League Top 20 Prospects

2012 International League Top 20 Prospects With Scouting Repirts




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FIVE YEARS AGO
*1. Jay Bruce, of, Louisville (Reds)
*2. Homer Bailey, rhp, Louisville (Reds)
*3. Matt Garza, rhp, Rochester (Twins)
*4. Josh Fields, 3b, Charlotte (White Sox)
*5. Jed Lowrie, ss, Pawtucket Red Sox
*6. Jacoby Ellsbury, of, Pawtucket Red Sox
*7. Brent Lillibridge, ss, Richmond Braves
*8. Yunel Escobar, ss, Richmond Braves
*9. Jeff Niemann, rhp, Durham (Rays)
*10. Joey Votto, 1b/of, Louisville (Reds)
11. Adam Miller, rhp, Buffalo (Indians)
*12. Garrett Olson, lhp, Norfolk (Orioles)
*13. Brandon Moss, of, Pawtucket Red Sox
*14. Brandon Jones, of, Richmond Braves
*15. Adam Lind, of, Syracuse (Blue Jays)
*16. Collin Balester, rhp, Columbus (Nationals)
*17. Jason Hammel, rhp, Durham (Devil Rays)
*18. Kevin Slowey, rhp, Rochester (Twins)
*19. Aaron Laffey, lhp, Buffalo (Indians)
*20. Jason Pridie, of, Durham (Rays)
Our International League prospect lists usually are filled with impact talent. Arms such as Homer Bailey, Matt Garza, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Jon Niese have come through the Triple-A circuit in recent years.

Buffalo's Matt Harvey certainly fits in with that group. He ranked as the league's No. 1 prospect after honing his strikeout stuff against IL before making a smashing big league debut in August and September. But quality arms were few and far between in the league this year, where many of the most successful pitchers were offspeed artists like Lehigh Valley's Tyler Cloyd and Indianapolis' Rudy Owens.

Difference-making position players were even scarcer, as most of the hitters on this list profile as complementary regulars or even reserves. That's a stark contract to the previous two seasons, when the likes of Pedro Alvarez, Todd Frazier, Freddie Freeman, Jason Kipnis, Josh Reddick and Carlos Santana terrorized IL pitchers.

1. Matt Harvey, rhp, Buffalo (Mets)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 225  Drafted: North Carolina, 2010 (1st round)
Harvey exhausted his prospect eligibility after leaving the IL, posting a 2.73 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59 innings with the Mets. His power stuff played just as well in the majors as it did in Triple-A, as he paired uncommon fastball velocity with a pair of sharp breaking balls.

When Harvey throws consistent strikes with his 92-98 mph fastball and gets ahead of hitters, they're in trouble, because he can miss bats with both breaking balls. He throws his plus curveball at 79-84 mph and varies his slider from an 87-88 mph cutter to a pitch with more depth at 84-86. His changeup remains firm but effective, and he handles lefthanders fairly well.

"He made some pretty good hitters look ordinary," Columbus manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "He has poise and confidence, and he believes in his stuff."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 5 3.68 20 20 0 110 97 46 45 9 48 112 .227

2. Starling Marte, of, Indianapolis (Pirates)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 180  Signed: Dominican Republic '07
Marte broke out last season by winning the Double-A Eastern League batting title at .332, then matched his 2011 home run total (12) in just 99 games with Indianapolis to earn a big league promotion. His all-around tools and athleticism made him the league's best pure hitter and position-player prospect.

Marte has a quick bat and natural feel for the barrel, but he still needs to improve his pitch recognition. He could become a star if he gets into hitters' counts more consistently and taps into his plus raw power. He demonstrated his pop and plus speed by leading the IL with 13 triples.

At times, Marte is too aggressive. As one manager put it, he still lets the game speed up on him. His quickness plays better in the outfield than on the bases, and his strong, accurate arm helps him profile as a plus defender at any outfield spot.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
388 64 111 21 13 12 62 28 91 21 12 .286 .347 .500

3. Chris Archer, rhp, Durham (Rays)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 200  Drafted: Clayton (N.C.) HS, 2006 (5th round)
Archer got off to a rough start as some of his control troubles from 2011 carried over into this season. He settled in after some minor adjustments by Durham pitching coach Neil Allen and finished strong, posting a 1.86 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 11 walks in his last 39 innings. He led the IL in strikeouts (139) and whiffs per nine innings (9.8) and pitched well in September for the Rays.

