Five Moneyball-Type Prospects for 2012
Here are five Moneyball-style prospects. Each player has an issue that prevents them from ranking highly on most prospect lists, but they've all performed well and could be undervalued compared to their performance level.
Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Drafted in the eighth round in 2010 from Arizona State University, Calhoun is a 23-year-old, 5-10, 200 pound left-handed hitter who destroyed High-A pitching for Inland Empire in the California League this year, hitting .324/.410/.547 with 36 doubles, 22 homers, 73 walks, and 20 steals in 512 at-bats. He's short and stocky and doesn't have the greatest tools in the world, but he was a star in college and has ripped up pro pitching so far, showing strong plate discipline with power.
Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals: A 13th round pick in 2009 from Texas Christian, Carpenter is 6-3, 200 pounds and is a career .300/.408/.451 hitter in the minors, including .300/.417/.463 this year for Triple-A Memphis, with 29 doubles, 12 homers, and 84 walks. Scouts quibble about his hitting mechanics and give his glove so-so reviews, but he's hit at every level, gets on base, and always posts strong defensive statistics. Age 25.
Mike Fiers, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: Drafted in the 22nd round from Nova Southeastern University in 2009, Fiers went 13-3, 1.86 with an outstanding 132/36 K/BB ratio in 126 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this year. The 6-3, 200 pound right-hander has average velocity, but mixes in a breaking ball and a very strong changeup. He can start or relieve and has a durable arm. He's already 26, but with nothing left to prove in the minors he could help someone in 2012.
Juan Oramas, LHP, San Diego Padres: Signed out of Mexico, Oramas had an excellent year in the Double-A Texas League, going 10-5, 3.10 with a 102/28 K/BB in 105 innings for San Antonio. Scouts say he has a solid fastball/curveball/changeup arsenal, and his numbers are strong, but his 5-10, 215 pound body lacks classic projection. He's just 21 years old but might be as good now as he's going to get. That's still good.
Clint Robinson, 1B, Kansas City Royals: Drafted in the 25th round from Troy University in 2007, Robinson is a 26-year-old 6-5, 235 pound left-handed hitter who lacks tools. He's murdered minor league pitching, however, winning the Triple Crown in the Texas League in 2010 (.335/.410/.625, 98 RBI, 29 homers) and following that up with a .326/.399/.533 mark this year for Triple-A Omaha (with 23 homers and 100 RBI). He doesn't strike out much for a power hitter, but he's blocked behind Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler in Kansas City.