Welcome back to Baseball Instinct 360°! We’re bringing to you our Top 360 prospects for the 2012 season. While we plan to have our preseason list posted in a static form for you to refer to at anytime, we also plan for this series to be constantly evolving. As players graduate to the majors, get drafted into the pro’s, or get signed internationally, you won’t have to wait until 2013 for an update. We will continue to use every resource in our power to bring the best list possible to you. That will include input from you the fans, expert analysis from our friends from other sites, and our own video. We took a ton of video in 2012, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what we have planned for you in 2012. Are you excited for baseball to start up again or what?
We will be revolving around you, our readers, who will be at the center of our multi-reader feedback, multi-source assessment, first-hand account (wait for it….) 360° Baseball Instinct experience.
Without anymore fanfare or delay, we present to you Top Prospects 320° to 281°.
320°. Marc Krauss, OF, Diamondbacks, 10/5/1987 – Krauss has been one of the top bats in the D-backs system since being drafted in 2009, but he took a major step back in 2011 in regards to AVG. But underlying that number was a jump in walk rate to 12.7% and a steady IsoP of .197. He had 25 doubles and 16 HR in 433 AB. He’s going to be push the envelope as a LF, so he’ll need to bounce back with the contact rate in 2012. But this is a professional hitter with power. A trade target. ETA 2012.
319°. Michael Foltynewicz, RHP, Astros, 10/7/1991 – Folty is a big framed pitcher with a plus fastball, solid current CU with more upside and a CB that needs work. So far he’s flashing the stuff to be a solid bullpen arm and possible closer but has #3 workhorse upside still, although that might be a stretch. He has yet to turn the arsenal into success with a 4.97 ERA and just 88 K in 134 IP. Biggest weakness is command as shown by the 51 walks. He’s still young and should return to Lexington in 2012. ETA 2014.
318°. Sean Coyle, 2B, Red Sox, 1/17/1992 – When drafted, Coyle had a top end contact rate type bat. That didn’t play up in 2011 though with a .247 AVG 110 K in just 384 AB. That’s good for 23.6%, not a rate a 5’8″ MI can keep on their resume. The power is there though and 27 doubles, 7 triples and 14 HR tossed in with 20 SB is quite impressive. The 12.9% walk rate is elite. A lot of good with some things to really work on. Could break out in 2012 and it wouldn’t surprise me. ETA 2015.
317°. Gabriel Lino, C, Orioles, 5/17/1993 – The O’s have quietly put together a nice system. Lino is a young catcher with plenty of upside, his plate discipline is excellent for such a young player and actually bodes well for his game calling as he matures as a catcher. He knows the strike zone and doesn’t get beat at the plate outside the zone. How well he adjusts to off speed stuff as he climbs the ladder will determine if he becomes a major league regular. But he’s a catching prospect to keep a close eye on in 2012. A .180 IsoP at age 18 and just a 14.6% K rate led to a .282 AVG with 6 doubles and 2 HR in 78 AB. ETA 2016.
316°. Juan Carlos Sulbaran, RHP, Reds, 11/09/1989 - Sulbaran went undrafted until finally being signed by the Reds in 2009. He has a plus fastball with a an average curveball and has averaged more than a strikeout per inning throughout his young career. In 2011 though, he took a step forward with his command. He was able to drop his walk rate to 8.3% from a 12.5%+ rate his prior two seasons. His 155/50 k/bb rate in 137 innings was impressive and puts him on the map as a top Reds prospect in 2012. ETA 2013.
315°. Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers, 6/05/1989 – A 2010 draftee, Nelson, has a mid 90s 4-seam FB but uses a 2-seam sinker more often in the low 90s to induce GBs. He’s not a highly dominant SP but is big and has a workhorse frame. His slider is another above average pitch. If he can refine the CU, he stands a good chance of being a 4/5 for the Brewers. The 120 K in 146 IP is acceptable, but he’ll need to refine the mechanics to get the 10.3% walk rate in check. Should start 2012 in the FSL. ETA 2014.
