Author Archive

Prospect Stock Watch: Cecchini, Diaz, Kepler, Moncada

Today at the Prospect Stock Watch we take a look at three players that could help their teams in 2016, as well as a Cuban infielder that will take a little more time to develop but could be the most talented prospect in the bunch.

Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets: Shortstop has not been an area of pride for the Mets in 2015. The two men that have spent time at the position — Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada — have produced modest offensive results. Worse yet, the former has shown why few scouts expected him to stick at the position at the big league level. The good news is that there is more hope on the horizon. Cecchini, the club’s first pick of the 2012 draft, has moved swiftly through the minors and is having a solid season in Double-A at the age of 21. He’s shown improvements with the bat each season, and controls the strike zone well, although he may never be more than average as a hitter. It’s his defence, though, that gets people excited. With a plethora of good, young pitching also coming up through the system, that’s good news for the likes of Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz — as well as “grizzled veteran” Matt Harvey. [Value Up]

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Prospect Stock Watch: Anderson, Law, Musgrove, Sisco

We’ve hit the midway mark in the 2015 season and it’s time to start thinking about players that might help in 2016 — especially if you play in a keeper league.

Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox: Chicago hasn’t had much success with top draft picks in recent years with the exception of ’14 pick Carlos Rodon but Anderson could also help turn the tides. The 22-year-old infielder is currently hitting .302/.326/.402 at the Double-A level. He’s shown occasional gap power with also nabbing 25 bases in 31 attempts. The downside to his game could hurt him as he reaches the Majors, though. Anderson has walked just 10 times in 72 games and he’s gone down on strikes 65 times. He’s also not a lock to stick at shortstop and may be better suited for the keystone. Micah Johnson and Carlos Sanchez have been disappointments at second base and Alexei Ramirez has an OPS below .600 in 2015. Look for the middle infield prospect to receive a big league shot in 2016. [Value Even]

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The Sophomore Report: Anderson, Betts, Panik, Shoemaker

We read a lot about prospects and rookies but the coverage tends to fall off the map after the conclusion of a player’s freshman season. This ongoing series will chronicle the successes and failures of the sophomore class to help determine whose rookie season was a harbinger of even better things to come, and whose was blanketed in smoke and mirrors.

Chase Anderson, RHP, Diamondbacks: A ninth-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma, Anderson has shown that you don’t have to be selected in the first couple of rounds on draft day to be a valuable asset. Like Matt Shoemaker below, this Arizona righty heavily relies on his command/control — not to mention his plus changeup. Because he relies heavily on changing speeds to get hitters out, he ends up putting a lot of balls in play and doesn’t strike out many guys. The danger with Anderson is that he plays his home games in a good hitter’s park and gives up more than his fair share of fly balls. He’s avoided the long ball more during his sophomore season than he did in his freshman campaign but it remains to be seen if he can keep up that trend.

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Prospect Stock Watch: Chargois, De Leon, Tellez, Zagunis

The summer of 2015 is finally upon us and so too is the beginning of the trading (or perhaps more aptly known as the rumoring) frenzy that comes to Major League Baseball every July. Below are four names you could see change hands during some of the bigger deals.

J.T. Chargois, RHP, Twins: Minnesota likely doesn’t have much spare change lying around but they could probably afford a half-year rental or two given their early successes. Chargois (whom my auto-correct hates) isn’t on many people’s radar right now after throwing just 39.2 innings in parts of four seasons due to injury but he’s a bullpen arm that’s hit triple-digits on the radar gun in the past. So far this year, after missing the previous two seasons, he’s pitched in both High-A and Double-A with 27 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. He possesses the ceiling of a high-leverage reliever and now might be the best time for the Twins to try and squeeze some value out of him before something else goes clink-clang-boom in his shoulder or elbow. [Value Up]

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Prospect Stock Watch: Crick, Dykxhoorn, Mateo, Toussaint

Today at the Prospect Stock Watch we take a look at a middling former first round pick who might benefit from a change in role… and three raw — but promising — prospects that should be monitored in keeper leagues.

Kyle Crick, RHP, Giants: Crick was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft and looked like a fast mover after he dominated Low-A ball in 2012 at the age of 19, despite great control or command. Unfortunately, he missed a chunk of time in 2013 due to injury and his command/control have failed to improve over the past four seasons. After striking out more batters than innings pitched in each of his pro seasons prior to 2015, he’s now whiffed just 40 in 41.1 Double-A innings while walking 36. Crick, now 22, still has good, raw stuff but a move to the bullpen may be necessary for him to fully realize his potential at the big league level. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla (assuming his option is picked up) will both be free agents after the 2016 season and the Giants may be in need for a hard-throwing, high-leverage reliever to pair with Hunter Strickland. [Value Steady]

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The Freshmen Report: Buxton, Franco, Lindor, May

Today at The Freshmen Report we’re taking a look at some recently-promoted top prospects, as well as a reliable — but unspectacular — American League starting pitcher.

