We’ve been unveiling our top prospect rankings over the course of the day and it’s time for our next installment in the series. 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.
Next up: #71 through #80.
#80 – Chris Archer, right-handed pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 200
Born: September 26, 1988 (age 24)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Durham): 7-9, 3.66 ERA, 25 GS, 128.0 IP, 62 BB (4.4 BB/9), 139 K (9.8 K/9), 1.258
MLB Career: 1-3, 4.60 ERA, 6 G (4 GS), 29.1 IP, 13 BB (4.0 BB/9), 36 K (11.0 K/9), 1.227 WHIP
Archer’s the second piece that Tampa Bay acquired from the Cubs for Matt Garza to appear on this list and certainly the one with the highest ceiling. Some consider the Rays’ farm system as one of the strongest in baseball heading into the 2013 season, with Archer being part of the reason why. The right-hander could join the Rays rotation right out of the gate with a strong Spring so this could be his last entry on top prospect lists.
Bold Prediction: Spends the bulk of 2013 in the Majors with respectable, but not spectacular results.
#79 – Martin Perez, left-handed pitcher, Texas Rangers
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 180
Born: April 4, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Round Rock): 7-6, 4.25 ERA, 22 G (21 GS), 127.0 IP, 56 BB (4.0 BB/9), 69 K (4.9 K/9), 1.402 WHIP
MLB Career: 1-4, 5.45 ERA, 12 G (6 GS), 38.0 IP, 15 (3.6 BB/9), 25 K (5.9 K/9), 1.632 WHIP
It feels as though Perez has been talked about as that “next piece” slated to join the Rangers pitching ranks for some time now, but perhaps that’s another example of expectations getting ahead of reality. 2012 was Perez’s first full season at Triple-A and while the results weren’t pretty on paper, it’s worth remembering that he was fairly young by comparison to most of his competition. He underwhelmed in a late season callup to Arlington but Texas’ full starting rotation could play a big role in where he heads for 2013. Perez should find himself back at Triple-A, as it’s too early to consider moving him into a bullpen role just for the sake of getting him on the active roster.
Bold Prediction: Perez has a solid first half starting in the minors and is called up mid-season, but only after being traded to another organization to help Texas solve another need.
#78 – David Dahl, outfielder, Colorado Rockies
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 185
Born: April 1, 1994 (age 18)
2012 Stats (with Rookie Level Grand Junction): .379/.423/.625, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 12 SB, 21 BB, 42 SO, 67 G (306 PA)
The 10th overall pick last June, Dahl could move pretty quick through Colorado’s system as he’s a solid all-around player. Defensively he’s shown solid range and good instincts, though I wonder if eventually he’ll end up sliding over to one of the outfield corners on a more permanent basis. Dahl doesn’t show much power at the plate, but has been consistent enough that he could remain a viable leadoff option. Potentially playing his home games at Coors Field down the road doesn’t hurt either. He won’t see Colorado anytime soon, however, and I’d be surprised to see him reach the level before mid-2015. There
Bold Prediction: Dahl seeing the Majors by 2015 is a pretty bold prediction at this point. He is just 18 still. If he passed Class-A and High-A this year, Double-A next, then he’d only have half a season at Triple-A in time to reach Colorado by mid-2015. That’s assuming everything goes as planned, of course, which is always an unknown with prospect rankings.
#77 – Luis Heredia, right-handed pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 205
Born: August 10, 1994 (age 18)
2012 Stats (with Low-A State College): 4-2, 2.71 ERA, 14 GS, 66.1 IP, 20 BB (2.7 BB/9), 40 K (5.4 K/9), 1.101 WHIP
Possibly heading right to High-A at age 18, the advanced hitters should prove to be a good challenge for the young right-hander. Pittsburgh won’t rush his development.
Bold Prediction: It wouldn’t surprise me if Heredia doesn’t reach Double-A for another two seasons, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
#76 – Brett Jackson, outfielder, Chicago Cubs
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 210
Born: August 2, 1988 (age 24)
2012 Stats (with Triple-A Iowa): .256/.338/.479, 15 HR, 47 RBI, 27 SB, 47 BB, 158 SO, 106 G (467 PA)
MLB Career: .175/.303/.342, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 22 BB, 59 SO, 44 G (142 PA)
Jackson was always expected to take a starting role in Chicago at some point, but he doesn’t quite appear ready just yet to provide enough consistent offense to justify the playing time. His biggest problem are the strikeouts and he’s going to need to develop some patience at the plate if he’s going to live up to those hopes.
