The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.
Today we cover half the players representing the NL Central for the first time. The Cardinals, Pirates and Brewers are included in today’s article. The Cubs, Reds and Astros will be the subject matter for tomorrow’s Fish Watch installment.
Milwaukee Brewers (S2S 2012 Brewers Team Prospect List)
SS – Orlando Arcia (17) – Singed out of the Dominican Republic as a NDFA on October 22nd, 2010
Reasoning – Lets’ turn to my write up on Arcia from the Brewers TPL, “While DSL stats generally aren’t all that meaningful there’s no pooh-poohing away that Arcia walked 10 more times (30) than he struck out (20). Beyond the plate discipline he has a very promising bat with good pop, decent speed and enough defensive ability to possibly stick at the position. All in all Arcia is my favorite prospect in the Brewers system and the one I’m most optimistic about even though he’s so far away.”
2011 – DSL Brewers: 0.294/.386/.459, 16 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 13 SB, 30 BB and 20 SO in 218 AB
2012 – Not Yet Assigned
Notes – Oswaldo’s little brother should be in rookie ball this summer.
RHP – Jorge Lopez (19) – Brewers 2011 2nd Round Pick
Reasoning – For Lopez, we can again turn to the Brewers TPL for my rationale, “The youngest of the five starters to make this list, he has the most projection of the group and a feel for pitching that is advanced for his age. Lopez currently throws a low-90s fastball and complements it with an excellent curveball and developing changeup. Having only been pitching for three years he’s very much a work in progress but doesn’t have as much mileage on his arm as a typical 18 year old pitching prospect. He has the upside of a #2 starter but he’s much further away from reaching that.”
2011 – AZL Brewers (Rk): 2.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 13 H, 3 BB and 10 SO in 12.0 IP
2012 – Not Yet Assigned
Notes – With only 12 professional innings to his name and given his youth, Lopez will be in rookie ball to start the season and that, of course, means we have to wait until June to see him in action.
OF – Ben McMahan (22) – Brewers 2011 23rd Round Pick
Reasoning – Turning to my Brewers TPL for a third time we come across the following, “The major red flag here is his 36-3 SO-to-BB rate which followed up on an 16-4 rate in his final college season. If he can boost his walk rate and plate discipline, the Brewers may have gotten themselves a steal in the 23rd round of the past draft. His inclusion on this list is as much about gut feel as anything and he’s a player I will be watching closely during 2012.”
2011 – Helena (Rk): 0315/.329/.519, 10 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 3 SB, 3 BB and 36 SO in 167 PA
2012 – Wisconsin (A): 0.300/.331/.485, 9 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 4 SB, 7 BB and 33 SO in 140 PA
Notes – McMahan’s SO-to-BB is better but there’s still a lot of work to be done in that regard. However his plate discipline problem hasn’t prevented him from being a productive offensive player despite the step up in competition. It took a while for him to adjust to full season ball but after hitting 0.200/.255/.260 in April he’s recovered to hit 0.363/.381/.625 so far in May.
Pittsburgh Pirates (S2S 2012 Pirates Team Prospect List)
OF – Adalberto Santos (24) – Pirates 2010 22nd Round Pick
Reasoning – My writeup in the Pirates TPL explains it all, “With Bell, Marte and Grossman ahead of him, it’s easy to lose sight of Santos but he’s coming off an exceptional season in the FSL. The Pirates 22nd round pick in the 2010 draft, he’s swiped 44 bases in 55 attempts and hit better than 0.310 over his first 2 pro seasons. Santos makes contact, draws walks and doesn’t strike out and those traits alone make him worth keeping an eye on.”
2011 – Bradenton (A+): 0.314/.392/.476, 22 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, 27 SB, 42 BB and 55 SO in 407 PA
2012 – Altoona (AA): 0.396/.484/.472, 4 2B, 4 SB, 9 BB and 5 SO in 62 PA
Notes – Santos was torching Eastern League pitching before landing on the 7-Day Disabled List with a sprained knee.
