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 Prospect Watch 2012, Future MLB stars of today
Barney1975
Posted: Mar 2 2012, 06:12 PM


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Two more names to look out for:

David Freitas - C Bats R/R

2011 Hagerstown (A) AVG/OBP/OPS .288/.409/.859

Kris Kline loves this guy and the Nats were delighted injuries saw him on the board in the 15th Round of the 2010 draft. Freitas can hit, clearly has patience at the plate and runs the bases well. Impressively he did his best work hitting behind and driving in a certain phenom, rather than ahead of Mr Harper in the order, suggesting the OBP may be for real. The knock on the California native is his lack of defensive development behind the plate. Is this a Derek Norris scenario all over again?

Robbie Ray - LHSP

2011 Hagerstown 2-3, 3.13ERA, 89IP, 95Ks, 38BBs, 1.23 WHIP, .221AVG

Picked in the 12th round out of a Tennessee HS, he got several hundred thousand $$$ to get him away from a full scholarship in Arkansas and bring his advertised three solid pitches to DC. Scouts are pretty unaminous about Ray's halfseason in the pros, stating he's got a superior two-seamer, s-l-o-w sub 70mph curve and his control improved over the tourney. Alas, the promised changeup has yet to arrive and with the benefit of film, southpaws enjoyed his lateseason offerings. There's also a point when nonchalence becomes disaffection on the mound and his demeanor became an issue in the last few games he pitched, appearing to lose focus with RISP.

Nethertheless, his figures are fine for a then 19 year old and it's not as if DC don't know how to develop crafty lefty types so there's plenty of optimism about Ray's future, as there needs to be because he and Alex Meyer are the shining pitching prospects in the Nats system looking slightly threadbare in the arms department - you can bet it's going to be a power arm coming to DC in the 1st round of this year's draft.
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Barney1975
Posted: Jun 6 2012, 12:58 PM


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Here's the update on those prospects I tipped at the beginning of the year:

Daniel Rosenbaum - 24yr old LHSP

7-1, 1.75 ERA, 11 GS, 2CG, 77IP, 60H, 13BBs, 15ER, 45Ks, 0.95 WHIP

Syracuse and maybe more await for the southpaw. Continuing his mastery over lower leagues, Rosenbaum has taken over from Tommy Milone as the best secretly rather good lefty in the Nats system. He doesn't have the new A's hurler feared cutter but has a hammer sinker and can get the fastball up to 94 whilst also having other pitches (curve, slider, changeup) in the armoury to baffle hitters at this level.

Destin Hood - 23yr old OF at AA Harrisburg, Bats R, Throws R

.220AVG/.291OBP/.592OPS 1HR, 19RBIs, 5/5 SB

And now on injured reserve after trying to play through the flu and subsequently a niggling wrist malady which may require surgery. This hasn't been the AA pundits anticipated from Hood but most of those sages are willing to give him a guarded pass so far due to improved defensive play and his work ethic. These attributes should see the Senators RF improve when free of injury, as he did in the second half of last year.

Kevin Keyes - 23yr old LF/RF at A+ Potomac, Bats R Throws R

.187/.263/.637 6HRs, 27RBIs, 2/4SB

No sugarcoating these stats. Quixotic is a good word to describe Keyes, who comes alive with RISP and produces the figures Nats fans were hoping for(.267/.357/.846) under any circumstances - 29 hits all year yet 27RBIs says it all really. He's not not trying as such - he's decent defensively and may now even be the 225lbs as advertised - just seems to have very little pitch recognition skills and as such swings at the strangest offerings.

Alex Meyer - 21 yr old RHSP at A Hagerstown.

4-3, 3.71ERA, 11GS, 53.1IP, 45H, 23BBs, 22ER, 62Ks, 1.28WHIP

Last year's overall #23 pick has had bt up some fine numbers after an inauspicious debut outing on April 12. (0.2IP, 5ER) The changeup is coming on fine and he already has a high 90's heater and occasionally destructive slider. Further improvement in the offspeed stuff and general control will see the lanky Meyer move smoothly through the minors, possibly in time for a sip of coffee at Nationals Park come September 2013.

Josh Smoker - 23yr old LHRP at A+ Potomac

0-0, 10.80 ERA, 1.2IP, 2H, 2ER, 1BB, 2Ks 1.81 WHIP

Had minor elbow surgery in Mid-April, will be back very soon. He really needs to be lockdown from the get-go as the drafting of Stanford's LHP Brett Mooneyham in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft as a 'quick to majors reliever'suggests time is very short for the fireballing 2007 1st rounder.
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galraen
Posted: Jun 6 2012, 01:24 PM


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The most interesting prospect in the A's system at the moment is Sean Doolittle.

