Kansas City Royals prospect Clint Robinson (Photo by John Sickels, SB Nation)
Arizona Fall League Roster Review: Surprise Saguaros
Major League Baseball announced the preliminary rosters for the Arizona Fall League last week Let's review the key prospects on each team, finishing the process today with the Surprise Saguaros.
Surprise is stocked with players from the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers (one player), Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers organizations. Here are important players to watch. You can find the complete roster here.
Billy Bullock, RHP, Braves: 23-year-old hard-thrower from the University of Florida, acquired from the Twins this past spring. 4.53 ERA with 65/34 K/BB in 50 innings in Double-A, 35 hits, 11 saves. Has the stuff to succeed if command is there.
Miguel De Los Santos, LHP, Rangers: 23-years-old, from the Dominican Republic, posts incredible strikeout rates, whiffing 142 in 95 innings this year between High-A, Double-A, and a rookie ball rehab start. Overall line: 5.04, 142/46 K/BB, 77 hits in 95 innings. Decent fastball and curveball, outstanding changeup.
Marquis Fleming, RHP, Rays: Age 24, posted a 3.48 ERA with a 104/42 K/BB in 83 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 61 hits. Outstanding K/IP and H/IP ratios, but gets lost in the shuffle in loaded Tampa system, could be surprise contributor in 2012. From Cal State Stanislaus.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Braves: First round pick this year out of Florida State, age 21. 2.53 ERA with 30/2 K/BB in 21 innings in Low-A for his pro debut, demonstrating superior command he showed in college. Could move through the farm system quickly.
J.J. Hoover, RHP, Braves: 24-year-old right-hander, 2.64 ERA with 117/40 K/BB in 106 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 77 hits. Throws strikes with four solid pitches, could be a workhorse starter but the Braves seem to prefer him in relief, and he was outstanding down the stretch in that role for Gwinnett.
Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Royals: 23-years-old, part of the Zack Greinke trade with Milwaukee, opened year in Royals bullpen but spent much of year in the minors. 5.50 ERA with 44/40 K/BB in 56 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Throws extremely hard but command remains a serious problem.
Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers: 22-years-old, posted 3.12 ERA with 119/44 K/BB in 98 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, 77 hits. A genuine breakthrough season, despite missing a few starts with a sore shoulder. A good stint in the AFL will increase his chances for a major league trial in 2012.
Johan Yan, RHP, Rangers: 22-year-old from the Dominican, 1.06 ERA with a 66/22 K/BB in 68 innings between High-A and Double-A, 51 hits allowed, and an impressive 3.12 GO/AO ratio. Picked up 12 saves. If he looks good here, his chances of helping out in the major league pen next year will increase.
Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves: Just turned 20 a few days ago, from Panama, hit .289/.304/.385 with 11 walks, 62 strikeouts in 387 at-bats between Low-A and High-A. Threw out 38% of runners. Still quite raw, but young and athletic. Scouts like his long-term outlook.
Kyle Skipworth, C, Marlins: Former top prospect, still just 21 years old but his status has diminished rapidly since he was in high school. Hit .207/.273/.331 this year with 11 homers and 143 strikeouts in Double-A. Still needs a lot of work on defense, too. Still has time to turn his career around, but it won't be easy.
Tim Beckham, SS, Rays: Age 21, hit .271/.328/.408 with 12 homers, 42 walks, 120 strikeouts, 17 steals between Double-A and Triple-A. First overall pick in 2008 draft made progress putting his tools to use this year, but remains a work in progress.
Tyler Bortnick, SS, Rays: Age 24, old for the High-A Florida State League but performed well, .306/.428/.432 with 79 walks and 43 steals. If he comes close to replicating this at higher levels, he can sneak up on us in '12 or '13. From Coastal Carolina University.
Christian Colon, SS, Royals: Age 22, hit .257/.325/.342 with 46 walks, 51 strikeouts, 17 steals in 491 at-bats in Double-A. Former Cal State Fullerton star was disappointing in his first full season, though he performed well on defense.
Matt Dominguez, 3B, Marlins: Age 22, hit .258/.312/.431 with 12 homers, 24 walks, 50 strikeouts in 325 at-bats in Triple-A. Outstanding defense at third base is his best attribute, but his bat has just been mediocre so far. He is young enough that it could improve substantially.
Leury Garcia, SS, Rangers: Dominican shortstop is just 20 years old, hit .256/.306/.342 with 28 walks, 100 strikeouts, 30 steals in High-A. Speed and defense are his strengths, but the bat has a long way to go.
Michael Olt, 3B, Rangers: Hit .267/.387/.504 with 14 homers, 48 walks, 70 strikeouts in 240 at-bats in High-A, missing much of the season with broken collarbone, hit just .195 in 15 games after returning from the injury. Excellent fielder. Connecticut product will use AFL to shake off injury rust.
Clint Robinson, 1B, Royals: Age 26, has no place to play in Kansas City behind Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, but he's always hit well, including .326/.399/.533 with 23 homers, 58 walks, 88 strikeouts in 508 at-bats this year in Triple-A. Hit .400/.466/.660 in August.
Angelo Songco, 1B-OF, Dodgers: Hit .313/.367/.581 with 42 walks, 121 strikeouts, 29 homers, 48 doubles in 534 at-bats in High-A. Scouts aren't sure his swing and approach will completely work at higher levels, but he had a terrific season. Age 23, from Loyola Marymount.
Todd Cunningham, OF, Braves: Age 22, hit .257/.348/.353 with 14 steals, 33 walks, 47 strikeouts in 334 at-bats in High-A. Jacksonville State product is quite athletic but did not hit as well as expected this year.
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays: 21-year-old first-round pick out of LSU signed too late to play this summer, so he'll make his pro debut in the fall league. Solid across-the-board tools, and put up outstanding numbers this year despite the new, less-potent college bats, hitting .383/.496/.709 with 14 homers, 41 walks, and 29 steals in 196 at-bats in the NCAA.
Wil Myers, OF, Royals: Age 20, hit .254/.353/.393 in 354 Double-A at-bats, with 52 walks and 87 strikeouts. Had some injury issues and didn't hit as well as expected, but he controlled the strike zone well and was young for the level. Still a top prospect.