Archer has a loose, live arm with two pitches that earn 60 or better grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, starting with a fastball that sits at 92-96 mph and touches 98. He pitched more aggressively off his fastball later in the year, which allowed him to get ahead in the count and set up his plus slider. He has gained a bit of confidence in his changeup, but it remains fringy.

Imprecise command remains an issue for Archer, which observers attribute more to inconsistent focus than significant mechanical issues. If he can throw more strikes and refine his changeup, he can be a No. 3 starter. If not, he'll fit as a late-inning reliever.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 9 3.66 25 25 0 128 99 54 52 6 62 139 .205

4. Julio Teheran, rhp, Gwinnett Braves
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 175  Signed: Columbia '07
Teheran was the IL's most valuable pitcher and wins leader (15) in 2011, but his ERA nearly doubled this year as he gave up 18 homers—nearly matching the total from his first pro four seasons. Managers either didn't want to discuss Teheran's troubles publicly or couldn't put their finger on why he struggled.

Teheran's fastball just wasn't the same 93-95 mph premium pitch that it used to be, dropping to 91-93 and sitting flatter up in the strike zone. Some scouts speculated that his move to the first-base side of the rubber cost him deception on the pitch, which hitters sat on and hammered. He didn't throw strikes with either his curve or the slider he used more later in the season, though his fading, sinking changeup remains a plus pitch.

"I saw him throw well," said Syracuse manager Tony Beasley, whose Chiefs beat Teheran 1-0 in mid-August. "He had fastball command and got some confidence. The stuff and the numbers didn't add up, because he was on the good side with all his stuff on that day."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 9 5.08 26 26 0 131 146 81 74 18 43 97 .271

5. Chris Parmelee, 1b, Rochester (Twins)
Age: 24  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 230  Drafted: Chino Hills (Calif.) HS, 2006 (1st round)
Like many Twins farmhands, Parmelee has come along slowly, but he ended 2011 by batting .355 during a September callup and started 2012 in Minnesota. Demoted to Rochester in mid-May after hitting .179, he became the IL's most devastating hitter in his first Triple-A action.

Parmelee has a short but strong swing that sends line drives to all fields, though most of his power comes to his pull side. He has the ability to lay off breaking balls from lefthanders, getting into hitter's counts and handling southpaws (.354/.430/.561 in the IL) despite the platoon disadvantage. He took better advantage of the loft in his swing as the year progressed, hitting 13 of his 17 home runs in July and August as he took better advantage of the loft in his swing.

"He's closed up some holes in his swing," Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler said. "He was a lot harder to pitch to and became a very dangerous hitter."

Though he's a well below-average runner, Parmelee is capable around the bag at first base. He saw some action on the outfield corners in the majors, displaying substandard range but a strong arm.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
228 45 77 17 1 17 49 51 52 1 1 .338 .457 .645

6. Ryan Lavarnway, c, Pawtucket Red Sox
Age: 24  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 225  Drafted: Yale, 2008 (6th round)
A lost season in Boston prompted plenty of roster changes in Pawtucket, which won the IL title anyway. Lavarnway played a big role in the team's regular-season success prior to his August big league promotion, as he provided above-average offense for a catcher while improving his defense.

The bat remains Lavarnway's best tool, as he's strong, uses the whole field and has tightened up some of the holes in his swing while maintaining his plate discipline. His natural feel for hitting and strength give him above-average power. He played regularly down the stretch for the Red Sox but has yet to show he can solve big league breaking pitches.

After splitting time between catcher and DH in previous years, Lavarnway played regularly behind the plate for the first time in his career in 2012. He has worked diligently to improve his agility and become and average receiver. He'll never be a plus defender and has fringy arm strength, but he has a quick transfer and makes accurate throws, erasing 32 percent of IL basestealers.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
319 52 94 22 0 8 43 40 62 1 0 .295 .376 .439

7. Didi Gregorius, ss, Louisville (Reds)
Age: 22  B-T: L-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 185  Signed: Curacao '07
Gregorius arrived from Double-A in July and moved to the top of the IL's group of strong defensive shortstops thanks to his offensive upside. He may not have the glove of Pawtucket's Jose Iglesias or Rochester's Pedro Florimon, but he's athletic and a plus defender. His range, hands, arm and consistency are all assets, and he made just four errors in 42 games at short.

