League Top 20 Prospects

2012 Texas League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Reports




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Colby Rasmus, of, Springfield Cardinals
*2. Chase Headley, 3b, San Antonio (Padres)
*3. Nick Adenhart, rhp, Arkansas (Angels)
*4. Greg Reynolds, rhp, Tulsa (Rockies)
*5. Luke Hochevar, rhp, Wichita (Royals)
*6. Matt Antonelli, 2b, San Antonio (Padres)
*7. Franklin Morales, lhp, Tulsa (Rockies)
*8. Eric Hurley, rhp, Frisco (Rangers)
*9. Troy Patton, lhp, Corpus Christi (Astros)
*10. J.R. Towles, c, Corpus Christi (Astros)
*11. Chris Perez, rhp, Springfield Cardinals
*12. Jaime Garcia, lhp, Springfield Cardinals
*13. Juan Morillo, rhp, Tulsa (Rockies)
*14. German Duran, 2b, Frisco (Rangers)
*15. Sean Rodriguez, ss, Arkansas (Angels)
*16. Felipe Paulino, rhp, Corpus Christi (Astros)
*17. Bryan Anderson, c, Springfield Cardinals
18. Richie Robnett, of, Midland (Athletics)
*19. Josh Geer, rhp, San Antonio (Padres)
*20. Joe Mather, of, Springfield Cardinals
It would be hard to imagine a better year of talent in the Texas League.

With eight teams, the Double-A circuit sometimes gets premium prospects or offers decent depth, but rarely both. This season there was clearly talent at the top, starting with the three best position prospects in the minors: shortstop Jurickson Profar (Frisco) and outfielders Oscar Taveras (Springfield) and Wil Myers (Northwest Arkansas).

Frisco, with Profar and Mike Olt on the left side of its infield, and Springfield, led by Taveras and righthanders Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, were the TL's most talented squads. So it was fitting that they met in the finals, with the Cardinals winning the first title in franchise history in four games.

1. Jurickson Profar, ss, Frisco (Rangers)
Age: 19  B-T: B-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 165  Signed: Curacao '09
Even in a loaded league, Profar's all-around ability stood out. A 19-year-old jumping who skipped high Class A, he adjusted quickly and took off on a 29-game hitting streak that lasted from April into May. He made his major league debut in September and homered in his first at-bat.

A switch-hitter who should hit .300 with plus power for his position, Profar has great bat speed and a solid approach at the plate. He's an above-average defender with good range and a strong arm, though he tends to sling the ball and lose accuracy on his throws. He's an above-average runner as well.

"He's very confident because he can do everything on a baseball field," San Antonio manager John Gibbons said. "But he's also intelligent and plays the game the right way."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
480 76 135 26 7 14 62 66 79 16 4 .281 .368 .452

2. Oscar Taveras, of, Springfield Cardinals
Age: 20  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 180  Signed: Dominican Republic '08
Taveras might be the best pure hitting prospect in the minors. Like Profar, he had no trouble bypassing high Class A. Taveras led the TL in batting (.321), doubles (37), extra-base hits (67) and total bases (270) as a 20-year-old, earned  league MVP honors and won a league title for the third straight year.

He has a smooth stroke that generates good bat speed and he uses the whole field. While Myers generally gets higher marks for his pop, some scouts think Taveras will have more playable power in the big leagues. He has a tendency to chase high fastballs, but his hand-eye coordination allows him to keep his strikeout numbers low.

Taveras improved his fundamentals this season, particularly with baserunning and defense. A center fielder for the bulk of the season, he's an average runner and defender with a solid arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
477 83 153 37 7 23 94 42 56 10 1 .321 .380 .572

3. Wil Myers, of, Northwest Arkansas (Royals)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 205  Drafted: Wesleyan Christian Academy, High Point, N.C., 2009 (3rd round)
After a disastrous 2011 season in the TL, which prompted managers and scouts to question not only his swing but also his effort, Myers came back to the league with a vengeance. He quickly earned a promotion to Triple-A, finishing the season with 37 homers and Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award.