314°. Jefry Marte, 3B, Mets, 6/21/1991 – A 2011 Futures Game invitee, Marte is one of a few 3B prospects for the Mets that have nice future power potential. His 16% K rate at age 20, is excellent and some bad luck led to the .248 AVG. The 22 doubles and 7 HR in 483 AB in the FSL tell me that Marte is in the early stages of power development but profiles for above average power. His defense at 3B is average and should be more than acceptable in the future if his power fully develops. There’s work to be done and he might return to the FSL for the start of 2012. ETA 2015
313°. Jacob Petricka, RHP, White Sox, 6/5/1988 – A big 6’5″ righty, Petricka flashes triple digits and has one plus offering in that 4-seam FB. He’s only 170 lbs., so concern over him holding up over 200 innings seasons is certainly apparent. He moved over 3 levels in 2011, dominating over 9 starts between the Sally and Appy before hitting a wall in High-A Carolina. His K rate dropped to just 15.2% over 67.2 IP and he walked 26 in that same span. He’s still refining a slider and his CU lags behind. We’ll see how he fares in High-A when he’s able to go back to his FB more often. Profiles better as a RP. ETA 2013.
312°. Maikel Cleto, RHP, Cardinals, 5/01/1989 – From the Mets to the Mariners to the Cardinals, Cleto has always flashed a plus plus FB. It’s a true 80 pitch on the Scouting Scale. He’s developed a slider which gives him that 2nd needed pitch and took it across 4 levels in 2011 reaching STL. His mechanics can become and issue leading to control problems. So the lone plus offering is probably better developed as a bullpen weapon and he’ll continue that path in Triple-A with a good chance of making it back to STL in 2012. ETA 2012.
311°. Chris Withrow, RHP, Dodgers, 4/01/1989 – Withrow has been up and down the top prospect lists based on upside talent and inconsistency. After a third season in Double-A, Withrow again, struck out batters at a high rate and also walked a ton with 130 K and 75 walks in 128.2 innings. He has a plus fastball in the mid 90s with hard sink, so much that he has a hard time controlling it. His CB is a plus offering as well and again, he loses the release and contol of it at times. His CU still lags behind and while I still see a frontline starter hiding behind the chaos it may be too late for him to reach that ceiling. He’ll get pushed to Triple-A and might end up in the Dodgers bullpen in 2012 unless it all clicks early. ETA 2012.
310°. Jeff Locke, LHP, Pirates, 11/20/1987 - Locke will spend another season in Triple-A to work on his changeup. He projects as a back-end starter and should make his major league move in 2013. How long he can stick in the rotation is a question mark based on how far his changeup comes along. But his solid frame says he can eat innings and as a lefty has a three pitch mix to be a starter. But Pittsburgh is coming into a time where they will compete and there are some elite arms ahead of him. ETA 2012.
309°. Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B, Mets, 11/18/1991 – The good – 23 doubles and 17 HR in 516 Sally League AB. Good for a .151 IsoP. The bad – a walk rate of 5.4%. He did keep the K rate to a nice level for a power hitting 3B though at a 19.1% rate. He has a lot of work to do on his contact rate and that will come if he is able to work deeper in at bats and get into better hitters counts. After repeating Low-A Savannah in 2011 he will be pushed to the FSL when Marte is ready to move. There are a number of 3B prospects in the Mets system, so Rodriguez will be given the time to mature as a hitter. ETA 2015.
308°. Taylor Green, 3B, Brewers, 11/02/1986 – Green is ready now, after hitting .336/.412/.580 over two levels in 2011 before making his MLB debut. With 37 doubles and 22 HR he flashed above average power from the left side. He wasn’t highly regarded prospect heading into 2011, but is proving to be a player that needs to get a shot in Spring Training. He may also see some OF time to broaden his defensive value. Especially with Braun on the sidelines for the first 50 of the 2012 season. ETA Now.