Bold Prediction: Jackson starts the year at Triple-A, has a good two months and re-emerges as a possible starter in Chicago by season’s end.
#75 – Jedd Gyorko, third baseman, San Diego Padres
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 195
Born: September 23, 1988 (24)
2012 Stats (combined between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson): .311/.373/.547, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB, 51 BB, 95 SO, 126 G (557 PA)
The Padres could have shopped third baseman Chase Headley this winter and likely received a nice return if they chose to deal him, but instead the team will head into camp with two players capable of starting at third base. Gyorko did see some time at second base this past season, but it’s unclear if the Padres feel as though they have to make him move positions in order to get his bat in the lineup. He could spend part of the season back at Triple-A, both for some added development time and so that the Padres can delay his free agency by a year.
Bold Prediction: Either Headley or Gyorko is traded by the Padres before Spring Training 2014.
#74 – Aaron Hicks, outfielder, Minnesota Twins
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 185
Born: October 2, 1989 (age 23)
2012 Stats (with Double-A New Britain): .286/.384/.460, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 32 SB, 79 BB, 116 SO, 129 G (563 PA)
Hicks has an outside chance at winning the starting centerfield spot in Minnesota with a strong Spring Training. The team dealt both Denard Span and Ben Revere this offseason and Hicks could be the first to benefit from those openings.
Bold Prediction: He doesn’t open the season as the Twins starting center fielder, but he’ll assume the role by August.
#73 – Yordano Ventura, right-handed pitcher, Kansas City Royals
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 140
Born: June 3, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined across three levels): 4-7, 3.62 ERA, 23 GS, 109.1 IP, 42 BB (3.5 BB/9), 130 K (10.7 K/9), 1.226 WHIP
Ventura’s under a little more pressure to step up and take on the role of the team’s top pitching prospect since Jake Odirizzi was included in the James Shields trade. I think KC has gotten better about not rushing their pitching prospects, however, so I wouldn’t expect Ventura to pitch about Double-A this coming season.
Bold Prediction: He’ll throw well enough to make another appearance in the Futures Game, but Ventura won’t be a serious option for the Royals active roster until Spring 2014.
#72 – Dan Straily, right-handed pitcher, Oakland Athletics
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 215
Born: December 1, 1988 (age 24)
2012 Stats (combined between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento): 9-7, 2.78 ERA, 25 GS, 152.0 IP, 42 BB (2.5 BB/9), 190 K (11.2 K/9), 1.000 WHIP
MLB Career: 2-1, 3.89 ERA, 7 GS, 39.1 IP, 16 BB (3.7 BB/9), 32 K (7.3 K/9), 1.322 WHIP
The minor league strikeout king had to be on the list somewhere and it’s tough to overlook the 1.000 WHIP he posted last season in the minors. Straily may bounce back-and-forth between Oakland and Sacramento this season, depending on the health of the team’s other rotation options.
Bold Prediction: Straily sees more of Sacramento than Oakland this season, but doesn’t return to the minor leagues after 2013.
#71 – Clayton Blackburn, right-handed pitcher, San Francisco Giants
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 220
Born: January 6, 1993 (age 20)
2012 Stats (at Class-A Augusta): 8-4, 2.54 ERA, 22 GS, 131.1 IP, 18 BB (1.2 BB/9), 143 K (9.8 K/9), 1.020 WHIP
Blackburn could see Double-A before the end of 2013, putting him on track to join the Giants by the end of the 2014 season at the earliest. The team doesn’t typically rush their pitching prospects unless necessary, so even that might prove to be an early estimate for his arrival. Eventually he could step in as a nice compliment behind Madison Bumgarner in the starting rotation.
Bold Prediction: He’ll get to Double-A, but won’t pitch well at the level at first.
… More rankings coming tomorrow.