Jace Peterson (left) before he committed to baseball. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
By now you know the drill. I present you with another five guys you should be aware of heading into fantasy's offseason, with all five of these guys playing below Double-A at the moment. This is mainly to provide you with a frame of reference as these guys likely won't be fantasy relevant for at least a couple of seasons.
Jace Peterson - SS - SD - Peterson was a multi-sport star throughout high school and into college where he played both football and baseball for McNeese State. The Padres were able to convince him to stick with baseball by offering him a $624,000 scholarship in the supplemental first round. He didn't show the rawness typical of multi-sport athletes in his short-season debut, drawing 50 walks in only 333 plate appearances and swiping 39 bases in 49 tries. Peterson has decided to kick it up a notch in 2012, upping his slash line to .288/.379/.390, good for a 769 OPS in Lo-A ball. Peterson displays impressive contact ability, striking out in only 12.3% of his at-bats while walking in 11.9%. Peterson doesn't have blazing speed, but shows impressive instincts on the base paths, nabbing 50/63 bases this year. He's never going to hit for power but should be able to be an average hitter with solid defense and good base running skills. He is lauded for his work ethic and ability to make adjustments.
More after the jump...
Max Kepler - OF - MIN - Kepler has been generating a ton of buzz recently after putting together a strong season while repeating the Appy League with a .297/.387/.539 slash line. He's also been of interest to many as he was drafted out of Germany in 2009, signing for $800,000. He's a very good athlete with fluid motions in the field and at the plate. He's added strength as his frame as filled out, as evidenced by his jump in ISO from .104 in 2011 to .242 this year. He was drafted as a centerfielder, but as he's added strength, he's lost speed and while he still patrols the middle, he will need to work to stick there. He's not much of a threat on the bases attempting only 7 steals all year, but he has been successful on all of them. He's going to be in play at the back end of some top 100 lists, and deservedly so. At 19, Kepler has plenty of time to work his way up the system.
Todd Glaesmann - OF - TB - Glaesmann has split his 2012 season between Lo- and Hi-A, posting a combined .285/.336/.493 slash line, while bashing 21 home runs and 53 extra base hits. Glaesmann was hailed as a potential five-tool talent when he was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft, though his speed has yet to develop as a true weapon. His approach at the plate is solid but could still use some development as shown by his mediocre on-base percentages, and a consistent walk rate in the 5% range. His power has taken a huge step forward, going from under .400 in 2011 to just under .500 this year. At 6'4/205 lbs, Glaesmann has length to his swing, but also the ability to capitalize on the leverage in his swing, as he's begun to do this year. Next year could see him back at Hi-A with a mid-season promotion to Double-A. Double-A will be a good test, as the more advanced pitchers will be able to exploit his weaknesses and force him to adjust.
J.O. Berrios - SP - MIN - Berrios was a first round draft pick by Minnesota, and he represents a bucking of the trend for the Twins in that he is a power pitcher and not a control/command guy. At 6'1/180 lbs, Berrios doesn't have a ton of projection left in his mature frame. He throws in the low- to mid-90s and can touch 98 MPH with his fastball. He supplements that with a 80 MPH slider with nice bite and has shown feel for the change up though it lags behind the other two pitches, something not uncommon for high school draftees. Berrios receives plaudits for his work ethic as he added 20+ pounds of muscle between his junior and senior year, leading to his high draft position. With present stuff and command/control Berrios was expected to succeed in his debut, but I'm not sure anyone saw this coming. He's split his time between two rookie level stops compiling 49 strikeouts in 30.2 innings compared to only FOUR walks. It's not too soon to get excited about what Berrios has shown, but keep in mind that the he's not going to follow the developmental curve you normally associate with prep pitching products due to his physical maturity and present command/control. He is likely to tear through the low minors without his ultimate ceiling being altered.
Luis Sardinas - SS - TEX - Sardinas is one of my favorite lower minors prospects. He was signed in the same signing period as Jurickson Profar for only $330,000 less. Baseball America had him as the Rangers 17th rated prospect, and said he might have even better raw tools than Profar. That being said, the polish isn't even close as Sardinas has lost valuable development time with injuries to his hand and shoulder since being signed. In his favor is that despite that lost time, he's finishing up a season at Lo-A hitting .292/.347/.357 at age 19. Power is always going to be an issue for Sardinas given his slight frame, but he counters that with plus-plus speed, as evidenced by his 32 stolen bases in 41 tries. He shows good contact ability with a strikeout rate of 12.5%, but the approach could use some work, as would be expected of a 19 year old, registering a 7.1% walk rate. A switch-hitting shortstop with plus hand-eye coordination in the Texas organization is likely going to draw comparisons to Profar, especially when they were signed together, but Sardinas is impressive in his own right and deserves to be recognized for that. Likely to be overshadowed on prospect lists by the more recently signed Nomar Mazara, Sardinas is someone to keep in mind in extremely deep leagues.