After we reviewed the first five on preseason top prospects list, we continue with the next ten today.
#110 Grant Green, Second Base, Angels
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 180
Born: September 27, 1987 (Age 25)
2013 Stats (at Triple A): .326/.3800/.493 11 HR, 53 RBI, 30 BB, 77 SO, 93 Games
2013 Stats (MLB): .254/.306/.346 1 HR, 14 RBI, 10 BB, 38 SO, 42 Games
Heading into 2013… A former first round pick and top 100 prospect, Green’s status as a prospect had fallen in recent years because he had outgrown shortstop and didn’t have a clear position. Still, his bat was strong as he hit .296 with 15 homers and a .796 OPS as a 24 year old in AA. He would start the year in AAA but could help the big league at some point during the year.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… Grant Green did not finish the season with the Athletics as he was shipped off to Anaheim in a deadline deal for Alberto Callapso. The Athletics were able to get a major league third baseman in return because of Grant’s exceptionally strong season in AAA. Playing second base full time, the 25 year old posted a .380 OBP with 11 homers and a .872 OPS over 95 games between Sacramento (Athletics’ affiliate) and Salt Lake (Angels affiliate). Once in the majors, however, Green struggled, hitting only .254 with only 1 home run in 130 at bats.
Looking ahead…With the Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto likely to shop current middle infielders Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar in the offseason, Green will likely be given every opportunity to prove himself next season. He has looked better so far, hitting .287 since coming over from Oakland with a .346 OBP, and he has the minor league numbers to back it up. At worst, he’s probably a utility infielder down the road.
#109 Blake Swihart, Catcher, Red Sox
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 175 lbs
Born: April 3, 1992 (Age 21)
2013 Stats (at A+): .298/.366/.428 2 HR, 42 RBI, 41 BB, 63 SO, 103 Games
Heading into 2013…Thought of very highly by Red Sox management, Swihart had scouts split over his overall potential. Some saw him as a plus receiver behind the plate with questionable hitting ability, and an equal number thinking just the opposite. 2013 would be a pivotal year over whether Swihart would become a premier prospect or someone seen as a future backup catcher.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over…Having evidently heard the warnings over the importance of this season, Swihart turned this season into his best so far in the majors. His two home runs are nothing to write home about but the 21 year old catcher showed excellent gap power, hitting 29 doubles and 7 triples, while getting on base at a .366 clip. He improved dramatically behind the plate as well, throwing out 42% of would-be base stealers, up from 31% last year, and the major league average of 29%.
Looking ahead…Swihata’s breakout season has put him back on the top prospect radar. With the Red Sox lacking significant depth at the catching position, Swihart could rise through the minors quickly. He’ll start next year in Portland with the AA Sea Dogs, just a short drive, figuratively and literally, from Boston and Fenway park.
#108 Matt Skole, Third Base, Nationals
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 220 lbs
Born: July 30, 1989 (Age 24)
2013 Stats (at AA): .200/.429/.400 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2 Games
Heading into 2013…Skole shot up prospect lists after winning the National’s Minor League Player of the Year award for mashing 27 home runs in 2012 and was set to enter AA at the age of 23. There was an understanding that he needed to cut down on his strikeouts but with plus power and high on base ability (99 BBs in 2012), he could be in the show by September.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over…Instead of rising quickly after a few good months in AA, Skole’s season ended abruptly as the 24 year old third baseman tore his UCL and the Flexor tendon in his Elbow after only regular season two games.
Looking ahead…Skole missed virtually the entire AA season, but the Nationals announced that he will return and play in the Arizona Fall League come October. Barring an outrageous performance there, Skole will head into 2014 with the same outset he had going into this season.
#107 Bruce Rondon, Relief Pitcher, Tigers
Height/Weight: 6’3”, 250 lbs
Born: December 9, 1990 (Age 22)
2013 Stats (at AAA): 1-1, 1.52 ERA, 14 SVs, 40 SO, 13 BBs, 29.2 IP
2013 Stats (MLB): 1-2, 3.58 ERA, 1 SV, 27 SO, 11 BBs, 27.2 IP
Heading into 2013…Armed with a blazing 100+ MPH fastball that yielded a 1.53 ERA and an 11.2 K/9 in the minors, the Tigers were set to hand Rondon the major league closer job to start the year. Still, critics (like us) pointed to Rondon’s wildness (4.4 BB/9 in the minors) and relative inexperience (only eight career innings above AA) as evidence that a promotion to the majors may be premature.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over…The Tigers had a change of heart after Rondon’s terrible spring training and assigned him to the minors for most of the first half of the year. After racking up a ton of strikeouts and posting a 1.52 ERA in AAA, the 22 year old closer was promoted to the majors full time in June and has looked good since. He may have an unspectacular 3.58 ERA on the year, but he’s found a groove down the stretch, putting up a 1.32 ERA since the start of August.
Looking ahead…Rondon could be a pivotal piece of the Tigers’ bullpen down the stretch and into the postseason. If he performs well, he could be the Tigers’ 2014 closer. He would be a good one too; youngsters who throw over 100 MPH play well out of the pen, just ask Aroldis Chapman
#106 Marcell Ozuna, Outfielder, Marlins
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 220 lbs
Born: November 12, 1990 (Age 22)
2013 Stats (MLB): .265/.303/.389, 3 HR, 32 RBI, 13 BB, 57 SO, 70 Games
Heading into 2013… Ozuna had always shown home run ability, hitting 20+ home runs at three different minor league stops, but having posted an OBP under .331 with at least 100 strikeouts in each of his three full minor league seasons, there were questions about his overall approach at the plate.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… Marcell Ozuna spent most of the season as the Marlins right or center fielder, with middling results. Ozuna’s famed power, the very tool that placed him on his list, vanished in the spacious confines of Marlins Park. The fleet footed center fielder got the ball over the fence only three times, while still striking out at a high rate and struggling to get on base.
Looking ahead…After auctioning most of their best assets, the Marlins aren’t exactly in a position to contend in the next couple seasons, so Ozuna will get more opportunities to prove himself at the plate. Nonetheless, his stock has fallen considerably after his tough season and he may need more time to refine his swing at AAA.
#105 Evan Gattis, Catcher, Braves
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 240 lbs
Born: August 18, 1986 (Age 27)
2013 Stats (MLB): .236/.287/.484, 20 HR, 59 RBI, 20 BB, 75 SO, 95 G
Heading into 2013… Gattis popped onto the radar after a great season between A+ and AA, posting a .995 OPS with 18 home runs in 75 games. Old, and with an injury history, however, Gattis provided more much more organizational depth than star power.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… Gattis burst into the national spotlight after a tremendous first couple months that saw him hit 12 home runs en route to a .952 OPS through the end of May. After that, however, the 26 year old catcher struggled, hitting a .083 in May and .139 in August (with no home runs), prompting a brief demotion to AAA. Gattis has been marginally better, hitting five home runs in September but only getting on base at a .237 clip.
Looking ahead…Current Braves starting catcher Brian McCann is set to receive a huge free agent from an American League club in the offseason, leaving Gattis as the probable starting catcher. Should manager Fredi Gonzalez opt to go with Gattis, GM Frank Wren will likely bring in a talented back up, just in case.
#104 Miles Head, Third Baseman, Athletics
Height/Weight: 6’0”, 215 lbs
Born: May 2, 1991 (Age 22)
2013 Stats (AA): .196/.264/.264 2 HR, 8 RBI, 12 BB, 42 SO, 40 G
Heading into 2013… Head’s stock was up as he was coming off a season that saw him hit .333 with 23 home runs and a .968 OPS, and actually showed the defensive chops to stay at third. He would start 2013 in AA, and hope that his strong bat could earn him a promotion by the end of the year.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… After having success at virtually every level of the minor leagues, Head’s first tour of AA was disastrous. The 22 year old hitter, always known for his bat, hit only .196 with no extra base ability, hitting 2 home runs and slugging .264. Things got even worse after that as Head’s season came to an abrupt end in the middle of June due to injury
Looking ahead…Head will return for a second look at AA at the start of 2014. His stock has fallen considerably, so don’t expect to see him on any top prospect list but at just 23, Head still has an opportunity to prove himself.
#103 Gavin Cecchini, shortstop, New York Mets
Height/Weight: 6’1″ 180 lbs
Born: December 22, 1993 (age 19)
2013 Stats (A-): .273/.319/.314, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 14 BB, 30 SO, 51 G
Heading into 2013…A solid defender at short, Cecchini is a long ways off at the plate, and was subsequently assigned to the short season New York-Penn League. He had played okay in a brief professional stint after being drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, and looked to prove himself further in 2013.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… You can’t put too much stock in the statistical performance of a 19 year old playing A ball, which is good for Cecchini. Gavin hit .273 on the year but his OBP was only .319 and his SLG was only .314. He showed flashes, though, once racking up a 16 game hitting streak and posting an average above .300 for much of the year.
Looking ahead…Cechinni’s 2013 season was average and his stock isn’t all that changed from where it was this time last year, but he will report to low A Savannah for his first full professional season in 2014. GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets tend to treat prep hitting prospects patiently, so expect him to spend the entire season
#102 Sean Gilmartin, left-handed pitcher, Atlanta Braves
Height/Weight: 6’2″ 190 lbs
Born: May 8, 1990 (age 22)
2013 Stats (AAA): 3-8, 5.74 ERA, 65 SO, 33 BBs, 91 IP
Heading into 2013.. A former first round pick, Gilmartin showed troubling dips in his peripherals in 2012 but still managed a 3.84 ERA between AA and AAA. 23 and pitching in the highest level of the minors, Gilmartin could make some spot starts down the stretch
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… The poor peripherals turned out to be indicative of a larger problem as AAA lineups repeatedly thrashed the young righthander, lighting him up for 11 hits/9 and a 5.74 ERA. Home runs were a problem in particular, as Gilmartin gave up 12 home runs in just 91.0 innnings, a rate of 1.2 HR/9.
Looking ahead…Gelmartin does have one good thing going for him – a single pitch, a changeup, which could yield great results out of the bullpen. If he can’t regain form as a starter, expect him to make at least a handful of relief appearances for the Braves next season.
#101 Wily Peralta, right-handed pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers
Height/Weight: 6’2″, 240 lbs
Born: May 8, 1989 (age 24)
2012 Stats (at Triple-A Nashville): 10-15, 4.34 ERA, 126 SO, 68 BBs, 178.1 IP
Heading into 2013.. Having posted a a mediocre 7-11 record and a 4.66 ERA, but with above average stuff and a surprising great performance in the majors after a September call up, Peralta appeared on our list. Peralta was likely to join the Brewers rotation in 2013 and we projected to him have a “solid, but unsepctacular” rookie season.
Now that the 2013 season is (almost) over… That prediction was basically spot on, as Peralta’s 4.34 ERA is slightly below average but perfectly acceptable for a rookie on a second class club. More strikeouts, however, were expected as Peralta struck out 8.5 batters per nine in the minors but only 6.4 batters per nine in the majors. An improved strikeout rate may be the major piece Peralta needs to get over the hump.
Looking ahead…Peralta will slot in as a starter in his sophomore season for the Brewers next season. With one season under his belt, he should be at least slightly improved, and could prove himself as a number three starter.