It’s day 3 of Baseball Instinct 360°! We’re bringing to you our Top 360 prospects for the 2012 season. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to catch our previous 2 days where we presented prospects 360 to 321 and then prospects 320 to 281. We continue our march towards January 9th and our #1 overall prospect with Top Prospects 280° to 241°.
We start things off today with a name familiar to most prospect hounds. He fell off most top 100 lists, but here’s a player that deserves some attention and we’re going to give him just that.
280°. Tim Beckham, SS, Rays, 1/27/1990 - Former #1 overall pick of the 2008 draft, is finally making strides as a professional player. Keep in mind that Beckham is just 21 years old and has now reached Triple-A. The lofty expectation set by the draft slot have pushed him almost into obscurity as a failed prospect, but while he may never fill the Superstar expectations, he did hit .271 with 28 doubles, 4 triples and 12 HR while stealing 17 bases over 2 levels. He’s producing like serviceable major league prospect and if the Rays don’t give him a chance soon they may want to give him the chance to bloom somewhere else. But I don’t think they want to see another Josh Hamilton scenario so Beckham may get a chance this season. ETA 2012.
279°. Levi Michael, 2B, Twins, 2/9/1991 - North Carolina Tar Heel, Michael was drafted in the first round at #30 by the Twins. Drafted as a SS he’ll likely be a 2B professionally. If Michael can hit like he did in college, he has a chance to move up the organization ladder quickly. Brian Dozier is the only thing standing in his way for the starting shortstop job. If he can’t stick at SS, he’s going to have to hit the cover off the ball to keep out Rosario. ETA 2015.
278°. Tanner Bushue, RHP, Astros, 6/20/1991 - Bushue is still young and projection is still part of his overall prospect profile. He was a Baseball Instinct darling when he was drafted and just hasn’t advanced physically the way we thought he would. He has an excellent pitchers frame and the best curveball in the system. While he commands the pitch with plus command his FB just hasn’t developed into that low 90s area on a consistent enough basis. His mechanics are clean and he’s still young enough to start adding weight and thus some extra velocity. For now he’ll need to become a better pitcher with what he has and will probably blossom when he reaches his mid 20s. Profiles as a mid rotation start if he kicks the velocity up and back end if it doesn’t materialize. ETA 2014.
277°. Julio Rodriguez, RHP, Phillies 8/29/1990 – A full-time starter in 2011, Julio maintained an impressive 168/56 strikeout to walk ratio in Advanced A Clearwater this past season. Unfortunately, there is a fear that his average stuff won’t allow him to repeat this kind of success at higher levels. His fastball sits around 90mph without much movement. Without a plus offering in his arsenal and with the natural deception in his delivery, Rodriguez may be forced to the bullpen. ETA 2014.
276°. Noah Perio, 2B, Marlins 11/14/1991 - Perio shows some extra base speed, good athleticism, and a line drive swing, but not too much power yet. In 488 at bats in the Sally League, he k’ed only 64 times but walked just 19 times, so while doesn’t strikeout a lot, he doesn’t score enough free passes either. A sharp defender, he will need to improve his on-base skills in order to avoid a utility role in the bigs. ETA 2015.
275°. Jorge Bonifacio OF Royals 6/4/1993 – Bonifacio brings an intriguing combination of power and speed to the table. In his first full season stateside, he’s brought his ISOP up to a sparkling .208 in the short season Appalachian League. He stole 5 bases, but had stolen 13 bases the previous year in just 164 at bats. There should be more pop to come as the 18-year-old grows into his body. Going forward, strikeouts are a concern, but Kansas City will live with them as long as Jorge keeps making solid contact. ETA 2015.
274°. Orlando Arcia SS Brewers 8/4/1994 – As a 16-year-old in the DSL, Arcia hit .294 with 6 homeruns and walking 30 times and striking out only 20 with 13 stolen bases and a .384/.459/.845 triple slash. Exciting numbers, but tallied up at such an early stage of development in his professional career against equally young competition. Right now, he has an ideal body frame to stay at shortstop, but this youngster could still be growing, so time will tell. He’s a wait’ n’ see prospect for sure, but the results, thus far, are very encouraging. ETA 2016.
273°. Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies 8/26/1992 – Franco graduated from the GCL to start the NY/Penn League in 2011, hitting .287 with 58 hits in 202 at bats while collecting 25 walks and striking out only 30 times. Later in the year he earned a promotion to the Sally League where he struggled as a 19-year-old against much older competition. At such a young age, Franco already shows an advanced approach at the plate, nearly walking as much as he strikes out. Philly hopes to see more power come out of his bat so offensively he can stick at the hot corner, but that should come as his body matures. ETA 2015.
272°. Renato Nunez, 3B, A’s, 4/4/1994 - Overly raw, yet a very talented Venezuelan teen. He has plus raw power for his age but right now is still growing into his frame and the power isn’t very much of a game tool. He has good hand/eye coordination giving him solid contact ability, but his approach is still a work in progress. In his professional debut he hit .268 with 12 doubles and 5 HR over 194 Dominican Summer League AB. That’s good for a .142 IsoP and shows promise for the future. His K rate was just 19.7%, which for a young latin player making his debut is on the impressive side. He will need to learn to work counts and take walks because a 3% walk rates will find him without pitches to hit once he makes his US debut. Good chance to stick at 3B based on his arm and the time needed to fully develop. ETA 2016.
271°. Logan Schafer, OF, Brewers, 9/8/1986 – While Schafer profiles best as a 4th OF, he is also game ready right now and a bat that the Brewers can use to fill holes developing on the major league roster. Schafer’s one elite tool is his hit tool and he went .315 with 22 doubles, 6 triples and 5 HR while stealing 16 bases in 2011 before impressing further in the AFL. He proved healthy once again in 2011 after a lost 2010 and is now on the doorstep of Milwaukee. He should make the club out of Spring Training as a 4th but could see significant time while Ryan Braun is out. ETA NOW.
270°. Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers, 5/25/1989- The 22-year-old has made it all the way to Triple-A moving over three levels in 2011 compiling a 5-3 record with 119 K and 44 BB over 98 total IP. He missed most of the 2nd half of the season with a shoulder injury, but should be ready to get back on the mound in Spring Training. While 2011 could be considered a breakout, if he reproduces those numbers again he’ll be high on these charts. With his 93-95 FB and power CB he has two pitches for major league success in a bullpen and a developing CU isn’t far behind, giving him a good chance at the major league rotation in 2013 if it’s properly developed. ETA 2013.
269°. James Baldwin III, OF, Dodgers, 10/10/1991 – The Dodgers got a project and a steal in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. Baldwin, the son of James Baldwin, Jr. RHP of the White Sox in the 90s. Young Baldwin was a football, basketball and baseball star at Pinecrest Prep before signing to play baseball for the Dodgers. He’s ultra athletic, high level raw power and speed and with an MLB bloodline he has a very high ceiling. A .231 IsoP with 22 SB in 195 Rookie level AB is a great sign. The 32.2% K rate, a sign that he’s a long way off and very raw. But players like this can become special talents. The timeline though is a long one. ETA 2016.
268°. Bryce Brentz, OF, Red Sox, 12/30/1988 – We pegged Brentz as a potential true power hitter in our Draft Preview from 2010 and he’s done just that since being drafted. He compiled a .306 AVG with 25 doubles, 4 triples and 30 HR in 2011 while keeping his K rate at 24.9% and an 8.1% walk rate. He’ll need to bring those numbers together to take full advantage of his power. He’s a touch older than some prospects in the same leagues so the test will come in 2012 when he reaches Double-A. He’s going to be limited to a corner OF spot but is a good enough athlete to hold his own. He profiles as an average regular or 4th OF and should carve out at least a decent career. ETA 2014.
267°. Aaron Westlake, 1B, Tigers, 12/27/1988 - Westlake is a Vandy 1B drafted in the 3rd round of 2011. Westlake is a tweener based on his age and position. He has the size and projection to hit for power and swings it from the left side. He’s going to be pushed through the minors and how he responds with the transition will be interesting to watch. He could be a 25 HR type 1B or not make the transition quick enough and get buried in the minors. He only had a hand full of 2011 ABs after getting drafted, so we’ll see in 2012 where he ends up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in the FSL and be tested right out of the gate. ETA 2014.
266°. Chris Dwyer, LHP, Royals, 4/10/1988 – Dwyer became a borderline top 10 after a disappointing 2011. His low 90s FB and plus CB give him two excellent pitches but his changeup lags so far behind his other two pitches that he’s not far from being relegated to a Lefthand bullpen arm. The Royals are close to becoming a playoff contender and if he’s needed in the pen it’s going to be a move that he won’t recover from. He would make an excellent lefty specialist right now but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt to start 2012 and see how much development he can make with that CU. He’s dominant enough to do it. But command and that 3rd offering are much-needed and the time is now. ETA 2012.
