Sleeper Alert Review, Part One
In the Baseball Prospect Book each year I put Sleeper Alert tags on players who look like possible "come out of nowhere" prospects, guys who haven't received a lot of mainstream attention yet but who could shortly do so. There were 44 such players in the 2009 book, which sounds like a lot until you remember that the book had 1,117 players in it.
I want to review these 44 players and take a look at how they are currently doing. Here are the first 14, alphabetically.
Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees
18 year old Mexican lefty, is 5-3, 2.51 with a 58/14 K/BB in 61 innings for Class A Charleston, 47 hits allowed. Looks like a good call so far. Undersized at 5-10, 160, but has a live arm.
Anthony Bass, RHP, Padres
21 years old, 6-3, 2.14 with a 53/24 K/BB in 71 innings for Class A Fort Wayne, 64 hits allowed. Pitching well thus far though would like to see improvement in his strikeout rate. Fifth round pick last year out of Wayne State in Michigan.
Joel Carreno, RHP, Blue Jays
22 years old, just began his year with short-season Auburn. Not enough data to know if this was a good call yet. Throws hard, but was at the same level last year and needs to prove something against better competition.
Dexter Carter, RHP, White Sox
22 years old, 3-2, 3.35 with a 94/20 K/BB in 78 innings for Class A Kannapolis, 75 hits allowed. Love the K/IP ratio. Drafted in the 13th round out of Old Dominion last year, he has good stuff but had severe control problems in college. Has turned that around as a pro, much more effective against the wooden bat. K/IP makes this look like a good call so far.
Jose Casilla, RHP, Giants
20 years old, just starting his season at short-season Salem-Keizer. Not enough data to know anything at this point. Throws hard and showed excellent control in rookie ball last year.
19 years old, 1-7, 4.00 with a 45/35 K/BB in 72 innings for Class A Palm Beach, 81 hits allowed. From Venezuela, uses a strong curve as his out pitch but his component ratios have been mediocre this year. He's young enough to improve obviously, but I don't count this as a sleeper success right now.
Simon Castro, RHP, Padres
21 years old, 4-4, 3.56 with a 69/21 K/BB in 68 innings for Class A Fort Wayne, 58 hits allowed. He throws quite hard and has been moderately successful this year; his ERA could easily be lower given these components. I'll count this as a conditional success so far.
Joseph Cruz, RHP, Rays
20 years old, 2-3, 3.22 with a 52/12 K/BB in 45 innings for Class A Bowling Green, 49 hits allowed. Hittable, but shows good control and has a strong K/IP ratio. I like him so far, just need to see the hits come down a bit.
Stephen Fife. RHP, Red Sox
22 years old, activated from extended spring training in late May, 0-2, 0.90 with a 19/1 K/BB in 20 innings for Class A Greenville, 12 hits allowed. Sample size is small but excellent; right now this looks like a good call.
David Francis, RHP, Braves
21 years old, 3-4, 3.28 with a 43/14 K/BB in 47 innings for Class A Rome, 50 hits allowed. Not bad, good K/BB ratio and a solid walk rate with good command, strikeouts OK, rather hittable.
Parker Frazier, RHP, Rockies
20 years old, 3-5, 5.50 with a 50/20 K/BB in 69 innings for Class A Asheville, 93 hits allowed. He doesn't walk a lot of guys, but has been much too hittable this year. He gets grounders with a 1.96 GO/AO, but I'm not impressed with the rest of it, and clearly a breakthrough is not in progress.
Austin Gallagher, 3B-1B, Dodgers
20 years old, hitting .262/.329/.350 in 54 games for the Class A Great Lakes Loons. Very undistinguished performance with lack of power.
Kennil Gomez, RHP, Rangers
21 years old, 2-6, 4.64 with a 75/36 K/BB in 74 innings for Class A Bakersfield, 82 hits allowed. Holding his own in the California League, good K/IP ratio, 1.98 GO/AO, needs to sharpen his command. Not exactly a big breakthrough, but not a failure either.
Jesus Guzman, 3B-1B, Giants
25 years old, hit .311/.360/.521 in 61 games for Triple-A Fresno, 1-for-10 in the majors. Much older than the other Sleeper Alert players, and more of a useful role player type than a young breakthrough guy.
Of these 14, the ones I'm really disappointed in are Frazier and Gallagher. The others I'm either very happy with, or still reserving judgment.