Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

OMG: Los Angeles Angels

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 takengrichuk.jpg 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.

OMG: Chicago White Sox

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 latePetricka-Jacob-4_TC-ISPS.jpg 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.

OMG: Cincinnati Reds

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.jpg 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.

OMG: San Francisco Giants

The Giants’ Top 10 prospects went live today and with it, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system:

Gillaspie.jpgConor 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.

OMG: Los Angeles Dodgers

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.jpgAaron 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.

OMG: Seattle Mariners

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 uspoythress.jpg 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.

OMG: San Diego Padres

The Padres’ Top 10 Prospects is now live, so that means it’s time to look at One More Guy (OMG) from San Diego’s system. The expectation might be Jedd Gyorko, the highest 2010 draftee to sign with the club, who hit .302/.372/.444 in his summer debut. He might be No. 11 on the list. But I’ll go a little more off the radar today with a bit of a personal favorite…

Brad Brach, RHP: There are few, if any, expectations on a guy taken in the 42nd round of abrach.jpg Draft (2008) out of Monmouth in New Jersey. To say that Brach has exceeded what little there may have been would be a huge understatement.

In his first full season, 2009, he was named the Class A Reliever of the Year after saving 33 games and helping Fort Wayne win the Midwest League title. He moved up to the hitting-friendly California League and saved 41 more while posting a 2.47 ERA and a .207 batting average against. That’s 74 saves over two years, more than any other Minor League reliever in the same time span and No. 6 among all professional closers, as I wrote in this story on Brach while he was raising his profile in the Arizona Fall League.

In his pro career, Brach has struck out 11.2 per nine innings while walking just 1.6 per nine. His WHIP is 0.884. He may not have the pure stuff that says future closer, but it’s looking more and more likely that he might have a big league career as a very useful reliever. Even if he has to continue to prove himself station-to-station — something he’s prepared to do — Brach has already gone far beyond what anyone could have expected.

OMG: Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers’ Top 10 prospects is now up and available for your perusal. Six of the 10 are pitchers. Here’s one more for your OMG (One More Guy):

Ramirez, Neil 1 (Westerholt).JPGNeil Ramirez, RHP: Taken out of the Virginia  high school ranks in the sandwich round of the 2007 Draft, Ramirez hasn’t made the fastest ascent up the Rangers’ ladder. Coming out of that Draft, Ramirez was the quintessential projectable prep right-hander with a strong arm, surprisingly good fastball command and less than the greatest feel for his other pitches. He played short-season ball in 2008, but didn’t hit full-season ball in 2009 until June because of an elbow issue. He threw just 66 1/3 innings that year as a result and it was clear that command (41 BB) was an issue. So he went back to Class A Hickory in 2010 and showed some improvement, striking out 142 in 140 1/3 IP while walking just 35, though he did give up 150 hits.

The Ramirez in camp now is not the Ramirez who first joined the Rangers. He went out to Surprise, Ariz., in November to start working towards the 2011 season and it’s clear that projectability is now coming to fruition. Now 21, Ramirez worked hard to add to his 6-foot-3 frame. He got to throw an inning in a big league game recently and was up to 95-98 mph in his inning of work. Ironically, Blake Beavan threw in that game as well, but for the Mariners. Beavan, Michael Main and Ramirez were the prized high school right-handers the Rangers took in the first round of the 2007 Draft. Beavan went to Seattle in the Cliff Lee deal and Main became a San Francisco Giant in the Benjie Molina trade.

So it’s just Ramirez now. He and his three-pitch mix will move to Myrtle Beach to start the year and that’s a very good place for pitchers to thrive. But he may not be there long, with a promotion to Frisco in his sights if things keep going this well.

OMG: Kansas City Royals

With six players in the Top 50 and a few others who’d be in most Top 100s, it would be understandable if there weren’t many more Royals prospects to talk about after their Top 10 (now up and running on mlb.com).

But there are. Plenty. There are a number of directions you could go in with this OMG (One More Guy), but I’ll stay on the mound with a guy who’s new to the organization…

Jeremy Jeffress, RHP: We all know about his history, so we don’t have to go there again.jeffress.jpg From all reports, he’s straightened himself out and the Royals did a ton of background work to make sure his makeup wouldn’t be a problem once he joined the Royals. Once they determined they were OK with where he was in his life, they were thrilled to have him come to them as part of that Zack Greinke deal.

Pitching-wise, there’s a lot to like about Jeffress, especially since he’s now a full-time reliever. He’s always had the plus fastball, but that’s even better now that he’s only pitching in short stints. He was hitting triple-digits during his stint in the Arizona Fall League. He’s got an outstanding power breaking ball to go along with it and that’s really all he needs to get big-league hitters out. His stuff is that electric.

His command is still an issue, though. As well as he threw in the AFL, he walked 12 in 11 2/3 innings. That lack of control (along with a lack of a changeup) was a reason many felt he wasn’t destined to be a starter. If he can harness his stuff — and early reports this spring were that he’s refined his command — he’s got future closer written all over him. Starting this year, he could help form a dynamic 1-2 punch at the back end of the Royals bullpen, handing the ball off to All-Star Joakim Soria.

OMG: Colorado Rockies

With the Colorado Rockies preview now up for everyone to see, it’s time to take a look at One More Guy from their system.

Casey Weathers, RHP: Remember him? The 2007 first-round pick out of Vanderbilt was Weathers.jpgsupposed to be a quick riser, one of those college closers who could get to the big leagues in a hurry. He had a solid 2008 season in Double-A, making the Texas League All-Star team and going to the Futures Game, but then missed all of 2009 following Tommy John surgery.

He came back in 2010 and the velocity was still definitely there. He struck out 46 in 30 1/3 innings and hitters managed just a .185 average against him. Command hadn’t come back as quickly — he walked 22 — but that’s often the case with TJ returnees. The 2011 season could be a big one for the 25-year-old. If he starts throwing strikes, he could help the Rockies bullpen out sooner rather than later.

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