Three American League Prospect Sleepers
Here is an early update on three personal favorite sleeper prospects to watch in the AL in 2006.
Jeff Corsaletti, OF, Boston Red Sox
Corsaletti was drafted in the sixth round in 2005, out of the University of Florida. He was a very successful college hitter (hitting .313 in '03, .323 in '04, and .358 in '05, with improving power and plate discipline) but wasn't a super-hot property on draft day since his physical tools are considered marginal. But his ability to hit the ball hard and to control the strike zone well was notable. He also has good baseball instincts. He hit .357/.429/.490 in 59 games in the Sally League after signing, obviously excellent performance for a guy right out of college.
Currently playing for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in the Carolina League, Corsaletti is 12-for-35 (.343) so far, with three doubles, seven walks, and two steals. I expect he will continue to batter A-ball pitching, and won't really be tested until he reaches Double-A, probably later this year. We'll keep a close eye on this one. If he hits in Double-A, he could advance more rapidly than expected.
Radhames Liz, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Liz is still something of a sleeper prospect but won't be for long. He threw five hitless innings in his first start for Frederick, striking out 13. A Dominican signed in 2003, Liz has a fastball clocked in the mid-90s. His strikeout rate was excellent in the low minors last year. His curveball and changeup are erratic, below average last season but reportedly improved this spring. His command still needs work, and guys like this can blow up on you quickly. But they can also blossom just as quickly. This is a potentially special pitcher.
Brian Duensing, LHP, Minnesota Twins
Duensing was a third round pick last spring out of the University of Nebraska. At one time he was a hard thrower for a lefty, but 2004 Tommy John surgery sapped his velocity last year. Still, the Twins thought he was a decent bet for a rebound once he got further away from the surgery, and right now that looks like it is panning out, his velocity reportedly getting back into the low 90s. He has a good changeup and is making strides with his slider. His first ten innings this year have gone well: four runs (3.60 ERA) but with a 15/3 K/BB ratio for Beloit. We need to see him at higher levels, and in a much larger sample of course, but hey, that's what being a sleeper is all about.