A year ago he was a first baseman/outfielder. Then last winter he decided to ditch that and switch to being a pitcher.

This season he's blown through the minors, in 16 games as a reliever, at different levels, he's posted an 0.72 ERA, struck out 48 in 25 innings and walked just 7.

Last night he made his major league debut against the Rangers, went one and a third innings, no hits, no walks and struck out three!

Can he sustain this, not the no hit/no walks, just the excellence? The gods alone know, but it's fun to watch. What a turn around, could be interesting in interleague too.
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galraen
Posted: Jun 6 2012, 01:43 PM


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Other A's prospects of note:

Michael Taylor is hammering on Billy Beane's door with a .327/.424/.480 slash line with a .903 OPS.

Bruce Billings, acquired in the Mark Ellis trade, has a 3.00 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 44/10 K/BB ratio in 48 innings over 9 games for Sacto. He's 26 so not exactly sprinting to the majors, but surely would be a better bet than Blackley.

Miles Head, acuired in the Andrew Bailey trade from the Bosox: At Stockton, High A, has posted a .370/.423/.667 slash line, OPS 1.090. The guys above him in AA at first base are hitting well, but not showing anything like enough power to block him for much longer.

At the same level Sean Murphy and Ryan Doolittle (no relation I think) are pitching above their level; both have WHIPs below 1, and will probably move up before too long.

The other interesting player at Sacrmento is Brandon 'Cerrano' Moss, he can hit for power, as long as it's a straight fast ball. Current slash line .282/.346/.952 with 15 home runs. He's had numerous chances at major league level, and might get another shot this year, but "Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid."!

PS I remember being asked some time ago about Stephen Parker, well he made it to AAA, but is now pretty much officially a bust. If you can't hit AAA pitching in the PCL (BA .257) it's time to look for another career.
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Barney1975
Posted: Jul 12 2012, 12:51 PM


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Time for the monthly update on the Nats prospects:

Daniel Rosenbaum - 24yr old LHSP at AA Harrisburg

7-6, 3.38ERA, 18GS, 2CG, 114.1 IP, 111H, 43ER, 25BB, 71Ks, 1.19WHIP

He's had a shocking last few weeks, going 1-4 with a ropey 6.27 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in June. His first July start didn't improve matters much and there's no injury worries to excuse the bad run. The thinking is that he loses focus if there's no low strikezone, the fastball disappears and he tries to paint the corners. Opposition teams have noted this and are becoming wise to his plan of attack.

Could be time for a strategic rethink as his armoury of pitches remains too good for this level, though it's probably not a coincedence Rosenbaum's crash coincides with noted defensive whiz C Sandy Leon's injury and subsequent promotion to AAA.

Destin Hood - 23yr old OF at AA Harrisburg, Bats R, Throws R

.223AVG/.297OBP/.609OPS 2HR, 28RBIs, 5/6 SB

The rest and rehab haven't helped much. Hood continues to be something of a disappointment, but there's a feeling amongst the sages that the Nats will write this season off as an aberration and concentrate on 2013.

A similar tactic worked in 2011 with another guy who had a nagging wrist injury, called Norris, seems to be doing fine on the West Coast in 2012...

Kevin Keyes - 23yr old LF/RF at A+ Potomac, Bats R Throws R

.199/.272/.679 10HRs, 43RBIs, 2/4SB

Should you buy into clutch hitting, this fella could surely give your case a boost. Just 45 hits but 43RBIs once again tells the story here. Still no pitch recognition and he's running out of time now, despite the undoubted power, workrate and improving physique and defense.

That relative upswing in his stats in the embryonic second half of the MiLB season (240/328/908) needs to continue for Keyes to have a future with the Nats.

Alex Meyer - 21 yr old RHSP at A Hagerstown.

6-4, 3.32ERA, 17GS, 84IP, 64H, 34BBs, 31ER, 98Ks, 1.17WHIP

He continues to improve as the season goes on. The Nats are being their usual conservative selves in his development, focusing on adding a changeup and curveball to his already impressive fastball and slider. Nats Minor League overlord Spin Williams has seen enough of Meyer's pitching to privately suggest AA Harrisburg, not Potomac is his next port of call.

