With the S2S 2012 Top 100 Prospects List now in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at the future of each team. And that means team prospect lists!
Most minor league sites will do top-10s, top-15s, top-20s, or some other ranking. Last year, to be a bit different, the FanSided team prospect lists (which were done at Call to the Pen, since S2S didn’t exist), instead listed a team’s top prospect at each position (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 OFs, 5 SPs, and 2 RPs). This year, we’re keeping that format, but also adding a “Best of the Rest” section that lists the top ten players beyond the positional rankings. That’s 25 players per system, if you’re counting.
Thus far, it seems that Wally’s had to write up most of the terrible systems in baseball–he’s been assigned to Cleveland, Detroit, and the Cubs, and while I had to do the White Sox writeup, there’s a lot in the White Sox system that bizarrely fascinates me. That means that it is this system that I find to be the first truly dull group of prospects I’ve looked at.
There’s some decent stuff at the top, but the system drops off sharply after the top five players. Many of the pitchers have yet to pitch in pro ball, as almost every pre-2011 pitching prospect in the system took a big step back (usually in the command department) last season. The unquestioned areas of strength here are catcher and outfield.
Position Player Upside: B-
Position Player Depth: C
Pitching Upside: C
Pitching Depth: C+
System Grade: C+
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto. A 3rd-round pick in 2010, Realmuto had a nice full-season debut at age 20, hitting .287/.347/.454 and gunning down 42% of runners. He even stole 13 bases. He has a lot to work on with receiving (a passed ball every three games) and approach (3/1 K/BB), but he has the potential to be above-average both at the plate and behind it. Grade: B
First base: Mark Canha. Canha slugged 25 homers at age 22 in a rather easy Low-A environment. A seventh-rounder in 2010, his breakout wasn’t a complete illusion, as he showed off a good approach too (85/59 K/BB in 107 games). Of course, the bar for first basemen is extraordinarily high, and right now Canha is more in the “Well, I guess if you squint, you can kinda see him working out” category than a really legitimate prospect. Grade: C+
Second base: Noah Perio. The second base version of Realmuto, Perio hit .295 in Low-A (again, one of the easiest home parks in Low-A, but still) at age 19, but needs to walk more (19 times in 119 games) and clean up his defense. A 39th-round pick in 2009, he’s already a steal, but he has a lot of questions left to answer. Grade: C+
Third base: Matt Dominguez. Basically a righthanded Jack Hannahan. He was only 21, but hit just .258/.312/.431 in the PCL. An unquestioned defensive third baseman, Dominguez is going to have to find a way to hit more to make a big impact. He does make a decent amount of contact (14% K% in AAA, 8 K in 48 MLB PA), but his discipline and power are fringe-average and he provides nothing on the bases. Grade: C+
Shortstop: Daniel Black. Black is a lefty-swinging shortstop who didn’t embarrass himself in Low-A at age 22, hitting .280/.338/.383. He’s a decent defender with good speed (32 SB) who has an outside chance as being a utility infielder thanks to his speed, defense, and the side of the plate he hits from. Grade: C
Outfielder #1: Marcell Ozuna. It’s remarkable that Ozuna, who struck out 32.1% of the time in short-season ball in 2010, managed to cut his Ks down to 21.9% in Low-A last season. He also upped his walks from 5.8% to 8.3%, although his Isolated Power went from .289 to a still-robust .216. He profiles as a classic power-hitting right fielder, like a lesser version of current Marlins star Mike Stanton. Grade: B+
Outfielder #2: Christian Yelich. More hyped than Ozuna, Yelich hit .312/.388/.484 in Low-A (it seems like all the good prospects were in Low-A in this system) at age 19. A first-round pick in 2010, Yelich was moved from first base to left field in pro ball, and even played some center field. He shocked everyone by going 32-for-37 on the bases. Still, though, there are questions to answer as he moves up the ladder, particularly since he’ll be moving to more hostile environments. He either needs to keep up his surprising power/speed outburst, or he’ll need to prove he can stick in center field; if he can’t, he might fall into the Ryan Sweeney career path. Grade: B+
Outfielder #3: Kyle Jensen. Hostile environments be damned, Jensen slugged 27 homers between High-A and Double-A in 2011. He was 23, he strikes out a fair bit, and he’s the sort of big, lumbering left fielder that doesn’t interest many scouts, but the power is very real and the contact deficiencies aren’t on the Cody Johnson level. He’ll need to continue to prove the doubters wrong in 2012, but could at least have a long career as a Marcus Thames-esque lefty-masher. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #1: Chad James. One of the few Marlins pitching prospects to not fall off a cliff in 2011, James saw his strikeout rate drop slightly in High-A (20.5% to 19.1%), but made a much bigger improvement in his walk rate (12.7% to 7.9%). Just 21 for the 2012 season, he could turn into a solid mid-rotation lefthander. Grade: B
Starting Pitcher #2: Jose Fernandez. The 14th pick in 2011, Fernandez has just two professional starts, but as his draft status suggests, the high school righty has good upside. He’s built for durability and features a very good fastball. His delivery has a lot of moving parts which give him a deceptive release that evokes Jered Weaver to some extent. He’ll need to prove he can repeat his delivery and work on his secondary pitches, like most high school hurlers, but could have a very bright future. Grade: B
Starting Pitcher #3: Mason Hope. Hope doesn’t have Fernandez’s pedigree, being picked four rounds later, but he immediately succeeded in the NYPL at age 19, with a 1.70 FIP in 27 1/3 innings. He’s got a good moving fastball that he commands well, and he’ll need to refine his secondary offerings as he moves up. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #4: Adam Conley. Picked a round after Fernandez, Conley is a deceptive college lefthander who will need to prove he can get righties out with his low arm slot. He does have a good changeup to help in that regard, although his sweepy breaking ball needs work. There’s a lot of talk that he may end up back in the bullpen, where he spent much of his college career, and he’ll need to stave off those concerns with a strong 2012. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #5: Charlie Lowell. Another 2011 draftee (sixth round) with almost no experience, Lowell is a huge lefthander with strong velocity who tends to lose his release point and command at times. A potential impact lefty reliever who, like Conley, will need to prove he can stick as a starter quickly if he wants to stay in that role. Grade: B-
Relief Pitcher #1: Jose Ceda. Ceda threw well in Triple-A (1.36 ERA, 1.91 FIP), and struck out 21 batters in 20 1/3 major league innings, but his complicated delivery is almost impossible to repeat, and he loses his release point far too frequently. Ceda does get excellent leverage on his low-to-mid-90′s fastball and sweeping slider, but he lacks the consistency to assume a high-leverage role. At 25, he needs to find that consistency soon. Grade: C+
Relief Pitcher #2: Grant Dayton. Dayton is a lefthander who struck out 99 batters in 71 2/3 innings. However, that came as a 23-year-old in Low-A, and it’s telling that he wasn’t promoted despite that excellent performance and his advanced age. He’s not all deception, with a fastball/slider combination, but it’s unlikely he’ll evolve into more than a lefty specialist. Grade: C
Best of the Rest
#1.) Jobduan Morales, C. Morales hit .272/.383/.450 in the NYPL at age 20, showing an advanced approach (38/32 K/BB), and gap power. He has decent tools behind the plate, but needs to work on his throwing, with a career 22% CS rate. A very intriguing sleeper, he’s a player to watch in Low-A this year. Grade: B-
#2.) Jared Rogers, RHP. A Doug Fister prototype, Rogers is a stringy 6’7″ righthander who pounds the zone, with a 54/16 K/BB in 82 2/3 innings, mostly in Low-A. He’ll be 24 in May, so he needs to move quickly, but Fister (and many other tall pitchers) developed late too. A great find in the 36th round of 2010. Grade: C+
#3.) Rob Rasmussen, LHP. A 2nd-round pick in 2010, Rasmussen struggled to a 118/71 K/BB in 148 1/3 High-A innings. He’s undersized and will likely move to relief as time goes on, barring a dramatic turnaround in his command in 2012. He does have a three-pitch mix that could allow him to work multiple innings in relief. Grade: C+
#4.) Jake Smolinski, OF. A 2nd-rounder way back in 2007, Smolinski has an excellent approach at the plate, walking more than he struck out as a 22-year-old in Double-A. However, he’s a left fielder who had a .119 ISO and doesn’t project for a whole lot of power, and he’s not a big basestealer either. He has experience at second and third in the past, and if he can play those positions occasionally, he could be a solid utility player. Grade: C+
#5.) Michael Brady, RHP. Brady formed a lethal combination with Dayton at the back end of the Greensboro bullpen, with an 81/10 K/BB in 61 1/3 innings. He was 24, though, and as a short-ish righty without overwhelming velocity, he’s just a future middle relief candidate. Grade: C
#6.) Omar Poveda, RHP. After missing all of 2010, this changeup/deception righthander returned in 2011 to have an unspectacular season in Double-A. A possible back-end starter. Grade: C
#7.) Kevin Mattison, OF. Mattison had a nice AFL and boasts an even better mustache, but a .260/.353/.406 line as a 25-year-old in Double-A just doesn’t excite. He did steal 38 bases and plays a decent center field, so he’s a potential fifth outfielder. Grade: C
#8.) Jesus Solorzano, OF. Scouts like Solorzano’s tools, and the center fielder hit .299/.353/.454 in Rookie ball, swiping 18 bags. Still, 20-year-olds in the GCL are generally poor bets, and Solorzano will need to retain the ability to play center while improving his secondary skills as he moves up. Grade: C
#9.) Austin Brice, RHP. An 19-year-old in the GCL, Brice struck out 26.1% of batters, which is great. He also walked 15.6%, which is terrible. A 9th-round pick in 2010, he needs to resolve his command problems quickly or face a bullpen move, but he would have intriguing upside in a relief role. Grade: C
#10.) Scott Cousins, OF. Cousins has played in the majors, so he’s far more likely to contribute than guys like Solorzano or Brice, but he’s already 27 and has struck out 34 times in 96 MLB plate appearances (35.4%). He has nowhere near the power to justify that, and while he has solid speed and can handle center, it’s tough to see him making much of an impact, especially since he’s basically already in his prime. Grade: C
The complete list of S2S 2012 Team Prospect Rankings can be found here.
For more on the Marlins, check out Marlin Maniac.
Topics: Adam Conley, Austin Brice, Chad James, Charlie Lowell, Christian Yelich, Daniel Black, Grant Dayton, J.T. Realmuto, Jake Smolinski, Jared Rogers, Jesus Solorzano, Jobduan Morales, Jose Ceda, Jose Fernandez, Kevin Mattison, Kyle Jensen, Marcell Ozuna, Mark Canha, Mason Hope, Matt Dominguez, Miami Marlins, Michael Brady, Noah Perio, Omar Poveda, Rob Rasmussen, Scott Cousins