Myers shows well above-average power potential, and this season he proved to be a solid hitter to all fields. He focused more on power this season, which elevated his strikeout numbers, but the Royals will take the tradeoff.

A catcher in his first two pro seasons, Myers played in right and center field as well as third base this. He profiles best as a corner outfielder because he's a fringy runner with a plus arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
134 32 46 11 1 13 30 16 42 4 1 .343 .414 .731

4. Mike Olt, 3b, Frisco (Rangers)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Connecticut, 2010 (1st round supplemental)
Olt drew attention with a powerful batting-practice display at the Futures Game in July, and by August he had been called up to the big leagues. He led the TL with 28 homers despite of leaving a month early, and also topped the league with a .579 slugging percentage.

Olt is an average hitter, and he took a leap forward this year because of his increased power output from the right side. He doubled his home run total from 2011, partly because of more friendly ballparks in the TL but also because he showed more patience and put himself in better hitter's counts.

A shortstop early in his college career at Connecticut, Olt has become an above-average defender at third base, with soft hands and above-average arm strength. He has good range even though he's a below-average runner.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
354 65 102 17 1 28 82 61 101 4 0 .288 .398 .579

5. Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Corpus Christi (Astros)
Age: 20  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 235  Drafted: Millikan HS, Long Beach, 2009 (8th round)
A centerpiece of the Astros' rebuilding efforts since arriving in a 2011 deadline deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies, Singleton is a physical specimen whose value comes almost completely from his bat. He has above-average power potential and dialed into it more this year, and with his strike-zone judgment and feel for the barrel he should be able to hit for average as well. He's almost too patient at the plate, piling up high walk and strikeout totals, and still struggles against offspeed stuff and lefthanders.

Though he has seen time in the outfield the last two years, Singleton is a below-average runner who will be limited to first base in the majors. Reviews of his defense there varied, with some observers calling him very good and others saying he's tentative and fringy at best. Some managers also said he didn't play with a lot of energy.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
461 94 131 27 4 21 79 88 131 7 2 .284 .396 .497

6. Carlos Martinez, rhp, Springfield Cardinals
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 165  Signed: Dominican Republic '09
After finishing 2011 in high Class A, Martinez opened 2012 back there and came down with shoulder tendinitis that sidelined him for a month. Once he recovered, he joined Springfield and excelled. His 2.90 ERA would have ranked second in the TL if he had enough innings to qualify and he turned in two strong playoff starts, including seven scoreless innings to win Game One of the TL finals.

Martinez attacks hitters with an overpowering fastball that touched triple digits in his first Double-A appearance and usually sits at 94-98 mph. His curveball and changeup both have the potential to be plus pitches. The Cardinals are trying to get him smoother and more consistent with his mechanics, which would improve his command.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 3 2.90 15 14 0 71 62 27 23 6 22 58 .225

7. Dan Straily, rhp, Midland (Athletics)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 215  Drafted: Marshall, 2009 (24th round)
No minor league pitcher made a bigger leap forward in 2012 than Straily, who went from unranked in Baseball America's Prospect Handbook to starting for the Athletics during their playoff drive. He led the minor leagues with 190 strikeouts in 152 innings even though he reported to Oakland in early August.

Despite his gaudy strikeout numbers, Straily isn't overpowering pitcher. He works mostly at 89-91 mph and peaks at 93 with his fastball. He relies on command and an assortment of average secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance, using fastballs and curveballs to get ahead of hitters and sliders or changeups to put them away. His competitiveness and poise help his stuff to play up.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 4 3.38 14 14 0 85 70 36 32 6 23 108 .215

8. Nolan Arenado, 3b, Tulsa (Rockies)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 205  Drafted: El Toro HS, Lake Forest, Calif., 2009 (2nd round)
The minor league RBI leader (122) and Arizona Fall League MVP in 2011, Arenado was having a solid encore at Tulsa when Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said at the end of June that the player's "maturity level still hasn't caught up with his ability level." Arenado then went out and batted .165 in July, though he bounced back to hit .366 the rest of the way.

