Earlier this morning we kicked off our unveiling of this year’s list of the top prospects heading into the 2013 season across Major League Baseball and now we’ll continue with the next part of the list. Keep in mind as you’re reviewing this list that such rankings are entirely subjective and there is no perfect science to devising these rankings. It’s a long, complex process that results in a collective list that not everyone will agree with. There will be rankings that you’ll think are too high and others that are too low. Discussion is encouraged, so leave us a comment and let us know where you disagree (just keep the comments respectful).
For more insight into this year’s list, be sure to take a read through our introductory post.
#90 – Max Fried, left-handed pitcher, San Diego Padres
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 185
Born: January 18, 1994 (age 19)
2012 Stats (with the team’s Rookie League affiliate): 0-1, 3.57 ERA, 10 G (9 GS), 17.2 IP, 6 BB (3.1 BB/9), 17 K (8.7 K/9), 1.132 WHIP
Drafted 7th overall this past June, Fried was not the one from his high school rotation that was expected to go early in the Draft (that distinction was supposed to go to Lucas Giolito). The left-hander, as Robbie Knopf discussed at length last June, has a lot of room for growth still (physical growth) and possesses multiple pitches already that he can rely upon. He’s still young, so the team won’t rush him, but with Giolito sitting out a year while recovering from Tommy John surgery this could be Fried’s opportunity to further push himself far and away above his former teammate.
Bold Prediction: Fried makes the jump right to Class-A to start the year and pitches well enough to see a late season bump to High-A.
#89 – Justin Nicolino, left-handed pitcher, Miami Marlins
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 160
Born: November 22, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (at Class-A Lansing): 10-4, 2.46 ERA, 28 G (22 GS), 124.1 IP, 21 BB (1.5 BB/9), 119 (8.6 K/9), 1.070 WHIP
Left-handed with strong peripherals and room for growth, Nicolino was one of the big pieces that Miami acquired earlier this offseason when they shipped Jose Reyes and others to the Toronto Blue Jays. With some solid development and if he can fill out his frame a bit, Nicolino could wind up being a more valuable asset than the other players included in the deal. Toronto had been slow with moving him up, wanting to ensure they don’t rush him but at 21 it’s time to see if he can handle tougher competition.
Bold Prediction: Early struggles at Double-A, but the Marlins stick with him and he straightens things out by season’s end.
#88 – Joey Gallo, third baseman, Texas Rangers
Height/Weight: 6’5”, 205
Born: November 19, 1993 (age 19)
2012 Stats (combined between the team’s Rookie League affiliate and Low-A Spokane): .272/.412/.660, 22 HR, 52 RBI, 6 SB, 48 BB, 78 SO, 59 G (260 PA)
Gallo has done nothing but mash the ball since being taken last June as a compensatory selection for the Rangers loss of C.J. Wilson via free agency. If you were to ask a segment of the team’s fan base, I’d guess most would settle for the tradeoff given the promise Gallo has shown early on (a HR in every three games, roughly). The 19 year old has a long way to go before the organization needs to start worrying about where he’ll play, but his presence within the system does make it more tolerable to consider moving one of players ahead of him on the depth charts (Mike Olt, perhaps) in a larger deal to address a need.
Bold Prediction: Gallo continues to crush the ball, but the strikeouts start to pile up causing some concern.
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 190
Born: October 8, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined between the team’s Rookie League affiliate and Double-A San Antonio): 3-3, 2.82 ERA, 14 GS, 60.2 IP, 16 BB (2.4 BB/9), 80 K (11.9 K/9), 1.253 WHIP
Erlin missed a good chunk of time in 2012, recovering from injury, which likely slowed his development some and prevented him from advancing to Triple-A on schedule. But all is not lost for the left-hander, as he’s expected to be healthy heading into the 2013 season. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Padres take it slow with Erlin this season, but expect that he’ll reach (at some point) and spend most of the year with Triple-A.
Bold Prediction: Erlin gets a September callup, but sees little game action until next season.
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185
Born: February 10, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (combined between Double-A Chattanooga and Double-A Portland): 6-9, 3.86 ERA, 29 G (24 GS), 130.2 IP, 61 BB (4.2 BB/9), 129 K (8.9 K/9), 1.485 WHIP
Webster was arguably the prize of the package received by Boston in last summer’s blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, though Rubby De La Rosa could have the most immediate impact on the Sox roster. The Dodgers were reportedly hesitant to part with the right-hander at various points last summer and it’s clear why. He strikes batters out to counteract any extra base runners he allows and doesn’t permit many home runs (just 0.3 HR/9 over 494.0 innings in the minors). Of all the pitching prospects in the Boston system to watch, he’s the one that could reach Fenway Park the soonest.
