Here’s your Houston Astros’ Top 10 prospects list and now, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system:
Mike Kvasnicka, C: Initially an outfielder at the University of Minnesota, Kvasnicka moved behind the plate and became a much more intriguing prospect. He ended up going at the front of the sandwich round (No. 33 overall) and was in many first-round conversations as the Draft approached.
Kvasnicka has a good approach at the plate, from both sides of the plate. He hasn’t shown much power to date, though he has a very good line-drive stroke. He should hit for average and some power will come as he develops. He’s got a very strong arm, his best defensive tool that should work well behind the plate, especially if he learns the nuances of catching. That being said, it looks like he’s mostly going to play third this year. He’s not bad athletically and probably should adjust to the position eventually (and that arm will play just fine there, too).
Hopefully, the Astros will settle on a defensive home for Kvasnicka soon. He might have the most value behind the plate, though perhaps he’ll be able to advanced faster if he doesn’t have to worry about learning that craft. His bat should allow him to move fairly quickly.
As I sit in the press box at George M. Steinbrenner Field, waiting dutifully for C.C. Sabathia’s simulated game to start, I thought I’d bring you the Milwaukee Brewers’ OMG (One More Guy). First, here’s their Top 10 list.
And now, their OMG:
Cutter Dykstra, 3B: The Brewers took Lenny’s kid in the second round of the 2008 Draft out of the California high school ranks. His summer debut was fine, as he hit .271/.374/.412 in the rookie-level Arizona and Pioneer Leagues.
In 2009, he stumbled a bit, with a .659 OPS in 90 games between Helena (Pioneer League) and full-season Wisconsin. Consider then, 2010, as his coming out party. Dykstra finished second in the organization with his .312 batting average. He also had a .416 on-base percentage while his 27 steals placed him fourth in the system. He got better as the season in the Midwest League wore on, too, hitting .329 with a .443 OBP and 19 steals in the second half of the season. He’s looking more and more like a sparkplug, top-of-the-order type.
The big question is where he’s going to play defensively. In 2008 and 2009, he played a lot of outfield, though when he was back with Helena in 2009, he played second base every day. Last year, he was a third baseman. He doesn’t really profile for the hot corner, unless you’re using Chone Figgins as a role model. A move up to the Florida State League will be interesting to watch for the 21-year-old.
I know I owe you a few OMGs, but please forgive me. I had to fly down to Florida today for Spring Training coverage and had much to do on the home front to get ready. So I’ll play catch-up the next few days, I promise.
So, we’ll start the catch-up with the Indians. Here’s their Top 10 prospects and their OMG (One More Guy):
Nick Hagadone, LHP: The Red Sox’s sandwich pick from the 2007 Draft, Hagadone, of course, came over to the Indians in the Victor Martinez trade at the deadline back in 2009. He had missed nearly all of 2008 thanks to Tommy John surgery and 2009 was really just the bounce-back year.
In 2010, his first full season with the Indians, he began with Class A Advanced Kinston. After 10 starts and a 2.39 ERA (to go along with a .206 batting average against), he moved up to Double-A Akron. He made seven starts (5.19 ERA), then spent the rest of the year in the Aeros’ bullpen (3.68 ERA in 12 games).
Hagadone still has a pretty good arm, though he’s not throwing as hard as he was before the elbow surgery. While he did strike out 9.4 per nine innings in 2010, he also walked 6.6. Even if the velocity bounces back to the upper 90s consistently and his slider is always there for him, he’ll need to seriously harness his command. Many think he’s a reliever when all is said and done and they might be right. His 85 2/3 IP last year were a career high, so perhaps the Indians’ decision to let him continue starting in 2011 is as much about getting him needed innings as it is about developing him as a future part of a rotation. This could be the year we find out if a short relief role is really the way to go for him.
Here’s the Cubs’ Top 10 Prospects and, as always, OMG (One More Guy) from their system:
Brett Wallach, RHP: It seemed like a story-book scenario. Son gets drafted by his big league father’s old team. Tim’s kid was taken in the third round of the 2009 Draft by the Dodgers and began his first full season with Great Lakes in the Midwest League. He went 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his first month in the league and it looked like he could take off. He struggled for the next two months, but turned it back around with a 2.63 ERA in July.
But then the fairtale was over. The Dodgers sent Wallach to the Cubs in the Ted Lilly deal. Wallach stayed in the Midwest League, pitching with Peoria, though he had a 5.76 ERA over seven starts there. But that’s not a real way to judge just what kind of prospect he is. Cut the guy a little slack, given that he was taken from the family organization (his dad has managed and his brother is a catcher in the system to boot). He’s got great pure stuff and with a little help, he could have a pretty high ceiling.
Go take a gander at the Angels’ Top 10 Prospects. And here’s OMG (One More Guy) from LA’s system:
Randal Grichuk, OF: For now, he may be known as the “other” high school outfielder taken in the first round of the 2009 Draft. But that’s not really his fault. The idea was to have Mike Trout and Gruchuk develop together and I don’t think anyone could have foreseen how Trout would take off and earn a promotion like that.
At the same time, Grichuk was slowed by injuries and played in just 64 games total during his first full season. He showed that the raw power the Angels liked when they took him No. 24 overall is legit. He slugged .566 in 251 total at-bats, .530 during his time in the full-season Midwest League. He might be a bit of an all-or-nothing hitter right now and he’ll need to strike out a bit less, walk a bit more, or both, to succeed at higher levels.