Josh Smoker - 23yr old LHRP at A Hagerstown

1-1, 7.45 ERA, 9.2IP, 8H, 8ER, 6BB, 6Ks 1.45 WHIP

Still wild and unpredictable but at least he's back and throwing 100 from the left side. However the demotion should be noted and he's heading backwards in a fairly nondescript set of relievers in the lower levels of the Nats farm system.

The fork is being readied as I post. sad.gif

David Freitas - 23yr old C at A+ Potomac. Hits/Throws R/R

.286/.393/.820 5HRs, 39RBIs

You've got to like that 41/34 K/BB ratio. Freitas continues to develop behind the plate too and the talk of him having to move to 1B has receded dramatically. He's oldish for this division but he did lose a year to injury, hence his 15th round draft status despite his patience and strikezone awareness being noted by the likes of Law and Sickels.

A promotion is on the way.

Robbie Ray - 20yr old LHSP at A+ Potomac

3-5, 4.87ERA, 64.2IP, 71H, 35ER, 27BB, 46Ks, 1.52 WHIP

Given the Nats system's emphasis on pitch-to-contact, a curiously low K rate is not overly unusual for DC farmhand, the relative and unexpected wildness certainly is though and this is a bumpy year for the highly touted southpaw.

He's been excellent at keeping the ball in the park, with just 1HR given up this year but opposition hitters are enjoying his pitching with colleagues on base, (They're hitting .310 with players on 1B and RISP) and the tendancy to demonstratively lose focus after a disputed walk/error remains a concern.

Ray is youngish for this level, and the fact he's pitching at A+ would suggest there's plenty of confidence in him, put it down to a learning experience and hope the onfield character issues are solved with growing up.
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galraen
Posted: Jul 12 2012, 01:14 PM


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QUOTE
A similar tactic worked in 2011 with another guy who had a nagging wrist injury, called Norris, seems to be doing fine on the West Coast in 2012...


Early days yet, but I've liked what I've seen so far. The fact that we haven't skipped a beat on the defensive side since he started sharing time with Kurt has impressed me.
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Barney1975
Posted: Jul 12 2012, 07:40 PM


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Call it the Bob Boone effect. The man knows catching.

It's quite telling that by Opening Day 2012, pretty much all of the Bowden mob have been defenestrated, but Boone got promoted.

Norris has something of an image as a hick, but he was smart enough to follow the likes of Boone and Pudge around like a shadow throughout successive training camps and those 'defensively weak' scouting reports have disappeared. smile.gif

Freitas had the rep of someone who couldn't stick at backstop, but would be moving to 1B as a Nick Johnson type. Great eye, sub-position power but solid glove and red light injury risk. Boone, and indeed Pudge sought out the Hawaii grad and the results are there to see. Still a work in progress, but he's worth following.
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LA_Valiants
Posted: Jul 14 2012, 09:35 AM


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I had no idea Dodgers prospect Chris Reed was British! Born in London but not sure how long he spent in England. Either way, I've now got a prospect to follow and he's a Dodger. Perfect!
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MadHatterBlues
Posted: Jul 16 2012, 11:31 AM


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I picked 5 guys at teh start of the year to follow, sio about time for an update on their progress:


1. Javier Baez - SS - Playing at Low-A (Peoria)
Baez is well on his way to turning into a monster prospect. Currently hitting .331/.394/.586 which is impressive enough, but that line is trending upwards as he has hit .474/.487/.947 (an OPS of 1.435) in his last 10 games. Super aggressive at the plate so will never be a patient batter, but hard to argue with the results so far. His defense at SS has been slightly better than expected, but he will likely still end up at 3B.

2. Dan Vogelbach - 1B - Playing at rookie-AZL
I was dissapointed Vogelbach didn't start playing at Low-A, but he was not hitting well at extended spring training, so probably better to be patient with him. He has started hitting now though - .367/.414/.759 - hopefully a promotion coming soon, but he still has a long way to go.

3. Jeimer Candelario - 3B - Playing at Low-A (Boise)
Nice stateside debut so far hitting .304/.350/.446 - Cooled off after a strong start. Still very young.

4. Ronald Torreyes - 2B - Playing at High-A (Daytona)
Got his Cubs career off to an AWFUL start, but has been warming up recently.
Overall hitting .249/.319/.367 - Has suffered from a very low BABIP and as a hitter is driven by his batting average, so a good chance of a strong second half.

