Prospect Talk: Deep Diving
As a refresher on what this here column is all about, here’s the intro from last week:
By far the most requested topic we received in the comments of our “Podcast For Your Eyes” as well as on Twitter is; back-end or deeper prospects that will jump up rankings. While I think this is a great idea for a future PFYE, I thought I’d allow a peek at my personal list of guys with some small write-ups. These are not in depth scouting reports or anything like that, but just reasons to like them and/or reasons to be cautious. I’ve broken them into “Back End” and “Off The Charts” types. Back enders (settle down) are guys that are either on one or two top 100 or 150 lists or even all of them but further down the rankings. They may not even be on any, but are well known in the public consciousness as “deep guys”. The off the charters are guys that are even further down than that. I’m not going to promise to tell you a name you don’t know in this section because I’ve broken too many promises already. Never again. I’m hoping this can be a recurring feature here as the season goes on and we continue to discover more and more pop-up guys.
This is also an opportunity for me to tell you guys to get familiar with Beyond The Boxscore’s super useful Consensus Top 190 Prospects, as I’m going to use it as a reference point. I will also be referencing Bret’s top prospect rankings when applicable.
Mauricio Cabrera – SP – Atlanta Braves
So Cabrera didn’t make the top 190 either but given his #4 ranking on Baseball Prospectus’ Atlanta Top 10, and #6 on Baseball America’s, he’s enough of a known quantity that he resides in this section. Cabrera draws attention for his fastball, which has elite velocity. He sits in the low to mid 90s with hit, but can hit triple digits from time to time. The arm is very loose, and at 6’2/180 lbs, Cabrera has a projectable frame. He has feel for the change up. It’s erratic now, but shows the potential to be an above-average pitch in time. He has the chance for an average breaking ball, which would give him three average or better pitches. It’s not all roses though, as with any young pitcher, Cabrera will need to refine his command and develop his arsenal. Lo-A will be a good challenge for him this year, and I am predicting some top 100 placements by next season.
Off The Chart
Dilson Herrera – 2B – Pittsburgh Pirates
I originally had Herrera in the Back End section before realizing that he wasn’t on the Consensus top 190. That said, it feels like he’s something of a known quantity by now. He came on towards the end of last year, and then got even more pub, cracking Baseball Prospectus’ “Prospects on the Rise” section. Herrera is definitely limited to the right side of the infield, but given that Dustin Ackley is still a top 10 2B in dynasty leagues, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for his value. Herrera can really hit, and has started 2013 off nicely, hitting .273/.380/.394 as a 19-year old in Lo-A. He’s got solid pop for his size, and plus speed that he hasn’t quite figured out how to use on the basepaths. He’s not going to be a star, but a prospect that starts to get attention is one that you can move for profit later.
Rafael De Paula – SP – New York Yankees
A bit old for his level, De Paula started making waves in the Dominican Summer League last year, when he struck out 85 batters against only 18 walks in 61.2 innings, finishing the year with a stellar 1.46 ERA. He’s started off well in 2013 too, striking out 33 (THIRTY THREE) in 17.1 innings, though he has walked 9 as well. He’s got a big fastball that can reach as high as 99 MPH and just explodes out of his hand. He throws a hard curve that flashes plus as well. He is lauded for his make up. The issues are his age relative to his level and the development of the change. If he can’t develop a third pitch, his future likely lies in the bullpen. If he can get a third pitch, he could be an above average #3.
Gabriel Guerrero – OF – Seattle Mariners
Vladimir’s nephew, Gabriel had a wildly successful 2o12 between the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League, putting up a combined .349/.393/.593 slash line, adding 15 homers (in about 300 at-bats) as an 18 year old. The Mariners were aggressive with him this year, pushing him to full season ball in Lo-A Clinton, and it’s been a struggle early on. He’s young though, and this is a learning experience. Whether Guerrero can adjust will tell us a lot. Guerrero has a RF build with a plus arm, and strong hands that can generate big power.
Rosell Herrera – SS – Colorado Rockies
This one might be a bit of a reach even for me, but here goes. Herrera is a switch hitting shortstop who, at 6’3/180 lbs can still fill out a bit. He wasn’t particularly impressive statwise in 2012, but he’s gotten off to a hot start in 2013 (small sample size warning!), going for a .325/.402/.532 slash line. It’s only 77 at-bats, but Herrera has the type of profile that will allow him to go from middling to major prospect. He’s got a natural ability to barrel the ball on the bat, despite a lot of noise in his set up. His swing can get long, but if he can tighten it, there’s a huge amount of growth potential. There remains a chance he outgrows shortstop, which would be a major detriment to his value, but I have hope he can stick. He’s a pure flier, but putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve snagged him in my NL-Only league.