Sunday, April 1, 2012
Buried Treasure Top 100 Prospects: #91-101
Team: New York Yankees
Arguably the biggest trade in the offseason involved the Yankees sending their top prospect catcher Jesus Montero to the Mariners in exchange for their young stud pitcher Michael Pineda. Each team also got an extra player in the trade. The Mariners received Hector Noesi while the Yankees received pitching prospect Jose Campos. Campos's best pitch is his fastball, which sits in the low 90's and reaches as high as the mid 90's. Campos is also a good candidate to add velocity to his fastball – which also has heavy life – due to a skinny 6'4 frame that has room for added muscle. A slider and a curveball round on Campos's arsenal. The slider flashes plus largely due to late bite. The curveball is raw, but has a chance to be a weapon against left-handed hitters down the road. Campos also commands his pitches well. Based on his stuff and project-ability, Campos has a huge ceiling. His ability to refine his pitches and further improve his command will dictate if he reaches it.
92. Josh Bell
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates stunned everyone and shattered records by signing the unsignable Josh Bell for 5 million dollars last year. The prep outfielder has a mammoth ceiling, although the source is his bat rather than insane athleticism often associated with high potential prep outfielders. That's not to say Bell is a poor athlete; he's an above-average runner with an above-average arm that suggests he will end up in right-field. However, it's Bell's bat that will make him special. In fact, he doesn't really have a hole in is offensive game. The outfielder projects to have a plus hit tool, plus power, and excellent plate discipline. Statistically, Bell could turn into the coveted .300/.400/.500 player and he's got the body type and swing to have even more power than that.
93. Taylor Jungmann
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Jungmann is skinny – he stands at 6'5 and weights 175 lbs – especially for a college pitcher. That lends hope to the fact that the Brewers pitching prospect will be able to add velocity to his fastball, which already sits in the 90-94 mph range and can touch 96 mph. A slider and changeup compliment Jungmann's fastball to round out his repertoire. The slider is above-average with nasty movement, while the changeup is currently below-average. Jungmann displayed strides during his senior year of command improvement, especially of his slider. That's especially important because Jungmann's delivery has some effort that hampers command. Overall, Jungmann has plenty of upside, especially if he can fill out his frame. A possible #2 starter, Jungmann could also end up in the bullpen if his changeup doesn't come along or his command doesn't improve.
94. Sonny Gray
Team: Oakland Athletics
The first thing that stands out about Gray is his stature. He only stands at 5'11, which is small, even more so for a right-hander. While that does bring criticism, Gray's stuff speaks for itself. His fastball has significant run and sits in the low-to-mid 90's. Gray commands the pitch well and can actually pull back and hit the high 90's on a radar gun. The Athletics pitching prospect has a curveball that gives him a nasty 1-2 punch. The pitch was one of the best in the draft and garners a grade of 65 from some. Gray also has a changeup, although it needs work. Gray should be ready for the big leagues soon and if his changeup comes along, he could be a #2 starter down the road, although he could end up in the bullpen instead.
95. Aaron Hicks
Team: Minnesota Twins
Hicks is a classic case of monster tools and lack of production. The first tool that stands out is Hicks's arm. It's a true plus-plus tool that's one of the best in baseball. Hicks also has plus speed that gives him good range in centerfielder. Combining the two tools, Hicks could be one of the best centerfielders in baseball, although inexperience prevents that for now. Offensively, Hicks has good bat speed and average raw power. He also has good patience, but thus far Hicks has struggled at the plate due inconsistency and inexperience. There's a chance Hicks never puts it together and all signs point to that end right now. However, his tools are hard to ignore and Hicks could be an all-star centerfielder if everything clicks.
96. Matt Dominguez
Team: Miami Marlins
Dominguez has two factors going for him, his youth and his glove. The Marlins prospect has already received a cup of coffee in the major leagues and he won't even turn 23 until the end of August. Dominguez also excels defensively at the hot corner. He has lighting-quick reactions and great instincts which gives him tremendous range. Dominguez rounds out his defensive with a strong, accurate arm. Putting it all together, Dominguez should win several gold gloves in the future. Offensively, Dominguez has struggled thus far in his young career. He has good hand-eye coordination, but he struggles to barrel balls and only has average power. In addition the third baseman has issues with patience. If he can improve his pitch-selection and take small strides in the rest of his offensive game, Dominguez could become an average hitter. That would be enough to make him a very valuable player because of his game-changing defense.
