Welcome back to our quick stroll through the 10 minor league’s that started play recently. This time we turn our attention to the Double-A Southern League. There are 10 teams in the “SL” separated into a North and South Division. There are 4 teams located in Alabama, 3 in Tennessee, 1 in Mississippi, and 1 in Northern Florida.
Southern League – North Division
Simon Castro, RHP – Spent 6 seasons in the Padres organization after signing as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. He was the key player in the trade that sent Carlos Quentin from the White Sox to the Padres. Castro spent time between AA and AAA in 2011, posting an unimpressive 5.63 ERA along the way. He looks to get back on track in the ChiSox organization.
Nestor Molina, RHP – Another favorite of ours here at Baseball Instinct, Molina was the key part of the off-season trade that sent Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays. The Venezuelan spent 6 season in the Jays organization after signing as an international free agent in 2005. He announced his arrival on radars last season by posting a 12-3 record with a 2.21 ERA and a sick 148/16 K/BB rate over 130.1 innings between the FSL and the Eastern League. We saw him first hand and liked what we saw.
Tyler Saladino, SS – The 7th round pick from the 2010 draft found his power stroke in 2011 in the High-A Carolina League and will look to keep the steady improvement going in the SL.
Jared Mitchell, OF – The 23rd overall pick in the 2009 draft had his career interrupted when he tore an ankle tendon in the spring of 2010. He wasn’t the same in 2011, however was very impressive in the winter instructional league and warranted a promotion to AA. He will be interesting to follow this season as he has tons of potential.
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP – The 2008 11th round pick is back with Lookouts in 2012, despite logging 34.2 innings with the Dodgers last season. He needs more seasoning, but will be one of the first pitchers the Dodgers look to recall this season.
Ethan Martin, RHP – The light has dimmed somewhat on the 15th overall pick from the 2008 draft. He’s posted ERA’s of 6.35 and 5.95 over the past 2 seasons. While he has the stuff, he has a lack of command and overall control of his pitches – evident by the 6 k’s and 4 bb over 4.2 innings in his 2012 debut.
Shawn Tolleson, RHP – Selected in the 30th round of the 2010 draft, Tolleson has already amassed 42 saves in 2 seasons, moving through 3 levels in 2011. It would not be a surprised if he repeated that progress in 2012 and found his way into the Dodgers bullpen before the season is over.
Allen Webster, RHP – Another later round pick , Webster was selected in 18th round of the 2008 draft. He has earned his stripes at every level, moving up the Dodgers ranks as well as moving up the Baseball Instinct 360°. Like Eovaldi, Webster could be in line for some work in LA before the season is over.
Chris Withrow, RHP – Like Martin, Withrow’s stock isn’t what it once was. The 20th overall pick from the 2007 draft showed signs of improvement in 2011, but not to the level you would hope for. His walk total keeps climbing and after spending two and half seasons in the SL, the time to step forward is now for Withrow.
Jake Lemmerman, SS – The 5th round pick in 2010 has been steady in his 2 seasons. He posted double-digit HR/SB over 2 levels in 2011, but doesn’t project to have much power or speed, nor will he stay at SS as a regular. Still he could end up as a useful utility infielder in the mold of Willie Bloomquist.
Kyle Heckathon, RHP – The 47th pick in the 2009 draft got touched up a bit between the FSL and SL in 2011 after a successful 2010 campaign. He will need to keep the ball down better and spots his pitches as to avoid giving up the longball like he did at both stops in 2011.
Cody Scarpetta, RHP – The big fellow was drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 draft and has major league blood lines. He pitched well in 2011, however his strikeout numbers fell dramatically, causing us some concern. If he has any shot at reaching the majors as a starter, this a crucial season for him to take a step forward.
Tyler Thornburg, RHP – One of my favorites in the Brewers organization. Thornburg was a 3rd round pick in 2010 and has sparkled at each stop along the way. He had a sweet 2.57 ERA to go along with an outstanding 160/58 K/BB ratio over 136.2 innings in 2011. He went 5 innings with 1 run on 2 bb and 3 hits, while striking out 7 in his 2012 no decision debut.
