2012 Top 50 Hitting Prospects in Review, Part Two

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This is part two of the Top 50 PRE-SEASON hitting prospects list as it appeared in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book.

Remember, this is a PRE-SEASON LIST. It is not a new list. I am working on an update.

26) Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade B+: Hit .286/.366/.419 with 49 walks, 101 strikeouts in 420 at-bats for Las Vegas, then .223/.303/.319 with 17 walks, 59 strikeouts, 15 steals in 166 at-bats for the Blue Jays. Speed and glove are impressive, but will he hit enough?

27) Michael Choice, OF, Oakland Athletics, Grade B+:
Hit .287/.356/.423 with 10 homers, 33 walks, 88 strikeouts in 359 at-bats for Double-A Midland, limited to 91 games by a broken hand.

28) Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres, Grade B+:
Hit .298/.360/.443 with 22 steals, 21 walks, 69 strikeouts in 282 at-bats for High-A Lake Elsinore, then .251/.335/.337 with 10 steals in 183 at-bats for San Antonio. Uses speed well, good tools, bat remains unrefined.

29) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros, Grade B+
: Hit .316/.398/.557 with 22 homers, 28 steals, 56 walks, 131 strikeouts in 433 at-bats in friendly California League, but just .219/.288/.342 with six walks, 25 strikeouts in 73 at-bats in Double-A. Power (24 homers), steals (32 thefts) stand out but contact is a problem.

30) Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B+: Batted .287/.348/.405 with 44 walks, 74 strikeouts, 21 steals in 523 at-bats for Double-A Springfield. Solid but not excellent campaign.

31) Billy Hamilton, SS, Cincinnati Reds, Grade B+:
Amazing season, hit .311/.410/.420 with 86 walks, 113 strikeouts in 512 at-bats between High-A and Double-A, stole 155 bases for a new minor league record, caught 37 times. Fastest man in baseball, and he is learning to use it better.

32) Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees, Grade B+:
Batted .290/.344/.485 with 18 homers, 32 walks, 106 strikeouts in 435 at-bats between Low-A and High-A. Needs more experience behind the plate but bat is coming along nicely.

33) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B+:
Batted .261/.336/.360 with 51 walks, 102 strikeouts, 37 steals in 475 at-bats for Double-A Montgomery. Speed and defense remain his key attributes and I hold out hope for the bat.

34) Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers, Grade B+:
Hit a stunning .405/.461/.553 in 55 games for High-A Lakeland, but strike zone got away from him some after moving up to Double-A Erie, .264/.296/.382 with 14 walks, 76 strikeouts in 322 at-bats. Solid overall for age 20.

35) Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B+: Batted .321/.380/.572 with 23 homers, 42 walks, just 56 strikeouts in 477 at-bats for Springfield. I love this guy, stock way up for me.

36) Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners, Grade B: Hit .322/.394/.502 in 205 at-bats for Double-A Jackson, .243/.310/.416 in 267 at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma. Needs more Triple-A time but I still like him.

37) Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B: .286/.347/.500 with 28 walks, 91 strikeouts in 388 at-bats for Triple-A Indianapolis, then .257/.300/.437 with eight walks, 50 strikeouts in 167 at-bats for the Pirates. Great glove, runs well, wiry strong, still working on the strike zone.

38) Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox, Grade B: Hit .333/.380/.677 in 24 games for Triple-A Pawtucket, then .288/.325/.509 with 15 homers, 13 walks, 70 strikeouts in 267 at-bats for the Red Sox, lost time to wrist injury. Lots of talent, we'll have to see if his plate discipline hampers him.

39) Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves, Grade B: Batted .293/.372/.420 in 174 at-bats for Double-A Mississippi, then .289/.335/.416 with 12 walks, 21 strikeouts in 166 at-bats for the Braves. His glove is excellent and he should at least hit for average with gap power.

40) Jonathan Schoop, SS, Baltimore Orioles, Grade B:
Hit .245/.324/.386 with 14 homers, 50 walks, 103 strikeouts in 485 at-bats for Double-A Bowie. Good tools but didn't make a smooth transition to Double-A, still young at 21.

41) Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers, Grade B:
Hit .288/.398/.579 with 28 homers, 61 walks, 101 strikeouts in 354 at-bats in Double-A, went 5-for-33 (.152) riding the Rangers bench down the stretch. Great glove, lots of power, but needs to play to resolve any contact issues.

42) Jean Segura, INF, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B:
Hit .304/.358/.413 with 37 steals in Double-A, traded to Brewers and hit .258/.315/.325 with 13 walks, 23 strikeouts in 151 at-bats. I expect gradual improvement.

43) Mikie Mahtook, OF, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B:
Solid in High-A (.290/.358/.419 in 92 games) but lost some momentum in Double-A (.248/.308/.405 in 39 games), combined for 23 steals but disappointing nine homers. Not a terrible season but not a great one, either. Stock down somewhat.

44) Ryan Lavarnway, C, Boston Red Sox, Grade B: Hit .295/.376/.439 with 40 walks, 62 strikeouts in 319 at-bats in Triple-A, .157/.211/.248 with 11 walks, 41 strikeouts in 153 at-bats in the majors. I think he'll improve if the Red Sox are patient with him, which they may not be.

45) Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics, Grade B:
Batted .271/.329/.477 with nine homers for Triple-A Sacramento, .201/.276/.349 with seven homers, 66 strikeouts in 209 at-bats for Oakland. As with Lavarnway, I think he just needs playing time to resolve his issues.

46) Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets, Grade B: Hit .248/.372/.406 with 20 doubles, 46 walks, 78 strikeouts in 266 at-bats for Brooklyn in New York-Penn League. Patient, perhaps to a fault, understandably raw in some phases due to Wyoming background, retains high upside.

47) Eddie Rosario, 2B-OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade B:
Hit .296/.345/.490 with 32 doubles, 12 homers, 31 walks, 69 strikeouts in 392 at-bats in Low-A. Second base conversion wasn't a total failure but wasn't a big success, either. Bat looks strong, showed good makeup by overcoming line drive to the face.

48) Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies, Grade B:
Batted .277/.367/.505 with 18 homers, 43 doubles, 15 steals, 60 walks, 121 strikeouts in 477 at-bats for Low-A Asheville. A very solid debut.

49) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade B. Hit combined .320/.388/.539 with 36 doubles, 17 homers, 51 walks, 107 strikeouts in 469 at-bats between High-A and Double-A. The guy can simply hit, I'm not sure why he doesn't receive more attention.

50) Tim Wheeler, OF, Colorado Rockies, Grade B: Where did the power go? Hit .303/.357/.412 with just two homers in 379 at-bats in Triple-A, compared to 33 homers in Double-A in 2011. He did lower his strikeout rate, but at the expense of production.

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