265°. Eduardo Sanchez, RHP, Cardinals, (STL) - Sanchez is going to be a fixture in the Cards bullpen in 2012 and probably shouldn’t be considered a prospect at this point, but IP sit at 30, so here he is. He pumps mid 90s fastballs and up with a lot of movement and sink. He gets a ground outs around 50% and strikeouts around 30%. His mechanics are clean and repeatable and Sanchez should be able to hold down a bullpen spot for the long run. ETA NOW.
264°. Cesar Puello, OF, Mets, 4/1/1991 – Considered one of the top talents in the Mets system, Puello has flaws to go along with the tools. While he has latent raw power in there, he doesn’t know how to tap into it yet and his frame looks to be mature in my opinion. His speed was considered a plus tool by many heading into the 2011 season, and while he still stole 19 bases in the FSL it was a far cry from expectations. He hit .259 and at this point it’s his maturity as a hitter and unwillingness to work walks that are keeping him from advancing. Just 18 walks in 441 FSL AB while hitting 21 doubles, 5 triples and 10 HR. He may return to the FSL to start 2012 but could move quickly to Double-A as the Mets need to see what they have in the system. ETA 2014.
263°. Robbie Ross, LHP, Rangers, 6/24/1989 – Ross has a low 90s FB that has plus movement and its that movement that gets him strikeouts. He has a slider and CU that are both average offerings. He doesn’t walk many batters and gets a decent K rate, but has no single dominant offering. He profiles at the back of the rotation, but there isn’t much room in Texas for a soft tossing lefty at this point and he could end up as trade bait. He’s just 5’11″, but should be able to toss solid 200 inning seasons if he sticks in a rotation somewhere. ETA 2013.
262°. Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs, 12/7/1992 – A barrel of a hitter at 6′ and 250lbs, he has the elite level raw power one would expect. The old regime in Chicago considered him enough of an athlete at that size to profile as a regular 1B in time. There are questions about that being possible though. He does hit moon shot home runs and they were on full display at the showcase circuit. There is game changing power here if he can keep his body in shape and develop enough over the next few years into a professional hitter. This is a long shot and he’s probably better suited with an AL team if he does make it to the majors. ETA 2016.
261°. Travis Harrison, 3B, Twins, 10/17/1992 - The Twins drafted him for his immense power potential. He can flat-out crush the ball. He’s really raw though and there’s some issues with the stiffness of his swing that will need to be addressed. He will be an average defender at best and I’m curious to see with his swing mechanics if he can hit for any kind of average. This is really one of those wait and see situations, but it bears watching in 2012. ETA 2016.
260°. Jordan Swagerty, RHP, Cardinals, 7/14/1989 - While Swag might be able to ascend as a 4-5 starter, he has a closer mentality and the stuff to work well at the back-end of the bullpen. A mid 90s FB and one of the best sliders in the system. The Cardinals can either spend the next 3 seasons building up his innings count until he can handle a full season or get a cost controlled back-end arm with strikeout ability and above average command as soon as 2012. Expect him in the pen next year. There really isn’t any other outcome. ETA NOW.
259°. Brad Boxberger, RHP, Padres, 5/27/1988 – Recently traded to the Padres from the Reds, Boxberger is ready to make an impact. Low to mid 90s FB with a hard slider and average CU give him three pitches but he’s dominant in short stints. The Padres add another dominant arm to their bullpen and Boxberger could eventually close for the Padres. He has the K numbers to be dominant and handled the AFL well this year. He’s ready to make the Padres out of Spring Training and bears watching. ETA NOW.
258°. Kyle Jensen, OF, Marlins, 5/20/1988 – A pretty much unknown outside of the Marlins organization, Jensen had a triple slash of .299/.373/.524 with an ISoP of .225. 22 of his 27 home runs came with Jupiter of the pitcher friendly FSL. He also cut his strikeouts down to 24%. He’s always had some thump in the bat and looked to be a real leader in the FSL for the Hammerheads. He should get a look during spring training, but we’re more likely to see him in his Marlins debut in late September and could be competing for a starting job as early as 2013. ETA 2013.