307°. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B, Nationals, 9/20/1988 – Lombardozzi finds himself successful enough to make the Nats out of Spring Training, but nowhere to play. He’s a hard-nosed player, swings it from both sides with excellent bat control and can steal bases. His .309 AVG over two levels with 25 doubles, 9 triples, 8 HR and 30 SB show his overall game. Throw in a professional ability to play 2B and he should have a solid major league career, even if it is a utility IF. ETA Now.
306°. Colton Cain, LHP, Pirates, 2/05/1991 - Cain throws a low 90s fastball from the left side. He has solid command but no real strikeout pitch. At least not yet. His curveball and changeup are both below average but should be at least average in time. How much velocity uptick will also be a big factor in whether he’s a bullpen lefty or a solid mid rotation starter. He’s young and still a few years from the majors. So the potential for more velocity is there and a big lefty workhorse is hard to come by. Again, the Pirates have some elite arms in this system and finding a rotation spot will be a battle. ETA 2015.
305°. Josh Sale, OF, Rays, 7/5/1991 – Sale was one of the top pure hitters coming out High School in the 2010 draft. The Rays type of player, he was started in Rookie level Princeton where over 214 AB he hit .210/.289/.341, which is dismal. But there’s some underlying numbers here that tell a different story. His BABIP was an odd .243. Very low and potentially very unlucky. His IsoP was good at .131 and both his 9.6% walk rate and 17.2% K rate are both very good numbers. He’ll probably start back at Princeton and if he can shake off 2011 he may jump up this list by midseason. Fantasy Players – sleeper alert. ETA 2015.
304°. Alex Wimmers,RHP, Twins, 11/01/1988 – Some serious mechanical issues led to a disastrous 2011 campaign for Wimmers. But by the end of the season he was healthy and looking mechanically sound, much like the pitcher that most scouted prior to the 2010 draft. His low 90s fastball was back and he was commanding it to the corners along with his plus changeup and average curveball. He closed down 2011 with a No Hitter against the Jupiter Hammerheads. While he’s not a frontline type, he reminds me a lot of Scott Baker and could be a very solid mid rotation arm. He still needs plenty of time to build up his innings base so he’s a couple of years off the pace now. ETA 2014.
303°. Brett Eibner, OF, Royals, 12/2/1988 – Eibner is a talented OF with good power and the ability to play the CF position. With his age and struggles in 2011, he is now a step behind some of the other talent in the system. He hit .213 with 13 doubles and 12 HR in 2011. Nice power and a little bad luck with a .271 BABIP. He should be pushed to High-A and if he bounces back early will see Double-A time as well to get him back on track. He profiles better as a 4th OF at this point due to contact issues and lack of above average speed. ETA 2014.
302°. Cody Scarpetta, RHP, Brewers, 8/25/1988 – Scarpetta has the tools with a low 90s fastball, plus curveball and average CU as a third offering, but his mechanics are difficult to repeat and he hasn’t taken to any changes made by the Brewers pitching coordinators. At this point he’s looking like a bullpen arm unless he can make that next step and repeat his delivery lowering the 12% walk rate he’s seen over the past two seasons. I can see him, with his talent, being a late bloomer and eventually finding the back-end of a rotation somewhere. That somewhere may be someplace other than Milwaukee though at this point. He’ll repeat Double-A to start the season. ETA 2013.
301°. Henry Rodriguez, 2B, Reds, 2/9/1990 – Rodriguez does a little bit of everything with his small 150lbs frame. He hits for a little power with 36 doubles and 13 HR, steals some bases with 30 this season and plays a solid 2B with the ability to handle SS and 3B if needed. While he doesn’t scream star, he has a bright future as a utility IF. He has a hand eye coordination that can’t be taught so the .320 AVg in 2011 is a legit number although expecting that type of hitting at the MLB level might be stretching his ability, it may not be completely out of the question in a platoon against righties. ETA 2013.