Scooter Gennett, SS – Bart Klett recently wrote a Prospect Instinct article on the 16th round pick from the 2009 draft. He looks to build on 2 successful season which saw him hit over .300 in both 2010 and 2011.
Hunter Morris, 1B – The 2010 fourth round pick continues to improve his batting average and power numbers, while cutting down his strike outs. However, he’s only walked 38 times in just over 800 career at bats. This is an area that needs to improve at this level for him to advance any further.
Kentrail Davis, OF – The 39th pick in the 2009 draft saw his batting average and on-base percentage drop considerably in the FSL in 2011. He did manage to hit 8 HR and steal 33 bases. He will have his work cut out for him in the pitcher heavy SL.
Danny Hultzen, LHP – The #2 overall pick in the 2011 draft was spectacular in the Arizona Fall League and is part of a Trio of pitchers on the Generals’ roster that many major league GM’s wish they had on their big league club. He’s set to make his pro debut this week.
James Paxton, LHP – Was the 37th pick in the 2009 draft for the Toronto Blue Jays, but did not sign and ended up playing in the Independent League. His performance was less than expected due to some injuries and he fell to the Mariners in the 4th round of the 2010 draft. Lucky them. He posted a 6-3 record with a 2.37 ERA and a 131/43 K/BB ratio over 95 innings in 17 starts on the 2011 season. He arrives as a top prospect in 2012, and right out of the gate doesn’t disappoint. He went 5.2 innings in his 2012 debut, giving up no runs on 2 hits and no walks, while striking out 10 in the victory. He should arrive in Seattle at some point this season.
Taijuan Walker, RHP – The youngest of the big three, but definitely the one with the highest ceiling. The 19 year Walker was the 43rd player taken in the 2010 draft and was awesome in 2011 as an 18-year-old in the MWL. He’s got time to refine his game, but as with Paxton and Hultzen, it won’t be too long before he joins King Felix in the Mariners rotation.
Carter Capps, RHP – After a good spring as a starter, the 3rd round pick in the 2011 draft is being fast tracked. The Mariners have decided that Capps has the arm that they need in the bullpen and that’s where he is with Jackson. He already has 4 k’s in 1.2 innings on the season to go along with a save. He could be in Seattle’s pen before too long.
Rich Poythress, 1B – After having a 2010 season that saw him hit .315 with 31 HRs and 130 RBI in the CAL in 2010, the 2009 2nd round pick saw his stock drop with a .267/11/64 showing with the Generals in the SL. He did manage to strike out less, but will need to regain his 2010 stroke if he ever figures to be more than organizational depth.
Francisco Martinez, 3B – Signed as an international free agent by the Tigers in 2007 out of Venezuela, Martinez was a key piece of the trade that sent Doug Fister to the Tigers. He had a good, but not spectacular 2011 at AA between the EL and the SL. He looks to build on his steady progress and increased power numbers.
Nick Franklin, SS – The 27th pick in the 2009 draft posted solid numbers in 2011, but they were a far cry from his 2010 campaign. At 21 years old he’s still viewed as one of the top prospects in baseball. It still remains to be seen if he stays at SS and is obviously blocked at 2B by fellow 2009 1st round draft pick, Dustin Ackley, so the M’s will give him every chance to stick.
Chih-Hsien Chiang, OF – Came over from the Red Sox along with OF Trayvon Robinson in the Erik Bedard deal. The former Chinese-Taipei national player was signed by the BoSox as an international free agent in 2005. He jumped all over radars last season by posting a .302 average with 18 HR, 79 runs, 86 RBI, and 7 SB over 451 at bats.
Trey McNutt, RHP – The 32nd round pick caught people’s eye with his 2009 and 2010 performance, but had a tough time handling AA in 2011. He’s talented enough and will get another shot at AA in 2012 and could move quickly if all goes well.
Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP – Signed as an 18-year-old in 2007 from South Korea, Rhee has made steady progress and had a solid FSL season in 2011. May end up in the bullpen ultimately.
Dallas Beeler, RHP – The long shot 41st round pick from 2010 draft has advanced quickly. He spent half a season in AA last year and will be back for more seasoning. He went 5 strong innings in his 2012 debut, allowing 1 run and striking out 2.
Junior Lake, SS – Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008 as an international free agent, Lake took the baseball prospect world by storm in 2011. He is currently nursing a sore back, but should join the Smokies by the end of the month.
Jae-Hoon Ha, OF – Another South Korea international free agent signee, Ha signed with the Cubs in 2009. Jae-Hoon posted double-double HR/SB in 2011. He needs to development in working the count and taking a walk, but he’s turning into an interesting prospect.
Southern League – South Division
Jose Alvarez, LHP – Signed as an international free agent by the Boston Red Sox at age 16 back in 2005. Alvarez was later traded to the Marlins as part of the Jeremy Hermida deal. He’s made every possible stop along the way that you can. If he can build on his 2011 campaign he could end up as a back of the rotation guy or a long reliever.
Omar Poveda, RHP – Signed by the Rangers from Venezuela in 2004. He missed all of 2010 recovering from Tommy John Surgery. At 24, the prospect label is about to disappear. However, after a promising come back season in 2011, Poveda will be back Jacksonville and could find himself with a few starts in Miami before the season is over.
Kyle Skipworth, C – The 6th overall pick in 2008, Skipworth has yet to live up to the high pick. He made a little noise in 2010 with 17 HRs in the Sally. After skipping the FSL, he regressed in 2011 with Jacksonville. He just turned 22 and the Marlins still believe in him even if we do not. Well, never did. They’ll continue to be patient with him.
Kyle Jensen, OF – The 2009 12th round pick has made steady progress in his 3 seasons in professional baseball. He found his power stroke in 2010 and then geared it up with 27 HRs in 471 at bats in 2011. He needs to cut down the strikeouts and will do so in a repeat stay with Jacksonville . If he gets it, he could move to AAA quickly, and could make an appearance in Miami later this summer.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP – The 28th pick in 2011 draft, Gilmartin isn’t the most exciting pitcher, nor does he have a very high ceiling. However his floor is high and he should continue to move quickly. There’s a strong possibility that he could be in the back-end of the Braves rotation by the end of the summer if injury strikes.
Zeke Spruill, RHP – The 2008 2nd round pick posted a 3.19 ERA in 27 starts with Jacksonville in 2011. He went 5 innings with 8 k’s and 2 bb in his 2012 debut. He’s looking like a good bet to be at the end of a rotation or a long man out of the pen for the Braves in the future.
Christian Bethancourt, C – The 2008 international signee from Panama had a great season as a 19-year-old in the High-A Carolina League. He’s looking like a legit successor to Brian McCann.
Andrelton Simmons, SS – The 2010 2nd round pick lasted until the end spring training in his competition with Tyler Pastornicky for the Braves starting SS job. He’s someone to pay attention to this season and could be the everyday SS in Atlanta before the season is over.
Todd Cunningham, OF – Drafted by the Braves in the 2nd round of 2010 draft, Cunningham has excellent discipline at the plate. Though his contact rate is a work in progress he could post double-digit HR/SB in 2012.
Trevor Bauer, RHP – The 3rd pick in the 2011 draft, Bauer is off to a good start. He picked up the win and struck out 7 in 5 innings on Thursday. He won’t last long in Mobile and could be in the Dbacks rotation before the All-Star break.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP – The 40th pick in the 1st round of the 2009 draft by the Angels was part of the deal that sent Dan Haren to Los Angeles. Like Bauer, Skaggs will be in Arizona before too long.
Charles Brewer, RHP – Over shadowed by the previous 2 pitchers mentioned, the 12th round pick from the 2009 draft is a fine pitcher in his own right. He’s a fan favorite in the organization and should find his way into a major league rotation in the near future, though it’s unlikely to be with the pitching rich Dbacks. He’s got trade bait written all over him.
