael Montero, RHP, New York NL (Profile)
Mets right-handed prospect Montero, 22, has previously appeared among the Next Five, but receives here his debut among the Fringe Five proper. The occasion, in this instance, is a promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday which saw Montero — who had posted an excellent 54:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46.2 Double-A innings — strike out five Iowa Cubs, and walk just one, in 6.2 innings (box).
The video from that particular game is poor; however, footage from his April 9th start against Tigers Double-A affiliate Erie reveals what appear to be the essentials of Montero’s repertoire.
Like his four-seam fastball, for example — over which pitch he typically demonstrates excellent command — thrown here to Detroit prospect Tyler Collins:
And what might very well be a two-seam fastball — or, at least, some manner of pitch (a hard changeup, perhaps?) with considerable armside run — as thrown in the fifth inning of that game to Erie’s Marcus Lemon:
And, finally, Montero’s slider, which appears to show some promise as a possible out pitch — in this case, as thrown to Erie’s James McCann:
Mike O’Neill, COF, St. Louis (Profile)
Last year, following a mid-August promotion to Double-A Springfield, O’Neill posted walk and strikeout rates of 19.0% and 4.8%, respectively, in 42 plate appearances over the remaining month or so of the season. It wouldn’t, of course, have been reasonable to expect O’Neill even to approximate those rates, given the degree to which such figures represent outliers relative to the rest of the population. And yet, O’Neill has actually improved upon them slightly, carrying walk and strikeout rates of 19.4% and 4.6%, respectively, into play on Tuesday.
Jose Ramirez, RHP, New York AL (Profile)
Multiple reports place Yankees prospect Jose Ramirez’s average fastball velocity somewhere around 95 mph. Many of those same reports indicate that the right-hander’s changeup is actually his best pitch.
Here’s an example of the latter, from spring training, to Ryan Howard:
And here’s an example of the former, also from spring training, also to Ryan Howard:
Regardless of which is best, the right-hander has recorded a 33:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.0 innings with Double-A Trenton after missing the season’s first couple weeks with elbow soreness, or something similar to elbow soreness. (Note: J.D. Sussman also considered Ramirez — specifically, his future role — in some depth earlier today.)
The Next Five
These are players on whom the author might potentially become fixated.
Corban Joseph, 2B, New York AL (Triple-A International League)
Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Los Angeles AL (Double-A Texas League)
Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland (Triple-A International League)
Marcus Semien, SS/2B, Chicago AL (Double-A Southern League)
Ronald Torreyes, 2B, Chicago NL (Double-A Southern League)
Fringe Five Scoreboard
Here are all the players to have appeared among either the Fringe Five (FF) or Next Five (NF) so far this season. For mostly arbitrary reasons, players are assessed three points for each week they’ve appeared among the Fringe Five; a single point, for each week among the Next Five.
|Marcus Semien||White Sox||SS||3||3||12|
|Garin Cecchini||Red Sox||3B||0||1||1|
Print This Post