This is part two of the series. For those of you who read the first part, you can skip over the next few paragraphs, which describe the goal of this project. In this article, we will cover an additional three hitters and two pitchers.
Some have asked for some Non-Top 100 sleeper prospects, and for being a deeper league site we have to be able to denote some of these players. They won’t be any of the Honorable Mentions either. Now, I’m going to try to cover some of the “closer” guys (aka guys with at least 50 AB or 15 IP in AA) as well as some guys who are farther away than that (less than those totals). This should give a good balance of players for the short term and long term.
Here’s the thing: I’m only going to post on guys who I haven’t mentioned in previous 2013 posts. Yes, that means that I won’t be counting any players who are listed under the “Missed Players” article for the Top 100, nor will I have any of the Top 20 First Year prospects on the list. I’ve already talked about them and mentioned them. If you have a question about any name, feel free to ask it in the comments. Here I’m touching on guys who I think can make an impact above their current rank or common value. They are my “sleepers” for 2013 and beyond.
I’m going to start by doing five writeups per article, and see how many players I can post on. I think there will likely be FOUR parts to this series, but we’ll see what other material I come up with. Currently, I have 20 guys who I think I can write about, or at least try to, so we’ll see how that goes. The blurbs won’t be super long, but they’ll be enough to get the gist of why I like the player. I have 11 “FAR” guys and 9 “CLOSE” guys, so I’m aiming for a pretty even split. Also, evenly divided 10 pitchers and hitters, so you’ll get 2 or 3 of each in each section. Well, enough rambling, let’s go!
HITTERS (level is highest level with 50+ AB)
Stefen Romero (2B, SEA, AA) - Romero is the specimen that statheads love to stare at. He’s not a scout’s dream. To talk of the negatives, he’s below average defensively and may have to move to 1B in the future. He’s blocked by good players up the middle in Ackley, Franklin, Miller, and the outfield/1B glut in SEA is in full effect. He’s not naturally a stud athlete like many top prospects start as. But, the positives are also very much in play. He hit for a wRC+ in A+ of 147. That’s incredible. Except, when he moved to AA, he hit for a wRC+ of 179. Seventy-nine percent above league average.
He’s not a power hitter (7 HR in 2012) but he is very advanced, hitting .352/.391/.599 in 2012. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he also has low strikeout numbers. He’s a guy that most project as a super utility player, potentially topping out as a second division regular. But I see a guy with a much better fantasy career than MLB career. If he can play mostly regularly in 2014, he could put up good fantasy numbers for any deep league.
*It was brought to my attention that I screwed up his numbers. He hit 7 triples, and 23 home runs. In that case, I think Romero could profile out as potentially 15 homers in the majors. The big difference is whether they let him play below average defense at 2B for his bat, or if they have to shift him to 1B.
Angelo Gumbs (2B, NYY, Low-A) - Angelo is pretty much Romero, except everything is backwards. He’s a bag of tools, but he’s young and unproven. Gumbs will likely be able to stick at 2B, but if he can’t then he has the natural athleticism to move to CF. Gumbs has excellent bat speed and awesome foot speed. In 278 PA, Gumbs managed 7 dingers and 26 swipes. He hit for a wRC+ of 102, but he’s yet to capitalize. Mike Newman of Fangraphs noted how elite Gumbs’ swing and bat speed was. If he keeps progressing, I do think he’ll find himself in my 2014 list. He just needs to uncloak himself from the group of Yankee stars around him like Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Gary Sanchez. I think that he could easily find himself in the top 60 prospects with a breakout year, and become an above average regular if he keeps up that pace.
Kyle Parker (OF, COL, A+) - Parker absolutely crushed the California League this past season, ripping the ball for a wRC+ of 152. That number is league and park adjusted, as well. For Modesto, Parker hit .308/.415/.562 as a 22 year old. Perhaps most incredible to me was his average K rate (19%) while his BB rate was inflated to incredible heights (14.3%). Not much of a speed demon, Parker hit 23 home runs in 2012, par with his 21 in 2011. Parker profiles as a RF player, and likely will see The Show in 2014 at some point. He looks a lot like an average regular to me, perhaps an above average fantasy bat. There’s likely not an elite player here, but I think that he’s a guy I wouldn’t mind starting in 5 years on my fantasy team. Jump on him, because he may not get the attention of evaluators until he hits outside of the friendly CAL League.
PITCHERS (level is highest level with 15+ IP)
Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, CHC, MLB) - Vizcaino is somewhat of a question mark. In the past, Keith Law has been astronomically high on him. Like, when Teheran was still an elite prospect, he had Viz higher. Now that he’s on the Cubs, he has an easier path to a job in the majors than in Atlanta, where they churn out starting pitchers. I think that a team like the Cubs, who probably have a year or two until they seriously compete with the STL/CIN powerhouses, can take a chance and wait on Vizcaino. Much of the question comes from his TJ surgery, but for the most part I still see him as a future SP. Not an ace, but he’s got the upside of a #2. And if it all falls apart, he could be found at the back of a bullpen with two plus pitches. He’s got a lot of upside, and is a great buy low prospect with a late inning RP floor, assuming health checks out from surgery.
Andrew Chafin (RHP, CHC, A+) - Equipped with a low to mid 90s fastball from the left side, Chafin is a wild flamethrower with good upside. He walked an astoundingly bad 5.08 batters per 9 IP. Yes, that’s god awful. But he did put up over 11 strikeouts per 9 as well, amazingly good enough to lead any non-Rookie Ball pitcher in the minors, so he’s not wild and ineffective. He’s got a plus slider, so everything rests upon his changeup development. In the CAL League (notoriously hitter friendly), Chafin put up a FIP of 3.76, good for 7th in the league. Chafin has a wide range of outcomes to go through. If everything works out perfect (very rarely), he could end up a #2 starter. If he hits what I think is likely, he’s a middle to late RP, with some backend SP potential. Without any improvement, he could be AAA fodder. But his ceiling is similar to a lot of prospects, even though he’s not considered for Top-100. With a better walk rate, he could vault himself into Top-100 consideration for sure.