5. Dae-Eun Rhee - SP
Like nearly all of the Cubs pitching prospects, Rhee is having a bad year. It is looking less and less likely he will be able to recapture his form of 2 years ago (pre-tommy john surgery). Velocity hasn't returned and isn't doing well in any aspect so far this year. Shame for him, but he'll need a strong showing the rest of the year to regain prospect status.
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Barney1975
Posted: Oct 2 2012, 10:34 AM


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Keep trying to write this up and get interrupted, let's try again:

Daniel Rosenbaum - 10/10/87 LHSP AA Harrisburg:

8-10, 3.94 ERA, 26GS, 2CG, 155.1IP, 99K/39BB, 1.31 WHIP.

Oh what a decline from Springtime. Rosenbaum fell victim to the 'one bad inning' bug in almost every game after July, going 1-9 with an ERA approaching 5.00. It wasn't always third time around through the rotation either, and he has enough variety to get by but he did begin to leave the ball up and you can't get away with that when your fastball is straight and maxes out at around 91-92mph.

Destin Hood - 3/4/90 - RH OF AA Harrisburg:

.245/.301/640, 94GS, 3HRS, 45RBIs, 6/7 SB 96/26 K/BB.

Rather like his teammate Randolph Oduber, Hood's undoubted talent has been frequently stalled by injuries in 2012. When he's fully fit, he hits as evinced by his 275/316/692 clip after the AllStar Break. The Nats do think highly of both him and Oduber, but they'll be looking for improvements in health and patience from both players in the Senators 2013 lineup.

Kevin Keyes - 15/3/89 - RH OF A+ Potomac:

.223/.290/.749, 114GS, 21HRS, 78RBIs, 4/7SB, 108/33 K.BB

Unlike his college rep which saw him plummet down the rounds in the '10 Draft, Keyes has been a hard worker on the field and in the gym, getting his routes, swing and body toned down. The results are still to be seen and he's still yet to work out the strikezone but he's developed into an fine-fielding OF with silly power. Time is certainly not on his side though and it's not as if the Nats don't have other athletic options in the outfield (Goodwin, Perez). He is improving with the bat but will need to step up again and demonstrate that second half stats of 252/318/860 were the future.

Alex Meyer - 3/1/90 - RHSP - class A

Combined Hagerstown/Potomac Stats:

10-6, 2.86ERA, 25CS, 1CG, 129IP, 139/45 K/BB, 1.12WHIP

Not too much to carp about here and he's deservedly promoted to Harrisburg in '13. The occasional wildness which bedevils such a tall pitcher (6'9) hasn't manifested itself yet and may not do either, as he doesn't necessarily throw as hard as you might think, topping out at around 96 on a good day.

Apparently the Nats have decided he'll start rather than close and will stretch him out more in AA, where his excellent slider and heater will be augmented by a developing changeup and curve.

Josh Smoker - 26/11/88 - LHRP - A/GCL

1-1, 7.45ERA, 6G, 1/2 SV, 9.2IP, 6/6 K/BB, 1.45WHIP

But don't be fooled by the stats as most of his better numbers came against teens in the GCL. (1-0, 1.80ERA in 5G). He was perpetually injured again this year and whilst he still throws very, very hard the direction and variety are missing. He'll certainly get another shot simply because he hits three figures from the left side but any Billy Wagner comparisons can stop right there.

David Freitas - 18/3/89 - RH C - AA Harrisburg.

Senators stats:

271/374/780. 78GS, 5HRs, 46RBIs, 0/0SBs, 52/39 K/BB.

He was the player dealt to Oakland for Kurt Suzuki and judging by his Midland stats, he's enjoying the Texas League too. Terrific with the bat and has a great idea of the strikezone, he was still reasonably raw behind the plate (as he played more 1B than C at Hawaii) but had a decent 36% CS rate, though this could be because players had been briefed on his inexperience, so ran on him an awful lot.

This trade has worked out for both teams to date, with Zook hitting around .265 in the MLB and calling his trademark excellent game. It wouldn't surprise me to see Freitas move to 1B again as catcher is probably set for the A's in Norris.

Robbie Ray - 1/10/91 - LHSP - A+ Potomac

4-12, 6.56ERA, 21GS, 0CG, 105.2 IP, 86/49 K/BB, 1.62WHIP.

Earlier on I mentioned Danny Rosenbaum getting hit with 'one bad inning'. Ray had 'one godawful month' going 0-5 with a brutal 15.51 ERA, 2.60 WHIP and failing to reach the 4th inning in his August starts suggested he'd hit the wall headfirst and didn't have either the mentality, or more surprisingly given the reports, stuff to get through.

His often-criticised on-mound presence didn't improve throughout the season and the Nats' ambitious plans for him will have to take a step back, along with his reported ego, to Hagerstown in 2013.



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