Prospect Previews: Pandora “Prospect” Radio…

Imagine with me if you will; a crowded gym. The treadmills are humming, dumbbells are clanging, and some fat dude just left the nastiest sweat mark on the bench press you were getting ready to use.

You meander over to the rack of dumbbells which just so happens to be facing a mirror, but let’s not kid ourselves; you walked over there to use that mirror to check out that blond enchantress with hopes that she won’t notice you-noticing her.

Well apparently today was not your day. She’s put off by your sleeveless shirt that exposes your farmers tan, and the fact that you didn’t bother to shower after a long night of intense online Halo play. Needless to say, she deserts the area and heads to the other side of the gym to go flirt with the ripped dude wearing an Affliction shirt.

Does this scene sound familiar? It should. It’s your annual gym binge. The age ole resolution to yourself after that all night new years even bender that “you’re gonna *finally* get in shape”.

Yeah right….

You’ll stick with it for a few weeks. Maybe a month? But after that you’ll lose interest in it and end up right back on the couch, eating take out food in that dump you live in (yes, that’s a paraphrase from “Kindergarden Cop”).

But that’s then and this is now. Now, you’re in the gym trying to “hulk out”. And you want something to help you get through this workout. But with the eye candy gone, where then will turn to keep you motivated?

You turn to your iPhone. You wanna crank some tunes. And not just any tunes, you wanna build that custom playlist that will get you pumped to lift some metal. That brings you to “Pandora”.

It’s starts out great. The first few songs are slammin’ and you couldn’t hit that “thumbs up” fast enough. But then comes a song you’re not so keen for, so naturally you give it a “thumbs down”. A few songs go by and then sure enough–another clunker. And then another. And another. Then a commercial for McDonalds’s. Then another down-of-the-thumb, and then another. By now you’re beginning to regret your decision to open Pandora’s box, but you figure; what the heck? I’ll give it one more shot.

And… then comes a Nickelback song and you’re out of skips.

What do you do? Clearly you’re left with two options; turning the whole thing off and being forced to listen to the old guy next to you grunt as he does his bicep curls, or changing the station. You wisely choose the latter, because frankly anything else would be better than listening to Grunts McGee over there.

You start to browse through the various other categories, when suddenly you stumble across a station that you did not expect to see. “Pandora has a prospects station?” are the words you mudder out loud to yourself. But then you realize that you’ve been staring at your phone for 10 minutes and you’re starting to get some strange looks. It’s time you at least made it look like you wanna get in shape, right? Plus, you’ve got a draft coming up and you could stand to learn a little about some up and coming prospects, so you slide the phone back in your pocket and get back to work.

***Note: In order to give a somewhat full Pandora experience, each player preview will be a tad shorter than my traditional previews***

Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies

File Photo: Brian Bissell/Future Star Photos

File Photo: Brian Bissell/Future Star Photos

Age: 20

Height/Weight: 6’1″/175

Position: SS

MLB ETA: 2015

The 2011 1st round draft pick sparkled in his full season debut as he hit .277/.367/.505. Story profiles as that rare up-the-middle talent that has the skills to handle to handle the position and posses the offensive upside that fantasy owners dream about from a player at his position.

His plus bat speed and willingness to use the whole field should help him to hit for decent averages(.270+). He’s also already showing real in-game power and many scouts believe he’ll be able to hit 15-20 HR’s/year when he matures. In addition to average and power, he also figures to be a solid contributor in the steals category too. He is a good runner and could very well deliver 20+ seals on an annual basis. This is all coming from someone who most scouts agree has more than enough ability to handle the short stop position, potentially making him a valuable fantasy asset.

For 2013, he will likely spend most of the season in the hitter-friendly California league where he’s sure to only add fuel to his prospect fire. He must improve his pitch recognition and overall approach at the plate, but those are problems that most players his age struggle with. Looking ahead, there’s some guy currently locking down the short stop position at the major league level. I dunno, Tulo-somethin’ or other? Heard he was good. But calling Story blocked wouldn’t be fair because we have no idea what the Rockies’ roster will look like in a few years. Many believe a move to third base is in the near future for Tulo in an attempt to keep him healthy, and that would free up some room for Story, but that’s at least a few years away.

He may lack All Star “real life” abilities, but there is no denying his potential in the fantasy realm. A short stop with his ability to impact each fantasy category is a very valuable commodity.

“OMG! The next Tulo or Han Ram! Thumbs up!”- You, squealing in front of everyone at the gym

Now Pandora thinks you have a fetish for short stops…

Didi Gregorious – Arizona Diamondbacks

Courtesy of: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Courtesy of: Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Age: 22

Height/Weight: 6’1″/175

Position: SS

MLB ETA: Should be the DBacks starting SS on opening day

Gregorious was the main piece that Arizona got in return for dealing Trevor Bauer to the Indians. He is a player who makes great contact, but that contact is very weak and he has very little power potential. He also has not shown to be very patient at the plate. He really only profiles as an all glove-no hit type of player, which unfortunately…

“Stop, stop, stop! An all glove-no hit short stop? Pass. Thumbs down!”- You, as you’re one-handing it at the urinal. Why you kept listening as you went into the bathroom, I’ll never know. I just hope you left a “man space” between you and Mr. Affliction shirt–who now thinks you’re crazy–at the urinals.