257°. Mike Taylor, OF, A’s, 12/19/1985 - He’s certainly not the 5 tool player to this point that all the teams he’s been with thought he would be. Taylor’s time to make a name for himself is upon him. Will he succeed or is he going to become the dubious “4-A” player that no player wants to be? Taylor’s biggest problem is himself. He lets things get into his head and over thinks things to death. He once joked in college that if he was stupid that he would be a millionaire. The time is now for Taylor in Oakland. ETA 2012.
256°. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pirates, 11/8/1991 - Scouts report a low 90s fastball with movement, an effective change-up, which is an out pitch against lefties and strong curveball. His stats this season, 6-2, 2.15 ERA, 47 Ks, 15 walks in 15 starts, with a total of 71 innings pitched. Kingham obviously is still being treated with kid gloves but the gloves should come off in 2012. He should start the season in the FSL and continue to refine his changeup and curveball. This ranking is still projection and faith that his frame will equal a solid innings eater at the least. ETA 2015.
255°. Charlie Lowell, LHP, Marlins, 10/25/1990 - Lowell might have less electric stuff than others in the Marlins’ organization, but he’s very consistent and a good bet to remain a starting pitcher. He has the three pitches needed to be a starter; a good fastball, an above-average slider, and a very solid changeup. He’s got the body type and arm action to handle a heavy workload. He should make his 2012 debut in Greensboro. ETA 2015.
254°. Cito Culver, SS, Yankees, 8/26/1992 – I was one of the biggest naysayers when Culver was drafted in the first round, touting the talent that the Yankees passed on and pointing out that Mason Williams would soon bypass Culver. While much of that has come to be true, Culver has proven a better prospect than I gave him credit for. He handles SS well, has an excellent arm and is becoming a professional hitter already. He struck out just 18.3% of the time with a nice 9.6% walk rate. He still has to refine his switch hitting ability and is a long way off, but he may be better than I thought. ETA 2016.
253°. Ryan Brett, 2B, Rays, 10/9/1991 (TB) - Drafted in the 3rd round, 98th overall by the Rays in 2010, Ryan Brett started off professional career on the right foot hitting .300/.370/.471.Ryan Brett is a prospect, but don’t throw out the Dustin Pedroia comps because of his height. He’s several years off from reaching the majors, and although he does have promise, he currently projects to be an average second basemen. Whether he becomes more, depends on if he can maintain and improve his numbers during the 2012 season. ETA 2016.
252°. Tyler Austin, 3B, Yankees, 9/6/1991 (NYY) – Austin is a big 3B that is flashing the bat in a major way so far. His K rates are solid and he knows how to take a walk. It’s his current power output that makes him a high-end prospects. With his size you can estimate that the power is legit. But as he moves up the ladder he’ll need to continue to refine his approach and keep the K rates in check. Whether he sticks at 3B is still not a clear picture. He’ll start 2012 at Low-A Staten Island and should see Charleston at some point as well. ETA 2016.
251°. Paul Clemens, RHP, Astros, 2/14/1988 – Approaching age 24 he has little projectability left, but may find improvement in his secondary offerings. Leaving the Braves organization may give Clemens a chance at a legitimate major league starting opportunity in the near future. He is a player to monitor closely as he starts in AAA Oklahoma in 2012. Any improvement in his breaking stuff will make his stock rise quickly. He does not have star quality, but productive, innings-eating, starter is quite possible. ETA 2012.
250°. Chris Reed, LHP, Dodgers, 5/20/1990 – As a 1st round pick the expectations are high. While it’s very early to anoint him the ace having not seen him face more than a single batter, many in the scouting world see Reed making the starting rotation in 2013. We think it might take a little longer, depending if they even keep him in the rotation. There’s a chance he could become a very good back of the bullpen type guy. ETA 2014.
249°. Garrett Gould, RHP, Dodgers, 7/19/1991 – Gould projects as one of those reliable innings eaters. His low 90’s fastball and above average curve could give him a bump to AA to start the 2012 season. There are concerns that the velocity that he displayed in high school may not return. We’ll see how he develops against advanced hitting but if he can keep inducing ground balls and display good control and command, we’ll expect to see him get a taste of AAA before the year is over. ETA 2014.
248°. Francisco Martinez, 3B, Mariners, 9/1/1991 – Francisco… that’s fun to say. Acquired late in the 2011 season by way of trade, Martinez only spent 2 months in the Mariner system. He had a slugging percentage .481 including 7 triples and 10 homeruns this season, so he has decent power potential. However, that power came with 104 strikeouts and a strikeout percentage of 21.8.Because he is new to the organization, I would expect the Mariners organizational approach with him to be patient and help him refine his game. Martinez is a player to watch, if it clicks for him there is good potential to become a solid regular. ETA 2013.