300°. Jacob Anderson, OF, Blue Jays, 11/22/1992 – Anderson was a 1st round Supp for the Jays in 2011. He has plus raw power with upside athleticism. He profiles as a CF despite his 6-4 frame and should actually add weight as he matures. He’s an above average runner but doesn’t profile as a burner. He’ll be a project but is similar to the Jays Jake Marisnick when drafted. Raw talent that needs to be molded into a ball player. In a short GCL stint that consisted of 9 games and 37 AB, he hit .405 with 2 doubles, 2 HR and 2 SB. Small sample. He may start 2012 in extended Spring Training before seeing time in the GCL and then Low-A. ETA 2015.
299°. Max Kepler, OF, Twins, 2/10/1993 – Kepler was a big 16-year-old when he was signed by the Twins in 2009. Currently 6’4″ and 180, swinging it from the left side, he’s a project. He hit .262 in 2011 with 11 doubles and HR in 191 AB in his first taste of the Appy League. He’ll probably return there in 2012 with a concentration on turning his physical tools into baseball skills. He’ll need at least another 3 years before he’s a complete player. But a talent to keep an eye on nonetheless. ETA 2016.
298°. O’Koyea Dickson, 1B, Dodgers, 2/09/1990 – A 12th round pick for the Dodgers, Dickson wasted no time in laying waste to the Pioneer League. He hit .333 with 10 doubles and 13 HR in just 189 AB. A .270 IsoP with a 8.8% walk rate are outstanding. as a Right-handed hitter and with his position being limited to 1B, he’s going to need to continue to pile on the power numbers though. He was a touch old for the Pioneer League so I’m looking forward to seeing him in the A ball levels in 2012. ETA 2015.
297°. Matt Carpenter, 3B, Cardinals, 11/26/1985 – Carpenter is a Cardinals darling. The fan base loves him and carries a deep faith in where he’ll fit into the future of the team. He ripped it up in 2011′s Spring Training and looked to be on pace to make the team out of ST. But he spent most of 2011 in the PCL where he did in fact produce. To the tune of .300 with 29 doubles and 12 HR. He’s blocked by new-found superstar David Freese at 3B, but could still make the team as a bench bat. He’s already past his prospect years and entering his prime. Late Bloomer? Could be. ETA Now.
296°. Tyler Goeddel, 3B, Rays, 10/20/1992 – Goeddel didn’t make his pro debut yet, but the 2011 1st round Supp pick by the Rays has a very projectable frame at 6’4″ and 170lbs. He has above average speed and a solid hitting approach despite being so young. He profiles as an above average power hitting 3# and could easily make the transition to the OF if it is needed in the future. He’ll probably start the season in extended Spring Training before making his way Rookie Level Princeton. ETA 2016.
295°. Charles Brewer, RHP, Diamondbacks, 4/7/1988 – Brewer is a fan fave of the D-backs, with a big frame and year after year of minor league success. Sometimes you just can’t ignore a player like the mainstream tends to. Brewer has been highlighted here since 2009 and he just continues to advance. He has a low 90s fastball, CB and CU, all of which he commands well and throws for strikes. While he doesn’t have a plus pitch, he knows how to work and could be and excellent back-end of the rotation guy for some team in the future. That team will not be the Diamondbacks though. The system here is just too deep with an already very solid MLB rotation. ETA 2013.
294°. Michael Ynoa, RHP, A’s, 9/24/1991 – When do you write off one of the biggest prospect names of the past? Well, Ynoa signed in 2008. So far, zero production. But the 6’7″ Ynoa has flashed the mid 90s fastball in brief stints. He’s now healthy from the 2010 TJ surgery. So 2012 will be the season that he makes good or goes off to the Island of Misfit toys. Albeit, as the richest toy there. He’ll be 21 this year so we could see a full work load once the SS starts and a possible bump to Low-A if he sees any semblance of success. ETA 2015.
