Prospects. Everybody loves talking about prospects. When they will be called up and how they will perform are fun predictions to make. Many baseball fans know nothing about their favorite teams’ farm systems. This is where you separate the casual baseball fan from the avid baseball fan. This week, we are going to take a look at some of the best prospects in baseball. The “hot” list will consist of top prospects that are likely to be called up this year. The “cold” list is top prospects who may be doing great in the minors but for various reasons will probably not be called up this year. Let’s dive in.
1. Bryce Harper — Nationals — OF
The Wonderboy. SI once called him “the Lebron James of baseball.” Harper was recently promoted to double-A Harrisburg after crushing single-A pitching and guess what? He continues to rake. Harper’s stat line is .357/.400/.357 in his first four games. It is a small sample size, but the kid can hit. He is already on the 40-man roster, so a September call-up may be coming.
2. Jerry Sands – Dodgers – OF
Sands was called up for a few games earlier this year and was simply average. The taste of the majors must have lit a fire under him, because he has been brilliant in triple-A. Along with his stellar defense, Sands is batting .319/.392/.650 in 41 games this year. Add his 13 homers and 45 RBIs and his chances of seeing the majors again this year are great. The Dodgers recently acquired Juan Rivera but that should not block Sands promotion.
3. Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks – 1B
Goldschmidt was recently passed over in favor of Brandon Allen to join the big league, but that could be short-lived. If Allen doesn’t perform, first base is Goldie’s for the taking. He is currently at double-A annihilating the pitching there. The biggest stat has been his power: 26 HR before the break. That is exactly the power the D-backs need from first base. If Allen fails (his minor league numbers haven’t translated to the majors on previous occasions), the call-up is imminent.
4. Desmond Jennings – Rays – OF
This list seems to be full of outfielders! Sam Fuld and the platoon of outfielders for the Rays are merely keeping the grass warm for Jennings. His power has grown by leaps and bounds this year. He has hit 12 HR to date, the most of his career in one year. Jennings has great speed (17 SB) and excellent defense. The call-up has to be coming soon, especially if the Rays are contenders in the second half.
5. Matt Moore – Rays – SP
It shouldn’t be surprising to see two Rays prospects on this list. They have a ridiculously polished and deep minor league system. Moore has a shiny 2.14 ERA at double-A Montgomery with a 11.6 SO/9. Baseball America rated him the #15 prospect this year and deservedly so. If the Rays are contenders, his arm would be a huge addition to the bullpen or the back end of the rotation. He will see the majors sooner than later.
Bonus: Swamp People. The best show on television. Period. If you have not seen this History Channel series … I don’t even know what to say. Just watch it.
1. Julio Teheran – Braves – SP
At 20-years-old, he is possibly the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. Baseball America has him ranked #5. With a 1.79 ERA and a 9-1 record you would think the Braves stupid not to put him in the rotation, right? Well for starters, the Braves rotation is already great. There have been some recent concerns with Teheran’s SO/9 rate. Each time he has moved up a class this stat has fallen. It could be a velocity issue or a control issue. With the amount of young pitching talent that the Braves have already promoted, they will let Teheran “season” a bit more at triple-A before he gets a permanent call-up.
2. Shelby Miller – Cardinals – SP
Rated #13 by Baseball America this year, he has moved quickly through the minor league system and has now settled at double-A Springfield. Miller is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA and just over a strikeout per inning in seven games for Springfield. He has the stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation starter and will be a huge asset to the Cardinals in the coming years. But not this year. He is still too raw for the majors and needs more time in the minors. The Cardinals would like to see him make club out of spring training next year.
3. Jesus Montero – Yankees – C
Montero is ranked #3 this year while he plays at triple-A Scranton. He might not be the best catcher in the Yankees system, but his bat and glove are the most MLB-ready. With Posada aging, the Yankees acquired Russell Martin from the Dodgers. Martin provides a huge roadblock for Montero, so don’t expect to see him any time soon. Montero may prove to be good trade bait as the trade deadline approaches.
4. Grant Green – Athletics – SS
Green is now the reigning Futures Game MVP after hitting two doubles at Chase Field last Sunday. Green plays for double-A Midland and sports a .281/.344/.391 line in 78 games this year. His power is still developing at age 23, which is evident by his 21 doubles and four home runs. Soon, those doubles will turn into homers and even if they don’t, he still drives in runs. Although no one is blocking him at SS (Cliff Pennington), Green isn’t on the 40-man roster and probably wont be until at least next year.
5. Matt Dominguez – Marlins – 3B
Ranked #81 by Baseball America, Dominguez has had a rough go in the minors since he was drafted 12th overall in 2007. His power has not developed yet and he strikes out way too much. Luckily, he is only 21-years-old and has plenty of time ahead of him to grow into the Marlins starting third baseman. As of right now, Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms are just holding down the hot corner until he is ready. But don’t expect him to arrive this year.
Bonus: Arizona weather. It’s strange that a place so hot could be on the cold list. But it is. It’s cold because it is so hot. Make sense? When I just checked the pool temperature it was 92 degrees. That’s not a pool. It’s a large hot tub. And it’s only going to get hotter.
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