Byron Buxton, CF, Twins: Minnesota is having a pretty solid season but the offence has definitely not been a strong suit for the club. Center field has been a big gap with both Aaron Hicks (now injured) and Jordan Schafer producing OPS numbers below .600. As a result, the organization reached down to Double-A to pluck top prospect Buxton away from a solid rebound season after he missed much of 2014 due to injuries. It’s been a rough going early on with a strikeout rate hovering around 38% but it’s only been four games and, frankly, the Twins don’t have many other options. Buxton, 21, is going to have some rough edges to his game but his athleticism — and value on the bases and in the field — should allow him to hang in there. The 2015 season likely won’t be a huge gain for him but he should be able to keep his head above water given enough patience.

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The Prospect Stock Watch: Gordon, Hoffman, Schwarber

The with the 2015 amateur draft now in the rearview mirror — but the excitement still simmering while fans await signing news — let’s check in on some of the top draft picks from 2014 and see how they’re doing.

Nick Gordon, SS, Twins: A year ago, people were calling Nick the better Gordon when compared to brother Dee. The Marlins shortstop, though, is enjoying an all-star-caliber season due to his .416 BABIP and improved defence. Nick could still overtake his brother one day but the early results in his pro career have not been great. Currently playing in Low-A ball at the age of 19, he features a disappointing .604 OPS with just eight of his 52 hits going for extra bases (.288 SLG%). Like his brother, speed is supposed to be a big part of his game but he’s only stolen 25 bases in his career (111 games) with 12 caught stealing. The second-place Twins have seen some success in 2015 despite dismal results from the shortstop position. Unfortunately, the club’s top shortstop prospect is probably at least three years away. [Value Down]

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The Freshmen Report: Burns, DeShields Jr., Russell

Today at The Freshmen Report we’re going to look at a couple of speedsters that are positively impacting their clubs, as well as one of the Cubs’ promising young players.

Billy Burns, OF, Athletics: The A’s entered the season with all sorts of outfield options and Burns was an afterthought — demoted to Triple-A to begin the year. A development success by the Nationals — who selected him in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft — the speedy outfielder needed less than four years in the minors to become a impactful leadoff hitter. He’s stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts but needs to get on base more consistently with a walk rate of just 4.3%; his .362 on-base percentage if heavily-fuelled by his .318 average. Burns, 25, entered the 2015 season viewed as a potential fourth outfielder and, although he’s off to a fast start (pun intended), he hasn’t proven that he’s a regular center-fielder just yet. Enjoy the offence while it lasts but don’t plan around him long term.

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The Prospect Stock Watch: Ross, Stephenson, Urena

The baseball season is in full swing and prospects around baseball are already seeing their stock values start to shift up or down. Today we’re looking at a pitcher who could help out in the playoff race in the second half of 2015 and a few other players that are quite talented but also a few years away from reaching The Show.

Ozhaino Albies, SS, Braves: Albies didn’t enter pro ball until 2014 but the 18-year-old infielder is already making a name for himself. After hitting . 364 in his debut, the young prospect is more than holding his own in full-season ball. He has a .313 batting average and has walked almost as much as he’s struck out (21/28) and has stolen 20 bases in 52 games. Braves’ incumbent shortstop Andrelton Simmons will be a tough man to move off of shortstop but second base could eventually become home to Albies, and the Braves organization is not shy about aggressively promoting talented prospects (as seen with the likes of Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones). [Value Up]

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The Sophomore Report: Elias, Holt, Hendricks

We always read a lot about prospects and rookies but the coverage tends to fall off the map after the conclusion of a player’s freshman season. This ongoing series will chronicle the successes and failures of the sophomore class to help determine whose rookie season was a harbinger of even better things to come, and whose was blanketed in smoke and mirrors.

Previous:
The Sophomore Report 1
The Sophomore Report 2
The Sophomore Report 3

Roenis Elias, RHP, Mariners: Despite a surprisingly-good freshman season, Elias was unable to crack the Mariners’ opening day roster and opened the year in the minors. Injuries presented an opportunity to the 26-year-old hurler at the end of April and he hasn’t looked back. When you adjust for his 91% strand rate, Elias has been basically the same (surprising) pitcher that he was in 2015. Consistent lefties with the ability to miss bats and churn out innings are hard to come by and he should hold on to his rotation spot even when (if) all the Mariners hurlers are healthy and productive.

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