Sleeper Alert Picks for 2013, Part Two
Everyone knows about Oscar Taveras, Gerrit Cole, and Jose Fernandez, but one of my favorite fascinations is finding sleepers and unheralded prospects.
The last few seasons I have labeled some players with the "Sleeper Alert!" tag in my book each year. Here is a list of the players with the Sleeper Alert! label in the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book. Not every sleeper pans out, of course. . .the majority do not, but past Sleeper Alerts! that worked out well include James Shields (2006), A.J. Griffin (2012), and Allen Craig (2008).
Anyway, here is the list for 2013 with a brief summary. Full reports are in the book of course. This is letters G through N. More to come in Part Three tomorrow! Part One is Here.
Tim Fedroff, OF, Indians: Age 26, Fedroff is not a hot prospect by any means but could have a future as a role player due to his on-base abilities. He hit .325/.393/.517 in Triple-A last year. He is more athletic than you would assume from his 5-11, 220 listing, though his tools limit him to left field.
Anthony Garcia, OF, Cardinals: Age 21, Garcia was an 18th round pick out of Puerto Rico in 2009 and has killed the ball at lower levels with a .285/.373/.503 career mark. The former catcher has a strong throwing arm to go with his power and would get more attention in a thinner farm system. I think he is a breakout candidate.
Greg Garcia, INF, Cardinals: Age 23, this Garcia was a seventh round pick in '10 from the University of Hawaii and was Kolten Wong's infield partner in Double-A last year, where he hit .284/.408/.420 with 80 walks. He projects as a utility infielder with good on-base abilities and, like Anthony Garcia (no relation), he would get more notice in a thinner system.
Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Cardinals: Age 22. Another Cardinal, which isn't on purpose I swear. A fifth-round pick in '11 from Oregon State, Gaviglio is about as good a prospect as you can be with a below-90 fastball. He sinks and cuts it, has a good changeup, gets tons of grounders, and throws strikes. Not an elite prospect, but he could turn into a useful utility pitcher.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates: Age 19. Pirates fans are very aware of him, but he's often overlooked in broader discussions due to other pitchers in the system with more press. Fifth-round pick from high school in California in '11, he made good strides developing his curveball to go with above-average heat last summer. A potential workhorse starter.
Josh Hader, LHP, Orioles: Age 18, 19 later this month. A 19th round pick last June from high school in Maryland, Hader boosted his velocity into the 90s after signing while posting a spectacular 48/9 K/BB in 29 innings in rookie ball. Secondaries need work but mid-rotation potential.
Phil Irwin, RHP, Pirates: Age 26, Irwin was a 21st round pick from Mississippi in '09. Overshadowed by more famous prospects in the Pittsburgh system, he doesn't have blazing stuff but simply gets people out by changing speeds, creating some stir by doing so this spring. He could sneak in some effective innings.
Patrick Leonard, 3B, Rays: Age 20, Leonard came from the Royals in the James Shields trade. An overslot-bonus fifth round high school pick from Texas in '11, he slugged 14 homers in rookie ball and showed a solid glove at third. This was a nice pickup for the Rays and I think he is a breakthrough candidate.
Kenny Long, LHP, Astros: Age 24, Long was a 22nd round pick from Illinois State last year and blitzed through the minors with a 38/7 K/BB and just seven hits in his first 22 innings. His fastball barely breaks glass but he is extremely deceptive and could have a future as a LOOGY and source of quality filler innings.
Tyler Lyons, LHP, Cardinals: Age 25, Lyons was a ninth round pick from Oklahoma State in '10. You might miss him due to his 4.28 ERA in Triple-A, but his component ratios were very strong (resulting in a 3.19 FIP) and he commands three pitches. He is a fifth-starter or relief type, but these guys can sneak up on us.
Estarlin Martinez, OF, Nationals: Age 20, Martinez is a speculative tools/upside player who hit .319/.385/.455 in the difficult New York-Penn League last year, showing improvement with his plate discipline and swing mechanics. Extremely raw when signed out of the Dominican in '09, he's made considerable progress turning his athleticism into playing ability.
Nick Martinez, RHP, Rangers: Age 22, drafted in 18th round from Fordham in 2011. Low-90s fastball and improved breaking ball resulted in 109/37 K/BB with an ugly 4.83 ERA but a much better 3.28 FIP last year in Low-A. However, 2013 spring training reports were not enthusiastic, so we'll have to see how this one pans out.
Navery Moore, RHP, Braves: Age 22, 14th round pick from Vanderbilt in 2011 but with talent to have gone much higher. Hits mid-90s on his best days and made progress with secondary pitches on way to 3.86 ERA with 84/45 K/BB in 103 innings last season. He closed in college, started in Low-A last year, but has arm to succeed in either role if his command (which can be erratic) holds up.