Sleeper Alert Review, Part Three
Continuing our look at sleepers from the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book, here is the next 10 with 11 more to come on Saturday.
Jay Jackson, RHP, Cubs
21 years old, reached Double-A less than one year after being drafted in the ninth round out of Furman. 4-3, 2.95 with a 59/21 K/BB in 61 innings for Tennessee, with 51 hits allowed. Hard to find anything to complain about here; he looks very good.
Aaron King, LHP, Giants
20 years old, 4.96 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB in 45 innings for Class A Augusta, 52 hits allowed. Drafted in the seventh round last year out of Surrey CC in North Carolina. So far he has been unimpressive despite good stuff (92-95 MPH). Needs to sharpen his command.
Michael Kohn, RHP, Angels
Turns 23 today. 2.25 ERA with a 57/12 K/BB in 36 innings for Class A Cedar Rapids, 20 hits allowed, 5 saves. We need to see him at higher levels, but his performance has been excellent thus far. Was a 13th round pick out of the College of Charleston last year; throws hard, good slider, needs to sharpen his control.
David Kopp, RHP, Cardinals
23 years old, has split the year between Class A Palm Beach (2.40 ERA, 35/14 K/BB in 41 innings, 38 hits) and Double-A Springfield (4.60 ERA, 4/8 K/BB in 16 innings, 19 hits). We need more data from Double-A, but he was doing well before his promotion. Kopp was a second round pick in 2007 out of Clemson, so he had more attention than the normal "sleeper" pick, but he was kind of off the radar after an injury-plagued '08 and I wanted to get him back on the screen. He has an impressive sinker, but needs to show it will work at higher levels.
Junior Lake, SS, Cubs
19 years old, hitting .247/.272/.383 in 65 games for Class A Peoria. He's having severe problems with strike zone judgment, with a 7/69 BB/K in 227 at-bats. Lake was a tools guy that I had good reports on, but right now thing aren't working out for him. He has to get the zone under control, though given his age he has plenty of growth potential.
Matt McBride, C, Indians
24 years old, began the year hitting .405/.453/.667 in 31 games for Class A Kinston. Promoted to Double-A and has been less effective with a .252/.293/.387 mark in 32 games for Akron. His walk rate has been cut in half at the higher level. He missed much of '08 with injuries but has always hit well when healthy, until reaching Double-A anyway. He still has time to adjust.
Matt Moore, LHP, Rays
20 years old, 3.41 ERA with an 86/40 K/BB in 58 innings for Class A Bowling Green, just 35 hits allowed. Exceptional K/IP and H/IP marks show terrific dominance potential. He needs to get the walks down, but a power arm like his from the left side needs to be closely tracked. I think the Rays have another top pitching prospect on their hands.
Derek Norris, C, Nationals
20 years old, hitting .312/.400/.568 with 14 homers for Class A Hagerstown. He strikes out once a game, but he also draws a lot of walks, has power, and shows a strong arm. I compared him to Mike Napoli in the book, and he's young enough to develop beyond that comparison.
Edgar Olmos, LHP, Marlins
19 years old. Hasn't pitched yet this year. Was rated as a sleeper based on scouting reports and video. Was drafted in the third round last year out of high school in California, but without a huge amount of pre-draft hype. Very projectable at 6-5, 180.
Edgar Osuna, LHP, Braves
22 years old, started off well at Class A Myrtle Beach (3.19 ERA, 37/11 K/BB in 54 innings, 52 hits) but has been less effective in Double-A so far (5.48 ERA, 15/10 K/BB in 23 innings, 23 hits). Note slippage in command at the higher level. An ambivalent outcome so far.
I'm very happy with Jackson, Kohn, Norris, and Moore. Tools goof Lake could end up being a big mistake, and yet another lesson about trusting tools goofs. It's too early to know about the other guys, but the Double-A transition can be rough.