With so many prospects around baseball vying for a spot in the Major Leagues, it becomes difficult to keep tabs on everyone. Throughout the season, I will attempt to consolidate the most important news at the AAA level. Although I’m sky high on Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado, they simply aren’t close enough to merit discussion if we approach this from a fantasy perspective.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka (2B/SS, MIN) – Nishioka is an ice cold 0-13 to begin the season in Rochester. Manager Gene Glynn elected to move him into the lead-off spot on 4/9/12 and he responded with a 3rd inning single to right. Nishioka finds himself in a rather precarious position within the Minnesota Twins organization. Neither Alexi Casilla nor Jamey Carroll is very good but Nishioka must prove that he’s worthy of a spot on the Major League roster by hitting in AAA. With Luke Hughes and Trevor Plouffe out of options and currently on the Twins roster, Nishioka must find his stroke quickly before the aforementioned quartet establish themselves and make Ron Gardenhire forget about his Japanese import.
- Paul Janish (SS, CIN) – Janish picked up IL batter of the week honors after going 6/14 with 2 HR and 3 RBI to start the year for the Louisville Bats. The rise of Zack Cozart has forced Janish back to the Minor Leagues. His bat is too light and he doesn’t have any speed to speak of. On the bright side, his last name is pretty fun to pronounce.
- Tyler Cloyd (SP, PHI) – Cloyd picked up IL pitcher of the week honors after 6 shutout innings for Lehigh Valley. He struck out 8 and walked none in his AAA debut. Cloyd posted an impressive 2.78 ERA to go with 99 SO and 15 BB in 17 starts with Reading (AA) last season.
- Alex Cobb (SP, TB) – A loaded Tampa Bay rotation has forced Cobb to begin the 2012 season with the Durham Bulls. For an organization that likes to walk on eggshells with their pitching prospects, this may be the best thing for Cobb. He only made 12 starts with Durham in 2011 but posted an eye-popping 70 SO to just 16 BB. In his first outing against the Gwinnett Braves, Cobb threw 89 pitches (58 for strikes) and lasted 5 innings. He surrendered 1 R (earned), struck out 8 and walked none. Despite his inability to make it deep on Opening Day, the Rays should be encouraged by his first start. Monitor his outings closely as he is unquestionably the first starter up if injury strikes the Rays rotation.
- Julio Teheran (SP, ATL) – Teheran made headlines earlier this spring after he surrendered 6 home runs against the Detroit Tigers in early March. It appears after his first start against Durham on 4/7 that he still has some work to do. Teheran didn’t make it out of the second inning and surrendered 3 runs (all earned), walked two, struck out one, and gave up a home run to Jeff Salazar. Despite Atlanta’s rotation depth, this is one of the last things that they want to see.
Pacific Coast League
- Carlos Peguero (OF, SEA) – No one has started out hotter than Peguero (7/10, 2 HR, 4 RBI, and 16 total bases) in Tacoma. He posted an atrocious .196 BA in 155 PA with the Mariners last season, a telltale sign that he needed more seasoning in the PCL. Peguero possesses great raw power but has discipline issues at the plate. He struck out 172 times in 544 PA at A+ High Desert (CALL) and 178 times in 553 PA at West Tennessee (SOUL). Most interestingly, he had 14 triples in A+ but only managed to steal 3 bases.
- Jordan Lyles (SP, HOU) – It’s pretty difficult to sugarcoat Lyles’ 2011 campaign with the Houston Astros. In 15 starts, he posted a 5.02 ERA and surrendered 13 HR in only 89.2 innings. For an organization this shallow, however, it’s likely that Lyles gets a chance in Houston at some point. His first start lasted 6 innings and he surrendered 7 hits, struck out 5, and walked 1 in a winning effort. The PCL is far and away a hitter’s league, making a start like this relatively special for someone who has endured his struggles.
Shelby Miller (SP, STL) – Miller is the best right-handed pitcher in the Minor Leagues and opposed Lyles on 4/8. He was significantly less sharp, allowing 4 runs (all earned) on 7 hits and striking out 4.
- Leonys Martin (OF, TEX) – Martin figures to find himself patrolling center field in Texas before long. He’s connected on 6 of his first 16 through Sunday and has swiped 2 bases to boot. Martin’s bat remains the biggest question mark around his future success or failure (see Keith Law’s write-up if you’re an ESPN insider). While all eyes are on Mike Trout in the PCL, Martin’s ceiling is sky high if he can figure things out in the batter’s box.
Who to Watch
The list below highlights 5 pitchers to watch in the IL and the PCL as we move forward in 2012. I’m in the process of creating an extensive list on Google docs to better detail prospects by organization. I hope to have more on this in the coming weeks.
|Manny Bañuelos||SP||Empire State||NYY||IL|
|Martin Perez||SP||Round Rock||TEX||PCL|