We’re going to continue our move through the leagues, this time taking on the Texas League and some Double-A action. The league has some of the very top names in the prospect arena in Myers, Taveras, Profar and Wong. So let’s take a look and see if there are any new names, any big surprises and see who’s hot and who’s not. Here’s the Texas League through the first month.
Wil Myers OF Royals – age 21 – Myers as we anticipated is having a big bounce back year so far. He’s hitting .344 with 9 doubles and 6 HR. He does have 29 strikeouts which he needs to get under control and turn some of those K’s into walks. With that said, his OBP is still .400. He’s even tossed in some SB with 4. Keep in mind that his BABIP is .455 which is very high, so there could be a slump on the horizon to bring that number back in line. He’s still just 21 and might see KC this year.
Oscar Taveras OF Cardinals – age 20 – I said prior to the season that Taveras would start in the FSL and see the TL mid-season. I was off. I also noted that once he hit the Texas League his power would begin to emerge. Taveras has a 1.037 OPS with a .344 IsoP. He has 9 doubles, 2 triples and 7 HR. He’s also hitting .333 with just 15 strikeouts in 102 AB. His contact ability is off the charts and he’s way advanced for his age. Our very lofty preseason ranking may actually prove tame. His BABIP is just .338 so there isn’t any artificial inflation here. One blemish: just 5 walks.
Brandon Barnes OF Astros – age 26 – We’re going to give Brandon Barnes a shout out because he is raking with a .348 AVG and 14 doubles and 4 HR. He plays a good CF, but he is 26 years old already. His BABIP is very high and he may soon see the helium disappear from the season he’s flying right now. But nice numbers nonetheless.
Jonathan Singleton 1B Astros – age 21 – The biggest question for Singleton has never been if he will hit. It’s will he hit for power? He’s a 1B after all and if he’s not mashing he’s going to be league average at best. But he is hitting and has a .333 AVG with 7 doubles, 2 triples and 3 HR. He’s the shining star: He’s walking at a 12.4% of the time and struck out just 18 times in 84 AB.
Kolten Wong 2B Cardinals – age 22 – Wong skipped High-A and he’s done nothing but hit in the TL so far. He’s hitting .329 with 4 doubles, 3 triples and 2 HR with 5 stolen bases. With just 10 strikeouts and 11 walks he’s on base at a .418 clip on the right side of the k/bb ratio. He’s not far from being the 2B the Cards have been seeking.
Shane Peterson OF/1B Athletics – age 24 – Peterson is 24 and old for the level a little and he’s really being relegated to 1B so the lack of HR power is an issue. But he’s doing it across the board with a .302 AVG and 25 walks getting him on base at a .469 clip. He should head to Triple-A soon but the power will need to emerge or he’ll end up lost in 1B obscurity.
Mike Olt 3B Rangers – age 24 – Olt is doing what’s needed to get him moving to the Triple-A level. At 24 he’s not far off from making his mark in Texas. But he’ll need injury to strike to get that chance at 3B where he’s an excellent defender. So it may be time to see if he can move to 1B at the same level if defense. He’s hitting for power with a .273 IsoP powered by 6 doubles and 6 HR. He’s hitting .274 as well which shows that an elite level bat is probably a bit much to ask. But a power hitting 1B could be in the making.
Nolan Arenado 3B Rockies – age 21 – Arenado is hitting .312 with a .393 OBP, but the average power he normally shows is not there at this point. The IsoP is just .129 and he has just 1 HR. But 9 doubles and low 14% K rate show the same skills he’s shown throughout his career. He’s not knocking on the door to Colorado just yet, but he’s still on target to become their future 3B.
Jurickson Profar SS Rangers – age 19 – Profar is only 19 years old, so he’s in a very advanced league for his age and he’s shown signs of struggle. Some would say he’s under-performing expectations. I would disagree. He’s showing top 10 power for the league with a .288 IsoP and he’s kept the walk rate high with the K rate under 20%. Note the .288 BABIP and he’s tasted some poor luck despite excellent speed. That will turn around. Soon. When that .288 moves to the .330+ norm his AVG will move over .300 and everyone will be right back on the bandwagon.
Jaff Decker OF Padres – age 22 – He has a 22.6% walk rate. Yet he’s hitting just .143 with a .154 IsoP. How unlucky can a hitter be? Just ask Decker. Expect him to catch some fire and boost that AVG. But he’s had these terrible runs before and questions of his ability to be stable enough at the major league level need to be asked.
Jean Segura SS Angels – age 22 – Finally healthy and having had a good spring training, Segura has stumbled out of the gate. He is struggling across the board. Striking out too much, not walking enough and the power has been sapped. He’s an elite prospect, but he’s not playing like one. Right now.
Jedd Gyorko 2B Padres – age 24 – Surprise, Gyorko has moved to 2B. That may be a reason that his bat is suffering with his AVG down at .272. His BABIP is low at .289 so he should see some boost soon. But the lack of power, while not unexpected by us, is eye opening to most. He should be able to handle 2B and the AVG should come back around. It was a never a tool that was in question. His bat profiles well for 2B.
Michael Choice OF Athletics – age 23– .085 IsoP? Where is the power from this Elite Level power prospect. This number makes no sense. He has the power to drive some out by mistake, yet he has just 1 HR. He’s walking enough to be working counts. The BABIP says he hasn’t been unlucky. Power like his doesn’t disappear over night.
Those are the hitters of note from the Texas League. There aren’t any standout sleepers making noise. But some of the biggest names in the prospect landscape are struggling and deserve to be closely followed. Fantasy players would be smart to take a stab at buy lows on them all.
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