|Real or Not Real|
|Written by Rob Leibowitz|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:00|
This week we take a look at prospects who are dominating the minors to get a better idea of their prospect legitimacy.
Billy Hamilton has been giving us flashbacks like it’s the 1980s with back to back 100+ stolen base seasons. It is quite amazing to note that he’s already surpassed 2011’s total in 200+ fewer plate appearances with 104. The question, of course is, how will Hamilton translate to the Majors as an actual player? Well first off, he is a non-power threat, speed merchant and a right-handed hitter to boot. On the positive side he has become more selective, walking 13% of the time and has improved his contact, but not to a level that screams “special” with an 18% strikeout rate. In other words his .404 BABIP is a bit telling and over his head. The young shortstop, who will probably need to be converted to 2B or the OF in the long run, is in line for a promotion to Double-A and if things go as planned, could get some cups of coffee and perhaps a more promising role with the Reds in 2012. At the very least, Hamilton could be a valuable fantasy player possibly in the mold of Rajai Davis given similar plate discipline skills and power potential. If he can make more consistent, solid contact and continue to translate those selectivity skills upwards through the minors, we may have something. For now, I remain skeptical and do not quite see him as an everyday player without further improvement.
19-year old Dylan Bundy is already dominating the competition at A+ ball, striking out more than a batter per inning while throwing strikes. Bundy’s skill set and talents are for real and the Orioles seriously have him on a fast track that could even get him an (ill-advised from an arbitration clock standpoint) cup of coffee. However, it is more likely that he will finish the year at A+ ball, and move up to Double-A with a chance at Triple-A in 2013 and perhaps be in their rotation full time at the age of 21 in 2014. Bundy’s stuff is just impressive across the board and deep with high octane velocity, the ability to spin the ball, handle lefties, and change speeds like a pitcher several years older than himself. Health permitting, Bundy is a future ace in the making.
While the Detroit Tigers continue to love Miguel Cabrera’s bat they know his long term position cannot be third base. They are counting on Nick Castellanos to be that man. The 20-year old is on the fast track and has played at both Single-A+ and Double-A ball this year along with appearance with this weeks’ Futures Game. His defensive skills should allow him to play 3B at the MLB level. In Single-A he dominated, batting .405 (.486 BABIP) while making contact 83% of the time while showing improving patience and gap power along with 3 homeruns. In Double-A Castllanos has been having a good deal more trouble and looks to be pressing with a 20%+ strikeout rate while walkin less than 2% of the time over a small 119 plate appearance sample size. The righty is very young for his league and his struggles over a small sample should not be read too much into. However, Castellanos is very much an unfinished product who is a bit over aggressive for a hitter with possibly sub 20-HR power potential. I think he will get a chance to start, but I see him as a more regular everyday player than as a potential star.
It feels like forever, but Mets prospect Wilmer Flores was promoted to Double-A a little while back and has translated his contact-making skills (91% of the time) to the new level. More impressively, the 20-year old hit for power in the fairly notoriously pitcher friendly Florida State League with 10 HRs. Since moving to Double-A he has followed up 3 more long balls while producing a .390 .433 .576 line over an incredibly small sample. Like Castellanos, Flores is very young and given his size and frame has long been expected to move to third base. The good signs here have been the upwards trending power over last season and this season while maintaining good contact making skills. That said, Flores is too aggressive of a hitter to be much an OBP threat (.330s at best?), but there is .280 20+ HR potential here to be found. Again, not a stud or star unless he somehow finds a way to stay at short, but more likely an average regular.
The Rangers Justin Grimm leads the Texas League in ERA. He recently received a 3-start trial in the Rangers rotation, but showed he was not quite ready for the 2-level jump and was sent back to Double-A at the All Star break. In Double-A the righty has a 1.87 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. The righty is a three pitch pitcher who throws relatively hard and can touch the mid-nineties and has a good slider, but gets mixed reports on his changeup. For now Grimm needs more time at Double-A and deserves a promotion to Triple-A. At the moment I see him more as a reliever than as a starter despite his dominance this season.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 07:28|