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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Prospect 4 Pack

Unlike the two previous seasons, I did not do a prospect watch this year.  Part of it was because I didn't see a position that is overflowing with talent like center field and catcher.  The other reason is because I thought I could just do periodic updates to see how the top prospects are faring during the season. Performance is 2/3 of how guys get their ratings.  The other third comes from potential to improve.  Every player has "tools", it's just a matter of what they can do with those tools to become successful. It's important to keep that in mind when reviewing how each player is doing throughout the year. To start I'll do a run down on the top four prospects in my mind entering this season.

Although only 20 Teheran started the year in AAA and so far has started six games with dominating results. He's 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He's struck out more men than hits allowed, too.  His only real flaw is his inconsistent command of his curve ball and change-up which were prevalent in his major league debut against the Phillies.  The Braves rotation is already excellent so Teheran may be called up to be a reliever down the stretch as the Braves try to make it back to the playoffs.

The Yankees have turned down several trade requests for Montero including a deal that would have brought them Cliff Lee a year ago.  That's some serious prospect love.  It's becoming more and more likely he'll never be good enough defensively to be a full time catcher but it's also clear the kid is ready to contribute with his bat. His career line in AAA in 150 games is .296/.353/.497.  A lot of teams think he can be Edgar Martinez but the Yankees already have a DH/C. His name is Jorge Posada.  
Trout made his professional debut as a 17 year old in 2009.  He was awesome. In 2010 he played in A-ball and again was awesome. He was so awesome many gurus felt he was the #1 overall prospect entering the 2011 season. What kind of line do you want from someone named the #1 prospect? A .316/.402/.579 with 6 stolen bases in 30 games is a great start. Trout is just 19 years old and in AA. He's showed he has a handle on all aspects of the game as he hits for average, power, is a good base runner, and by all accounts a great fielder in center. This is what scouts rave about when they call someone a 5-tool player who knows how to use all five tools.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Angels move him to AAA this year and have an eye on calling him up mid-season in 2012.
Quick background information on Harper is he dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and got his GED.  He then went and played a year of junior college in a league that uses wood bats and turns out MLB prospects each year. Oh, and while there he set all kinds of offensive records. The reason he did this all is so he could scoot around the Major League by-laws and regulations and get himself into professional baseball as quickly as possible.
The Nationals drafted him #1 overall in the amateur draft last season and this season assigned him to A- ball as an 18 year old.  So how's he doing? After a week and a half Harper was hitting .231 and striking out at an alarming rate. It turned out he needed contacts. Since then he's hit .480/547/893!!!!!  This isn't a week's worth of games.  That's over 20 games. It's obvious he can hit. It's also obvious low A isn't hard enough for him. Harper is a guy everyone is watching because we've all known since he was 15 he was going to be a major leaguer. Now we just have to see how soon he'll get there.

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