So now where will this wild ride take you?

Ahhhhhhh the infamous commercial. They’re inconvenient and can kill a mood if you’re in the middle of a groove, but the good news is is that they only last a few seconds.

Now back to your prospects…

Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins


File Photo: Kevin Pataky/

File Photo: Kevin Pataky/

Age: 23

Height/Weight: 6’2″/185

Position: OF

MLB ETA: 2013

Twins fans and dynasty league players have long been awaiting the debut of Aaron Hicks. Drafted back in 2008, he’s definitely paid his minor league dues and is finally on the doorstep of a call up. On a pure tools level, he might be one of the best players in all the minor leagues. But an often too passive approach at the plate has caused his minor league stay to be longer than perhaps it probably should have been.

Hicks posses 5 category upside. He can bring you high averages, has the ability to hit 20+ HR’s, and can swipe 20-30 bases. And despite what thus far has been his Achilles Heel, he provides tremendous value in OBP leagues, as he’s never met a ball four he didn’t like.

But…that approach has lead to him being to passive at the plate, and he often watches pitches go by that he should be driving.

2012 was his best season to date and it gave many scouts some encouragement that he may yet be able to overcome his passiveness. With the departure of Denard Span to Washington and Ben Revere to Philadelphia, many feel the time is nigh for Hicks to bring his talents to Target Field. Some time at AAA would serve him well and he will probably begin this next season there, but don’t rule out a chance to win a starting job out of spring training. The Twinkies likely won’t be playing for too much this year, and would probably love to get some of their young talent some major league experience.

You have to love the combination of his raw skill set and the potential playing time he may get. He could, even this next year, be a very nice player to have in your lineup. And it’s entirely possible that he may be sitting on your league’s waiver wire because some owner grew too impatient with him.

“Alright, not too shabby. An intriguing prospect that I could probably get very cheap. I’ll take it! Thumbs up!” – You, as you’re coming back from your 12th trip to the water cooler. How much “working out” have you actually done at this point?

Now that you’ve sufficiently wasted most of your time at the gym, you only have time for one more prospect. Hope it’s a good one…

Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins


File Photo: Mark LoMoglio/

File Photo: Mark LoMoglio/

Age: 20

Height/Weight: 6’3″/215

Position: SP

MLB ETA: mid 2013

One of the top pitching prospects, Fernandez features an arsenal that some feel is already major league ready. He’s dominated at both levels he pitched at in 2012 and is poised to make a big league splash sometime in 2013.

Featuring an elite that fastball that works in the mid to high 90’s, and an curveball that is already a plus pitch, he can both blow the ball right by hitters and freeze them in the same at bat. His slider is also showing signs of being a plus pitch, and the change up should at least be an average pitch. All that gives him the ability to miss a lot of bats. He should always challenge the 200+ K mark. And when the Marlins are ready to unleash him fully he will probably be a candidate for 200+ innings/year as well, as his frame should allow him to be a workhorse.

Right now it appears the only thing standing in his way, is his transitioning from a “thrower” to a pitcher. His raw stuff is so good that he may not be fully tested until he reaches the upper minors, or perhaps even the majors.

He will head to AA to start 2013 and if he continues his torrid pace a call to the show may be right around the corner. He profiles as at least a very good #2 starter with the potential to be more. He will fill up your stat sheet with K’s and should eventually pile on the innings. There is work yet to be done, but the signs of a dominant pitcher are already there.

“@$&$%#%]+***€£¥><>~>?!@$$$$$” – The owner of the gym, as you drop a 45 lb. weight on his foot after reading about Jose’s upside. I’ll take that as a “thumbs up”.

Now imagine with me if you will; an alarm clock. It’s blaring that unholy sound. The worst sound in the world. It’s laughing in your face.

That’s right, it was all a dream. No, not the players. They are very real. And surprisingly, you recall all that was said about them. But that part about already being at the gym? Yeah, you have yet to live that part of your day.

So roll yourself out of bed and go pretend to work out. Just a few more weeks to go…

Luke Taylor
Dynasty Sports Empire

About This Empire Soldier: Lawrence Marino, President and Founder of Dynasty Sports Empire LLC, Dynasty Sports Empire Podcast Netowrk and a host of other fantasy related ventures is a New Jersey native with ties to just about everything in and around Boston sports. A die hard Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics fan, Lawrence has learned what it’s like to live through the toughest of sports times. He loves to spend time with his wife and family, father of 2 beautiful girls and spends most of his summer on the beach in Belmar, NJ.

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