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)
Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC, Low-A) - Bonifacio played in Low-A in 2012, and very much held his own. He’s one of the more toolsy players in the minor leagues, and could potentially be a power bat in the future for the Royals. Bonifacio hit for a good 116 wRC+ in 2012, hitting .282 with a .768 OPS. He slammed 10 home runs and swiped 6 bases. He’s got the potential to be a 15/5 guy in the majors with solid RF defense and hitting somewhere around .270-.280. He’s still very young (19 years old) so he’s well ahead of schedule for a prospect. I can see him ending up going level by level every year, and sliding towards the back end of lists as evaluators see a 21 year old hitting in AA/AAA and driving the ball well. He’s still got a ways to go in regards to his potential, so these next two years will be the biggest for him. I could see him in KC in 2015 sometime.
Carlos Sanchez (2B, CHW , AA) - Carlos Sanchez is really the only beacon of hope for the White Sox franchise in the infield from the upper minors. And they really could use him, or they are stuck signing Jeff Keppinger and clones to play the infield. And with Gordan Beckham being a disappointment, Carlos might get a long look in 2013. Sanchez played in High-A for most of the season, tore up AA for 133 PA (.370/.424/.462) and was promoted to Triple-A for the last few weeks of the year. Sanchez brings a potent bat to the table, and can play 2B for the White Sox and doesn’t look like he’ll need to move positions. He also has played some SS, and I think he can play there in a pinch. Sanchez swiped 26 bases in 2012, and he could perennially steal 20ish in the majors yearly. The biggest problem with Sanchez is his lack of power. In three seasons in the minors, he’s hit three home runs. Yes, one per year. So I wouldn’t count on any more than, say, two homers yearly from him. But for a guy who strikes out below average rates and hit .323 in 2012, it’s not an empty spot in the lineup. If he could turn some of his 25 doubles or 7 triples into HR, I’d love to invest in a .300 hitter with 3/20 yearly. Imagine a Ben Revere with half the steals but 2B eligibility. Not elite, but he won’t hurt you in a deep league, especially ones with batting average as a category (not as much OBP).
PITCHERS (level is highest level with 15+ IP)
Sean Gilmartin (LHP, ATL, AAA) - Gilmartin is an intriguing mix of stuff and numbers, coming from a polished college arm who has advanced quickly through the minors. Drafted 28th overall in the 2011 draft, Gilmartin managed to begin 2012 in AA and then got a late season promotion to AAA. He wasn’t bad in 2012, posting a 3.84 ERA (3.83 FIP). Gilmartin is a pitcher who doesn’t bring the heat (upper 80s/low 90s fastball), but his changeup can be a plus pitch and his slider has the chance to be above average. Gilmartin struck out only 6.4 batters per nine frames, but walked only 2.2. He will never be a star, but he’s got a chance to be a backend pitcher. Comparing his 2012 numbers to the 2012 MLB pitcher numbers, he profiles similar to Wandy Rodriguez and Joe Saunders. If he could become Joe Saunders, I’d be happy with that result. He may be the first to get a callup in 2013, depending on whether Julio Teheran or his evil twin shows up in April. So keep him in on your late round radars.
Hiram Burgos (RHP, MIL, AAA) - Hiram Burgos will rarely ever be found on a Top 100 list, or anywhere near it. But he really made a name for himself in 2012, jumping three levels (A+, AA, AAA) and pitching very well at each of them. Across his 28 starts, he recorded a 1.95 ERA, and a 2.95 FIP. His numbers got worse as he went up the ladder, but not excessively worse (his highest ERA was AAA at 2.91). He struck out 8.1 and walked 2.6 per nine. A lot of his ability comes with his deception. His fastball is upper-80s to lower 90s, so it’s not a weapon of sorts. But he gets by on his average to slightly above average secondaries and good control. His separation between offspeed and fastball creates the illusion of a faster pitch. Burgos is one of my sleepers because I can forsee him making a Michael Fiers or Tommy Milone type of season. He’s not going to get much better in the minors, and I think that he’s a guy that will end up a #4/5 starter for the BrewCrew. But he’s a sleeper of mine for the 2013 season as a player who could come in and contribute meaningful innings to your fantasy team without a big investment (late round pick or WW gem). If he doesn’t work as a starter, he’ll likely end up a swingman type of pitcher.
CJ Edwards (RHP, TEX, A-) - Edwards is somewhat of a legend. A 48th round pick, he came out firing. Edwards is super lanky (I hesitate to call everyone who is tall and thin “projectable”) but he added some speed to his fastball and was throwing mid 90s, after being in the upper 80s his high school career. Since he was drafted (in 2011) they did away with the rounds past 40 in 2012. So we may not see anyone else like him. CJ Edwards pitched in Rookie Ball and Short Season Ball (Arizona and Northwest Leagues) in 2012, and compiled a 1.47 ERA of 67 IP. Edwards struck out 11.4 and walked 3.4 every nine, good for a 3.4 K/BB. I like that number, it speaks to his ability to strike guys out without excessive walk problems (like many strikeout kings have in the low minors). I like him to be a sleeper in many leagues. He’ll take a while to get there, and he could potentially open up in Low-A, knowing how the Rangers like to push their prospects. So that probably sets him on track to debut in 2015-2016 time frame, depending on how smoothly he goes. Heck, Jose Fernandez was supposed to be up in 2015, but he could force his way to a June 2013 callup after dominating. So nothing is out of the question, but if he dominates he’ll be up in 2015, but more likely 2016. And any injuries may even push it to 2017. I would only advise you to take a risk on him if he is flat out dominant (Top 100 prospect worthy) or if you have enough depth in minor leaguers to hold onto a young guy for 2-3 years to find out what you have in him.