Joc Pederson signing autographs in Spring Training 2012 (Photo Credit: Alexis Goldstein)
A couple weeks back I used this space to give you five players that you should be familiar with, at least on a name basis. I did this again on Thursday, with my Waiting in the Wings column, and though you've yet to show it in the comments, this type of column seems to be the preferred method. Given that, and the nearing end of the minor league season, I'm going back to the well at least one more time in an effort to famliarize you with as much low-minors talent before the season does, indeed, conclude.
Joc Pederson - OF - LAD - Pederson might best be known as the only Dodgers position player of any relevance heading into the 2012 season. That still might be his most defining quality, but he's doing his best to change all that, skipping Lo-A (almost) entirely (he had 50 at-bats there) to throw down a .321/.403/.527 slash line in the Hi-A California League at 20 years of age. Pederson is more of an "above-average tools across the board" type than someone with one defining tool. His power outburst this season is due at least in part to the high octane environment of the Cal League, but it's not all environment as he slugged under .400 in the first half before exploding for a .620 slugging percentage in the second half. Pederson has also swiped 25 bases, although only at a 64% clip, though he was a high percentage base stealer earlier in his career. One of Pederson's best attributes is his approach at the plate, which has yielded 49 walks to only 74 strikeouts thus far. Double-A will be a good test for Pederson's particular skill set, so next year will be a big one for him, despite being only 21 when he reaches the level. He's likely to end up in left field, so his bat will have to carry him, though his power may max out closer to 20 home runs than 30.
Read more after the jump...
Jesse Biddle - SP - PHI - Another first rounder, Biddle was taken by his hometown Phillies 27th overall in 2010. He was plagued by inconsistent velocity in 2011, often sitting in the upper 80s instead of the low- to mid-90s he showed as a prep product. Despite the loss of velocity, Biddle recorded nearly a strikeout per inning in 2011, thanks to an impressive change up and a big breaking curveball. In 2012 Biddle has rediscovered some of his lost velocity, and it's showed in the results as he's averaged more than 9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings while reducing his BB/9 IP at the same time. While he's throwing in the Florida State League, a pitcher friendly environment, Biddle has made real strides this year, especially in regards to commanding his curveball, which he's begun to throw for more strikes. He should pitch in Double-A at 21, and he's struck out one per nine throughout his entire career. Those are great aspects to his prospect profile, and you shouldn't forget about him come draft day.
Randal Grichuk - OF - LAA - Grichuk might be a familiar name for you. He was drafted one spot ahead of Mike Trout in the 2010 draft, a factoid you may have heard a bunch of this year. While he is by no means progressing at the same rate as his fellow draftee, Grichuk has reached Hi-A as a 20 year old despite numerous injuries that have limited his playing time. Not a big man, Grichuk generates impressive power all the same, using impressive bat speed to bash 17 home runs and 53 total extra base hits as part of a .294/.333/.484 slash line in the Cal League. Grichuk has other tools, but power is his calling card and will have to carry him to the majors as his athleticism won't play up the middle. His approach needs refinement as he's drawing only walks on 4.2% of the time this year, compared to a 15.7% strikeout rate, though the latter number constitutes a considerable decrease compared to 2011.
Maikel Franco - 3B - PHI - Franco ranked 10th (per Baseball America) in a weak Phillies farm system heading into 2012, but the odds are good that he will rank higher in what is assuredly a deeper system heading into next season. Franco is sporting a .265/.323/.426 slash line as a 19-year old in Lo-A. That is a disappointing line overall, considering his tools, but it masks his recent development that has produced a .322/.376/.515 in the second half of the season. Franco shows the defensive skills to stay at third, despite below-average speed. As his second half slash line suggests, Franco has a knack for squaring the ball up and shows an above-average hit tool. He shows good bat speed and should have at least average power down the line. His approach will need continued refinement, but he's taken a good first step towards a more advanced approach.
Anthony Meo - SP - ARI - Meo was a possible first round draft pick in the 2011 draft that fell to round two, right into the Diamondbacks' waiting hands. Meo's reason for inclusion on this list is based heavily on his peripherals, as his 4.05 ERA as a 22-year old in Hi-A isn't impressing anybody. The attraction to Meo is based on his impressive 9.8 K/9 IP, though he balances that with an entirely too high 4.5 BB/9. He will show an above average fastball that sits in the low 90s and can touch 94 MPH, but his out-pitch is a curveball that is a true plus pitch that breaks both down and away. He does have a change up, though it's below-average and doesn't look to be anything more than average even with development. Control is a struggle at the moment, hence the 4.5 BB/9, but he should be able to refine that in time. Meo's ceiling is a mid-rotation guy who can rack up the strikeouts, but there's a good chance he ends up in the back of the rotation or bullpen as well.
Kevin Goldstein/Baseball Prospectus
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