Sunday, April 1, 2012
Buried Treasure Top 100 Prospects: #71-80
Team: New York Yankees
Physically, Betances is an absolute monster. The Yankees farmhand stands 6'8 and weighs 260 lbs. With that frame comes an intimidating mound presence and impressive stuff that comes in on a hitter on a steep downhill plane. Betances fastball generally sits in the 92-94 mph range but can touch 98 mph. Generally, Betances is able to command his fastball, but the same cannot be said for his curveball. The power breaker has the making out of a swing-and-miss pitch, but right now Betances's command of the pitch is eratic. A changeup that flashes above-average rounds out his repertoire. Those three pitches give Betances the making of a frontline starter, but command struggles may relegate him to the middle-of-the-rotation or the bullpen as an late-inning reliever.
72. Trevor May
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
May combines premium stuff with an impressive frame in a package that's indicative of a rotation workhorse. His fastball sits in the low 90's with heavy life. May compliments his heater with three secondary pitches. The curveball is most advanced and is already a plus pitch, although it's inconsistent at times. The changeup flashes above-average. The slider is raw and will need plenty of work. May tends to overthrow his pitches and he also has complicated mechanics. Both factors have limited his command, which is poor. Ultimately, May's command may limit his value to a mid-rotation innings eater rather than a frontline starter, but with May's frame he should fit nicely into that role.
73. Ryan Lavarnway
Team: Boston Red Sox
Lavarnway's value is largely dependant upon his ability to play catcher. If he can stick behind the plate, his offensive is an asset. Otherwise, Lavarnway's value plummets as he's only an average hitter at a corner outfield spot. At the plate, the Red Sox farmhand has plus power that's generated by his compact swing. Lavarnway also has good patience, posting solid walk rates and acceptable strikeout rates throughout his minor league career. Because of his compact swing and patience, Lavarnway also has an above-average hit tool. Defensively, Lavarnway's athleticism and quickness are below-average and his arm is fringy. Despite that, a strong work ethic has allowed Lavarnway to transform himself into an adequate defensive backstop thus far. If he can continue to stick at that position, Lavarnway has a very good chance to be an average to above-average catcher for the Red Sox in the near future.
74. Noah Syndergaard
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were probably upset to a degree about losing James Paxton, but Syndergaard has helped ease that sting. Using the compensatory pick - 38th overall in 2010 – received for not signing Paxton, the Blue Jays picked Syndergaard and inked him with a $600,000 bonus. Syndergaard sat in the low 90's in high school, but registered triple-digits on radar guns last season. Impressive athleticism allows Syndergaard to have clean, repeatable mechanics despite his tall frame. That allows the Blue Jays farmhand to maintain acceptable command. In addition to his fastball, Syndergaard has a curveball and changeup. Both pitches are raw and both pitches have plus potential. Syndergaard is years away from the majors, but his raw velocity and athleticism give him top-of-the-rotation starter potential.
75. Jake Odorizzi
Team: Kansas City Royals
Odorizzi is an excellent athlete, which helps him on the mound with repeating his delivery, which is clean and fluid. Coming to the Royals organization as part of the package traded by the Brewers for Zach Greinke, Odorizzi throws a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. The fastball is his best pitch; it sits in the low 90's, touches 95, and includes sinking and running action. Odorizzi is able to maintain his fastball velocity deep into games, displaying impressive stamina. Of the secondaries, the curveball has the strongest potential, and all three pitches project as at least average. Odorizzi sometimes gets too cute with his pitches, and attempts to nibble, which leads to command problems. Ultimately, Odorizzi simply needs refinement and if that happens he profiles as a #2 or #3 starter and he could meet that profile in short order.
76. Oswaldo Arcia
Team: Minnesota Twins
Arcia possesses the hand-eye coordination and bat speed to make hard contact to all fields. The Twins outfielder also has plus raw power. At the same time, he does struggle with patience, rarely walking. Still, Arcia does enough damage when he actually swings the bat to be an asset offensively. That's true even if his future is a corner outfield spot, which is virtually inevitable. Arcia does possess a strong arm, so right field might be his future position. There, Arcia has the offensive potential to be an all-star, even if that's years away.
77. Will Middlebrooks
Team: Boston Red Sox
Middlebrooks falls into a category with Ryan Lavarnway. Both are floor-centric, Red Sox positional prospects. Instead of a being backstop, Middlebrooks mans the hot corner. There, he relies on solid athleticism, good quickness, and a cannon arm to be a plus defender. At the plate, Middlebrooks displays little patience and his hit tool is average at best. That will prevent him from posting elite OBP numbers. Rounding out his offensive game, Middlebrooks does have plus raw power that he's learning to translate to game power. Overall, Middlebrooks has a high floor and should be a solid everyday third baseman, but his issues with getting on-base limit his potential.
78. Brad Peacock
Team: Oakland Athletics
Peacock was part of the package the Athletcs received in exchange for sending Gio Gonzalez to Nationals. Peacock has a solid fastball – it sits in the low 90's and can touch the high 90's – that he commands well. He also has has another pitch that can miss bats in his 12-6 curveball. Peacock rounds out his pitch arsenal with a changeup that flashes above-average. Peacock is also an exceptional athlete, which helps him repeat his delivery and also helps him field his positional well. Peacock has the upside of a #2 starter, but more than likely he will settle into a role as a mid-rotation type of guy. Considering he's nearly major league ready, that gives Peacock a solid mix of floor and ceiling.
79. Jesse Biddle
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Thus far in his pro career, Biddle has been a bit of an enigma. At times, he's a lefty with plus stuff, including a fastball that sits in the 93-94 mph range, a plus curveball, and an above-average changeup. At other times, Biddle's fastball barely reaches 90, his curveball loses it's shape, and the changeup is erratic and wild. Usually the fastball, specifically it's velocity, is the issue and Biddle's secondaries stay strong. The curveball and changeup, along with a potential slider, are good enough for Biddle to ride even if his fastball remains mediocre. However, if Biddle can add strength and maintain the velocity on his fastball, he could be a #2 or #3 workhorse lefty starter.
80. Addison Reed
Team: Chicago White Sox
The general rule of thumb is that relievers are significantly less valuable than every day positional players or starting pitchers. Thus, a prospect that profiles as a reliever must be tremendous to gain significant prospect attention. Reed makes that grade. The White Sox prospect is a strikeout artist thanks to his fastball-slider combination. The fastball is a plus pitch that sits in the mid 90's and has plenty of run. Reed's slider is even better; it's a true 80 pitch that has enough velocity separation to function as a changeup and it comes with lethal movement. Reed also has a true changeup, but it's an average offering that he doesn’t have much use for as a reliever. It's only a matter of time before Reed establishes himself as the White Sox closer and eventually one of the best closers in baseball.