No. 70 Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 175 pounds
Born: January 27th, 1991 (Age 22)
2013 MLB Stats :2013 MLB Stats: 14-8, 3.20 ERA, 30 starts, 185.2 IP, 170 SO (8.2 K/9), 45 BBs (2.2 BB/9), 3.69 FIP
Heading into 2013: Once considered one of the top handful of prospects in baseball, recent struggles in AAA and the majors had significantly eroded Teheran’s stock. While he was likely to spend most of the year in the majors, it was unclear exactly what his role would be.
This season: Teheran secured a rotation spot in 2013, but struggled to a 5.06 ERA through the first month of the season. The braves stuck with him though, and he eventually settled in, becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball from May through August, going 12-9 with a 2.57 ERA and an 8.66 K/9. His performance was good enough to earn him a starting spot going in the post season, as the Braves announced that he will start game three of the NLDS.
Looking ahead:Regardless of what happens in the postseason, Teherean has established himself as a number 2 starter at minimum. Only 22, he still has lots of room to grow and could morph into a perennial all star – a scary prospect for the rest of the NL East.
Stock: UP, but he has graduated from prospect status.
No. 69 Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 245 pounds
Born: Dec. 9, 1990 (Age 22)
2013 MLB Stats: .391/.534/.925, 19 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB, 36 BBs, 97 SO, 104 games, 432 PA
Heading into 2013: Given a huge contract by the Dodgers after defecting from Cuba, Yasiel Puig lacked the upside of fellow Cubans Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes. We expected him to make the mjaors, but it was unclear if he would perform once there.
This season: Puig did more than perform, he became a phenomonon, drawing more attention to Dodger Stadium than any player since Fernando Venezuela and turning the National League into his own, personal punching bag. After being called up on June 3, he hit two home runs in his second major league game, carried a .500 average and 1.453 OPS through his first eight games, and maintained a .400 average until July 10th. That is to say nothing of his defense, as his rocket arm produced multiple Web Gems and 300 foot assists.
Looking ahead: Puig has soared well past his Cuban brethren and is the front runner for the National League Rookie of the Year award. He will be a legitimate MVP candidate going into next season and could conceivably win a World Series MVP this October.
Stock: WAY UP and graduated.
No. 68 Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds
Born: May 29, 1990 (Age 23)
2013 MLB Stats: 2-4, 2.63 ERA, 74 G, 75 1/3 IP, 108 SO (12.9 K/9), 20 BB (2.4 BB/9), 1.102 WHIP
Heading into 2013: After dominating in AA and out of the major league bullpen down the stretch and into the postseason, the hard throwing Rosenthal appeared ready for the majors, but it was unclear how the Cardinals would utilize him. He had the ability to start, but his a 100 MPH fastball and dastardly curve had been a huge asset out of the pen last year. This was Joba Chamberlain, Midwest.
This season: The Cardinals ultimately decided to keep him in the pen, and they haven’t regretted it. He has been one of the best set up men in baseball, posting an unreal 1.91 FIP that ranked 6th among all Major League relievers (min. 30 IP), and racking up the third most relief strikeouts in the game.
Looking ahead: Going into 2014, The Cardinals will now be faced with the same decision they had with Adam Wainright six years ago, when he was a starting pitching prospect who had dominated out of the pen for a season. In all likelihood, GM John Mozeliak will recognize that a starting pitcher is exponentially more valuable than a a reliever, and they will convert him back into a starter. With two plus pitches, an above average third, and good command, he’ll make a good one.
Stock: Up, but he has graduated from prospect status.
No. 67 Casey Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres
Height/Weight: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds
Born: Oct. 4 1989 (Age 24)
2012 MLB Stats (did not pitch in 2013): 2-3, 6.21 ERA, 6 GS, 29.0 IP, 10 BB (3.1 BB/9), 26 K (8.1 K/9), 1.690 WHIP
Heading into 2013: On the prospect radar since being drafted in the first round by the Red Sox in 2008 and shutting down the South Atlantic League (A) and the Carolina League (A+) as a 19 year old, Kelly finally reached the majors in 2012. He was injured struggled in his six starts and spent much of the year on the disabled list, but his combination of superior stuff and superior command made him a good bet to succeed going forward.
This season: Kelly did not succeed, although he did not fail per se either. The 24 year old righthander underwent Tommy John surgery at the end spring training and missed the remainder of the season.
Looking ahead: Kelly hopes to be ready by Opening day 2014, but Tommy John Surgery can require up to 18 months of rehab so its unclear how much he’ll pitch, if it all. If he does return, he may or may not be the same as he was before the operation, but his durability could always be in question.
No. 66 Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals.
Height/Weight: 5-foot-9, 190 pounds
Born: Oct. 10, 1990 (Age 22)
2013 AAA stats: .303/.369/.466, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 41 BB, 60 SO, 20 SB, 107 G, 463 PA
2013 MLB stats: .153/.194/.169, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 12 SO, 3 SB, 32 G, 62 PA
Heading into 2013: A First round pick in 2011, Wong had performed at every level thus far and looked poised to continue his solid hitting in AAA. A good performance there could potentially lead to a major league call up by the end of the the year.
This season: Wong did indeed play well in AAA and received a call up to to the majors, although his hitting at the show was much more suspect. Ignoring his major league stats, which are the results of youth and a small sample size, his AAA numbers indicate across the board improvement. Always a .285+ batting average, line drive hitter, Wong affirmed 15 homer power by knocking out 10 in 107 games, he showed improve plate discipline by improving his walk rate from 7.6% in 2012 to 8.9%, and stole bases at an unreal clip (95% stolen base percentage).
Looking ahead: Wong should be major league ready next season, but the Cardinals are set at second and third base, hiss only positions. With that in mind, Mozeliak could potentially use him as a trade chip in his likely pursuit of a shortstop, or perhaps even attempt to move Wong there, although he has never played there in the minors and certainly lacks the range.