1B – Jose Osuna (19) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on December 9th, 2009
Reasoning – A member of the 2011 0.300/.400/.500 club for his 48 game stint in the Gulf Coast League, Osuna has a chance to develop into a power hitting force. I plan on following his progress closely every step of the way.
2011 – GCL Pirates/State College: 0.328/.397/.505, 22 XBH, 3 SB, 19 BB and 21 SO in 212 PA
2012 – West Virginia (A): 0.281/.339/.413, 16 2B, 2 HR, 2 SB, 15 BB and 33 SO in 189 PA
Notes – Osuna appears to have successfully transitioned to full season ball and is three years younger than the median age of his competition in the SAL. He hit 0.294/.367/.388 in April and 0.268/.308/.439 so far in May.
RHP – Luis Heredia (17) – Signed out of Mexico as a NDFA on August 24th, 2010
Reasoning – How could I not include Heredia on this list? After all, not many 16-year olds take on the GCL in their first professional season and manage to hold their own. As I wrote in the Pirates TPL, “Luis is already capable of touching 95-96 with his fastball and sits comfortably in the low 90s. His secondary pitches – curveball and changeup – are both works in progress but flash plus.”
2011 – GCL Pirates (Rk): 4.75 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 28 H, 19 BB and 23 SO in 30.1 IP
2012 – Not Yet Assigned
Notes – There was little doubt he’d be back in rookie ball to start this season, and the Pirates will surely be careful with their supremely talented and incredibly young prospect.
LHP – Hector Hernandez (21) – Cardinals 2009 10th Round Pick
Reasoning – After a rough 2010 with Johnson City (6.85 ERA, 1.52 WHIP), Hernandez did a complete 180 and was excellent in 2011. That transformation alone makes his “watch-worthy,” but I also view him as a vastly underrated prospect in a system with a healthy number of upper-echelon arms.
2011 – Batavia/Quad Cities: 2.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 49 H, 18 BB and 52 SO in 56.0 IP
2012 – Quad Cities: 3.33 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 51 H, 18 BB and 30 SO in 51.1 IP
Notes – On the year Hernandez has made nine starts and only one of them – a 3.0 inning, 8 H, 6 ER effort on May 1st – was truly bad. There have been a few other starts that he’s been hit around but he found ways to limit the damage – always a great trait for a young pitcher to display. Hernandez kicked off 2012 with two straight shutouts and has added a pair where he’s only allowed one run.
RHP – Boone Whiting (22) – Cardinals 2010 18th Round Pick
Reasoning – The stellar stat line in the Midwest League coupled with a excellent changeup, a swing-and-miss slider, and plus command easily land him on this list.
2011 – Quad Cities (A): 2.41 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 82 H, 24 BB, 122 SO in 119.2 IP
2012 – Palm Beach (A+): On Disabled List
Notes – Though he was assigned to Palm Beach on April 6th, Whiting has been on the 7-day disabled list since the beginning of the season and has not thrown a pitch yet in 2012.
2B – Breyvic Valera (19) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on May 16th, 2010
Reasoning – Valera hit nearly 0.400 in a 19 game stint in the Appalachian League last season and has displayed excellent plate discipline and an advanced approach for someone so young.
2011 – GCL Cardinals/Johnson City: 0.311/.368/.410, 13 XBH, 14 SB, 15 BB and 26 SO in 204 PA
2012 – Not Yet Assigned
Notes – Valera is one of the prospects that helped formed the concept of this project in my head. I expected him to wind up in Quad Cities to start this season but instead we have to wait for rookie ball to start up in June.
Topics: Adalberto Santos, Benjamin McMahan, Boone Whiting, Breyvic Valera, Hector Hernandez, Jorge Lopez, Jose Osuna, Luis Heredia, Milwaukee Brewers, Orlando Arcia, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals