2012 Sleeper Prospects End of Season Review, Part One
Here is a look at each player I tagged with a Sleeper Alert! label in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book. This is A through E. Other players will be in subsequent reports. Remember, this list was generated pre-season.
Some of these guys are better-known than others. By Sleeper, I mean a guy who wasn't well-known nationally as a top prospect pre-season, but who showed signs of being a breakout prospect entering 2012. This doesn't mean the player in question was a complete nobody pre-season, especially to fans who follow a particular team closely, or to people who are just super prospect fanatics (like many members of the Minor League Ball Community). The idea is to look for guys with the potential for sharp increases in their performance, publicity, and placement on prospect lists.
Getting ahead of the curve with guys like this is one of my main goals with the book each year. The 2013 book will have it's own sleeper list, of course.
Jason Adam, RHP, Royals: 7-12, 3.53 ERA in 27 starts for High-A Wilmington in the Carolina League, 123/36 K/BB in 158 innings, 148 hits. A successful season. Age 21.
Jeff Ames, RHP, Rays: 6-1, 1.96 ERA with 70/20 K/BB in 64 innings for Hudson Valley in the New York-Penn League, 44 hits allowed. Extremely successful. Watch him in 2013. Age 21.
Matt Andriese, RHP, Padres: 10-8, 3.58 ERA with 131/38 K/BB in 146 innings for Lake Elsinore in the High-A California League, 140 hits, 1.75 GO/AO. Quite good especially considering league context. Just turned 23.
Elvis Araujo, LHP, Indians: 7-10, 5.00 ERA in 28 starts for Lake County in the Midwest League, 111/61 K/BB in 135 innings, 141 hits. Erratic, had some excellent games but inconsistent, age 21, throws hard, still has upside.
David Baker, RHP, Orioles: 4.66 ERA with 30/18 K/BB in 37 innings in the bullpen for Low-A Delmarva, 38 hits. Got killed in eight innings in High-A, giving upu 20 hits and 15 runs. Disappointing, but at age 21 he can still improve.
Clayton Blackburn, RHP, Giants: Outstanding breakout season: 2.54 ERA in 22 starts for Low-A Augusta in the Sally League, 143/18 K/BB in 131 innings, 116 hits, 2.32 GO/AO. Age 19. One of the best pitching prospects in A-ball this year.
Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Royals: Toolsy Dominican, hit .282/.336/.432 with 10 homers, 30 walks, 84 strikeouts in 412 at-bats for Kane County in the Midwest League. Cooled off after a hot start, but overall a success at age 19.
Jake Buchanan, RHP, Astros: 5.25 ERA with 88/38 K/BB in 142 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City, 188 hits, 2.00 GO/AO. Throws strikes, gets grounders, doesn't dominate but under the right circumstances he still has a chance to help somebody. Age 23.
Alex Burgos, LHP, Tigers: 4.90 ERA with 78/88 K/BB in 121 innings for High-A Lakeland in the Florida State League, 115 hits. Walk rate is way too high, especially for a guy who doesn't burn radar. Age 21. He'll get more chances, lefties live forever.
Zach Cates, RHP, Cubs: 0-9 in 17 starts split between Low-A, High-A, and rookie ball, 7.16 ERA with 46/27 K/BB, 95 hits. He did have some good games, but overall it was a horrible season, ended on the DL. Age 22.
Tyler Cloyd, RHP, Phillies: Outstanding campaign, 15-1, 2.26 ERA with 113/41 K/BB in 167 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, 127 hits. Has made two major league starts with success (2.77 ERA, 14/2 K/BB in 13 innings). Big sleeper success story. Age 25.
Grant Dayton, LHP, Marlins: 2.47 ERA with 90/22 K/BB in 73 innings, 60 hits between High-A Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. Age 24. Doesn't get much attention, but he gets people out, throws hard, and could help in a bullpen soon.
Jorge De Leon, RHP, Astros: Terrible season for High-A Lancaster, 7.70 ERA with 60/44 K/BB in 88 innings, 116 hits. Tough home park doesn't help but he was legitimately bad. Age 25. I see little hope at this point.
Zack Dodson, LHP, Pirates: 4.86 ERA with 67/40 K/BB in 100 innings for Low-A West Virginia in the Sally League, 111 hits. Suspended for using a "drug of abuse", not PED. Was pitching well in his last six starts before being suspended in August. Age 22.
Jaime Esquivel, RHP, Orioles: 6.67 ERA with 31/19 K/BB in 27 innings for Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League and Frederick in the Carolina League. Age 20, didn't do well but it's a small sample.