Jason and I continue our look at some of the more relevant prospects in each of the 30 MLB organizations. We won't be looking at each prospect in every organization, but rather providing brief profiles of players that are either expected to make an impact as soon as next season, or are worth watching in dynasty and keeper formats. In general, they will be sorted in the order of when they are anticipated to be in the Majors, even though it is no guarantee that they will get there.
Our goal is to speak more to each prospect's fantasy value, so while we do look at a player's defense, it is really only in the context of where they will end up when they get to the Majors, and how that may affect their long term outlook. We will be going roughly in alphabetical order, and planning to have the series completed by the end of the year.
NL West: Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco
NL Central: Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh
NL East: Atlanta, Miami, New York, Philadelphia
AL East: Baltimore, Boston, New York Yankees
AL Central: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota
AL West: Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle
[He's] 5'8", can't run, lacks power, not a good defender at 2b. Doesn't make sense to rate a guy without upside there.
Michael Wacha (BBRef Statistics)
Carson Kelly (BBRef Statistics)
Young for his class, Kelly didn't turn 18 until after signing for $1.6 million as a second round pick. He had a mixed debut, hitting only .225 for the Johnson City in the Appy League, though he did hit 9 home runs. Kelly has a line drive stroke and can get good loft on the ball, portending future power. He has below average speed and that does affect his range at 3rd base, though he has solid hands and more than enough arm for the position, as he was a two-way prospect. We can't be surprised at a weak debut given his age, and all in all it was only 213 at-bats. I'm a fan of Kelly and though it may take a while, I expect him to turn into a solid prospect.
Patrick Wisdom (BBRef Statistics)
Widsom had a down season as a Junior at St. Mary's, leading him to fall to the supplemental first round after generating some first round buzz previously. Wisdom showed that the Cardinals faith in taking him 52nd overall was well worth it by producing a .282/.373/.465 slash line in his pro debut. Wisdom, like 2nd round choice Carson Kelly and 4th round selection Stephen Piscotty is a 3rd baseman. He has all the actions to stay at the position including solid athleticism, enough speed, and an above-average arm. The question on Wisdom is whether he will hit in the end, after posting a dismal .254/.380/.435 slash line his Junior campaign. His pro debut was a good first step in answering that question, but 241 at-bats isn't going to settle any dispute. Wisdom owns plus raw power, as evidenced by his 27 extra-base hits in those 241 at-bats. Already 21, I'd expect Wisdom to get a look at Low-A Quad Cities to open next year. He could turn into a good average, 20 home run guy who can really field the position in due time.
Others of Note
James Ramsey (BBRef Statistics)
A leader of the Florida State Seminoles, Ramsey was picked with the Cardinals second pick in the first round and signed for $1.6 million, about $175,000 under the allotment for that pick. Certainly at that figure it wasn't a punt of a pick, as scouts see Ramsey with average tools across the board, but lacking even one standout tool. He's currently a centerfielder, though his range is only average and he might not be able to stick there. He doesn't have the power for a corner outfield spot, but is athletic enough for an attempt at 2B if the Cardinals opt to send him to the Skip Schumaker school of position switches, or Kipnising for the younger crowd. Ramsey is likely to be a major leaguer - but he might be more Schumaker than Kipnis in that he's probably a utility player in the long run.
Starlin Rodriguez (BBRef Statistics)
Rodriguez has come a long way since being an undrafted free agent who was both signed and released by the Rays in 2009. He signed on with St. Louis later that year and has been making steady progress since. While he was a bit old for his level at 22, Rodriguez recorded a .300/.373/.442 slash line in the Florida State League. Given the dearth of prospect worthy second sackers, it makes Rodriguez an interesting name. Maybe he was beating up on younger competition and maybe he is just a late bloomer. Either way, he's on plenty of sleeper lists for now and is worth monitoring in deep leagues.
Seth Blair (BBRef Statistics)
Blair wouldn't seem like a candidate for inclusion in this space due to his horrid performance thus far as a pro, failing to post an ERA under 5.29 or a walk rate under 6 per 9 innings thus far in his career. Add to that that he is already 23 and has yet to progress past Hi-A, and I'm making a good case to just end this seemingly eternal article already. But I can't in good conscience do that. Blair threw only 16.2 innings in the minor league in 2012, walking more than he struck out in 5 starts. He did spend some time in the AFL where his control was no more refined, but the results were much better. Blair profiles as a relief prospect at this point, with a fastball that registers in the mid-90s when starting and should play up in relief. His curveball has shown the makings of a plus pitch, and while his changeup is still nascent, a move to the pen would allow him to junk it altogether. The Cardinals may continue to start Blair in an effort to more fully develop his pitches, but given his age and stuff he could be a relatively quick mover. The determining factor could be whether he ever figures out where the ball will end up once it leaves his hand.
Statistics from Baseball Reference, and Fangraphs
Other research from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus
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