293°. Nick Maronde, LHP, Angels, 9/05/1989 – 3rd round pick, Maronde is a solid framed lefty at 200+ lbs and has a mid 90s FB. He doesn’t have much mileage on the arm after pitching effectively out of the pen in Florida. He also throws an above average slider but has had little need for a changeup until turning pro. The Angels put him the Orem rotation and he excelled with a 5-0 record and 2.14 ERA. He struck out 50 in 46.1 IP with just 15 walks. He may jump straight to Inland Empire after Spring Training to get him age level appropriate. ETA 2014.
292°. Bryan Brickhouse, RHP, Royals, 6/6/1992 – Brickhouse is a less touted name for Royals fans to get excited about. He throws a mid 90s FB with more velocity in the cards as he fills out his frame. His spike curve is probably his best pitch although not his best commanded. He hasn’t needed a changeup while blowing away High School hitters at national power The Woodlands in Texas. He has a long way to go but profiles as a mid-rotation starter or power RP. The Royals will obviosuly give him all the time he needs to prove himself as a SP. ETA 2015.
291°. Alexi Amarista, 2B, Angels, 4/06/1989 – A small MI and above average defender at 2B, Amarista, has over-achieved since being signed in 2007. But you can’t deny his ability to hit and despite just average speed, ability to run the bases. He profiles as a utility IF and probably won’t find a full-time gig especially in Angels territory. His arm isn’t big enough to play a lot of SS and doesn’t have the power to play at 3B. With Kendrick ahead of him he may find a spot on the bench late in 2012 much like he did in 2011. ETA 2012.
290°. Ronald Torreyes, 2B, Cubs, 9/02/1992 – He hit .370 in 2010 and followed up with a .356 in 2011. No debating his ability to hit at a high level. But he is just 5’8″ and 145 lbs, so the ceiling is going to have to be a questionable one. With that said, .356 9 doubles, 5 triples, 3 HR and 12 SB in 278 AB with just 19 strikeouts. He’s also a great glove man with a gold glove caliber defensive ability. He’ll be able to shift between 3B, SS and 2B with 2B being the best fit for him. A future utility IF with the ability to hit enough to see significant ABs. ETA 2015.
289°. Jason Adam, RHP, Royals, 8/4/1991 – Adam is a Kansas product and 5th round steal for the Royals. He has a workhorse frame, mid 90s FB and future plus CB. His changeup took some strides in 2011, but work on refining his mechanics may have superceded the use of the changeup. Over 104.1 Midwest League innings he struck out 76 and walked 25 while posting a 4.23 ERA. More concentration on the secondaries in 2012 and then the gloves could come off in 2013. Still enough development needed to keep him out of the upper level of the system, but the ceiling is high if things break right. Potential mid-rotation starter. ETA 2015.
288°. Zack Von Rosenberg, RHP, Pirates, 9/24/1990 – Von Rosenberg has been in the system a long time and the wait for a breakout has caused him to slip down many ranking systems. His overall 5.73 ERA wasn’t pretty, but underlying in the there was a 21.3% K rate with a stellar 4.3% walk rate. His FIP was more than a run better than that ERA at 4.47 as well. The kid has a great frame at 6’5″and 205 lbs and no longer will have the spotlight on him to be a future rotation leader. With Taillon and Cole ahead of him, he can relax and trust his now low 90s FB and 11-5 CB. His CU will need to make strides but I look forward to seeing him in the FSL in 2012. ETA 2014.
287°. A.J. Jimenez, C, Blue Jays, 5/01/1990 – A top flight defensive catcher that is less touted than others in the system. He works well with his pitchers and has a strong arm. With his contact ability, .303/.347/.417 in the FSL in 2011, he should be able to hit enough to make it as a backup in the majors. He has good bat speed but it hasn’t translated to HR power yet. He should move to Double-A in 2012 and the power should start to show itself. 10-15 HR annually with a .280 AVG isn;t out of the question. If Arencebia continues to rake, Jimenez makes one Travis D’Arnaud an expendable highly sought after commodity. ETA 2013.
