You can find more from Rob Steingall at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
I've got a lot on the brain this week, so I'm just going to start rattling off whatever comes to mind until I've hit my standard word count. Hellboy debuts just before press time, as does Thomas Diamond(notes) (who?). Plenty to cover this week, so let's get down to business.
Jeremy Hellickson(notes) has been ready for the majors for a while, and even if it is only in a bullpen capacity after tonight, he needs to be challenged. Look for the Rays to cap him around 150-160 innings, and turn him loose as a member of their rotation in 2011.
Mariners prospect Michael Pineda(notes) needs to get the call. He's dominated Triple-A hitters, and other than one sloppy outing, he's looked like a man among boys. His velocity is in to the upper-90s now, and I believe he has a bigger upside than Jeremy Hellickson based on pure stuff. He is also a much bigger injury risk, which is why I'd still have to side with Hellickson if I had to choose between the two.
I loved the move the Houston Astros made to bring in Brett Wallace(notes). He may never be a huge power guy, but should post some .300/25/110 seasons hitting in his tiny new home park. I've never been an Anthony Gose fan, so this was a steal in my eyes. Gose looks like a Michael Bourn(notes) type player, which is useful, but nowhere near what Wallace could be.
I had a discussion about White Sox prospect Chris Sale with friend and colleague Michael Salfino this weekend. While we disagree on his ultimate upside as a starter (I took the more pessimistic stance), we've both been impressed with what he's done on the farm since being drafted (10.1 IP, 19/6 K/BB). He should settle in to a nice bullpen role with the big club this month, and help with their charge to the postseason.
Sticking with the White Sox, catching prospect Tyler Flowers(notes) has been a huge disappointment to me this season. The 16 homers are nice, but his .222 average and questionable plate discipline (41/106 BB/K) do not excite. He's the future behind the plate in Chicago, but there is still much work to be done here. Stay tuned.
I dropped Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson in a dynasty format when making season-end cuts last year, and I'm kicking myself for doing so. I really love his stuff, and he's looking like a good bet to reach his potential of being a strong number 2-3 starter in the majors.
I'm also kicking myself for drafting A's prospect Michael Taylor(notes) so high in another dynasty format. I expected 15 homers and 20 steals out of him this season, and he hasn't even made his way off the farm yet (5 homers, 11 steals). He can still fulfill his promise, but at age 24, he should already be establishing himself in the majors. I'm holding out hope that he's just a late bloomer.
Fernando Martinez(notes) is such a frustrating prospect. Now 21, he's been around the scene forever, but still produces tepid results. He was the Mets best trade chip at the deadline, but couldn't net the club the arm they needed to continue to half-heartedly contend (I also blame Minaya here.) I still believe in Martinez, but things need to start clicking for him soon or he'll just be another product of the New York hype machine.
On a related note, I'm going to take some inspiration from Baseball America's Jim Callis, who recently released his prospect dream team. While that is a great collection of prospects, there are also plenty of guys who have been considered busts but still have loads of potential to be solid players. So here is my dream team of current prospect nightmares.
C – Tyler Flowers, White Sox: He's down this year, but could still carve out a John Buck(notes)-style career.
1B – Lars Anderson(notes), Red Sox: The tools are still there, but he looks more like Lyle Overbay(notes) now than the next Ortiz.
2B – Jemile Weeks, A's: He's beginning to blossom at Double-A, and continues to show a strong batting eye.
SS – Tim Beckham(notes), Rays: Many already consider him a bust, but he's batting .288 in the second half with improved plate discipline.
3B – Josh Vitters(notes), Cubs: A former No. 3 overall pick, Vitters was horribly unlucky this year at Double-A (.247 BABIP) but was getting hot and flashing power before a broken finger ended his season. Could still be a .300 hitter with solid pop in the majors.
OF – Fernando Martinez, Mets: Remember what happened to Jose Tabata(notes) after he got out of the New York spotlight?
OF – Michael Taylor, A's: He should get his chance next season. Could he be the next Corey Hart(notes)?
OF – Andrew Lambo, Pirates: Part of the Octavio Dotel(notes) trade, he was once considered a top Dodgers prospect. Could Pittsburgh remake yet another busted prospect?
SP – Dellin Betances, Yankees: Now healthy, he's dominating High-A. A big guy, with a huge power arsenal.
SP – Andrew Brackman(notes), Yankees: He's 7-feet tall and throws 100 MPH. Now 24, it's now or never for him.
SP – Ross Detwiler(notes), Nationals: Getting another shot in Washington, he'll look to fill his mid-rotation potential.
SP – Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers: As long as he stays away from the wacky weed, he's got a special arm. One more strike and he's out.
SP – Thomas Diamond, Cubs: Once a member of the highly publicized Rangers D-V-D trio (Danks and Volquez), Diamond will make his major league debut Monday after years of injury setbacks. Could be an innings eater still.
RP – Jordan Walden(notes), Angels: Injuries hurt his stock, and he switched to relief this year. He could be a future closer down the road.
Michael Stanton(notes) Watch: On June 8, I projected that upon his premature promotion, Marlins OF prospect Michael Stanton would have a K% hovering around 40 percent while posting a batting average in the .220 range. We'll check in weekly during the season until he completely proves me wrong, or is finally sent to Triple-A where he belongs. Current statistics are as follows (through 181 plate appearances):
Have a prospect question? A player you want to see covered? Send it to MinorDevelopments@yahoo.com.