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On the Farm – April 12
Looking for that slight edge over your league mates by knowing the next impact rookie? Look no further. Each and every week throughout the season, this column aims to quench your thirst for some of the game’s best prospects. It would be easy to highlight some of the premier prospects only, but I want to inform you of the guy who WILL be the next big prospect. Each Thursday, I’m going to highlight 2 players at each level who have had special weeks. In this first installment, we’ll get 3 at each level – highlighting some names you’ll likely already know.
Bryce Harper, Syracuse Chiefs (Nationals)
A pedestrian start for Harper so far, as he currently sits at .278 for the young season. Only one extra base hit to this point, a single stolen base, and nothing else of real note yet. His lone multi-hit game was his initial one, going 2-4 against Rochester with the afore mentioned double and stolen base. Don’t worry, the stats will be there. Just as any other player, it’s way too early to tell anything by early stat lines.
Mike Trout, Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
Trout, on the other hand, is smoking hot out of the gate. In 24 Abs, he’s hitting .458 with a home run, and has stolen 2 bases as well. However, he has struck out 7 times out of the gate. That’s not an alarming number only because of the small sample size to this point. However, that is certainly something worth monitoring. I’m not worried about Trout whatsoever, and I think we’ll see him in Anaheim before too long.
Matt Adams, Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)
I’ve been the frontrunner of the Adams bandwagon for some time now, as the kid just seems to hit, and hit. I week into his AAA career, he keeps doing the same. .348/3/6 for ½ a week’s work is not too shabby. He’s been over .300 each year in the minor leagues, he hit a career high 32 HR last year, and he does not strike out a ton for a power hitting 1B. The issue many scouts have with Adams is that he rarely EVER walks, having only 93 in his 3 year minor league career before this season. However, I would not be surprised to see Adams up with the Cards VERY soon, especially if injuries keep popping up with Berkman. He can be an immediate impact bat in your lineup. Monitor this situation CLOSELY.
Trevor Bauer, Mobile Baybears (Diamondbacks).
Bauer is no sleeper, and you had better be aware of his progress. If you have any available roster space for him, you definitely should consider taking a shot on this young man. In 2 starts this season (10.2 IP), he’s 2-0 without allowing a run. He’s only given up 4 hits, and has struck out 18 batters. 18. He does have 7 walks however, and those kinds of control issues will haunt him if he does it at the MLB level. The DBacks are not afraid to pull players up from their AA roster either, and Bauer could be another guy to make that leap. Grab him.
Nolan Arenado, Tulsa Drillers (Rockies)
Arenado is likely the best 3B prospect in baseball, and may be up with the Rockies by June. It is not exactly as though Jordan Pacheco is the answer at the hot corner in Denver. Arenado went 11 for 25 to open up the year, and he’s not yet 21 (He’ll turn next week). With 4 doubles and 5 RBI to add to his totals, Nolan has made a nice jump to the AA level. Look for him in Colorado very soon, and don’t wait around to grab him.
James Paxton/Taijuan Walker, Jackson Generals (Mariners)
2 of the 3 components of a prospect laden Generals rotation, both Paxton and Walker were magnificent in their openers. Paxton got the win going 5.2 IP while allowing no runs with only 2 hits, no walks, and 10 Ks. Walker, only 19 years old, was equally as impressive, allowing only 4 hits with one walk and 8 ks. I’ve been reading people comparing Walker to Dwight Gooden at this age, which is VERY high praise. These two, along with Danny Hultzen, should make up a truly outstanding rotation that should be in Seattle by next year at the latest. Relax M’s fans. You’ll be relevant again, and soon.
Telvin Nash, Lancaster Jethawks (Astros)
You can say that Nash had a pretty decent first week in high-A ball. .375 with 5 HR is not a shabby way to start your year off. I wouldn’t yet buy into the numbers, as his previous career high is 14 HR. The Cal League is very hitter friendly, and I’ve never seen baseballs fly out of any stadium like they do in Lancaster. However, all of his games were on the road. Again though, 3 of his HR were hit in High Desert, which is very similar to Lancaster. A name to watch.
Billy Hamilton, Bakersfield Blaze (Reds)
A .217 average through the first week is not something that would normally make this column. However, Hamilton has picked up where he left off last year with SB. Last year, he stole 103 bases in low-A, and has started off with 5 in the first 6 games. He also has 4 XBH, including a HR already. Hamilton is a player to watch, this year. If he can improve his contact rate and hit for a decent average, he’s going to be an impactful player on your fantasy team by the end of next year.
Miguel Sano, Beloit Snappers (Twins)
Sano is also no secret to prospect hounds, as he’s been highly touted for a very long time now. However, he’s still only 18 years old. Big, strong, and athletic, Sano is going to be an impact bat in the big leagues. 3 HR, 10 RBI, and a stolen base in the first week of the young season is a good start to his full season debut. A long way away, he’s someone who is likely owned in deep dynasties. Standard leagues need not worry about him for a year or so, but don’t forget him.
Remember to check back every Thursday, as we continue to talk minor leagues.
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