Prospect Watch: Deep Diving
Last year I introduced the Deep Diving series to highlight some names that were a bit below the surface when it came to prospects. These weren’t necessarily guys you’d want to run out and grab, so much as they were players to keep tabs on, so you would know what they’re about when other people are still learning how to say their names. In that very first installment, I wrote about Jesse Hahn — then a High-A starter for the Rays who was starting to put things together. He’s in the majors now and producing quite well, and while that’s not guarantee for anyone else on the list, it was a chance for yours truly to brag.
Chance Sisco – C – Baltimore Orioles
A 2nd round pick in the 2013 draft, Sisco has been a professional for barely a full year. That hasn’t slowed him down, as he’s hitting .327/.401/.444 in Low-A at age 19, with the scouting reports to back up his promising production. Before we go too far though, we should acknowledge a couple things: a) I have a catcher fetish, and b) he’s in Low-A and a catcher, so he’s not going to fly through the minors. Still, I think Sisco has a chance to be something close to what Kevin Plawecki is now. That’s not a future superstar by any means, as the power is likely to be average at best at the highest level, but the contact is there for him to be above average – especially for a backstop.
Drew Ward – 3B – Washington Nationals
The tools are all there for Ward, with plus-plus raw power and a chance for a solid average hit tool, but they’re not working in concert just yet. He’s starting to tap into his in-game power after slugging under .400 in 2013, upping his ISO to .193 at the expense of his walk rate. While in rookie ball last year, Ward walked 25 times in 199 plate appearances. So far in 2014, he’s come up to the plate 252 times and walked in 18 of them. Still, he’s slashing .275/.329/.468, and has shown the ability to come to the plate with a plan. There’s upside worth gambling on here, in the form of a .260 average with 20 or so home runs, if it all clicks. If he can find a way to get the bat to the ball a bit more often, the power total could increase.
Harold Ramirez – OF – Pittsburgh Pirates
Ramirez is giving Low-A the business in his first go at full-season ball. He’s lacking in power at the moment (only 14 extra base hits), but he’s hitting .292 and he won’t turn 20 until the season is almost over. He’s also showing a solid grasp of the strikezone, pairing his .292 average with a .360 on base percentage. The scouting reports are warm on Ramirez, as his best tool is his plus speed, but with a thick lower half, that’s sure to be impacted a bit as he fills out. He’s clearly got the ability to hit, but the power might only be league average, in which case, his ultimate offensive profile might be underwhelming if he’s forced to move off center. An intriguing package no doubt, and if he can stick in center, he’ll be exceedingly valuable, but there’s plenty of risk involved despite the apparent precociousness.
Victor Reyes – OF – Atlanta Braves
Hitters just hit, and Reyes is a born hitter. The lowest full season average he’s produced in .296 as a sixteen year old in the Dominican Summer League. He’s well below that now, with a weak line of .268/.317/.308, with that last stat being the most concerning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reyes finish with his batting average over .300, but if he isn’t able to add power to his 6’3/170 pound frame, it’s not going to matter. I do think power will come as he fills out and adds weight, something that could still happen given that he’s not yet 20 years old. That said, it’s not a given and without even moderate power, Reyes will struggle to matter at all in fantasy. This might be the deepest of the names, but if Reyes ever does tap into the power that his frame provides, his value could skyrocket thanks to his smooth swing from both sides of the plate.