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AFL Top Prospects - Part I PDF Print E-mail
AFL BLOG
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Sunday, 27 November 2011 00:00

Sorry this took so long to be in front of you but aside from the Thanksgiving interruption, I was faced with a writer’s dilemma: Do I just list some prospects or do I give you the “Full Perry” that are my thoughts after watching these guys for the better part of two months?

Personally I find the lists I have seen on the AFL so far to be very shallow for they don’t tell you what you really want to know. If I just list the top performers how do you differentiate which ones to draft this year versus those you want in two or three years? How do I incorporate what the eyes saw versus how the stats read?

This was complicated by what I believe is the record number of prospects who were here this fall who appeared in a prior AFL season. Thirty-three of them in fact – some for their third AFL appearance. (Sadly I had better memories of Jeremy Jeffress and Derek Norris from 2008 or 2009, but OTOH, I liked Josh Vitters better this year than I have in the past, but still not enough to call him a top prospect).

So, as I kept writing, the lists kept getting longer but they still needed some explanation. So I am going to give you some lists/thoughts today and follow up with more in Part II. I think you want to read both (although I know some of you out there just want one list).

There is a lot of information here – maybe too much until I incorporate all this with stats and video and rummaging through my scorebooks (I score almost every single game I see each year regardless of what level) into my 2012 AL and NL prospect lists in February.

Okay, let’s get started with some numbers

18 – Players in the AFL this year with MLB experience (often these are pitchers who missed some or all of the previous year and need some extra innings and in fact ten of the 18 were pitchers but this is still TOO large a number).

33 – Players who appeared in a previous AFL season(s) as noted above (again this shouldn’t happen with the current format).

62 – Players in the AFL this year made one or more All Star teams in 2011 which might argue they are getting short shrift by my not mentioning them later.

7 - Hitters this AFL with a batting average above .350.

8 – Hitters this year with an OPS over 1.000.

19 – Hitters this year with an OBP over .400.

120 or more pitchers appearing in the AFL whom I am not going to mention because this really is a hitters league. Other than a handful to pitchers who were drafted in June who are really noteworthy and one or two more well under the radar, you shouldn’t really care about the pitching stats from the AFL.

I had originally thought about not even commenting on the eighteen players, butthere are some important players. So here is a quick list in very few categories

Top prospects you really do want to know about:

  • Mike Trout – who many suggested shouldn’t even be here. It would be interesting  to know why the Angels sent him here? I thought he looked like he had lost some weight but regardless while he is likely owned in all keeper leagues by now, just keep him atop the AL prospect list (just in case he starts 2012 in AAA).
  • D.J. LeMahieu – probably the only other true prospect but I can’t figure out where the Cubs will play him. Fortunately Theo Epstein can solve that one way or the other.
  • Hank Conger, Brandon Crawford, Matt Dominguez, Chad Huffman, Adam Moore, and Logan Schafer whom I think you can safely cross off true prospect lists and judge their league specific worth if/when they ever become starters.
  • Jason Castro, Houston Astros catcher who was here because he was out all year with an injury and came here to find out how he was progressing by playing in real games, and perofrming well enough to make him happy and put a watch handle on him (although I suspect if he makes the club next spring it will be part of a three catcher tandem and thus limit his value).
  • SP s Nate Adcock, Anthony Bass, Chad Beck, Andy Oliver, Tyson Ross, and Alex Sanabia who will only have relevance if they end up in their respective rotations and you are in need of a deep sleeper in a large league.
  • A handful of relievers who can throw in the high 90s or hit 100 but who only have fantasy relevance if they get to close. More likely for Cubs Chris Carpenter and Andrew Cashner: Less likely for Andrew Carignan (OAK) and Jeffress (KC).

Yeah, I know some of you don’t like where I put Oliver, but, stuff happens.

Okay let’s finish up with the pitchers from the AFL.

  • Three first round picks last June who should ALL be on your fantasy radar
  • Gerrit Cole, 1st pick of the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole was exciting for that and the fact that he hit triple digits on the radar guns several times and don’t be fooled by his (inflated) AFL stats or what you might have seen in his nightmare start in the Rising Stars game, Cole will likely move quickly to the Pirates rotation.
  • Danny Hultzen, the 2nd overall pick in June who is  22-years old (as of Monday) out of Virginia, and is a very nice southpaw prospect who should join King Felix and Pineda in short order in 2012.
  • Sean Gilmartin, a late first round pick in June by Atlanta is already a crafty left handed pitcher, likely again because of his development at Florida State. While Gilmartin is generally described as a “back of the rotation starter,” likely because of the lack of one dominant pitch that scouts want to see will get a hitter out, he has command of all of his pitches, a very nice delivery and I think will exceed projections once he joins the Braves rotation (likely not until late 2013 at the earliest)

And then three pitchers you need to watch:

  • Terry Doyle (RHP, 26, CWS): Out of Boston College in the 2008 draft who I think raised his stock with the White Sox with some nice pitching this fall. I view him as a nice sleeper this year if he makes the rotation next spring.
  • Neil Ramirez (RHP, 22, TEX):  Ramirez might have pitched so well in three levels in the minors this year he might have given the Rangers some help but was injured, thus his time at the AFL. Ramirez didn’t disappoint anyone other than only pitching for a few weeks. Definitely a starter to have on your lists.
  • Miguel De Los Santos (LHP, 23, TEX): Signed by the Rangers from the Dominican Republic as a teenager and after dominating there, he has had an up-and-down ERA over his six professional years. But, one thing that showed here was easily foretold in his minor league numbers:  434 strikeouts in 274 innings yes, that is correct). While the jury is out on whether De Los Santos will eventually be a starter or reliever, he is a young pitcher to watch. I don’t buy the concern that his strikeout pitch is a changeup for it is a very good changeup and I will start to worry when batters can actually hit it.

Two other pitchers of note but no immediate concern. Sammy Solis (LHP, WAS) who I think had or will have TJS which will shelve him for at least all of 2012; and, Matt Purke (LHP, 22, WAS) who was drafted in the third round by the Nationals this year after not signing as a first round pick of the Rangers in 2009. Purke struggled here but still has a ton of potential.

Okay, look for Part II soon.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 November 2011 10:39
 

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