Baseball America has long been a leader in the draft and prospect scouting industry. They annually produce a Top 10 list for every team prior to the start of the season. It is used by everyone from common fans to announcer for major league teams. Making the Baseball America Top 10 list for your team puts your name on the map. I will now take this opportunity to introduce to you ten players who didn’t make these lists that I think will make them in the future. Prospects are listed in the order based off of a mix of age, their ceiling as a prospect, likelihood the reach that ceiling, and how likely they are to fail, or never reach the big leagues.
- Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals
Born: June 4th, 1993
2012 Stats: Low-A Kane County: 10 G, .410/.511/.590, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 7 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Scouting Report: Bonifacio is the younger brother of Miami outfielder Emilio Bonifacio. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Jorge is a different player than his brother. Jorge’s best skill would be his hit tool. He makes solid contact and hits the ball to all fields. Not only does he make good contact, but has shown a refined understanding of the strike zone in 2012. He has average power presently that comes naturally through his swing, but that should grow to above average as he matures physically. He currently has average speed as well, but this will decrease as he grows up and his body fills out. Bonifacio is an above average defender and makes good reads on balls. He projects to play RF due to his speed projection and above average arm. He has the potential to hit .290 with 18-22 home runs and 10-15 stolen bases annually.
- Ronald Guzman, OF/1B, Texas Rangers
Born: October 20th, 1994
2012 Stats: Extended Spring Training
Scouting Report: Guzman is an extremely raw, young, talent out of the Dominic Republic. He signed with the Rangers in July of last year for $3.45 million. Guzman’s main quality is his hit tool. Although he has yet to take an official at bat in professional baseball, Guzman’s hitting ability has been raved about. He is said to have a polished, smooth, swing with an excellent approach at the plate to go with it. Guzman doesn’t show tons of power presently, but being just 17 he has time to add muscle to his thin frame. Once he does, he may be a forced to be reckoned with. Some scouts have gone as far as to compare his swing and approach with Eric Hosmer. This would mean he has a controlled swing, that hits for average, and still finds above average power without sacrificing plate discipline. Guzman’s main issue is where he fits defensively. He currently plays in the outfield, but is slow and his arm is below average. It’s hard to think it will be his longtime home. The most likely fit for Guzman is at first base, but during his time at the Rangers instructional camp, he didn’t look very pretty there. Guzman’s bat will be what gets him to the major leagues and if everything goes perfect, he could hit .300 or better with 25+ home runs annually. He is a long term project and we aren’t likely to see him in a big league uniform until 2016 at the absolute earliest.
- Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Born: May 29th, 1990
2012 Stats: Double-A Springfield: (0-2), 2 GS, 8 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 8 R/7 ER, 8 K, 2 HR Allowed
Scouting Report: Rosenthal came out of no where to take the 2011 season by storm. The soon to be 22 year old righty has a low to mid-90s fastball that features good sink to it. His slider has good two-plane break and is already looking like a plus pitch. He is working on improving his change-up, but over time he will get improved feel for the offering. Rosenthal is being tested by the Cardinals organization out of spring training; he is being pushed to Double-A, skipping High-A Palm Beach, to start the 2012 campaign. Rosenthal shows good command and has an outstanding 3.23 K/BB ratio so far in his career. Rosenthal has a smooth delivery that he repeats easily. He could become a #2 starter with further development of his change-up. He has struggled in his first two starts at Double-A, but that was expected making such a big jump in the minor league ladder. How he responds to the early struggles will be something to watch throughout the season.
- Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners
Born: October 18th, 1989
2012 Stats: High-A High Desert: 11 G, .347/.448/.776, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 14 K, 9 BB, 2 SB, 9 Errors (.833 Fld%)
Scouting Report: Miller was the 2011 ACC Player of the Year and Seattle took him 62nd overall in the 2011 draft because of his hitting ability. First thing you must know about Brad Miller, he isn’t a shortstop. I know listed above I put ‘SS’ next to his name, but the simple fact is Brad Miller won’t play shortstop much longer in his career. He was moved to DH at Clemson in 2010 because he made so many errors in the field at shortstop. This year alone Miller has made 9 errors. He is sloppy with his throws, he doesn’t have good footwork, and he isn’t consistent in the field. Now to the positives, Miller can flat out hit. From a National League Scout, “He might hit enough to play left or third. He won’t be here long. This guy squares up everything and while it’s not pretty from load to contact, the swings works very well.” Miller has his hands very high in his pre-swing stance and it leads to his strikeout problems. He finds a way to make it work for him though, and he barrels balls to all fields. Miller has average power, and he is likely to put up 14 to 18 home runs in a season. He has slightly above average speed and that will help decide where his new defensive home is. I see him in left field most likely; second base would be preferable, but the same problems he struggles with at short may show there as well.