Bold Prediction: Solid season at Triple-A that results in a spot start or two before the season concludes.
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 230
Born: August 31, 1988 (age 24)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Memphis): .329/.362/.624, 18 HR, 50 RBI, 3 SB, 15 BB, 57 SO, 67 G (276 PA)
MLB Career: .244/.286/.384, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 0 SB, 5 BB, 24 SO, 27 G (91 PA)
Adams responded well at the plate with his first bump to Triple-A, parlaying that success into his first callup to the Major Leagues once injury opening an opportunity. Adams doesn’t come to Spring Training as a favorite to win regular playing time, but could be a nice option off the bench at the onset of the season if that is how the Cardinals choose to use him. He’s never played anywhere other than first base, however, which could limit his value off the bench depending on the team’s positional/defensive needs, but with regular at bats he could be a solid force in that lineup.
Bold Prediction: Adams overtakes Matt Carpenter as the team’s starting first baseman by season’s end.
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 170
Born: September 14, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (with Class-A West Virginia): .325/.388/.522, 16 HR, 85 RBI, 40 SB, 44 BB, 64 SO, 116 G (485 PA)
Polanco took a huge step forward in 2012 with a step up to Class-A, raising his average nearly 100 points and his OPS by almost 300. The Pirates have to hope it wasn’t just a fluke after two mediocre seasons leading up to it after signing as an international free agent. If he’s the real deal and can bring them an on base presence with some speed then they could have a future leadoff option waiting in the wings. His development over the next season or two will be vital to his future outlook.
Bold Prediction: Pittsburgh tries to be aggressive with Polanco, starting him at Double-A, but he’ll struggle at first with the promotion.
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 215
Born: September 13, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between the team’s Rookie League affiliate and Class-A Kane County): 3-3, 2.04 ERA, 9 GS, 39.2 IP, 8 BB (1.8 BB/9), 42 K (9.5 K/9), 1.185 WHIP
Kansas City’s top pick in last June’s Draft, Zimmer joins the ranks of pitching prospects with high hopes by the Royals. The team has demonstrated success in developing position players but hasn’t seen the same success on the pitching front, with countless prospects failing to pan out. Zimmer has a four pitch arsenal, good athleticism, and a projectable frame lending reason to believe he could improve as he starts to face tougher competition while climbing the team’s minor league ranks. If KC is smart they won’t rush him, letting him develop on schedule instead of having to cope with the pressures of being the organization’s next home grown talent.
Bold Prediction: After a strong first half he receives a bump to Double-A with an outside chance at a Spring Training invite a year from now.
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 195
Born: March 15, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined across three levels, mostly with High-A Winston Salem): .253/.328/.482, 25 HR, 96 RBI, 21 SB, 55 BB, 166 SO, 136 G (588 PA)
Thompson spent most of the year at High-A, jumping up to both Double-A and Triple-A for short stints before the season concluded but with highly mixed results. The center fielder has shown some good speed in the field and solid instincts defensively, plus a little power production, but will need to further hone his on base ability if he’s going to be an impact talent in the Major Leagues. Chicago will likely start the 2009 Draftee at Double-A this season with the hope that he’s potentially ready to factor into their active roster by the end of the 2014 season.
Bold Prediction: Thompson shows improvements at Double-A, but is still too inconsistent to warrant a further promotion on the season.
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 200
Born: September 6, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined across four levels): .322/.400/.559, 17 HR, 80 RBI, 23 SB, 51 BB, 98 SO, 110 G (472 PA)
The Yankees appear to have high hopes for Austin, the first power-hitting outfielder they’ve developed in a number of years. The right fielder isn’t the most agile option defensively, however, meaning his bat will have to carry him to The Show in the long run. Austin can handle right just fine, but doesn’t have the range to play anywhere else in the outfield in all likelihood. New York has gotten their hopes up about outfielder prospects in recent years (Slade Heathcott, anyone?) only to see them not pan out so they’ll likely not want to push Austin too far, too fast.
Bold Prediction: He spends the year with Double-A, proving the offensive talent is there but still not showing enough to warrant a promotion midseason.