We’ve already 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.
We’ve already covered #101 through #115 (because I couldn’t settle on just 100 names). Let’s continue with #91 through #100.
#100 – Henry Owens, left-handed pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 190
Born: July 21, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (at Class-A Greenville): 12-5, 4.87 ERA, 23 G (22 GS), 101.2 IP, 47 BB (4.2 BB/9), 130 K (11.5 K/9), 1.446 WHIP
The lanky left-handed was Boston’s compensatory selection for losing Victor Martinez through free agency and has a ton of upside, but an equal number of questions. The California high school product misses bats, which will help as he continues to face more advanced batters, but will need to develop a stronger third pitch if he’s going to be able to remain a starting pitcher. Boston was aggressive in starting Owens out in a full season league to begin his professional career, an unusual tactic for an organization known for treating their high school draftees cautiously. He won’t turn 21 until mid-summer but I wouldn’t expect the Sox to move him quickly for fear of causing an injury of some kind. Owens will presumably start out 2013 with the organization’s High-A affiliate but could reasonably see Double-A Portland before the season is over.
Bold Prediction: Owens shows promise with a third pitch, placing him among the team’s next group of pitching prospects (which could number as many as 4-5 different arms).
#99 – Manny Banuelos, left-handed pitcher, New York Yankees
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 200
Born: March 13, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Scranton): 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 6 GS, 24.0 IP, 10 BB (3.8 BB/9), 22 K (8.2 K/9), 1.625 WHIP
Banuelos underwent Tommy John surgery in early October, assuring that he’ll miss the entirety of the 2013 season. He lost nearly all of 2012 as well – first getting shut down in mid-May due to some nagging tightness, the team thought that rest would be enough to improve the situation but after sitting out the full summer surgery became inevitable – which presents a troubling situation where he’ll miss out on two full seasons of development in a row. Still, there’s some reason for optimism for Banuelos long term if he can bounce back healthy for the 2014 season. The left-hander is arguably the best southpaw pitcher that the Yankees have developed since the likes of Andy Pettitte, but health is going to be a major, major concern once he returns.
Bold Prediction: There are no setbacks in Banuelos’ recovery over the next year, allowing him to come to Spring Training in 2014.
#98 – Lucas Giolito, right-handed pitcher, Washington Nationals
Height/Weight: 6’6”, 225
Born: July 14, 1994 (age 18)
2012 Stats (with the team’s Rookie League affiliate): 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1 GS, 2.0 IP, 0 BB, 1 K (4.50 K/9), 1.000 WHIP
Injury concerns that forced him to miss most of his senior season caused Giolito to slip in this past June’s draft and after just one appearance with the Nationals Rookie League affiliate it was determined that he’d n need to undergo Tommy John surgery, likely forcing him to miss the entire 2013 season. It’s a rough way to start one’s professional career, but there is still enough potential in Giolito’s arm to suggest that he could become a quality addition to the Washington organization if he’s able to bounce back healthy.
Bold Prediction: None. He won’t begin his professional career for at least a year.
#97 – Wilmer Flores, third baseman, New York Mets
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 190
Born: August 6, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton): .300/.349/.479, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 3 SB, 38 BB, 60 SO, 130 G (547 PA)
Where Flores ends up playing may ultimately be a significant factor in what kind of value he brings to the table long term for the Mets. There’s been speculation that he could be moved to the outfield, though there are concerns about his ability to handle such a big amount of space. The team will head into the season using him at both third and second base, since David Wright isn’t going anywhere in the near future the team needs to explore alternatives to third base, but as Rising Apple Senior Editor Matt Musico reminded us earlier this month, there are strong opinions stemming from the fan base with regards to what Flores’ fate will ultimately hold.
Bold Prediction: He sticks at second base, looking strong defensively at Double-A but at the expense of some regression at the plate.
#96 – Cody Buckel, right-handed pitcher, Texas Rangers
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 170
Born: June 18, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco): 10-8, 2.49 ERA, 26 G (23 GS), 144.2 IP, 48 BB (3.0 BB/9), 159 K (9.9 K/9), 1.058 WHIP
Buckel has given the Rangers every reason to believe they have something special, given his propensity to miss bats and the success he’s seen in his career so far, but there are plenty of questions about how his stuff will work as the competition gets tougher. Buckel’s secondary pitches could use some polish and refinement and he’s going to have to be able to maintain his delivery with consistency if he’s going to continue to fool more talented offensive opposition.
