Breakthrough Shortstop Candidates for 2010
A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to run down shortstop prospects who could be breakthrough candidates for 2010, ignoring anyone with a Grade B- or higher in the Baseball Prospect Book, focusing only on players with a Grade C or C+. So here they are: every shortstop in the book with a C or C+, and a summary on if I think they are a breakthrough candidate or not. Players are listed alphabetically. This is G through M; the last letters will be posted tomorrow morning.
Please remember the definition of a Grade C prospect:
"Grade C prospects are the most common type. They are guys who have something positive going for them, but who may have a question mark or three, or who are just too far away from the majors to get an accurate feel for. A few Grade C guys, especially at the lower levels, do develop into stars. Many end up as role players or bench guys. Some don't make it at all."
Remember that the letter grade is a shorthand, and a 24-year-old Grade C prospect in Double-A has much less development potential than a 17-year-old Grade C prospect in rookie ball.
Jonathan Galvez, San Diego, Grade C+
19 years old, hit .295/.399/.504 with 14 steals for Arizona Rookie League Padres. I am impressed with the bat, but not likely to remain at shortstop in the long run, could end up in the outfield. Definite breakout candidate at least with hitting.
Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia, Grade C
20 years old, hit .247/.280/.307 for Class A Clearwater. Gold Glove caliber defensive skills, but he can't hit, at least not yet. Young enough to improve substantially but I see no evidence it will happen soon.
Scooter Gennett, Milwaukee, Grade C+
19 years old, drafted in the 16th round last year but signed too late to play. Very skilled hitter, played shortstop in high school, will likely move to second base in the long run. We need pro data before knowing how the scouting reports will transition into production. Draws comparisons to a young Chase Utley or Todd Walker.
Derrik Gibson, Boston, Grade C+
20 years old, hit .290/.395/.380 with 28 steals in the New York-Penn League. Lacks power at this point, but very fast and draws walks. Defense is uncertain, he could end up at second base or maybe third if his power comes along. Certainly has at least moderate breakout potential.
Ryan Goins, Toronto, Grade C
22 years old, hit .246/.300/.304 in pro debut split between New York-Penn and Midwest Leagues, fourth round pick last year out of Dallas Baptist. Reliable with the glove but range issues may move him to second. Needs to get zone under control to break out.
Hector Gomez, Colorado, Grade C+
22 years old, hit .275/.310/.423 for Class A Modesto. Very toolsy, has 15-15 potential if he can get the zone under control, good glove, injury prone. Moderate breakout potential given his tools but Double-A will be a challenge.
Rolando Gomez, Anaheim, Grade C
20 years old. Hit .304/.408/.464 with 12 steals for the AZL Angels. Excellent reviews for his defense, but undersized at 5-9, 160 and might not hit like this at higher levels. Some potential for a breakout, we'll know more this year.
Tyler Greene, St. Louis, Grade C
26 years old, Hit .291/.369/.482 for Triple-A Memphis, .222/.270/.324 for the Cardinals. Very toolsy, has power and speed but swings from the heels. Probably too old for a major breakout but it isn't impossible.
D.D. Gregorius, Cincinnati, Grade C
20 years old, hit .314/.363/.387 for rookie-level Billings. Toolsy, raw, lacks power at this point, might or might not develop, not poised for a short-run breakout.
Hector Guevera, Tampa Bay, Grade C
18 years old, signed for $200,000 in '08, hasn't played in North America yet. Has power, defense is questionable, will probably move to another position eventually. Not a short-term candidate.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati, Grade C+
19 years old, second round pick last year, hit .209/.257/.292 with 14 steals in rookie ball. Very toolsy, very raw with the bat, defense draws good reviews. Has the tools to break out big but perhaps not this year.
Brandon Hicks, Atlanta, Grade C
24 years old, hit .237/.319/.373 with 17 steals, 10 homers for Double-A Mississippi. Solid player in many ways, but strikes out a LOT and can't hit for average. Seems like a good candidate for performance spike in 2011 or 2012.
Brock Holt, Pittsburgh, Grade C
22 years old, hit .299/.361/.449 last year in the New York-Penn League after signing as a ninth round pick out of Rice. Very solid player with good skills across the board, has at least moderate breakout potential.
Jose Iglesias, Boston, Grade C+
20 year old Cuban defector, hasn't played yet, draws comparisons to Omar Vizquel and Luis Aparicio for his terrific glove. May or may not hit; the Red Sox say he will but people from other organizations aren't so sure. At this point we just need to see what happens.
Cale Iorg, Detroit, Grade C
24 years old, hit .222/.274/.336 for Double-A Erie. Good tools, good glove, can't hit due to poor strike zone judgment. I am very skeptical about him.
Justin Jackson, Toronto, Grade C
21 years old, hit .213/.321/.269 for Class A Dunedin. Great tools, sometimes flashes good skills but very erratic. At least he draws walks. Young enough to rebound and breakout but no objective reason to think it will happen this year.
Mycal Jones, Atlanta, Grade C+
22 years old, hit .258/.337/.430 with 19 steals in the Appalachian League after being drafted in the fourth round last year. I like him and he was almost a B- in the book. Definitely a breakout candidate.
Pete Kozma, St. Louis, Grade C
21 years old, hit .216/.288/.312 for Double-A Springfield. Former first round pick is struggling to live up to that but is still young enough to improve. He will show some plate discipline at times and is a marginal breakout candidate.
Tyler Ladendorf, Oakland, Grade C
21 years old, a career .249/.335/.369 hitter in the Minnesota and Oakland systems. Very toolsy, but raw even for a junior college guy. Billy Beane likes him. Still has a chance given his age and physicality but I see nothing to make me think he'll break through this year.
Tommy Manzella, Houston, Grade C
27 years old, hit .289/.339/.417 with 12 steals for Triple-A Round Rock last year. Astros shortstop to begin the season. Old for a prospect, but a solid fielder with a few offensive skills. He's already had his breakout.
Jonathan Mejia, Houston, Grade C
Signed out of the Dominican Republic last year, hasn't played yet. Scouting reports point to a strong bat but range issues may force a move to third base. Should be tracked but impossible to project a breakout yet.
Jordy Mercer, Pittsburgh, Grade C
23 years old, hit .255/.314/.400 with 10 homers, 10 steals for Class A Lynchburg. Toolsy, strong throwing arm, has some speed and power, has some mild-to-moderate breakout potential if he can sharpen his plate discipline a bit more.