Though he hit just .243 in his introduction to Triple-A, Gregorius also has the tools to contribute at the plate. He's a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter with occasional over-the-fence power. While he made strides with his plate discipline this year, he's overly aggressive and just a fringy runner, so he projects to hit in the lower third of an order.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
185 25 45 10 3 6 23 12 31 0 2 .243 .288 .427

8. Jacob Turner, rhp, Toledo (Tigers)
Age: 21  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 210  Drafted: Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis, 2009 (1st round)
Turner earns comparisons to Rick Porcello as a prep first-round pick who was rushed through the Tigers system and lost some of his power stuff in the process. After he got knocked around in six big league starts over the last two years, Detroit used him as the centerpiece of the trade that pried Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins in July.

Scouts still see Turner as a big league starter while tempering expectations that he'll dominate. His strikeout rate has diminished in each of his three pro seasons, as has his velocity, which now sits at 89-92 mph and maxes out at 94. He relies more on the pitch's movement, throwing sinking two-seamers, riding four-seamers and cutters.

Turner's inconsistent fastball command keeps him from getting ahead enough to get strikeouts with his plus curveball, his best pitch. He rarely uses his changeup. He has a durable frame and took every turn after starting the season on the shelf with shoulder tendinitis.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
4 2 3.16 10 10 0 63 52 23 22 2 24 40 .217

9. Jeff Locke, rhp, Indianapolis (Pirates)
Age: 24  B-T: L-L  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 180  Drafted: Kennett HS Conway, N.H., 2006 (2nd round)
Indianapolis had three of the IL's better lefthanders in their rotation, with Locke standing out more than Justin Wilson and Rudy Owens. Locke ranked third in the league in ERA (2.48) and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (8.3) before earning a September callup.

At his best, Locke throws four fringy or average pitches for strikes. He often cruises at 88-91 mph with some sink on his fastball, then bumps 93 when he needs it. He commands his curveball and slider well—the curve is the more consistent of his breaking pitches—and his changeup has late life down in the strike zone.

Because he lacks a plus pitch, Locke profiles as a No. 4 starter. He evokes Ted Lilly with a slight hip turn and pause in his delivery, which gives him some deception. He does little things well, such as holding runners and fielding his position.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
10 5 2.48 24 24 0 142 126 42 39 9 43 131 .229

10. Tim Beckham, ss/2b, Durham (Rays)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Griffin (Ga.) HS, 2008 (1st round)
Beckham will never escape the fact that he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, selected ahead of Buster Posey, among others. He has yet to have a true breakout season and took a step back in 2012 with a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a drug of abuse. Neverthless, his plus bat speed and raw power continue to make him a prospect.

Beckham will need to be more selective to get to his power, and his pitch recognition skills remain modest. He made some adjustments during the course of the season, quieting his hands in his setup. He earned praise from Durham's coaching staff for putting in extra work but still reverted to his old setup at times, with his hands higher and more pre-swing movement.

Exclusively a shortstop in his first pro season, Beckham began playing second base this year. Most scouts agree his hard hands and modest range at short make him a better fit on the other side of the bag. He's an average runner whose plus arm should make him an asset on the double-play pivot.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
285 40 73 10 1 6 28 29 71 6 0 .256 .325 .361

11. Jose Iglesias, ss, Pawtucket Red Sox
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 185  Signed: Cuba '09
Still just 22, Iglesias repeated Triple-A in 2012 and improved his offensive production from putrid to merely poor. He remains one of the minors' flashiest and best defenders at perhaps the most vital defensive position. His hands, footwork and range make managers gush about how fun he is to watch play defense and how easy he makes it look.

Before heading to Boston, Iglesias finished his IL tenure by batting .329/.402/.397 in August, improving his pitch recognition and ability to sting mistakes. His hands work at the plate and he has bat-to-ball skills that allow him to make contact. The key will be making hard contact more consistently, being aggressive in fastball counts and not being overpowered.

An average runner, Iglesias will never be an asset offensively. Even with his defensive prowess, he'll have to hit enough to not be a total liability in order to be an everyday player in the majors.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
353 46 94 9 1 1 23 27 46 12 3 .266 .318 .306

12. Corey Kluber, rhp, Columbus (Indians)
Age: 26  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 215 Drafted: Stetson, 2007 (4th round)
The IL's lack of power arms made Kluber stand out in comparison despite his age. The durable 26-year-old shaved nearly two runs off his ERA at Columbus in 2011 (5.56), though he was hit hard in his first extended big league stint following an August promotion.