If he can do that, he could profile as what you’re looking for in a corner outfielder. His arm is fine and he showed he can play a decent outfield. Add in the power and the run production and you’re all set. It’s just going to take him a bit longer to get there than Trout, who’s now on the fast track. When all is said and done, though, they could be patrolling the same outfield in the big leagues in the future.
Take a look at the White Sox Top 10 Prospects. And here’s your OMG (One More Guy) from Chicago’s system:
Jacob Petricka, RHP: Petricka was a fast riser in the 2010 Draft class, one of those late comers that scouts run to see last minute to see what the fuss is about. A Tommy John surgery recipient a few years back, Petricka had transferred from Iowa Western Community College to Indiana State, so we’re not exactly talking about a hotbed for baseball. Petricka jumped on radar screens when reports came out about him hitting 97-98 mph on the radar gun last spring. He moved from off the map and into the second round, where the White Sox took him with the No. 63 overall pick.<p>
He threw well in his pro debut, making eight starts with Bristol in the Appalachian League and then nine relief outings with Kannapolis as the White Sox didn’t want to overwork him. The plus fastball is still very much there (9.7 K/9) and he shows a breaking ball that can be above-average as well. He’s got a feel for a changeup, too, which is why he’ll continue as a starter (along with his ability to maintain fastball velocity into starts), at least for the time being. If command becomes an issue, he’s got the arsenal to be a very good short reliever in the future.
Here’s a look at the Top 10 prospects for the Cincinnati Reds. And, as has become my custom, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their farm system:
Donnie Joseph, LHP: A third-rounder from the 2009 Draft out of the University of Houston, Joseph jumped on an extremely fast track during his first full season. The southpaw pitched at three levels, starting with Class A Dayton and ending in Double-A Carolina. Along the way, he led the organization with 24 saves, had a 2.08 ERA and .182 average against. He struck out 103 in 65 innings for a 14.27 K/9 ratio.
He’s at 13.4 K/9 in his brief career. He’s also walked 3.6 per nine, but he improved as the season went on and his command issues — which were a problem when he started in college — won’t be as much of a concern in shorter stints.
He’ll also not have to worry about developing his changeup and can rely on his very good fastball and breaking ball from the left side. But he’s more than just a lefty specialist. He may never be a closer, but he’s got the kind of stuff that can get lefties and righties out and he could evolve into a very good setup man. Even if he begins the season back in Double-A, he could help out in Cincy before the year is over.
The Giants’ Top 10 prospects went live today and with it, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system:
Conor Gillaspie, 3B: It hasn’t been the most traditional career path for the 2008 supplemental first-round pick. As part of his deal when he signed, he was put on the 40-man roster and given a September callup that first summer of his professional career. He spent his first full season in San Jose, winning a California League championship in 2009. He put up rather pedestrian numbers that year (.286/.364/.386), but it was enough to move up to Double-A.
It was more or less the same deal as he moved up to Richmond in 2010, finishing with a .287/.335/.420 line. He picked it up some in the Arizona Fall League (.306/.350/.597), tying for the league lead with five homers. He’s never going to be a big power guy, but that was a sign that maybe there’s a little more. He doesn’t really profile at third (or any position) and might be a utility guy when all is said and done. But he’s got a decent approach at the plate and should be a big leaguer when all is said and done.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers’ Top 10. And, as has been the custom here the past week and change, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system.
Aaron Miller, LHP: The supplemental first-round pick in 2009 was a two-way player at Baylor and there was more than one team that liked him as a hitter. But the Dodgers liked him on the mound more. Given how he performed in his first full season, they may be on to something.
Miller began the year in the Class A Advanced California League, not exactly a haven for pitchers. He had a 2.92 ERA (which would have been good enough to lead the league had he thrown enough innings to qualify) for Inland Empire and a .207 batting average against. Right now, he’s got an outstanding fastball and slider, with his changeup a bit behind. He didn’t fare well when he got six starts up in Double-A last summer as he struggled with command, got hit harder and reportedly lost some velocity in his fastball.
Miller will get the chance to give Double-A another shot to start the 2011 season and he could be ready for Los Angeles by 2012. He might not be Clayton Kershaw in terms of left-handed potential, but he could be a solid No. 3 type starter when all is said and done.
Mariners fans are excited about the future and big reason why is the farm system. Take a look at their Top 10 prospects, now up for your consideration. Here’s OMG (One More Guy) from that organization:
Rich Poythress, 1B: He’s not the first prospect, and certainly won’t be the last, that forces us to ask just what we should make of numbers compiled for the California League’s High Desert club. Back in December 2007, I did a series of stories on ballpark factors in the Minors (cleverly titled Factor Fiction). One focused on Lancaster in the California League, but also discussed High Desert, which during the 2005-07 seasons had two of the top 10 seasons in terms of OPS.
So, then, what to make of Poythress’ first full season? The University of Georgia product, taken in the second round of the 2009 Draft, led the Minor Leagues with 130 RBIs. He also hit 31 homers, good for third in the Mariners’ system (Greg Halman had 33, No. 7 prospect Johermyn Chavez had 32 — Chavez also played for High Desert). Poythress’ .315 avearage was good for fourth in the organization. Not surprisingly, four of the top five full-season averages in the organization came from guys who got to hit in High Desert.
It should be noted that Poythress only struck out 100 times all year, not bad for a guy with those kinds of power numbers. He hit lefties and righties well and while he hit better at home (.991 OPS), he didn’t falter much away from the friendly confines (.927 OPS). His SLG was actually a touch higher on the road. In the end, of course, we’ll learn more about just how legitimate a power threat Poythress is when he moves up to Double-A in 2011.