Bold Prediction: He struggles at Double-A for the full season, dropping out of next year’s Top 100 rankings.
#95 – A.J. Cole, right-handed pitcher, Washington Nationals
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 180
Born: January 5, 1992 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between Class-A Burlington and High-A Stockton): 6-10, 3.70 ERA, 27 GS, 133.2 IP, 29 BB (2.0 BB/9), 133 K (9.0 K/9), 1.249 WHIP
Cole had a tough time adjusting to the hitter-friendly league in California after a midseason promotion, but otherwise he had a strong 2012 season. Thanks to his inclusion in a three team trade between the Nationals, A’s and Mariners, however, he’ll have to re-adjust once again to a move back East. Cole returns to the Washington organization that originally drafted him and where he’s seen success, so the move could prove to be a good thing for the right-hander’s future. Having just turned 21, it’s likely that the Nationals look to start him again at High-A with the outside chance at a promotion to Double-A before the season ends.
Bold Prediction: Cole lands at Double-A before mid-season and is among the team’s top prospects by year’s end.
#94 – Nick Franklin, shortstop, Seattle Mariners
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180
Born: March 2, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma): .278/.347/.453, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 12 SB, 48 BB, 106 SO, 121 G (535 PA)
Franklin split most of the season between shortstop and second base, giving the organization some versatility and a little flexibility in deciding how to best use Franklin long term. Given the makeup of the team’s active roster, however, they might be afforded some extra time by allowing Franklin to return to Triple-A to start the season. He spent the latter half of 2012 at the level, struggling with patience at the plate while seeing a dip in his offensive production, so more exposure might be best before he joins the Mariners bench in Seattle.
Bold Prediction: Franklin makes his MLB Debut before mid-season and earns himself significant playing time.
#93 – Oswaldo Arcia, outfielder, Minnesota Twins
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 210
Born: May 9, 1991 (age 21)
2012 Stats (combined between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain): .320/.388/.539, 17 HR, 98 RBI, 4 SB, 51 BB, 107 SO, 124 G (534 PA)
Outfield is one position of great depth within the Twins organization and Arcia is just one example of that potential. A power hitting corner outfielder, Arcia’s been described as a “Venezuelan Jason Kubel” by some for his propensity for the long ball. Puckett’s Pond’s Michael Longoria thinks that Arcia could eventually ranks among the league’s best outfielders in time, partly considering where his numbers from this past season would have ranked among the game’s top sluggers.
Bold Prediction: Arcia cruises in Double-A to start the season, but hits a speed bump upon a promotion to Triple-A that pushes off his MLB Debut until 2014.
#92 – Hak-Ju Lee, shortstop, Tampa Bay Rays
Height/Weight: 6’2”, 170
Born: November 4, 1990 (age 22)
2012 Stats (at Double-A Montgomery): .261/.336/.360, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 37 SB, 51 BB, 102 SO, 116 G (534 PA)
After splitting his 2011 season between two levels, Lee essentially repeated Double-A in 2012 and certainly didn’t see the results that he (or the team) could have been hoping for. Facing tougher opposition he saw some regression at the plate, striking out at a higher rate while seeing a dip in his contact percentage. More concerning, however, were the troubles in the field as Lee committed 24 errors at shortstop, lending some to question whether he’ll remain at the position long term for the Rays. He still offers some solid speed and has some upside, but the chances that Lee can develop into a solid regular took a significant hit this past season.
Bold Prediction: He bounces back, to a degree, at Triple-A but still won’t be anything more than a solid utility option at the Major League level.
#91 – Kyle Crick, right-handed pitcher, San Francisco Giants
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220
Born: November 30, 1992 (age 20)
2012 Stats (at Class-A Augusta): 7-6, 2.51 ERA, 23 G (22 GS), 111.1 IP, 67 BB (5.4 BB/9), 128 K (10.3 K/9), 1.275 WHIP
Crick looked good in his first full season in the minor leagues, having been drafted in the 1st Round in 2011. He demonstrated a big strikeout rate, but had some control issues that are going to need to be worked out before he can be counted on for any kind of future success. If he can limit the extra base runners, his ability to miss bats will help counteract a propensity to give up a lot of hits, which will let Crick potentially develop into a solid option for the starting rotation a few years from now.
Bold Prediction: Crick pitches well in High-A, reducing his walk rate but seeing a dip in his strikeout rate as well.