Are you looking for a late Christmas gift for your loved one who loves baseball? Did Santa give you some cash and you're looking for something baseball-related to spend it on? Then take a look at the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book, written by yours truly, John Sickels.
The book this year will contain reports on somewhere between 1150 and 1200 players (I don't have an exact count yet). The reports are written in a conversational style that is intended to entertain as well as inform. Since I'm the only author, there is a consistent narrative voice that runs through it.
The book will ship to customers the first week of February, 2013, and there will also be an electronic version. You can place pre-orders today at www.johnsickels.net, using the paypal link, or you can send me a check or money order to the address listed on the website. Paper copies (to US addresses) cost $31.50. Paper copies to Canada and overseas addresses cost $37.95. Electronic copies (delivered to you in .pdf format via email) cost $24.95.
We need as many pre-orders as possible so that we know how many books to order, and so that we can afford to print the books in the first place. We are literally a mom-and-pop operation...the book is research, written, and printed entirely in the United States. So order early and order often!
If you like what we do here at Minor League Ball, please order the book. MinorLeagueBall.com will always be free, but the best way for the community to support it is to buy the Baseball Prospect Book. That's how I make my living.
Here are some sample, early draft comments. The actual comments in the book include statistical information going back two years in addition to the text comment.
Barrett Barnes, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 195 DOB: July 29, 1991
Barnes was drafted in the supplemental first round last June out of Texas Tech. The 45th overall pick, he signed for $1,000,000 and got his pro career off to a good start with a solid performance in the New York-Penn League, posting a +29 percent OPS and a fine SEC of .336. He's a good athlete with a broad range of tools and skills, including above-average power, an impressive grasp of the strike zone, and above-average speed. Some scouts don't think he will hit for a strong batting average at higher levels since he is a pull hitter, but I saw him show decent pure hitting skills in college and I wouldn't conclude yet that he won't make adjustments. Even if the batting average sags, he will hit for power and should draw enough walks to post a sound OBP. Barnes runs well enough to play center field. Some scouts say his arm is below average, but he got off some strong and accurate throws in the college games I saw him play. We'll call it average overall. I like Barnes and his wide array of abilities should play well in pro ball. Grade B.
Although he had a pretty decent track record as a starter in the minors, Scott Barnes moved to the bullpen last year and held his own during a trial in the majors, putting him in strong contention for roster spot in 2013. His fastball comes in at 88-94 MPH, averaging right around 92. He mixes in a slider, a changeup, and an occasional curve. His delivery has some funk to it, but it helps deceive the hitters, and he's never had an arm-related injury, his sole long-duration health problem being a torn knee ligament in 2011. His K/IP and other ratios have always been solid. Barnes looks like he can be a very useful major league pitcher to me, and I wouldn't be afraid to give him an audition as a fourth starter. Grade C+.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 187 DOB: May 27, 1994
I love this guy. Jose Berrios is one of my favorites from the 2012 draft. Drafted in the supplemental first round, 32nd overall, from high school in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Berrios started off in the bullpen in the Gulf Coast League and dominated. He moved into the rotation and dominated. Then he was promoted to the Appalachian League and dominated. Practically unhittable for low-level batters, he showed off a 92-95 MPH fastball and was clocked as high as 97-98 as an amateur. He locates the heater well but it has good movement, too. His primary breaking ball is variously described as a hard curve or slider, but rates as a plus pitch either way. He shows a better changeup than most 18-year-olds, and he's experimented with both a cutter and a soft curve. His command was superb in pro ball. Although smaller than the prototypical right-handed pitcher, Berrios is put together very well, athletic and strong. Some people have projected him as a reliever based on his size, but his arsenal is plenty diverse, he throws strikes, and repeats his mechanics well. He can start. Very strong Grade B, and that might look too low a year from now.
Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 200 DOB: June 4, 1993
Jorge Bonifacio had a solid campaign in the Midwest League last year, posting a 116 wRC+ and a +9 percent OPS, very similar to the 117 and +11 marks he generated in the Appy League in '11. The younger brother of major leaguer Emilio Bonifacio, Jorge was signed from the Dominican Republic in 2009. He presents a classic right field defensive profile, showing off a strong throwing arm and reasonable range. Although scouts say his swing has some flaws, he makes contact and can drive the ball. He's impatient at times and hasn't fully tapped his power, but usually avoids excessive whiffing. A wrist injury hampered him late in the year and we'll have to see what that does to his production; wrist stuff can linger. I like him and am inclined in his favor. Grade B-