97. Deck McGuire
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
What McGuire doesn't have in the way of an overwhelming arsenal he makes up with polish, competitiveness and pitchability. That said, it's not like McGuire is working with a fringy pitching repertoire consisting of smoke and mirros. His fastball does sit in the high 80's and low 90's, but also has solid movement, making it a plus pitch. McGuire has a second plus pitch in a low 80's slider. The Blue Jays prospect has no trouble locating either pitch. McGuire rounds out his arsenal with a curveball and changeup. Both pitches probably won't ever be better than average, but both offer McGuire a chance to mix up his pitches and keep hitters honest, something at which he excels. McGuire does leave his pitches up in the zone from time to time, but if he remedy that issue, he has a great chance of being a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, a role he should be able to fill soon.
98. Jon Schoop
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Schoop defensive position is unclear mainly because he's been paired with Manny Machado and thus has seen little time at shortstop. He currently has the athleticism to play any infield position, although he may out grow the infield eventually. If Machado does stick at shortstop, conventional wisdom may have Schoop progress as his double-play partner. Schoop definitely has the bat to fulfill that role. The Orioles prospect has great bat speed and above-average raw power. That means his hit tool and power tool both project as average to above-average, although currently Schoop struggles laying off breaking balls, which hurts his ability to hit for average. Schoop doesn't walk too much, but he doesn't strike out excessively either. Ultimately, with a few positive strides in the right direction, Schoop projects to be above-average offensively which will mesh will with his projected above-average defense from a middle-infield spot. His upside may actually be even better than that, making Schoop an excellent prospect.
99. Daniel Norris
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
When day 1 of the 2011 major league draft ended, consensus believed the best two players left available were prep outfielder Josh Bell and prep pitcher Daniel Norris. The Pirates gobbled up Bell with the first pick on day 2, allowing the Blue Jays to pick Norris several picks later. That turned out to be important for the Blue Jays since they were the only school unable to sign their first-round pick as Tyler Beede chose to attend Vanderbilt. Norris became a sort of same-year compensation. The lefty has good velocity; his fastball sits in the low 90's with plenty of life and can touch 96. Norris compliments his heater with an excellent changeup and a curveball and slider. Both breaking balls project as plus. Norris also displays advanced polish for a high school pitcher. That said, he's still raw and needs to clean up his mechanics. If Norris does do that, the limit for him is the sky, which in baseball terms is the top of a rotation.
100. Joe Wieland
Team: San Diego Padres
Wieland has good, but not overpowering stuff. His fastball generally sits in the high 80's or low 90's, although it can touch 95 mph. Wieland's curveball and changeup are both very good pitches as well, with both projecting as above-average. The Padres farmhand – he was part of the trade that resulted in Mike Adams going from San Diego to Texas – is very quick to the plate, which helps limit the running game against him. Wieland's stuff also plays up due to his impeccable command. It's that command that gives Wieland, who only has average stuff, the ceiling of a #3 starter. Even if he doesn't reach that, Wieland is as safe a bet as anyone to make a big-league rotation in some capacity and someday soon.
101. Javier Baez
Team: Chicago Cubs
Listed as a shortstop in the 2011 draft, Baez will rely on his bat instead of his glove. In fact, it's possible Baez won't even able to stick at third base and instead will end up in the corner of the Cubs outfield one day. While that type of move would hurt Baez's stock a bit, his bat could be potent enough to make it irrelevant. Baez has a beautiful swing and enough raw power that he could one day have a plus-plus hit tool and plus-plus power, with both tools earning grades in the 65-70 range. The Cubs prospect has some maturity issues, but they aren't severe enough to have a long term impact. Defensively, Baez has a strong arm and average athleticism and range. It suggests he can stick at third-base. While he is years away from making the majors, if Baez can do that, his bat gives him the potential to be an impact, middle-of-the-order hitter who could win an MVP one day.