Thursday, April 18, 2013

Great Expectations: Top 5 Prospects to Watch Out For

In 2013 & Beyond

1. Wil Myers

The Rays scored themselves one of the best prospects in the game when they traded James Shields and Wade Davis in exchange for Myers last season. It was a brilliant move on their part. They traded from an area of strength & depth (pitching) and scored a player who put up 37 HR with 109 RBI last season in the minors. Offense was a major issue for the Rays last season, as they finished with 175 HR and a .240 average as a team, good for fourth and fifth in the A.L. East, respectively. That leads me to believe a promotion to the big leagues is likely to happen sooner rather than later for Myers, unless the Rays can hold off until June 1st (to prevent his arbitration clock from ticking). When Myers does arrive, I'm expecting him to make an impact similar to that of Bryce Harper from last season.  

2. Oscar Tavreras

Myers may have edged Taveras in several hitting categories last season, but in terms of pure hitting prospects, there is no one better than Taveras in the minors. Taveras natural hitting ability has been compared to that of Vladimir Guerrero, which I'm guessing is a welcomed comparison for any hitter. Much like Guerrero, Taveras has an aggressive approach at the plate, with a violent swing. The part of his game that makes him truly special is his ability to connect on almost any ball thrown his way. In fact, if it weren't for the Cardinals depth in the outfield, Taveras would already be raking at the major league level.

3. Jurickson Profar

Profar is the type of player that may not grade out as the top prospect in any one area, but when you put everything together, there is no prospect that has the ability to match his potential. I wouldn't be surprised to see Profar making the All Star team annually, and competing for MVP awards in his prime. Playing in Texas only improves the outlook for Profar's offensive output, as we have seen what that ballpark can do for a player. I wouldn't bank solely on the Texas ballpark for Profar's outlook, as there have been trade rumors for awhile now. With Elvis Andrus manning SS and inked to a long term deal, there might not be room in Texas for Profar. Regardless of where he ends up playing, expect big things.

4. Dylan Bundy

Bundy is considered one of the best high school pitchers in draft history. He has overpowering stuff, and command well beyond his years. The most incredible part of Bundy's 2012 season is that he went all the way from Low-A to Baltimore (albeit for 2 games). I wouldn't expect Bundy to be promoted until June 1st at the earliest, and once he is promoted, he will be handled gently (especially with the recent injury news). Bundy is currently dealing with some right elbow and forearm tightness, but is expected to begin a throwing regime soon. There's no reason to rush him back and risk further injury, especially since Baltimore will likely have him on an innings limit throughout the 2013 season. 

5. Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts continues to impress at every stop he has made in the minors. The issue with Bogaerts is whether he will remain at shortstop. With Stephen Drew in town on a one year contract, and Jose Iglesias as his backup, there is a logjam at SS for the Red Sox in 2013. That leads me to believe that it will be hard for Bogaerts to get any action in the big leagues this year, with a debut in 2014 being more realistic. Regardless of his promotion date, Bogaerts has all the tools necessary to be a fixture in the Sox lineup over the next decade. He has the potential to be a .300 hitter with 30 HR which is great production at any position.

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