I continue my discussion of snubs from my 2012 top 100 prospect list with a look at those from the AL West that received consideration but didn’t make it.
RHP Luke Jackson–Jackson nearly made it six pitchers on the top 100. He was originally in the back couple of spots, but got pushed out when I did some last-minute revisions. He struck out over a batter per inning in the SAL at age 19, and he’s got a live arm, but 48 BB in 75 innings is tough to completely ignore.
2B Rougned Odor–This dude was born in 1994! And, want a scary thought? This year, he hit .262/.323/.352 with Spokane at age 17; last year, Profar hit .250/.323/.373 at the same age at the same level. Odor’s a second baseman, not a shortstop, and the odds he breaks out the way Profar did are quite low, but he could find himself as a top middle infield prospect next year. Like Jackson, he got bumped just off the list at the last minute, mainly because he’s so young and hasn’t shown elite production yet.
RHP Roman Mendez–Mendez wasn’t as young for his level as Jackson or Odor, but he performed very well as a 20-year-old in Low-A, with a 130/45 K/BB in 117 innings. He also has a huge arm. Still, he’s a bit all-over-the-place mechanically and his secondary pitches still need work, so he looks more like a power reliever. He has more to prove if he’s going to be taken seriously as an excellent starting pitcher prospect, but he has a lot of upside.
C Jorge Alfaro–I love the power, I think he can stick behind the plate, and I like that he was an 18-year-old in the NWL, but I just can’t stomach a 54/4 K/BB in 45 games at such a low level. He’s got a lot more to prove if he’s going to be more than Miguel Olivo Lite.
3B Christian Villanueva–Villanueva put up a good year in Low-A despite turning 20 midseason. He hit .278/.338/.465, stole 32 bases, and played shockingly good defense at third base. However, he’s not a big guy, and his approach leaves something to be desired, so he needs to show he can muster more in the way of power and discipline.
3B Mike Olt–This guy just doesn’t thrill me. He has 152 strikeouts in 142 career games, he’s already 23, and he has yet to sniff the upper minors. He certainly could be a starting third baseman, but I don’t see a true impact player here.
OF Leonys Martin–Like Olt, I see Martin as more of an average starter than a star. Being a Cuban defector, he’s obviously had a weird career path, jumping straight into the upper minors last year, but he showed little power as a 23-year-old–who puts up an .051 ISO in the PCL? There are also some concerns about his swing mechanics. He should hit some and provide speed-and-defense value, but it’s tough to see an impact package here.
SS Darwin Perez–He won the minor league Gold Glove at shortstop, for whatever that’s worth, and Perez fielded .981 at the position in Double-A at age 21. He also managed a .366 OBP despite being an undersized, underpowered hitter who was young for his level. There could be some Luis Castillo potential here, but he has more to prove with the bat.
2B Taylor Lindsey–The #37 pick in the 2010 draft hit .362/.394/.593 in the Pioneer League this year at age 19, very impressive for a second baseman. But he’s far from the majors, played in an easy environment, and had a poor 46/13 K/BB ratio. He’s another interesting middle infield prospect with more to prove–an improved K/BB and sustained production in Low-A will get him on the list next year.
RHP Garrett Richards–He throws really hard, but he lacks much of a third pitch, and can’t seem to miss bats in the upper minors, let alone the majors. Richards seems like the sort of guy who will need a bullpen move to stop underperforming his stuff.
RHP Erasmo Ramirez–If you want to dream, you could see Ramirez as another Doug Fister. He’s almost a foot shorter than Fister and far stockier, but he has a similar arsenal: 88-92 mph fastball, good changeup, decent breaking ball. Most notably, however, he pounds the zone, walking just 32 batters in 152 2/3 IP between Double-A and Triple-A. And he doesn’t even turn 22 until May! The question, of course, is whether his finesse-y repertoire will continue to excel in the majors, or whether he’s just another Yusmeiro Petit.
RHP Jarrod Parker–I would have to think that of everyone I left off the list, Parker’s the most controversial. Yes, he has good stuff, but he’s an undersized pitcher with one major arm injury in his past, and in 209 career Double-A innings, he has a 186/89 K/BB ratio. Given his size, injury history, and underperformance, I see him as another guy who fits best as a short-stints bullpen guy–an excellent one, mind you, but still a guy who’s not going to be a big WAR producer. I do think he could remain a starter, but I’m not confident that he’ll be efficient in that role; I see him as a sort of right-handed Jonathan Sanchez as a starter. As an A’s fan, trust me, I hope I’m wrong.
C Derek Norris–A .210 average is awfully tough to overlook, as is a 27.7% strikeout rate. But the more I look at Norris, the more I get what all the hype is about. He’s very possibly worthy of a top 100 spot; he made my list the last two years, and he dropped off this year mainly because of the K spike and BABIP drop.
OF Grant Green–I keep asking, what does this guy do well? He strikes out too much, doesn’t walk enough, doesn’t have home run power, doesn’t steal bases, and is stretched in center field. To me, he fits best as a seven-position utility guy who picks up a dozen starts per year at every position besides catcher.
RHP Sonny Gray–The 18th pick in 2011, Gray immediately pitched well in Double-A. However, he’s a small guy with high-effort mechanics and an iffy changeup, so many have him pegged as a reliever; he’ll need to prove he can effectively work through six or seven innings every night in 2012.
1B/OF Chris Carter–There’s still a chance he turns into something, but he still strikes out over once a game in Triple-A, and Carter is now 25. He also has a .480 OPS in 124 MLB plate appearances, which doesn’t bode well.
Topics: Chris Carter, Christian Villanueva, Darwin Perez, Derek Norris, Erasmo Ramirez, Garrett Richards, Grant Green, Jarrod Parker, Jorge Alfaro, Leonys Martin, Luke Jackson, Mike Olt, Roman Mendez, Rougned Odor, Sonny Gray, Taylor Lindsey