Kluber shows flashes of dominance thanks to a fastball that sits at 92-94 and touches 95. He gets in trouble when his fastball flattens out, which happens more than it should for a pitcher his size. His slider is his best pitch, peaking at 86 and flashing good depth, and his changeup can be a solid offering with some sink and fade.

"His changeup was not a pitch he could go to in 2011. It was this year," Sarbaugh said. "The issue for him is fastball command, it all comes down to that. He has to be finer with his fastball because he's shown the ability to get swings and misses with the fastball and slider."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
11 7 3.59 21 21 0 125 121 62 50 9 49 128 .243

13. Cody Allen, rhp, Columbus (Indians)
Age: 23  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 210  Drafted: High Point, 2011 (23rd round)
The second-fastest 2011 draftee to reach the majors, Allen was taken 22 rounds after the Diamondbacks' Trevor Bauer, who beat him to the big leagues by 22 days. Unlike Bauer, Allen stuck around, finding a home in Cleveland's bullpen and exhausting his prospect eligibility.

A starter in college and a Tommy John surgery alumnus, Allen gave up a run in only one of his last 13 IL appearances. He simply overpowered Triple-A hitters with a fastball that maxed out at 94 mph in college but now sits at 95-97. His fastball has life through the strike zone, and he has extreme confidence in the pitch.

Allen's 85-86 mph breaking ball is also a plus pitch at times, featuring plenty of depth. He needs to improve his ability to throw his breaker for strikes, however.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 2 2.27 24 0 2 32 22 8 8 3 9 35 .188

14. Jeurys Familia, rhp, Buffalo (Mets)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 230  Signed: Dominican Republic '07
The Mets kept Familia in the Buffalo rotation all season, hoping he could gain enough polish to be a rotation option for a rebuilding 2013 club. A big, durable body helped him tie for the league lead with 28 starts, and his live arm helped him rank fifth with 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

New York opted to use Familia out of the bullpen in September, however, and that most likely will be his role in the future. He can work at 94-95 mph and touch 97 with his fastball, but he doesn't command it despite a compact arm action. More thrower than pitcher, he falls behind in the count often enough to get punished, even by Triple-A hitters.

His short, hard slider is a plus pitch at times and his sinking changeup has its moments, but Familia trusts neither pitch because of their inconsistency. When he gets into jams, he resorts to heat and more heat.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
9 9 4.73 28 28 0 137 145 84 72 8 73 128 .261

15. L.J. Hoes, of, Norfolk (Orioles)
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 190  Drafted: St. John's HS, Washington, 2008 (3rd round)
Hoes was one of the league's younger regulars at age 22 as well as Norfolk's best hitter, stitching together a 20-game hit streak at one point. He showed a polished approach and consistent, line-drive swing that fellow Tides outfielder Xavier Avery lacked.

What Hoes could use is some of Avery's explosive speed and athleticism. Hoes played some center and right field this season but his defense is best suited for left. He doesn't have profile power for a corner spot, and his basestealing acumen must improve after he went 20-for-32 overall this season.

Still, Hoes' combination of bat-to-ball skills, plate discipline and speed could make him an effective leadoff hitter.

"I don't check the age of the players before I go in and write my reports," one scout said. "I want to evaluate the tools first. When I saw him, I assumed he'd been in the league before because of his approach at the plate and his polish. Then I saw he was new to Triple-A. That stood out."
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
317 54 95 14 4 3 38 34 43 8 7 .300 .374 .397

16. Zach McAllister, rhp, Columbus (Indians)
Age: 24  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 240  Drafted: Illinois Valley Central HS, Chillicothe, Ill., 2006 (3rd round)
McAllister finally graduated from prospect to big leaguer after his third season in the IL. He remains a command-oriented pitcher without a true plus pitch, but he added more velocity to his four-pitch repertoire this season. His fastball used to sit at 88-91 mph, but even late in September, he was hitting 95 mph as a Cleveland starter.

The difference is that McAllister has incorporated his lower body into his delivery more, gaining leverage and power. He misses more bats with his heater, which usually operates at 91-93 mph, and he still commands it well while getting some sink and downhill plane.

McAllister still uses a sinker-slider approach but doesn't live and die by the groundball anymore. He uses a cutter early in the count to get weak contact and uses a split-grip changeup to get swings and misses when ahead in the count.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
5 2 2.98 11 11 0 63 59 27 21 5 19 52 .237

17. Jenrry Mejia, rhp, Buffalo Bisons
Age: 22  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 205  Signed: Dominican Republic '07
Mejia reached the majors at age 20 in 2010, then missed most of 2011 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.  Small and quick-armed, he worked his way back to Triple-A by the end of May and returned to New York this September. He both started and relieved in Buffalo and New York.

His fastball averages 94 mph and peaks at 96. Mejia's heater has natural gloveside life and at times is mistaken for a cutter. But his high-energy, erratic delivery costs him command, keeping him from racking up bigger strikeout numbers and probably relegating him to the bullpen in the long run.

Mejia also throws a hard curveball that gets some swings and misses. His changeup has sinking life but can be too firm.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
3 4 3.54 26 10 0 74 75 38 29 4 24 39 .253

18. Casey Crosby, rhp, Toledo (Tigers)
Age: 23  B-T: R-L  Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 225  Drafted: Kaneland HS, Maple Park, Ill., 2007 (5th round)
Like Turner, Crosby is a Tigers farmhand who didn't spend much time matriculating on the farm before getting a big league shot. His came in June with three starts and included a shellacking at the hands of the Yankees. He pitched worse after his return to the IL than before he went up, and managers thought his confidence had been affected.

A Tommy John surgery alumnus, Crosby at his best has a pair of plus pitches in his 91-94 mph fastball and low-80s power curveball. He also throws a slower curve and get-over changeup. Crosby doesn't throw enough strikes with any of his offerings, however, so most scouts see him as a reliever.

"You have to respect his fastball and curve," Sarbaugh said. "He has a power arm and he has the ability to spin a breaking ball."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
7 9 4.01 22 22 0 126 112 63 56 12 65 112 .229

19. Tyler Cloyd, rhp, Lehigh Valley (Phillies)
Age: 25  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 190  Drafted: Bellevue, Neb., 2008 (18th round)
Cloyd was scheduled to begin 2012 back in Double-A, but he became Lehigh Valley's Opening Day starter after veteran Dave Bush was suspended for a spring-training brushback incident. Cloyd responded by throwing six perfect innings with eight strikeouts against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Sent back to Reading afterward, he returned to the IL a month later and went on to be the league's pitcher of the year, leading the IL in ERA (2.35) and WHIP (1.01).

Cloyd dominated without dominant stuff and profiles as a fourth or fifth starter. As a pitchability righthander, his margin for error is small, and he'll have to sharpen his command to succeed in the majors.

His fastball generally works at 86-89 mph, and it's notable more for his command of it and its downhill plane. Cloyd has two weapons with which to attack lefthanders, a solid changeup and a cutter. His average curveball has good spin and depth but lacks putaway power.
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
12 1 2.35 22 22 0 142 105 39 37 14 38 93 .198

20. Christian Garcia, rhp, Syracuse (Nationals)
Age: 26  B-T: R-R  Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 215  Drafted: Gulliver Prep, Miami, 2004 (3rd round)
Garcia finished a long, arduous journey to the majors in his third year in the Nationals system. Once one of the Yankees' top prospects, Garcia missed the entire 2007 season and most of 2010 following a pair of Tommy John surgeries. He stayed healthy in 2012 in his first full season as a full-time reliever and made Washington's postseason roster.

Garcia brings frontline-starter stuff to the back of the bullpen as he trusts three pitches, starting with a 92-95 mph fastball that touches 97 regularly. His curveball was better earlier in his career but still has late break and some power in the low 80s. His changeup has late sink and has become his best secondary pitch.

He throws all three pitches from the same arm slot and with similar arm speed. Garcia has improved his delivery by finishing out front better, reducing some of the strain his delivery used to put on his arm. The Nationals were careful with him, working him on back-to-back nights just twice.

"He's weathered a lot of storms," Beasley said. "But he's got power stuff, good makeup and a good head on his shoulders for the closer role."
W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
1 1 0.56 27 0 14 32 18 4 2 0 11 38 .157