I should be having an article about the big fight this weekend on Tuesday or Wednesday (And I'm not talking about that CBS crap). I have decided to go through all 100 of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects to give my opinion on each and every one of these players. Whenever I talk about what scouts think about a player, I am referring to the excellent work done by Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus for just about everything so big props to him. Today, we hit up prospects 50-41.
50 Shelby Miller, rhp, Cardinals – I think this ranking is based off the fact that all the other Cardinals prospects suck, so it makes this guy look better than he is. Everyone projected him in the middle of the first round, and that’s basically where he went. Now, he’s a power pitcher who’s going to set the world on fire. He’s got a very good fastball and his curveball could also be a plus pitch if he can gain consistency with it. His control needs some work, but he’s young so there is time for that to develop. Right now, he has the physical attributes to be a very good starter, but he really hasn’t shown it on a consistent basis, and right now he’s a lot of projection. I would not put him this high, but if he dominates for the River Bandits this year, we could see him moving up the list.
49 Zack Wheeler, rhp, Giants – I can’t really argue with this ranking, because there isn’t much to go off of right now. He’s got a good body and a great fastball, while his secondary pitches need work. He was considered one of the top high school arms in the draft, and we’ll all figure it out together when he makes his full season debut at Low-A this year.
48 Chris Withrow, rhp, Dodgers – I think Withrow is overrated at this spot. He’s got a great arm, and he can strike guys out, but he walks too many hitters and simply gave up too many runs last year to be seen as a Top 50 prospect. His delivery is inconsistent, so that also means that his command and control can come and go. Great velocity is great, but I need to see more results before putting a guy up this high.
47 Casey Crosby, lhp, Tigers – This is probably the right range for Crosby. He is a big lefty with power stuff and he dominated Low-A coming off Tommy John surgery. His command got better as the year went on, so the biggest question with him is whether he will be able to develop a changeup to compliment his fastball/curve combination. The worst case scenario is him being a dominant reliever, so there’s a lot to like with Crosby. It should be interesting to see his progression as he goes up against more advanced hitters.
46 Dee Gordon, ss, Dodgers – This is probably about right for Dee Gordon. He’s got a lot going for him, he is Tom “Flash” Gordon’s son, he was co-MVP of the Midwest League (Although a strong case could have been made for Jon Edwards, who does not believe in nine inning games), and most importantly, he’s an extremely athletic shortstop who has oodles of potential. Despite being raw, he was able to produce in Low-A, so he should only get better from here. He needs to refine his approach and develop some more power, but at his age, there’s no reason to think that that isn’t possible. I still think Tom could strike him out.
45 Yonder Alonso, 1b, Reds – I’d put Alonso a lot lower. Some people were epically disappointed in him, but he was solid last year, just not great. He gets on base at a great clip, hit for a good average, and had solid power. The problem is that you’d want good-great power at first base which he may still have since he was battling a hand injury. But he simply can’t hit lefties. He didn’t hit them in college, and he didn’t hit them well in the minors either. When you’re a first baseman, you need to hit, and not being able to be effective against lefties is a pretty big knock, so I do not see him as a top 50 prospect.
44 Nick Hagadone, lhp, Indians – Hagadone is way too high at this ranking. Although he dominated Low-A coming off Tommy John surgery which is impressive, he’s not a young guy. He turns 24 this year, and he’ll need to move fast if he wants to have a big time impact. Many question his secondary offerings, so there’s a good chance he ends up as a reliever. There is a chance he could be a dominant closer, but a guy this old with no experience at the higher levels is a big question mark and I think he should be about 30 spots lower.
43 Todd Frazier, of/2b/3b, Reds – I think this is too high for Frazier, and I actually like him a lot, but apparently Baseball America wants him to bang their sister with how much they like him. He’s a good, not great player. He’s going to max out at average on defense, because he’s not a real toolsy guy. He has hit the ball well at every level, but he’s not a league leading type hitter. If he stays at second, I think he will be above average offensively and maybe a little below average defensively. That definitely has value, but I don’t see star potential, so I’d probably move him down a bit.
42 Tanner Scheppers, rhp, Rangers – I like Scheppers, but not this much. There’s just too many questions with him as he’s already had shoulder surgery and he’s 23 years old but has yet to make a pitch in the minor leagues. He’s got an electric arm, but it’s unrealistic to think he’s going to be able to be a starter. This is a relief prospect, and one that has an arm that could fall off (not literally) at any moment. I need to at least see some domination against real competition before considering putting a guy like that this high.
41 Jason Castro, c, Astros – Probably the third most overrated player on this entire list. Jason Castro is a good defensive catcher with a solid bat, and I don’t mean solid by all baseball standards, I mean solid for catching standards. He should have a decent average and he has good plate discipline, but there is limited power, and he’s not going to be a middle of the lineup guy. Although the defense is good, it’s not world class. Honestly, there’s nothing to get excited about, he’s a solid catching prospect, whoopty doo.
Yep, so apparently I hate BA's 50-41 guys.
P.S. Enjoy this picture of Diddy getting after it.