Considered a reach as the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Hunter Dozier tore up the lower levels of minor league baseball. And with the Kansas City Royals organization lacking a true big league caliber starter at the hot corner, Dozier has a chance to move quickly. However, a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals saw his numbers fall dramatically from .295/.397/.429 to .209/.303/.312. Are the top-100 prospect’s upper-level struggles a sign of things to come, or a blip on the radar as he makes adjustments?
After winning the Texas League batting title, excitement surrounds second baseman Odubel Herrera as he heads into a Rule-5 eligible off-season. However, the top-20 Rangers prospect resides in a system filled with upper-level middle infielders including big-league starters Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor and defensive specialists Luis Sardinas and Hanser Alberto. A successful return from a recurring shoulder injury by Jurickson Profar would further clog Herrera’s path to the big leagues. Will the Frisco RoughRider be able to separate himself from the pack or will he need to find his way to another organization for an everyday job?
After declining Alex Rios’ option for 2015, does waiting on Double-A Frisco RoughRider Nick Williams to develop make sense? The Texas Rangers have a hole to fill in the outfield and the best MLB options are a struggling Michael Choice, or former minor league free agents Jake Smolinksi and Jim Adduci. This leaves Texas to choose between signing or acquiring 2015’s starting right fielder, or flipping a coin from within. As the club works to identify a replacement, does the organization need to take a wait and see approach with Williams and Nomar Mazara (ROTOscouting Report) on the horizon?
For years, the Colorado Rockies have searched for a suitable starter opposite star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. In 2014, the quest failed again as DJ LeMahieu slugged under .370 and reached base under 32% of the time for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, prized shortstop prospect Trevor Story slashed .200/.302/.380 following a mid-season call-up to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, creating worry he will go the way of so many other Rockies middle infielders. Will the former first-round pick turn things around or is he destined to be yet another mishap up the middle?
Yasmani Grandal a breakout season from journeyman Rene Rivera has left the San Diego Padres strong behind the plate. After hitting .225 with Double-A San Antonio in 2014, doubts persist concerning top prospect Austin Hedges. Is the top-50 prospect going to hit enough to start at the MLB level, or will the top defender be relegated to back up duty?
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels has said the Rangers will fill one of three open 2015 rotation spots with an in-organization arm. In the minors, Alex “Chi-Chi” Gonzalez has moved through the system quickly and posted a 2.70 ERA with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. Will the top-100 prospect be ready to compete for and grab an MLB job come next spring?
Rangers prospect Joey Gallo possesses two very well-known attributes: 80-grade raw power and extraordinarily high whiff rates. After demolishing the High-A Carolina League where ROTOscouting had a first look, the high-profile third baseman has struggled to the tune of a .232 average since a promotion to Double-A Frisco. Is Gallo the next 40+ home run slugger, or is he the next strikeout-induced bust?
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?
The key piece of a substantial deal for Tigers closer Joakim Soria, 22-year old Texas Rangers pitching prospect Jake Thompson has become a name of much intrigue in 2014. The current Frisco RoughRider has enjoyed a fantastic season, posting a 2.90 ERA while striking out nearly a batter per inning across High-A and Double-A at 20. Is he a future rotation stalwart for a big league club in need of healthy arms?
With one of the worst bullpens in baseball after trading back-end relievers Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria – not to mention the possible free agency exit of lefty Neal Cotts – the Texas Rangers will need to rebuild a bullpen for the 2015 season. With the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, Keone Kela has dominated with 42 strikeouts in 31 innings. Will the flame-throwing right-hander be ready to contribute at the MLB level next season?
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