Patrick Corbin, LHP – The Angels 2nd round pick in 2009, Corbin was also part of the Dan Haren trade. Good K rate with not over powering stuff. He looks like a back of the rotation guy and could make his way to Arizona in 2013 or find himself dealt for a title run.
Matt Davidson, 3B – The top power hitting prospect in the Dbacks organization was drafted with the 35th pick in the 2009 draft. He should be in for another power spike in 2012 with Mobile.
David Nick, 2B – The 2009 4th round pick looks to build on a good 2011 season. If he continues to develop he could be a utility middle infielder for Arizona in a year or two.
Adam Eaton, OF – Drafted by Arizona in the 19th round of the 2010 draft, Eaton has impressed at each level in both seasons. He makes great contact, has some pop, and speed. He’s a legit prospect and should get more attention this season.
Marc Krauss, OF – The 2nd round pick from the 2009 draft is off to a good start in 2012. He’s 5 for 17 with 2 HR and 8 RBI on the young season. Of course, it comes with 4 k’s too. After fantastic seasons in 2009 and 2010, Krauss was a mess at the plate in 2011. He will try to regain his former form this season, and so far it looks good.
Alfredo Marte, OF – Signed as an international free agent at 16 years old in 2005, Marte enters his 7th season with Arizona at 23 years old. His 2011 season was delayed 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance. Without the suspension, he might have posted double-digit HR/SB numbers. He has a HR and SB in his 1st 4 games in 2012.
Nick Barnese, RHP – Picked in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft. Barnese regressed a little bit in 2011. However, he still posted respectable numbers. He may get an opportunity down the line at the back-end of the rotation, but likely if he sticks with Tampa it’s going to be out of the pen.
Kyle Lobstein, LHP – The 4th pick from the 2008 draft is in the same boat as Barnese. He doesn’t have over powering stuff, but seems to find a way to get batters out. The bullpen is looking like a strong possibility, but for now he will anchor one of the rotation spots in Montgomery.
Alexander Colome, RHP – The 2007 international signee from the Dominican Republic has over powering stuff and spotty command. He’s going to need to improve his walk total to advance, but he’s looking like a middle of the rotation if he can put it together or a power arm in the pen.
Hak-Ju Lee, SS – The Rays 2nd best prospect was signed out of South Korea by the Cubs in 2008 and then dealt to the Rays as part of the Matt Garza deal in 2011. He was the best defensive SS in the FSL in 2011. The speedy Lee had 15 triples and stole 33 bases along the way. He will provide a little pop too. He’s an exciting player to watch and could be the SS answer in Tampa before too long.
Daniel Corcino, RHP – Signed by the Reds out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. Corcino left his mark in 2011, going 11-7 with a 3.42 ERA and an impressive 156/34 K/BB ration over 139.1 innings. He makes the jump from Low-A to Double-A for 2012. Aggressive. He has the stuff to be a major league starter, but at 5’11” there’s already durability concerns.
J.C. Sulbaran, RHP – Was not drafted, but signed with the Reds in 2009. Despite the odds, he keeps climbing the ladder. AA will be a big test for him.
Didi Gregorius, SS – Signed with the Reds in 2008 as an international signee from the Netherlands. He’s got the defensive tools and the range to stick at SS. He needs to develop better plate discipline, take a walk, and get on base more to become a better offensive asset.
Henry Rodriguez, 2B – Signed out of Venezuela in 2007, Rodriguez enters his 6th season with the Reds. Posted a triple slash of .320/.372/.469 between 2 stops in 2011. He’s been very impressive over the past 3 seasons and tends to get over looked. Another strong season and he will move up the list quite a ways.
Another first look for 2012 . We’ll be taking a look weekly at each league to find the players that are breaking out and making a name for themselves so be sure to check back daily. LIKE us on Facebook and be first in line for some upcoming surprises.
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