In 2013, Rockies prospect Rosell Herrera rode a South Atlantic League MVP award to top-100 prospect status as a member of the Asheville Tourists. Lost in the .343/.419/.515 triple slash line was the fact Herrera’s home park had a 297 foot right field fence. An honest look at park factors would have helped predict his drop in performance. Being one who touted the young switch hitter after seeing him on multiple occasions, his breakout was something to be excited about. When wanting to believe in a prospect’s ability, it’s easy to overlook the obvious.
Jairo Labourt was one of many Toronto prospects slated for assignment at short-season Vancouver, a pivotal Blue Jays affiliates for 2014. After graduating quality prospects to the big club (save for breakout campaigns from LHP Daniel Norris and OF Dalton Pompey), the Jays patiently waited until June for a handful of high ceiling talents to debut. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Labourt has fit in well with a big-name rotation featuring Alberto Tirado, Miguel Castro, and Matt Smoral. Showing both the stuff and results to succeed as a starter, what should Toronto fans expect from the lanky lefty?
A few years ago, Yankees fans would have pooh-poohed the idea of Rob Refsnyder as its second baseman of the future. Spoiled by an influx of high salaried stars, quality MLB prospects were exiled to second division teams. Refsnyder would have been lumped into this category as he reminds more of Willie Randolph than Robinson Cano. With Stephen Drew atop New York’s depth chart, will the breakout talent be a quality, cost-controlled option for years to come?
Buying into sudden prospect hype is dangerous. Case in point, JR Graham. Two seasons ago, Graham was the talk of the Atlanta Braves farm system. Taken in the 4th round of 2011 draft, the former Santa Clara Bronco enjoyed a 12-2 record with a 1.061 WHIP between High-A Lynchburg and Double-A Mississippi. A top-100 prospect., he battled Julio Teheran for the top spot in the Braves farm system. Expected to wreak havoc in the National League East, a shoulder injury in May 2013 changed everything.
The Cubs called up Jorge Soler on Monday, bringing the talented outfielder to Wrigley for the last six weeks of the season. Across three levels, the Cuban compiled a triple slash of .340/.432/.700, more than enough to warrant a big league look. Unlike Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara, Soler was already on the 40-man roster and is signed to a Major League contract. Recalled midway through the I-Cubs’ matchup against Tacoma, Soler provided a brief glimpse into his potential. What will the future star be working on during his time in the north side of Chicago?
After the massive trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in which the Oakland Athletics shipped top prospects Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily, the A’s core of future assets stands depleted. This makes players including current Midland Rockhound Max Muncy more important to the health of the organization. Post trade, Oakland will count on lesser-known prospects to develop into major league players including the left-handed hitting first baseman. Does Muncy have what it takes to become a key cog on future Athletics contenders?
At first glance, Dalton Pompey resembled former Blue Jays second round pick and 20/20 outfielder Derek Bell. In 2014, the switch hitting Pompey has exploded onto the national prospect scene. After posting a .319/.397/.471 triple slash line in High-A, a .295/.378/.473 line in Double-A earned a late season promotion to Buffalo of the International League.
The Minnesota Twins have struggled finding a permanent solution at shortstop. Since trading J.J. Hardy to the Orioles during the 2011 off-season, Minnesota has started twelve different players at the position. With no long-term options in the pipeline, the team drafted their franchise shortstop in 2014. Using the 5th pick in the first round, the Twins selected Nick Gordon out of Olympia High School in Orlando Florida.
Mason Williams began the 2013 season as the number one prospect in the Yankees system and one of the top ranked outfielders in minor league baseball. He then struggled in High-A before being arrested for driving under the influence. As questions about his makeup arose, Williams continued to sputter until a late season surge quieted doubters. Williams’ .288/.328/.384 second half was enough for the Yankees to promote him to Double-A to end the year. The former top-100 prospect has struggled to adjust since.
This week’s edition of FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets profiles a trio of starters in their mid-twenties finally receiving an extended rotation look, a future closer, and one of the minor’s top pitching prospects. Bid recommendations are based on a $100 FAAB budget. If former FAAB top prospects turned post hype sleepers Neil Ramirez, Jake McGee and Jake Arrieta are any indication, one former top-100 prospect on this week’s list is primed for a big breakout.
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