June 3 prospect thoughts

Over the past week I have done some tweaking to my top 100 list. I felt like the update from a couple of weeks ago centered more on the scouting reports and videos that I was poring over, not to mention my gut reaction to the goings on of the first third of the season. I tried to focus more on raw stats for this update in hopes of having a more well-rounded list. I hope you enjoy and continue to come back throughout the year, as plenty more updates are coming.

I also took on another batch of prospect notes for this week. Enjoy.

Brian Matusz / SP / Baltimore
I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with Matusz from a mechanics, stuff or command standpoint. He’s just taking his lumps right now. Most good, young pitchers go through it. Baltimore may move him down to Triple-A Norfolk for a short period of time, just so he can catch his breath, but he will eventually figure out the big league hitters who are giving him fits right now. Pitching in the American League East is not easy, but Matusz is still a great long-term investment.

Starlin Castro / SS / Chicago Cubs
In many ways, Castro is the talk of baseball right now. He has made a seamless transition to the big leagues for a high-profile team that is in search of a long-term face of the franchise. But, ultimately, he may be one of those players who have a bigger impact on their real-life team than a fantasy team. His early offensive numbers appear promising, yet I feel his bat potential is only so high.

Pedro Alvarez / 3B/1B / Pittsburgh
Alvarez hasn’t exactly set the International League on fire, which is a bit worrisome. Yet, no matter his struggles, he always seems to have power and plate discipline in his back pocket. But the holes in his swings are turning into a bigger problem than most thought when he was first drafted. He is still a massive work in progress.

Michael Montgomery / SP / Kansas City
Montgomery is displaying a natural mound presence and is attacking the strike zone. He has confidence in all three of his pitches and is keeping hitters off balance by throwing any pitch in any count. He is firing on all cylinders this year, but he has more adjustments to make and better hitters to figure out. Also, he really hasn’t faced adversity yet, and he’s been able to intimidate opposing hitters everywhere he has been. As he moves higher, and hitters have longer to study him, the intimidation factor will fade.

Julio Teheran / SP / Atlanta
The velocity that Teheran generates from his lean frame amazes me. Perhaps even more amazing, at this early stage of his development, is his change-up. Teheran may be the real deal, but, judging by the tape, he seems to have a high-leverage delivery. I’ve seen many flame-throwing teenagers burn out before.

Tyler Matzek / SP / Colorado
Matzek made his minor league debut on May 24, and his velocity was on display as he reportedly hit the mid-90s consistently throughout his 81-pitch performance. Also on display was his shaky command, issuing four walks and leaving the ball up in the zone far too often. It’s great to see him pitching at the same level as his fellow 2009 first-round high school hurlers.

Eric Hosmer / 1B / Kansas City
The world is finally getting a glimpse of Hosmer’s natural hitting ability and plate presence. His athletic ability has been eye-opening as well, something I didn’t account for when he was drafted. Yet his continued lack of home run power is mystifying, as his swing should lend itself naturally to the long ball. Maybe the home runs will come as his body fills out more.

Mike Leake / SP / Cincinnati
Leake has been one of the more impressive rookies in the major leagues over the first two months of the season, which is downright shocking to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like him and I like his future, but he hadn’t pitched a single minor league inning coming into the season. I thought that would create inconsistency in his performances and ultimately a Triple-A demotion. Leake isn’t showing any signs of that scenario.

Chris Carter / 1B / Oakland
A lot of people put a lot of faith in Carter after his true breakout last year in the Texas League, and it may be time to back off a bit on the praise. His strikeout numbers are not improving, and at this point in his development we all have to wonder if he will ever cut down on the K’s. He has home run power and draws walks, but he doesn’t separate himself in any way from the other top first base prospects in baseball.

Mike Trout / OF / LA Angels
Trout has arguably been the minor league player of the year almost two months into the season. For an 18-year-old, he is proving to be an excellent overall hitter in the Midwest League. His plate discipline is beyond anything I was expecting at this point. His speed is a weapon and he is using it to great effect, once again, much sooner than I was expecting. And he is showing a bit of pop in his bat, although that may be the last skill he fully develops. He is shooting up prospect charts.

Freddie Freeman / 1B / Atlanta
I like that Freeman is treading water against very advanced competition for his age in the International League. But, I’ve said it before and it still rings true, his future is reliant on his power numbers, and those numbers are coming up short right now.

Mike Minor / SP / Atlanta
Where are all of these strikeouts coming from? The command of his entire repertoire is what’s sitting down hitters at a tremendous clip. The strikeout numbers may fade as he advances, but he has established himself as a guy who could enjoy major league success right out of the gate, which should come sometime in 2011.

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Perhaps Hosmer’s HR power is being squelched a bit by Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium?  It’s one of the most notoriously difficult power parks in the minors.  Hosmer’s SLG at home is .463, on the road it’s .540.


I read this report elsewhere 3 weeks ago! Nothing new on this!