While we’re dropping Prospect Instinct articles on a daily basis to put out the most in-depth Scouting Reports available, I’m going to take a step back and take a broad look again. This time we’ll go position by position and bring to you the Top Position Lists with some additional players and information. Because as we said, we’ll be analyzing the Baseball Instinct 360° not only full circle, but 365 days a year. The deeper we get into the video and our customized Instinctools Stat System the more the view changes from the top.
So let’s get into the 1B and give you the List and the current thoughts.
In the Top 100
30°. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs, 8/8/1989 - Rizzo had an excellent season in Triple A. Hitting for an average of .331 and slugging .652, with 26 HR’s and 101 rbi’s, what is not to like? Unfortunately, that didn’t translate into the Major leagues where he turned into a strikeout machine. However, it is completely reasonable that he needs time to adjust to the major league caliber pitching. While playing a good glove and showing fine plate skills, there is every reason to believe that the best is yet to come for Rizzo. He came in at #46 on last years top 100 prospects and he has done nothing to invalidate that by his 2011 performance. With the move from the LH hitter graveyard to a park friendly to LH power hitter, Theo and Hoyer did Rizzo a huge favor. ETA 2012.
Instinct Update – With Rizzo’s move to the Friendly Confines he’s in a position to contribute right away. The Cubs front office may give him some time in Triple-A if he’s out played in Spring Training by Bryan LaHair. But LaHair is going to be 30 this year and despite raking outright in Triple-A, he’s probably not going to hold Rizzo down for too long. Consider him the bridge.
54°. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres, 4/8/1987 - With a Triple-A slash line of .296/.374/.486 in 409 plate appearances, Alonso is a good combination of offensive skills. He brings good contact rates and decent power numbers. In 358 at-bats he hit 12 hr’s, 56 rbi’s and 24 doubles. His power is more of a line-drive and gap power than a home run hitter. Now with Rizzo in Chicago, the Padres have made their choice for 2012 1B. ETA 2012.
Instinct Update – Alonso is a sleeper for the Fantasy season and could hit .300 with 50+ doubles and double-digit home runs in 2012. I’m hard pressed right now not to move him into the top spot overall for 1B.
63°. Jonathon Singleton, 1B, Astros, 9/18/1991 - He is big, strong and can hit with power. After a .478 slugging percentage in 2010, he followed up with a .439 in 2011. Of course, the power also comes with rbi’s having driven in 138 runs over the last 2 seasons. A very undervalued skill set that enhances Singleton’s likelihood to succeed is his ability to control the strike zone. There’s still questions whether he will develop enough power to be a good major league 1B. ETA 2014.
Instinct Update – Singleton will develop more power and has the chops to handle 1B well in the majors. With a .300 bat he’ll find a place as a major league regular. How much power he develops in the end will determine if we’re talking about an average or above average 1B. You can’t teach a .300 hit tool and he’s got that.
The Best of the Rest of the Top 10
103°. C. J. Cron, 1B, Angels, 1/5/1990 - The knee injury ended his season and off-season surgery should have him ready for spring training. Expect him to start the season with the High-A Inland Empire 66ers of the California League. At one point, we assumed he would be on the fast track to the majors. Now we can’t help but wonder if he’s an appealing trade piece in the wake of the Albert Pujols signing. Mark Trumbo and Kendry Morales probably wonder where they fit in as well. ETA 2014.
Instinct Update – Cron is blocked at every turn now that Pujols is locked in for a decade. So we’ll take his skill set of high power 1B bat and say we need to see where he eventually ends up before making a true long-term projection. He probably drops a few spots based on the uncertainty.
109°. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals, 8/31/1988 - Adam is not going to be the greatest defender, but he will be effective enough to be an everyday 1B. With Albert Pujols gone, his future with the Cardinals may start now. He has enough power and contact ability to be a solid regular at 1B and could be a 30+ HR type. He may not be a .300 type average hitter, but .280 is definitely possible and he controls his K numbers well for a power hitter. ETA 2012.
Instinct Update – Adams has a clear path to St. Louis if he can have anything near a decent Spring Training. With his .300+ AVG seasons in the minors his hit tool is there and the power is legit. Will he replace Albert. Of course not. But a league average regular could be waiting in the wings for the Cards. Nothing like home grown replacement players.
142°. Joe Terdoslavich, 1B, Braves, 9/9/1988 - Terdoslavich was the Braves’ 2011 Minor League Player of the Year after destroying the Carolina League doubles record. Many pessimists/non believers argue that Terdoslavich was simply too old for the league. However, he followed his 2011 season in HiA Lynchburg with another amazing performance in the AFL. Terdoslavich was named to the 2011 AFL Top Prospect team and proved himself well against more advanced competition in the AFL. During the AFL Rising Stars game, he went 3-3 with another double and a home run off #1 draft pick in 2011, Gerritt Cole. I think it’s obvious that he’s definitely ready for heavier competition. ETA 2013.
Update Instinct – He’s still not getting the attention that he should be getting. While the classic HR power might not be there in full bloom, I think he’s very similar to one Paul Goldschmidt. Terdoslavich has raked and it’s time to give him his just due. He’s enough of a hitter push his way to Atlanta soon and he may be asked to shift to the OF soon if Freddie Freeman takes the next step.
187°. Neftali Soto, 1B, Reds, 2/28/1989 - Sotos’ lack of athleticism may make it hard for him to find a position that will get him to the show. Ultimately it is his bat that will decide if/when he makes it to the big leagues. The increasing power trend is very good and must continue for Soto to make it as a big leaguer. He likely starts in triple-A ball, but could be seen in a Reds uniform in 2012 before the year is out. Neftali Soto has the potential to be a good major league bat, but there are some holes in his swing and lack of defensive position are detriments to reaching his full potential. ETA 2012.
Update Instinct – Soto is now at the top of the 1B ladder in Cincinnati’s system with Alonso in San Diego. He has legit plus power and as a SS when he was drafted he should be an above average 1B in the future. Where does he play in CINCY? Who knows. Shift to the OF or shipped for parts.
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.
Update Instinct – Vogelbach is getting a lot of love this winter. But there has to be a huge concern that his frame isn’t going to holdup as a major leaguer. If there was more depth at the 1B position he wouldn’t be this high. Elite power but so many question marks.
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.
Update Instinct – These poor 1B prospects are getting buried. Dave Reiffer broke the recent signing of Fielder down. But we’re just a few short months away before getting a close look at Westlake. Chances are he’ll need a change of scenery to see regular major league time.
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.
Update Instinct – Most have written him off and I don’t blame them. But his power is for real and if he can find regular at bats in Oakland he’s going to be productive as long as he isn’t expected to carry a lineup. This is the year. Make it or break it CC.
The Best of the Rest
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.
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.
324°. Scott Van Slyke, 1B/OF Dodgers 7/24/1986 - The former 2005 draft pick was the Dodgers positional player of the year in 2011. He posted a triple slash of .348/ .427/.595 in 427 Double-A at bats, blasting 45 doubles and 20 HRs. He will be given a chance to challenge for the 1B job in spring training. There’s a court of opinion that Van Slyke is a late bloomer and finally gets how to hit. He could be a sleeper in 2012 for you fantasy folks, however the Dodgers may decide to send him to triple-A. ETA NOW.
POSSIBLE FUTURE POSITION CHANGES
159°. Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers, 08/27/1988 - A player that garnered a lot of attention with his 2011 season, Mike Olt is powering his way through the minor league system. After being drafted in the 1st round and 49th overall, Olt spent the 2011 season trying to validate the high selection. He lost time in 2011 due to injury but he did have 307 plate appearances for the season. His batting average comes in at .264 for the 2011 season and this is due to the fact that he strikes out a lot. Olt needs to fix the holes in his swing, as evident by his accumulation of 75 Ks in 240 at-bats across 2 levels of competition, . This is partially mitigated by his ability to draw walks, with 49 free passes in 307 plate appearances, and this helped his OBP to come in at a respectable .381 for the year. His defense is very good and will help him climb through higher levels of professional ball. His swing is powerful and productive. In 2011 he amassed 14 hr’s, 42 rbi’s and .500 slugging percentage in his 254 at-bats. ETA 2014.
Update Instinct – While Olt had great AFL showing, he’s going to strike out a lot as a professional. There are other 3B in the Texas system that could eventually usurp him from 3B if his bat is more power only than a true hit tool. His arm is excellent and his glove is good enough, so he should see at least some time at 3B. But he’s also the best bet to have enough power to be a full-time 1B.
201°. Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets, 8/06/1991 - Pegged at #99 on our top 100 list for 2011, while a lot of others had him a little too high for our taste. At barely 20 years old now, he has seemingly been around for ever in the Mets system. He didn’t make the strides from 2010 to 2011 that we had hoped and his Venezuelan Winter League numbers are not encouraging.But he did keep the K rate very respectable and his walk rate improved slightly. He has an idea at the plate but the power that is supposed to be his calling card just has not materialized yet. A low BABIP of .296 in 2011 – Theres still plenty of time and he may very well bounce back in AA. ETA 2014.
Update Instinct – There has always been talk of Flores not being able to stick at SS and having elite power in his future. Well so far the power hasn’t come full circle. 2012 should bring some of that power and he might transition to 3B. If he can’t stick there and the power really is there he may eventually end up at 1B.
The 2011 Draftee To Watch In 2012
John Alexander, 1B Rays 4/25/1993 Round: 8 Pick: 270 - The Glendora (CA) High school grad hit .314/.321/.549, with 4 doubles, a triple and 2 HR in 51 at bats in the Gulf Coast Rookie League. He’s pretty raw, but has some good power potential there. The sample size is small, but there might be something here. Let’s keep an eye on him. He should provide adequate competition for the Rays against Jeff Malm and Cameron Seitzer at a position pretty devoid of organizational depth.
Update Instinct – Alexander’s 6-6 frame gives him a ton of projection. After passing on his commitment to UC Irvine he should get a good dose of New York-Penn League ball in 2012 with the Hudson Valley Renegades. A left-handed power hitting 1B. One to watch.
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