Sunday, April 1, 2012

Buried Treasure Top 100 Prospects: #31-40

31. Wil Myers
Position: LF/RF
Team: Kansas City Royals

Myers was considered a first-round talent in 2009 but fell to the third round where the Royals gobbled him up. It cost the Royals 2 million to sign the high school catcher but as of now it looks like a worthwhile investment. Since Myers strength is his offensive, the Royals made the decision to move Myers to the outfield to expedite his bat up the minor league ladder. In the outfield, he has the athleticism and arm to be above-average in a corner. With a bat in his hands, Myers is all-around offensive force. A solid hit tool, plate discipline, and power could all add up to a pretty .300/.400/.500 slash line from Myers as a major leaguer.

32. James Paxton
Position: SP
Team: Mariners

Paxton could be a Blue Jay. Toronto drafted Paxton in the supplemental first round in 2009, but Paxton chose not to sign. Noah Syndergaard was the compensation prize for the Blue Jays, so they aren't complaining, at least too much. Neither are the Seattle Mariners who were able to draft Paxton in the fourth round in 2011 and subsequently sign him with a bonus of just under a million dollars. The lefty pitcher throws a 4-seam fastball that peaks at 98 mph and sits in the mid 90's. Paxton compliments his 4-seamer with a 2-seamer, curveball, and circle changeup. The 2-seamer is a solid pitch with plenty of movement. Paxton's curveball is a plus pitch and his circle change shows promise. Paxton has a #2 ceiling with a solid chance of reaching it or at least coming close to it. Plus, he may be ready as soon as this year.

33. Matt Harvey
Position: SP
Team: New York Mets
When the Mets traded for Zack Wheeler this past July, the plan was to pair him with the Mets other young pitching prospect to form a formidable 1-2 punch. The other player in that pairing is pitcher Matt Harvey. The Mets drafted the former Tar Heel in the first round in 2010 and so far it's looked like a solid pick. Harvey's primary pitch is an fastball he can rev up to 98 mph that sits in the 92-94 range. Harvey also has a slider that's a plus pitch and a show-me curveball. Finally, he's recently added a changeup that flashes as a third above-average or better pitch. He'll need to refine his command, but Harvey has #2 starter upside.

34. Jon Singleton
Position: RF/1B
Team: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies always seem to get later round gems that turn into great prospects at a low price. Prior to Singleton was Dominic Brown, who was drafted in the 20th round in 2006 and signed for two hundred thousand dollars. In 2009, Singleton was drafted in the 8th round and signed for the same two hundred thousand dollar cost. Unfortunately for Philadelphia fans, they will never see him in a Phillies uniform in the major leagues, at least for a while. Singleton was part of the prospect package sent to the Astros in exchange for Hunter Pence. The big question about Singleton is his defensive position. He's fairly athletic and has good arm, so it seems possible he will be able to stick in right field. However, Singleton has a large frame and may find himself at first base in the near future. Singleton has shown the ability to hit for average and power, along with the patience to draw a walk, so his overall offensive game has plenty of potential, even if he has to play first. On the other hand, if he can play a corner outfield spot, then his value skyrockets. Either way, Singleton is a very good prospect, and the possibility of Singleton's bat in right field easily vaults him into my top 50.

35. Starling Marte
Position: CF
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates

A personal favorite that may mean my homerism is showing. A more detailed report can be read on Marte here, but I'll point out this. Despite murmurs about his power – Marte did provide some answers last season – and major concerns about his plate discipline, Marte has the ability to be an elite defensive centerfield with huge range, good reads, and a cannon arm. That alone gives him a solid floor even if he's a below-average offensive centerfielder. There also seems to be a chance Marte could be a weapon offensively. The Pirates prospect clearly has an elite hit tool and was able to dramatically cut down on his strikeout rate, while flashing more power. While there is a possibility that Marte's inability to take a walk will ruin the rest of his offensive game, adding more patience could turn him into a superstar.

36. Martin Perez
Position: SP
Team: Texas Rangers

Perez seems to continuously get criticized for his lack of production. However, that “lack of production” is only half the story. Perez is a lefty with three above-average or better pitches. His arsenal includes a fastball that can touch 96, a plus-plus changeup with deadly fade, and a solid curveball with good depth. Perez also gets high grades for gorgeous mechanics, particularly his clean arm action. In addition, Perez's numbers have been far from awful, especially considering his ridiculous youth at each stop. He started the year in AA after just turning 20 in early April and then finished the year in AAA. Perez could see significant time in the majors as a 21 year old this year and that's always a strong positive for a prospect.

37. Arodys Vizcaino
Position: SP
Team: Atlanta Braves

Another young Latin American pitcher with great stuff, Vizcaino is small for a pitcher. He only stands 6'0, but he still brings significant heat. Vizcaino's fastball touches 97 and sits in the 93-95 range with great movement. Vizcaino pairs his fastball with an excellent curveball that generates plenty of swings and misses. He tends to throw the pitch too much and instead could benefit from improving his changeup which needs work. All together it's a solid arsenal for Vizcaino who has quite the ceiling. Whether he reaches that ceiling will depend on his health – he had a partially torn elbow ligament in 2010 – and his command, which to this point has been a problem for Vizcaino.

Update: Vizcaino will miss all of 2012 due to injury

38. Randall Delgado
Position: SP
Team: Atlanta Braves

Back to back Braves pitchers on this list. Delgado is also an international free agency signing which shows the success the Braves have had in recent years in Latin American. Delgado is close to major league ready, even though he just turned 22 in February. Delgado doesn't have a massive ceiling – he'll probably settle into a middle-of-the-rotation #3 pitcher rather than a true top-of-the-rotation stud – but his floor, youth, and closeness to the majors make him an attractive prospect. On the field, Delgado offers a good fastball that sits in the 92-94 range. The Braves pitcher does have trouble commanding the fastball at times, but he's able to compliment the pitch with a plus curveball and an above-average changeup that he is still refining. Delgado also does a good job having a consistent delivery and arm action with all three of his pitches which adds deception.

39. Mike Olt
Position: 3B
Team: Texas Rangers

It seems that the Rangers farm system oozes with pitchers with live arms and toolsy outfielders or middle infield prospects, all with massive upsides. Mike Olt fails to fit that mold, but despite that he's quite the prospect in his own right. Drafted out of the University of Connecticut in the supplemental first round in 2010 by the Rangers, Olt has thus far impressed as a promising 3B prospect with both a solid offensive and defensive game. Statistically, Olt does have a fairly high strikeout rate but he combats that with a solid hit tool, plus power, and an elite walk rate. At the hot corner, he has a quick first step and fast reactions that compliment average arm and a strong arm. Overall, Olt doesn't stun anyone with athleticism or prodigious power but his all-around game should make him at least a solid major leaguer for several years.

40. George Springer
Position: CF
Team: Houston Astros

Springer has more upside than the average college hitter, although he also comes with more risk than the average college hitter. In that same vein, Springer is more raw at the plate than is to be expected, and that could hold him back. However, if it doesn't hold him back Springer's well-rounded and well-regarded tools equal an impact player at the major league level. Considered the cliched 5-tool player, Springer is realistically more of a 4-tool player. Average may always be a problem for him, but the Astros's prospect should have a plus glove in centerfield due to good range and a strong arm.