Managers and scouts didn't express big concerns with Arenado's maturity. Some said he has inconsistent at-bats or sometimes plays with low energy, but most like the way he carries himself and see a confident, competitive player. All the physical tools are certainly there.

Arenado can take the ball to all fields and hits hard line drives to the alleys, though he won't have more than average power. He's a strong, confident defender who has worked to improve and shows good reactions and hands at third base. He has a strong arm and below-average speed.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
516 55 147 36 1 12 56 39 58 0 2 .285 .337 .428

9. Trevor Rosenthal, rhp, Springfield Cardinals
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Cowley County (Kan.) CC, 2009 (21st round)
Rosenthal dominated in low Class A in 2011, then jumped to Double-A to open this season. Called to St. Louis in mid-July, he bounced between the big leagues and Triple-A before going up for good at the end of August. He worked out of the bullpen for the Cardinals but has all the ingredients to be a quality starter.

Rosenthal dials his fastball anywhere from 92-100 mph, usually working in the mid-90s with good life. He used a cutter more this year and also throws a hard curveball with late bite and a solid changeup. He has average control and a solid frame that should lend itself to durability, though he dealt with a nagging back injury this season that he sustained while working out.

"This year, he became more of a complete pitcher," Springfield manager Mike Shildt said. "He's been quicker to make adjustments. He's got a tremendous arm, tremendous work ethic and that made it fun for instruction."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
8 6 2.78 17 17 0 94 67 33 29 6 37 83 .192

10. Rymer Liriano, of, San Antonio (Padres)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 210  Signed: Dominican Republic '07
It took Liriano parts of three seasons to get out of high Class A, but he shows signs that his imposing package of tools is starting to come together. Promoted to San Antonio at the end of June, he batted .176 in July but bounced back to hit .314 in August. He learned to tone down his aggressiveness at the plate—and in the field as well after he got banged up chasing balls into the stands two days in a row.

Liriano has the ability to make a difference in every phase of the game. He takes aggressive swings and can pull the ball or drive it to the opposite field, and he should have solid power. He's a solid runner with good instincts and projects as an above-average defender with a well above-average arm in right field.

"He has all the talent in the world, and when everything clicks he'll go fast," Gibbons said. "He can impact the game in a lot of ways."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
183 24 46 10 2 3 20 20 50 10 1 .251 .335 .377

11. Jedd Gyorko, 3b/2b, San Antonio (Padres)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 195  Drafted: West Virginia, 2010 (2nd round)
Promoted to San Antonio in the second half of 2011, Gyorko returned to start this season. He didn't stay long, getting promoted to Triple-A after just 34 games, but accumulated enough plate appearances to make another appearance on the TL prospect list after ranking ninth a year ago.

Gyorko will reach the big leagues on the strength of his bat and his instincts for the game. He has an aggressive approach and all-around hitting skills, though his power will be more to the gaps than over the fence. He's a good situational hitter with a feel for driving in runs.

He's solid at third base, but the Padres also played Gyorko at second base this year in recognition that Chase Headley occupies the hot corner in San Diego. Gyorko has enough arm for third and enough range to handle routine plays, though he's a below-average runner.

"He's a very confident player," Gibbons said. "He's not a huge, physical specimen, but he's a pure baseball player."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
130 18 34 4 0 6 17 17 27 1 1 .262 .356 .431

12. Jean Segura, 2b/ss, Arkansas (Angels)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-10 Wt.: 165  Signed: Dominican Republic '07
Segura made a seamless transition to Double-A to start the season, and made his major league debut at the end of July when Erick Aybar got hurt. He wasn't in Los Angeles long, however, getting traded to the Brewers in a deadline deal for Zack Greinke. The Brewers returned Segura to Double-A (in the Southern League) for about a week before bringing him to Milwaukee for the rest of the season.

Segura has a quick stroke, strong hands and the ability to use the whole field. The ball jumps off his bat and he could hit 10-20 homers per season. His plate discipline still needs work, but he goes to the plate with a plan and shows an ability to make adjustments.

Most scouts think Segura can stay at shortstop, though he also has played second base and could slide over to third if his strong, compact body gets thicker. He has enough range for shortstop, sure hands and a strong arm to make plays in the hole. He also has above-average speed and solid instincts on the bases.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
374 50 110 10 5 7 40 23 57 33 13 .294 .346 .404

13. Josh Rutledge, 2b/ss, Tulsa (Rockies)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Alabama, 2010 (3rd round)
Rutledge's pro career got off to a slow start because of a wrist injury in his draft year, but he has been on the move ever since. After hitting .348/.414/.517 in high Class A in 2011, he moved to Double-A and handled the transition smoothly. He played even better when the Rockies called him up at midseason to replace an injured Troy Tulowitzki.

Scouts and managers see Rutledge as a blue-collar player, a middle infielder with good pop in his bat. He'll offer better than average offense for a middle infielder, with a smooth stroke that puts a charge in the ball. He's short and quick to the ball and uses the whole field, though he needs to tone down his aggression.

While he played mostly shortstop at Tulsa and in the big leagues, Rutledge fits better at second base long-term. He's a steady defender with a solid average arm, but he's a fringy runner whose range is better suited for second.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
356 57 109 27 3 13 35 14 69 14 4 .306 .338 .508

14. Cody Buckel, rhp, Frisco (Rangers)
Age: 20  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 170  Drafted: Royal HS, Simi Valley, Calif., 2010 (2nd round)
Buckel opened the season by dominating in high Class A before moving up to Frisco at the end of June. He mixed in a few rough starts but acquitted himself well, particularly for a 20-year-old in Double-A.

Because he's 6 feet tall and has an unorthodox delivery, he earns comparisons to both Tim Lincecum and Trevor Bauer. Like those pitchers, Buckel also shows great confidence on the mound and attacks hitters with a variety of pitches.

Buckel's fastball ranges from 89-94 mph with good life, and he hits the high end of that range regularly. He shows good feel for a cutter/slider, curveball and changeup, with the curve earning the highest marks this season. If scouts have a concern, it's that he relied on his secondary pitches too much rather than establishing his fastball.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 5 3.78 13 10 0 69 56 31 29 7 23 68 .213

15. Johnny Hellweg, rhp, Arkansas (Angels)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-9 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Florida CC, 2008 (16th round)
Hellweg leapt into prominence as a prospect when he moved from relieving to starting in high Class A last year, and he jumped to the Arkansas rotation to open 2012. He showed erratic control, which has been the bugaboo throughout his career, but was included in the package the Brewers got in the Greinke trade. Milwaukee kept Hellweg in Double-A and used him sparingly the rest of the way in order to limit his innings—his total of 140 between his two stops was 51 more than his previous career high.

Hellweg's arm strength is obvious, as he touched 100 mph out of the bullpen. As a starter, he works at 94-97 mph with excellent life. He also throws a curveball that can be an above-average pitch and a solid changeup.

With Hellweg, it all comes down to control. His big body makes it difficult to maintain consistent mechanics, and when he loses his fastball command, he runs up high pitch counts and walk totals. He threw 14 wild pitches and hit 13 batters in 21 TL starts.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 10 3.38 21 21 0 120 105 52 45 8 60 88 .226

16. Kolten Wong, 2b, Springfield Cardinals
Age: 21  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Hawaii, 2011 (1st round)
When they took Wong in the first round of the 2011 draft, the Cardinals thought they were getting a polished hitter and solid second baseman who could move quickly through their system. In a year and a half in pro ball, he has done nothing to change that view. Solid and steady is a great way to describe him, but it undersells his overall game.

Wong makes lots of hard contact, showing the ability to hit for average with some surprising power. He batted leadoff most of the season and was actually too aggressive at times. He did a better job of working counts and understanding how pitchers were attacking him at the end of the season.

