I decided that it’d be appropriate if I went back and analyzed our beginning of the season list from 2012 (the consensus list) and mine from 2013 to mark many of the noticeable differences in player value. This is a good way to see who really shot up the rankings, and who fell from their pedestal. We already looked at the “Risers” of the list, which you can find here. Next, we are taking a look at those who you no longer will find on our 2013 list.
Instead of trashing players and telling you that I think that they will stay off (which I think I pretty much told you when I made the list and they weren’t there), I think I’d rather give you three bounce-back candidates who could sneak there way back onto the Top 100. Will they? Who knows. But they are guys who I still see potential in that I haven’t given up on yet.
Daniel Norris (SP, TOR, 69): Norris struggled quite a bit in 2012, but I still believe in him. I think he’s got a long ways to go, so I’m counting on him having plenty of time to rebound. A high school arm still, he’s still got a high ceiling.
Statistics: His ERA of 8.44 is quite misleading, thank god. It doesn’t describe how he was actually relatively decent. He didn’t exceed expectations, but he did have a FIP of 3.82 between Bluefield and Vancouver. In his 35 IP in Bluefield, he struck out 9.7 and walked 3.3 per 9 IP. Those are promising ratios. He’s got decent peripherals, so I’m just waiting on him to push his ERA forward.
Scouting: Norris received much better scouting reports than his numbers would make you think. Scouts said that Norris’ changeup improved a lot, and his fastball remains consistently good. As a lefty, he has a slight advantage over his right counterparts, and his stuff plays up. Norris has one of the best ceilings of the Blue Jays starters, behind Sanchez, and I think he can still turn into a #3 starter by 2015.
Why is he going to bounce back onto the list? Well, Norris has good upside and is still young. His numbers didn’t say disaster and his scouting reports said that he actually got better. I think he fell off because of the numbers, but he could make the jump in 2013. He’s got Top 60 talent still. Just need the numbers to follow.
Tyrell Jenkins (SP, STL, 72): Jenkins is similar to Norris, but his numbers weren’t as impressive. His ERA was high but his FIP definitely was more encouraging. Jenkins has superior natural athleticism to most minor league pitchers and could have played college football (Baylor Quarterback), so that plays to his strength.
Statistics: Jenkins too had a bad ERA (5.14) in Low-A but his FIP, just like Norris, was vastly better, coming in a 3.47. Jenkins rung up 8.74 per 9 innings, a good number for someone who’s considered to be very raw. On the downside, he walked just a touch less than four per nine innings. He needs to reign in the walks to take his step forward. If he could land at something like 7.5 to 8 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings as he climbs the latter, I’d call it a great success.
Scouting: Jenkins is a huge “scouts” favorite. He’s got the body to pitch, being 6’4 and muscular. He drives the ball and has room for projection left to be even better. He sits around 93 with his fastball, and his curve could be a plus pitch in the majors. As with most raw pitchers, he needs to develop his changeup to average in order to stay in contention to start in the bigs. But he’s still young (2012 was his 19 year old season) and he’s on pace to hit the majors sometime in September of 2014 to early 2015. He could finish 2013 with a taste of AA.
Why is he going to bounce back onto the list? He’s raw. Very raw. He’s got good stuff, and just needs to be able to command it better. He’s a natural athlete and has great physical traits to be a front of the rotation arm. Although his ceiling is likely a #2 starter, I think most Cardinals fans would be happy with a #3/4 workhorse out of him, which I find to be the consensus median. And as he climbs the ladder, that becomes more of a reality and with better numbers he should find his way back onto the list.
Tim Wheeler (OF, COL, 77): An older prospect at age 24, Wheeler went from breakout stud (33 HR in 2011) to a question mark, hitting only 2 home runs in AAA (415 PA). He still looks like a solid reserve outfielder, and if he isn’t slowed by a hamate injury in 2013, he might regain some of that pop and be more of a regular.
Statistics: What do Alex White, Mike Leake, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Wheeler have in common? They all hit 2 home runs in 2012. But, Wheeler performed better than them hitting in general (thank god). Wheeler hit .303 and had a .768 OPS, good for a wRC+ of 101. Although this is league average, it follows a 2011 that was 36% above average. So I will say that his bounceback chance is higher than others, because he’s been there before. I don’t know if he’ll even qualify for the list in 2013 because he may get too many COL at bats, but I think he’s one that could post good fantasy numbers as a 4th or 5th outfielder.
Scouting: Wheeler has a good hit tool and had power for one season. I think he falls somewhere beneath 33 home runs, but 15-20 isn’t out of the question if he heals properly. Wheeler played all three spots in the outfield in AAA, but I think he plays in the corner outfield when he comes up to the majors. That should take away some of his value. I don’t think he’ll ever be elite again, but I think he’ll be fantasy relevant at the back end of drafts.
Why is he going to bounce back onto the list? To be completely honest, I think he’ll never make another Top 100. If he’s hitting well enough to be on one, he’ll be in Colorado raking in at bats. And if not, then he’ll drop farther away from this list. He’s probably around 160 on my personal record, but that’s a guesstimation, and he could be anywhere from 140 to 180 depending on what I want to emphasize. His power will dictate whether he comes back to being a name to watch or not.
Full Fallers List (note: the ranking is that of the 2012 list)
Top 50 Prospects: Gary Brown (OF, SF, 32), Manny Banuelos (SP, NYY, 37), Brett Jackson (OF, CHC, 43), Arodys Vizcaino (SP, CHC, 48)
Top 75 Prospects: Brad Peacock (SP, OAK, 58), Hak-Ju Lee (SS, TB, 59), Robbie Erlin (SP, SD, 61), Cheslor Cuthbert (3B, KC, 64), Trevor May (SP, PHI, 66), Daniel Norris (SP, TOR, 69), Tyrell Jenkins (SP, STL, 72), Sonny Gray (RP, OAK, 73), Cory Spangenberg (2B/3B, SD, 74)
Top 100 Prospects: Tim Wheeler (OF, COL, 77), Zack Cox (3B, MIA, 79), Joe Wieland (SP, SD, 80), Mike Montgomery (SP, TB, 81), Dellin Betances (SP, NYY, 83), Nestor Molina (SP, CHW, 89), Taylor Jungmann (SP, MIL, 91), Brandon Jacobs (OF, BOS, 95), Jose Campos (SP, NYY, 96), Jed Bradley (SP, MIL, 97), Mikie Mahtook (OF, TB, 98), Blake Swihart (C, BOS, 100)
This has been the Fallers version of the Top 100, from guys who made the list in 2012 but failed to even get an honorable mention in 2013. It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in more guys, but I think the key is that some will exceed expectations again and follow back to where they were before, while others will tail off the prospect map.
Note that I didn’t like really any of the hitting options. I’m not a Jackson fan, Brown seems pedestrian, Lee isn’t a fantasy prospect, and the list goes on. Spangenberg is slightly intriguing, but he’s known to “play the game the right way” and be a little scrappy, so that doesn’t spell dominant for fantasy. Cox I have no faith in (no to Cuthbert as well), Jacobs is mediocre in my mind. Mahtook and Swihart can both reappear on the list, but I think they have some ground to make up. Wheeler is the name I wanted to mention because he had the most question marks about him, but he could climb back to relevancy with a good 2013 start. Mahtook and Swihart both have time to make the majors and be on the Top 100 still, so I wasn’t concerned on getting the word out about them as fast. But it’s not an indictment on their skills.