20. Jameson Taillon
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Positive: Has Ace-level upside; fastball is elite; works in the mid to upper 90’s; curve ball is a plus pitch as well; will miss bats at the major league level; has body and frame to log innings; can be a workhorse; close to being major league ready.
Negative: Not a lot; change up is fringy right now; will need to develop it more in order to hit his ceiling; delivery has some flaws that could lead to injury down the line, but that is a minor concern
What To Expect: Taillon reached AA in 2012, and is close to being ready to taking his talents to the Show. The change up needs some work, but should at least be an average pitch. Unfortunately, that could be the difference in him becoming an ace or not. If he develops a real feel for it, the sky is the limit. If it just remains an average pitch, he may just end up being a really good #2 starter. Either way, he should always be a steady source for K’s and innings. Expect him to possibly be a late season call up, or a potentially even earlier one if the Buccos find themselves in a playoff push yet again.
19. Miguel Sano
Team: Minnesota Twins
Positive: Huge raw power; biggest in the minor’s; will contend for HR titles every year; has some on base ability; very young; room to grow physically and improve at the plate
Negative: With big power comes lots of swing and miss; unless he can develop the ability to make more consistent contact, strikeouts will always be a big part of his game; a likely move to RF or 1B will decrease his value somewhat; don’t expect many steals either
What To Expect: The biggest power threat in all the minor leagues will likely head to High-A and the Florida State League for 2013. There he will likely continue to feast on inferior pitching, and may never be truly tested until he reaches AA. If he can make more consistent contact, his upside is one of the best players in fantasy baseball. If he can’t, we may be looking at another Adam Dunn; someone who will have value, but you’ll have to take the good with the bad. Lots of HR’s, lots of BB’s, but also a crap load of strikeouts. A future position change will also decrease his value as well. The good news is is that he has time to improve. He’s still very young and could make the necessary adjustments to improve his game. Obviously, with him being ranked this high, I believe he will at least improve some. And you simply can’t pass up that power potential. Look for this hulking human to make his appearance some time in 2015.
18. Francisco Lindor
Team: Cleveland Indians
Positive: Should hit for high averages; gap power; will have lots of xbh’s; good approach at the plate will help in OBP leagues; enough pop for 10-12 HR’s and maybe more as the body matures; enough speed for 15-20 steals/year; defensive ability will drive his value; elite defender who can handle the position
Negative: Not a ton of over-the-fence-power; needs to work on making harder contact
What To Expect: The 2011 first round draft pick has steadily climbed the prospects ranks largely due in part to his slick defensive chops, but he provides some solid offensive skills as well. A great approach at the plate–especially for someone his age (19)–and excellent bat speed will give him high batting averages and OBP’s. And also because of his age, he still has more room to grow and will likely develop a little more power. Looking ahead to the big league roster, Asdrubal Cabrera is likely not long for that club and the team appears to be willing to make Lindor their long term answer at short stop. However, that is at least a year away, even if everything breaks right. But when that time comes, he can be a solid contributor in each category with the exception of maybe power, and all of that coming from a premium position.
17. Tyler Skaggs
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Positive: Plus curveball; a true hammer that misses bats; good command/control; should always decent ERA’s and low WHIP’s with decent strikeout numbers; already has major league experience
Negative: Lacks velocity on fastball; works in the high 80’s to low 90’s; puts more importance on being able to locate and deceive hitters; change up is average but will need to develop it more to reach his ceiling
What To Expect: Writing this now brings back fond memories of my first ever piece at DSE. You should go back and read it. It was written for last year, but it still applies. Skaggs pitched 29 innings at the major league level last year, and despite what his numbers might suggest, he–for the most part–handled his own. Those innings should prove to be very beneficial as he aims to earn a rotation spot out of spring training. The team may decide to start him in AAA to begin the season, but that should be short lived as he has very little else to prove at the minor league level. Whenever he arrives, be cautious about giving him time in your rotation as he will likely post similar numbers to what he did last year. But his career outlook remains quite good and has #2 starter potential if he can develop more of a third pitch. With his ability to keep men off base, he should always help you in the ERA and WHIP categories. Don’t expect crazy strikeout rates, but he shouldn’t kill you in that area either.
16. Travis d’Arnaud
Team: New York Mets
Positive: Good hitter with excellent bat speed; drives ball to all fields; could be .275+ hitter; enough raw power to hit 20+ bombs/year; all of this coming from a premium position; is ready for the bright lights
Negative: Should not be counted on for steals(but what catchers are?); can get a little aggressive at the plate; health is a concern as he’s had a few injuries during his minor league career
What To Expect: Assuming d’Arnaud has fully recovered from a knee injury that derailed his 2012 season, he is ready to come North with the big league club out of spring training. And now that he’s no longer a member of the Blue Jays, he has a straight path to playing time. When the Mets make him their everyday catcher, you can too due to his raw power that is hard to come by at the catcher position. He may hurt you some in batting average to start as he adjusts to better pitching, but he should have little trouble catching up to the speed of the game. Perhaps his only real flaw–at least so far–are those pesky injuries. He may end up being a guy who you need to always have a back up plan for. Hopefully those concerns never haunt him, because a catcher with his pop is truly a rare gift.
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