- Jack Marder, C, Seattle Mariniers
Born: February 21st, 1990
2012 Stats: High-A High Desert: 11 G, .358/.414/.528, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 8 K, 4 BB, 5 SB (3 CS)
Scouting Report: Marder was selected in the 16th round of the 2011 draft. Marder is new to the catcher position, transitioning from playing a variety of positions at Oregon. Marder’s frame is small for the position, and questions remain whether or not he can stick there in the long run. Marder has an above average hit tool led by his quick hands and swing. Marder is a 60 runner according to a source within the industry. The same person said, ” He gets to top speed like a top-of-the-order, middle defender type”. Marder has a good arm and can manage the running game from behind the plate. Marder doesn’t have a lot of power and projects to hit 8-10 home runs annually. A national league scout said of Marder, “He can do a lot of things. Run, throw, hit. Good player, will play in majors.” If Marder can stick at the catcher position he would be an incredibly valuable player. If he can’t, he could still find a spot on a mjor league roster as a super utility player who could play almost any position.
- Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees
Born: September 6th, 1991
2012 Stats: Low-A Charleston: .444/.487/1.028, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 7 K, 3 BB, 1 SB
Scouting Report: Tyler Austin is another bat first player. Austin played catcher in high school and experimented at both third and first in 2011 before staring the transition to right field this season. He should be successful in right field as he has average to slightly above average speed and an above average arm. He will need to do serious work on his reads on fly balls, and improve on his routes to said fly balls. Austin is a polished hitter with above average power potential. He can hit the ball to all fields, but his power is fairly pull heavy. If he can stick in RF he has a chance to be a first-division starter. He could hit .280 with 22-26 home runs and 15-20 SB. Learning how to play the outfield at the professional level may prove to be a difficult task for Austin
- Drew Gagnon, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
Born: June, 26th, 1990
2012 Stats: Low-A Wisconsin: (0-0), 2 GS, 9 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 R/2 ER, 13 K, 0 HR Allowed
Scouting Report: Gagnon was a third round pick, #100 overall, out of Long Beach State. The big righty works on a downhill plane and currently thrives off of his low 90s fastball that features some movement. His best off-speed offering at the moment is a curveball that comes to the plate in the upper 70s. Like most young pitchers Gagnon is working on developing a change-up, which the Brewers hope will become a swing and mass pitch. Gagnon’s height will help him throughout his career and he already uses it to his advantage to pitch aggressively with his fastball. Gagnon will need to develop the secondary offerings to be considered more than an innings eater, but he has shown promise through instructional leagues and the start of the season that he is developing.
- Nicholas Tropeano, RHP Houston Astros
Born: August 27th, 1990
2012 Stats: Low-A Lexington: (0-0) 2 G, 1 GS, 11 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 R/1 ER, 18 K, 0 HR Allowed
Scouting Report: Tropeano was the Astros fifth round pick in the 2011 draft. He is a product of Stony Brook University and has two advanced pitches early in his professional career. Tropeano’s fastball sits in the low 90s and he has shown good control and command of the pitch. His best off-speed pitch is his change-up which has a good amount of arm-side fade. It is an excellent pitch that generates swings and misses frequently. His arm speed is the same on the fastball and change-up, which is crucial to success with the pitch. His third pitch is a slider that is below average presently. If Tropeano can develop the slider he could have three plus offerings. Tropeano uses his size to help pitch downhill. The development of a breaking pitch will be crucial to his career path. His fastball/change-up combo is good enough to earn him a spot as a 7th/8th inning reliever, but three plus pitches would make him a candidate to be one of the better pitching prospects in 2013.
- Chris Bostick, SS/2B, Oakland Athletics
Born: March 24th, 1993
2012 Stats: Extended Spring Training
Scouting Report: Bostick was the one and only, out of a possible fifteen, high school player signed by the Athletics from their 2011 draft class. Bostick is a young player from New York and has showed maturity beyond his years. Bostick’s best tool is his hitting ability. He barrels everything that comes to the plate and hits it to all fields. He has below average power, but could hit for average power just from his compact, solid swing. He has above-average speed and a slightly above average arm, but questions remain whether or not he can play at shortstop. He could transition to second base fairly easily, but at either position his bat/speed combo will be a premium. Hitting .300 with a fair number of extra base hits is not out of the question for Bostick, and he could add 20 stolen bases as well.
- Luke Jackson, RHP, Texas Rangers
Born: August 24th, 1991
2012 Stats: Low-A Hickory: (1-0), 3 GS, 14 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 5 R/3 ER, 22 K, 0 HR Allowed
Scouting Report: Jackson is a classic high risk/high reward draft pick. A 2010 sandwich (supplemental) round pick for Marlon Byrd, Jackson has all of the raw ability to be a future star. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s and can register as high as 97 MPH. He has a curveball that at times looks like a true plus pitch when the rotation is tight. His change-up has good movement but lacks consistency. He also can tip his pitches at times, as he slows down his arm at times to throw his off-speed pitches. Control and consistency have been Jackson’s downfall in the past, but he has showed a promising start to the 2012 campaign. If he can be consistent and reach his potential, it is not out of line to think Jackson can be a #2/3 starter.
Topics: Atlanta Braves, Brad Miller, Chris Bostick, Drew Gagnon, Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, Jack Marder, Jorge Bonifacio, Kansas City Royals, Luke Jackson, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Nick Tropeano, Oakland A's, Ronald Guzman, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Trevor Rosenthal, Tyler Austin