How many of you picked the Blue Jays-Royals-Mariners trifecta at the start of the season? Or Marlins-Cardinals-Dodgers? We still have 135 or so games to play and a lot will change, but it sure has been a strange first month. The only current division leader that I picked to win its division was the Dodgers, though the Marlins were my National League wild-card choice.
The Astros got a steal when they grabbed Seaton with a supplemental third-round pick in last year's draft. Baseball America rated him as the 28th-best prospect in the draft , and clubs thought it might take a seven-figure bonus to get him to pass up a scholarship from Tulane. But Houston scooped up the local high school product with the 109th overall pick and a $700,000 bonus.
Seaton has the ingredients to become a frontline starter in the majors. He has a strong 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and the athletic ability to repeat his delivery and throw strikes with ease. His fastball usually sits at 90-94 mph and he'll flash an overpowering slider.
Like most young pitchers, Seaton's biggest need is consistency. His slider can be a below-average pitch at times and he needs more work on a changeup that shows some promise. He can do a better job of locating his pitches in the strike zone. Some scouts think he should incorporate his legs more in his delivery.
So far, so good. Seaton hasn't allowed more than one earned run in any of his first five starts at Lexington, going 4-1, 0.91, and he's young for low Class A at age 19. If his early success is any indication, he could crack our Top 100 Prospects list next spring and could arrive in the majors late in the 2011 season.
Wieters is off to a slow start, batting .270/.373/.365 with just one homer and four extra-base hits through his first 17 games at Triple-A Norfolk. But his huge power is a major reason why he won Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award in 2008, when he thrashed pitchers to the tune of .355/.454/.600 in his pro debut. And it's also a major reason why player-personnel experts opted for him over Rays lefty David Price by a 10-2 margin when we asked them to settle the debate over baseball's top prospect.
Roch Kubatko, BA's Orioles correspondent, asked Baltimore farm director David Stockstill if anything serious was going on with Wieters as part of his excellent blogging work at MASNsports.com. Stockstill attributed Wieters' early-season doldrums to getting pitched around and to trying to regain his timing after receiving limited at-bats in spring training and missing a week with a hamstring injury.
Rest assured, Wieters will start punishing pitchers soon and he'll become a perennial all-star.
Before 2008, the earliest a North Dakota high school player ever had been drafted was in the 13th round. That's where the Mets took Darin Erstad, the state's best player since the draft era began in 1965, but he opted to attend Nebraska instead.
Last June, Minot (N.D.) High first baseman/outfielder Zac Elgie broke that record when the Athletics took him in the 12th round. He turned down pro ball to attend Kansas, where he has been a part-time starter as a freshman.
Now comes Frenzel, who's a better prospect than Elgie. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Frenzel's advantages are that he bats lefthanded (Elgie hits righty) and that he's a superior hitter, with more polish and bat speed, plus a better approach. The big question with Frenzel is where he'll play in the future, and his best bets appear to be third base (his likely position if he attends Arizona) or possibly catcher. His lack of speed limits his defensive options.
Frenzel likely will become the 14th player to be drafted out of North Dakota, and he could go earlier than Elgie did. But he probably won't get picked high enough or draw enough of a bonus offer to make it worthwhile to pass up college. Major league teams figure to let him develop for three years with the Wildcats before making a run at him in 2012.