247°. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Brewers 5/1/1990 – 9 HR, 20 Doubles and 6 Triples in Florida State League in 2011. He’s hit at every level and appears to be the kind of player that is going to excel to the competition despite not having the natural gifts that others possess. Expect to see Scooter Gennett in Double-A this year but if he continues his speedy progression could see a promotion to Triple-A by the end of the season. More than likely he will be molded into a lead-off hitter that has speed but his stolen bases have come more by smart running than pure speed. ETA 2013.
246°. Kyle Parker, OF, Rockies, 9/30/1989 – Parker is a big strong athlete, still becoming a baseball player after leaving football behind. He hit .300 in the second half of 2011, but the 133 K’s give room for concern. Despite his age he’ll need time to really develop and use his natural power. He’s more of a fastball hitter right now and will need time to develop a professional approach. If he can reign in the K’s he could be a 30+ HR everyday RF. ETA 2015.
245°. Brian Dozier, SS, Twins, 5/15/1987- Dozier had quite a season between the FSL and Eastern League where he hit .320 overall with 33 doubles and 9 HR tossing in 24 SB. He has a high level contact ability and should see Minnesota some time in 2012. He could end up a solid utility MI if he doesn’t enhance his power output because he probably won’t stick at SS long-term with a fringe arm. But it looks as if the Twins are going to give him the shot in Spring and look at his ability to be their every day guy. He’s going to hit and looks like a major league regular, but I hink in the long run he could profile better as a 2B. ETA 2012.
244°. Alex Meyer, RHP, Nationals, 1/03/1990 - Meyer works off of a mid 90s fastball that he can push into the upper 90s along with a wipeout knuckle slider. He doesn’t pitch to his 6’9″ frame and pitching small causes him to miss his spots. The Nats have some work to do with him, but with some mechanical tweaks and refinement of the CU he could turn into a workhorse starter in the mid-rotation starter. ETA 2014.
243°. Enny Romero, LHP, Rays, 1/24/1991 - Romero is heading into his 5th season and is still only going to be 21 when the season starts. He has an excellent frame that still has a lot of room to grow into and brings a low 90s FB with the ability to hit the mids, which is where he should eventually settle in. His secondaries still hold him back, with both the CB and CU lacking any consistency despite both being very good pitches when on. Hence his walk rate of 13.5% in 2011. But he gets K’s at a high rate and could be more than a mid-rotation starter inside of the next 3 years. He should spend 2012 in the FSL and may be forced to use the secondaries more often. Struggles wouldn’t surprise me at least for the first half. With the Rays slow approach to pitcher development there is plenty of time for him to mature. ETA 2015.
242°. Brandon Jacobs, OF, Red Sox 12/8/1990 – Jacobs main value comes from his raw power and ability with the bat. A big kid at 6’1″ and 225lbs, he isn’t the speedster some would think being that he had a full ride to Auburn as a RB recruit. But he is smart on the base paths and shows a knack for stealing bases totaling 30 with just 7 CS last year. He went .303 with 32 doubles and 17 HR while taking a fair amount of walks at 8.6%. The main thing he needs to work on is his K rate which was borderline unacceptable at 24.4%, but with the current .202 IsoP it is a doable number. He will be tested in High-A for 2012 and will need to make adjustments. ETA 2014.
241°. Cody Buckel, RHP, Rangers, 6/18/1992 - Buckel was drafted in 2010 in the 2nd round. An undersized righty with a low 90s fastball and a mix of secondaries including a CB, CU and a cutter. He pitches above his age and dominated in 2011. In 23 games he went 8-3 with 120 K and 27 walks in 96.2 IP. Good for a 30.6% K rate and 6.9% walk rate. Remember, this is Low-A and this is an advanced pitcher for his age against hitters who are over-aggressive. But you can’t put his numbers aside. He was dominant and could be something much more soon. He’ll move to advanced-A ball and face better hitters in 2012. He profiles right now as a SP somewhere in the middle of the rotation but could be even more than that. He’s one to watch closely and could have ranked higher, and as this series develops he could certainly climb as fast as anyone on the list. ETA 2015.
Check back soon as we continue with our Top Prospects List and get our baseball geek on. We will also 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: