One streak ended and another continued Sunday at Double-A Frisco. RoughRiders shortstop Jurickson Profar was held hitless for the first time in 30 games, while righthander Barret Loux won for the ninth time in nine starts.
Low Class A Delmarva righthander Dylan Bundy has had the most spectacular performance in the minors thus far, not allowing an earned run in his first 30 innings while permitting just five hits and two walks while striking out 40. Profar presents Bundy's biggest challenge to winning our Minor League Player of the Year award and ranking atop our Top 100 Prospects list next spring. Profar has handled the jump from low Class A to Double-A at age 19 with ease, batting .291/.351/.497. Don't be surprised if he claims a spot in the Rangers' lineup before season's end.
He doesn't get the same fanfare that Profar does, but Loux is now 9-0, 2.50 and sports a 48-15 K-BB ratio in 50 innings. Drafted sixth overall by the Diamondbacks in 2010, in part because he accepted a below-market $2 million bonus, Loux saw that deal evaporate when he failed a physical. After MLB made him a free agent, he signed with Texas for $312,000. He has a ceiling as a No. 3 or 4 starter, and so far he's on course toward making that a reality.
We repeatedly discuss how loaded the 2011 draft was, one indication of which came when it placed 19 players on our 2012 Top 100 list. If we had extended the list to 125, seven more 2011 draftees would have made it.
This year's draft isn't as strong as last year's crop, but it still should be well-represented on next year's Top 100. I'd set the over/under at 14.5 for 2012 draftees on the 2013 list. The prime candidates are catcher Mike Zunino (Florida); infielders Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.) and Deven Marrero (Arizona State); outfielders Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, Baxley, Ga.), Albert Almora (Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.), David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, Birmingham) and Courtney Hawkins (Carroll HS, Corpus Christi, Texas); lefthander Max Fried (Harvard-Westlake HS, Studio City, Calif.); and righthanders Kyle Zimmer (San Francisco), Mark Appel (Stanford), Kevin Gausman (Louisiana State), Michael Wacha (Texas A&M), Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS), Marcus Stroman (Duke) and Lance McCullers Jr. (Jesuit HS, Tampa).
It's not so much that Colon is improving as that he got a chance to catch his breath. The Royals made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft—there was no consensus No. 4 talent behind Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado—and aggressively sent him to high Class A for his pro debut and to Double-A for his first full pro season. That was a bit much, even for a player who draws raves for his feel for hitting and instincts like Colon does.
After batting .257/.325/.342 at Northwest Arkansas in 2011, Colon is hitting .312/.370/.433 this spring. Those numbers are reflective of his talents: he's going to make contact, hit for average and get on base at a solid clip. He'll offer some gap power and steal a few bases, more with savvy than pure speed. He'll eventually move from shortstop and become a full-time second baseman, and he's Kansas City's future at that position. Colon won't be a superstar, but he can be a solid regular at second base.
Diekroeger turned down $2 million as a Rays second-round pick out of Menlo School (Atherton, Calif.) in 2009, and looked liked he'd cash in for more than that after three years at Stanford. He ranked as the top college prospect for 2012 entering his sophomore season. But after hitting .356/.391/.491 as a freshman, he has produced just .289/.353/.376 numbers the last two years after the NCAA toned down its bats.
Diekroeger also hasn't demonstrated the range to play shortstop in the major leagues, putting more pressure on him to produce offensively. He fits best at second base because he doesn't have the power to profile at third base, and he could wind up as a utilityman because his versatility stands out more than any of his individual tools. He ranks 118th on BA's list of draft prospects and figures to go in the third to fifth round.