This is one of the best times of the year for sports fans, as you have basketball and hockey in the middle of their regular seasons, March Madness starts next week and spring training is finally here. Oh, and St. Patty's Day is less than two weeks away as well. The start of spring training was music to my ears.
Here is an update on how some of the top prospects are faring so far in spring training:
Eric Hosmer, KC-he hit a grand slam on Friday and is hitting .625 in the early going, with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs. We probably won't see Hosmer in KC till 2012 with Billy Butler and Kila Ka'aihue manning first base in 2011.
Brandon Belt, SFG- Belt is hitting .375 with a HR, 6 RBIs and a SB so far. I could see Belt up as early as May and definitely in June of this year.
Kenley Jansen, LAD-in a recent mlb.com article, Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick, had the following to say about Jansen:
So the closer of the future -- sooner or later -- is Kenley Jansen, who is already drawing comparisons to his idol and the best closer ever, the 11-time All-Star Rivera, because of something that can't be taught, explained or intentionally duplicated.
Jansen has pitched two innings so far this spring training giving up 2 hits, 2 walks and striking out 2. He could be closing by the end of the season, if not sooner.
More after the jump:
Jerry Sands, LAD-the prospect who got no love this offseason is hitting .429 with a HR and 2 RBIs. If the left field platoon of Jay Gibbons and Marcus Thames doesn't work out, Sands could get a call up this season.
Mike Moustakas, KC-Mous is hitting .200 with a HR and 4 RBIs in 10 ABs in the early going of spring training. I think Mous can bring some power this season, but worry that he won't hit for a high BA in his rookie season.
Nick Piecoro from the Arizona Republic wrote a blog post on Diamondbacks outfield prospect A.J. Pollock, with these quotes from GM Kevin Towers:
Pollock likely will open the year in Double-A Mobile, though GM Kevin Towers doesn't think he's too far from being big-league ready.
"There's no doubt in my mind he's going to be a good big-league player," Towers said, "and it's probably not too far off."
Pollock missed all of the 2010 season, but was ranked as the third best DBacks prospect by Baseball America; and this season they ranked him as their #6 best DBack prospect. Pollock plays CF, has average power and can steal some bases. Chris Young is signed through the 2013 season, so Pollock more than likely will play LF or backup Young when he finally makes it up to the bigs.
I wrote this blogpost over at Fake Teams on Friday night on Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero. It appears that Montero may have a very good shot at winning the starting catcher's job with Francisco Cervelli out for two months with a broken foot. What are the chance Montero beats out a healthy Russell Martin?
Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper is 1-8 in spring training so far with a single, 3 strikeouts and a walk. He's a bust;)
Nats SS/2B prospect Danny Espinosa is hitting .455 with a HR, 5 RBIs and a SB to date. We learned recently that Espinosa had actually broken his hammate bone two years ago. It apparently healed enough to allow him to hit 40 HRs and slug .460 in the minors. Does this mean there is more power to come?
MASN's Ben Goessling on Nationals catching prospect Derek Norris:
"His combination of power and plate discipline is rare to find in a catcher, and once he refines his game behind the plate, he's got the chance to be a star."
Norris has a HR in 3 at bats this spring. I think he could be ready for the big leagues in mid-2012.
Tigers pitching prospect Jacob Turner started one game so far this spring training, going 3 innings while giving up a run on 2 hits and striking out 1. Turner is on the fast track to the majors, and one wonders if we see him in 2011. Here is John Lowe from the Detroit Free Press on Turner and Andy Oliver:
Turner is the Tigers' top prospect, and Baseball America ranks Oliver as their best pitching
prospect besides Turner. Neither figures to make the Opening Day team, but as Oliver's mid-
season call-up last year showed, it's possible they could join Leyland's pitching staff during the
The Reds will start catching prospect Yasmani Grandal in Double A according to John Fay from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
The Reds have been impressed with him so far. Bill Bavasi, director of player development,
said Grandal probably will open the season with Double-A Carolina.
The Reds will have a good problem on their hands in a couple years with Devin Mesoraco and Grandal at catcher.
Buster Olney on Dodgers pitching prospect Rubby de la Rosa:
The Dodgers are very impressed with what they've seen from Rubby De la Rosa, a 21-year-old pitcher who they signed for a $15,000 bonus as a teenager. De La Rosa reached Class AA last year, posting a 2.37 ERA in 22 appearances, and this spring, he has been clocked with a fastball at 96-98 mph. "Great composure on the mound," said Colletti. "He has great command of his emotions."
De La Rosa is expected to start the year in the minors and it's very possible that he'll finish the year there, but Colletti did not rule out the possibility that he could be considered for promotion later in the season.
I could see RDLR in the Dodgers bullpen later in the season should one of their relievers struggle.