286°. Matt Lollis, RHP, Padres, 9/11/1990 – Drafted in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, Lollis as a late round pick and is paying nice dividends so far for the Padres. Lollis works in the low 90s from a 3/4 arm slot with 2 breaking pitches. His 21.3% K rate and 8.4% walk rate are both really good rates and he’s put himself near the forefront of the Padres pitching system. He has a huge 6-7/280 frame and should eat up back of the rotation innings with his low 90s FB and spike CB. ETA 2014.
285°. Oscar Hernandez, C, Rays, 7/09/1993 – Very much a “wow, look at those numbers” addition to this list, Hernandez destroyed the VSL in 2011. So much so that he has to be taken serious as a prospect because even if he regresses by 25% of his production the numbers are still great. He hit .402/.503/.732 while playing excellent defense with a great arm behind the plate and good catchers frame at 6′/200. Caution: It was the VSL. He’s one to watch without a doubt and we’ll be watching very closely while he comes stateside for Princeton in 2012. ETA 2016.
284°. Telvin Nash, 1B/OF, Astros, 2/20/1991 – Nash has near elite level raw power, but is also just as raw of hitter. With high K totals, 105 in 281 AB in 2011, he needs plenty of time to become a complete hitter. Despite the high K rates he was still able to garner a .274 AVG with 16 doubles and 14 HR in the that small AB size. So the power is there at a .214 IsoP rate. He also walks at a good clip of 12.6%. But again, the K rate of 33% is unacceptable and he will to reign that in. He’s a passable OF, but figures to move to 1B as he matures and as a RH that doesn’t bode well unless he can maintain an above average K rate. ETA 2015.
283°. Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Mariners, 5/02/1990 – Ramirez has already gotten a taste of Triple-A, so he’s advanced for his age. That has more to do with him being an excellent pitcher than it does with having plus stuff. He’s able to take his solid frame, low 90s FB, above average CU and slider and make it work. While the K rate is sub-20%, his walk rates are low as well. So he get ground balls, hits his spots and knows how to work hitters and follow a pitching game plan. I wouldn’t expect more than a back of the rotation future, but that future could be as soon as 2012 and there’s a good chance that happens. ETA 2012.
282°. Chris Carter, 1B, A’s, 12/18/1986 – 6’4″/245 powerhouse right-handed 1B bat. Carter has been crushing minor league pitching since 2005 but has yet to stick at the major league level. Problem – He strikes out a ton. 24.7% in 2011 at Triple-A. He’s becoming a true three outcome hitter. HR, BB, K. But the power is elite and that can’t be taught so he’ll continue to be given an opportunity to at least be a DH/1B/PH type AL hitter and he should make good on at least that promise. ETA Now.
281°. Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros, 5/2/1991 – So much talent with so many glaring weaknesses at the plate. I guess this where our Fantasy Baseball spin kicks in sometimes. Villar is a potential Gold Glover and is fun to watch in the field. So he should probably be higher on this list based on that alone. With the bat he has good power with a .155 IsoP pushed by 23 doubles, 6 triples and 14 HR in 498 AB. Toss in 34 SB and you can see the potential. But a 27% plus K rate with 156 K and just 54 walks there are some serious plate issues. But he’s just 20 years old and already seeing Double-A where he should start in 2012 and possibly see Houston sometime next season. ETA Late 2012.
Check back soon as we continue with our Top Prospect List as we get our baseball geek on. We will take a look at the top 21 players for each MLB team later this winter. While you’re here, take a look at a recent article from our Prospect Instinct series: Prospect Instinct|Derek Norris and be a step ahead of the game. Also, check out a friend of ours for all of your fantasy sports needs. Fantasy Rundown is updated religiously and is truly an awesome resource. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles in this series: