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.
Wow. What a system.
Many believe this is the best system in baseball. Toronto and Texas are the only ones that jump to my mind as possibly contending with it. The depth is simply mind-numbing, and I say that as someone who is especially down on Yonder Alonso, Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes, and Donavan Tate. Really, with this many notable players, every evaluator is likely to have a few opinions that stray out of the norm.
The one “issue” here is that the system’s greatness is more due to having a ton of B+, B, and B- guys than true Grade A talent, but it’s easy to imagine some of those B-graders breaking out in 2012 and putting that concern to rest.
Position Player Upside: A
Position Player Depth: A
Pitching Upside: A
Pitching Depth: A
System Grade: A
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal. Grandal hit .305/.401/.500 and reached Triple-A in his first full pro season, living up to his status as the 12th overall pick in 2010. He’s a switch-hitter with power and a solid approach who owns a good arm behind the plate, and it’s easy to see him becoming a well-above-average starting catcher quickly. Grade: A-
First base: Yonder Alonso. Alonso hit .330/.398/.545 in 98 plate appearances with Cincinnati last year, which is great. He’s also about to be 25, and never seemed to put things together in the minors, at least in the power department. I’m very hesitant with first base prospects, and while Alonso certainly could have a nice career, he’ll need to establish himself quickly, and looks like more of a second-division starter than a first-division one. Grade: B+
Second base: Jonathan Galvez. A ridiculously overlooked player, Galvez is a very projectable athlete who hit .291/.355/.465 in High-A at age 20. Granted, it was the Cal League, but he’s hit everywhere thus far, with a .279/.377/.437 career line. He has 20 HR/30 SB potential in the big leagues, but he has a long way to go in terms of his consistency, especially on defense. Grade: B+
Third base: Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko benefited from the crazy Cal League environment, hitting .365/.429/.638 there, but that’s not that huge of a surprise from this polished college hitter. His .288/.358/.428 line in Double-A is a better approximation of his abilities. More encouragingly, Gyorko was better than advertised at third base and now projects to stick there. He should be a solid but unspectacular regular in the Joe Randa mold. Grade: B
Shortstop: Jace Peterson. The 58th pick in the 2011 draft, Peterson showed off a tremendous approach in the Northwest League, and he also stole 39 bases in 73 games. He’ll need to add a bit more power and tighten up his defense, but it’s easy to see him as a solid table-setter. Grade: B-
Outfielder #1: Rymer Liriano. Liriano channeled his aggressiveness from wild to controlled in 2011, leading to a .319/.383/.499 line in Low-A to go with 65 steals. He still needs a lot more consistency in his game, but he has a very high ceiling, and his dramatic step forward last season–particularly in the plate discipline department–is very encouraging. Oddly, he’s spent most of his time in right field despite his tremendous athleticism. Grade: B+
Outfielder #2: James Darnell. It looks like Darnell’s days as a third baseman are over, as he’s going to settle in as a corner outfielder. He had a huge line in Double-A (.333/.434/.604), but oddly, he struggled somewhat when promoted to Triple-A Tucson, in an environment that it seemed everybody was crushing the ball in. He brings a good approach and some pop, but is already 25 and is now at a tougher offensive position. Grade: B-
Outfielder #3: Jaff Decker. Decker has slimmed down his pudgy physique and has seemingly put the “DH-in-waiting” concerns to bed, although his power dropped and his strikeouts went up in Double-A last year. Just 22, he has time to rebound, and looks something like what Jack Cust would be if he was an average defender in right field with a plus arm. Grade: B-
Starting Pitcher #1: Robbie Erlin. Erlin had a 9.63 K/BB ratio between High-A and Double-A, and owns an 8.47 mark in his career–any questions? He also has an eminently repeatable yet deceptive delivery and three pitches that all rate average or better. He has some flyball issues and isn’t a physical presence, but those are relatively minor concerns, especially in Petco Park. Grade: A-
Starting Pitcher #2: Joe Wieland. If Erlin’s K/BB wasn’t crazy enough, Wieland had a 96/4 mark in High-A–that’s 24-to-1! Things slowed down a bit in Double-A, but Wieland is a bigger pitcher with a bit more velocity, and he doesn’t have Erlin’s flyball problems. The two were a tremendous haul in the Mike Adams trade and should be a big part of future Padres rotations. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #3: Keyvius Sampson. Sampson’s put up some crazy numbers of his own, with an 11.1 K/9 in his career. He has a very good fastball and two offspeed pitches that flash plus, but he’s a small pitcher with a history of shoulder problems who needs to prove his durability. He has very good upside, but will need to make more refinements and stay healthy if he’s going to stay in the rotation. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #4: Matt Lollis. Here’s my pretty extensive take on Lollis. To sum things up, he’s a huge pitcher with intimidating stuff who appeared to regress somewhat in 2011, but actually was quite impressive when you look past his fluky 5.35 ERA, especially given that he was one of the youngest pitchers at the level. Like Galvez, a potentially well-above-average player that nobody’s talking about. Grade: B+
Starting Pitcher #5: Juan Oramas. Oramas is sort of a lesser version of Erlin. He’s a short, stocky lefthander with good command of a low-90s fastball and above-average curveball, and his biggest weakness is extreme flyball tendencies that Petco Park should counteract. He just turns 22 in May, but he’s nearly ready to contribute, and could be a fine fourth starter–however, he’ll need to build stamina, as he’s never worked 110 innings in a season. Grade: B
Relief Pitcher #1: Brad Brach. Brach is another pitcher that put up ridiculous numbers (64/5 K/BB in 44 Double-A innings, 94/12 in 71 2/3 overall). He’ll be 26 in April, but he’s got two good pitches in his fastball and slider, and his deceptive delivery makes both play up. He could put together a Vinnie Pestano-esque campaign in 2012, and play the Jeff Nelson role in championship-caliber bullpens. Grade: B-
Relief Pitcher #2: Brad Boxberger. This power righty blew batters away at both Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. Like Brach, he’s ready to help now, and while his command troubles make him a riskier bet to make a long-term impact, he has clear closer upside. Grade: B-
Best of the Rest
#1.) Vince Belnome, 2B. Belnome’s Double-A line was nearly identical to Darnell’s (.333/.432/.603), but he has the advantage of being sure-handed enough to play a passable second base, and he’s also two years younger. Like Gyorko and Decker, he’s not going to sell any jeans, but he’s a fantastic pure hitter who could surprise a lot of people and develop into a very impressive offense-oriented second baseman. Grade: B
#2.) Cory Spangenberg, 2B. A “safe” selection at 10th overall in 2011, Spangenberg hit .316/.419/.418 in his pro debut, also stealing 25 bases in 72 games. Like Peterson, he has an advanced approach and sound fundamentals that could allow him to hit near the top of the batting order. Marco Scutaro is a fair comparison. Grade: B
#3.) Joe Ross, RHP. Picked 15 selections after Spangenberg, Ross has more risk but also more upside. An athletic high school righthander with a good fastball/curve combination, he is completely untested, but is very projectable and could grow into one of the minors’ top arms if things go well. Grade: B
#4.) Anthony Bass, RHP. For a player billed as a “deception guy” in the minors, Bass showed a lot of arm strength in his MLB time, sitting at 92-95 mph and also showing a plus slider. He put up a 1.68 ERA, but it was fluky–however, his 4.47 K/9 was also fluky, as he actually had an above-average swinging strike rate. He’s a useful middle reliever or back-end starter who can help now. Grade: B-
#5.) Austin Hedges, C. A 2nd-round pick in 2011, Hedges is another very untested player, with just nine games of pro experience, but he’s an advanced defensive catcher with some offensive potential. Obviously, he has a lot to prove, but has intriguing upside. Grade: B-
#6.) Casey Kelly, RHP. Repeating Double-A did little to help Kelly, whose strikeout rate dropped by over a strikeout per nine innings. He has solid control of three solid-average offerings, but doesn’t seem to get consistent swings and misses, and looks like he’s going to be a fourth starter. At 22 and on his third year in the upper minors, he needs to take a step forward in 2012. Grade: B-
#7.) Luis Domoromo, OF. Another overlooked player in this system, Domoromo hit .283/.335/.405 in Low-A at the age of 19. He’s a corner outfielder who doesn’t stand out defensively, but he has excellent contact ability, developing power, and a solid approach. A young sleeper worth keeping an eye on. Grade: B-
#8.) Blake Tekotte, OF. Tekotte spent most of his age-24 season dominating Double-A, hitting .285/.393/.498 and swiping 36 bases while playing a solid center field. A small player with surprising pop from the left side, he struggled massively in some brief big league exposure, striking out 21 times in 40 plate appearances. If he can cut down on the whiffs, he’ll be a solid starter in center; if not, he’ll be a solid fourth outfielder or platoon player. Grade: B-
#9.) Edinson Rincon, 3B. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything quite like Rincon’s career .836 fielding percentage, including an .832 mark in 2011. He’s clearly not going to stay at third, but he does show offensive aptitude. He could be a poor man’s Billy Butler. Grade: C+
#10.) Michael Watt, LHP. Another guy who gets overlooked in a system with this sort of depth, Watt had a very similar season to Lollis–his 5.36 ERA was bad, but it was in the Cal League, and it hid the fact that he pitched quite well, with a 3.64 FIP. A curveball-centric lefthander with average velocity, Watt doesn’t have Lollis’ youth, size, or stuff, but he could surprise some people as a dependable strikeout-oriented back-of-the-rotation starter in the Chris Narveson mold.
The complete list of S2S 2012 Team Prospect Rankings can be found here.
For more on the Padres, check out Chicken Friars.
Topics: Anthony Bass, Austin Hedges, Blake Tekotte, Brad Boxberger, Brad Brach, Casey Kelly, Cory Spangenberg, Edinson Rincon, Jace Peterson, Jaff Decker, James Darnell, Jedd Gyorko, Joe Ross, Joe Wieland, Jonathan Galvez, Juan Oramas, Keyvius Sampson, Luis Domoromo, Matt Lollis, Michael Watt, Robbie Erlin, Rymer Liriano, San Diego Padres, Vince Belnome, Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso