Lars Anderson, Mike Montgomery, and Drew Storen share few things in common, aside from the fact that they’re both professional ball players. However, all three players can be lumped together as top prospects that recently received minor league promotions.
Anderson was moved from double-A to triple-A by the Boston Red Sox. The big first baseman was repeating double-A for the second straight season after an uninspired .233/.338/.345 in 447 at-bats. His ISO dropped from .211 in ’08 to .112 in ’09 and he lost more than .100 points on his wOBA.
Despite the struggles, I felt pretty good about predicting a rebound for the 22-year-old prospect while writing the 2010 Top 10 list for the Red Sox. I ranked him fifth overall and said: “There were a few good signs, including the fact that he maintained a solid walk rate (12.3%) and his strikeout rate did not skyrocket (25.5%, similar to his career norm – which admittedly is high to begin with)… Anderson will be just 22 for much of 2010, so he has time to turn things around.”
Other prospect rankers felt he was still a Top 10 prospect, as well. Baseball America and Keith Law both ranked Anderson at No. 4, while John Sickels had him at No. 8, and Baseball Prospectus had him ninth overall.
Anderson was hitting .355/.408/.677 at the time of his promotion. With the positive impact that the Mets organization has received from the promotion of Ike Davis, perhaps the Red Sox organization is hoping for a similar spark at some point this season. That seems a little too aggressive but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Montgomery proved to the Kansas City Royals that he was far too good for A-ball so he was bumped up to double-A. The southpaw is just 20 years old so it’s mildly surprising to see the organization be so quick to promote him. With that said, the club is lacking pitching depth at the upper levels of the system. As well, Montgomery had success in nine high-A starts in ’09 after beginning the season in low-A.
During the off-season, I ranked Montgomery as the No. 1 prospect in the Royals’ system. I was joined by three of the other four rankers. Law chose to rank him third behind Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
At the high-A level in ’10, Montgomery allowed just 14 hits and four walks in 24.2 innings of work. He posted an 11.88 K/9 rate and a 55% ground-ball rate. Despite his early success, the Royals would have to be pretty desperate to bring Montgomery up this season. He’s still young and has a limited number of pro innings under his belt. And the club is not in a position to win this season.
An ’09 first round draft pick by the Washington Nationals, Storen was a slight-overdraft in part because he was considered near-MLB ready. It took less than a month of the 2010 season for him to move within a step of the Majors with a switch from double-A to triple-A.
All four of the prospect rankers had Storen as the third best prospect in the system behind Stephen Strasburg and Derek Norris. In the 2010 Second Opinion, I ranked Storen at No. 4 on the Top 10 list, after giving a little extra love to current MLB starting shortstop Ian Desmond.
Storen projects to be the club’s closer of the future, although a rejuvenated Matt Capps will give the prospect plenty of time to ease into the Majors. Last season, Storen pitched at three levels and compiled a 1.95 ERA with 21 hits allowed in 37.0 innings of work. The 22-year-old former Stanford pitcher had an ERA of 0.96 in seven games and had allowed just five hits in 9.1 innings. He walked just one batter and struck out 11.
It’s great to see the prospect values increasing for all three players. However, don’t get too excited and expect them to make significant MLB impacts in 2010.
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