Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Most Underrated Prospects In Baseball: Part 2

Through my first year on the blog, what was the one thing that got overwhelmingly negative feedback?  Prospect analysis.  That's why I'm bringing it back this year bitches.  Luckily for the haters, undertaking an endeavor as large as analyzing all 100 of Baseball America's top prospects proved to be way too much work for a repeat performance.  So now it is time for the underrated prospects.  Today, I will wrap up everything and focus on players that I see jumping into next year's Top 100 or making an impact at the major league level.  The first underrated part can be found here.  If you missed the overrated, you can check it out here and here.

Phillippe Aumont - SP/RP - Phillies
I thought he was possibly the most impressive arm in the Midwest League when I saw him a couple years ago.  This could mean that he has regressed and has a chance to bounce back, or it could mean that my baseball scouting abilities are pathetically underdeveloped.  Neither would surprise me, and it could honestly be a little of both.  Either way, I just have a strong feeling that this is the era of the French Canadians.  Not since the Rougeau Brothers has there been this sort of dominance from French Canadian athletes.
I mean, there's Georges St. Pierre, and...well, that might be it, but that still makes it a great time for French Canadians, hence expect a bounceback year from Aumont as he takes a huge step forward and is seen as a top relief prospect.

Robinson Chirinos - C - Rays
I know that I am breaking a rule of mine in that I should never bet on a prospect who is as old as I am, but I'm a spry 26, and I feel the same is true for Chirinos.  Also, isn't it always a good idea to bet that the Cubs gave away promising talent in a trade?  I think so, and that is why I am willing to bet on Chirinos.  He may be old, but he crushed the ball in Triple-A last year with a .318/.412/.580 line.  And it's not like he was hitting in a band box, he did it Des Moines, IA, not a place known for it's thin air.  Do I think he'll be able to hit like that in the majors?  No chance, but I do think he's good enough to provide good offense for a catcher, and I'll be surprised if he doesn't see serious time at catcher with the Rays this year. 

Jason Knapp - SP - Indians
Jason Knapp does my favorite thing very well, and that's strike people out.  During his three years in the minors, he has 208 strikeouts in 156 innings pitched.  Is that pimpin?  That's so pimpin.  So why doesn't this guy get more love from the experts?  Well, he pitched under 30 innings last year after spending most of his time rehabbing from shoulder surgery.  Shoulder surgery is about the worst thing for a pitcher, because although Tommy John Surgery is serious, almost everybody comes back to at least 80% of what they once were.  With shoulder surgery, there's many guys who aren't half as good as they once were.  But I'm not a doctor, so I don't worry about trivial things like his arm could fall off with his next pitch.  Injuries happen all the time, so enjoy the fun while you can.  Maybe Knapp does get hurt again, but if he doesn't, he's got the stuff to be a great pitcher in the majors.

Max Stassi - C - Athletics
There's no hiding it, his offense wasn't very good in Low-A last year.  A line of .229/.310/.380 is never going to get you laid.  But I also wouldn't count a guy like this out.  He was seen as a first round talent by a lot of people going into the draft, but dropped to the fourth, because people worried about his bonus demands.  I see him getting much better on offense, but even saying that, I never expect him to be a top offensive catcher.  But the defense, oh the defense.  Reviews of his defense are somewhere between sensational and heavenly.  If he can hit like an average catcher, he'll be an asset.  I think he can still develop into an above average hitter.  The biggest concern are strikeouts, but he showed enough power in a tough offensive environment for me to believe there's more on the way.  And worst case scenario is he keeps striking out and offers little offensive value.  Mike Scioscia would still kill his own grandmother to start a catcher like that 140 times.

Ryan Westmoreland - OF - Red Sox
This is a guy to root for after having brain surgery last year. He’s no longer on any prospect lists, but I think he’ll make a full recovery to his top prospect level. Plus, anyone who has ever had to interact with baseball players realizes that a majority of them are at least mildly retarded. Hence, even if they scrambled some things during his brain surgery, he should still maintain his ability to play baseball at a high level.  In all seriousness, you root for a full recovery for anyone who has to go through something like that.  And it would be nice if a small market team like the Red Sox can get a top prospect back.

And so wraps up my baseball prospect breakdown for this year.  Am I a genius?  Am I a moron?  Only time will tell.


P.S.  In "Derrick Rose Is Awesome" news, there's this:

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