Wil Myers, Kansas City Royals
Ht/Wt: 6’-3”, 205
Drafted/Signed: 2009, 3rd Round (HS: Wesleyan Academy, N.C.)
Never since Alex Gordon debuted in 2007 have the Kansas Royals been excited about a position-playing prospect.
Myers was a beast at the plate this season. With the double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals he batted .343/.414/.731. He also knocked in 13 home runs in 35 games before being called up to triple-A Omaha. There, he continued his dominance at the plate: .304/.378/.554, 24 home runs, 79 RBIs in 99 games. This completely erases memories of his injury-filled 2011 season.
Myers’ plate discipline is that of a 10-year veteran. With the addition of his quick wrists and plate coverage, which allows him to easily place the ball to all sides of the field, he’s a masterful hitter in the making — a natural. Early on, he was a catching prospect before his shift to the outfield; this explains his arm strength, but overall, he’s still an average defensive outfielder at best.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers
Position: 3B, RF
Ht/Wt: 6’-4”, 210
Drafted/Signed: 2010, 1st Round (HS: Archbishop McCarthy, FL)
Even though Miguel Cabrera has been lights out at third base, he won’t be there forever. The call might come later in the season for Castellanos, but pending on where Victor Martinez ends up, and what Detroit decides to do with Delmon Young, Castellanos might see an opening in the outfield. Or dare I say, a move back to left field for Miggy?
Regardless, Castellanos is Detroit’s top hitting prospect. He’s a manager’s dream at third. He’s a big kid with good range and a powerful arm. He strikes out a bit more than desired, but he’s aggressive at the plate, which still makes him a hard out.
Travis d’Arnaud, Toronto Blue Jays
Ht/Wt: 6’-2”, 195
Drafted/Signed: 2007, 1st Round (HS: Lakewood, CA)
D’Arnaud was surely on his way to the show this season before a torn PCL in his knee ruined any chance of that happening. In 67 games for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons, he had 52 RBIs, belted 16 home runs and batted a solid .333.
Since 2010, d’Arnaud has improved his plate skills and his throws, which have led to 12 throw-outs of 40 base stealers, better than his previous seasons. Once he is at full health, don’t be surprised if he enters spring training competing for the starting job.
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
Ht/Wt: 6’-4”, 185
Drafted/Signed: 2009, 1st Round (HS: East Paulding, GA)
Wheeler is one of the best pitching prospects out there — he’s not a secret anymore. With R.A. Dickey aging and the inconsistencies of the rest of their staff exposed, Wheeler will get the call in 2013.
He’s a tall, lanky pitcher with a killer curveball that fools both left- and right-handed batters. His change-up is solid, but nothing to brag about. His breaking balls are the main attraction to his repertoire, though. He can reach as high as 98 mph with his fastball, but consistently stays in the mid-90s with his sidearm release on his two-seamer.
With the 2012 season winding down, fans are calling for Wheeler to be called up. The Mets might get him some relief innings to give him a taste of big league hitting.
Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals
Ht/Wt: 6’-2”, 180
Drafted/Signed: 2008, Dominican Republic
Albert Pujols who? Okay, maybe not yet, but Taveras is still an exciting prospect. He’s an aggressive hitter who has a nice little lift to his swing, which makes baseballs rise. Check out his 2012 stats with double-A affiliate Springfield:
.321/.380/.572, 23 HR, 94 RBIs
The best thing about him is, as his power is develops, he’s still able to maintain a high batting average. He’ll have quite a 2013 if he continues his hard work in the offseason. He most likely will see a promotion to triple-A in his future, as well as a call-up to St. Louis to be an everyday outfielder.
Tyler Skaggs, Jurickson Profar, Manny Machado and Jean Segura are the leftovers of the 2012 season that should also be looked at, even though they have been called up. They are, or will be, the centerpieces of their respected teams soon enough. Let’s see how they perform starting the season with their clubs.