Wong is a reliable defender who uses his instincts to position himself well and make the most of his range. His arm is fringy but enough for second base, and he has good hands. He has average speed and runs the bases well.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
523 79 150 23 6 9 52 44 74 21 11 .287 .348 .405

17. Sonny Gray, rhp, Midland (Athletics)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 200  Drafted: Vanderbilt, 2011 (1st round)
Gray got a taste of Double-A in 2011 after the Athletics made him a first-round pick, and he returned to Midland to open 2012. He was inconsistent with the RockHounds but still got a promotion to Triple-A at the end of the season.

Though he's an undersized righthander, Gray has legitimate plus stuff. His fastball usually ranges from 90-93 mph with sink, though he can touch 97, and his hard curveball is a quality second pitch. His changeup is solid at times but needs more consistency.

Gray's problem in Midland was that his command wasn't reliable, causing him to run hot and cold. When he was in the strike zone with his curveball he was tough to hit, but when he wasn't he was quite hittable. To succeed at higher levels, he'll need to fine-tune his mechanics and repeat them, and also to keep the ball down in the zone.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
6 9 4.14 26 26 0 148 148 73 68 8 57 97 .250

18. Edwar Cabrera, rhp, Tulsa (Rockies)
Age: 24  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 175  Signed: Dominican Republic '08
It took Cabrera three years to get to full-season ball after the Rockies signed him, but he has moved quickly since then. He led the minors with 217 strikeouts in 2011, then jumped from Double-A to the big leagues at the end of June. He got pounded in two starts in Colorado and spent most of the rest of the season in Triple-A, where he had a 3.41 ERA in six starts.

Cabrera's best pitch is a changeup that's one of the best in the minors, a legitimate swing-and-miss offering with great deception. His fastball usually ranges from 88-92 mph with sink, and his curveball has good bite. He has strong command of all of his pitches and goes right after hitters.

Because he's a command-oriented pitcher whose only true out pitch is his changeup, scouts still wonder if Cabrera will be able to get consistent outs in the majors. If he doesn't keep the ball down, it tends to leave the ballpark. Still, he could be an innings-eater at the back of a rotation.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
8 4 2.94 15 15 0 98 65 35 32 15 23 82 .181

19. Jarred Cosart, rhp, Corpus Christi (Astros)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Clear Creek HS, League City, Texas, 2008 (38th round)
When the Astros began their full-scale rebuilding project in mid-2011, Cosart was one of the first prospects brought into the organization. Part of a package from the Phillies for Hunter Pence, Cosart battled blister problems this season but reached Triple-A by the end of July.

Cosart has easy, electric stuff, with a fastball that can sit at 96-97 mph and peaks at 98 mph. He also throws a power curveball with 11-to-5 break and an average changeup.

Cosart's results don't always match up with his stuff, however, because he doesn't have great feel for pitching and struggles with the consistency of his mechanics and his command. Scouts say that his arm action is tough to repeat and can be tracked by hitters, so he lacks deception. With his pure stuff, though, he could be a dynamic bullpen arm if he can't make it as a starter.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 5 3.52 15 15 0 87 83 37 34 3 38 68 .241

20. Keyvius Sampson, rhp, San Antonio (Padres)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 185  Drafted: Forest HS, Ocala, Fla., 2009 (4th round)
After Sampson had a breakout season in low Class A in 2011, the Padres jumped him all the way to Double-A to start 2012. He had high highs and low lows, leading the TL in strikeouts (122) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.0) but also ranking third in losses (11) and fourth in walks (57).

Sampson has the ingredients to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter, with a strong, athletic build and a fastball that ranges from 90-94 mph. His changeup is his second-best offering, with good deception and sink, and his curveball should be an average pitch in time. He also has an easy arm action.

On the other hand, his outings were incredibly inconsistent and he showed below-average stuff with some regularity, though no one was sure the cause. In starts when he struggled with his stuff and command, he ran up huge pitch counts. His supporters say it's typical development for a pitcher with relatively little experience.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
8 11 5.00 26 25 0 122 108 70 68 11 57 122 .227